DAILY DIGEST: Westlands irrigation drainage bill moves forward, but long-term fate uncertain; Another Oroville Dam document sealed – for now; What will it take to develop California’s statewide water data platform? and more …

In California water news today, Westlands irrigation drainage bill moves forward, but long-term fate uncertain; Another Oroville Dam document sealed – for now; What will it take to develop California’s statewide water data platform?; Little Hoover Commission hearing highlights water quality impacts of tree mortality crisis; California Senate passes bill that would boost stormwater projects; California proposes stringent cap on toxic chemical in drinking water; California lifts drought restrictions on water suppliers; California says oceans could rise higher than thought; U. S. drought reaches record low as rain reigns; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council meets this morning at 9am. The Council will discuss the revised discussion draft of the Delta Plan amendment for Conveyance, Storage and Operations.  Click here for the meeting notice.
  • The Central Valley Flood Protection Board meets this morning at 9am.  Agenda items include an update from the Army Corps on Folsom Dam modifications and an update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan update.  Click here for the agenda.
  • Tomorrow, the Delta Conservancy is hosting waterway cleanups in conjunction with Creek Week.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Westlands irrigation drainage bill moves forward, but long-term fate uncertain:  “A controversial California irrigation drainage deal designed to resolve one of the West’s trickiest, most expensive and longest-running water problems won approval from a key House of Representatives panel Thursday.  But the debate – and uproar over the proposal – is only beginning, and its long-term fate is uncertain.  On a mostly party-line 23-16 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill to settle the irrigation dispute between the mammoth Westlands Water District and the federal government. The measure relieves Westlands of a big construction debt, and in turn shifts the burden for solving the toxic drainage problem from the government to the water district. … ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  Westlands irrigation drainage bill moves forward, but still a long way to go

Another Oroville Dam document sealed – for now“California officials are keeping another document on the Oroville Dam recovery sealed from public view but promise to release a redacted version within a week.  The Department of Water Resources filed an update Thursday from the outside consultants advising DWR on Oroville repairs. The report was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which licenses the dam and ordered DWR to hire the consultants shortly after the crisis erupted at Oroville in February.  DWR officials say the consultants’ reports contain information that could compromise national security. The group’s first report wasn’t sealed, which DWR called a mistake. The second and third reports were initially sealed but DWR released redacted versions in response to an outcry from elected officials and others. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Another Oroville Dam document secret for now

What will it take to develop California’s statewide water data platform? Plans to create a statewide water data platform for California are coming into focus.  This spring the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) jointly submitted a budget proposal that would put $2.9 million in fiscal year 2017-18 and more than $2 million each year thereafter toward the platform’s development and maintenance.  The proposal includes support for eight staff, purchasing of technology solutions and vendor resources. … ”  Read more from Government Technology here:  What will it take to develop California’s statewide water data platform? 

Little Hoover Commission hearing highlights water quality impacts of tree mortality crisis: “As part of a series of hearings on California’s tree mortality crisis, the Little Hoover Commission Thursday discussed the impacts of the crisis on counties, water supply and quality, utilities, and the ecosystem, and how best to address policy solutions.  Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) General Manager David Eggerton was among the hearing’s speakers which also included representatives from Tuolumne, Madera and Tulare counties, the Department of Insurance, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sierra Pacific Industries, Sierra Forest Legacy and The Nature Conservancy. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Little Hoover Commission hearing highlights water quality impacts of tree mortality crisis

California Senate passes bill that would boost stormwater projects: A bill that would make it easier for local agencies to build projects to capture storm water and boost water supplies has passed the California state Senate. The measure, authored by Democratic state Senator Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys, would change the way the projects could be financed.  Proponents of the legislation say projects that clean, capture and recycle storm water can’t get built very easily in California. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California Senate passes bill that would boost stormwater projects

California proposes stringent cap on toxic chemical in drinking water:  “California regulators are proposing a strict limit on a toxic man-made chemical that has contaminated water supplies throughout the state, particularly in its vast agricultural heartland.  California would be the second state, after Hawaii, to establish a threshold for the former pesticide ingredient and industrial solvent known as TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) in drinking water. The chemical compound, identified in California as a human carcinogen, is no longer in wide use but has leached over the years into many wells and reservoirs in California and other states. … ”  Read more from California Healthline here:  California proposes stringent cap on toxic chemical in drinking water

California lifts drought restrictions on water suppliers:  “After two years of being held to strict drought-inspired conservation laws, California’s over 400 water suppliers are free to sell as much water as their customers will buy.  Drought regulators on Wednesday rescinded the state’s “stress test,” which required urban water suppliers to certify they have enough water to endure at least three consecutive years of drought. The decision to nix conservation requirements comes nearly three weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown ended the state’s three-year emergency drought declaration. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News here:  California lifts drought restrictions on water suppliers

California says oceans could rise higher than thought:  “New climate-change findings mean the Pacific Ocean off California may rise higher, and storms and high tides hit harder, than previously thought, officials said.  The state’s Ocean Protection Council on Wednesday revised upward its predictions for how much water off California will rise as the climate warms. The forecast helps agencies in the nation’s most populous state plan for climate change as rising water seeps toward low-lying airports, highways and communities, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. … ”  Read more from CBS Channel 8 here:  California says oceans could rise higher than thought

Trump a ‘wrecking’ ball on the environment:  “In a Trump administration beset by lost opportunities, muddled strategies and frequent missteps in its first 100 days, one area stands out for its disciplined approach and early successes: the multi-front assault on environmental regulations.  Unlike the Obamacare repeal debacle or immigration actions now tangled in the federal courts, the administration has managed in just a few short months to upend numerous hard-fought environmental protections and climate actions that the fossil fuel industries have been targeting for years. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Trump a ‘wrecking’ ball on the environment

U. S. drought reaches record low as rain reigns:  “Drought in the U.S. fell to a record low this week, with just 6.1% of the lower 48 states currently experiencing such dry conditions, federal officials announced Thursday.  That’s the lowest percentage in the 17-year history of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report. The previous record low occurred in July 2010, when 7.7% of the contiguous U.S. was in a drought.  “Drought has certainly been disappearing at a rapid rate this spring,” said meteorologist Brad Rippey of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The five-year drought in California is practically over, with only about 8% of the state currently in drought. ... ”  Read more from USA Today here:  U. S. drought reaches record low as rain reigns

In commentary today …

Cadiz plan a vetted project that will bring jobs, water, says Paul Granillo:  He writes, “Earlier this month, the Interior Department reversed course on a controversial policy that blocked the development of much needed infrastructure, water and jobs in Southern California, including the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery & Storage Project. The Cadiz Water Project is a public-private partnership of Cadiz Inc. and Southern California public water agencies that will capture and conserve groundwater presently lost to evaporation at Cadiz Inc.’s private agricultural property in the Mojave Desert and make it available as a new water supply for 400,000 Southern Californians. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Cadiz plan a vetted project that will bring jobs, water

In regional news and commentary today …

Oakland OKs contract to avoid bay sewage spills:  “The city will spend more than $4 million this year to upgrade its sewers, part of a 22-year improvement of its aging system.  The upgrades are required under a 2014 agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce sewage spills into the bay. That $300 million program is proceeding ahead of schedule, according to the Public Works Department.  The City Council recently approved three contracts for a combined $4.1 million for some of that work, to be completed by fall. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Oakland OKs contract to avoid bay sewage spills

San Jose city council and water district to hash out solutions following flood:  “In the wake of February’s massive Coyote Creek flood, San Jose and Santa Clara Valley Water District officials clashed over why residents weren’t warned, how communication about the flood risk broke down and who is responsible for clearing junk from the creek.  Two months later, the two sides are coming together in a joint meeting Friday to clarify their roles, develop a plan to monitor and assess flood threats and improvement projects to reduce future flood risks.  “We will be discussing and reviewing current and future plans to improve flood prevention and communications between the district and the city,” said John Varela, chair of the water district’s board of directors.  … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  San Jose city council and water district to hash out solutions following flood

Owens Valley: Time for some water-table baseline management, says Phillip Anaya:  He writes, “A miracle is in the making in the Owens Valley . For the first time in 48 years the Eastern Sierra has more snowpack, more runoff, than we know what to do with . Although flooding and its effects loom large in the immediate future, the miracle of 2017 are the effects of the possible recovery of our water tables and those lands affected by drought and the export of waters.  Although the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is in its initial formation process there is this opportunity for the Owens Valley to begin and achieve the 2042 Sustainability Requirement now in 2017 fully 22 years ahead of that schedule.  Now this may seem like a Hollywood movie but this is real and this can happen if the LADWP and Inyo County can immediately come to grips with a plan. ... ”  Read more from Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley: Time for some water-table baseline management

LADWP’s Owens Valley Flood ‘Emergency’ is an Answered Prayer for the Paiute and Shoshone, says Anna Hohag:  She writes, “On March 20, the Mayor of Los Angeles issued an emergency declaration for the Owens Valley as a response to the record snowpack that fell upon the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With snowpack levels in the Eastern Sierra registering at 241 percent of normal, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is expecting one of the largest snowpack runoffs from the watershed in the over 100-year history of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. To put this into perspective, up to 1 million acre-feet of water, about twice the amount of water that residents of Los Angeles consume in a year, is anticipated to flow through the aqueduct system from the Owens Valley. ... ”  Read more from KCET here:  LADWP’s Owens Valley Flood ‘Emergency’ is an Answered Prayer for the Paiute and Shoshone

Santa Barbara: Work underway to return half-century old golf course on South Coast to native wetlands: You hear a mix of nature, and man in some wetlands near UC Santa Barbara.  There’s the chirping of birds, the wind blowing through brush, and the sound of earth movers off in the dance.  Usually, the sound of earthmovers around wetlands is a bad thing for the environment, because it means development is taking away a slice of nature. But, bulldozers are going to be moving here on UCSB’s North Campus to help nature, by returning a half century old golf course to wetlands. … ”  Read more from KCLU here:  Work underway to return half-century old golf course on South Coast to native wetlands

Santa Clarita: New water bill gets unanimous support in Committee:  “SB 634 seeks to establish a regional water agency for the Santa Clarita Valley. The Senate Committee on Governance and Finance approved Senate Bill 634 with a 6-0 vote.  “I am very pleased the Committee sees the value in a creating a new state water agency that will reflect the values of transparency and accountability in the Santa Clarita Valley’s water delivery,” said Wilk. “I want to ensure that residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have a first class water provider.” … ”  Read more from KHTS here:  Santa Clarita: New water bill gets unanimous support in Committee

Desert groundwater at stake as Joshua Tree pumping plan moves forward: Federal land managers have advanced plans for a $1.4 billion energy-storage project in which desert groundwater would be pumped to high-elevation reservoirs near Joshua Tree National Park and then released downhill to generate electricity.  Late last week, the Bureau of Land Management found that using 1,150 acres of public land — mainly for the project’s power and water lines — would not cause significant harm to the environment. The acreage stretches between Interstate 10 and the national park. The finding moves the project, which was licensed by federal energy officials in 2014, into a 30 day period to allow for official protests. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Desert groundwater at stake as Joshua Tree pumping plan moves forward

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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