DAILY DIGEST: Why water agencies are hesitating on Delta tunnels; Sacto County starts avalanche of lawsuits against Delta tunnels; Lois Henry to leave the Bakersfield Californian; The latest video from Oroville; and more …

In California water news today, Delta tunnels project needs water agencies to pay for it. Why some are hesitating; Sacramento County starts avalanche of lawsuits against the tunnels plan; Toxic taps: Meet California's newest water contaminant (video); A look at post-drought California and water conservation; Beach erosion a growing threat to the California shoreline; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Brown Bag Seminar: California Floodplains and the Fish that Use Them from 12pm to 1pm: Dr. Carson Jeffries will discuss how, historically, fish utilized habitats in the Central Valley.  However, due to development, their life histories are now disconnected from  the habitat that is currently available. Dr. Jeffres will illustrate how restoration of these connections can reconcile fish with their habitat.  The informational flyer is available by clicking here.  Click here to join the online event.

In the news today …

Delta tunnels project needs water agencies to pay for it.  Why some are hesitating:  “If you live in Los Angeles, the cost of building the Delta tunnels might raise your water bill by as little as $2 a month or less – no more than a latte, to quote one of the project’s main cheerleaders in Southern California.  But if you’re a farmer on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the increase could be hundreds of dollars per acre-foot of water. And you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional expenses every year, for decades, for a resource that’s as indispensable to farming as soil itself. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Delta tunnels project needs water agencies to pay for it.  Why some are hesitating

Sacramento County starts avalanche of lawsuits against the tunnels plan:  “Seeking to freeze a contentious $16 billion waterworks plan supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sacramento County sued the California Department of Water Resources on Thursday over its certification of the project’s “dizzying” and “shifting” environmental review.  In a 69-page lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, the county says the plan known as the “California WaterFix” will harm residents and the environment in myriad ways. According to the petition, a judge should throw out the environmental certification and halt one of the largest public works projects in state history. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Sacramento County starts avalanche of lawsuits against the tunnels plan

Toxic taps:  Meet California's newest water contaminant (video):  “There are over a hundred water systems in California that have tested above the new maximum contaminant level for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), a man-made chemical and known carcinogen found in the state’s groundwater.  We show you where those water systems are, how TCP got into the water and how dangerous it may be for your health.  Water systems will begin to test for TCP in January, and many are already suing companies they believe have contributed to the problem in order to recoup the cost of building new treatment systems.”  Watch the video here.

A look at post-drought California and water conservation:  “Earlier this year Gov. Jerry Brown declared that the years-long California drought was official over, but he said that “conservation must remain a way of life.”  Many cities and counties are taking that advice to heart. In Sacramento, the city council has voted to continue drought-time restrictions, including limiting sprinkler watering to two days a week and increasing fines for second violations to $50.  “We want to develop a culture of long-term efficient water use in the city of Sacramento,” Bill Busath, Sacramento Department of Utilities Director, told CBS Sacramento. ... ”  Read more from Total Landscape Care here:  A look at post-drought California and water conservation

Beach erosion a growing threat to the California shoreline: “The Pacific has been gobbling up the California coast with growing voraciousness.  A study this year by the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that as much as two-thirds of Southern California’s beaches could be lost by the end of the century.  Among the variables, said Patrick Barnard, a geologist and author of the report, are rising seas and intensified storms, both linked to climate change, as well as hundreds of river dams that are blocking the flow of sand to beaches.  It all spells trouble for buildings and homes perched along the shore. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Beach erosion a growing threat to the California shoreline

People news …

Columnist Lois Henry to leave the Bakersfield Californian:  “Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian's longtime columnist, is leaving the newspaper.  Her final column will be Aug. 27.  Henry started at The Californian as a correspondent in 1990 covering eastern Kern County, including Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.  She came on board full-time in 1992 and reported on topics ranging from social services to City Hall. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Columnist Lois Henry to leave the Bakersfield Californian

In commentary today …

Hundreds of thousands of Californians lack access to safe drinking water.  Let's fix that once and for all, says the LA Times:  They write, “California’s wet winter eased the immediate water shortages that affected most of the state, giving lawmakers and water agencies a bit of a breather as they craft new policies and design new infrastructure to weather the next big drought (which, for all we know, may already be underway).  But neither the rainfall nor the new projects and policies will help hundreds of thousands of Californians whose local water supply is contaminated. These residents must either pay an inordinate amount of their income to truck in drinkable water or suffer the dire health consequences of drinking, cooking with and bathing in poisonous H20. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Hundreds of thousands of Californians lack access to safe drinking water.  Let’s fix that once and for all

Water Commission's the wild card in how Prop 1 money will be spent, notes the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “Now that there’s a list of projects vying for the $2.7 billion in Proposition 1 dedicated to water storage, you’d think the chances of the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County getting some of that cash would be clearer. Not so.  There are few surprises in the list of projects seeking the money. Most are proposals that have been around for years, have been studied endlessly, and haven’t gotten built due to a lack of funding.  The uncertainty is because the decision will be made by the California Water Commission, a panel obscure enough that only the most serious of water wonks even knew it existed before it was given $2.7 billion to spend. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Water Commission’s the wild card in how Prop 1 money will be spent, notes the Chico Enterprise-Record

Long Term commitment to California's water resources is essential, says Laura Friedman:  She writes, “Throughout the history of the West, the old adage remains true: “water is worth fighting for.” I believe our national parks are also worth fighting for. They are cherished places collectively known as “America’s best idea.” To protect both water and National Parks and in response to increasing threats to the California desert’s national parks, national monuments and groundwater supplies, I recently introduced Assembly Bill 1000 — the California Desert Protection Act. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Long Term commitment to California’s water resources is essential

Climate lessons from California:  Noah Diffenbaugh writes,California faces serious risks from climate change. Some are already being felt, like the severe heat this summer and recent episodes of extremely low snowpack in the mountains, which the state depends on for much of its water. Those are among the key messages in a new climate science report now under review in the White House. The good news is that California has been working hard to catch up with the climate change that has already happened, and to get ahead of what is still to come. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Climate lessons from California

In regional news and commentary today …

Karuk Tribe seeks to list Klamath River salmon as endangered:  “A once bountiful run of Klamath River salmon now teetering near the edge of extinction could gain protections under the federal Endangered Species Act based on the findings of a study published this week, according to Karuk Tribe officials.   The Karuk Tribe on Thursday submitted notices of its intent to file a petition to list Klamath River spring-run Chinook salmon as an endangered species. The notices were sent a day after a UC Davis study published in Science Advances found spring-run Chinook salmon were genetically distinct from their fall-run counterparts — a distinction that has been debated for nearly 20 years. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Karuk Tribe seeks to list Klamath River salmon as endangered

Oroville Dam: Relicensing saga holds up habitat restoration:  “There may be much more than gravel placement for salmon spawning in the Feather River along downtown Oroville – but it’s contingent upon the relicensing of the Oroville Dam.  If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, finally approves the settlement agreement signed by over 50 entities in 2006, the state Department of Water Resources would be able to continue operating the dam under the conditions of the agreement for up to 50 years. DWR has been operating under the original license in the meantime. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam: Relicensing saga holds up habitat restoration

Efforts to keep sediment from Tahoe paying off:  ““It’s about finding opportunities and doing the work we know needs to be done.”  This is how Bob Larsen with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board summarized the ongoing efforts to reduce the pollutants reaching Lake Tahoe. Much of that is fine sediment that is washed into the lake, which then degrades the clarity of the water.  His agency along with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection are the overseers of the total maximum daily load program in the basin. Goals are set for each government jurisdiction in Tahoe – from the city to the counties, state departments of transportation, U.S. Forest Service and state land owners. … ” Read more from Lake Tahoe News here:  Efforts to keep sediment from Tahoe paying off

Russian River cleanup plan to seek fixes for failing septic systems:  “North Coast water regulators are taking another run at a comprehensive program to prevent bacterial contamination of the Russian River, one that includes provisions likely to have significant impacts for thousands of homeowners dependent on aging septic systems.  The proposed action plan aims to keep human and animal fecal waste out of the watershed and prevent waterborne disease. It touches on sources ranging from pet waste to dirty diapers, dairy ponds to homeless encampments, municipal waste treatment systems to recycled effluent used in irrigation. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Russian River cleanup plan to seek fixes for failing septic systems

Russian River testing comes clean for toxins:  “Russian River beaches tested negative for algae-related toxins this week for a second straight week, Sonoma County health officials announced Thursday.  But signs cautioning visitors against accidental ingestion of river water will remain posted at 10 popular beaches, given conditions that remain favorable to harmful blue-green algae growth, according to Kelly Elder, healthy communities manager for the county. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Russian River testing comes clean for toxins

San Francisco:  With drought over, water to flow again in several parks:  “It's finally warming up again in San Francisco, and water has begun flowing again at many of the city's public parks and playgrounds, according to SF Rec and Park spokesperson Connie Chan.  Previously, Chan had told Hoodline that the city's fountains and water play features at public parks were shut down during the drought and after Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency in 2014, urging the city and its residents to conserve water.  … ”  Read more from Hoodline here:  San Francisco:  With drought over, water to flow again in several parks

Brain-eating parasite likely responsible for massive leopard shark die-offs in Bay Area:  “It enters by the nostrils, wiggles upwards through olfactory pathways and plants itself in the brain. Once invaded, victims can't be treated and will most certainly die.   The parasite is called Miamiensis avidus, and it's the pathogen most likely responsible for this year's mass die-offs of several Bay Area fish species.  Mark Okihiro, senior fish pathologist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been studying the ill-fated fishes for months now, and he recently estimated over 1,000 leopard sharks and 200-500 bat rays have washed ashore in Bay Area waters. After necropsies, Okihiro discovered the creatures' brains were ravaged by an unknown invader.  … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Brain-eating parasite likely responsible for massive leopard shark die-offs in Bay Area

Santa Barbara:  Recovering runoff:  “Dumping billions of gallons on California every year, rain is the state’s way out of drought — if only all that water could be captured instead of washing into drains and out to sea.  An ambitious new collaboration spanning five University of California campuses, including UC Santa Barbara, hopes to do exactly that. The research partnership of UCSB, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside and UC San Diego aims to revolutionize the collection and management of stormwater — and demonstrate its potential for addressing drought and flood risk. A $1.9 million UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) grant will help get it done. ... ”  Read more from Edhat here:  Recovering runoff

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority discusses public input, hires Water Resources Manager:  “The third Thursday of the month rolled around, which means the IWV Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) board of directors once again held their monthly meeting at the City Council Chambers at 100 W. California Ave., starting at 10 p.m.  The meeting featured important discussion and board votes on major action items, it also moved along swiftly, adjourning at just over two hours long. Two of the most important takeaways from the meeting were a discussion over public input and the long awaited official hiring of the IWVGA’s Water Resources Manager. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority discusses public input, hires Water Resources Manager

Met water chief talks about expansion projects:  “Recently a North County water district hosted Jeff Kightlinger the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, an entity almost big enough to be a country in its own right, but whose boss is not above making presentations to the member agencies of the large supplier of much of the water we drink.  In San Diego County, which has worked strenuously over the years to develop its own supply network, the water the Met sells doesn’t make up the lion’s share, but it’s still a vital share.  The Met consists of 26 member agencies, of which our local Valley Center Municipal Water District is one. It includes cities and public water agencies, that serve 19 million people in six counties. … ”  Read more from the Valley Roadrunner here:  Met water chief talks about expansion projects

Friday flight over Oroville …

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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