Daily Digest: Sierra water runoff coming up short; Should the state limit small water agencies?; Paso Robles protest over tree removal turns out to be about groundwater; What Lake Mead’s record low means for California; and more …

In California water news today, Sierra water runoff coming up short; California to fire up burners to battle dead tree epidemic; Should the state limit small water agencies?; Yolo water conservation district’s groundwater recharge efforts lauded; Paso Robles protest over tree removal turns out to be about groundwater; Study finds surprising source of Colorado River supply; and What Lake Mead’s record low means for California

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Drought bummer: Sierra water runoff coming up short:  “The El Niño-fueled storms that coated the Sierra with nearly normal snow this winter brought blasts of hope to drought-weary California.  But after the flurries stopped and the seasons changed, the melt-off from the high country has been swift and disappointingly scant, according to new water supply estimates from the state.  The Department of Water Resources now projects that the mountains will produce about three quarters of normal runoff during the months of heaviest snowmelt, shorting the rivers and reservoirs that typically provide a third of California’s water — and cementing a fifth year of historic drought for the Golden State. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Drought bummer: Sierra water runoff coming up short

California to fire up burners to battle dead tree epidemic:  “Officials in California say they’re preparing to use large air-blasting incinerators to burn up trees killed by drought and a beetle epidemic ravaging Sierra Nevada forests.  Division Chief Jim McDougald of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the state has bought 10 burners that reach such high temperatures they give off little smoke.  Gov. Jerry Brown last year declared an emergency at the height of drought that is killing millions of trees feared to fuel catastrophic wildfires. ... ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  California to fire up burners to battle dead tree epidemic

Should the state limit small water agencies?  “California’s drought has revealed that when it comes to water, not every community is equal.  Large urban areas, from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, asked residents to conserve, raised rates to buy water from other places and generally have gotten by without much inconvenience, other than brown lawns and shorter showers.  But communities served by smaller systems, from farm towns to forest hamlets — often lacking money, expertise and modern equipment — have struggled and, in some cases, nearly run out of water entirely.  Now, a bill by a Bay Area state lawmaker aims to slow the spread of little “mom and pop” water providers by making it very difficult to create new ones. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Should the state limit small water agencies? 

Yolo water conservation district’s groundwater recharge efforts lauded:  “State and local agriculture and political leaders gathered on the banks of the Winters Canal Wednesday to recognize the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District’s project to recharge groundwater into underground storage.  The project is part of the ongoing efforts to sustainably manage groundwater in the Sacramento Valley and throughout California.  The District started recharging the groundwater in Yolo County this past spring by diverting and percolating 11,000 acre-feet of additional surface water from Cache Creek into its existing unlined canal system, part of which is outside of Winters. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Yolo water conservation district’s groundwater recharge efforts lauded

Paso Robles winemakers divided over water:  A protest over tree removal turns out to be about groundwater:  “Paso Robles area residents are outraged by recent clearcutting of oak trees on the property of Justin Vineyards, with aerial photos of a denuded hill spurring 200 people to attend a protest meeting last week.  San Luis Obispo County officials issued Justin a stop-work order, not because of the missing trees per se, but because of potential grading violations.  The real issue, though, is not trees but water, and it’s a familiar one for Justin‘s owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes last year at $4.3 billion. The winery filed plans with the county to build a 6.5-million gallon irrigation pond that would draw from the groundwater that the neighbors all share. ... ”  Read more from Wine Searcher here:  Paso Robles winemakers divided over water

Study finds surprising source of Colorado River supply:  “Every spring, snow begins to melt throughout the Rocky Mountains, flowing down from high peaks and into the streams and rivers that form the mighty Colorado River Basin, sustaining entire cities and ecosystems from Wyoming to Arizona. But as spring becomes summer, the melting snow slows to a trickle and, as summer turns to fall, all but stops.  Scientists have known for a long time that flow in rivers is sustained by contributions from both snowmelt runoff and groundwater.  The groundwater is composed of rivulets of water hidden below ground —some thousands of years old — that are particularly important for sustaining a river’s flow after the spring snowmelt has subsided. Less clear, however, was exactly how much of the flow in rivers came from groundwater, a critical source of much of the West’s water supply. Now, a new study, released last month by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), helps quantify just how much: … ”  Continue reading at High Country News by clicking here: Study finds surprising source of Colorado River supply

What Lake Mead’s record low means for California:  “When the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last month that the country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, had fallen to its lowest-ever level at 1,074ft (327m), the question many asked was: How will it affect one of California’s primary drinking sources?  After all, some 19 million Californians, nearly half the state’s population, receive some part of their water from the Colorado River, which flows into the 80-year-old reservoir created by Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  What Lake Mead’s Record Low Means for California

More news and commentary in the weekend edition of the Daily Digest …

Daily Digest, weekend edition: Drought officially covers the entire state again; Deader than ever, California forests head into fire season; Bill would remove population targets for predator fish in the Delta; and more …

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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