Daily Digest: Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says; Striped bass off the hook for now; Regulators prepare water diverters for stepped up reporting rules; and more …

In California water news today, Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says; Report: Delta tunnels fail financially; Backers drop plan to allow Delta anglers to keep more striped bass; Striped bass off the hook for now; Environmentalists oppose increasing bass fishing limits; Regulators prepare water diverters for stepped up reporting rules; Farms in California turn to new methods to conserve water during worst drought on record; Persistent drought kills millions of trees; State seeks way to solve big biomass problem; AB 1755 clears Senate; returns to Assembly for concurrence; California’s ocean waters due for a cooling trend after period of damaging heat, scientists say; Column: A dangerous confluence on the California coast: beach erosion and sea level rise; Groundwater declines seen, even in wet climates, say studies; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says:  “A prominent Sacramento-area economist says Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.5 billion plan to overhaul the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta doesn’t make financial sense, with costs far outweighing the benefits.  Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific, who has been a persistent critic of Brown’s plan to build a pair of massive tunnels beneath the Delta, said the project would likely deliver just 23 cents worth of economic benefit for every $1 spent.  Even under the most optimistic scenario, the tunnels, known as California WaterFix, would generate just 39 cents worth of benefit, Michael wrote in a 24-page report released early Wednesday.  “The results clearly show that the WaterFix is not economically justified,” wrote Michael, director of UOP’s Center for Business and Policy Research. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says

Report: Delta tunnels fail financially:  “The costs of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels vastly outweigh the benefits of building them, according to an analysis released Wednesday by University of the Pacific economist Jeff Michael.  “I don’t think there’s a project that’s economically feasible here. And it’s not close,” said Michael, director of the university’s Center for Business and Policy Research.  Michael has long been critical of the $15 billion tunnels. His latest review finds 23 cents of benefits for every dollar that would be spent — or, under a more optimistic scenario, 39 cents of benefits per dollar spent. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Report: Delta tunnels fail financially

Backers drop plan to allow Delta anglers to keep more striped bass:  “The state Fish and Game Commission on Thursday will no longer consider a controversial proposal to allow anglers to catch and keep more nonnative Delta bass.  On Tuesday, backers pulled a petition that sought to increase the size and daily bag limits for nonnative striped and black bass in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Michael Boccadoro, a spokesman for the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, said supporters were frustrated that they would only be allowed 10 minutes at Thursday’s meeting to make their case to the commissioners.  Boccadoro’s group represents Kern County farming interests who for years have blamed the nonnative bass for eating endangered Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Backers drop plan to allow Delta anglers to keep more striped bass

Striped bass off the hook for now: Delta water exporters late Tuesday withdrew their request to weaken protections for striped bass, a popular sport fish in the estuary.  No immediate explanation was given. The California Fish and Game Commission had been set to consider the request on Thursday. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Striped bass off the hook for now

Environmentalists oppose increasing bass fishing limits:A push to reduce the population of the non-native bass in the Delta to protect endangered fish is being opposed by a group that wants to save salmon.  The Golden Gate Salmon Association plans to argue against a petition to increase the daily bag limit for bass fishing in the Delta and reducing the fish size limit when it is presented to the Department of Fish and Game Commission Thursday during a meeting at the Lake Natoma Inn Hotel & Conference Center in Folsom.  … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Environmentalists oppose increasing bass fishing limits

Regulators prepare water diverters for stepped up reporting rules:  “Hundreds of farmers and others flocked to a state water board “information fair” on Aug. 22 to get answers on how stepped-up reporting requirements for water diversions will affect their farms and ranches.  Water-rights officials told an overflow audience in a meeting room at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters that state regulators will take their operations’ unique characteristics into account when applying the rules.  The goal, enforcement section chief Kathy Mrowka said, is to gather “accurate information” about how much water is being used around the state amid a drought that is in its fifth year. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Regulators prepare water diverters for stepped up reporting rules

How to get free recycled water in California: When the drought hit hard in 2014, Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), a water and wastewater utility, learned that it would receive only 5 percent of its typical water allocation for the 2014 water year. This meant that outdoor irrigation had to be severely curtailed in DSRSD’s service area and customers would likely need to let their lawns die.  DSRSD operations manager Dan Gallagher came home and said to his wife “we might not be able to water the yard.” Rosalie Gallagher turned to her husband and said, “Honey, you have to do something, you have all this recycled water, we should use it to water the lawn.” That conversation led to an idea for a new recycled water program in California that has saved more than 100 million gallons (375 million liters) of drinking water so far. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How to get free recycled water in California

Farms in California turn to new methods to conserve water during worst drought on record:  “California remains in the midst of its worst drought on record. As the  crisis persists, attempts to improve resource management are hampered by what some researchers say is an inadequate inventory of the state’s water resources. According to a recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California, the state lags behind its western counterparts in accounting for its surface and groundwater supplies as a single resource.  Lacking a unified water inventory  is one of what the report calls  “serious gaps” in how the state measures what water it does have.  … But the most conservative estimates say agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of water use leading to calls for farms to use water more efficiently. FSRN’s Lena Nozizwe reports on an urban farm outside Long Beach which is trying to set an example. … ”  Read more from Free Speech Radio News here:  Farms in California turn to new methods to conserve water during worst drought on record

Persistent drought kills millions of trees:  “Wildfires spreading across this state are bigger and stronger than normal thanks to five years of drought. The temperatures are higher. The area is drier, and many trees are dead. Biologists say this drought has killed millions of trees. NPR’s Christopher Joyce is here in California with a team of tree-climbing scientists who are assessing the damage. I talked to him earlier today.  So you’re in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. That’s in the Sierra Nevada mountains. And you are scientists who are climbing giant sequoia trees. What’s that been like? … ”  Read more from NPR here:  Persistent drought kills millions of trees

State seeks way to solve big biomass problem:  “Across California, tens of millions of trees are dead, intense wildfires burn, and orchard and forest waste piles up, as more plants that convert wood waste into electricity close due to expiring contracts with utility companies.  “Nothing has been done to adjust the utility rates at the California Public Utilities Commission to account for the value that biomass has; they are not keeping track of all of the avoided pollution that it affords,” said Allan Krauter, senior administrative analyst for Kern County. “Unless and until the state is willing to make up the difference between the market price and the break-even price, they are going to continue to have a big biomass problem.”   … ” Read more from Ag Alert here:  State seeks way to solve big biomass problem

AB 1755 clears Senate; returns to Assembly for concurrence:  “Legislation aimed at streamlining access to water transfer information cleared the Senate on a 39-0 vote Monday and now goes to the Assembly for concurrence.  ACWA-supported AB 1755, the Open and Transparent Data Act authored by Assembly Member Bill Dodd (D-Napa), would require the California Department of Water Resources to create a statewide integrated water data platform that would bring together existing water and ecological information from multiple databases and provide data on completed water transfers and exchanges. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  AB 1755 clears Senate; returns to Assembly for concurrence

Lawmakers pass drought bill to help homeowners drill deeper wells:  “A drought relief bill providing $15 million in loans and grants to homeowners to deepen dry wells passed the Assembly unanimously, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, said Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Lawmakers pass drought bill to help homeowners drill deeper wells

California’s ocean waters due for a cooling trend after period of damaging heat, scientists say: As a series of marine heat waves linked to climate change has thrown ocean ecosystems out of whack from Australia to the coast of California, a cooling trend called La Niña has given scientists hope that water temperatures could come back into balance.  But so far, the cooling weather pattern — predicted to follow as a result of last winter’s El Niño — remains squeezed by warmer ocean temperatures along a narrow stretch of the Earth’s equator. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  California’s oceans due for a cooling trend after damaging heat, scientists say

Column: A dangerous confluence on the California coast: beach erosion and sea level rise:  Steve Lopez writes, “Bob Guza has the best job in California.  That’s just my opinion, but take a look at this deal:  At 68, his work clothes are a ball cap, shorts and flip-flops. He sets his own hours and gets paid to hang out on the beach all day with his toys, which include a sand buggy, a jet ski and a drone. Guza retired in 2012, but after a month off, the professor emeritus couldn’t think of anything better to do with his time, so he went back to work.  ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  A dangerous confluence on the California coast: beach erosion and sea level rise

Groundwater declines seen, even in wet climates, say studies:  “Water availability in the U.S. characterized by four years of drought in the West and more rainfall in the East reflects the nation’s geographic extremes from deserts and mountains to low-lying almost tropical swamplands. Even where water seems abundant, increasing demand is stressing the ability to re-charge groundwater supplies everywhere.  From all appearances, the West Coast in 2015 was thirsting for more water with its parched lands and dried up lakes and rivers, while most of the Southeast was wetter than average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Regardless of how much rainfall the different regions received, the reality is that groundwater, held in vast aquifers—sponge-like porous rocks or gravel and sand-filled underground reservoirs—is declining on both coasts. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg BNA here:  Groundwater declines seen, even in wet climates, say studies

In commentary today …

California needs to unite for more water storage, says John Kingsbury:  He writes, “As most of California recovers from this historic drought, one thing we can count on is that history will repeat itself.  Californians can take full credit for willingly sacrificing landscape and adjusting habits to save water supply for another year. Toilets have been replaced, lawns have been converted to plastic, leaks have been fixed, prime agricultural land has been fallowed, and we have learned to be more efficient with our water supply. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  California needs to unite for more water storage, says John Kingsbury

In regional news and commentary today …

Spring-run salmon getting new route around waterfall:  “As you grunt up the path in the depths of Deer Creek Canyon, the incongruous sound of a large piece of gasoline-driven machinery becomes audible over the rhythmic rumbling of the creek.  The site is miles from the nearest paved road and a pretty stiff hike from the nearest road of any kind. But as you walk on, the sight of a blue excavator comes into view, drilling into a rocky terrace beside the creek. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Spring-run salmon getting new route around waterfall

Kirkwood Ski Resort faces large fine over alleged wetlands contamination:  “The largest mountain resort company in the country is in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act, according to a California state agency. Now, Kirkwood resort staff is in the process of cleaning up a mess made over the winter.  According to public documents from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, Kirkwood Ski Resort, which is owned by Vail Management Company, is being investigated for contaminating sensitive wetlands and the Kirkwood creek. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Kirkwood Ski Resort faces large fine over alleged wetlands contamination

Trout decline on the Stanislaus River raises concerns:  “Ill-timed releases from New Melones Reservoir led to a 75 percent drop in rainbow trout on the lower Stanislaus River last year, according to two water purveyors that could have used some of the supply.  The Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts contend that the water was too warm for the fish because of the much-reduced level of the reservoir. They also claim that large releases in general do little good for the trout or chinook salmon.  A spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages New Melones, said the low level was the result of a severe drought and the competing demands on the reservoir. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Trout decline on the Stanislaus River raises concerns

Avoiding the fish fry: SSJID, OID use science to help fish as state, federal research is lacking:Keeping reliable water flowing through Manteca and Lathrop household taps and irrigating Ripon almond orchards could come down one day to how well rainbow trout are doing in the Stanislaus River.  It is why South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District have been spending $1 million on an annual basis to secure expertise of FISHIO scientists, biologists, and technicians to monitor fish and river conditions as well as to work toward creating more spawning habitats.  The goal is not only to be good stewards of the environment but to avoid any federal intervention for the fish protected under the Endangered Species Act. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Avoiding the fish fry: SSJID, OID use science to help fish as state, federal research is lacking

Kings County groundwater agency nears formation to guard against overdrafts: A bill that would create a groundwater management agency for the Kings River basin in Fresno and Tulare counties has been approved by the Legislature and awaits signing by Gov. Jerry Brown.  The bill was introduced by state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford. Co-sponsors were state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, and Assemblymen Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, and Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield.  “The ongoing drought has created unprecedented drops in our Valley’s water table and this is a proactive step in ensuring that future generations will have reliable groundwater,” Mathis said. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Kings County groundwater agency nears formation to guard against overdrafts

Water woes in NE Fresno could be the ‘canary in the coal mine’: The problem with the water in some homes in northeast Fresno might seem isolated but it could actually be the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ of problems to come for the rest of the valley or perhaps the entire state.  That’s the assessment of experts and state officials who are trying to get a handle on the discolored or lead contaminated water.  Virginia Tech University researcher Marc Edwards came to national fame as one of the lead investigators who uncovered the extreme lead contamination in Flint, Michigan.  Now, he is on the case in Fresno. ... ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  Water woes in NE Fresno could be the ‘canary in the coal mine’

Geysers in a ghost town: Why it’s so hard for one city to save water: One might expect Beverly Hills or Palm Springs to top the list of cities that haven’t done a good job conserving water during the drought. Places with big green lawns and lots of landscaping. But no – that distinction goes to a small, sparsely-populated city in the high desert called California City.  In May – the last month cities and water agencies were required to meet mandatory state water conservation targets – California City missed its goal by 17 percent, more than anyone else.  To understand why California City has such a hard time saving water in the present, you have to understand its past … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Geysers in a ghost town: Why it’s so hard for one city to save water

Weather update …

California wildfires rage amidst remarkably inactive summer monsoon: Just how warm this summer has felt in California depends largely upon who you ask. Residents of immediate coastal Northern California–including most of the Bay Area–have benefited from nature’s air conditioning so far this season.  Relatively cool ocean temperatures just offshore (a product of increased coastal upwelling this year) have resulted in a robust marine layer, and the traditional “June Gloom” associated with California’s marine stratus has persisted into August in some spots. ... ” Read more the Weather Blog here:  California wildfires rage amidst remarkably inactive summer monsoon

And lastly …

Solar-powered pipe desalinates 1.5 million gallons of water for California:  “The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water need not blight the landscape. The Pipe is one example of how producing energy can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. One of the finalists of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the design deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean.” Check out the slideshow here: Solar-powered pipe desalinates 1.5 million gallons of water for California

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: