Daily Digest: State unveils environmental blueprint for the Delta tunnels; Californians use more water as drought controls ease; Microfibers: How the tiny threads in our clothes are polluting the Bay; and more …

In California water news today, California unveils environmental blueprint for the Delta tunnels; Californians use more water as drought controls ease; Residents continue conservation with 21.5% cut despite relaxed drought rules; Water savings slump as rules relax; Has water conservation become a way of life in California?; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Nothing.  California Water Fix hearings resume tomorrow.

In the news today …

California unveils environmental blueprint for the Delta tunnels:  “California officials Tuesday released a detailed environmental blueprint for Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta tunnels project, saying the $15.5 billion plan “minimizes potential effects” on endangered fish species whose populations have dwindled following decades of water pumping.  The Department of Water Resources unveiled its so-called “biological assessment” for the proposed tunnels, which are designed to re-engineer the plumbing of the battered Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to improve reliability of water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California unveils environmental blueprint for the Delta tunnels

Californians use more water as drought controls ease:  “Freed from stringent statewide drought controls, Californians have begun using more water.  Urban consumption grew by 8 percent in June compared to a year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board. June was the first month in which California was operating under significantly relaxed drought regulations, and state regulators said they will monitor conservation going forward. If necessary, they said drought mandates could be reinstated. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Californians use more water as drought controls ease

Residents continue conservation with 21.5% cut despite relaxed drought rules: Californians are continuing to save significant amounts of water despite the decision by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to relax drought rules two months ago.  Statewide, urban residents cut water use 21.5 percent in June, compared with the same month in 2013, the year the state has been using as a baseline, according to new data released Tuesday.  Experts said the numbers from the State Water Resources Control Board — even though down from the 28.1 percent savings in May — demonstrate that Californians remain worried that the drought isn’t over despite the fact that many cities are allowing more frequent lawn watering and easing other drought restrictions this summer after a fairly wet winter. Increased water rates also seem to be behind the apparent trend not to open the spigots wide, experts said. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Residents continue conservation with 21.5% cut despite relaxed drought rules

Water savings slump as rules relax: Californians are saving less water now that conservation targets are no longer mandatory. But it’s not like they’ve abandoned the cause entirely. Every major water provider in San Joaquin and Calaveras counties is still conserving 20 percent or more compared to before the drought started, according to data released Tuesday.  Stockton’s Municipal Utilities Department saved 24 percent in June, down from 37 percent in May and a whopping 41 percent in June of 2015, when the drought outlook was particularly desperate. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water savings slump as rules relax

Has water conservation become a way of life in California? Some habits are hard to break – and that might be a good thing for parched California.  No longer under strict, drought-induced water conservation regulations, California residents still reduced water consumption by 21.5 percent in June from the baseline of June 2013. June was the first month since the restrictions were relaxed.  “For many conservation is now a way of life, and in our book that’s a success,” Jasmine Oaxaca, an enforcement specialist with the state water board, told the San Jose Mercury News. … ”  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  Has water conservation become a way of life in California?

In commentary today …

Address all factors to improve salmon numbers, say Don Bransfield and Fritz Durst:  They write, “For most people traveling on Interstate 5 in Northern California, Lake Shasta is viewed as a recreational jewel along their journey. The fact is the reservoir is a major workhorse providing flood control, critical storage capacity and water deliveries that provide multiple benefits to the public, farmers, municipalities, aquatic species, waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.  Yet, Lake Shasta is being operated today for the primary purpose of protecting a single fish species at one specific point in its life. That protected species is the spawning winter-run salmon. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Address all factors to improve salmon numbers

Making the most of wastewater:  Nick Hansen writes, “What does it take to be a water resource recovery leader? Easy, first recover as much water as possible from wastewater influent; second, utilize the resources in the waste to do something sustainable; third, recover power used by some renewable process; and fourth, be a leader while doing so.  Who comes to mind when this is applied? Delta Diablo.  Located in Antioch, California, Delta Diablo is a water resource recovery leader. They create high-quality, recycled water for parks, schools, sporting facilities and industrial use. They receive fats, oils and grease from restaurants and a local commercial rotisserie establishment to aid in biogas production in digesters and have also installed two massive solar arrays to generate clean electricity from the sun. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Making the most of wastewater

In regional news and commentary today …

North Coast kelp beds ‘like a desert’ this year: Abalone diver Richard Hayman already had been observing troubling shifts in underwater conditions off the North Coast when he found himself gazing around the ocean floor in Arena Cove with a new level of alarm.  “It’s like a desert out there,” he recalled, describing a barren underwater landscape stripped of vegetation by colonies of purple urchins that vastly outnumbered the mollusks he sought. It looked, he said, “like a fire went through.”  During 25 years of diving, Hayman had come to know the area offshore the Mendocino County town of Point Arena as a source of succulent abalones, abundant and plump with meat. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  North Coast kelp beds ‘like a desert’ this year

National award for Woodland-Davis surface water project:  “The Design-Build Institute of America has announced its 21st annual Design-Build Project/Team Award winners and the Davis-Woodland Water Supply Project, the new treatment facility commissioned by the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency, received the National Award of Merit in the water/wastewater category.  A dedication ceremony for the multi-million dollar facility was held just this past week, after around three years of actual building and more than 10 years of discussion. … ”  Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here:  National award for Woodland-Davis surface water project

Microfibers: How the tiny threads in our clothes are polluting the Bay: One of the major sources of microplastic pollution in the San Francisco Bay comes from something you might not expect: our laundry. Turns out, our clothes shed thousands of fibers every time they’re washed. And in our synthetic clothes, those fibers are made of plastic. They slough off of the fleece jackets, athletic clothes, and even jeggings that make life in this land of microclimates a little more comfortable.  Microplastics—which are plastic fragments, pellets, and films smaller than 0.2 inches—raise concerns because they become a magnet for the chemicals that linger in our water: pesticides, flame retardants, even the DDT that was banned decades ago. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Microfibers: How the tiny threads in our clothes are polluting the Bay

Monterey: Groundwater replenishment project expected to be considered by the CPUC in September:  “A key decision on the Pure Water Monterey groundwater replenishment project, along with California American Water’s associated delivery pipeline, is now expected to occur next month at the earliest, but backers say that will still allow the fast-tracked project to stay on schedule.  With no decision expected this month, Cal Am spokeswoman Catherine Stedman said the expectation is the California Public Utilities Commission would consider a water purchase agreement supporting the $84.5 million recycled water project’s financing, along with the $50 million delivery pipeline, on either Sept. 15 or 29. Stedman noted that CPUC judge Gary Weatherford issued a ruling last month suggesting those dates could be viable if an earlier Aug. 18 “target” date for a decision was missed. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Groundwater replenishment project expected to be considered by the CPUC in September

Stockton blue-green algae is back and considered a health hazard:  “The water in Stockton’s Downtown Waterfront has turned a vivid green and it’s a health hazard that comes with a nasty odor.  For the third year in a row the Blue-Green algae has returned to city’s waterfront.  It isn’t a problem for boaters but it can stink up the place. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Stockton blue-green algae is back and considered a health hazard

Court reverses $73.4 million verdict in Kings County land and water sale:  “The 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno has overturned a $73.4 million verdict against McCarthy Family Farms and Bay Area developer John Vidovich and Sandridge Partners involving a land and water sale in Kings County.  The ruling said the defendants are still liable and sent the case back to Kings County Superior Court for further proceedings. That means they could still be ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages.  The appellate court opinion was made public Monday and becomes final in 30 days. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Court reverses $73.4 million verdict in Kings County land and water sale

Update on Tri-Valley groundwater basin:  (corrected story, they say): “All the parties involved in the Tri Valley water basin will be waiting two months to see if the California Water Commission accepts the recommendation to consider the groundwater from Chalfant to Benton valleys a sub-basin of the Owens Valley basin.  The Department of Water Resources rejected a request from Inyo County to adjust boundaries between the Owens River and Tri Valley groundwater basins.  The County appealed the DWR’s decision last week.  All this is part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a bill requiring Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to develop plans to protect aquifers from over-draft. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Update on Tri-Valley groundwater basin

Why Lake Perris is surviving despite water loss:  “Amid a severe drought and dam reconstruction, Lake Perris is about as low as it’s been in its 43-year history, state officials say.  On the bright side, the drinking water reservoir will not likely get any lower and, there’s still plenty of room to make a splash, whether it be in a boat, on a board or taking a dip.  “It’s still a very popular reservoir and we’ve got our numbers back up as far as attendance,” said Superintendent John Rowe of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, which owns the lake. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Why Lake Perris is surviving despite water loss

Colorado River’s Tale of two basins: In Colorado, rivers flow not only down mountain slopes but beneath them, across them, and through them.  Nearly four dozen canals, tunnels, and ditches in the state move water out of natural drainages and into neighboring basins. Some snake across high passes. Others pierce bedrock.  All manmade water courses, meant to supply farming, manufacturing, or household use, eventually become so familiar they become part of the landscape. But old infrastructure can come to life in different form. Recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper cast renewed attention on water supply and growth in the West with a decision in a long-running process to expand a Colorado River diversion. … ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here:  Colorado River’s Tale of two basins

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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