Daily Digest: Scientists: California needs more groundwater data; California drought update: There’s good news and bad; Summer of Fire: Climate change driving wildfires; and more …

In California water news today, Scientists: California needs more groundwater data; California drought update: There’s good news and bad; Summer of Fire: Climate change driving wildfires; Gallagher’s surface water storage bill passes one committee; California cities struggle with water quality, and poor areas suffer the most; San Joaquin County: Water conservation fee increase rankles many; Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators; and How California could reinvent the water sector

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will meet beginning at 9am.  Agenda items include an update on Emergency Water Conservation Regulation, an update on the ongoing drought emergency, and Sacramento River temperature managementClick here for the agenda. Click here for the webcast. Whoops, that’s tomorrow!

In the news today …

Scientists: California needs more groundwater data:  “The more scientists study California’s declining supplies of groundwater, the more they’re emphasizing one basic point: We still don’t know nearly enough about the water in our aquifers, and we need a lot more data.  That was one of the main takeaways in separate research by two groups of Stanford researchers last week. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Scientists: California needs more groundwater data

California drought update: There’s good news and bad: When it comes to California’s ongoing drought, there’s good news and bad news. While the level of statewide drought has been decreasing over the past year, La Niña predictions suggest California could be in for more dryness in the near future.  The latest numbers from the U.S. Drought Monitor show less drought throughout the state today compared to the same time last year. About 60 percent of the state is still in severe drought or worse, but that’s down from about 95 percent one year ago. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  California drought update: There’s good news and bad

Summer of Fire: Climate change driving wildfires: Colorado recorded its most destructive fire in 2013 with the Black Forest Fire that tallied more than $420 million in insured losses. Washington saw the largest fire in the state’s history when the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire burned more than 250,000 acres (100,000 hectares). California’s Rim Fire in 2013 was the third largest in the state’s history, and the 2012 Rush Fire, the second largest. And last year’s Butte and Valley fires were some of the most destructive in state history.  These grim statistics are part of an alarming trend in western states: The number of large fires is growing, and so is the area burned and the length of the annual fire season. There is not one single cause for this, but a big contributor is temperature. Most of the region’s large fires are happening in warmer years that result in earlier spring runoff. … ” Read more from Water Deeply here:  Summer of Fire: Climate change driving wildfires

Gallagher’s surface water storage bill passes one committee:  “Local Assembly member James Gallagher won a small victory for a big bill this past week — a bipartisan measure he co-authored passed, unanimously, the state Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee.  The next obstacle for Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake, and his bill, meant to expedite projects such as Sites Reservoir, will be to pass the Senate Appropriations committee.  “I’m feeling pretty optimistic about it,” Gallagher said. “We are continuing to get support on both sides of the aisle on this measure.” ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Gallagher’s surface water storage bill passes one committee

California cities struggle with water quality, and poor areas suffer the most: It’s expected that when you open the tap for water, what comes out is safe to drink.  But in some California communities, particularly the drought-starved Central Valley, that’s not the case.  In pockets of the Central Valley, residents are fighting for clean drinking water, and those in low-income areas have been impacted the most.  Nitrate, arsenic and other contaminants have been found many times in the most rural and underserved regions of the Valley, according to a 2011 report from the Pacific Institute. Because small, poor towns often lack the resources to investigate the sources of contamination, problems can take years to fix. And low-income residents, who often can’t afford pricey filters or bottled water, can be exposed to contaminants for years. … ”  Read more from the California Health Report here:  California cities struggle with water quality, and poor areas suffer the most

San Joaquin County: Water conservation fee increase rankles many:  “Several residents from cities and towns such as Ripon, Manteca and Victor have voiced their concern over a proposed fee increase aimed at water conservation efforts to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.  Not only were residents upset that the county proposed a fee increase by as much as 3 percent many said they could not afford, but they were unaware such a fee even existed.  The fee was part of the county’s budget discussions on Wednesday, the second of two days of hearings on the budget. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water conservation fee increase rankles many

Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators:Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water – and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming from their faucets.  And while homeowners clamor for answers about why and what to do about it, those answers are in painfully short supply.  There are a couple of common denominators to the cases: Homes that are plumbed with galvanized iron pipe and which also receive drinking water from the city’s northeast surface water treatment plant. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators

In commentary today …

How California could reinvent the water sector:  Newsha Ajami writes, “California’s epic drought is not yet over and it still presents a tremendous opportunity.  It’s not the first time the state has faced a major resource crisis, and, if history is a guide, the Golden State could lead the way to reinvent its – and the U.S. – water sector.  Dry spells have become a recurring phenomenon in California, undermining assumptions upon which the state’s heavily engineered water system was built. While this sophisticated systems of dams, aqueducts and channels has enabled great social and economic growth in the past century, it is reaching the end of its lifespan. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How California could reinvent the water sector

 

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition of the Daily Digest …

(Note: Due to lack of news, there was no Fourth of July edition.)

Daily Digest, weekend edition: Delta islands sale put back on hold; Critical Temperance Flat agreement signed; 66 million dead trees and nowhere to put the wood; The abandoned plan that could have saved America from drought; 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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