DAILY DIGEST: California eyes more Sacramento River water for fish; less water for cities, farms; Merced Irrigation District proposes counter plan for Merced River flows; Feds unveil recovery plan for salmon habitats; How drought is impacting water investment markets; and more …

In California water news today, California eyes more Sacramento River water for fish; less water for cities, farms; California calls for more water in key river hub; Merced Irrigation District proposes counter plan for Merced River flows; Merced leaders blast plan to boost river flow; Poking holes in water plan; Feds unveil recovery plan for salmon habitats; How drought is impacting water investment markets; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • California Water Fix hearings resume at the State Water Board at 9am.  Part 1B begins.  Click here to watch on webcast.
  • River LA: Next Generation Infrastructure for Water, People, Public:  From 3pm to 5pm, River LA & LACI are pleased to co-host an event focused on our once in a generational opportunity to reinvest in, reimagine the use of, and transform the future of the LA River for the greater good and specifically on safely enhancing the quality and quantity of water flowing through our region. We will discuss River LA’s new LA River Index project as well as LACI’s water data portfolio companies: Divining LAB LLC, Ayyeka and Water Canary.  Click here for more information.
  • The Delta Protection Commission meets at 5:30 pm in West Sacramento.  Agenda items include a report from the Delta Conservancy, a report on Department of Water Resources Division of Flood Management activities, and a report on Delta Flood Risk Management Assessment District feasibility study.  Click here for more information.
  • Wildfire, drought, and climate change in California: Warm nights, drought and fires — what is the latest science telling us about climate change effects in California?  Dana Nuccitelli, a scientist, author and climate blogger for “The Guardian” newspaper, will talk about how global warming is changing California’s weather at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in the Blanchard Room at the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St. in Davis.  More information is at www.yoloccl.org

In the news today …

California eyes more Sacramento River water for fish; less water for cities, farms: Signaling a cutback in water supplies for farming and cities, California regulators on Wednesday issued a new scientific analysis that proposes overhauling the management of the Sacramento River and devoting more water to Northern California’s dwindling fish populations.  The State Water Resources Control Board, in a widely-anticipated report crafted by its staff, said it’s considering allowing much more of the flow from the Sacramento River and its tributaries to wash out into the ocean. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  California eyes more Sacramento River water for fish; less water for cities, farms

California calls for more water in key river hub:  “California should leave more water in the state’s most vital river delta to save crashing populations of native fish, state regulators said Wednesday in findings that could cut the amounts that cities and farms can take from the Sacramento and San Joaquin waterways.  The draft findings from the state Water Resources Control Board also could complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal for building $15.7 billion giant water tunnels to carry water from the Delta. … ”  Read more from Fox Business here:  California calls for more water in key river hub

Merced Irrigation District proposes counter plan for Merced River flows: A day after Merced leaders sharply criticized a state plan to boost river flows, the Merced Irrigation District proposed an alternative to the Bay-Delta Plan in hopes of finding a compromise.  MID is proposing what it calls the Merced River SAFE Plan, which stands for salmon, agriculture, flows and environment. Under the plan, MID would sent more water down the Merced River, but the length and amount of water would be adjusted based on salmon needs. The plan also would work to restore river habitat, reduce predatory fish such as bass and upgrade the salmon hatchery. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Merced Irrigation District proposes counter plan for Merced River flows

Merced leaders blast plan to boost river flow: Merced County leaders urged a top state water official Tuesday to rethink a proposed boost in river flows.  The doubling of reservoir releases would hurt farmers while doing little good for fish on the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers, members of the Board of Supervisors said.  “I believe in the environment, but I also believe in trying to take care of folks,” Supervisor Jerry O’Banion said. … ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Merced leaders blast plan to boost river flow

Poking holes in water plan:  “A plan to leave more water in streams feeding the San Joaquin River will benefit Delta water exporters while letting the government off the hook for failing to meet water quality standards, San Joaquin County water wonks said Wednesday.  Their comments came after a representative from the State Water Resources Control Board presented the new flows plan for the first time in the Stockton area, at a county water commission meeting.  “This is pretty complex, but it doesn’t sound good,” said Brandon Nakagawa, the county’s water resources coordinator. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Poking holes in water plan

SSJID: Plan is about taking water, period:  “It’s about taking water and not about fish. South San Joaquin Irrigation District General Manager Peter Rietkerk made it clear that is the district’s view of the State Water Board move to mandate unimpaired flows of 40 percent on the Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne rivers between February and June. Rietkerk spoke before the Ripon Rotary Club at its Wednesday noon meeting at Spring Creek Country Club.  Rietkerk said the non-native striped bass have just as much impact on the salmon and the steelhead as does the flow and temperature of the water that has continued to run down the river during the drought.    “It’s a one-sided effort to take the water – not the fish,” he stressed.  … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  SSJID: Plan is about taking water, period

Feds unveil recovery plan for salmon habitats:  “California Coastal Chinook salmon and Northern California steelhead are now part of the NOAA Fisheries’ Coastal Final Recovery Plan, which is set to implement strategies for returning the fish to self-sustaining population levels.  For the past 100 years, development and the conversion of forestlands to urban and agricultural lands led to the fish populations’ decline according to the recovery plan and both the Chinook and steelhead were listed as threatened from 1997 to 2000 under the federal Endangered Species Act. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Feds unveil recovery plan for salmon habitats

The big shortage: How drought is impacting water investment markets: For those with a financial stake in water, drought can mean boom or bust, depending on the investment. And even without a specific market to trade water, there are numerous ways to invest in it – from buying land with water rights to stocks in water-dependent companies to municipal bonds.  Take Michael Burry, for instance, the hedge fund manager featured in the book and movie “The Big Short” who outsmarted the subprime housing market crash. The end of the movie includes the line: “Michael Burry is focusing all of his trading on one commodity: Water.”  How exactly? … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  The big shortage: How drought is impacting water investment markets

The drought isn’t going away.  Here’s what you can do:  “The drought is not going away.  Adam Nagourney, the Los Angeles bureau chief, traveled to a Central Valley farming community that became a national symbol of the drought. He wrote on Wednesday about a setback in Californians’ efforts to conserve water that has some experts worried.  While the situation has improved since last year, meteorologists say we are a long way from replenishing our groundwater supplies and reservoirs. And the drought shows no sign of ending.  What does this all mean for Californians? … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  The drought isn’t going away.  Here’s what you can do

In regional news and commentary today …

Siskiyou County:  Groundwater JPA meets on Thursday:  “Special presentations and discussion of future advisory committees are on the agenda for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Thursday, Oct. 20.  Kicking off a meeting is an update on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 by Tim Ross and Brian Moniz from the California Department of Water Resources. SGMA is the law that requires all local groundwater basins labeled as either medium or high priority to create a sustainable plan by 2020. The plan must show that water aquifers like the IWV basin must be sustainable within 20 years. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Groundwater JPA meets on Thursday

Calistoga to get $100,000 for excess water allotment:  “Calistoga will sell to a south bay water agency a portion of unusable water allotment bringing in much needed revenue to the city’s enterprise cash flow, officials decided Tuesday. In a “use or lose” situation the city will sell 500 acre-feet of water to Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) for $100,000 with the agency agreeing to rebate 50 percent of that back to Calistoga over 10 years.  City Manager Dylan Feik praised Mike Kirn, public works director, on the negotiated deal saying that not only did Kirn help bring in a positive cash flow, he also made it possible to get back half of what is being sold. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Calistoga to get $100,000 for excess water allotment

A Cal Alum’s recipe for more Tuolumne River salmon: Add water:  “The Tuolumne River has long been revered by whitewater kayakers and rafters for its pristine wilderness canyon and challenging rapids. But “The T,” as it’s known by river-runners, was once famed for something else: Salmon. Before the Hetch Hetchy and Don Pedro Dams were built on the river’s upper reaches in the last century, the Tuolumne supported up to 130,000 spawning Chinook salmon annually.  The reservoirs created by the dams were deemed necessary to accommodate California’s booming population—they still are, for that matter. … ”  Read more from the UC California Magazine here:  A Cal Alum’s recipe for more Tuolumne River salmon: Add water

Department of Water Resources formally establishes Atascadero sub-basin:  “The California Department of Water Resources, or DWR, has determined that the Atascadero Groundwater Sub-basin is hydraulically separate from the larger Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.  This determination by the DWR is beneficial to several North County agencies and their stakeholders, as it will promote the continued sustainable management of groundwater in the Atascadero Sub-basin in a cost-effective and efficient manner. The determination will assist Atascadero Sub-basin stakeholders in complying with the requirements and schedule identified by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, according to the city. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here:  Department of Water Resources formally establishes Atascadero sub-basin

Federal court weighs whether Agua Caliente tribe holds rights to groundwater: Lawyers for the Coachella Valley’s largest water districts and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians presented their arguments to a federal appeals court in a water rights case that could set a precedent for tribes across the country.  The case hinges on the question of whether the Agua Caliente tribe holds a federally granted “reserved right” to groundwater beneath its reservation in Palm Springs and surrounding areas. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Federal court weighs whether Agua Caliente tribe holds rights to groundwater

Plan to solve Borrego’s water crisis beginning:  “The county is expected this week to enter into an agreement with the Borrego Water District to begin joint preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan aimed at solving the continuing depletion of the underground water table that feeds the Borrego Valley, including the desert town of Borrego Springs.  The county will commit an initial $500,000 to the agreement and another $700,000 later as work proceeds on the plan, which is needed to avoid state intervention — something nobody wants.  For decades, residents of Borrego Springs have been sucking more water out of the underground lake beneath the town than is replenished each year. If that trend isn’t reversed, eventually the water level in the aquifer will get so low that the cost of pumping it out of the ground could become economically prohibitive. The quality of the water could also diminish as pumps go lower and lower. ... ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  Plan to solve Borrego’s water crisis beginning

And lastly …

How the 1970s drought helped invent bowl skating:  “It’s tough being constantly reminded that we are entering the fifth consecutive year of one of the worst droughts California has ever seen. When we think of drought, we think of devastation to crops and lack of natural resources, but we must appreciate one thing drought has brought us: bowl skating.  A lot of people don’t realize this, but the drought of 1976-77 aligned harmoniously with the rise of skateboarding. This two-year devastation accounted for the 1st and 4th driest years in California history. So in effort to conserve water, swimming pools were being emptied all throughout Southern California. And with that, emerging skaters like Tony Alva, Steve Olson, and the late Jay Adams were jumping fences and skating empty pools. … ”  Read more from The Inertia here:  How the 1970s drought helped invent bowl skating

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: