In California water news today, Northern California has escaped the drought. Can it carry the state?; Despite storms, experts say state still in drought; California storms bring destruction and drought relief; Is California’s drought coming to an end?; Why it will take a ‘family of Baby Godzillas’ to end the drought; Call it the Southern California drought. Rain and snow end Northern California water woes; As rains soak California, farmers test how to store water underground; Delta levees laboring hard in storm’s aftermath; Recent storms devastating to endangered salmon; Lawmakers tour Sites Reservoir project area; Twelve water technology companies to watch in 2017; and more …
On the calendar today …
- The Delta Independent Science Board will meet this morning beginning at 9am. Agenda items include Status of Delta ISB thematic reviews of water quality science, Delta as place, and comprehensive assessment of monitoring; and preparation on upcoming reviews of the California Water Fix Final EIR/EIS and the Delta Plan performance measures. Click here to watch on webcast.
In the news today …
Northern California has escaped the drought. Can it carry the state? “After five years, is the drought over? The feds seem to think so, at least as far as Sacramento and most of Northern California are concerned. Thanks to an unusually wet winter, the closely watched U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday that 42 percent of California now is considered free of drought. That includes Northern California from the Bay Area to the Oregon border. When the “water year” began in October, only 17 percent of the state was drought free, and a year ago the figure was 3 percent. Several other experts agreed that considerable progress has been made in alleviating the drought. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Northern California has escaped the drought. Can it carry the state?
Despite storms, experts say state still in drought: “While the triumphant return to California of pineapple express storms over the last week put a dent in the state’s historic drought, water experts reiterated Thursday that the drought is far from over. … But while the spate of wet weather and Thursday’s drought monitor report appeared to signal good news, indicating that California is slowly creeping out of drought, the weekly federal drought update combined with news footage of dams overflowing and rivers flooding is likely giving residents the wrong impression, according to Ted Thomas of the California Department of Water Resources. ... ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Despite storms, experts say state still in drought
California storms bring destruction and drought relief: “Storms soaking California have lifted rivers over their banks, forced hundreds of people from flooded homes in the north, and left thousands without power. Blizzards and mudslides have closed highways in the Sierra Nevada mountains for days. On Wednesday, a 9,000-pound concrete patio slid down a drenched Los Angeles hillside and crashed onto a road, shutting down a crucial thoroughfare during rush hour, though not injuring anyone. But the destructive deluge has a big perk: All that water is providing some relief to the state’s six-year drought, stoking optimism that there will finally be enough water this year in most places for everything from agriculture to golf courses. ... ” Read more from the Wall Street Journal here: California storms bring destruction and drought relief
Is California’s drought coming to an end? “Go ahead. Google “California” and see what that auto-fill brings you. You guessed it . . . “California drought.” After five long years of Google searches, parched throats, yellowed lawns and having to listen to an endless mantra of water-conservation warnings from every branch of government imaginable, we are now finally out of drought land. Kinda, sorta, but not really. Yes, the 20 inches of rain and 10 foot of snow we’ve received since the new year began helped put us back into the black, meteorologically speaking. As the National Weather Service’s office in Reno tweeted, “Bye bye drought … Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” But hold on. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Is California’s drought coming to an end?
Why it will take a ‘family of Baby Godzillas’ to end the drought: “Winter storms are bringing flooding and heavy snowfall to California this week. In Northern California, the storms have replenished reservoirs to such an extent that experts say much of that part of the state is no longer in a drought. Here in Southern California, while the wetter weather is a welcome respite, the drought is still very much a reality. But could the tipping point be on the horizon? Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, joined Take Two to discuss. ... ” Read more from KPCC here: Why it will take a ‘family of Baby Godzillas’ to end the drought
Call it the Southern California drought. Rain and snow end Northern California water woes: “What was once a statewide drought this week became a Southern California drought. A week of powerful storms has significantly eased the state’s water shortage, pulling nearly all of Northern California out of drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The report underscores what experts have been saying for several months. As a series of storms have hit Northern California this winter, the drought picture there is improving, but water supply remains a concern in Southern California and the Central Valley. More than 40% of the state is no longer in a drought, according to the data released Thursday. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Call it the Southern California drought. Rain and snow end Northern California water woes
As rains soak California, farmers test how to store water underground: “Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy. He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate. Water rushed down a canal and flooded hundreds of acres of vineyards — even though it was wintertime. The vineyards were quiet. Nothing was growing. “We started in February, and we flooded grapes continuously, for the most part, until May,” Cameron says. ... ” Read more from NPR here: As rains soak California, farmers test how to store water underground
Delta levees laboring hard in storm’s aftermath: “You could practically hear 1,100 miles of Delta levees groaning on Thursday as they fought to hold back a thick slug of water still making its way toward San Francisco Bay after this week’s storms. Flows through the estuary were even higher on Thursday than the day before. Every minute, enough water coursed into the Delta to supply a small town for a year. In southern Sacramento County, officials warned residents in a rural area west of Interstate 5 that the levee on the north bank of Lost Slough could fail and that they should be prepared to evacuate. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: Delta levees laboring hard in storm’s aftermath
Recent storms devastating to endangered salmon: “The torrential downpours and flooding we’ve seen lately might be good for the parched, drought-stricken lands of California, but it’s disastrous for endangered salmon. In the North Bay, creeks are muddy and swirling, raging torrents that destroy neatly-laid salmon eggs and provide no shelter for salmon coming in to spawn. “We have eggs that were just recently laid in Lagunitas Creek and other tributaries which have gotten washed away,” said Eric Ettlinger, Aquatic Ecologist with the Marin Municipal Water District. “We also have fish prepared to go into the ocean which hatched a year ago, and they are struggling to find refuge from the high flows.” ... ” Read more from SF Gate here: Recent storms devastating to endangered salmon
Lawmakers tour Sites Reservoir project area: “A dozen lawmakers made the trek to Maxwell, 80 miles north of Sacramento, to find out more about the Sites Reservoir project, which got a boost with the passage of a state water bond. The 14,000-acre proposed water storage facility could cost a whopping $4 billion and would be the first water storage reservoir built in decades. The bus tour included a stop along the Sacramento River where excess water would be pumped 15 miles to the reservoir location named after a pioneer era community. The river was swollen by recent rain storms that required that weirs be opened to prevent flooding. … ” Read more from Fox 40 here: Lawmakers tour Sites Reservoir project area
Twelve water technology companies to watch in 2017: “Water data continues to be a hotbed of innovation and this year things will get even more interesting. Imagine H20, which runs an accelerator program for companies working in the water technology space, just announced 12 new startups that are part of their 2017 cohort. The program offers three key areas for development: mentorship from industry veterans, access to customers and investors, and industry visibility. Each year a theme is picked when recruiting companies. In previous years this has covered infrastructure, food and agriculture, wastewater, consumer innovations, efficiency and the water-energy nexus. But both 2016 and 2017 have focused on water data. “This group is as diverse as any group we have had before – six countries, very different problems being tackled, pre-product to Series B, hardware and software – they have it all,” said Tom Ferguson, vice president of programming at Imagine H20. ... ” Read more from Water Deeply here: Twelve water technology companies to watch in 2017
In commentary today …
Raging streams give argument for Sites, says the Redding Record Searchlight: They write, “Watching all the water raging in area streams, creeks and rivers, pounding over waterfalls and spilling out of Shasta Dam is a welcome sight after years of drought in Northern California. As an atmospheric river brings feet of snow to the mountains and more rain than the valley has seen in years, the Bureau of Reclamation has opened the floodgates, so to speak, and upped flows from Shasta and Keswick dams to clear out room as it expects even more water to pour into the lake. And guess where much of all that beautiful, precious, millions and millions of gallons of water will end up? … ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Raging streams give argument for Sites
Drought is over, so is the window of opportunity, says the Chico Enterprise-Record: “The drought is over — and we’ve wasted a good crisis. OK, the drought isn’t over in the bottom half of the state, where most of the people live. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the state is still considered to be in a drought, according to the U.S. drought monitor. But folks in the rest of the state know how to read, watch TV and share Facebook videos. They see dams spilling. They see the Sacramento Valley flooded. They see almost every highway over the Sierra Nevada closed by snow. They see chair lifts at ski resorts where, instead of being 40 feet off the ground, the riders look like they can reach down and touch the snow. They see headlines like: “California storms add 350 billion gallons to parched reservoirs.” And: “Wow! Sierra snowpack doubles in 10 days.” … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Drought is over; so is the window of opportunity
Life without water or … why the Delta tunnels is so critical to LA: Tony Butka writes, “After the recent defeat of Proposition 53, a Howard Jarvis backed initiative aimed squarely at Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnel project (aka WaterFix), matters are moving forward with the project. The CEQA challenges are now finished, and the resulting a 100,000 page document (I kid you not) is on the Governor’s desk. As General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District, Jeffrey Knightlinger quipped at our DWP meeting that the stack of paper is about 40 feet high, roughly the same as the diameter of the Delta tunnels (irony intended). For reasons that I do not purport to understand, the (Chicago) LA Times is still opposing the tunnels, clear proof that the owners of the Times do not reside in Southern California. ... ” Continue reading at City Watch here: Life without water or … why the Delta tunnels is so critical to LA
In regional news and commentary today …
Klamath Dam removals heavily supported by the community: “Close to 100 people showed up to speak for the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River at a public meeting put on by the California State Water Resource Control Board in Arcata on Thursday evening. The board set out to gather the public’s input on the Clean Water Act application for the dam’s removal, which is part of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, signed last spring by the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, California and Oregon, the U.S. Department of the Interior and Commerce, and PacifiCorp. National resources policy advocate for the Karuk Tribe Craig Tucker said in an earlier statement the agreement to remove the dams last year meant it no longer required congressional approval, but had to go through a permitting process from the Water Board and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Klamath Dam removals heavily supported by the community
Water released from Shasta for first time in six years: “For the first time in six years, water was released Thursday down the spillway at Shasta Dam. As of 10 a.m. water was flowing from five of the openings on the dam, creating a rare display of water cascading down the front of the dam. The release is part of increased water releases this week to make room for more water from storm runoff. ... ” Read more from KRCR here: Water released from Shasta for first time in six years
Russian River level dropping; now comes the work: “Floodwaters from a storm-swollen Russian River finally started receding Thursday evening, allowing residents forced from their homes to begin the painstaking and messy task of cleaning up and repairing damages. “The water’s going down,” Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said. “Now comes the work.” Amid scattered showers, the Russian River finally began dropping below flood stage of 32 feet at 5 p.m. It is expected to continue dropping over coming days, draining low-lying areas around Guerneville and elsewhere that had been swamped with floodwaters. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Russian River level dropping; now comes the work
Bay Area flooding: Multiple Delta levee breaches reported: “After three days of king tides and massive rainfall, levees in the Delta have begun to fail, flooding islands, duck clubs and other land north of Pittsburg, an island owner and emergency official said Thursday. Van Sickle and Grizzly islands, among others, have seen levees overtopped or breached, according to Don Ryan, Solano County Sheriff’s Office emergency services manager. No injuries or evacuations have been reported, he said. “This is mostly private property, often duck clubs … and it’s their responsibility to maintain their own levee system,” he said. … ” Read more from the East Bay Times here: Bay Area flooding: Multiple Delta levee breaches reported
Sacramento: Lost Slough levee breaks, but gets patched up for now: “A levee partially broke late Thursday in the Delta region of south Sacramento County, but officials said the problem was mostly patched up by nightfall. After days of rain and high flows along the Sacramento River, a hole emerged on a levee at Lost Slough, near I-5 in the vicinity of the Cosumnes River Preserve. “It was actually gushing, a pretty big hole,” said spokesman Matt Robinson of the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources. However, he said reclamation district crews were able to “squeeze it off to a small trickle” and the hole was expected to be completely repaired sometime Friday. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Sacramento: Lost Slough levee breaks, but gets patched up for now
Tulare County: Water boundaries spill over the lines: “Despite recent rains that have flooded some parts of the state, and have sent rivers roaring here at home, water management is still an issue. And one agency is still fighting for their seat at the table when it comes to the water beneath their feat. The East Kaweah Ground Water Sustainability Agency (East Kaweah) submitted their map with embedded surprises as it pertains to the Greater Kaweah Ground Water Sustainability (Greater Kaweah). While the cities of Exeter and Woodlake signed Memoran dums of Understanding (MOU) and signed the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to be a member of the Greater Kaweah, they have since been drawn into the East Kaweah map. “We see this as a hostile takeover. We have been a part of the Greater Kaweah GSA since day one,” stated Exeter city manager Randy Groom. … ” Read more from the Sun Gazette here: Water boundaries spill over the lines
Cachuma Lake stays shallow as other area reservoirs rise: “Earlier this week, KCBX reported water reservoirs on the Central Coast have been getting a much-needed recharge from the past month’s rainstorms. Several reservoirs, like Lopez Lake and Lake Nacimiento, have increased by many acre feet. Lopez has seen a rise of six feet in elevation since the fourth of January. Nacimiento rose 23 feet in that same amount of time and 12 feet in just the past three days. However, reservoirs on the southern Central Coast haven’t been receiving nearly as much of a refill. Specifically, Lake Cachuma, which serves the Santa Ynez Valley, Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria. … ” Read more from KCBX here: Cachuma Lake stays shallow as other area reservoirs rise
Winter storms putting dent in drought, as snowpack, groundwater basins rise: “Rain-slicked freeways and homeowners ankle-deep in mudflows notwithstanding, most of Southern California remains in a drought, state and local water officials said Thursday. But recent winter storms chipped away at some of the worst of the drought across the rest of the state. About 42 percent of the state is out of the drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s a significant change from mid-October, when only 16 percent of the state was not in drought. As of Tuesday, the agency reported 27.8 percent of the state remained in extreme or exceptional drought, down from 42 percent in October. Northern California is no longer in a drought; Central and Southern California still are. … ” Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram: Winter storms putting dent in drought, as snowpack, groundwater basins rise
Despite rains, three east San Diego County reservoirs remain at very low levels: “Even after heavy rainfalls doused our region, three East County Reservoirs remain at very low levels. As of January 9th, Lake Morena is at just 2.1 percent of capacity, Barrett Lake is at 5.5 percent, and Sutherland 7.3 percent of capacity, according to the City of San Diego. These are the only local reservoirs not connected to the State Water Project system of canals and aqueducts, thus they are solely dependent on rainfall which has not been enough to replenish large quantities pumped out by the City of San Diego to meet its thirst for water. ... ” Read more from the East County Times here: Despite rains, three east San Diego County reservoirs remain at very low levels
Precipitation watch …
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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.