DAILY DIGEST: Techies and tractors: Silicon Valley’s next big thing is saving water; Oroville Dam: After decades of shattered expectations at Lake Oroville, can residents trust the state?; Calls to rethink the Colorado River’s iconic dams grow louder; and more …

In California water news today, Techies and tractors: Silicon Valley’s next big thing is saving water; Oroville Dam: After decades of shattered expectations at Lake Oroville, can residents trust the state?; Pursuing state, federal aid to cope with spillway crisis on city council agenda; Multimillion-dollar Carmel River channel bore brunt of winter storms, may still support steelhead; June Lake residents eye high country dams as runoff season approaches; SCE says they’re safe; Lois Henry: Groundwater repayment coming due early for some valley farmers; Controversial California water project has new life in Trump era; Website addresses drinking water crisis; and Calls to rethink the Colorado River’s iconic dams grow louder

In the news today …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Techies and tractors: Silicon Valley’s next big thing is saving water:  “When George McFadden sits at his computer to analyze crop photos, he looks like a doctor pointing out trouble spots on an X-ray. He identifies unnatural lines, “blob-like” patterns, and streaks clouding a field. All can indicate a troubling diagnosis.  “Can you see these little dots?” McFadden asks, pointing at a thermal shot of a tomato field that has suffered from a defective irrigation system. The dots on the image revealed that the system’s drip line had tears in it, he says. Watering the field became “like taking a straw, putting a bunch of pinholes in it, and trying to pump water through it.” The tomato grower used the image to show the manufacturer that the irrigation line was defective. ... ”  Read more from the Grist here:  Techies and tractors: Silicon Valley’s next big thing is saving water

Oroville Dam: After decades of shattered expectations at Lake Oroville, can residents trust the state?  “There was going to be a steam train – and a monorail. Plus a major resort featuring a 250-seat restaurant and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. As many as 5 million visitors a year would show up.  When it came to wooing Butte County about the construction of Oroville Dam, state officials weren’t shy about setting grand expectations. In return for losing entire communities and thousands of acres of taxable land, the region would become home to California’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, and a tourist destination akin to Disneyland.  “The construction boom in Oroville is over,” Gov. Ronald Reagan said at the dam’s dedication ceremony in May 1968. “But it will be followed by even larger growth as recreation brings millions to the lake.” ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Oroville Dam: After decades of shattered expectations at Lake Oroville, can residents trust the state?

Pursuing state, federal aid to cope with spillway crisis on Oroville city council agenda:  “The council may approve Tuesday applications for state and federal aid and a letter to Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) relating to the Oroville Dam spillway crisis.  In the letter to LaMalfa, the city council calls for an oversight hearing on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s, or FERC’s, Division of Dam Safety, an analysis of the incident’s impact on the Feather River’s habitat and recreation and a means of discussing effects on the community with FERC, the state Department of Water Resources and water contractors.  The city is trying to figure out how to move forward, with key recreational components out of commission. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Pursuing state, federal aid to cope with spillway crisis on city council agenda

State lowers fish-kill estimates from Oroville hatchery:  “State officials substantially overestimated the numbers of fish that were killed Wednesday at a temporary fish hatchery used since the Oroville Dam crisis in February.  Revised estimates now show that 72,000 fall-run Chinook died Wednesday when a faulty wire shut off a pump at a holding pond, said Harry Morse, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  State lowers fish-kill estimates from Oroville hatchery

‘Green rush’ in Salinas Valley turns chrysanthemums into cannabis:  “A beloved but beleaguered landscape is now sprouting new luxury greenhouses, fueled by a dream of marijuana riches that is changing the people and produce of this corner of Steinbeck Country.  Salinas Valley was once the heart of the nation’s flower-growing business. But now collapsing wood-and-plastic greenhouses are being replaced by tall and gleaming high-tech European structures guarded by gates, barbed wire and cameras.  “We’re rehabbing it — with a new flower,” said Salinas attorney Gavin Kogan, owner of GrupoFLor real estate company, which leases 2.6 million square feet of Monterey County property to several dozen cannabis growers. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  ‘Green rush’ in Salinas Valley turns chrysanthemums into cannabis

Multimillion-dollar Carmel River channel bore brunt of winter storms, may still support steelhead:  “It didn’t take long for Mother Nature to put her stamp on the Carmel River reroute project. She made quite an impression.  An historic series of storms this winter roared through a section of the new Carmel River channel, rearranging a multimillion-dollar creation effort by casting aside boulders and rocks that made up dozens of step pools designed to accommodate migrating steelhead, carrying away giant piles of wood and uprooting much of the fledgling vegetation. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Multimillion-dollar Carmel River channel bore brunt of winter storms, may still support steelhead

June Lake residents eye high country dams as runoff season approaches; SCE says they’re safe:  “Far above June Lake in the high Sierra backcountry, three reservoirs created by three different dams perch in the glacier-carved Rush Creek drainage.  Owned and operated by Southern California Edison, Waugh Lake, Gem Lake and Agnew Lake dams (in order of descending elevation) have formed three lakes, which hold back the waters of Rush Creek until it plunges down to the community of June Lake via a spectacular waterfall at the west edge of town.  The reservoirs are used as a place to store water and for electric power for the company’s Rush Creek Powerhouse, located below the dams. … ”  Read more from the Mammoth Times here:  June Lake residents eye high country dams as runoff season approaches; SCE says they’re safe

Lois Henry: Groundwater repayment coming due early for some valley farmers:  “Fixing our groundwater deficit will be painful.  No way around it.  And growers in the massive Semitropic Water Storage District are learning that sooner than most.  Though the state has set a series of short- and long-term deadlines to restore the depleted water table, Semitropic is so far in the hole it got special legislation passed in September allowing it to ramp up its own timeline — and landowner fees.  It’s holding a vote on Wednesday to slap a $500-per-acre surcharge on any “new” ground developed for farming and is proposing to use satellite imagery to determine exact water consumption by crop. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Groundwater repayment coming due early for some valley farmers

East Valley Water District says it has solved its water quality issue:  “Warm temperatures and the drought set up conditions for East Valley Water District to exceed safe drinking standards for a group of chemicals, the agency’s top executive said Wednesday night.  The standards were exceeded for much of last year and early this year, according to John Mura, general manager and CEO of the water provider for some 70,000 residents in Highland, portions of San Bernardino and unincorporated San Bernardino County.  “This is what happened. But we are not making excuses,” Mura said. “We are taking this super seriously. This will not happen again on our watch.” … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  East Valley Water District says it has solved its water quality issue

Controversial California water project has new life in Trump era:  “Cadiz Inc., which for decades has sought the federal government’s green light to pump groundwater from the Mojave Desert and pipe it to Southern California, has seen the project’s prospects brighten under the Trump administration.  In April, a potential backer of the project was nominated by President Donald Trump to a high-ranking Interior Department post.  In late March, the department’s Bureau of Land Management rescinded two legal directives the Obama administration used in a 2015 decision to block Cadiz from building the 43-mile pipeline. ... ”  Continue reading at the Huffington Post here:  Controversial California water project has new life in Trump era

Website addresses drinking water crisis:  “On Thursday, The Water Foundation launched a website that addresses California’s drinking water crisis. The website, SafeWaterForCA.org, will also be advertised on the radio around the state in areas with high numbers of contaminated water systems.  “Contaminated drinking water is an issue that matters to everyone,” Wade Crowfoot of the Water Foundation said. “Access to safe and affordable drinking water is a human right and we need to be innovative and aggressive in finding solutions. Some of these families have been without clean water for over a decade. That is not acceptable.” ... ”  Read more from the Record-Bee here:  Website addresses drinking water crisis

Calls to rethink the Colorado River’s iconic dams grow louder:  “Tens of thousands of rafters paddle down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park each year, though most don’t scan the Redwall Limestone canyon sides for bore holes around River Mile 39.  But one group of rafters that launched in mid-March was keen to see those holes and the ashy looking sediment piled beneath them. The holes mark the exploratory tinkering of those who were itching to build another dam on the Colorado decades ago. It’s a rare sign of engineering in this remote section of the park known as Marble Canyon, where it is nature’s handiwork that usually takes center stage. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Calls to rethink the Colorado River’s iconic dams grow louder

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

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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