DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Oroville dam operators send more water down wrecked spillway; Repair costs for the troubled Oroville Dam will run much higher than $200 million, official says; State expects variety of large and small projects to seek Prop 1 funds; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Oroville dam operators send more water down wrecked spillway; Hyatt Powerplant restarted at Oroville Dam; Repair costs for the troubled Oroville Dam will run much higher than $200 million, official says; State expects variety of large and small projects to seek Prop 1 funds; After years of drought in the Central Valley, the residents of Hanford are singing in the rain; ACWA, local water leaders call for a collaborative approach to flows in the Bay Delta watershed; Increased fish flows under the Bay Delta Plan criticized; Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought; Video: How California can be smarter about water management; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Oroville dam operators send more water down wrecked spillway:  “Water began gushing down the mangled spillway at Oroville Dam on Friday in what state officials said was the start of a weeklong test to see if the sheared-off chute and the carved-out hillside around it could sustain even more pummeling as flows into Lake Oroville increase during the spring snowmelt.  The floodgates opened at 11 a.m., after the spillway was dry for nearly three weeks, and within an hour the flow had reached a brisk 50,000 cubic feet per second. By the early afternoon, a cascade was flying off the busted concrete spillway, racing through a yawning crater dug out of the earth last month, and joining the Feather River below.  Bill Croyle, acting director of the California Department of Water Resources, which runs the dam, said water will continue to spill for five or six days. The move was necessary, he said, because the elevation of Lake Oroville — the state’s second biggest reservoir — had risen about a foot in the previous 24 hours, to 864 feet above sea level. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Oroville dam operators send more water down wrecked spillway

Hyatt Powerplant restarted at Oroville Dam: “The Oroville Dam spillway has been handling flows since Friday, and the Department of Water Resources does not expect wet weather to interfere.  “We continue to move forward after the reoperation of the main spillway,” DWR Acting Director Bill Croyle said in a press release. “Restarting the Hyatt Powerplant is another positive step in managing outflows from the lake.”  As of Saturday, inflows to the lake were between 11,000 and 26,400 cubic feet per second, according to the release. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Hyatt Powerplant restarted at Oroville Dam

Repair costs for the troubled Oroville Dam will run much higher than $200 million, official says:  “Costs for repairs at the troubled Oroville Dam will be “much higher” than an initial estimate of $100 million to $200 million, a state water official said Friday.  Final plans for how to repair the reservoir’s massive spillway — which eroded and fractured last month, leading to a major crisis — are still weeks away, according to Bill Croyle, acting director for the Department of Water Resources. In the interim, Croyle said, DWR must use the spillway to keep the reservoir from reaching capacity.  The release is expected to last five or six days and should lower the water level from 864 feet to about 838 feet, Croyle said. The capacity of the lake is 900 feet. If the lake level exceeds that, water will overflow and run down the facility’s badly damaged emergency spillway. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Repair costs for the troubled Oroville Dam will run much higher than $200 million, official says

State expects variety of large and small projects to seek Prop 1 funds:  “A state panel expects a variety of large and small proposals as it has begun taking requests for $2.7 billion set aside in the Proposition 1 water bond for new storage.  The California Water Commission opened a five-month application period on March 14 and has scheduled a workshop March 30 for potential applicants to ask questions related to preparing and submitting their documents, which they must do by Aug. 14.  Commission spokesman Chris Orrock said the state received 44 separate “concept papers” over the past year and a half from groups considering seeking funds for everything from large reservoirs to local groundwater recharge projects. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  State expects variety of large and small projects to seek Prop 1 funds

After years of drought in the Central Valley, the residents of Hanford are singing in the rain:  “The grass in the town square was green again, and “Singing in the Rain” was playing at the restored Art Deco theater downtown.  It was maybe a bit warmer than it should have been for March. There were storms expected soon that could bring flooding. And the great California drought might — or might not — really be over.  But there seemed to be a guarded sense of optimism in this Central Valley farm community.  Months ago, when Fox Hanford theater owner Danny Humasom and Zach Rodriguez — the town’s most dedicated film buff — chose to show the classic musical, chances were the title would be nothing more than cruel irony. Rain had been scarce for nearly a decade during the worst drought in California’s modern history. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  After years of drought in the Central Valley, the residents of Hanford are singing in the rain

ACWA, local water leaders call for a collaborative approach to flows in the Bay Delta watershed:  “Saying California is facing a defining moment in water policy that could impact the way water is allocated for years, ACWA and local water leaders today called on the State Water Resources Control Board to embrace a collaborative approach to setting flow and water quality objectives in the Bay-Delta watershed.  The call for a collaborative approach is in response to a State Water Board staff proposal that would require water users to leave significantly more water as “unimpaired flow” in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries in an effort to provide fish and wildlife benefits. ACWA and other stakeholders are urging the State Water Board to set aside its proposed “unimpaired flow” approach and heed Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for negotiated agreements, which have proven successful on many rivers and tributaries in the Bay-Delta watershed. … ” Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  ACWA, local water leaders call for a collaborative approach to flows in the Bay Delta watershed

Increased fish flows under the Bay Delta Plan criticized:  “Friday at noon state water regulators closed the window for public input on a document guiding hotly contested flow increases under the Bay-Delta water quality control plan first-phase.  Weighing in under the wire with sharp criticisms the Modesto (MID) and Turlock (TID) irrigation districts submitted joint comments to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regarding the board’s supporting revised draft substitute environmental document (SED). They also submitted nearly 6,600 petitions gathered as part of a related joint advocacy campaign. ... ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here:  Increased fish flows under the Bay Delta Plan criticized

Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought: “Chapman University has published the results of a state-wide study on the communication campaigns California has been employing to address its ongoing drought. The study looked at current message strategies aimed to reduce residential water use in California.  “What we learned was counterintuitive to what we expected,” said Jake Liang, Ph.D., assistant professor in Chapman’s School of Communication, and lead author on the study. “Conservation campaigns, regardless of the strategy — in general — led to participants having an attitude change in a negative direction — meaning they were less inclined to take action to conserve water after seeing the messages. This calls for a re-examination of the conservation strategies that the state is currently using.” … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought

Video: How California can be smarter about water management: Beyond the big stories of the Delta tunnels and the recent drought, California’s water future also depends on how water will be managed in each region.  While the rainy season has ended the drought for most of the state, those who deal in the complex world of water policy and politics see the urgent need to better manage California’s water and restore the state’s water balance, which has been tilted toward using more than we capture even before the drought. At the most recent California Economic Summit, we talked to Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore and Charles Gardiner, a policy and planning consultant and Summit Action Team member, about how regions will need to adapt to managing their water using more integrated, sustainable, and outcome-based strategies. ... ”  Read/watch from California Forward by clicking here:  Video: How California can be smarter about water management

In commentary this weekend …

State’s current plan for the river spells disaster for our region, say Chuck Winn and Katherine Miller:  They write, “The mission of the State Water Resources Control Board is to balance water allocation and water quality protection for California.  With its latest flows proposal for the San Joaquin River tributaries, the SWRCB does neither and is clearly promoting the governor’s Twin Tunnels project.  Even though the SWRCB cites the need for increased river flows to “improve aquatic ecosystems,” their actions reveal the true intention – which is to move additional water through the damaged Delta to facilitate the export of billions of gallons of water south. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  State’s current plan for the river spells disaster for our region

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Siskiyou County Supervisors look for answers on Klamath flow decision:  “The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors has called on Congressman Doug LaMalfa to help the county find answers about increased flows in the Klamath River during a recent flood event.  The issue reared its head in early February when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin area office planned to increase flows in the Klamath below Iron Gate Dam. BOR had issued a press release on Feb. 9 indicating that flows would be increased Feb. 10-13, partly in response to a court’s order that the agency increase flows to flush from the riverbed worms that carry a parasite dangerous to salmon.  The agency had been sued by the Hoopa and Yurok tribes, which had argued that the agency had failed to produce flows adequate to protect the Klamath’s coho, a species which is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Siskiyou County Supervisors look for answers on Klamath flow decision

Irrigation district’s dam trashed by high Sacramento River flows:  “The Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District diversion dam has withstood flooding and droughts in the Sacramento River for nearly 100 years and remained intact.  But the dam met its match this year when releases into the river from Shasta and Keswick dams were cranked up to more than 80,000 cubic feet per second.  Heavy steel stanchions were twisted and in some cases broken off. The base plates that hold the stanchions were also damaged and warped; some were knocked off their concrete abutments.  During last month’s high flows, water raced over a walkway leading out to the diversion dam and undercut the concrete-covered embankment near the fish ladder and dam. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Irrigation district’s dam trashed by high Sacramento River flows

San Joaquin salmon release“It may not be the way most salmon start their lives.  “I’m rinsing some frozen krill out that we’ve defrosted to add to the feed.” comments Amy Lee, an employee at the San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s salmon facility in Friant.  After being incubated and raised here at the facility this year’s salmon are on track to make it into the San Joaquin River and ideally beyond.  Gerald Hatler has been at the facility since it’s inception, he’s seen releases during years of drought, and is optimistic about the future of those salmon that are being released this Spring. “We released just under 90,000 fish this year and with this current flow conditions it’s highly likely that many of those fish will make it out to the ocean.” … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here:  San Joaquin salmon release

Hetch Hetchy water flowing again after tunnel inspection:  “Water once again began cascading from the heights of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir down through Mountain Tunnel and to faucets across the Bay Area last week.  The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is now delivering 80 million gallons daily from the Harry Tracy and Sunol Valley water treatment plants after a 60-day hiatus. The shutdown was part of an inspection of the 19-mile Mountain Tunnel, which snakes through Tuolumne County just outside of Yosemite National Park. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Hetch Hetchy water flowing again after tunnel inspection

San Luis Obispo County supervisors change policy on groundwater management:  “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) – passed into law in 2014 – for the first time requires organized management of the state’s underground reservoirs of fresh water. It provides a framework for creating new governing agencies to do so,  and requires those agencies to create, maintain and enforce sustainable management plans.  Groundwater is the main water source for Central Coast vineyards and agricultural fields. With the drought came alarm bells that something needed to be done to stop unregulated pumping. Before the act, there was no requirement for users to report how much water they were taking out of the ground. But now there is. … ”  Read more from KCBX here: San Luis Obispo County supervisors change policy on groundwater management

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves bylaws – with a catch:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority unanimously voted to approve the IWVGA bylaws at their monthly board meeting on Thursday, but only after they agreed to remove Article 5. Article 5 explains the structure and role of committees.  The official draft of the bylaws was released at the Feb. 16 IWVGA board meeting. At that time, the board voted to approve the draft, though the bylaws would not take effect until after the March meeting. This would give agencies and the public a month to review the bylaws and return to the March meeting with suggested changes. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves bylaws – with a catch

Lois Henry: Water districts’ split leaves groundwater bank even more up in the air:  “If all had gone as planned six years ago, the failed McAllister Ranch housing development would be brimming with water right now.  Instead, the two agricultural water districts that had hoped to turn the foreclosed subdivision into a groundwater bank are now in court over the 2,000-acre property.  The whirlwind courtship that brought Rosedale-Rio Bravo and Buena Vista water storage districts together, spending $22 million to buy McAllister out of bankruptcy, is officially over.  Buena Vista filed a partition complaint in mid-January seeking a court-ordered sale of the property. …”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Lois Henry: Water districts’ split leaves groundwater bank even more up in the air

Precipitation watch …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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

(Visited 464 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply