DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Is ‘green spot’ a sign of more trouble for Oroville Dam?; Retrofit planned for San Luis Dam; Officials: Bill would end Trinity River fish disease preventative flows, Humboldt County’s water right; Interior Dept’s new mission: To make money; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Is ‘green spot’ a sign of more trouble for Oroville Dam?; Retrofit planned for San Luis Dam; Officials: Bill would end Trinity River fish disease preventative flows, Humboldt County’s water right; A new gold rush is on, sparked by California’s post-drought snowmelt; Mapping coastal flood risk lags behind sea level rise; The US Interior Department has a new mission: To make money; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Is ‘green spot’ a sign of more trouble for Oroville Dam?  “From Day 1 of the Oroville spillway crisis in February, the California Department of Water Resources has never wavered in its declarations that, despite the disintegration of the massive concrete flood control outlet and a near-disaster caused by uncontrolled emergency reservoir flows down a rapidly eroding hillside, the stability of the massive dam itself was not and has never been threatened.  Despite those oft-repeated assurances, public questions about the dam’s integrity have persisted — in internet forums, in community meetings and, most recently, in a report released last week under the auspices of UC Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Is ‘green spot’ a sign of more trouble for Oroville Dam?

Retrofit planned for San Luis Dam:  “A long-term retrofit project to raise and strengthen B.F. Sisk Dam, commonly referred to as the San Luis Dam, is moving through the planning process and could break ground in three years.  Project leaders, while stressing that the chances of a dam failure are remote, said the planned retrofit is necessary to bring the structure up to current seismic safety standards.  The 300-foot high earthen dam was constructed 50 years ago as a joint project providing irrigation water storage for the federal Central Valley Project and municipal and industrial water for the State Water Project. ... ”  Read more from Westside Connect here:  Retrofit planned for San Luis Dam

Officials: Bill would end Trinity River fish disease preventative flows, county water right:  “Local tribal and government officials say a bill currently under U.S. Senate review would virtually end Trinity River dam water releases used to prevent fish kills and do away with Humboldt County’s 60-year right to river water in favor of providing more water to Central Valley irrigators.  California Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said the bill — HR 23 introduced by California Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) — is but one of several attempts over the years by Central Valley water contractors and suppliers, namely the Fresno-based Westlands Water District, to redirect more Trinity River water for their own interests. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Officials: Bill would end Trinity River fish disease preventative flows, county water right

A new gold rush is on, sparked by California’s post-drought snowmelt:  “The state’s historic drought has ended. Riverbeds, once dry, are torrents, and California’s Gold Country is living up to its reputation.  Standing on a narrow bridge over Eagle Creek, weeks before the Detwiler fire ravaged the foothills to the south, Robert Guardiola watches nearly 40 miners spread out. Wearing knee pads and waders, they have begun to organize their equipment — buckets and classifiers, hog pans and cradles — along the edge of the stream.  Some cut into sand bars with their shovels; others adjust their sluices half in and out of the flowing water. A few have begun swirling mud in their gold pans. … ” Read more from the LA Times here:  A new gold rush is on, sparked by California’s post-drought snowmelt

Mapping coastal flood risk lags behind sea level rise:  “Sea levels are rising and climate scientists blame global warming. They predict that higher seas will cause more coastal flooding through this century and beyond, even in places that have normally been high and dry.  But mapping where future floods will strike has barely begun.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps where people are at moderate or high risk of flooding. Most people with property in hazardous areas — where the annual risk of a flood is one in a hundred or more — are required by law to buy federal flood insurance from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. ... ”  Read more from OPB here:  Mapping coastal flood risk lags behind sea level rise

The US Interior Department has a new mission: To make money:  “Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. agency that manages the national park system is tweaking its mission to include a new priority: Generating cash.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke aims to retool the agency into a federal profit center focused on increasing energy production, according to a plan laid out by his special adviser, Vincent DeVito.  “Our objective here is to bring as many resources online as responsibly as we can,” DeVito said during an event in Washington Thursday. “We are changing the way the government is doing business.” … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here:  The US Interior Department has a new mission: To make money

In commentary this weekend …

Modernizing the Delta: Time for a decision, says Jeffrey Kightlinger:  He writes, “The decades-old water system in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that supplies water to two-thirds of all Californians is a classic case of aging infrastructure. The problem is compounded by a declining ecosystem and 1,100-mile levee system that are increasingly vulnerable. As a state, we now have the opportunity to modernize this system so it can continue to deliver water to 25 million Californians and millions of acres of farmland.  State and federal agencies have been working toward a solution for more than 10 years, a process that has included the most comprehensive environmental analysis ever undertaken for an infrastructure project. ... ”  Read more from the CA State Treasurer’s Office here:  Modernizing the Delta: Time for a decision

The real costs of the California Water Fix:  Barbara Barrigan-Parilla writes,Californians will face huge costs and unreliable deliveries from the climate change-sensitive California WaterFix, a two-tunnels water diversion project that would continue to over-extract water from the San Francisco Bay-Delta.  CA WaterFix’s construction cost alone starts at $17 billion in 2017 dollars, according to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, excluding annualized operating costs and debt service. It will take 17 years to complete the project, causing major economic, environmental, and community disruptions throughout the Delta. After 11 years, the project still has no clear finance plan and is only 10% designed. … ”  Read more from the CA State Treasurer’s Office here:  The real costs of the California Water Fix

The new general in the state’s water wars:  “There’s an old saying in the West that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.  As the state’s next water resources director, Grant Davis will be on the front lines of California’s water wars.  Davis, the general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency since 2010, was tapped 10 days ago by Gov. Jerry Brown to head an agency with a $3.2 billion budget and responsibility for one of the world’s largest water delivery systems, serving more than 25 million people, businesses and farms as well as wetlands, wildlife habitat and other natural resources. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  The new general in the state’s water wars

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Lake Tahoe’s waters continue to warm, and thousands of trees are dying:  “Lake Tahoe’s famously clear waters continue to warm, and the surrounding forests face dire threats due to drought, disease and insects, according to the annual Tahoe State of the Lake report by researchers at UC Davis.  The second deepest lake in the United States after Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe has warmed by half a degree Fahrenheit each year for the past four years — 14 times faster than the historic rate, the report said. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Lake Tahoe’s waters continue to warm, and thousands of trees are dying

Lodi: Water meters to be installed by November:  “Installation of new water meters in Lodi is currently in phase seven of eight, consisting of 900 new meters and 2.4 miles of pipeline, according to Public Works Director Charlie Swimley, who estimates that this phase will be complete by November of this year.  The project first began in 2011, when the Lodi City Council approved $5.7 million to install the new meters in compliance with AB 2572, a bill passed in 2004 mandating water meters in all California cities by 2025. … ”  Read more from the Lodi News-Sentinel here:  Lodi: Water meters to be installed by November

New drinking water regulation costly for Turlock:  “A new drinking water regulation from the State Water Resources Control Board will mean millions of dollars in new equipment and maintenance for Turlock’s well system.  The State Water Board adopted a regulation on July 18 that creates a maximum allowable level of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) — an industrial solvent that has been found as an impurity in soil fumigants and persists in groundwater. In 2013, the California Environmental Protection Agency designated TCP as a human carcinogen.   “Farmers didn’t know they were putting this on their land, they complied with all applications of their soil fumigants,” said Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke during a presentation about the new regulation to the Turlock City Council on Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  New drinking water regulation costly for Turlock

Bakersfield: Watermaster and the city agree: Water in the Kern River into 2018:  “Anyone who cares about seeing water in the riverbed as it runs through Bakersfield knows what a great summer it’s been.  …  After years of drought, and years of seeing only an arid riverbed running through town, the question had to be asked:  How much longer will we see water in the river as it winds through Bakersfield? … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Bakersfield: Watermaster and the city agree: Water in the Kern River into 2018

Santa Clarita:  Agency finds itself awash in wet water year:  “Emerging from a wet winter, state water officials were able to set aside 50,000 acre-feet of water for the Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler, the Castaic Lake Water Agency.  How much water is that? It’s about 50,000 football fields each under one foot of water.  This water earmarked for CLWA use is called “carryover” water.  Unlike managing water in a drought year, when every drop of water is used, the agency couldn’t use its 50,000 acre-feet of “carryover” water in this current wet year. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Santa Clarita:  Agency finds itself awash in wet water year

Along the Colorado River …

Eastern Nevada pipeline foes get their day in court:  “Three years and two dozen motions later, a federal court in Las Vegas will hear a lawsuit Monday that seeks to block the Southern Nevada Water Authority from siphoning groundwater from a 300-mile swath of eastern Nevada.  A coalition of local governments, tribes and environmental groups in Nevada and Utah sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior in February 2014 for granting a right of way to the massive network of pumps and pipes the water authority wants to build to deliver more water to Las Vegas. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Eastern Nevada pipeline foes get their day in court

Las Vegas water pipeline fight to go before a federal judge:  “A decades-long fight over a plan to pump water from arid and sparsely populated valleys along Nevada’s eastern edge and pipe it to thirsty Las Vegas is about to get its first hearing before a federal judge.  Environmental groups and American Indian tribes are expected to tell U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon in Las Vegas on Monday that a proposed 263-mile (423-kilometer) north-to-south water pipeline just west of the Nevada-Utah state line amounts to a city water grab supported by incomplete and inadequate federal environmental studies. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Las Vegas water pipeline fight to go before a federal judge

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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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where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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