Daily Digest, weekend edition: How plans to save fish species could cut summer water supply; Water users target stripers – again; Think that water you’re drinking is safe? Think again; and more …

In California water news this weekend, How plans to save fish species could cut summer water supply; Water users target stripers – again; Delta smelt count hits record low; Water board to refine enforcement procedures after ruling; Interior Department announces $30 million in Title XVI funding for California; Think that water you’re drinking is safe?  Think again; and more …

In the news this weekend …

How plans to save fish species could cut summer water supply:This year was supposed to be different. With Northern California’s reservoirs finally brimming and cities liberated from stringent conservation rules, farmers were expecting more water for their crops. The worst of the drought seemed over.  Or maybe not.  Despite a winter of fairly abundant rain and snow in the north state, federal fisheries regulators are considering a set of plans that would put Sacramento Valley reservoirs on a tight leash again this summer. Their aim is to prevent two endangered California fish species from going extinct. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  How plans to save fish species could cut summer water supply

Water users target stripers – again:  “A popular Delta sportfish may be on the hook yet again after water users mostly south of the estuary asked state officials this week to allow more of the fish to be caught, in order to reduce their numbers.  A nearly identical proposal, ardently opposed by Delta fishermen, was rejected in early 2012 by the state Fish and Game Commission.  But the water users didn’t stop fighting. Their concern is that stripers, which are technically not native to the Delta, gobble up threatened and endangered fish. And the decline of those species has reduced the amount of water that can be pumped to southland cities and farms. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water users target stripers – again

Delta smelt count hits record low: An endangered fish in the middle of California’s struggle over water allocations is becoming scarcer.  State netting crews turned up no more than seven Delta smelt in each of two trawl surveys this year — the lowest abundance ever recorded for the fish in January and February.  Biologists worry the low results are the latest evidence of bad news for the smelt struggling to avoid extinction amid much debated limits on water diversions from the Delta — a water source for 25 million Californians — to try to protect wild fish. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Delta smelt count hits record low

Water board to refine enforcement procedures after ruling:  “California water regulators will re-examine the way they determine water rights violations in the wake of the State Water Resources Control Board’s dismissal of a proposed $1.5 million fine to a water district east of the San Francisco Bay area.  Officials issued the fine to the Byron Bethany Irritation District at the height of the drought last summer, but the water board on June 7ww affirmed two hearing officers’ earlier ruling that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the district took water it wasn’t entitled to under its century-old water right.  As a result, the board will refine how it determines water availability based on lessons learned and hold a workshop later this year to discuss changes in its analyses, officials said. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Water board to refine enforcement procedures after ruling

Interior Department announces $30 million in Title XVI funding for California:  “The Interior Department, today, announced more than $30 million in funding through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program for seven projects that will provide clean water to California communities and promote water and energy efficiency. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Interior Department announces $30 million in Title XVI funding for California

Think that water you’re drinking is safe?  Think again: For all the pathogens and chemicals monitored by the federal government to protect drinking water, a far broader universe of “emerging contaminants” is going unregulated.  The Environmental Protection Agency keeps tabs on scores of substances that have surfaced in water systems around the country, with the aim of restricting those that endanger public health. But partly because the rules that the agency must follow are complicated and contentious, officials have failed to successfully regulate any new contaminant in two decades.  Only once since the 1990s has the EPA come close to imposing a new standard – for perchlorate, a chemical found in explosives, road flares, rocket fuel and, it turns out, the drinking water of upwards of 16 million people. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Think that water you’re drinking is safe?  Think again

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Butte County sets meetings next for public comment on groundwater sustainability plan: Groundwater management in California is about to change. Once upon a time people could drill a well and use as much water as the aquifer would provide. Over time, rules were passed stating that water must be used for beneficial use by the landowner.  Many areas of the state have also worked out how groundwater will be used and by whom. Often these plans followed lengthy disputes in court.  Locally, Butte County has rules that groundwater cannot be sold outside of the county without a public review and permit. Glenn County has halted new well drilling until it gets a handle on what to do next.  Now comes the statewide Sustainable Groundwater Management Act which became law in 2015. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Butte County sets meetings next for public comment on groundwater sustainability plan

Historic photos of Golden Gate Park show transformation from sand dunes to urban oasis:  “San Francisco’s Parks and Recreation Department estimates that 13 million people a year visit Golden Gate Park. Many of them never know that the oasis they enjoy was once little more than a collection of sand dunes. The park recently celebrated its 146th birthday, and we felt inspired to mine the Chronicle archives to illustrate the transition from sand pit to tourist destination. ... ”  Read more and check out the extensive slideshow of historic pictures from SF Gate here:  Historic photos of Golden Gate Park show transformation from sand dunes to urban oasis

In Paso Robles, nothing ‘Wonderful’ about bulldozing oaks for grapevines:  Joe Tarica writes, “We should not be surprised by the carnage unleashed last week on a hillside of oak trees west of Paso Robles.  It’s merely the next logical step when you turn a voracious industry loose on a relatively unprotected landscape.   As evidenced by the crisis in the Paso Robles groundwater basin, Big Wine — and sometimes Little Wine as well — can’t always be trusted to do the right thing in terms of appreciating natural resources when profits are at stake. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Tribune here:  In Paso Robles, nothing ‘Wonderful’ about bulldozing oaks for grapevines

Pressure mounting on Nestle’s water operations in the San Bernardino Mountains: Environmentalists and other organizations are turning up the heat under international food and beverage provider Nestlé as a legal challenge to the company’s water operations in the San Bernardino National Forest heads toward a long-awaited federal court hearing Monday.  The hearing to address Nestlé’s permit for water operations at Strawberry Creek watershed is scheduled before Judge Jesus G. Bernal at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Riverside. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Daily News here:  Pressure mounting on Nestle’s water operations in the San Bernardino Mountains

Coachella Valley:  Plan to raise water rates sparks controversy: A plan to raise water rates in communities from Cathedral City to La Quinta is being questioned and scrutinized by customers who say they’re about to be hit with an excessive financial burden.  The rate increases, which are up for a vote Tuesday, would lead to significantly higher bills for residential customers, businesses and homeowners associations that buy water from the Coachella Valley Water District. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Plan to raise water rates sparks controversy

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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