DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Timber company tells California town, go find your own water; Happy Droughtiversary, California!; Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers; and more, plus early season weather system moves through NorCal

The American River at Folsom

In California water news this weekend, Timber company tells California town, go find your own water; One word for last water year? Dry; Happy Droughtiversary, California!; Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers; California soon to be largest market for water reuse in the country; Infection outbreak shines light on water risks at dental offices; Almonds are still sucking up California’s water; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Timber company tells California town, go find your own water: The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.  To the residents of Weed, which sits in the foothills of Mount Shasta, a snow-capped dormant volcano, the spring water is a blessing during a time of severe and prolonged drought.  To the lumber company that owns the land where the spring is, the water is a business opportunity. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Timber company tells California town, go find your own water

One word for last water year? Dry:  “There were high hopes going into water year 2016.  To hear some forecasters and scientists tell it, El Niño was coming to save California. With a little luck and a lot of rain, the drought might finally recede in its fifth year — or at least loosen its grip on the state.  The weather phenomenon did show up, fueling some storms in Northern California. But it fell far short of the lofty expectations.  On Friday, water year 2016 ended with a whimper. … ” Read more from the LA Times here:  One word for last water year? Dry

Happy Droughtiversary, California! Each October 1st, California’s hydrologically-minded mark the beginning of a new water year. Don’t expect a party. Maybe bet on a hangover: The state’s reservoirs are underfilled, its mountains were undersnowed, and its over-tapped aquifers are sporting a record number of new wells. For auld lang syne, my dear, let’s talk water.  The new water year doesn’t mark anything specific. No historic flood, no important legislation, no alignment of the Sun, planets, or Moon. Nope, October 1st is just a day in the vague trough separating California’s wet and dry seasons. … ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here:  Happy Droughtiversary, California!

Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers: Farmers getting irrigation water from the Friant-Kern Canal received good news last week: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that should result in more water in the canal.  Or as Dan Vink, executive director of the South Valley Water Association, put it, farmers “might have the opportunity” to get more water out of the canal. Maybe not a whole lot of water in the grand scheme of California water, but enough to make a difference for some farms.  The AB 935 water projects bill by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, authorizes $7 million in state money to build pumps to move water north to about Terra Bella via reverse flow pump-back facilities still to be built. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers

California soon to be largest market for water reuse in the country:  “Led by California and Florida, water reuse (the process of recycling wastewater) is taking off in states facing drought and scarcity. Municipal wastewater reuse capacity is expected to increase 58% from 2016 through 2026, according to new market forecasts from Bluefield Research — based on a database of 607 currently planned reuse projects. CAPEX investment in reuse is expected to total US $11 billion between 2016 and 2026. “Water scarcity continues to be the primary driver for water reuse implementation — the scaling roster of projects demonstrated in our semi-annual review highlights wider adoption by utilities going forward,” according to Erin Bonney Casey, Senior Analyst for Bluefield Research. ... ”  Read more from Water Online here:  California soon to be largest market for water reuse in the country

Infection outbreak shines light on water risks at dental offices:  “When people go to the dentist, they generally expect to leave in better health than when they walked in.  But the water dentists use to rinse teeth sometimes carries infectious bacteria.  The Orange County Health Care Agency says that nearly two dozen children who received so-called baby root canals, or pulpotomies, are thought to have developed dangerous bacterial infections. Dentists perform pulpotomies to remove infected pulp inside a baby tooth so the rest of the tooth can be spared. … ” Read more from KCET here:  Infection outbreak shines light on water risks at dental offices

Almonds are still sucking up California’s water: Two new data points on the ongoing California drought and its impact on the state’s booming and thirsty farms: In California’s agriculture-rich, water-poor San Joaquin Valley, H2O from the state’s big irrigation projects has been especially scarce in recent years. As a result, farmers have had to rely heavily on water pumped from underground aquifers—and they’ve extracted so much of it that since 2013, land has been sinking in large swaths of the region, fouling up canals, bridges, roads, and other vital infrastructure and racking up billions of dollars in damage. ... ”  Read more from Mother Jones here:  Almonds are still sucking up California’s water

In commentary this weekend …

Learn from history: Fight to keep your water, says Lance W. Johnson:  He writes, “At an important meeting last week in Modesto, The Bee reported, Francisco Canela, a member of the Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee, asked one of the state’s top water regulators a great question: “Where’s the end game for this community? That’s our concern. We’re giving more water and more water, and we aren’t getting anything back.”  The short answer to Canela’s question is that the community will never get back any water or anything else.  The history, since 1992, of ever-declining water supplies to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley provides the proof. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Learn from history: Fight to keep your water

Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?  Mike Dunbar writes,Here, on the front lines of the state’s recently declared water war, we have more questions than ammunition.  Is the State Water Resources Control Board serious? Is the water board even in charge? Was Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for “voluntary agreements,” instead of regulatory demands, a suggestion or an order? Who will go extinct first – salmon or farmers?  OK, that’s a rhetorical question; salmon have a huge head start. But the race isn’t over. To recap ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?

Farm beat: We have a water shortage, but no shortage of water issues:  John Holland writes, “The good news: We might get some rain Sunday.  The bad news: We’ve had five straight years of drought, as confirmed by annual measurements that end each Sept. 30.  The even worse news: Our region’s long-term water outlook remains as uncertain as ever because of conflicts over our rivers. I would say “as mired as ever,” but you need water for that.  I covered a meeting Wednesday on the state’s proposal to boost flows in the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. It was mostly farmers and their allies, worried that the plan would cut deeply into ag sales and put many people out of work. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Farm beat: We have a water shortage, but no shortage of water issues

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Yuba County: Water rights battle: Agency versus irrigation district: Water wars are nothing new in California. And they’re certainly not a thing of the past in Yuba County.  Two local entities are locked in two legal disputes over water rights — who has seniority rights, what they can do with the rights and where resulting revenue flows. The Yuba County Water Agency and the Cordua Irrigation District are engaged in lawsuits — one from 2015 and one from this year — over water transfers. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Yuba County: Water rights battle: Agency versus irrigation district Part 2 here:  Water Wars: YCWA vs Cordua Irrigation

Turlock water leaders: State water board proposal is an ‘insult to our intelligence’:  “Tensions were high at the Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday morning as local water representatives clashed with State Water Resources Control Board officials during a discussion on the latter’s proposal to cut water use for the benefit of fish and wildlife.  “Wednesday’s meeting was disappointing. The State Water Board continues its narrative that the only thing fish need is more water, and that water must come from our region, because their science says so,” said Turlock Irrigation District spokesman Herb Smart. “The best available, most recent, most focused, most inclusive Tuolumne River science shows a quite different perspective about what is best for the River and the fish in it. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock water leaders: State water board proposal is an ‘insult to our intelligence’

Los Angeles: Construction begins on recycled water project: Ground was broken Sept. 22 to formally mark the beginning of construction on a high-tech $110 million treatment plant designed to purify recycled wastewater and reduce local dependence on imported water.  Officials of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California were joined by state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Downey, for ceremonies on the five-acre site top build the district’s Groundwater Reliability Improvement Project.  The project is expected to be completed in 2018. … ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Wave here:  Construction begins on recycled water project

Catalina Island surrounded by water yet hammered by drought:  “The graves of veterans are surrounded by dried-out brown grass. Hoteliers ship dirty linens across the ocean on a barge to be washed. And, behind the dining room of M Restaurant, owner Kathleen Vojkovich-Bombard and her engineer husband have rigged a PVC pipe to a 65-gallon drum that stores a supply of water, enabling her employees to mop the floors and keep outdoor plants alive.  As water restrictions eased for the rest of California during the fifth year of drought, Vojkovich-Bombard and other Avalon residents are having to reduce water use by at least 40 percent or face hundreds of dollars in penalties. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here:  Catalina Island surrounded by water yet hammered by drought

Precipitation watch …

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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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where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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3 Responses

  1. Flowing waters

    The New York Times article on the issue of water rights and water privatization in the small town of Weed CA is important for the state, the country, the world. Water privatization is the hottest and most under investigated issue of our times. It is urgent that investigative journalists begin to expose the very significant investments of Calpers and other public employee retirement systems in water bottling and water privatization. Time for a boycott of corporations like Nestle, Crystal Geyser/ Otsuka and other companies bottling at the source; time to movement to divest.

    A five year drought and significant snow drought in California should be a wake up call. The TransPacific Partnership TPP is on the horizon. These foreign corporations could literally deplete our aquifers with no local, regional, state or federal environmental constraints in the name of profit and greed. Weed is a small town recovering from a devastating fire. Roseburg Forest Products and Crystal Geyser Roxanne claim to be good corporate citizens. The facts reveal a very different story. There are virtually no hydrogeological studies in this volcanic area of source for the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers. There are serious implications of unlimited depletion of spring and groundwater sources in the Mount Shasta area for the residential wells, the small towns and the downstream users. Time to take this to the courts. Who will step up to defend the City of Weed? There are no guarantees about the quantity or quality of water from new wells if the city is forced to drill. The highest and best use of pure gravity fed untreated spring water is for domestic and municipal use~ not for production of plastic disposable bottles to be sent to Japan and throughout the nation.

  2. James P. Gubetta

    Where is our Elected and our appointed water board!! IN THE TANK The State of California claims they are the owners of all the water. WHERE ARE YOU!

    • Flowing waters

      That is the multi million dollar question!!! Two former mayors, current Mayor Ken Palfini and a former County Supervisor went to the water board in March~merely asking for a 1 month delay before they formally transferred the neighboring corporation JH Baxter’s (also a Superfund site) water rights to Roseburg. They just wanted time to seek legal counsel. The board failed in their duty to uphold the 1932 Decree and another 0.9 cubic feet/ second of water was lost to the City of Weed. Roseburg sued for the water~it should have gone to Superior Court. No one is minding the store in Siskiyou County.


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