DAILY DIGEST: Six takes on six years of drought; Engineering a waterwise mindset; Final vote nears on Prop 1 storage regs; Wine industry wants greater say in Sonoma County groundwater regulation; and more …

In California water news today, Six takes on six years of drought; Drought, wildfires steepen flood, mudslide risk; Erin Mackey on engineering a waterwise mindset; Sacramento River report adds to water concerns; Final vote nears on Prop 1 storage regulations; To protect native culture, bring back the salmon; Wine industry wants greater say in Sonoma County groundwater regulation; Butte County plans for further flooding protection; South Lake Tahoe home to kokanee salmon spawning grounds; Algal bloom level upgraded at San Luis Reservoir; Fresno starts work on pipes to connect new southeast water plant; San Diego City Council approves $3 billion water treatment plan; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Six takes on six years of drought: It might have been sprinkling outside the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, but inside the building some of the state’s brightest water experts were taking stock of California’s enduring drought.  As we enter into what could be a sixth year of shortage, here are six lessons gleaned from Tuesday’s forum sponsored by the nonprofit Water Education Foundation: ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Six takes on six years of drought

Drought, wildfires steepen flood, mudslide risk:  “Fire and flood officials are warning that drought, wildfire scars and winter weather conditions have combined to increase the potential risks of flash flooding and mudslides in California this year.  Five years of drought have led to increasingly intense wildfires around the Bay Area and state. Those fires destroy the vegetation that is a natural erosion buffer and when storms hit burned areas, the likelihood of flooding and mudslides can increase dramatically, according to officials with the California Department of Water Resources and Cal Fire. … ”  Read more from SF Bay here:  Drought, wildfires steepen flood, mudslide risk

Meet the minds:  Erin Mackey on engineering a waterwise mindset:  “What will it take for California to not just get by during drought, but to really flourish? Erin Mackey, a drinking water and reuse process engineer at Brown and Caldwell, the largest engineering consulting firm focused on the U.S. environmental sector, believes it will take both a shift in how we think of water-use efficiency, as well as the development of a more diverse water supply. That’s why her work is focused on helping clients explore water resources so they can use them smartly and efficiently.  Mackey admits these are challenging times for water professionals, but she is hopeful that a decade from now California will have made improvements.“I am confident we will get there,” she said. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Meet the minds:  Erin Mackey on engineering a waterwise mindset

Sacramento River report adds to water concerns:  “California farmers and ranchers say they’re drowning in proposals, regulations, plans and deadlines affecting the future of water supplies. The latest wave came in the form of a “draft science report” from the State Water Resources Control Board that would potentially require dedication of more Sacramento River water to fish.  The draft scientific report for fisheries and flows in the Sacramento River and Bay-Delta represents part of what the board calls Phase 2 of its update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. The draft report suggests instream flows to the Sacramento River and delta in an average range from 35 percent to 75 percent of unimpaired flow. It came just weeks after the agency announced a proposal to leave more water for fish in the lower San Joaquin River watershed. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Sacramento River report adds to water concerns

Final vote nears on Prop 1 storage regulations:Inside a Sacramento conference room, discussions by the California Water Commission are shaping the application and approval process for water storage projects envisioned by California voters who approved a water bond two years ago.  The Proposition 1 water bond included $2.7 billion dedicated toward the public benefits of water storage projects, and gave the commission the responsibility for determining which projects will be eligible for that funding. At its meeting in Sacramento last week, the commission reviewed public comments and heard from interested parties regarding draft regulations for the bond’s Water Storage Investment Program.  … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Final vote nears on Prop 1 storage standards

In commentary today …

How to revive a dying Delta: Peter Drekmeier writes, “Scientific reports published over the past several years have been unambiguous. The delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast, is on the brink of collapse.  Starved of freshwater inflow due to dams and water diversions, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s health has faced a precipitous decline over the past few decades. The recently released Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan offers our last best hope to revive the estuary that defines our region. The new plan calls for requiring more water to be released from dams into rivers, such as the Tuolumne, to help bring the bay-delta ecosystem and rivers that feed it back to life.  Unfortunately, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which owns and operates the Hetch Hetchy Water System, and its wholesale customers appear to want to weaken the plan by scaring the public with inflated economic impacts. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  How to revive a dying Delta

In regional news and commentary today …

To protect native culture, bring back the salmon:  “The people who have lived along the Klamath River for millennia are now facing crisis levels of violence, disease and depression. Diabetes and heart ailments run rampant in their communities, and suicide rates have skyrocketed.  To save his people, Leaf Hillman, Director of the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources, believes there is one thing to do: Bring back the salmon.  “We’re salmon people,” says Hillman, a tribe member in his early fifties who lives in the riverside town of Orleans. “Our very identity is based on salmon.”  His tribe, working with the neighboring Yurok and Hupa tribes, has been at the front lines of the political battle to save and restore the Klamath’s dwindling Chinook runs, both by demanding better management of water flowing out of the upstream reservoirs and by calling for removal of four dams that make hundreds of miles of salmon habitat inaccessible. … ”  Read more from KCET here:  To protect native culture, bring back the salmon

Wine industry wants greater say in Sonoma County groundwater regulation:  “Vintners and wine industry representatives on Tuesday pressed Sonoma County supervisors to give farming interests a greater say in how California’s new law governing groundwater is put into place on a local level.  As proposed by staff from Sonoma County Water Agency and county administrator’s office, those interests are set to hold an advisory role — but not voting power — on the agencies that will oversee the three local aquifers that fall under the state law. Environmentalists and rural residents who depend on wells for their water supply would also be represented on the advisory groups.  That arrangement, however, has riled representatives of the county’s wine industry and other agricultural interests, who see much at stake in how the new law is imposed. … ”  Read more from the Sonoma Press Democrat here:  Wine industry wants greater say in Sonoma County groundwater regulation

Butte County plans for further flooding protection:  “The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved changes to its flood protection plan, including regulations on building in flood risk areas around Chico, at its meeting on Tuesday.  This comes after Senate Bill 5, passed in 2007, established regulations for flood protection, and an amendment in 2012 required cities and counties in the Central Valley to have consistent planning for “200-year” flood zones. These are areas where there is at least a .05 percent chance of extreme flooding in any given year, determined by the Department of Water Resources.  The changes, also including adding mapping details and further flooding information, were recommended by the Planning Commission, which held a public hearing on the issue in September. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Butte County plans for further flooding protection

South Lake Tahoe home to kokanee salmon spawning grounds:  “The salmon are on the move — and they’re a lot closer to home than you might think.  Hundreds of crimson-hued kokanee salmon are swimming upstream and spawning in Taylor Creek, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe just 10 miles across the border from the Silver State. Averaging just under a pound (although a record 5-pound specimen was caught a few years ago), they’re not as big as their more famous, 25-pound relatives in the Pacific Northwest, and they’re one of the best-kept secrets across the land. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  South Lake Tahoe home to kokanee salmon spawning grounds

Algal bloom level upgraded at San Luis Reservoir:  “Increases in toxin levels of the blue-green algal bloom at San Luis Reservoir have resulted in an advisory level upgrade to “warning,” an increase from the previous advisory of “caution,” according to officials with the California Department of Water Resources. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Algal bloom level upgraded at San Luis Reservoir

Fresno starts work on pipes to connect new southeast water plant: Fresno is spending about $18.2 million to build a four-mile section of new water mains as part of its $429 million Recharge Fresno plan.  The Fresno City Council awarded a contract last week to Floyd Johnston Construction of Clovis for what is called the A-2 segment of a new regional transmission pipeline that will connect the city’s water system to the Southeast Surface Water Treatment Plant now under construction in southeast Fresno. The A-2 segment takes a roundabout route from First Street and Olive Avenue to near H and Divisadero streets. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Fresno starts work on pipes to connect new southeast water plant

San Diego City Council approves $3 billion water treatment plan: The San Diego City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to certify an environmental impact report for the city’s nearly $3 billion plan to recycle wastewater into drinking water, and approved the plan itself.  Supporters of the so-called “Pure Water San Diego” program say it will provide residents and businesses with a stable, local supply of potable water that won’t be affected by drought or the uncertainties of future water imports.  The product will be purified and mixed with water from traditional sources before it’s delivered to customers. ... ” Read more from CBS 8 here:  San Diego City Council approves $3 billion water treatment plan

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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