Daily Digest: Fishermen win key ruling over Delta water supply; Lake Oroville dropping faster than Shasta Lake this summer; Californians water conservation returns to local leadership; What happens to the U.S. Midwest when the water is gone?; and more …

In California water news today, Fishermen win key ruling over Delta water supply; Lake Oroville dropping faster than Shasta Lake this summer; Californians water conservation returns to local leadership; What happens to the U.S. Midwest when the water is gone?; Yuba-Sutter: Water districts awaiting approval from state on conservation goals; Audubon tour planned at Davis wetlands; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will meet beginning at 9am: Agenda items include an update on the ongoing drought emergency and the emergency conservation regulation, PG&E’s DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric project, and a report on cooling water intake structures.  Click here for the full agenda.

In the news today …

California fishermen win key ruling over Delta water supply:A group of commercial fishermen won a potentially significant court ruling in the seemingly endless battle over California’s water supply and the volumes of water pumped south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  A federal appeals court last week ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which delivers water from the Delta via the federal Central Valley Project, violated federal environmental law by renewing a series of two-year delivery contracts for south-of-Delta agricultural customers. The court said the bureau should have given “full and meaningful consideration” to the idea of reducing the amount of water available for delivery in the contracts. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California fishermen win key ruling over Delta water supply

Lake Oroville dropping faster than Shasta Lake this summer:  “State and federal reservoir levels have been dropping at dramatically different rates for the last couple of months, for reasons that figure into last week’s discussions about the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Lake Oroville has released more than 968,000 acre-feet of water into the Feather River since June 1, while just over 616,000 acre-feet have flowed from Shasta Lake into the Sacramento River.  Oroville has gone from 83 percent full to 66 percent full in that time, while Shasta dipped from 86 percent full to 78 percent full. Oroville’s water level has dropped 62 feet, Shasta, just 15 feet. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Lake Oroville dropping faster than Shasta Lake this summer

Californians’ water conservation returns to local leadership:  “Most communities in drought-stricken California stayed on target for saving water in June, the first month that abandons a state-mandated approach to conserving that puts local leaders back in charge, officials said.  State water regulators will release the month’s figures on Tuesday as California endures a hot, dry summer in a fifth year of historic drought.  While communities in June recorded a dip in water savings from the previous month, conservation overall remained high, said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Californians water conservation returns to local leadership

What happens to the U.S. Midwest when the water is gone?  ““Whoa,” yells Brownie Wilson, as the steel measuring tape I am feeding down the throat of an irrigation well on the Kansas prairie gets away from me and unspools rapidly into the depths below.  The well, wide enough to fall into, taps into the Ogallala aquifer, the immense underground freshwater basin that makes modern life possible in the dry states of Middle America. We have come to assess the aquifer’s health. The weighted tip hits the water at 195 feet, a foot lower than a year ago. Dropping at this pace, it is nearing the end of its life. “Already this well does not have enough water left to irrigate for an entire summer,” Wilson says. … ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  What happens to the U.S. Midwest when the water is gone? 

In commentary today …

When it comes to water, do not keep on trucking, says the LA Times:  They write, “The multi-year drought has become so bad in some parts of California that last year wells dried up and communities had to have their water hauled in by truck. Even with that emergency lifeline, residents of places like East Porterville in Tulare County had to carefully parcel out their supplies for cooking and cleaning. Toilets were “flushed” by dumping used dishwater into the bowl. Showers became a luxury.  In some historically wetter places around the Bay Area and the Central Coast, residents who never thought they would be without water also had to begin making arrangements to truck supplies in — or else abandon their homes. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  When it comes to water, do not keep on trucking

In regional news and commentary today …

Salmon river spring-run chinook survey shows half of average run size:  “The 20th annual survey of the Salmon River’s spring-run Chinook salmon ended with poor tidings.  Only 389 spring-run salmon — which have been declining for nearly 90 years — were recorded on Wednesday, which is only half of the average run size over the last 20 years, according to Salmon River Restoration Council fisheries technician Beau Quinter.  “We are disappointed that there is not more protection for this big piece of the puzzle when it comes to Klamath salmon restoration,” he said in a statement. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Salmon river spring-run chinook survey shows half of average run size

Yuba-Sutter: Water districts awaiting approval from state on conservation goals:As state-mandated water restrictions were projected to be lifted on Aug. 1, local water districts have begun to take steps establishing new, self-certified conservation marks, but the state has yet to confirm the districts’ goals.  Cal Water Marysville, which previously had a 24 percent reduction mandated by the state, set its new water conservation target at 10 percent.  “It’s a target that is meant to reinforce conservation,” said Lee Seidel, district manager for Cal Water Marysville. “We are maintaining a conservation mark to encourage customers to continue a reduction philosophy so that if the drought continues and a budget is necessary to reinstitute, customers will have the tools to continue water reduction.” ... ”  Read more from the Marysville Appeal-Democrat here:  Water districts awaiting approval from state on conservation goals

Audubon tour planned at Davis wetlands:  “Yolo Audubon Society will host a field trip to see Yolo County Shorebirds on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 8 a.m.  All Audubon trips are free and open to the public, according to Ann Brice. “Thousands of shorebirds are on their way south along the Pacific Flyway, and they stop to refuel on the mudflats around Davis. Western Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, and Long-billed Dowitchers congregate in large numbers, while less common species such as Baird’s Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper can be mixed in as well.”  The group’s destination will depend on the best water levels to attract shorebirds, but possibilities include the Davis Wetlands and the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, stated Brice. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Audubon tour planned at Davis wetlands

Bay Area: Penalty leads to creek restoration:  “Local endangered fish could get a boost from San Mateo’s main water supplier, which agreed to a more than $1 million settlement and habitat restoration project after it discharged treated drinking water into a local creek three years ago.  The California Water Service Company originally faced a $3 million penalty, one of the largest fines state water regulators had ever proposed in the Bay Area, after a failed main accidentally leaked an estimated 8 million gallons of chlorinated water over several days in October 2013. The leak caused erosion and killed 276 fish, including 70 endangered steelhead trout, in the San Mateo and Polhemus creeks. … ”  Read more from the San Mateo Daily Journal here:  Penalty leads to creek restoration

Higher fish flows: SSJID eyes models that lean toward 2017 being drought year:There is more water flowing these days in the Stanislaus River.  It is not due to increased agricultural water deliveries, urban uses, or for recreational purposes. The increased flows from New Melones Reservoir that have been ramped up to 350 cubic feet per second are designed to lower water temperature and pump up dissolved oxygen to create a less lethal environment for fish.  South San Joaquin Irrigation District General Manager Peter Rietkerk noted the Bureau of Reclamation’s  increased releases from New Melones aren’t impacting water supplies for urban or ag use within the district nor farm deliveries in the Oakdale Irrigation District. None of the water being released is coming from OID or SSJID accounts. ... ” Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Higher fish flows: SSJID eyes models that lean toward 2017 being drought year

Northeast Fresno water tests show more home with lead in samples:  “More than 40 homes scattered across northeast Fresno are testing positive for lead above acceptable levels as the city continues to try to figure out what is causing corrosion of galvanized water pipes in residences.  The latest update comes after the city expanded its investigation, sending notices to more than 45,000 water customers across six ZIP codes in the northern areas of Fresno – including about 15,000 homes in the 93720 and 93730 ZIP codes where the bulk of complaints from residents about discolored water have originated. Since January, hundreds of homes in northeastern Fresno have reported various levels of discoloration in the water coming from their faucets and are being tested for metals, including lead. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Northeast Fresno water tests show more home with lead in samples

Appeals Court rules CLWA can own Valencia Water; SCOPE to seek high court review:  “The California Court of Appeal 2nd District upheld the right of the Castaic Lake Water Agency to acquire the stock of the Valencia Water Company, rejecting a legal challenge by the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) filed in 2013.  The decision affirms a 2015 trial court ruling that upheld the legality of CLWA’s purchase of Valencia Water Company’s stock from Newhall Land and Farming in 2012. The Court of Appeal rejected all of SCOPE’s arguments. … ”  Read more from SCV News here:  Appeals Court rules CLWA can own Valencia Water; SCOPE to seek high court review

Garcetti confirms DWP Chief Marcie Edwards to step down this month:  “Marcie Edwards, who is quitting her job as general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power slightly more than two years after she was appointed to reform the agency, will step down in two weeks, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office announced Monday.  Garcetti said in a statement that DWP Chief Operating Officer David Wright, who has been at the department for 27 years, would take over on an interim basis after Edwards leaves Aug. 16. Wright will be the department’s eighth general manager in 10 years.  Edwards, 59, will continue to serve as a “special advisor” to Garcetti and the DWP through the end of the year, according to the mayor’s statement. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Garcetti confirms DWP Chief Marcie Edwards to step down this month

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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