DAILY DIGEST: Ten states back California agencies in fight with tribe over groundwater; Federal report sees human-caused changes to California’s climate; Seawalls pose greater risks with higher ocean levels; and more …

In California water news today, Ten states back California agencies in fight with tribe over groundwater; States ask High Court to define ‘fractured’ groundwater rights; Federal report sees human-caused changes to California’s climate; Seawalls pose greater risks with higher ocean levels; Prep work for Oroville spillway nearly complete; No snow left? Aerial survey shows 8% still remains in the San Joaquin watershed; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Interagency Ecological Program will hold a stakeholder meeting today from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at DWR’s West Sacramento Office, 3500 Industrial Blvd., West Sacramento, Room 119.

In the news today …

Ten states back California agencies in fight with tribe over groundwater:  “Ten states from Nevada to Texas have weighed in to support two water agencies in their fight with an Indian tribe over control of groundwater in the California desert.  The states filed a brief Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will soon decide whether to take up an appeal by the Desert Water Agency and the Coachella Valley Water District.  The water agencies are challenging a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a federally established right to groundwater dating to the creation of its reservation in the 1870s. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Ten states back California agencies in fight with tribe over groundwater

States ask High Court to define ‘fractured’ groundwater rights:  “Ten states on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify a recent Ninth Circuit ruling they say essentially wiped out state groundwater rights in favor of federal oversight.  Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt led the states’ coalition in filing a 25-page friend-of-the-court brief with the nation’s high court, challenging what Laxalt calls a “federal overreach on groundwater rights.”  “This brief encourages the Supreme Court to clarify whether the federal reserved water right doctrine extends to groundwater and, if so, under what circumstances, so as to provide guidance to all states, including Nevada, on how to manage their groundwater resources,” Laxalt said in a statement. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  States ask High Court to define ‘fractured’ groundwater rights

Federal report sees human-caused changes to California’s climate:  “The changes to California’s climate since 1980 — higher temperatures, with more extreme swings between droughts and floods — are caused directly by human activity and will accelerate rapidly unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply, according to a new federal climate report that is awaiting action by the Trump administration.  The fourth National Climate Assessment, a federal synthesis of climate science required every four years by law, says temperatures have risen rapidly since the last report was published in 2014. After setting a record that year, global temperatures shot to a new record by a wide margin in 2015, the report says, followed by another record last year. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Federal report sees human-caused changes to California’s climate

Seawalls pose greater risks with higher ocean levels:  “Seawalls are meant to protect coastal properties, but they can also cause erosion and hurt shoreline ecosystems. That’s likely to worsen with sea level rise, according to new a study co-authored by researchers at UC Santa Barbara.  UCSB research biologist Jenifer Dugan said to understand the ecological impact of seawalls, she looked at the birds on the beach.  “The birds would not sit in front of the seawalls — their food was gone,” she told KPCC.  … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Seawalls pose greater risks with higher ocean levels

Prep work for Oroville spillway nearly complete:  “The California Department of Water Resources says most of the prep work for new construction on the Oroville main spillway has been completed.  DWR says crews working on the bottom 2,270 feet of the main spillway have blasted and cleaned about 95 percent of the surface to be used for the new chute.  DWR’s Erin Mellon says they have begun to pour nearly a million cubic yards of concrete and will install 55,000 feet of drainage pipe. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Prep work for Oroville spillway nearly complete

No snow left? Aerial survey shows 8% still remains in the San Joaquin watershed:  “As of July 10 manual snow surveyors reported there’s zero snow left in the mountains above the San Joaquin River. But a new way to measure the snowpack from the sky is showing a different set of results.  “Already we’re seeing snowmelt 50 percent greater than it was last year and about 320 percent above what the observations were for 2014.” says Jeffrey Payne with the Friant Water Authority. … ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  No snow left? Aerial survey shows 8% still remains in the San Joaquin watershed

In commentary today …

California Water Fix project is right investment for the whole state, says Gary Toebben and Ron Miller:  They write, “Water has always been a building block of the California economy. From the Gold Rush to the tech boom, and encompassing agriculture, manufacturing, construction and the service sector, reliable water creates opportunities for growth. Investments in infrastructure support these industries and create well-paying jobs.  Over the next few months, water agencies across our state will consider one of the biggest water projects in a generation — a proposal to modernize our statewide water system. That project is called California WaterFix.  Millions of California homes, farms and businesses depend on a system that brings water hundreds of miles from the Sierra Nevada. But this system is aging and vulnerable. That puts our water supplies at risk. ... ” Read more from the LA Daily News here:  California Water Fix project is right investment for the whole state

We need to work together to fix California’s polluted water supply, says Aubrey Bettencourt:  She writes, “The Salinas Valley communities of Prunedale and Langley have a long-standing problem with their sources of drinking water — hundreds of private residential wells that tap what water officials call a patchwork of perched shallow aquifers lying over bedrock of ancient granite.  Wells drilled in the area often produce spotty quantities of water. All too often, even that water is heavily contaminated with high levels of nitrates that federal and state water officials say are unhealthy, especially so for pregnant women and young children. Many assume that the contamination must come from nearby farms using too much fertilizer on their crops. They would be wrong. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  We need to work together to fix California’s polluted water supply, says Aubrey Bettencourt

In regional news and commentary today …

Extreme heat reverses benefits of Oregon’s above-average snowpack:  “The benefits of an above-average snowpack measured in most locations statewide earlier this year have yet to be fully realized due to extreme heat and little precipitation.  While water reservoirs have reaped rewards from winter snow, people who rely on small tributaries for farming or irrigation are looking at potential shortages.  “We did get above normal snowpack we did get above normal precipitation, but once again here we are with this extended period of above-normal temperatures and it negates a lot of the positive influences that we have from that above-normal snowpack,” said Scott Oviatt, snow survey supervisor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. … ”  Read more from KLCC here:  Extreme heat reverses benefits of Oregon’s above-average snowpack

Deadline Friday to claim spillway crisis damages:  “Friday is the deadline to file a claim with the state government to have a chance of being reimbursed for damages suffered during the Oroville Dam spillway emergency.  Aug. 11 is six months from the declaration of a state emergency, when more than 180,000 downstream residents were forced to evacuate for fear of spillway collapse Feb. 12.  Residents may be eligible to receive money to compensate for travel expenses, damage to property, and loss of salary or benefits. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Deadline Friday to claim spillway crisis damages

ACWA study, co-funded by NID, extols the benefits of Centennial Dam to downstream storage and conveyance:  “[Today], August 9th, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Directors will meet in a special meeting at 1 pm at their district office in Grass Valley. On the agenda, an item on the consent calendar reads: 2017 Water Storage Investment Program: Adopt Resolution No. 2017-24.  Consent calendar items are routine items, like contract renewals, approving minutes of previous meetings etc. They are deemed non-controversial.  Consent item 4 is a resolution for an application to receive funding for Centennial Reservoir. ... ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  ACWA study, co-funded by NID, extols the benefits of Centennial Dam to downstream storage and conveyance

Septic systems along Russian River face scrutiny for soiling water quality:  “A new plan released this week to battle the Russian River’s escalating bacteria counts calls for closer monitoring of old septic systems along the river from Monte Rio to Healdsburg’s Fitch Mountain.  The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB) has scheduled a public workshop Aug. 17 to discuss its latest “Total Maximum Daily Load Action Plan” for the Russian River.  The draft plan calls for an inspection of all undocumented Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) within 600 feet of the Russian River in Sonoma County. That has regenerated concerns that property owners will get stuck with expensive septic upgrade costs they can’t afford. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  Septic systems along Russian River face scrutiny for soiling water quality

State legislation allows Santa Cruz river flood control project funding:  “New state legislation signed Monday will clear the path for the final stage of a stalled decades-old Santa Cruz river flood control project.  The San Lorenzo River Flood Control project, designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would create a “channel within a channel,” allowing water flowing down a narrow canal to move more swiftly and carrying sediment out to the ocean. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  State legislation allows Santa Cruz river flood control project funding

A picture of seawater intrusion in Marina’s aquifers is unveiled:  “It was a presentation about a serious problem—seawater intrusion—but there was so much giddiness in the air it almost felt like a party.  That’s because the presentation confirmed the existence of a resource that, locally, feels more valuable than gold: freshwater.  On Aug. 8, the Marina Coast Water District board of directors were presented with a preliminary report from the team of Stanford professor Rosemary Knight, which analyzes groundwater data taken by helicopter to create incredibly comprehensive maps of underground aquifers. ... ”  Read more from Monterey County Weekly here:  A picture of seawater intrusion in Marina’s aquifers is unveiled

It’s making sea lions sick – and causing quite a stench in Pismo Beach:  “If you’ve been to or driven past Pismo Beach recently, you’ve most likely noticed a pungent odor.  That smell could be caused in part by an algae bloom — and the fungi are also hurting local sea lions. Residents and visitors in Pismo and Shell beaches have also seen dead fish washing up on the shore and brown water, which may also have something to do with the algae.  Large algae blooms first appeared in California in 1991, said Clarissa Anderson, executive director of the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  It’s making sea lions sick – and causing quite a stench in Pismo Beach

Sacramento: McClellan base polluted drinking water supply, districts say.  They want $1.4B from feds:  “In a sweeping legal fight that could affect drinking water supplies for thousands of Sacramento-area residents, two water districts near the old McClellan Air Force Base are suing the federal government for $1.4 billion to clean up the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium from the area’s groundwater supplies.  The lawsuits, filed by the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Rio Linda Elverta Community Water District, name the U.S. Air Force and 10 major firms that were involved in supplying chromium products and chemicals to the base for decades as workers there performed aircraft maintenance and other duties. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  McClellan base polluted drinking water supply, districts say.  They want $1.4B from feds

South San Joaquin Irrigation District conserving water could hurt those relying on groundwater:  “Flood irrigation of the endless almond orchards surrounding Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon is an inefficient use of water. That is especially true when compared to the pressurized irrigation system that South San Joaquin Irrigation District made possible in District 9 south of Manteca and west of Ripon.  The pressurized system has sent water use tumbling, increased almond yields, reduced air pollution as gas powered pumps are no longer needed, cut fertilizer use, and has helped push back salt water intrusion in underground aquifers. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  South San Joaquin Irrigation District conserving water could hurt those relying on groundwater

Mammoth Community Water District reminding customers of water conservation:  “Despite the massive winter we just experienced, Mammoth Community Water District’s (MCWD) water supplies are always limited by what we can store in Lake Mary, groundwater levels and permanent restrictions imposed by State of California.  The biggest impact on water use is summer irrigation. … ”  Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Mammoth Community Water District reminding customers of water conservation

Los Angeles: City-wide study shows how much water urban landscaping really uses:  “In 2010, Los Angeles used enough water irrigating lawns to meet the needs of nearly a half-million average households for a year.  That’s according to a new study by scientists at the University of Utah, who conducted what they say is the first city-scale assessment of water consumed by landscaping. Their findings show that Los Angeles’ landscaping consumed the equivalent of 100 gallons per person each day, with lawns accounting for 70 percent of that.  Urban trees, it turns out, consume relatively little water. And by providing crucial shade, trees can actually make lawns less thirsty. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Los Angeles: City-wide study shows how much water urban landscaping really uses

Pomona: New trial ordered in California water contamination lawsuit:  “A new trial has been ordered in a lawsuit that seeks to hold a fertilizer company financially liable for contaminating a California city’s groundwater.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the case should be retried because a federal judge’s decision to exclude certain expert testimony was prejudicial to the plaintiff, the City of Pomona.  Pomona’s problems came to light in 2007, after California established “maximum contaminant levels” in water for the chemical perchlorate, which disrupts hormone production. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  New trial ordered in California water contamination lawsuit

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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hard_working_on_computer_anim_150_clr_7364MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK

The diary of a confessed obsessive-compulsive California water news junkie

 

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