Daily Digest: First step in California groundwater law stirs controversy; Is drought causing a health crisis in California?; How to stake a claim on California’s water; and more, plus late season storm to bring rain, snow to NorCal

In California water news today, First step in California groundwater law stirs controversy; Is drought causing a health crisis in California?; How to stake a claim on California's water; Going, going, gone: California's snowpack has vanished; California's trees struggle to survive against unprecedented die-off; Monterey County crew managing Carmel River Lagoon sandbar for freshwater habitat; San Joaquin County: Groundwater levels still falling; Metropolitan says it has enough supply for three more years of drought; and more …

In the news today …

First step in California groundwater law stirs controversy:  “Two years ago, California became one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. The political will to do so took decades. But the bigger battle may be putting the law into practice.  Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County may be a perfect example of how hard it’s going to be.  The region is known mostly for it’s more than 200 wineries. But amidst the rolling hills full of vineyards, it’s not unusual to see tanker trucks delivering water to rural homeowners whose wells have run dry. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  First step in California groundwater law stirs controversy

Is drought causing a health crisis in California? No place has been hit harder by the California drought than Tulare County in the San Joaquin Valley. By now, most Americans have read or heard stories about residential wells going dry in the county’s rural towns, such as East Porterville, Orosi and Cutler.  But it has remained unclear how water shortages are affecting people in these towns. How do they cope without running water in their kitchens and bathrooms? How has this affected their physical health and mental well-being?  Now there is polling data to answer such questions. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Is drought causing a health crisis in California?

How to stake a claim on California's water (radio show): While people have argued about how to divvy up scarce resources forever, it turns out that the way California parcels out its water supply is … crazy.” Click the player above to hear KALW's Audrey Dilling try to stake her place in line for California's precious water.  Listen here: 

Going, going, gone: California's snowpack has vanished: After El Niño failed to deliver salvation from California’s epic drought, it has now come to this:  Statewide, snowpack is down to just 6 percent of normal for this time of year.  For all intent and purposes, this vital source of water for tens of millions of Californians, and one of the world’s most productive agricultural economies, has vanished prematurely. The culprit: a sunny and warm spring.  And with La Niña probably on the way, things could get worse before they get better. … ”  Read more from Discovery here:  Going, going, gone: California’s snowpack has vanished

California's trees struggle to survive against unprecedented die-off: California is home to the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. The state’s trees are humbling and magnificent, but they’re also very vulnerable. After five years of drought, trees are struggling to survive against unprecedented die-off.  In Carmel-by-the-Sea, City Forester Mike Branson says removing dead trees has become routine.  “This last couple of years, we’ve lost more trees than I can recall in my career here,” says Branson whose career in Carmel spans nearly four decades. … ”  Read more from KAZU here:  California’s trees struggle to survive against unprecedented die-off

Monterey County crew managing Carmel River Lagoon sandbar for freshwater habitat:In an effort to help maintain the balance between freshwater habitat and flood protection, the Monterey County Resource Management Agency brought in special crews to work at the Carmel Lagoon area Monday.  The crews are using equipment to raise and contour the sandbar where the lagoon and ocean waters join to help protect the lagoon’s freshwater habitat through summer by keeping the ocean water at bay. In the summer, the sandbar is raised and in the winter it is lowered to minimize flood risk. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Monterey County crew managing Carmel River Lagoon sandbar for freshwater habitat

San Joaquin County: Groundwater levels still falling: What a difference a year doesn’t make.  For anyone who doubts that we’re still in a drought, San Joaquin County’s groundwater “savings account” was even more depleted this spring than last, despite improved rainfall over the course of the winter.  Routine surveys of hundreds of wells across the county revealed water levels had dropped about 2 feet on average — not as severe as the 3-foot drop seen the previous spring, but still a decline.  Officials had hoped the results might be a little better. … ”  Read more from Stockton here:  San Joaquin County: Groundwater levels still falling

Metropolitan says it has enough supply for three more years of drought:  “Southern California's top water wholesaler said Wednesday it has enough supply to cover the needs of the 19 million people it serves — even if the state endures three more years of drought. Based on calculations required under a  state-mandated “stress test,” the agency said it had enough water to satisfy anticipated demand over those years.  “We're not projecting a shortfall based on this stress test,” the Metropolitan Water District's Brandon Goshi said. “I think the results show that under those challenging conditions, we have available water supply.” … ” Read more from KPCC here:  Metropolitan says it has enough supply for three more years of drought

Colorado River Aqueduct marks 75 years of delivery:  “The lifeblood of greater Los Angeles runs through the Coachella Valley, coursing through a series of tunnels bored into the rugged foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains.  The 242-mile Colorado River Aqueduct — constructed from 1933 to 1941 by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — stretches from Parker Dam at the Arizona border to Lake Mathews in western Riverside County. Since June 1941, it's provided water to millions of residents of Los Angeles and the surrounding counties.  This week marks the 75th anniversary of the first water delivery of Colorado River water to the Los Angeles area — Pasadena received the first flow — and as a bonus, the 13 cities that originally formed the district received free water for two months. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Colorado River Aqueduct marks 75 years of delivery

The Southwest braces for record heat: Is it climate change? Track meets were moved to the evenings to avoid the soaring temperatures. Marching band members ditched their formal hats and uniforms. Forecasters took to the airwaves to warn viewers, especially the elderly and infirm, to stay indoors and stay hydrated. Temperatures soared over 110 degree F., in several areas. And that was just in the first week of June in the Western US.  Now the region is bracing for the weekend, when “a truly historic heat wave is likely to bring intense and all-time record challenging heat” to large swatches of the Southwest this weekend, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark. … ” Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  The Southwest braces for record heat: Is it climate change? 

In commentary today …

Westlands' commitment to secrecy:  The Fresno Bee writes,Westlands Water District is a Fresno-based public agency formed in 1952 to deliver irrigation water to hundreds of thousands of fertile acres on the Valley’s west side.  As a public agency, Westlands’ employees, growers and board of directors should exhibit a 100 percent commitment to transparency. Westlands, after all, conducts the people’s business, and sunlight is the best disinfectant against backroom deals, shady practices and favoritism.  In fact, Westlands claims that it promotes transparency. Here’s what the district says on its website: “Westlands Water District is committed to providing current and accurate information to our water users and to the general public.”  Don’t believe it. … ”  Continue reading this editorial from the Fresno Bee here:  Westlands’ commitment to secrecy

Precipitation watch …

Late season storm to bring light rain, snow to some parts of Northern California:  “A low pressure system off the Pacific Northwest coast will bring rain and higher elevation snow showers to Norcal today with a chance of thunderstorms some areas as well. Most locations will see only light precipitation but the Lassen Park area could see a few inches of snow. Heavier rainfall could fall from thunderstorms as well.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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