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Daily Digest: Plan to save Delta smelt faces tough road; Sites Reservoir likely years down the road; Bill seeks to use renewable energy to boost water supplies; House vote sets stage for talks on drought relief; and more …

In California water news today, Plan to save Delta smelt faces tough road; Sites Reservoir likely years down the road; Bill seeks to use renewable energy to boost water supplies; House vote sets stage for talks on drought relief; California to set limit on probable carcinogen in water; Proposition 53: A battle over debt; Water crisis: Conflict … or resolution? Why two Saltman Center experts say mediation is key to resolving the water woes of the American West; and  more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Plan to save Delta smelt faces tough road:  “When a coalition of California and federal agencies announced a new Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy last week, the ambitious plan to save the region’s nearly extinct fish grabbed headlines.  But whether most, or even parts, of the comprehensive program can realistically put in place the changes needed to rescue this endangered native species is another question.  “I understand what they are aiming at doing and why. But how achievable it is, and whether or not it will result in the desired outcome, is a different matter,” said Richard Connon, a toxicologist at the University of California, Davis, who studies the impacts of contaminants on smelt and other fish. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Plan to save Delta smelt faces tough road

Sites Reservoir likely years down the road:  “Don’t expect to see a reservoir built in the hills west of Maxwell anytime soon.  Plans to build the Sites Reservoir have been in the works since 1957, and if it is eventually approved, work on the project probably would not be complete for another 10 to 12 years, according to Jim Watson, the Sites Reservoir Project general manager.  “Sites is not for us. Sites is for our grandchildren,” said Nadine Bailey, chief operating officer for the Family Water Alliance in Maxwell. ... ”  Read more from the Redding Searchlight Record here:  Sites Reservoir likely years down the road

Bill seeks to use renewable energy to boost water supplies:  “As the state slogs through its fifth year of drought, many water agencies are increasingly turning to alternative water sources to boost supplies — source like seawater, brackish groundwater and recycled wastewater.  But those need a lot of energy to treat. Now a local state senator wants to use California’s growing renewable energy supply to help meet that demand.  “In the old days I remember we had this thing called Flex Your Power,” said state Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). “Now at 2 o’clock on that hot August day we have so many solar cells that are popping you actually want people to use energy.” … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Bill seeks to use renewable energy to boost water supplies

House vote sets stage for talks on drought relief:  “Before members of Congress left Washington for the political conventions and August recess, the House of Representatives passed a 2017 appropriations bill that includes California drought-relief provisions.  California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said passage of the appropriations legislation by the House represented an important step toward addressing problems that limit the flexibility of the California water system.  By a vote of 231-196, the House passed the 2017 Interior appropriations bill, H.R. 5538, including the California-related water provisions. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  House vote sets stage for talks on drought relief

California to set limit on probable carcinogen in water:  “The California State Water Resources Control Board will soon set a maximum contaminant level for 1,2,3 Trichloropropane, or 1,2,3 TCP.   It’s found in industrial solvents and cleaning agents, but it was once found in two popular soil fumigants made by Dow Chemical and Shell Oil Company.  The pesticide byproduct contaminated groundwater throughout the Central Valley. State water regulators have found 1,2,3 TCP in 94 public drinking water systems in 16 counties. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California to set limit on probable carcinogen in water

Proposition 53: A battle over debt:He started out with $3,000 and a VW bug. Now, he’s a multimillionaire bankrolling a November ballot initiative to dramatically change the way California borrows money for public works.  Dean “Dino” Cortopassi, 77, is a Stockton landowner, farmer and businessman who has waged a crusade against pervasive government debt and, he says, the dubious accounting tricks that allow it to flourish.  “What I’m about is not taxes,” the 6-foot-2 Cortopassi said in an interview in his north Stockton office, “but I do understand arithmetic. This is about debt and the bills you don’t pay.” … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Proposition 53: A battle over debt

Water crisis: Conflict … or resolution? Why two Saltman Center experts say mediation is key to resolving the water woes of the American West:Few issues in the world are bigger than the crisis of water resources. Drought and flooding have plagued humanity since the dawn of history, but climate change is driving extremes that are affecting billions all over the world. And the crisis is not confined to far-off places. Drought and flooding are ripping through the American West — including Nevada and California — threatening the social, legal, and political status quo.  At UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law, two scholars, women with very different resumes but a world of experience, are perhaps uniquely positioned to confront the issues of water. … ”  Read more from UNLV News here:  Water crisis: Conflict … or resolution? Why two Saltman Center experts say mediation is key to resolving the water woes of the American West

How ozone and biofiltration can contribute to potable reuse: The traditional treatment approach for potable reuse has incorporated reverse osmosis (RO) membranes to achieve treatment goals. Although effective, RO-based treatment systems have high energy demands and produce brine reject streams that must be managed, either through disposal, further treatment or volume reduction. Advanced treatment processes that minimize or eliminate the need for RO are gaining popularity and have been validated on pilot and demonstration scale projects.  In California, two high-profile projects are paving the way for demonstrating the effectiveness of ozone-enhanced biofiltration as a key treatment process in potable reuse facilities. Pure Water San Diego (PWSD) is the city’s phased, multiyear program to use proven water purification technology to produce a safe and sustainable high-quality water supply for San Diego. The WateReuse Research Foundation (WRRF) commissioned a study in partnership with the Upper San Gabriel Valley Water District to evaluate different treatment trains incorporating ozone-enhanced biofiltration. ... ”  Read more from Water Technology here:  How ozone and biofiltration can contribute to potable reuse

A dreaded forecast for our times: Algae, and lots of it:  “Every Thursday night, Bill Korbel, a veteran meteorologist, offers his standard weather forecast to viewers on a Long Island cable channel. Then he follows up with his outlook for toxic algae.  On a map, Mr. Korbel points out areas with high concentrations of algae — natural gatherings of microscopic plankton that, while often innocuous, can degrade water quality and even be dangerous.  “Brown or red tide is much catchier than harmful algal bloom,” Mr. Korbel joked about the right wording to use in his broadcast. It’s a relatively new topic for him, something that was never part of his decades-long career. Nor was it part, he said, of his meteorology training at New York University. “That was down the hall, in oceanography,” he said. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  A dreaded forecast for our times: Algae, and lots of it

In commentary today …

Environmental demands for water keep expanding:  “Asked on the Public Policy Institute of California water blog “how much water nature needs,” the response of Mike Sweeney, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter, was an attention-getter.  At least it got mine.  “Research,” Sweeney said, “shows that taking more than 20 percent of a river’s natural flow at any given time can negatively impact the river’s function and ecosystem. Today,” he continued, “our rivers receive about half of their historic natural flow. Clearly, we have a problem.”  With 80 percent of available surface water off the table, clearly, we would have a problem! … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Environmental demands for water keep expanding

Water from oil is perfectly safe, say :Californians are known for their dedication to safe, fresh produce. So the media provides a steady stream of information regarding the state of the industry.  However, false information is able to travel quickly when residents take outspoken fiction as fact – which is happening with recent concerns regarding the use of recycled water from oil production for agricultural irrigation (“Stop farmers from using oil wastewater on crops,” Viewpoints, July 15).  Producing each barrel of oil naturally generates about 15 barrels of “produced” water. Furthering California’s legacy of innovation, we are capturing that water, recycling it and reusing it. ... ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here:  Water from oil is perfectly safe

In regional news and commentary today …

Restoring habitat in a man-made world: SFPUC clear non-natives in portion of watershed:  “In the coming weeks, those visiting the popular Sawyer Camp Trail along the pristine Crystal Springs Reservoir may notice some changes as the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission prepares to restore portions of the watershed back to its native state.  In total, the SFPUC’s Bioregional Habitat Restoration Program will restore nearly 180 acres of native oak woodland and grassland across the nearly 23,000-acre site that is home to a variety of butterflies, birds, frogs, snakes and some plants found nowhere else in California. Although the utility owns these local man-made reservoirs that supply nearly 1 million Peninsula residents’ with fresh water, it is also a major landholder and wildland steward. … ”  Read more from Daily Journal here:  Restoring habitat in a man-made world: SFPUC clear non-natives in portion of watershed

Mizuno on solving Central Valley salinity problems:  “According to a Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) report, rising salt levels in the soil and groundwater threaten the potable water supply and agricultural productivity for the entire region. Walter Mizuno, longtime lecturer in mechanical engineering at Fresno State and director, Valley Industry Partnership for Cooperative Education (VIP) Program, researches increasing salinity conditions in Central Valley soil and groundwater, as well as methods of desalination.  Mizuno explained, “As the salt level rises, and if the soil salts aren’t leached out periodically, the ground becomes unsuitable for cultivating several crops. Growers either shift to high salt-tolerant crops or essentially idle that land.”  Central Valley salinity conditions are serious, according to Mizuno.  ... ”  Read more from California Ag Today here:  Mizuno on solving Central Valley salinity problems

Lois Henry (Kern County): The groundwater games continue:  “Don’t expect the same level of drama at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting over groundwater.  This will be a pale version of last month’s torrid groundwater meeting.  But that doesn’t mean bad feelings aren’t festering.  The county kicked off this “game of GSAs” (cue “Game of Thrones” theme music) back on June 7 when it voted to throw a monkey wrench into one water district’s plans to form its own GSA.  Now, supervisors may vote to file a GSA over the Kern River GSA. (Check the glossary in the sidebar to help with all these annoying acronyms.) ... ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Lois Henry (Kern County): The groundwater games continue

The same dead whale keeps washing up on Southern California beaches:  “A dead whale named Wally has washed up on a beach in southern California for at least the fifth time this month.  Despite multiple attempts to tow the female humpback whale out to sea to decompose naturally, her body just keeps on coming back to shore, and frustrated authorities have now started cutting her body up into little pieces so they can send it to landfill instead. … ”  Read more from Science Alert here:  The same dead whale keeps washing up on Southern California beaches

How to restore an urban river? Los Angeles looks to find out:  “In its natural state, before it was channeled and lined with concrete, the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River was often little more than a trickle for nine months of the year. During the rainy season, however, the small, braided stream would turn into a powerful, churning river. It behaved like a dropped firehose, wildly lashing the Los Angeles valley, scouring gravel and soil across a seven-mile-wide floodplain, and carving a new course with every deluge. When the waters receded, a mosaic of fertile marshes, ponds, and other wetlands remained. “It was a big, flashy, dynamic river system,” says Sophie Parker, a biologist with the Nature Conservancy. … ”  Read more from Yale 360 here:  How to restore an urban river? Los Angeles looks to find out

Why Santa Monica is staying in drought mode:  Dean Kubani writes, ” … Saving water in a dry climate is hard, and as this drought has progressed we’ve begun to see signs of what I call “drought fatigue.” Although Santa Monica reached its water reduction goal very quickly, our water utility began to see water use start to creep back up in January, and last month it rose by 6%. It is clear that temporary requirements to use less water won’t solve our problems — as a society we need to begin thinking differently about this vital resource. It’s time to finally acknowledge that droughts in the American West aren’t short-term nuisances — they are the new normal. There is no way to sustainably go back to our old way of life. In Santa Monica, where we get much of our water from local aquifers, we understand this, which is why we are keeping our drought restrictions in place and are busy planning for a drier future. … ”  Read more at the LA Times here:  Why Santa Monica is staying in drought mode

Sewage spill in LA grows to 2.4 million gallons, prompting bans on swimming in Seal Beach and Long Beach:  “A damaged sewage line spilled a total of about 2.4 million gallons of untreated waste into the Los Angeles River and has forced the closure of all beaches in Long Beach and Seal Beach, officials said Tuesday.  The sewage line began leaking Monday about 2 p.m. and was stopped late that night, but the cracked pipe split again Tuesday as repairs were underway, said Tonya Durrell, a spokeswoman for the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.  The overflow, which occurred near 6th Street and Mission Road in Boyle Heights, was fully stopped Tuesday afternoon, Durrell said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Sewage spill in LA grows to 2.4 million gallons, prompting bans on swimming in Seal Beach and Long Beach

Lake Elsinore at its lowest level since January 1993:The last time people saw Lake Elsinore’s water level so low, folks were just learning about the internet.  Betrayed by El Niño, Southern California’s largest natural, freshwater lake, is down to its lowest level in 23 years — and continues to dwindle during a persistent drought. The shrinkage is occurring despite efforts by the water body’s overseers to prop it up, including a new project in the works. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Lake Elsinore at its lowest level since January 1993

San Diego facing $4.6 million water pollution fine:  “Local water quality officials proposed on Tuesday fining San Diego $4.6 million for allegedly allowing private construction sites to pollute sensitive waterways, including the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.  Over a period of nearly five years, city officials failed to conduct proper site inspections, prevent harmful sediment erosion and enforce the city’s water quality ordinances at multiple sites, according to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Erosion from construction sites can send sediment downstream to creeks and lagoons, where it can transport toxic pollutants, clog natural drainage systems and smother habitat, according to a six-page complaint issued by the board. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego facing $4.6 million water pollution fine

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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