DAILY DIGEST: Cutoff wall but no chute this year for Oroville Dam; Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill; ACWA study highlights new approaches to water storage; Plan for San Joaquin Valley reservoir to recharge groundwater draws concern; and more …

In California water news today, Cutoff wall but no chute this year for Oroville Dam; Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill; ACWA study highlights new approaches to water storage; Plan for San Joaquin Valley reservoir to recharge groundwater draws concern; From toilet water to drinking water; California’s largest water supplier says federal water bill goes too far; and more …

In the news today …

Cutoff wall but no chute this year for Oroville Dam:  “Tons of earth washed down the hillside below the Oroville Dam emergency spillway in February. Three projects have been approved for the site. But none of the projects include the construction of a concrete chute to carry water to the channel below.  The Department of Water Resources has identified a list of factors that may have contributed to damage to the area below the emergency spillway. They include the lack of concrete to disperse water flowing over the spillway, “erodible rock and soil” and the “absence of erosion protection downstream.”  … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Cutoff wall but no chute this year for Oroville Dam

Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill:  “A bill making its way through the state Legislature is seeking to improve quality and access to drinking water quality by creating a new state fund, but some local entities are opposing how the bill plans to raise money for this goal.  While he said he supports the intent of the bill, John Friedenbach — general manager of Humboldt County’s largest water wholesaler, the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District — said there have already been discussions to raise money through an assessment or “tax” on water rates paid by customers. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill

ACWA study highlights new approaches to water storage:  “ACWA has released a technical study that highlights how investments in 21st century water infrastructure could provide tools to bring much-needed resiliency and flexibility to California’s water supply system.  The study by MBK Engineers modeled real-world capabilities of several proposed storage projects. The findings suggest that adding storage assets to the system and operating them in an integrated way would result in significant value, including new water available to meet the coequal goals of improving ecosystem health and water supply reliability, enhanced groundwater recharge capabilities, protection of existing water supplies, and a more resilient water system for both the environment and water users. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  ACWA study highlights new approaches to water storage

Plan for San Joaquin Valley reservoir to recharge groundwater draws concern:  “California’s Tulare Lake was once the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River. Located at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, it collected snowmelt from dozens of Sierra Nevada streams. Today, the giant lake is long gone: In the decades after the Gold Rush, it was drained and transformed into farmland.  Now, in a modern era of water scarcity, some are eager to see even a small bit of the old Tulare Lake restored. It could be an effective way to recharge groundwater that’s been overtapped by those same farms.  proposal from the Semitropic Water Storage District would seem to be the perfect answer. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Plan for San Joaquin Valley reservoir to recharge groundwater draws concern

From toilet water to drinking water:  “This legislation might be hard to swallow: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for California communities to put highly treated wastewater directly into the drinking water supply.  “The media likes to start off with the catchy phrase toilet to tap,” said Jennifer West, managing director of Water Reuse, about the intensive purification process. “But there’s a lot that goes on between toilet and tap.”  Assembly Bill 574, authored by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would require the State Water Resources Control Board to develop regulations in four years for “direct potable reuse” provided research on public health issues is completed. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  From toilet water to drinking water

California’s largest water supplier says federal water bill goes too far:  “The measure, called the “Gaining Responsibility on Water Act” or GROW Act, has already passed the US House, largely along party lines. Supporters, including many Central Valley Republicans and farmers, say it would cut the red tape that prevents dams and water storage projects from being built.  While that might normally sit well with powerful Southern California water interests, this bill is unlikely to garner support from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California’s largest water supplier says federal water bill goes too far

In commentary today …

Oroville Dam repairs are just the start, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write, “Workers have been laboring hard to get the spillway at Oroville Dam fixed in time for the winter rainy season.  There has been intensive construction to repair a hole in the spillway, as well as to shore up the dam’s emergency spillway with a new underground retaining wall. The state Department of Water Resources, which owns the dam, is confident that the construction repairs for the spillway are on target.  It will be good news indeed if the dam repairs are completed on time.  But outside dam experts — and local residents — have concerns about the dam that go beyond immediate repairs. They’re right to have them. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Oroville Dam repairs are just the start

Stormwater bill would evade taxpayer protections, says Geoff McIntosh:  “If Senate Bill 231 (Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) becomes law, property owners would be saddled with thousands of dollars in additional, annual property taxes. What’s worse is that this bill would allow these tax increases to be implemented without a vote of the people.  Political sleight of hand? Yes, and here’s how.  SB231 redefines the word “sewer” to include storm-water and storm drains, thereby allowing local governments to evade Proposition 218 taxpayer protections. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Stormwater bill would evade taxpayer protections, says Geoff McIntosh

In regional news and commentary today …

Oroville Dam: Mayor’s emails during spillway crisis under scrutiny:  “Several Oroville city councilors have voiced criticism about the mayor’s communication with representatives of the state Department of Water Resources and the State Water Contractors during the height of the Oroville Dam crisis.  In email exchanges, Mayor Linda Dahlmeier was given statements written in the first person to pass on to the public and press from a public relations person contracted by the water contractors, some of which were posted verbatim on her Facebook page and given to the media. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam: Mayor’s emails during spillway crisis under scrutiny

Monterey: CPUC delays Cal Am desal project environmental reports six months:  “In the latest setback for California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project, the state Public Utilities Commission announced Monday that a final environmental impact study for the project will be delayed six months. That delay will also likely push the commission’s consideration of project approval into next summer and ever-closer to a key Carmel River cutback order milestone.  At the same time, the CPUC announced a series of remaining project-related issues in dispute to be addressed in new evidentiary hearings this fall, and scheduled an Aug. 18 pre-hearing conference to discuss the remaining project review schedule. The goal is to allow the commission to reach a final decision on the project by June 30. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey: CPUC delays Cal Am desal project environmental reports six months

Southern California: Drought may be over, but war on turf continues: For those interested in water conservation, it’s time to get tough on turf.  That’s right. Douse it with earth-friendly herbicides, suffocate it with plastic, sheet mulch it to death with newspaper/cardboard or dig the whole thing up. Whichever deadly method you choose, turf removal is a great way to conserve water and save money.  “Conservation is still the cheapest and best way to ensure our water viability,” said Ray Hiemstra, associate director of programs for Orange County Coastkeeper, one of several local agencies ready and willing to provide the how-to’s of the equation. Others are the Chino Basin Water Conservation District in San Bernardino County and the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles County, all actively promoting one-day workshops/classes. … ”  Read more from the Daily News here:  Southern California: Drought may be over, but war on turf continues

Long Beach Water announces new recognition program for water efficient restaurants:  “Long Beach Water has launched a new Certified Blue Restaurants Program to recognize local eateries that meet specific water use efficiency standards. The program is designed to help restaurants save water, energy, and money while contributing to Long Beach’s sustainable lifestyle. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Long Beach Water announces new recognition program for water efficient restaurants

Western Municipal Water District considers spinning off part of Murrieta’s water service area:  “Western Municipal Water District held an informational meeting at the Murrieta Community Center Wednesday, July 26, on a proposal to split off its Murrieta customers to a different water district.  The agency has begun studying proposals to spin off its Murrieta section, which was previously the Murrieta County Water District until Western Municipal Water District acquired it in 2005. The section covers the partially undeveloped central portion of Murrieta, including downtown.  Should the section be unloaded onto another district, the most likely suitor is Rancho California Water District, which covers most of Temecula as well as parts of Murrieta and – most importantly – already has water lines running through the former county water district. … ”  Read more from Valley News here:  Western Municipal Water District considers spinning off part of Murrieta’s water service area

US EPA approves plan for San Diego to recycle sewage into drinking water:  “Federal and state water-quality regulators have cleared the way for the city of San Diego to avoid costly upgrades to an outdated wastewater treatment plant, as long as local officials continue to pursue a $3 billion water recycling program.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved on Monday the city’s permit application to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant for another five years despite it being the only facility of its kind not to meet federal clean water standards. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  US EPA approves plan for San Diego to recycle sewage into drinking water

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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