DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Build it now, fix it later?; Let the lawsuits begin: Delta tunnels get official state green light; Inside the secret lobbying of Trump’s nominee for a top Interior spot; Marijuana farms tap into Carrizo Plain’s scarce water; and more …

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In California water news this weekend, Build it now, fix it later?; Let the lawsuits begin: Delta tunnels get official state green light; Delta tunnels project takes another step forward; California sues to validate bonds for tunnels project; Inside the secret lobbying of Trump’s nominee for a top Interior spot; Ocean fishing, salmon data, and more discussed in Yurok/Siskiyou talk; Agency awaits go-ahead for levee project to protect heart of Yuba City; Big pipeline to protect water lifeline for 500,000 East Bay residents is OK’d; Marijuana farms tap into Carrizo Plain’s scarce water – and San Luis Obispo County is worried; Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority hires legal counsel, prepares for grant applications; Los Angeles restoring water tunnel to capture stormwater runoff; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Build it now, fix it later?  “Even after a decade of studies and tens of thousands of pages of analysis, no one can say precisely what Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels will do to the Delta.  Pushing forward with the $17 billion project despite the uncertainty, backers are promising to evaluate the impacts of the tunnels after they’re built, and potentially change how they are operated as new information comes to light.  This approach generally is endorsed by scientists but comes with a bevy of caution flags, not the least of which is that the water contractors who are paying for the tunnels and will benefit from them apparently would have considerable influence over how they are used. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Build it now, fix it later?

Let the lawsuits begin: Delta tunnels get official state green light:  “Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration gave the official go-ahead Friday for his controversial plan to bore two huge tunnels beneath the heart of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The state Department of Water Resources said it had finalized the lengthy environmental review of the $17.1 billion Delta tunnels project, officially known as California WaterFix. In what’s known as a “Notice of Determination,” regulators said building and operating the tunnels complies with the California Environmental Quality Act and won’t harm fish, wildlife or human health.  The move came as little surprise to those following the decade-long push to build the project. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Let the lawsuits begin: Delta tunnels get official state green light

Delta tunnels project takes another step forward:  “The proposal to build a major tunnel system under the hub of California’s waterworks won another approval Friday when the state finalized its environmental review of the project.  “Today we are approving California WaterFix,” said Cindy Messer, acting director of the Department of Water Resources.  DWR’s blessing was expected. But the long-planned project still needs a number of other permits, as well as the financial support of major water districts, before construction can begin. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Delta tunnels project takes another step forward

State formally approves Delta tunnels:  “State officials on Friday formally decided to build the $17 billion Delta tunnels, setting the stage for a flurry of lawsuits over the next month.  Friday’s decision was no surprise. The state Department of Water Resources has been pursuing the project for more than a decade.  “I think it’s been a foregone conclusion for many years,” said Stockton attorney Dante Nomellini, who represents central Delta farmers. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  State formally approves Delta tunnels

California sues to validate bonds for tunnels project:  “The California Department of Water Resources has filed a complaint for validation of $11 billion in bonds for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel project, California Water Fix, which cleared its final environmental hurdle on Friday.  In the lawsuit filed Friday, the agency says it’s seeking a judgment that confirms the validity of the bonds to fund capital costs of the tunnel project. The project calls for two tunnels up to 150 feet beneath the delta and three new intakes with 3,000-cubic-feet-per-second capacity and an average annual yield of 4.9 million acre-feet. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  California sues to validate bonds for tunnels project

Inside the secret lobbying of Trump’s nominee for a top Interior spot:  “When House Republicans passed a major California water bill on July 12, agribusiness had cause to celebrate.  The measure, now pending in the Senate, seeks to roll back decades of federal environmental restrictions imposed in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River estuary in an effort to prevent the collapse of the region’s famed salmon fishery.  The government would spend billions to build as many as five more dams on the state’s rivers. Growers in the vast Central Valley would get millions more acre feet of federal irrigation water each year. Water allotments and environmental protection for fish, birds and wildlife would be cut back. ... ”  Read more from Reveal News here:  Inside the secret lobbying of Trump’s nominee for a top Interior spot

In commentary this weekend …

Policing our most precious resource:  The San Francisco Chronicle writes, “Water disputes are a fact of life in California, and the recent drought has only increased the stakes in their outcomes. That’s why it is concerning that a Merced Democrat wants to change the resolution process.  In California, one agency administers water rules, plans and policy, while another issues permits and enforces water laws. Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, says a perception of bias taints State Water Resources Control Board policing efforts and dissuades many from rightfully contesting fines or cease-and-desist orders. His remedy, AB313, would create a new entity to hear challenges to enforcement actions and then make recommendations to the state water board. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Policing our most precious resource

Bond should not bail out state on Oroville repairs, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “Too many Californians — voters and politicians alike — think bonds provide a magic money tree to fix all of the state’s problems. Now here we go again.  A state water honcho has for years been talking about putting a multibillion-dollar water bond on the ballot. He postponed trying to advance a water bond on the November 2016 ballot, likely because he needed a selling point.  Now he has a poster child for his idea, a grand and deserving recipient for that largesse: Lake Oroville’s spillway. … ”  Continue reading at the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Bond should not bail out state on Oroville repairs

Another water grab in the House, says the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:  They write, “Northern California water is again on the menu in Washington.  Barely seven months after slipping more Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta water diversions into a bill aiding residents of Flint, Michigan, whose water was tainted by lead, Central Valley lawmakers are back for more.  A bill passed by the House of Representatives would eviscerate environmental protections for the Delta and fisheries, and weaken California’s authority to manage its own water resources. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Another water grab in the House, says the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Ocean fishing, salmon data, and more discussed in Yurok/Siskiyou talk:  “The discussion between the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and Yurok Tribe representatives on Tuesday involved a great deal of data – and what might be done with it to inform efforts to restore salmon populations in the Klamath River system.  Yurok Fisheries Program Manager Dave Hillemeier shared a slide show presentation during the meeting, covering a wide array of Klamath salmon data, including departing juveniles, estimates on how many salmon of each age class are in the ocean, and how many adults return to spawn in a given year. ... ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Ocean fishing, salmon data, and more discussed in Yurok/Siskiyou talk

Agency awaits go-ahead for levee project to protect heart of Yuba City:  “The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency is ready to start work immediately on 2.9 miles of levee that, if not addressed, will likely pose flooding risks to Yuba City residents next winter. The problem is the decision isn’t up to the agency, but rather the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Mike Inamine, executive director of SBFCA, said if the reach of levees from Lynn Way to about Whiteaker Hall on Second Street – basically the heart of Yuba City – is not fixed by the time the Feather River experiences another high-water event, it will pose hazards and consequences for those the structure is intended to protect. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Agency awaits go-ahead for levee project to protect heart of Yuba City

Big pipeline to protect water lifeline for 500,000 East Bay residents is OK’d:  “The water supplier for 500,000 Contra Costa County residents will spend $19.4 million more to protect its main water lifeline from the risks of earthquakes, pollution and leaks — and protect the public from drownings.  The Contra Costa Water District board unanimously approved a contract Wednesday to replace another mile-long, dirt-lined section of the Contra Costa Canal in Oakley with a 10-foot-diameter pipeline between East Cypress Road and Sellers Avenue. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Big pipeline to protect water lifeline for 500,000 East Bay residents is OK’d

Marijuana farms tap into Carrizo Plain’s scarce water – and San Luis Obispo County is worried:  “The parched California Valley is facing a new drain on its limited water supply with a recent boom of cannabis farms in the area, prompting concern from San Luis Obispo County officials and some residents over the long-term impact.  It’s one reason why the county is considering banning cannabis farming in California Valley and the larger Carrizo Plain.  Groundwater is limited in the dry grassland in eastern San Luis Obispo County due to the small amount of rain and water draining into the area from streams, according to the 2012 San Luis Obispo County Master Water Report. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  Marijuana farms tap into Carrizo Plain’s scarce water – and San Luis Obispo County is worried

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority hires legal counsel, prepares for grant applications:  ““There are various different buckets of money,” said Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority acting general manager Alan Christensen at the July 20 IWVGA board meeting. “And we’re coming up on those deadlines.”  In order to meet those deadlines, the IWVGA board voted to help its newly appointed Technical Advisory Committee, with the help of other committees and agents, get to work on the necessary planning and projects so that they are ready to act on those buckets of money— state funded grants—once they become available. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority hires legal counsel, prepares for grant applications

Who runs the Groundwater Authority?  Gleason responds to IWV Water District’s concerns:  “On Thursday evening, Kern County First District Supervisor Mick Gleason spoke with the Daily Independent about claims made by Indian Wells Valley Water District board members and members of the public at the Water District’s July 10 board meeting.  Gleason told the DI, “There were some statements made by various people and board members that were just factually inaccurate.”  At the July 10 Water District meeting, some members of the Water District board had stated, among other concerns, that they felt like Kern County was not allowing enough local participation in the IWV Groundwater Authority. They brought up additional concerns about IWVGA at the Water District workshop on July 13. … ”  Read more from the Daily Independent here:  Who runs the Groundwater Authority?  Gleason responds to IWV Water District’s concerns

Los Angeles restoring water tunnel to capture stormwater runoff:  “Los Angeles is restoring a century-old water tunnel to capture runoff from the Sierra Nevada, which had a record snowfall this winter after years of drought.  The Department of Water and Power is spending $4.5 million to repair and reopen a 2-mile-long tunnel that once carried water from the Los Angeles Aqueduct to a now-defunct reservoir, the Los Angeles Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2tOLfTE).  The tunnel is part of the Maclay Highline system of channels and tunnels that supplied water to homes and farms in Sylmar and the Sunland-Tujunga area. It was dug in 1915, the same year that residents of the San Fernando Valley voted to become part of Los Angeles. ... ”  Read more from US News and World Report here:  Los Angeles restoring water tunnel to capture stormwater runoff

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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