DAILY DIGEST: Why California has tossed the drinking water limit on chromium-6; New water bonds could go before voters in 2018; First step in implementing groundwater law successful; Farm groups sue feds over habitat designations; and more …

In California water news today, Why California has tossed the drinking water limit on ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical; State Water Board rescinds chromium-6 MCL pending further economic analysis; New water bonds could go before voters in 2018; First step in implementing groundwater law successful; Farm groups sue feds over habitat designations; House bill redirects river flows from fish to farms; State’s June water savings down to 17.4%; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Why California has tossed the drinking water limit on ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical:  “California’s water agency Tuesday agreed to eliminate the cap on hexavalent chromium in drinking water, the toxic chemical made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.”  The State Water Resources Control Board said it removed the cap after a Sacramento judge ruled in May that its regulation was invalid. Spokesman Andrew DiLucca said the board would begin work quickly on a new version of the regulation, although the process generally takes 18 to 24 months. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Why California has tossed the drinking water limit on ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical

State Water Board rescinds chromium-6 MCL pending further economic analysis:  “The State Water Resources Control Board in a unanimous vote Tuesday rescinded the state’s Chromium-6 maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 parts per billion. The action follows a May 5 ruling by the Sacramento County Superior Court ordering the State Water Board to withdraw the MCL pending a more thorough study of its economic feasibility.  During the hearing, State Water Board staff outlined plans to create economic feasibility study guidelines in the coming months, as previously directed by the board. The guidelines are intended to ensure that economic feasibility studies are transparent and comprehensive. ... ” Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  State Water Board rescinds chromium-6 MCL pending further economic analysis

New water bonds could go before voters in 2018:  “On the assumption that one year of heavy rainfall hasn’t erased Californians’ memories of the severe drought that preceded it, state lawmakers and other proponents have drafted measures that could go before California voters in 2018, seeking investments in various projects dealing with water and the environment.  Four new bond proposals pertaining to water and the environment have been filed with the state or are currently pending in the state Legislature. California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley, who is analyzing the proposals, said they contain resources intended to address a variety of California water challenges. These include safe drinking water and water quality, water efficiency and recharging groundwater supplies. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  New water bonds could go before voters in 2018

First step in implementing groundwater law successful:  “California was one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into law in 2014.  The first major hurdle under the law was determining who would manage groundwater basins. The law required the formation of local governing agencies, known as “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” or GSA’s.  Landowners, public agencies, counties or other groundwater users in the basin could form GSA’s. They had until June 30 to complete the process.  ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  First step in implementing groundwater law successful

Farm groups sue feds over habitat designations:  “Three California farm groups are suing the federal government over critical-habitat designations that could interfere with grazing and other activities.  In a complaint filed July 31 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the farm groups allege the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t adequately consider the economic and local government impacts of the designations.  The suit challenges the agency’s 2016 decision to set aside 1.8 million acres in Northern and Central California as critical habitat for the Yosemite toad and two yellow-legged frog species in the Sierra Nevada. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here:  Farm groups sue feds over habitat designations

House bill redirects river flows from fish to farms:  “Republican-backed federal legislation with strong support from agricultural communities in California aims to eradicate salmon from much of the San Joaquin River. It will nullify numerous laws protecting wetlands and waterways in order to provide farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with more northern California water.  Environmentalists and fishery advocates are characterizing the bill, H.R. 23, or the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, as one of the most aggressive attempts ever taken by the political allies of farming interests to divert maximum flows of water south from the Delta.  The 134-page bill strikes from existing laws a multitude of provisions that currently require water for fish and replaces them with measures that would redirect flows toward farmland. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  House bill redirects river flows from fish to farms

State’s June water savings down to 17.4%: “Statewide water savings slipped in June to 17.4 percent of that in the same month in 2013, the state Water Resources Control Board announced Tuesday.  That’s the lowest monthly conservation rate since February 2016, which saw savings of 11.9 percent compared to the benchmark pre-drought year.  Local districts did much better than the state average, ranging from 25-40 percent water use reductions compared to June 2013. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  State’s June water savings down to 17.4%

In commentary today …

California to protect ponds, and puddles from paving, plowing, and Trump:  Susan Shelley writes, “Before polite society decided that the preferred term was “wetlands,” there were a lot of jokes about swamps.  Mostly the jokes related to real-estate scams. During a 1920s land boom in Florida, con artists swindled credulous out-of-town investors by selling them land on an installment plan. Only after the deal closed would the buyers discover they had been sold swamp land, which was underwater, on which nothing could be built. … ”  Continue reading at The Daily News here:  California to protect ponds, and puddles from paving, plowing, and Trump

Commentary: Making water conservation a way of life in San Diego:  Matt O’Malley writes, “Earlier this month, I attended a meeting of the San Diego Conservation Action Committee on California’s plan to make water conservation a way of life, and was disappointed to hear a familiar refrain from our regional water wholesaler, the San Diego County Water Authority: Why is the state asking us to conserve water when we can build our way out of our water supply woes?  It was a position that the Water Authority took at the height of one of the worst droughts California has ever seen. Now, as the state considers legislation to make conservation a way of life in California, the Water Authority has mounted a full-fledged lobbying campaign to overhaul the painstakingly developed water conservation and efficiency framework. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Making water conservation a way of life in San Diego

Compromise needed for more California dams, says Matthew Bravante:  He writes, “Senate Bill 584 has reached the California Congress and has started to garner attention. This bill calls for the state to be powered entirely by clean energy in 2045. This legislation will present new challenges to the Golden State but also be a game-changer propelling California to a clean and sustainable future.  One of the major challenges California faces during this transition is how to best store energy. Although California already has a booming renewable energy sector, wind and solar energy do not have the ability to meet future demand. ... ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Compromise needed for more California dams

In regional news and commentary today …

Lake Pillsbury area homeowners weigh in on dam proposals:  “With the deadline for commenting on the first phase of finalizing a scoping document for the Eel River dam relicensing process approaching at the end of the week, Lake Pillsbury area homeowners and nearby residents have been busy presenting their side of the controversy over the water management of the Eel River.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held public meetings last month on the scoping document and will accept comments from the public online or through the mail until Friday. … “  Read more from the Willits News here:  Lake Pillsbury area homeowners weigh in on dam proposals

110 salmon counted on the Salmon River; tribe says new research could lead to protections:  “Another troubling sign of the poor state of this year’s Pacific Ocean salmon runs was discovered on one the Klamath River’s tributaries after an annual fish survey counted the second lowest number of spring-run Chinook salmon on record.  Since 1995, teams of divers have surveyed the entire length of the nearly 80-mile Salmon River to count the number of spring-run Chinook salmon. Fish counts have ranged from as low as 90 fish in 2005 to 1,600 fish in 2011. Data made available this week following last week’s dives showed only 110 spring-run salmon were in the river. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  110 salmon counted on the Salmon River; tribe says new research could lead to protections

Fight over disputed Healdsburg logging plan escalates amid state delay:  “A cold, clear stream that provides some of the last refuge for wild coho salmon in Sonoma County lies at the center of a dispute over logging plans in the forested hills above Healdsburg.  The proposed removal of redwood and Douglas fir trees from a steep hill above Felta Creek and the Russian River Valley poses a risk, opponents say, to remaining habitat for an endangered fish species once abundant in the freshwater streams and rivers of the North Coast. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Fight over disputed Healdsburg logging plan escalates amid state delay

Some Napa and Sonoma County vineyard owners under new rule for stormwater runoff:  “A new regulation aimed at improving the water quality of two tributaries that run into San Pablo Bay means vineyard owners in those watersheds will have to obtain new permits under more rigorous guidelines for their storm water runoff.  In approving the new rule last month, members of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board said they were concerned that vineyards could be discharging sediment and pesticides into the watershed that would, among other things, trigger erosion and threaten fish habitat. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Some Napa and Sonoma County vineyard owners under new rule for stormwater runoff

What is causing high E. coli levels in Lake Wildwood?  “Six children have now been infected with E. coli in Nevada County, and four have been hospitalized.  This development comes after reports of contamination at Lake Wildwood where the Main Beach remains shut down.  E. coli is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, dehydration, even kidney failure. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  What is causing high E. coli levels in Lake Wildwood?

Water consultant says Stanislaus watershed vulnerable to fire:  “The Stanislaus River watershed and its vulnerability to fire should be a top priority for Tuolumne County, a consultant hired to advise the Board of Supervisors on water policy said Tuesday.  “Let’s get out of the brown area and into the green,” said John S. Mills of Columbia, referring to already-burned watersheds in the 2013 Rim Fire scar and the 2015 Butte Fire scar, which together total more than 500 square miles. “The green area is what we need to focus on.”  The unburned, still-green Stanislaus watershed is home to two populated highway corridors and water infrastructure for multiple water agencies, including the flumes and ditches that convey most of the water for Tuolumne Utilities District customers. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Water consultant says Stanislaus watershed vulnerable to fire

Interruptions, shouting, and sarcasm: another typical meeting in Oakdale:  “The best way to resolve 2-2 stalemates of the Oakdale Irrigation District board would be adding a fifth member to break tie votes. But the board could not agree Tuesday on how to go about it.  In a two-hour meeting punctuated with interruptions, accusations, angry shouts and sarcasm, the OID board failed to either start a recruitment process or to agree on letting voters fill the board vacancy in the November election.  With no consensus, the November election option seems most likely. The Division 5 seat representing areas southwest of town became empty July 15, when former board member Gary Osmundson resigned upon moving his family to a new home in another division. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Interruptions, shouting, and sarcasm: another typical meeting in Oakdale

Company’s plan to sell Mojave Desert groundwater opposed by LA water officials:  “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is opposing a company’s proposal to pump groundwater in the Mojave Desert and sell it to Southern California cities.  The L.A. water utility’s board weighed in against the project on Tuesday, recommending to Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council that they support a bill in the state Legislature requiring California to review the environmental impacts of the proposal.  … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Companies plan to sell Mojave Desert groundwater opposed by LA water officials

Lockheed Martin to pay $5.8 million to clean up San Diego Bay:  “Aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay the Port of San Diego $5.8 million to clean up the contamination in San Diego Bay.  In 1970 Lockheed Martin leased a 61,000 square-foot property called the Tow Basin Site, located at 3380 North Harbor Drive, to test the designs of boats, submarines and other submersibles, and seaplanes. In addition, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company leased a commercial pier and railway terminal at 1160 Harbor Drive for other maintenance and industrial uses. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Reader here:  Lockheed Martin to pay $5.8 million to clean up San Diego Bay

DHS waives environmental laws for border wall construction:  “The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it would waive environmental and other laws to ensure the “expeditious construction” of barriers and roads near the U.S.-Mexico border in the San Diego region. Environmentalists have warned that extending the border wall could damage ecosystems and threaten wildlife habitats.”  To listen to the radio show, click here:  DHS waives environmental laws for border wall construction

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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