DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: NorCal cities and counties suing to block Delta tunnels project; Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500 million problem; Proposed Salton Sea deal would hold California to its promises; and more …

In California water news this weekend, NorCal cities and counties suing to block Delta tunnels project; Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500 million problem; Proposed Salton Sea deal would hold California to its promises; US House moves to streamline water projects; Can we breed crops to be drought-resistant?; Defendants ask court to strike Roseburg water suit; Bay Area: Park officials to review warning signs on Ocean Beach; Calaveras and Stanisulaus stakeholders form Groundwater Sustainability Agency; Stockton: Water restrictions may finally loosen; Parasite outbreak hitting San Joaquin water; Downstream releases from Cachuma Lake to recharge groundwater will start on Monday; Inyo County: LADWP willing to negotiate sale of landfill; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Sacramento County sues to block Delta tunnels – and its not alone:  “Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm local farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county.  The lawsuits come as the tunnels project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a means of improving south state water supplies, makes headway with environmental regulators. In July, the state announced that the massive project complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, and wouldn’t hurt fish, wildlife or human health in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Sacramento County sues to block Delta tunnels – and its not alone

Northern California officials sue over Delta tunnels project:  “Northern California cities and counties on Friday were leading a surge of lawsuits to try to block Gov. Jerry Brown's plans to build giant tunnels that would carry water from the north of the state far to the west and south.  Sacramento County and other local governments, including Placer County water officials and the cities of Stockton and Antioch, all filed suit late this week objecting to Brown's plans for the $17 billion water project, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported . Environmental and sporting groups are among others that have also sued or announced plans to. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Northern California officials sue over Delta tunnels project

NorCal cities and counties suing to block Delta tunnels project:  “Northern California cities and counties on Friday were leading a surge of lawsuits to try to block Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans to build giant tunnels that would carry water from the north of the state far to the west and south.  Sacramento County and other local governments, including Placer County water officials and the cities of Stockton and Antioch, all filed suit late this week objecting to Brown’s plans for the $17 billion water project, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported . Environmental and sporting groups are among others that have also sued or announced plans to. ... ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here:  NorCal cities and counties suing to block Delta tunnels project

Stockton sues to block Delta tunnels:  “Accusing state officials of “astonishing disregard” for the law, as well as the health and well-being of Stockton residents, the city this week joined what will likely be a throng of organizations asking the courts to block Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels.  The city’s lawsuit, filed at San Joaquin County Superior Court, seeks primarily to protect Stockton’s new $220 million drinking water plant on Empire Tract, northwest of the city. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Stockton sues to block Delta tunnels

Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500 million problem:  “The canal that helps bring food to tables across the world has a big problem — it's sinking.  Land subsidence along the Friant-Kern Canal in Tulare and Kern counties has increased in the past five years, according to Dan Vink, South Valley Water Authority executive director.  The sinking terrain, reported to be two to three feet — mostly along a 25-mile stretch, has already reduced the capacity of the key irrigation artery by 50 to 60 percent in some locations. … ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500 million problem

Proposed Salton Sea deal would hold California to its promises:  “Five months ago, California outlined a $383 million plan to control dust and build thousands of acres of wetlands around the shrinking Salton Sea.  But that plan left agencies in the Imperial Valley unsatisfied because only $80.5 million has been approved so far – and they questioned whether the state would follow through and live up to its commitments over the next 10 years.  Now the Imperial Irrigation District and other agencies have negotiated an agreement with state officials that would ease those concerns by holding California accountable for its pledges under the 10-year plan. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Proposed Salton Sea deal would hold California to its promises

US House moves to streamline water projects:  “This July, California Republicans cheered when the Gaining Responsibility on Water (GROW) Act passed the U.S. House. Rep. David Valadao, a Central Valley Republican and the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation was necessary to “modernize” the state’s water policies following prolonged drought.  Specifically, Valadao wants to boost water deliveries to valley farms — which grow most of the country’s avocados, almonds and broccoli, among other crops — leaving less water in rivers to help threatened fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  US House moves to streamline water projects

Can we breed crops to be drought-resistant?  “You might be carrying a tube of chapstick right now.  USC scientist Sarah Feakins says both plants and humans use wax to stay moisturized – and a new study shows it could help us generate plants that can better withstand droughts.  California grows much of the food eaten here in the U.S. The state's farmers produce half of all fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the country.  … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Can we breed crops to be drought-resistant?

In commentary this weekend …

Ag industry is stepping up for safe drinking water:  Tim Johnson writes,If there’s one thing a farmer knows, it’s the importance of water. Access to clean, safe drinking water ought to be a fundamental right for all Californians.  But there are about 300 unsafe drinking-water systems across the state, many of them in the Salinas Valley or in the Central Valley’s Tulare Lake Basin. These 1 million Californians must buy or obtain drinking water in jugs or bottles.  That is why the California Rice Commission, the Western Growers Association and other agriculture industry leaders have stepped up to support a balanced, sustainable solution to this unacceptable public health problem, which is greater in scope than the well-chronicled crisis in Flint, Mich. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Ag industry is stepping up for safe drinking water

A statewide tax is an unfair path to safe drinking waterKathy Tiegs and Brent Hastey write, “For most Californians, safe drinking water is a given, thanks to extensive public investments in pipelines, reservoirs and treatment plants.  Not so for some Californians who live in rural, low-income communities where water sources are contaminated by nitrates and arsenic and where treatment is financially out of reach. It’s unacceptable, and the situation will worsen without a strong state commitment.  Unfortunately, an eleventh-hour effort is emerging in the Legislature to impose a statewide tax on residential and business water bills as part of the solution. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  A statewide tax is an unfair path to safe drinking water

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Defendants ask court to strike Roseburg water suit:  “Nine citizens named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Roseburg Forest Products earlier this year have fired back with a motion to dismiss the suit, alleging that it was filed in an effort to chill free speech rights.  On May 12, Roseburg filed a complaint against the City of Weed, the group Water for Citizens of Weed, and members of that group: Jim Gubetta, Bob Hall, Mary Jackson, Dave Pearce, Bruce Shoemaker, Ray Strack, Jim Taylor, Michael Yates, and Monica Zinda, as well as anyone “claiming any legal or equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest in” water rights that have been in dispute between the company and the city for years. … ”  Read more from the Mt. Shasta Herald here:  Defendants ask court to strike Roseburg water suit

Bay Area: Park officials to review warning signs on Ocean Beach:  “More than a million people visit San Francisco’s Ocean Beach every year but few of them realize just how dangerous the waters can be. Four people died in the waters at Ocean Beach last year. Two of the victims were teenage boys from Vallejo who were just wading near the shore.  “I think this is one of the most dangerous beaches in America,” said Kim Chambers, a world famous ocean swimmer who does freestyles daily San Francisco Bay. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Park officials to review warning signs on Ocean Beach

Calaveras and Stanisulaus stakeholders form Groundwater Sustainability Agency:  “Farmers, ranch owners and homeowners concerned with an increasingly over-tapped groundwater supply have a partner in the Calaveras County Water District.  The CCWD, Rock Creek Water District and Stanislaus County announced the formation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) on Aug. 10.  The goal of the partnership is to protect the groundwater in the Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Sub basin. The basin has been crucially over drafted since 1980. … ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here:  Calaveras and Stanisulaus stakeholders form Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Stockton: Water restrictions may finally loosen:  “Another lingering vestige of the drought will vanish Tuesday if the Stockton City Council agrees to do away with a twice-a-week watering restriction that technically remains on the books.  What’s not going away is the so-called “drought surcharge” that customers of the Stockton Municipal Utilities Department may have noticed on their water bills. The surcharge is necessary, city officials say, because residents are still buying less water even though the drought has ended. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Water restrictions may finally loosen

Parasite outbreak hitting San Joaquin water:  “Public health officials are issuing a word of warning to residents this weekend after an outbreak of microscopic parasites in the water.  “I tell them, everybody’s bodies in it so don’t put it in their mouth,” said Ligia Tran with her kids at a public pool in Lodi.  Now dozens of kids and adults have been sickened by swallowing contaminated pool, lake, and river water. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Parasite outbreak hitting San Joaquin water

Downstream releases from Cachuma Lake to recharge groundwater will start on Monday:  “Water will be released into the Santa Ynez River from Cachuma Lake’s Bradbury Dam starting Monday, Aug. 21, said a spokesman for the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.  U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials will begin releasing water at 8 a.m.  The release was called for by the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District in response to the ongoing drought affecting the Santa Ynez watershed, said Bruce Wales, general manager for the district. ... ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here:  Downstream releases from Cachuma Lake to recharge groundwater will start on Monday

Inyo County: LADWP willing to negotiate sale of landfill:  “There seems to be a trend here: when the big guns from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power attend Inyo County Supervisors’ meetings, the end result is “cautious optimism.”  At least that was the case yesterday when the Board of Supervisors discussed condemnation proceedings on the three county landfills, all operating on LADWP leases. The Board also addressed the issue of paying for aerial applications of a larvacide to forestall the threat of West Nile Virus.  The landfill site condemnation process came to light a month ago. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  LADWP willing to negotiate sale of landfill  RELATED: LADWP General Manager David H. Wright Regarding Eminent Domain Proceedings

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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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