DAILY DIGEST: What does the new federal water bill mean for CA?; Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of CA water bill; With lakes and rivers rising, Sacto residents prepare for more storms; and more …

In California water news today, What does the new federal water bill mean for California?  For one, a big win for farmers; Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of California water bill; With lakes and rivers rising, residents prepare for more storms in the Sacramento region; State water conservation proposals don’t fit the scenery in Paradise; With rainy weather, the Tisdale Weir flows; Lake Tahoe Likely To Spill Into Truckee River Later This Week; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Webinar: Managing Sierra Nevada Meadows for Water Supply & Habitat Benefits from 12:00-1:00pm:  The deeply-eroded channel through Indian Valley (Alpine County) was filled in 2012 using the plug and pond technique to reconnect the channel to the historic floodplain. After restoration, the previously-intermittent stream has flowed continuously, despite California’s historic drought. We will present flow and groundwater data, evaluate the Replenish model that Coca-Cola prepared when funding this project and discuss how Indian Valley restoration fits expectations within the California Water Action Plan.  From the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative.  Click here to register.

In the news today …

What does the new federal water bill mean for California?  For one, a big win for farmers: California farmers and Southern California cities were aghast last winter when much of the heavy rainfall that fell in Northern California washed through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea. In their view, it represented a lost opportunity to capture high river flows and pump water to arid regions south of the Delta.  This winter could prove dramatically different. Upending a fragile, decades-long balance between human needs and the environment, Congress passed a wide-ranging water bill last weekend that is likely to result in greater pumping of Northern California water to farms and cities in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The bill, co-authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., passed with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, despite furious opposition from Feinstein’s longtime ally, fellow Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.  … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  What does the new federal water bill mean for California?  For one, a big win for farmers

Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of California water bill:  “Flood control concerns in the Sacramento area and Merced County helped drive a big water bill that won overwhelming congressional approval despite heated conflict over other California provisions.  The flood control authorizations, including some $780 million for West Sacramento work, $880 million for work along the American and Sacramento rivers and a go-ahead for continued study of Merced County streams, made it into the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of California water bill

With lakes and rivers rising, residents prepare for more storms in the Sacramento region: The rain is coming and the rivers are rising, which means potentially dangerous flotsam and jetsam will be heading down local waterways.  Increased flows from Folsom Lake and the anticipation of a gully washer of a storm Thursday mean that the American and Sacramento rivers will be rising. At Sacramento Yacht Club on the Yolo County side of the river, the water level was going up Monday.  Boat owners were securing lines to their boats to keep them more securely moored in the faster river flow. And boat owners were on the alert for floating debris. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  With lakes and rivers rising, residents prepare for more storms in the Sacramento region

In commentary today …

Dan Walters:  Donald Trump forces a California water deal without lifting a finger: California’s politicians and pundits – including this one – have been busily speculating on what effect a Donald Trump presidency could have on a state that rejected him overwhelmingly. Well, we saw the first major impact last week, without Trump even lifting a finger.  A compromise bill that, in effect, reallocates federally controlled water in California – much to the delight of farmers and the dismay of environmentalists – won final congressional approval Friday. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Dan Walters:  Donald Trump forces a California water deal without lifting a finger

Federal water bill points to trouble ahead, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “There are many reasons to be skeptical about a federal water bill that is sitting on President Barack Obama’s desk, but the biggest reason is this: We don’t trust a bunch of politicians to solve such a complex problem.  Congress appears willing to sacrifice a few types of fish so that farmers can continue to grow food in a seasonal desert. That’s what happens when decisions are made by people more interested in the next election than science.  People vote. Fish do not. Guess who wins? ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Federal water bill points to trouble ahead

Thomas Elias: Big groundwater find not a Christmas gift after all:  “There was big, very big, ground water news for California in 2016, but almost no one paid attention because it came in the midst of the most heated presidential campaign in modern memory. For those who did notice, it seemed almost like Christmas came early, at midyear.  The news was this: A Stanford University study found huge and previously unknown supplies of ground water far beneath the surface of the ever-thirsty Central Valley. At a minimum, the newfound water supply amounts to twice the amount pumped from Central Valley aquifers since California was settled, or about 270 million acre-feet (one acre foot is the amount of water needed to cover an acre of land, weighing about 10 tons). … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Big groundwater find not a Christmas gift after all

In regional news and commentary today …

State water conservation proposals don’t fit the scenery in Paradise:The state’s plan is in the works to make water conservation the “new normal,” including yet-to-be determined water saving goals for 2025.  However, in places like Paradise, where the water supply is fine, the new rules seem like an unfair one-size-fits-all.  George Barber, district manager for Paradise Irrigation District, said he’s sending a comment letter by the Dec. 19 deadline.  Water use should be a “local decision balancing water supply with customer needs,” he said. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  State water conservation proposals don’t fit the scenery in Paradise

With rainy weather, the Tisdale Weir flows:  “In Sutter County, the Tisdale Weir is flowing.  It is the first of five weirs to begin spilling when the Sacramento River’s water level begins to rise. Right now, the water level is about two feet above the weir’s spill level of 45.45 feet.  When it rains a lot, and runoff from the mountains flow combine sometimes, it’s too much for the Sacramento River in Sutter County to handle. The river in that stretch is much more narrow than other portions, and it can’t handle as much water. … ”  Read more from Fox 40 here:  With rainy weather, the Tisdale Weir flows

Lake Tahoe Likely To Spill Into Truckee River Later This Week:The latest round of wet weather is pushing Lake Tahoe’s waterline toward its natural rim.  The lake received nearly 26,669 acre-feet of water over the weekend.  Scientists with the National Weather Service in Reno say its unusual for the rise to happen so quickly. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Lake Tahoe Likely To Spill Into Truckee River Later This Week

Abandoned sailboat causes problems along the Sacramento River:  “Crews worked to free an abandoned sailboat after it got caught on an old water intake in the Sacramento River Monday afternoon.  The sailboat got stuck in West Sacramento before 3 p.m.  Crews from the Sacramento Fire Department and the West Sacramento Fire Department teamed up to free the boat. … ”  Read more from KCRA here:  Abandoned sailboat causes problems along the Sacramento River

Project to retrofit one of the Bay Area’s largest dams doubles in cost, faces long delays: Reflecting problems at other aging reservoirs, a $200 million project to drain and repair one of the Bay Area’s largest dams to reduce the risk of it collapsing in a major earthquake will double in cost and be delayed by at least two more years.  Managers at the Santa Clara Valley Water District, based in San Jose, had hoped to start construction in early 2018 on the seismic upgrade work at Anderson Dam, a 240-foot-high earthen dam that sits east of Highway 101 between San Jose and Morgan Hill.  But now the construction won’t start until mid-2020, and the cost will jump to least $400 million, according to an update the district’s board is scheduled to hear Tuesday from Katherine Oven, the district’s deputy operating officer. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Project to retrofit one of the Bay Area’s largest dams doubles in cost, faces long delays

Santa Barbara: Regional drought preparation in the pipeline:  “Some state water officials are on a drought listening tour.  On Monday, they listened to local water agency representatives and elected leaders during an afternoon meeting at Santa Barbara County’s office of emergency services.  Instead of competing for water their goal is to work together as a region to get state and federal funding for water projects.  State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said people in the county need to be “rowing in the same direction.” … ”  Read more from KEYT here: Regional drought preparation in the pipeline

Pyramid Lake infested with Quagga Mussels, Castaic Lake feared next:Pyramid Lake is now infested with ecosystem-altering Quagga Mussels after state officials found six of the non-native freshwater mollusks Thursday in a tunnel that connects the lake with another body of water along the state’s water delivery system.  In short, the invasive mussels can alter the natural life systems of a lake. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Pyramid Lake infested with Quagga Mussels, Castaic Lake feared next

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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