DAILY DIGEST: California’s conservative farmers tackle climate change – in their own way; Have we underestimated the West’s super floods?; DWR excavating diversion pool under emergency federal permit; and more …

In California water news today, California’s conservative farmers tackle climate change – in their own way; Have we underestimated the West’s super floods?; DWR excavating diversion pool under emergency federal permit; The battle to save public drinking fountains from extinction; State grants $1.5 million to keep small communities above water; Congressmen work to establish National Heritage Area for Delta; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) will hold a webinar this morning at 11am.  Click here for more information.
  • Prop 1 Workshop today at 2pm:  The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and California Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a workshop from 2-4 p.m. to discuss their respective Proposition 1 funded grant programs. The purpose of this informal workshop is to provide program information and facilitate a forum for stakeholders to discuss their projects with an emphasis on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Click here for more information.  Remote access available.
  • The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board meets today and tomorrow in Clovis.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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California’s conservative farmers tackle climate change – in their own way:  “Like all California farmers, Don Cameron is used to long dry spells interrupted by wet years. Drought and flood, he says, have always been a way of life in the Golden State.  But in 36 years of farming, Mr. Cameron says he’s never experienced anything like the swings of the past six years.  “We’ve never seen a drought that long or that intense,” says Cameron, general manager of Terranova Ranch, a 7,000-acre farm in Helm, Calif. “And we’ve never seen a change overnight from absolutely nothing in the reservoirs to now, they’re spilling water.”  … ”  Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  California’s conservative farmers tackle climate change – in their own way

Have we underestimated the West’s super floods?:  “In the late 1980s, a Japanese scientist named Koji Minoura stumbled on a medieval poem that described a tsunami so large it had swept away a castle and killed a thousand people. Intrigued, Minoura and his team began looking for paleontological evidence of the tsunami beneath rice paddies, and discovered not one but three massive, earthquake-triggered waves that had wracked the Sendai coast over the past three thousand years.  In a 2001 paper, Minoura concluded that the possibility of another tsunami was significant. But Tokyo Electric Power was slow to respond to the science, leaving the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant unprepared for the 15-meter wave that inundated it in 2011. The wave resulted in a $188 billion natural disaster. More than 20,000 people died. ... ” Read more from High Country News here:   Have we underestimated the West’s super floods?

DWR excavating diversion pool under emergency federal permit:  “The Department of Water Resources can operate the Oroville Dam project in an emergency capacity until Aug. 24.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved an emergency permit for the state water agency Feb. 24, and it is good for six months.  Among the requirements of the permit, the water department must return the area to the way it was before the emergency, and it must comply with recommendations to save wildlife. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  DWR excavating diversion pool under emergency federal permit

The battle to save public drinking fountains from extinction:  “If you were asked where the closest water fountain was, would you know? Some of you may if there’s a working water fountain in your office building, public library or park. Many of you may not know, but almost everyone could point out where to go to buy bottled water.  That’s the assessment of Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the water think tank the Pacific Institute and co-author of a report on health concerns with water fountains.  “I work in downtown Oakland, and there’s a water fountain 100 meters from here, and it has never worked for the 20 years we’ve been here,” said Gleick. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  The battle to save public drinking fountains from extinction

State grants $1.5 million to keep small communities above water:  “When it comes to flood relief and prevention, it’s usually the small rural communities left stranded.  Yolo County has its fair share of waterways and nearby communities, and the overwhelming rains of January and February have shown what nature can do California’s man-made structures.  To help combat future floods in smaller communities, the California Water Resources Department has awarded Yolo County with $1.5 million as part of a Small Communities Flood Risk Reduction Program. According to County spokeswoman, Beth Gabor, the funds will be used to “identify locally supported projects to improve flood facilities and reduce flood risk.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  State grants $1.5 million to keep small communities above water

Congressmen work to establish National Heritage Area for Delta:  “Congressman John Garamendi, D-Solano, and Congressman Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, who represent the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, introduced H.R. 1738, which would establish the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area.  The legislation mirrors S. 731, introduced by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.  S. 731 passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week. … ”  Read more from the Reporter here: Congressmen work to establish National Heritage Area for Delta

In commentary today …

The public needs answers on repairing Oroville Dam, Delta levees, and California Aqueduct, says Jonas Minton:  He writes, “The State Water Project is undoubtedly one of California’s most important infrastructure projects. It is one of the major water supplies for more than 25 million residents and irrigates up to 750,000 acres of farmland. But as it reaches its 50th birthday huge repair and safety costs are coming due. But is anyone paying attention?  Repairs to the Oroville Dam main spillway were initially estimated to be in the $100 million to $200 million range. The Department of Water Resources has already spent that much just in emergency response. Independent experts are now saying that the main and emergency spillways will have to be entirely redesigned and rebuilt. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  The public needs answers on repairing Oroville Dam, Delta levees, and California Aqueduct

In regional news and commentary today …

Lake Oroville looks to have room for incoming runoff:  “Lake Oroville appears to be in good condition to weather the storm expected to arrive Thursday night.  While the storm is expected to drop 3-4 inches of rain in the foothills above the lake, the water level at 3 p.m. Wednesday was 844.21 feet in elevation, more than 56 feet below the lip of the emergency spillway. The lake was holding 2.73 million acre-feet of water, just 77 percent of its 3.54-million-acre-foot capacity, according to the Department of Water Resources website.  DWR told Butte County it expects the lake level to be about 850-852 feet after the storm. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Lake Oroville looks to have room for incoming runoff

Bill would monitor Clear Lake water quality:  “If an assembly bill passes, Lake County will be able to establish a Blue Ribbon Committee to document issues involving Clear Lake water quality.  AS 707 is an effort by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry Assembly to encourage state action on contaminants and cyanobacteria. The proposed committee would be required to meet quarterly and submit annual reports, creating accountable records of the lake and its recovery.  District 3 Supervisor Jim Steele said in order for the Bill to pass, the assemblywoman needs to receive letters of support. This, he explained, would encourage the legislature to get a committee started. … ”  Read more from the Lake Record-Bee here:  Bill would monitor Clear Lake water quality

Muir Woods project would help endangered fish:  “A dearth of endangered coho salmon in Muir Woods has prompted the National Park Service to develop a plan to remove 1930s-era walls, put logs into Redwood Creek and replace foot bridges to improve fish habitat at the national monument.  The Redwood Creek Watershed encompasses an area of nearly nine square miles extending from Mount Tamalpais to the Pacific Ocean, with a key section running through Muir Woods. In that section, the number of coho salmon have plummeted in recent years.  “This plan will help the diminishing coho salmon and address aging infrastructure as well,” said Nathan Sargent, spokesman for the park service. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Muir Woods project would help endangered fish

Merced Irrigation District takes major step to become a Groundwater Sustainability Agency:  “Merced Irrigation District took a significant step forward yesterday in developing a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency. Establishing such an agency is a state-mandated requirement to help communities address local groundwater challenges.  Specifically, the MID Board of Directors voted to proceed with the planned Merced Irrigation-Urban Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MIUGSA). In doing so, the Board authorized the proceedings and documents required to create the local Agency. MID will partner with the Cities of Merced, Atwater and Livingston, as well as Winton Water and Sanitary District, Planada Community Services District, and Le Grand Community Services District, pending their approval. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun Times here:  Merced Irrigation District takes major step to become a Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Inyo Supervisors to meet with LA DWP staff Friday:  “The Inyo County Board of Supervisors will be holding a special workshop with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power staff this Friday. The purpose: coordinate preparations and emergency services for the impending epic spring runoff.  Judging from comments at Tuesday’s regular Board meeting, there seems to be a disconnect between the LADWP and the consortium of county, city of Bishop and state agencies attending an emergency planning session last week.  “We need real working cooperation with DWP,” said Sheriff Bill Lutze. “That’s fallen off with the new staffing. The guys I worked with over the last eight to 15 years are all retired now.” ... ”  Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Inyo Supervisors to meet with LA DWP staff Friday

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority becomes exclusive GSA for Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin:The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) has met the 90-day notice period required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to become a Groundwater Sustainability Agency or GSA. Therefore, the IWVGA is now the exclusive GSA in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin. The last day to file a competing GSA application with the California State Department of Water Resources (DWR) was April 4. No competing GSA applications have been received by DWR. The IWVGA originally filed with DWR to be a GSA on January 4. ... ”  Continue reading at the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority becomes exclusive GSA for Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin

Paso Robles: Board spreads groundwater costs across all taxpayers, could disrupt other agency plans:  “All San Luis Obispo County taxpayers will pay to provide groundwater management plans for property owners in unregulated portions of five severely depleted basins, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday. The 3-2 vote threatens to torpedo efforts by multiple groups to form water agencies.  After hearing more than 50 public comments, the board decided to change the county’s strategy on implementing the state Sustainable Groundwater Management Act at a cost of $6.1 million to $8.6 million in the next three to five years paid by the county’s general fund. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Paso Robles: Board spreads groundwater costs across all taxpayers, could disrupt other agency plans

LAFCO to decide on formation of new Paso Robles water district:  “This week there is a significant public hearing happening at the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, meeting. LAFCO is responsible for creating new government entities among other missions, and on Thursday, the San Luis Obispo LAFCO will be asked to approve the formation of a new, 40,000-acre water district in the Paso Robles area.  Named the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District, or EPC for short, if formed the water district would be “responsible for helping to stabilize the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin,” according to LAFCO, as a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) required by the 2014 state law called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … ”  Read more from KCBX here:  LAFCO to decide on formation of new Paso Robles water district

Precipitation watch …

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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