DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Delta pumping continues amid fish worries; Flash-flood warnings, heavy deluges in Sierra punctuate first part of weekend storms; Water flows from Friant Dam as officials and farmers call for more storage; and more …

Sierra snow by DWR

In California water news this weekend, Delta pumping continues amid fish worries; Flash-flood warnings, heavy deluges in Sierra punctuate first part of weekend storms; Storm in Sierra sparks concerns about flooding, avalanches; Conveyor belt of California storms lined up into next week; Seven things to know about this weekend’s storm; An atmospheric river explained; Water flows from Friant Dam as officials and farmers call for more storage; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Delta pumping continues amid fish worries:Federal officials on Friday approved short-term pumping limits from the Delta that are higher than a team of experts had recommended days earlier to protect imperiled fish. In theory, the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could lead to the first use of a controversial new law that allows higher levels of pumping under certain circumstances. The drought-related provisions were tucked into a broader water infrastructure bill approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December. In a written decision on Friday, the agency said it had concluded that vulnerable Delta smelt had already migrated to spawning areas and thus were not in need of a higher level of protection. That’s contrary to Tuesday’s recommendation from the fish experts, who called for “immediate additional protections beyond those currently in place.” … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: Delta pumping continues amid fish worries

Flash-flood warnings, heavy deluges in Sierra punctuate first part of weekend storms: Day one of the “atmospheric river” storms brought a flash-flood watch Saturday to the mountains and foothills in the central San Joaquin Valley, and the threat of more on Sunday.  One of the most dire alerts was issued by the National Weather Service shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday for residents living in Wilsonia, near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.  They were warned to evacuate to higher ground because of an expected downpour that could cause a flash flood. The evacuation warning continued until 3 p.m. Up to three inches of rain had fallen in that area by 2 p.m., the NWS said. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Flash-flood warnings, heavy deluges in Sierra punctuate first part of weekend storms

Storm in Sierra sparks concerns about flooding, avalanches: “The first band of what forecasters predict will be the region’s most powerful storm in a decade moved into Northern California, prompting official warnings of widespread flooding and epic snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.  Officials expected the storm to pack the same force as one that hit Northern California in 2005, causing $300 million in damage.  Officials reported scattered flooding and mudslides throughout the region on Sunday morning, including a washed out road in Windsor that required the rescue of two people. Local authorities were watching rising water levels at several key rivers including the Truckee, Merced, American and Russian. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Storm in Sierra sparks concerns about flooding, avalanches

Conveyor belt of California storms lined up into next week: “After five years of historic drought, conditions in the Pacific Ocean are lining up in drenching ways not seen since at least 2010, with new storms forming off California’s coast that will continue to bring rain throughout next week, even after this weekend’s powerful system is gone. “You get this once in a decade,” said Bill Patzert, a research scientist and oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “It’s a conveyor belt.” … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Conveyor belt of California storms lined up into next week

Seven things to know about this weekend’s storm:When you’re a layperson telling the general public about a great weather cataclysm that’s forecast to unfold in the next day or two, it’s always in your mind whether the thing will really happen. But we’re working on the assumption now that the various highfalutin supercomputer-driven weather models and the humans who interpret them will prove correct in their forecast of a rainy, windy weekend for the Bay Area and Northern California. Forecasters across California say the storm this weekend, fed by a dense plume of moisture drawn from the subtropical Pacific, will be one of the wettest the state has seen in more than a decade. Here’s a rundown of what forecasters say we ought to expect over the weekend. … ” Read more from KQED here: Seven things to know about this weekend’s storm

An atmospheric river explained: “Northern California is bracing for a heavy storm system that is expected to cause flooding across the region. This is a special type of storm, an atmospheric river, that is often referred to as a Pineapple Express. Courtney Obergfell is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. She explains, “An atmospheric river is a narrow band of moisture that typically comes from the tropics, so usually near Hawaii, and then it makes its way to California and brings heavy rainfall to the area.” … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: An atmospheric river explained

Water flows from Friant Dam as officials and farmers call for more storage:With the roar of rushing water as a backdrop, farming advocates and elected officials gathered at the base of Friant Dam on Friday to push for construction of the Temperance Flat dam. The proposed dam, with a price tag of $2.8 billion, is considered a linchpin for the Valley’s water future and represents the ability to store more than 1.2 million acre-feet of water. That’s more than 2 1/2 times the capacity of Millerton Lake. With a dam at Temperance Flat, excess runoff could be captured and stored instead of having to release it into the San Joaquin River to make room for an impending deluge. ... ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Water flows from Friant Dam as officials and farmers call for more storage

In commentary this weekend …

Surely we must be out of the drought now, says the Redding Record Searchlight: They write, “OK, so let’s get this straight: California is soaked, Los Angeles had its wettest December in six years, the new year has begun with a rolling series of storms, roads are closed due to flooding, ski resorts at Mammoth in the Eastern Sierra are expecting 20 feet of snow, skiers are being warned of avalanche conditions, reservoirs are refilling — and yet we still can’t put our drought and all those emergency conservation efforts in the rearview mirror? No, we can’t. Despite all that December rain and snow, the year’s first official measurement found that the water in the crucial Sierra snowpack hovers at around two-thirds of the historical average for early January. ... ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Surely we must be out of the drought now

California must tighten fracking regulations:The Environmental Protection Agency’s final report on the impact of fracking on water supplies finds more danger than previously acknowledged — but there’s no way a Donald Trump administration is going to toughen the minimal federal regulations now in place. The president-elect already promised the industry last fall that he would try to end regulation of fracking, which involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to force oil and gas from rock formations. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: California must tighten fracking regulations

This storm is not one to be blown off, points out the Daily Democrat:Now, for the first time in a long time, the small portion of The Democrat’s weather map titled “Yolo County Water Report” is important. The section reports on how much water is being released from Clear Lake and the Indian Valley Reservoir. That’s important because the water eventually winds up in Cache Creek, which flows through the Capay Valley, Woodland and into the Yolo Bypass. That’s important because the storm — which should be growing worse as you’re reading this — could cause flooding along its route. The higher water levels will also be seen in the Sacramento River. The West Sacramento Weir should now be open, allowing all that water to flood into the Yolo Bypass. That means County Road 22 will be closed. Other county roads could be flooded as well. ... ” Read more from the Daily Democrat here: This storm is not one to be blown off

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Water, water everywhere, especially on the Ukiah City Council agenda:Though Ukiah is nestled by a lake and a river, that actual water rights are always up for discussion. At last night’s Ukiah city council meeting, former council member Phil Baldwin, speaking as a private citizen, thanked the council for scheduling a public informational workshop on water rights and related matters. The council agreed to postpone a decision as to whether the city will buy or decline to buy 800 acre feet of water from the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District (RRFC). Water districts in the Upper Russian River basin, including Ukiah, contract with the RRFC for access to water in Lake Mendocino. … ” Read more from the Mendocino Voice here: Water, water everywhere, especially on the Ukiah City Council agenda

Russian River expected to flood from weekend storm: “North Coast residents are being urged to prepare for a potent winter storm expected to make landfall Saturday even as meteorologists say they need another day to be sure which parts of the Bay Area will bear the brunt of its fury. Four to five inches of rain is predicted to fall on most North Coast cities, enough to send the Russian River, Napa River and Navarro River over flood stage, and trigger road closures and power outages. ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Russian River expected to flood from weekend storm

Suisun Marsh island owner sues state agencies in wetlands dispute:  “The owner of a small Suisun Marsh island is suing two state environmental agencies he says unfairly fined him $3.6 million and halted work on his plan to fix leaky levees to operate a duck club and kite surfing business.  John Sweeney, of Pittsburg, asserted in court papers that the agencies hit him with excessive penalties to punish him and silence him for publicly speaking out about overzealous regulation of levee repair restrictions in the Suisun Marsh, an area with more than 150 privately owned duck clubs.  The penalties “were imposed to destroy” him and his recreation operation on the 50-acre Point Buckler Island in Grizzly Bay north of Bay Point, Sweeney alleges in his lawsuit filed last month in Solano County Superior Court. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Suisun Marsh island owner sues state agencies in wetlands dispute

Sacramento Regional Sanitation District seeks next rate hike for wastewater plant upgrade project:Operators of a massive public works upgrade to the Sacramento region’s wastewater treatment plant are seeking a $4 monthly rate increase as of mid-2021 to finance continuing work at the project near Interstate 5 and Elk Grove. The increase would raise another $100 million for planning, design and construction. Over the next five to seven years, workers will complete the most ambitious upgrade to the plant since it began service in 1982. The project is on track to cost $1.75 billion, well within the $1.5 billion to $2.1 billion projected, officials say. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Sacramento Regional Sanitation District seeks next rate hike for wastewater plant upgrade project

Flash flood watch issued for Central Valley:  “With rivers and streams already running high, and the ground saturated, the National Weather Service has placed the entire San Joaquin Valley under a flash flood watch.  The flood watch is in effect today into Monday when an atmospheric river of moisture is predicted to bring heavy rains to the area and to the mountains, possibly above 8,000 feet.  The region has already been hit by a Pineapple Connection storm which brought moderate rain to the Valley, and heavy rain to the foothills and mountains this week. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Flash flood watch issued for Central Valley

Friant-Kern canal will have to wait to accept flood flows: “While a major “atmospheric river” storm system is expected to pummel Central California with historic amounts of rain and snow this weekend, there’s one place you won’t find floodwater: the Friant Kern Canal. The Friant Water Authority says the 152 mile canal, that carries water from Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River near Fresno all the way to Kern County has been shut down since late last year for maintenance and construction. … ” Read more from Valley Public Radio here: Friant-Kern canal will have to wait to accept flood flows

Santa Barbara County still a long way from drought relief despite wetter winter: “The Central Coast could almost be confused with the Pacific Northwest this week, as storms line up to drop much-needed rain on the parched region. California as a whole is in the midst of the wettest winter since the beginning of its long, record-breaking drought. Talk of modest, incremental relief, however, does not really apply to Santa Barbara County, which continues to sit firmly in the dark-red “exceptional drought” region of the state map. … ” Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara County still a long way from drought relief despite wetter winter

Precipitation watch …

Click here to read more editions of the Daily Digest.

Daily emailsSign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!

—————————————-
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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: