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DAILY DIGEST: Will California see a wet winter? Forecasters call it a ‘crapshoot; Wetland protections in transition; Meeting on river flows gets tense at times; That sinking feeling in Colusa County; Porterville water line work begins; and more …

In California water news today,Will California see a wet winter? Forecasters call it a ‘crapshoot; Wetland protections in transition; Meeting on river flows gets tense at times; Valley readies for water fight; In the midst of drought, California farmers used more water for almonds; and more …
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On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council will meet today beginning at 9am.  Agenda items include a briefing on the Delta smelt resilience strategy, a public hearing on single year transfers, and an update on the Delta Levee Investment Strategy.  Click here tor the agendaClick here for the webcast.
  • Webinar today: DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products Program: Asking the Question from 12pm to 12:30 pm: This webinar will briefly describe the Safer Consumer Products program’s process, the impacts of listing a product/chemical combination, and how this program may impact California’s water quality.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Will California see a wet winter? Forecasters call it a ‘crapshoot’:Last year at this time, weather forecasters had a pretty good idea of what was in store as California headed into the rainy season. The Pacific Ocean surface was warming, and they were predicting one of the strongest El Niño weather patterns in recorded history.  El Niño ended up making an appearance, but it wasn’t the series of gully washers for which some had hoped. This year, the forecast is even less certain.  “It really is a crapshoot,” said Michelle Mead, a meteorologist with the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service. “We don’t know what exactly we’re going to get, and it’s going to be storm-by-storm dependent.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Will California see a wet winter? Forecasters call it a ‘crapshoot’

Wetland protections in transition:  “Environmentalists are heading warily into the fall following two regulatory developments that they fear may cramp efforts to protect California’s wetlands. In June the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft document overhauling wetlands protection procedures but leaving open the question of exactly which wetlands are eligible for protection. In the same month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that landowners may mount court challenges to U.S. EPA or Corps of Engineers jurisdictional determinations before a permit is issued, potentially generating a torrent of wetlands-related litigation.  … ”  Read more from Estuary Magazine here:  Wetland protections in transition

Meeting on river flows gets tense at times:  “Two state officials said Wednesday they are open to alternatives to a proposed boost in river flows, but their Modesto audience remained skeptical.  The farmer-heavy crowd said it has heard such promises before regarding the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers, only to see the state ignore their concerns.  “There’s nothing,” Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow said. “It’s just on deaf ears.”  The county’s Water Advisory Committee discussed the latest flow proposal from the State Water Resources Control Board. It calls for increasing the rivers to 40 percent of their pre-dam levels from February through June each year, but actual flows could be 30 to 50 percent depending on conditions at the time. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Meeting on river flows gets tense at times

Valley readies for water fight:  “The Ceres City Council weighed in Monday on the forthcoming battle over surface water by passing a resolution dead-set against a proposed Bay-Delta Plan which would take more water from area reservoirs and flush it down the river and bypassing farms.  A coalition of Valley cities, counties, water agencies and farming interests are gearing up for the fight against the state Water Resources Control Board.  Recently the state agency released what is called a revised Draft Substitute Environmental Document (SED) in support of Phase 1 of its Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The document suggests that there would be minor impacts if the unimpaired flows of three rivers – the Stanislaus, the Tuolumne and the Merced – step up from 17 percent to 40 percent between Feb. 1 and June 30 of each year, which is peak irrigation season. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here:  Valley readies for water fight

In the midst of drought, California farmers used more water for almonds: Watson, an assistant professor of geosciences at Eastern Kentucky University, is an expert in remote sensing. She uses satellite images to study agriculture, specifically the interactions between honeybees and industrial agriculture. At the beginning of this year she started a project with one of her graduate students, Larissa Watkins, looking at aerial photos of California almond farms. The goal was to predict how the rapid increase in almond orchards would affect demand for honeybee pollination.  But when they started processing satellite photos of California’s agricultural region taken between 2007-2014, they noticed a surprising trend. … ”  Read more from Forbes Magazine here:  In the midst of drought, California farmers used more water for almonds

In commentary today …

Merced Sun-Star is not impressed with the state’s explanation:  They write, “There was nothing ambiguous in what representatives of the State Water Resources Control Board heard Wednesday morning:  “We definitely want to deliver a message,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow. “We want to call BS. This is an insult to our intelligence.”  Withrow was speaking to Les Grober, a high-ranking state water board staffer who attended a packed meeting of the Stanislaus Water Advisory Committee in downtown Modesto. And those weren’t the angriest or loudest words Grober and two other board staffers heard. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Not impressed with the state’s explanation

In regional news and commentary today …

Colusa County: That sinking feeling: Subsidence a growing concern:While the ground in Arbuckle and other parts of Colusa County isn’t necessarily sinking, there are areas of subsidence raising concerns for some local experts.  Since 2008, the most impacted area in the county — in Arbuckle along Interstate 5 — has dropped 2.08 feet. The rest of Arbuckle has experienced anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of subsidence. Around the city of Colusa, there has been about 2 to 4 inches of change over the past eight years.  “Subsidence is not a good thing,” said Roy Hull, engineering geologist for the Department of Water Resources. “It can cause damage to roads, to railroads, to buildings, buried utilities, to wells and to conveyance systems.” … ”  Read more from the Colusa Sun Herald here:  That sinking feeling: Subsidence a growing concern

Surface water to start flowing throughout Davis:  “The Woodland-Davis Surface Water Project is ahead of schedule, city officials announce, and by mid-October, all Davis residents should be receiving Sacramento River water to their taps.  In 2015, the city of Davis began construction of an 8-mile water pipeline connecting the city’s water system to the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency’s system. The joint pipeline system transports water from the Sacramento River to a regional water treatment plant in Woodland and delivers the treated water to residents and businesses in Davis, Woodland and UC Davis. … ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Surface water to start flowing throughout Davis

Porterville water line work begins:  “The long-awaited project to hook up homes in East Porterville and a few blocks in the Vandalia area of the city to the city’s water system has begun.  Robert Trang, project manager of the massive undertaking, said Ames Construction, the contractor for Phase 1, has begun work in the Vandalia area and will soon begin installing water lines in East Porterville as well.  Phase 1B-E, which follows Phase 1A, is to hook up to the city’s water system residents whose wells have gone dry. More than 500 residences and businesses in East Porterville saw their domestic water wells go dry during the drought, with some families enduring without water for more than three years.  … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Water line work begins

Pipeline or bust:  Legislature allocates $10 million to connect San Antonio and Nacimiento lakes, but way more is needed: The crusty sand and pebbles that ring around the reservoirs of Lake San Antonio and Lake Nacimiento don’t really paint the picture of a future water surplus, but it could happen. And if it does, Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) is pushing two counties to build something that could take advantage of it.  The California Legislature recently approved Senate Bill 831, a Monning-authored piece of legislation that grants $10 million for construction of a pipeline—or “interlake tunnel”—between Lake Nacimiento in San Luis Obispo County and Lake San Antonio in Monterey County. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill on Sept. 13. ... ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Pipeline or bust:  Legislature allocates $10 million to connect San Antonio and Nacimiento lakes, but way more is needed

Paso Robles wastewater fines to pay for groundwater studies:  “Years of wastewater pollution violations have cost the city of Paso Robles nearly $500,000, but more than half of that fine will go toward an initiative to research management strategies for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.  The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board slapped Paso Robles with the penalty on Aug. 24, pointing to nearly three years of pollution into the Salinas River stemming from poorly treated wastewater.  Between 2013 and 2016, Paso’s antiquated and now-retired wastewater treatment plant became “overloaded with waste,” in part due to residents’ drastic water conservation efforts amid the drought. The plant stopped being able to effectively eliminate bacteria and organic matter, according to wastewater manager Matt Thompson. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Paso Robles wastewater fines to pay for groundwater studies

San Diego: State official says Bonita Dam is unsafe; nearby residents in jeopardy:  “The Sweetwater Dam in Bonita is unsafe and people living downstream are in jeopardy.  That’s according to the Director of California’s Division of Safety of Dams who flew down to San Diego Wednesday from Sacramento to address the Sweetwater Authority Board of Directors, which recently voted to not fund repairs to the dam.  “The problem is the spillway, which actually safely passes the flow, is not big enough,” said David Gutierrez, director of the division.  The dam was built in 1888 and flooded over in 1916.  Eight people were killed.  … ”  Read more from News 10 here:  State official says Bonita Dam is unsafe; nearby residents in jeopardy

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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