Daily Digest: Does California ‘have the same water infrastructure’ as the 1960s?; Northern California farmers want to drop the bass; Fight over California drought heats up in Congress; and more …

In California water news today, PolitiFact: Does California ‘have the same water infrastructure’ as the 1960s?; Northern California farmers want to drop the bass; Fight over California drought heats up in Congress; As one of its chief sources of water dries up, California eases restrictions on water use nonetheless; Santa Clarita: Battle against groundwater contamination advances on two fronts; The key to cleaner water at the beach? Fewer birds.; and more …

In the news today …

PolitiFact: Does California ‘have the same water infrastructure’ as the 1960s?  “U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, has called solving California’s water wars one of the toughest challenges of her career. Tougher, she says, than passing a federal assault weapons ban in 1994.  But the reason the 82-year-old lawmaker says she keeps pushing is simple: The state’s water infrastructure is outdated and its drought emergency persists. She has spearheaded a bill that would pump $1.3 billion into water desalination, recycling and storage projects.  One of her recent comments about the need for that bill caught our attention. … ”  Read more from PolitiFact here:  Does California ‘have the same water infrastructure’ as the 1960s? 

Northern California farmers want to drop the bass:  “The largest estuary on the United States’ west coast isn’t safe for baby salmon. … Today, as the juveniles born in the rivers’ upper reaches migrate toward the ocean, the finger-sized fish face high odds of being eaten by bigger fish, including the voracious striped bass.  This non-native species, first introduced to California in 1879, has recently become the subject of a heated debate. Some people—especially Northern California’s agriculturalists—are calling for population control of the popular game fish. Striped bass, they say, are a main cause of the salmon’s decline.  Fishermen and scientists, however, say farmers have played a larger role in the salmon’s decline than striped bass. ... ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Northern California farmers want to drop the bass

Fight over California drought heats up in Congress: Efforts in Congress are heating up to bring some relief to California’s historic drought, just as the dry summer season is starting.  The Golden State is in its fifth year facing exceptional drought conditions.  And while its congressional delegation is eager to find ways to better save water, and redirect it where needed, longstanding partisan and regional fights that fueled water wars since before California was a state are paralyzing efforts to help.  The House twice in recent days has debated GOP-backed measures to increase the water pumped through federal infrastructure from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — a massive delta that acts largely as the hub of the federal and state water canals — to Central Valley farms and Southern California. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Fight over California drought heats up in Congress

As one of its chief sources of water dries up, California eases restrictions on water use nonetheless:  “Earlier this month, California lifted its sweeping restrictions on how its towns and cities use their water, signaling that even though much of the state continues to face extraordinary drought, a moderately wet winter has blunted officials’ sense of urgency over water shortages.  Seemingly overlooked, however, is the state’s enormous reliance on the Colorado River for its urban water supplies — and the fact that the Colorado is approaching its worst point of crisis in a generation. … ”  Read more from Pro Publica here:  As One of Its Chief Sources of Water Dries Up, California Eases Restrictions on Use Nonetheless

Santa Clarita: Battle against groundwater contamination advances on two fronts:  “Treating Santa Clarita Valley groundwater for perchlorate contamination is moving ahead at the Whittaker-Bermite brownwfield in Saugus, officials said, while a bill aimed at providing new water supplies to make up for water lost to contamination is making progress in the House.  Construction of water decontamination equipment began in February, including the installation of pumps, pipes and cleaning machinery needed to decontaminate groundwater, Jose Diaz of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control said in March. … ” Read more from the Santa Clarita Signal here:  Battle against groundwater contamination advances on two fronts

The key to cleaner water at the beach? Fewer birds.  “The Port of Los Angeles has struggled more than a decade to clean up Cabrillo Beach.  In 2000, officials began putting lids on trash cans. Next, they increased litter pickup, capped and moved sewer lines and told parents not to let their children wear diapers in the water. In 2007, they even replaced all the sand at the beach.  Despite all those efforts, which cost more than $20 million, the San Pedro attraction made Heal the Bay’s annual “Beach Bummer” list for 13 straight years. The influential list ranks the state’s 10 most polluted beaches based on high bacteria counts. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The key to cleaner water at the beach? Fewer birds.

Congress weighs help to pay escalating household water bills:  “Responding to a string of contamination and drinking water emergencies in the Great Lakes region, a group of lawmakers is leading a campaign in Congress to make it easier for poor people to gain access to clean and affordable drinking water.  The Congressional action, led by Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat of Ohio, comes two years after Detroit shut off water to thousands of poor residents behind in their water bills. The city’s action drew criticism from the United Nations, which viewed the shutoffs as a violation of human rights. Last year investigators revealed how, in a cost-cutting move, state officials allowed elevated lead levels in Flint’s drinking water that poisoned the city’s children. Billions of dollars of federally mandated sewer improvements in Akron, Cleveland, and Toledo have sent costs spiraling upward. Akron, for instance, increased its sewer rates by 69 percent in 2015 to pay for a $US 1.4 billion project. ... ” Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Congress weighs help to pay escalating household water bills

In commentary today …

Looking for political common ground in barren fields outside Fresno:  Victoria Billings writes, “‘Congress created the water crisis’ the billboard practically shouted. The field around it, full of dry grasses and the occasional scrubby bush, spoke just as loudly. It had been years since I’d driven the stretch of Highway 41 between Paso Robles and Fresno, and it was almost unrecognizable.  Gone were the rows and rows of lettuce, spinach and strawberries I’d watched woosh by the car as a kid. Instead, I drove through a scene right out of a Wild West film, tumbleweeds and all.  Billboards dotted the barren landscape, with phrases like “NO WATER = LOST JOBS” and “NO HAY AGUA.” But the one that stuck with me was the accusation in red block letters that Congress was to blame for all this. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Looking for political common ground in barren fields outside Fresno

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Posted over the holiday weekend …

 

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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