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DAILY DIGEST: Sea-level rise in California could be catastrophic, study says; Oroville Dam secrecy frustrating lawmakers as independent review of emergency to begin; Full water allocation comes too late for some farmers; California expects new water-year record to be set this week; and more …

In California water news today, Sea-level rise in California could be catastrophic, study says; Oroville Dam secrecy frustrating lawmakers; Independent review of Oroville Dam emergency to begin; Oroville Dam Spillway: Here’s where things stand; Photos: What It Takes to Repair a Damaged Spillway at the Nation’s Tallest Dam; Full water allocation comes too late for some farmers; California expects new water-year record to be set this week; The drought is over, right?  Not in these four counties; Drought worries over! See water’s dramatic return to California; and more …

In the news today …

Sea-level rise in California could be catastrophic, study says:  “A state-commissioned report on climate change released Wednesday raises the stakes for fighting global warming, offering a clearer and, in some cases, more catastrophic picture of how much sea levels will rise in California.  The Bay Area will see the ocean swell as much as 3.4 feet by 2100 if significant action isn’t taken, the report says. The scientists who produced the study pegged the prospect of that outcome at 67 percent. Tougher action on greenhouse gases would mean a lesser rise of up to 2.4 feet, the study says.  The scope of the likely rise is largely in line with earlier estimates, but not completely. One worst-case scenario says ocean levels could rise 10 feet by century’s end, which would swamp countless homes, roads, harbors and even airports along the coast. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Sea-level rise in California could be catastrophic, study says

Oroville Dam secrecy frustrating lawmakers:  “It’s not just the residents of Oroville, Gridley and Yuba City who are frustrated with the Department of Water Resources’ lack of transparency concerning the Oroville Dam spillways.  Two California legislators who represent those living downstream from the dam are also upset that they aren’t getting answers.  State Senator Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, and Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, published a statement in early April that said written communication between the federal government and the California Department of Water Resources should be made public in the interest of “full transparency.” … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Oroville Dam secrecy frustrating lawmakers

Independent review of Oroville Dam emergency to begin:  “An independent review of the Oroville Dam Spillway emergency is scheduled to start Wednesday.  The review will be done by a team from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  According to the preliminary schedule, the site inspections and meetings will run through Thursday, then the team will meet to come up with a list of possible causes for the spillway failure. Those causes will be taken into account for the interim spillways’ designs next month.  A massive hole in the spillway opened up on February 7. This was followed by an immediate evacuation order for low levels of Oroville and areas downstream on February 12, as officials expected the emergency spillway would fail. ... ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Independent review of Oroville Dam emergency to begin

Oroville Dam Spillway: Here’s where things stand:  “The main spillway at Lake Oroville sat broken and dry Wednesday as construction crews continued to remove debris in anticipation of future repairs.  The Department of Water Resources said it will provide an update Thursday that will address the need for water releases from the lake as well as construction and repair efforts.  The cost to the primary spillway could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to previous statements by DWR Acting Director Bill Croyle. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Oroville Dam Spillway: Here’s where things stand

Photos: What It Takes to Repair a Damaged Spillway at the Nation’s Tallest Dam: ” … These dramatic images show how work is progressing months after the spillway crisis. … ”  View photos at NBC here:  Photos: What It Takes to Repair a Damaged Spillway at the Nation’s Tallest Dam

Full water allocation comes too late for some farmers:  “For the first time since 2006, many farmers in California’s Central Valley will have the water their crops need. But for many farmers in the south part of the valley, the good news leaves them treading water.  Last year, Westlands Water District farmers received only 5 percent of their water allocation, and were told the water could not be used during the irrigation season. This forced them to fallow hundreds of thousands of acres.  But this year, news of an increased water allotment came too late to help. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Full water allocation comes too late for some farmers

California expects new water-year record to be set this week:  “Not only will this week’s incoming storms be packing their usual grab bags of mischief for Northern California – widespread and heavier precipitation, winds gusting up to 30 mph, snowfalls dropping from 5,000 to 3,500 feet – but the systems appear to have their hearts set on breaking one big thing:  The all-time wettest water year on record for the Northern Sierra, the most important source of water for the entire state.  On Wednesday afternoon, as the northern half of the state braced for the first of several weather systems approaching over the next 10 days, the so-called “Northern Sierra eight-station index” sat at 88.2 inches. And that’s just a hailstone’s throw away (.3 inches) from the current record for the water year, which runs from October through September. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California expects new water-year record to be set this week

The drought is over, right?  Not in these four counties:  “Gov. Jerry Brown recently lifted his emergency drought declaration for all of California except four counties: Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne.  These counties tend to rely on groundwater, which takes longer to recharge after a drought than surface water. But that’s not really what keeping the emergency declaration in place is about.  “It’s about the number of communities that have been grappling with severe water shortages,” says Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager for the State Water Resources Control Board. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  The drought is over, right?  Not in these four counties

Drought worries over! See water’s dramatic return to California:  “California Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Friday lifting the state’s drought emergency in all but four counties.  As California’s landscape has turned from brown to green, Getty photographer Justin Sullivan revisited some of the locations where he documented the effects of the drought.  After record rainfall and snow in the mountains, his meticulously composed before-and-after photos dramatize the rising water levels and the return of vegetation to the formerly parched state. … ”  Read more from NBC here:  Drought worries over! See water’s dramatic return to California

California overcame 1/100 odds to beat its epic drought:  “Never tell California the odds. Not only has the state recovered from its record-breaking drought, it did so in record time. According to a new NOAA study looking at 445 years of climate data, California had a 1 percent chance of breaking the drought in just two years.  You remember the drought, right? Between 2012 to 2015, California’s epic dry spell—its worst in recorded history—depleted reservoirs, melted mountain snow, and forced farmers and cities to recklessly suck up groundwater reserves. Things got so dire that, in 2014, governor Jerry Brown signed a state of emergency curtailing water use for cities and official business. … ”  Read more from WIRED Magazine here:  California overcame 1/100 odds to beat its epic drought

California officials want $100 billion dams, roads, and water from Trump.  Will they get it? Increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees approved last week are expected to raise $52.4 billion over 10 years for the state’s backlog of road and bridge repairs. It is, by any measurement, a significant amount of money — Gov. Jerry Brown dubbed the proposal “a hell of a good deal” — but only about half of what the state would ultimately like to put behind large-scale improvements in the Inland Empire and beyond if the federal government is willing.  In early February, Brown’s office released to the Trump administration — through the National Governors Association — a $100 billion wish-list of investments for not only roads and bridges, but energy, military, ports and public transit, some 51 projects total. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  California officials want $100 billion dams, roads, and water from Trump.  Will they get it?

In commentary today …

A race to the top: Who will be the pioneer of direct potable reuse?  Sean Bothwell writes,The California drought has created a race to the top. Amid all the social, economic and environmental havoc, there is a quiet competition underway to see who will emerge as the leader in water innovation. Which community will be drought-resilient? Who will provide their community with reliable, inexpensive water, even during a crisis?  There is no silver bullet to becoming drought-resilient, but direct potable reuse provides communities with considerable security in an uncertain hydrologic future. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  A race to the top: Who will be the pioneer of direct potable reuse?

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath: Fishing restrictions advised due to plunging salmon stocks:  “A record low number of adult Chinook salmon is expected to return to West Coast rivers this fall, leading regulators on Tuesday to recommend drastic cuts and bans on Pacific Coast fishing.  Ancient West Coast salmon populations have been decimated by a deadly combination of warm river temperatures and a diminished plankton food supply due to California’s drought. As a result, the Pacific Fishery Management Council said it plans on closing commercial fishing in parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California in order to protect dwindling endangered Klamath River Chinook salmon. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Klamath: Fishing restrictions advised due to plunging salmon stocks

Army Corps to study whether winter storms undid Napa River dredging:  “A private company will soon have the go-ahead from city and state to manage commercial activities at Napa’s Main Street Boat Dock, but the effect of heavy storms last winter on river sedimentation raises question marks.  Tideline Marine Group is poised to start a seven-year contract to run daily operations at the downtown landing below Napa’s Riverfront under a contract the city approved last year. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here:  Army Corps to study whether winter storms undid Napa River dredging

Go it alone on groundwater, Vacaville City Council says:  “The city should form its own groundwater sustainability agency, say Vacaville City Council members who cited the need to protect the municipality’s water interests.  “We have to protect what’s ours,” Vice Mayor Dilenna Harris said. “I don’t want to jeopardize anything we’ve done.”  Councilman Mitch Mashburn said he does not want to give up Vacaville’s autonomy on groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Go it alone on groundwater, Vacaville City Council says

Report: Rising seas pose risk to San Mateo County:  “The perils of rising seas, increased incidents of coastal erosion, billions of dollars of at-risk infrastructure and a push for a regional response to addressing the effects of climate change are highlighted in a first-of-its kind study for San Mateo County.  Community meetings will be held this month after the county’s Office of Sustainability released its draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. Its first major report is part of its Sea Change SMC program, an initiative that began about two years ago. Determining what’s at risk is one of the first steps in the regional effort to adapt and prepare for climate change.  Short of taking action, the report notes that nearly $1 billion worth of property is at risk to near-term flooding, and nearly $34 billion is vulnerable to erosion and long-term flooding, according to the report. Bay Area seas have already risen 8 inches in the last century and scientists predict another 5 inches to 2 feet of additional rise in the region by 2050, according to the report. … ”  Read more from the San Mateo Journal here:  Report: Rising seas pose risk to San Mateo County

Westside has full supplies for the first time since 2006:  “Full water deliveries have returned to the last of the West Side irrigation districts affected by federal water cutbacks in recent years.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday that it will provide 100 percent of the contract amounts this year to a class of customers that had suffered the worst during the drought. This has not happened since 2006.  The news came too late for some farmers, who have already planted based on the earlier projection of 65 percent for 2017. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Westside has full supplies for the first time since 2006

Shandon-San Juan residents vote to form a Paso Robles groundwater basin district:  “Shandon-San Juan residents voted Tuesday to create the first water district in the troubled Paso Robles groundwater basin made up entirely of landowners seeking a voice in developing sustainable water management strategies to prevent overpumping.  Sixty-eight landowners were eligible to participate in the vote-by-mail special election, and 59 cast ballots — unanimously voting in favor of creating the district, according to unofficial results from the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.  Five candidates also ran for five seats on the water district’s board. Willy Cunha, Marshall T. Miller, Kevin A. Peck, Steven J. Sinton and Matt Turrentine were all elected. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Shandon-San Juan residents vote to form a Paso Robles groundwater basin district

Water district ID-1 to consider forming groundwater sustainability agency for Santa Ynez River basin:  “Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District Improvement District No. 1 trustees will consider forming a groundwater sustainability agency and will hear a report on the formation of a community services district for Los Olivos when they meet Tuesday, April 18.  The meeting is set for 3 p.m. in the Santa Ynez Community Services District conference room at 1070 Faraday St. in Santa Ynez.  Trustees will hold a public hearing on a proposal to enter a memorandum of agreement with the city of Solvang and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency to form a groundwater sustainability agency. … ”  Read more from the Santa Ynez Valley News here:  Water district ID-1 to consider forming groundwater sustainability agency for Santa Ynez River basin

Apple Valley: Economist: ‘Risks of a water system takeover are high’:  “A new analysis of the town’s ongoing water-system acquisition effort shows that water rates could be significantly higher under municipal ownership, a conclusion that contradicts assertions made by public officials.  Conducted by economist John Husing, the analysis focuses on Measure F, which Apple Valley residents will vote on in a June 6 special election. Utilizing data from previously published research, Husing analyzed the potential impact incurring 30 years of revenue-bond debt might have on the town and its residents.  According to the analysis, which looked at multiple possible cost scenarios, a $150 million bond paid back over 30 years at a maximum 12 percent interest rate — figures associated with Measure F — would result in much higher rates for customers. ... ”  Read more from the Victorville Daily Press here:  Apple Valley: Economist: ‘Risks of a water system takeover are high’

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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