Daily Digest: Drought may be easing, but fight over water persists; State’s Delta smelt plan calls for more water flowing to sea; Slip renters, McClintock fume over water policies at Folsom; Stanislaus County will pay $90,000 for study on economic impacts of river plan; and more …

In California water news today, California’s drought may be easing, but fight over water persists; House panel on California water pits farmers against fishermen; State’s Delta smelt plan calls for more water flowing to sea; Slip renters, McClintock fume over water policies at Folsom; Drought felt in low income Bay Area communities; Stanislaus County will pay $90,000 for study on economic impacts of river plan; Nipomo facing increased water shortage conditions; and Mary Fahey: What you should know about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

On the calendar today …

  • Public meeting on approved basin boundary adjustments in Clovis at 2pm:  DWR will hold a public meeting to present the Draft Approved Basin Boundary Modifications, provide an overview of the BBMRS and technical review process, answer clarifying questions and receive further public comments on the Draft Approved Basin Boundary Modification submissions.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

California’s drought may be easing, but fight over water persists:  “California Republicans are spreading out their bets in their annual effort to steer more water to the state’s farmers.  In the absence of negotiations, such tactics matter most right now.  Framed by a hearing Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will vote this week on whether to retain farmer-friendly California water provisions in an Interior Department funding bill for the fiscal year that begins in October. Whether this vehicle succeeds where others have failed will probably be known only after the November elections.  “California is at yet another crossroads,” Ara Azhderian, water policy administrator for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, told a House panel Tuesday morning. “The decisions that will be made in coming weeks and months will have impacts probably for years.” ... ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  California’s drought may be easing, but fight over water persists

House panel on California water pits farmers against fishermen:  “The plan to buoy historically low salmon populations imperiled by California’s historic drought made for a contentious hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill. House Republicans accused federal agencies of depriving farmers of water while the Golden State’s reservoirs sit full.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Maine Fisheries Service teamed up for the drought proposal debated at this morning’s hearing of the House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans.  Though recent El Nino storms have left the state’s largest reservoirs full, the contentious plan calls for less water to be pulled from California’s largest reservoir, Shasta Lake, to preserve cold-water supplies needed to keep the Sacramento River at or below 56 degrees this fall. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  House panel on California water pits farmers against fishermen

State’s Delta smelt plan calls for more water flowing to sea: With Delta smelt numbers at all time lows, state officials on Tuesday released a list of more than a dozen projects they’re hoping to undertake in the next few years in a last-ditch effort to stave off the fish’s extinction.  One of those plans is sure to be contentious. The “Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy” released Tuesday by the California Natural Resources Agency calls for allowing between 85,000 and 200,000 acre feet of extra water to wash out to sea this summer to bolster smelt habitat.  That’s no small amount: 200,000 acre feet is equal to a quarter of Folsom Lake’s capacity, though not all the amount released would come from Folsom.  Federal dam operators say the state’s plans are a tad too ambitious. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  State’s Delta smelt plan calls for more water flowing to sea

Slip renters, McClintock fume over water policies at Folsom:  “Until the drought began five years ago, Folsom Lake Marina operator at Brown’s Ravine Ken Christensen said it was typical for boats to stay in rented slips until October, with 5 mph signs posted through December. For the past few years 675 slip renters have had to pull their boats out of the water well before Labor Day, as early as June in 2015. Despite higher snow packs and lake levels this year, Christensen, who has operated Brown’s Ravine as a concessionaire for the state of California for 46 years, was as surprised as his customers to learn boats have to be removed by Aug. 5. … “The policies are set by the state and feds,” Christensen explained. “What’s different is that more water will be taken from Folsom Lake, which holds 1 million acres of water, instead of from Lake Shasta, which holds 4.5 million acres, because they need to hold more cold water in Shasta for salmon in the river this fall. … ”  Read more from Village Life here:  Slip renters, McClintock fume over water policies at Folsom

Drought felt in low income Bay Area communities: California’s drought, now in its fifth year, has grabbed headlines – many of them focused on the state’s mandatory conservation measure enacted last year or the impacts on the agricultural sector, said Heather Cooley, the water program director of the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank.  “Impacts on disadvantaged communities have received far less attention,” she said. “And the attention that there has been has focused on wells running dry in the San Joaquin Valley. There has really been less of a review about the drought and disadvantaged communities more broadly.” … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Drought felt in low income Bay Area communities

Stanislaus County will pay $90,000 for study on economic impacts of river plan: Stanislaus County leaders authorized $90,000 on Tuesday to pay for an economic study on a contested state plan that would keep more water in rivers for fisheries.  For three years, the State Water Board has continued work on a proposal that would dedicate 35 percent of flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers for fish and wildlife.  Local officials and water districts fear that would devastate agriculture in Stanislaus County. They joined other agencies in taking issue with the plan at a two-day hearing in Sacramento in March 2013. ... ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus County will pay $90,000 for study on economic impacts of river plan

Nipomo facing increased water shortage conditions: The extended drought in California is continuing to cause major problems for the water supply in Nipomo.  “Right now we’re in a severe water shortage condition, as we have been in the last year,” said Nipomo Community Services District (NCSD) general manager Mario Iglesias. “What we anticipate is that through the course of next year, we have to reduce groundwater production by 50%.”  Recently, the Nipomo Mesa Management Area Technical Group (NMMA) released groundwater testing numbers for the Spring 2016 season. … ”  Read more from KEYT here:  Nipomo facing increased water shortage conditions

In commentary today …

Mary Fahey: What you should know about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is comprehensive statewide groundwater legislation that went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. SGMA requires for the first time sustainable groundwater management throughout California. The legislation allows local agencies to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans specific to local conditions, however, if local agencies cannot or will not manage groundwater sustainably, the state will step in.  SGMA mandates that all high and medium priority groundwater basins in California must be managed sustainably over a 20-year implementation period. In Colusa County we have two groundwater basins subject to SGMA: the Colusa subbasin and the West Butte subbasin.  … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Mary Fahey: What you should know about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

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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