Daily Digest: Modesto-area lawmakers blast river flow proposal; How one CA city is reducing its dependence on imported water; Inside a CA water agency manager’s tough job; NorCal towns in danger of running out of water 3rd year in a row; and more …

In California water news today, Modesto-area lawmakers blast river flow proposal; Farmers consider impacts of river plan; Valley lawmakers deliver petitions opposing State Water Board proposal; How one California city is reducing its dependence on imported water; Will we have enough? Inside California water agency manager's tough job;Drinking water of some Californians exceeds ‘Erin Brockovich' chemical; Northern California towns in danger of running out of water 3rd year in a row; Santa Barbara City Council to consider ban on lawn watering; and more …

In the news today …

Modesto-area lawmakers blast river flow proposal:Two lawmakers from the Modesto area urged a state board on Tuesday to rethink a plan for greatly increasing river flows.  The doubling of reservoir releases into the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers would devastate the region’s already wobbly economy, Assembly members Kristin Olsen and Adam Gray told the State Water Resources Control Board.  They asked for more time to study last week’s updated proposal, which aims to help salmon and other native fish and improve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  “We have 60 days to review a 2,000-page document that has incredible impact,” said Gray, D-Merced. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Modesto-area lawmakers blast river flow proposal

Farmers consider impacts of river plan: Affected irrigation districts, farmers and others have started poring over thousands of pages of documents that detail a state water board proposal to reserve more water for fish in the lower San Joaquin River watershed.  The State Water Resources Control Board released a revised plan last week that proposes to leave more water in the main tributaries to the San Joaquin—the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers—during periods it considers key for “at-risk native fish species.” The proposal from board staff recommends that between 30 percent and 50 percent of the rivers' “unimpaired flow” be dedicated to fish, compared to an average of 20 percent under current conditions. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Farmers consider impacts of river plan

Valley lawmakers deliver petitions opposing State Water Board proposal:  “Merced democratic Assembly member Adam C. Gray and Riverbank Republican Kristin Olsen delivered more than 3,100 petitions to the State Water Board on Tuesday.  The petitions oppose the board’s plan to divert at least 40 percent of the water flowing down the Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne rivers into the Delta. That water is currently used for drinking and farm irrigation in Merced and Stanislaus counties. … ”  Read more from the Central Valley Business Journal here:  Valley lawmakers deliver petitions opposing State Water Board proposal

How one California city is reducing its dependence on imported water:  “One of the few upsides to California’s drought is that it has helped reduce pollution at some urban beaches, because less precipitation has meant less runoff from city streets and other paved surfaces. This in turn means less pollution draining into streams and bays.  Urban runoff is the number one source of pollution in places like Santa Monica Bay in Southern California. But the city is not relying on drought to help stop the problem. Instead it has taken the lead in implementing solutions, like “green streets” and runoff recycling to catch urban runoff before it hits the bay.  Meeting water quality standards is one of the drivers for the city’s actions, but in some cases, the harnessed runoff is also being used to supplement nonpotable water sources, which means Santa Monica has to rely less on imported water to meet its needs. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How one California city is reducing its dependence on imported water

Will we have enough? Inside California water agency manager's tough job:  “What if it were your job to make sure there’s enough water for everyone in your city to drink – in the middle of the worst drought in 500 years? That’s the job description for hundreds of water managers in California.  While balancing supply and demand is always difficult in drought, the past year and half have been especially challenging as the state of California has whiplashed back and forth on mandatory water conservation. The question for everyone in water policy right now is: In a state where water scarcity is the new normal, but not every year is a severe drought, how much water should we be saving? … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Will we have enough? Inside California water agency manager’s tough job

Drinking water of some Californians exceeds ‘Erin Brockovich' chemical:  “When Erin Brockovich went after PG&E for poisoning groundwater in the desert town of Hinkley, California — a campaign that later became a film starring Julia Roberts — the toxic chemical was a heavy metal called hexavalent chromium.  Also known as chromium 6, the chemical is listed under California’s Prop 65 as causing cancer, developmental harm and reproductive harm in both men and women.  A new report out today finds Hinkley isn’t the only California city with chromium 6 contamination. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Drinking water of some Californians exceeds ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical

In commentary today …

Real world efforts hold hope for salmon, farmers:  “It's longstanding environmental orthodoxy: More water equals more fish. It drives water policy, up to and including the latest proposal by the State Water Resources Control Board to redirect more water from the lower San Joaquin River, as Ag Alert® reports this week.  But there's a quiet challenge to that orthodoxy that shows another path is not only believed to be possible—it's actually happening!  Forward-thinking, new-generation conservationists are cracking the code and changing the world. And that's potentially great news for farmers. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Real world efforts hold hope for salmon, farmers

In regional news and commentary today …

Northern California towns in danger of running out of water 3rd year in a row:  “For the third year in a row, some communities in northern California may run out of water due to the extreme drought conditions gripping the state.  The communities at risk are small towns located in the foothills of the Klamath Mountain and Coastal Mountain ranges where people rely heavily on water from creeks and streams fed by melting snowpack, rather than larger rivers and water reservoirs.  “I'm hearing that any day now they're going to run out of water,” said Reese Crenshaw. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here:  Northern California towns in danger of running out of water 3rd year in a row

Column: Yolo County can draw Clear Lake down to 1 foot:  “As we move into the fall months a number of people are curious about how far down Yolo County can draw Clear Lake. The lake level is currently at 1.88 feet on the Rumsey Gauge. Clear Lake historically reaches its lowest level during the months of October and November.  Yolo County can take the lake level down to 1 foot on the Rumsey Gauge if it so chooses. The Rumsey Gauge is a measurement of the lake level that was established back in 1872 when Capt. Rumsey created a gauge to measure the various lake levels. He came up with a standard that is still used today. … ”  Read more from the Lake Record-Bee here:  Yolo County can draw Clear Lake down to 1 foot

South Valley water coalitions to study nitrate leaching:  “The Kings River Water Quality Coalition along with several other South Valley water quality coalitions received a $2 million grant from the federal government to address nitrate leaching from irrigated agriculture.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will be used to launch a program to quantify and minimize the nitrate leaching from farming operations in the southern San Joaquin Valley, including portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.  The funding that came from the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grant program will be implemented over 1.8 million acres of irrigated agriculture from Fresno to Kern counties. The goal of the program is to increase the use of conservation practices to protect water quality. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  South Valley water coalitions to study nitrate leaching

Santa Barbara City Council to consider ban on lawn watering:  “With California’s drought in its fifth year and Lake Cachuma all but reduced to a proverbial “gob of spit,” the Santa Barbara City Council is finally about to consider whether or not to impose an outright ban on lawn watering. Lake Cachuma is nearly depleted, and the start-up date for the new and improved desal plant has been delayed. City water conservation planners estimate a lawn-watering ban could save 450-1,250 acre-feet a year. This Thursday the water commission will discuss how such a prohibition might be structured, and who would be exempt. Then, on Tuesday, the matter will go before the council, but for discussion only, not action. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  Santa Barbara City Council to consider ban on lawn watering

The suspect list narrows: Who is the ‘Wet prince of Bel Air'?  “Who's the homeowner who managed to use 11.8-million gallons of water in a single year? The city isn't naming names, but the Center for Investigative Reporting has narrowed down the list to seven likely suspects.  The California-based nonprofit news organization broke the story of the “Wet Prince of Bel Air” in October 2015. On Monday, the center released a follow-up story naming seven residents who may be the culprit — “Bel-Air’s wet princes and princesses.”  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The suspect list narrows: Who is the ‘Wet prince of Bel Air’?

In response to drought, San Bernardino County Government Center gets new landscaping: The grounds surrounding the San Bernardino County Government Center are getting new, drought-tolerant landscaping as a result of the prolonged drought.  The $1.75 million project kicked off Aug. 5 and is scheduled for completion Dec. 31. Existing grass, shrubbery and trees will be replaced by drought-tolerant landscaping. New walkways and seating areas also will be built, according to an Aug. 2 memo to county employees by project manager Ryan Young. ... ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  In response to drought, San Bernardino County Government Center gets new landscaping

Colorado River:  It takes a river: Each spring, a group of UC Davis student scientists and their professors take a whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon to study a river that sustains 40 million people. Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton traveled with them.  “I’m in a raft on the Colorado River, about to hit the fastest, steepest and most treacherous rapid in the Grand Canyon — Lava Falls. Here, the river drops 27 feet in a span of several hundred feet. The raft’s direction or momentum is not up to me. My fate is in someone else’s hands, someone far more experienced than me. Ann Willis, a researcher at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, guides the boat with precision.  “You hanging on?” Ann asks as we approach the monster and hear the screams from rafters in front of us. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  It takes a river  See also Havasu slideshow, Deer Creek slideshow

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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