DAILY DIGEST: In parched Central California, water trumps other election issues; It’s raining – will Californians still conserve water?; Newsha Ajami on innovation in the water sector; and more …

In California water news today, In parched Central California, water trumps other election issues, It’s raining – will Californians still conserve water?; A ‘welcome number’ on water savings; Wet October doesn’t mean rainfall year will be soggy; Sod it: Californians turning back to grass lawns as drought shaming ends; Meet the minds: Newsha Ajami on innovation in the water sector; State, White House launch California water data challenge; Meat, water, and global climate change; and more …

In the news today …

In parched Central California, water trumps other election issues:  “Even with the presidential race tightening, one issue in a drought-parched region of California has remained constant — water and the lack of it.  “Water right now is the number one issue for us in the Central Valley,” said Republican Rep. David Valadao, whose congressional district includes some of the state’s largest agricultural production but has been hit hard by the 5-year-old drought.  The drought impact goes beyond agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. Water tables in rural communities in parts of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties have dropped and residential wells are running dry. Compounding the problem, the concentration of contaminants in the water is rising in some areas. ... ”  Read more from CNBC here:  In parched Central California, water trumps other election issues

It’s raining – will Californians still conserve water?  “Californians ended three months of backsliding in September, using 18.3 percent less water than in September of 2013, according to the state’s monthly tally of local suppliers.  State regulators were relieved by the number after monthly urban conservation rates had tumbled steadily month-to-month, from 28.1 percent in May, to 17.5 percent in August. Conservation began to evaporate when the state dropped its system of mandatory savings quotas for local water suppliers.  “Mandatory was a good idea to get things going,” said State Water Resources Control Board member Steven Moore, “and now things are going.” … ”  Read more from the KQED here:  It’s raining – will Californians still conserve water? 

A ‘welcome number’ on water savings:  “A drop-off in Californians’ water conservation efforts seems to have leveled off, state officials said Tuesday, though residents still used more water during the month of September than they did the same month in 2015.  The news comes one month after the State Water Resources Control Board expressed concern that savings were slipping.  Earlier, the board had decided to relax the rules and allow cities to set their own numeric targets; most decided that none were needed. So when conservation starting slumping, critics said the board wasn’t taking aggressive enough action. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  A ‘welcome number’ on water savings

Wet October doesn’t mean rainfall year will be soggy:  “As California enters the sixth year of its historic drought, something unusual is happening: It’s raining.  And raining. And raining some more.  Meteorologists stress that’s it’s only the very beginning of California’s rainy season, so there are no guarantees that a wet October will bring a wet November, December, January or February. So far, though, October has been surprisingly wet across the northern part of the state, raising the hopes of drought-weary Californians. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Wet October doesn’t mean rainfall year will be soggy

Sod it: Californians turning back to grass lawns as drought shaming ends:  “Yumi Wong adores the latest addition to her southern California home: a lush, emerald lawn.  “It just looks much nicer with all the green. It feels clean and peaceful,” she said on Tuesday, padding across the 2,800-sq-ft grass expanse. “I thought about artificial turf but I just wanted the real stuff back.”  It arrived last week, a boon for her two children, two dogs and tortoise, and fitted right into Rancho Cucamonga, a neighbourhood east of Los Angeles. “Here nobody on the street has got rid of grass,” said Wong, 36, a physician’s assistant. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  Sod it: Californians turning back to grass lawns as drought shaming ends

Meet the minds: Newsha Ajami on innovation in the water sector: For Newsha Ajami of Stanford University, California’s drought is not only a massive challenge, but also a huge opportunity. “I really hope that we as Californians use this drought as an opportunity and build on the current momentum to become a leader in moving the water sector into a new era,” she told Water Deeply recently.  Ajami is the director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program and NSF-ReNUWIt initiatives. She has focused much of her research efforts on the role of big data in building sustainable water resource management solutions, water policy, innovation and financing.  Water Deeply spoke with Ajami as part of Meet the Minds, our series canvassing experts working on California water issues. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Newsha Ajami on innovation in the water sector

State, White House launch California water data challenge: The California Water Data Challenge, announced on Friday, invites interested individuals and teams to develop apps, websites, data visualizations or other tools “that leverage publicly available data sets in novel ways to support creative solutions to California’s water challenges, as outlined in the Brown administration’s California Water Action Plan,” according to a joint release by several state agencies supporting the competition.  Sponsors of the challenge include the State Water Board, the California Department of Water Resources, California Fish and Wildlife, California Government Operations Agency, and the California Department of Technology. The state agencies have joined the White House Council on Environmental Quality to launch the competition, to encourage the development of “innovative, data-based tools that help California address its ongoing drought and assure a reliable, sustainable water system for the future.” ... ”  Read more from Government Technology here:  State, White House launch California water data challenge

Meat, water, and global climate change: Restaurateur Patrick Mulvaney says he thinks of himself and the farmers that he buys from as “careful stewards of the land.” Mulvaney primarily buys certified organic or sustainably grown farm products, and seafood approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Servers at his Midtown restaurant, Mulvaney’s B&L, even limit pours of drinking water to patrons who specifically ask for it — a nod toward California’s ongoing drought.  But Mulvaney isn’t giving up his meat. Even though the rearing of livestock has considerable environmental impacts on water quality, land, wildlife and the climate, Mulvaney is not convinced by calls from a few activist groups and researchers to eat less meat. Instead, he chooses to support mostly growers of grass-fed, pastured meat rather than turn vegetarian.  … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here:  Meat, water, and global climate change

In commentary today …

Despite October rain, conserving still essential, says the Redding Searchlight Record:  They write, “After five years of drought and demands for strict water conservation, we can understand how people tire of the admonishment to save water in dry California.  And as Shasta County dries off from one of its wettest Octobers in years, it’s completely human to want to take a longer shower, water that winter garden, and, well, not worry about saving every drop as we go about our daily life.  But state water officials warn that despite recent storms here in the North State and fuller-than-usual lakes, the state still faces a severe water shortage. Groundwater has been depleted, and other reservoirs haven’t enjoyed the same bounty from the sky. ... ”  Read more from the Redding Searchlight-Record here:  Despite October rain, conserving still essential

In regional news and commentary today …

Folsom, Granite Bay among those called out for dramatic increase in water use: Californians are continuing to use more water, state drought regulators said Tuesday, with residents of Folsom and Granite Bay among those who’ve ramped up their consumption the most.  The State Water Resources Control Board announced that urban consumption grew by 8 percent in September compared with a year ago. It was the fourth straight month of higher consumption now that strict conservation mandates have been relaxed. Water districts used about 170 billion gallons of water, an increase of 13 billion gallons compared with September 2015, the agency said. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Folsom, Granite Bay among those called out for dramatic increase in water use

Bay Area: Swipe left for five of the Bay Area’s withering reservoirs: California’s half-full reservoirs have caught the attention of a European mapmaker.  “Mainly because if California, which is such an advanced state and is the world’s sixth economy, goes through such difficulties to manage its water, this should be a very serious cause for concern worldwide,” said Catalin Trif, founder of Lakepedia, an online encyclopedia of lakes.  The lake enthusiast is based in Romania, but became fascinated by California’s drought. He created before-and-after animations using satellite imagery from 2001 to 2016. … ”  Read more from NBC here:  Bay Area: Swipe left for five of the Bay Area’s withering reservoirs

Santa Barbara Supervisors OK talks to reacquire suspended ‘drought buffer’ water:  “The Board of Supervisors gave the OK Tuesday to have Santa Barbara County staff start negotiating with the Central Coast Water Authority for reacquiring suspended State Water Project supplies.  County agencies get State Water Project deliveries via pipeline, which is managed by the Central Coast Water Authority, and 12,214 acre-feet was suspended in the early 1980s.  Five water agencies — Carpinteria, Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Solvang and the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District Improvement District No. 1 — are interested in getting that amount of water deliveries back, and are willing to pay the suspended capital costs, plus interest, and annual costs for the water. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Santa Barbara Supervisors OK talks to reacquire suspended ‘drought buffer’ water

As local supplies dry up, Santa Barbara prepares to enact a lawn-watering moratorium:  “Santa Barbara is preparing to meet a projected water shortage next year with a lawn-watering moratorium.  At its latest drought update Tuesday, the City Council unanimously voted to direct city staff to return next month with an ordinance banning lawn watering, which would be subject to a number of exceptions.  Water resources manager Joshua Haggmark said that since May 2015, residents have a cumulative conservation rate of 36 percent, and for the month of September, residents upped that to 41 percent. ... ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  As local supplies dry up, Santa Barbara prepares to enact a lawn-watering moratorium

Huntington Beach:  Stingray chaos at beach baffles lifeguards:  “It’s been stingray chaos.  That’s how Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis described a recent surge of stingray injuries in recent days, unusual for this time of year when the water cools.  “The units were just inundated with people coming up with injuries,” he said. “There must be hundreds of thousands of them out there.”  There were 17 reports on Friday, and 10 the previous day. By mid-day Saturday, there were six reports just at tower 4. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Huntington Beach:  Stingray chaos at beach baffles lifeguards

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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