Daily Digest: California groundwater reserves triple in assessment; Mono Lake: Drought threatens ‘genius’ regs that stopped LA water grab; Irvine Ranch sues Orange County Water District over groundwater policy; and more …

In California water news today, California has a lot more water than some think, new study suggests; California’s vast groundwater supply remains elusive for now; California groundwater reserves triple in assessment; Israel leading a ‘water revolution’ in arid California; Westlands Water District to split top jobs amid missteps, criticism; Butte County: Threatened spring run chinook salmon vulnerable in Mill and Deer creeks; Excessive lead found in Stockton home’s tap water; Car crashes into sinkhole in Kings County; drought may be a factor; Mono Lake: Drought threatens ‘genius’ regs that stopped LA water grab; Irvine Ranch sues Orange County Water District over groundwater policy; With doomsday in mind, California officials are ceding water to Arizona, Nevada; Tribal water rights a component to unraveling drought on the Colorado; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

California has a lot more water than some think, new study suggests:  “Drought-stricken California might have a hidden water bonanza.  A Stanford University study released Monday said the state has three times more groundwater located in deep aquifers than earlier estimated. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said this water source is much deeper than traditional aquifers and that tapping it would likely require a lot of money and engineering expertise.  According to a Stanford news release, the water is 1,000 to 3,000 feet underground. Until recently it was considered difficult to retrieve water from that depth. The quality of the water is questionable, researchers said, noting that desalination might be required.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California has a lot more water than some think, new study suggests

California’s vast groundwater supply remains elusive for now:  “There’s a vast amount of untapped water in California, but whether it can make any difference for the drought-stricken state remains unclear.  A new Stanford study indicates California’s groundwater supply is three times greater than previous estimates and could represent a potential “water windfall,” its authors say.  “There’s far more fresh water and usable water than we expected,” said Robert Jackson, co-author of the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The Stanford findings come as California endures a fifth year of record-breaking drought. The study contains the most detailed picture yet of the vast aquifers that exist under California, estimating that 2,700 cubic kilometers of fresh groundwater lie beneath the Central Valley — nearly triple previous estimates. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California’s vast groundwater supply remains elusive for now

California groundwater reserves triple in assessment:  “California’s breadbasket has more water than once thought. The water is just far deeper underground — nearly two miles in some cases — than researchers, farmers, and cities typically search.  Only oil and gas companies explore these depths, where hydrocarbons also reside. Stanford University researchers used the industry’s drilling logs, gathered from a state regulatory agency, to estimate the volume and quality of fresh and brackish water beneath eight counties in the Central Valley, a major food producer, and the South Coast, near Los Angeles. ... ” Read more from Circle of Blue here:  California groundwater reserves triple in assessment

Israel leading a ‘water revolution’ in arid California:  “Having made the desert bloom and become the world leader in water management, Israel is now helping parched California solve its water problems.  The Israel-California Water Conference, taking place Wednesday at Los Angeles’s Marina Del Rey, with an additional event on Thursday in San Diego, is the brainchild of the Economy Ministry’s Israel NewTech program, the Israel Economic Mission to the West Coast, and the Israel Export Institute. The conference will introduce Californian public officials, business leaders, policy makers and researchers to 24 Israeli companies that offer water storage, management, treatment, recycling and leak detection solutions. … ”  Read more from the Jerusalem Post here:  Israel leading a ‘water revolution’ in arid California

Westlands Water District to split top jobs amid missteps, criticism: Westlands Water District, which has come under fire from farmers and the federal government over its financial and other dealings, has decided it no longer wants its general manager to also function as the district’s top lawyer, agency officials said Monday.  Tom Birmingham will no longer serve as both general manager and general counsel of Fresno-based Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the nation. He will remain as general manager, but the board is seeking new legal representation, said Westlands board President Don Peracchi.  “The board concluded that the complexities involved in securing water supply, groundwater management and other challenges facing the district require the full attention of the general manager,” Peracchi said. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Westlands Water District to split top jobs amid missteps, criticism

In regional news today …

Butte County: Threatened spring run chinook salmon vulnerable in Mill and Deer creeks:  “Five years of drought has not been kind to the threatened spring-run chinook salmon on Deer and Mill creeks in Tehama County.  The official count won’t be tallied for many weeks, but environmental scientist Matt Johnson estimates the number of fish on both creeks will be in the hundreds. Last year Deer Creek saw about 268 spring-run chinook return to where they were born. About 127 spring chinook returned to Mill Creek. Johnson, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Red Bluff, estimates Deer Creek will see more then 300 fish this year, and Mill Creek fewer than 100. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Threatened spring run chinook salmon vulnerable in Mill and Deer creeks

Excessive lead found in Stockton home’s tap water:  “Stockton city officials report finding high lead levels in tap water, above the federal limit of 15 parts per billion, in two samples taken from a single home.  In voluntary testing of nearly 70 homes since February, a process begun when a controversy arose over the addition of chloramines disinfectant to Stockton-treated water, only one produced samples with lead above allowable limits.  Scott Carney, deputy city manager, said Monday officials hope to test water from other homes in the same neighborhood for excessive lead, although they believe the problem is isolated. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Excessive lead found in Stockton home’s tap water

Car crashes into sinkhole in Kings County; drought may be a factor: A sinkhole in a Kings County road southeast of Hanford is being blamed for a solo car accident, the California Highway Patrol said.  The sinkhole emerged where Houston Avenue crosses an irrigation canal southeast of Hanford that has water after years of drought.  The sinkhole on Houston east of 6th Avenue emerged about 10:30 p.m. Sunday just as a semi-truck drove on the road, Sgt. Ken McCord said. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Car crashes into sinkhole in Kings County

Mono Lake: Drought threatens ‘genius’ regs that stopped LA water grab:  “In 1941, Los Angeles came for the scenic lake here.  After diverting the inflows to Owens Lake — setting it on course for ruin — the city extended its aqueduct 100 miles north in the eastern Sierra Nevada and captured virtually all of Mono Lake’s tributaries.  Like Owens Lake, Mono Lake’s water level began to drop precipitously as Los Angeles pumped millions of gallons of water that would have previously run into the lake. ... ” Read more from E&E News here:  Drought threatens ‘genius’ regs that stopped LA water grab

Irvine Ranch sues Orange County Water District over groundwater policy: The Irvine Ranch Water District has sued the Orange County Water District, alleging that the manager of the county groundwater basin is not giving Irvine Ranch credit for its recycled water program and is costing ratepayers there millions of dollars in fees.  The lawsuit, filed June 17 in Orange County Superior Court, says Irvine Ranch produces significant amounts of recycled water and that ratepayers are being unfairly assessed to the tune of $2 million this year.  Irvine Ranch has about 110,000 service connections over a 181-square-mile area that includes Irvine and portions of Costa Mesa and Tustin. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Irvine Ranch sues Orange County Water District over groundwater policy

With doomsday in mind, California officials are ceding water to Arizona, Nevada:  “Twenty-six million people in California, Nevada and Arizona rely on the Colorado River, but this magnificent source of water that carved a continent is drying up.  Representatives of the three states have been huddling behind closed doors and, for the first time ever, California water officials are offering to give up some of the state’s strongest claims to the river – at least temporarily.  The thermometer of the river’s health is Lake Mead — the lake formed behind Hoover Dam. The lake is now lower than it’s been since it was first filled back in the mid-1930s. … ”  Read more from Voice of San Diego here:  With doomsday in mind, California officials are ceding water to Arizona, Nevada

Tribal water rights a component to unraveling drought on the Colorado: Native American tribes in the Colorado River basin already have legally quantified rights to roughly one-fifth of the river’s flow, according to a new report from the non-partisan Colorado River Research Group.  CCRG said that tribal water rights are a misunderstood and underpublicized facet in dealing with water shortages in the Southwestern United States.  Of the seven Colorado River basin states, signatories to the Compact of 1922, the so-called Law of the River, only California and Colorado have larger paper rights to water than the tribes. The compact more or less canonized the “first in time, first in line” principle of water usage, meaning that the first jurisdiction to have claimed the water has the most senior rights. … ”  Read more from Rocky Mountain News here:  Tribal water rights a component to unraveling drought on the Colorado

In commentary today …

Water fights favored over water fixes, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “Given the history of California’s water wars, it is not surprising that when a judge issued a ruling last week to clarify a decision he made last month, both sides immediately disagreed what the latest ruling meant.  So much for clarity.  What Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny did seems pretty unambiguous: He declared the Delta Plan “invalid.”  That apparently means either “it’s dead,” or “there are a couple of minor flaws we have to fix.” … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Water fights favored over water fixes

How bad is water management in California?  Jay Lund writes, “California’s combination of climate, native ecosystems, and human uses makes water management inherently hard, unsatisfactory, and evolving.  California is doomed to have difficult and controversial water problems. No matter how successful we are.  California is one of the few parts of the world with a Mediterranean climate (Figure 1).  These climates tend to be dry (not much water), attractive places to live and farm (bringing high water demands), with mismatch between wetter winters and dry summer growing seasons.  The scarce water supply in the wrong season for human activities makes human management of water problematic for native ecosystems. … ” Continue reading at Capitol Weekly here:  How bad is water management in California?

Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it: Rob Jackson and Mary Kang write, “Despite winter rains and the lifting of urban conservation rules this month, California is still desperate for water. Reservoirs in Southern California are low, and we’re sucking groundwater from the Central Valley. But what if there’s a vast pool of unidentified water? How much would we use immediately, how much would we save and how would we protect it? Our new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences concludes that the Central Valley has almost three times more fresh water underground than the state estimates. Previous estimates are decades old and include only data for the top 1,000 feet or less. Most of the extra fresh water we identified is between 1,000 and 3,000 feet underground. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:   Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it

California’s water districts are loath to save resources, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write, “California’s big urban water districts should be ashamed of themselves. After asking for a good-faith policy change in the state’s water restrictions, they’ve decided that they’re not going to save any water at all.  Gov. Jerry Brown’s office should reconsider issuing mandatory water restrictions for urban water districts. There was an outcry when he set the state’s first mandatory cuts in April 2015. But California was then in the fourth year of a punishing drought, and the state hadn’t gotten anywhere with voluntary restrictions. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California’s water districts are loath to save resources

The Coachella Valley must confront water realities, says Jim Schmid:  He writes, “Like a lot of valley residents, I was born, raised and educated elsewhere – born and raised in upstate New York and educated at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  I came to the valley and decided to stay and raise a family here, because this Valley is home to more than 120 golf courses and I’m a golf course superintendent.  And to be a golf course superintendent in the desert requires one to become proficient in all matters having to do with water – source, access, cost, infrastructure, quality, etc.  That proficiency requires a big picture view, not a small one.  … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  The Coachella Valley must confront water realities

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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