In California water news this weekend, Why is SMUD fighting Delta tunnels? Think cheap hydropower; California flood plan shifting to giving rivers more room; A pipe dream to bring Colorado River water to San Diego re-emerges; UC Berkeley law students advise state on water affordability; Oroville Dam: New time-lapse video shows spillway rising from the rubble; Spillway repair crews race to meet looming deadline at Oroville Dam; Oroville mayor said all was well during dam crisis. Was she spun?; Sea lions competing with salmon fishermen on Sacramento rivers; and more …
In the news this weekend …
Why is SMUD fighting Delta tunnels? Think cheap hydropower: “Sacramentans enjoy cheap electricity compared to most Californians, thanks in part to a string of hydroelectric dams along the American River. Which is why SMUD, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, joined the deluge of regional governments, environmentalists and others suing the state in an effort to block its Delta tunnels project. The tunnels are Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to stabilize California’s chronically stressed water supplies by re-engineering the flow of water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Although the project would have obvious impacts on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, SMUD said it is concerned about the impact the tunnels, known officially as California WaterFix, would have on its water supplies on the American. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Why is SMUD fighting Delta tunnels? Think cheap hydropower
California flood plan shifting to giving rivers more room: “After more than a century of building levees higher to hold back its rivers, California took another step Friday toward a flood-control policy that aims to give raging rivers more room to spread out instead. The plan, adopted by the flood-control board for the Central Valley, a 500-mile swath from Mount Shasta to Bakersfield that includes the state’s two largest rivers and the United States’ richest agricultural region, emphasizes flood plains, wetlands and river bypasses as well as levees. … ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: California flood plan shifting to giving rivers more room
New flood plan would reduce risks for Valley: “The Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the 2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Update (CVFPP) on Friday, seeking to reduce the risks that floods pose to the public by repairing existing flood protection facilities instead of building higher levees. The plan will also expand floodways, floodplains and bypasses to give floods and rivers more room, which can have a host of potential benefits, as Director of Conservation for California Flood Management at American Rivers John Cain stated in a press release. … ” Read more from the Lodi News-Sentinel here: New flood plan would reduce risks for Valley
California’s drift away from levees continues: “After more than a century of building levees higher to hold back its rivers, California took another step Friday toward a flood-control policy that aims to give raging rivers more room to spread out instead. The plan, adopted by the flood-control board for the Central Valley, covers a 500-mile swath from Mount Shasta to Bakersfield that includes the state’s two largest rivers and the United States’ richest agricultural region. It emphasizes flood plains, wetlands and river bypasses as well as levees. ... ” Read more from the Stockton Record: California’s drift away from levees continues
A pipe dream to bring Colorado River water to San Diego re-emerges: “The San Diego County Water Authority, tired of paying a middle man to deliver water from hundreds of miles away, is starting to cast out for ideas once written off as laughable. One board member has even suggested San Diego may consider building a pipeline of its own to the Colorado River. The pipeline would give the Water Authority a chance to accomplish a long-held goal: breaking a monopoly held by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region’s largest water supplier and the owner of the only physical connection San Diego has to the Colorado River. … ” Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: A pipe dream to bring Colorado River water to San Diego re-emerges
UC Berkeley law students advise state on water affordability: “Students involved with UC Berkeley’s Environmental Law Clinic released a report Friday analyzing and providing recommendations on the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal for the development of a water affordability program. The proposal, titled the “Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program,” aims to help low-income households access safe and affordable water. The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, OR EJCW, solicited the help of UC Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic to provide the state with an environmental perspective as it drafted its proposal. ... ” Read more from the Californian here: UC Berkeley law students advise state on water affordability
Oroville Dam: New time-lapse video shows spillway rising from the rubble: “New time-lapse video released from the state Department of Water Resources shows the new main spillway at Oroville Dam in Northern California rising from the rubble of the former spillway after one of the nation’s most serious dam accidents earlier this year. Hundreds of construction workers are working 20 hours a day, six days a week with huge dump trucks, cranes, excavators, bulldozers, concrete pumps and other equipment to demolish and rebuild the 3,000-foot-long main spillway, and shore up the emergency spillway. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Oroville Dam: New time-lapse video shows spillway rising from the rubble
Spillway repair crews race to meet looming deadline at Oroville Dam: “A reconstructed spillway is starting to take shape at Lake Oroville. And with just more than two months until the initial repairs must be completed, officials in charge are confident there will be a new structure in place by the time the next winter storm comes. Demolition, excavation and preparation, which started on May 19, have been completed. Crews are now focused on the 2,270 feet of spillway that will be repaired this year, filling in the chasms that formed this past winter, and pouring structural concrete and roller-compacted concrete. ... ” Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: Spillway repair crews race to meet looming deadline at Oroville Dam
Oroville mayor said all was well during dam crisis. Was she spun? “The gaping crater in Oroville Dam’s spillway was growing larger, the reservoir was filling to the brim, but Oroville’s mayor had a consistent message for her constituents living below the nation’s tallest dam: The Department of Water Resources had everything under control. “I want to reiterate that the DWR has assured us there is no public safety risk from the situation with the Oroville spillway,” Mayor Linda Dahlmeier posted on her Facebook page on Feb. 10. Six months later, Dahlmeier finds herself on the defensive. And not because her assurances proved almost tragically rosy. Two days after that post, more than 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Oroville mayor said all was well during dam crisis. Was she spun?
In commentary this weekend …
Column: Efforts to save money on pipelines in the 1970s will cost water systems billions in the years to come: Michael Hiltzik writes, “For the Metropolitan Water District, which serves 19 million residents of Southern California, the wake-up call sounded in December 1999. That’s when a water main on the outskirts of Irvine suffered a catastrophic blowout, spilling 5 million gallons and shutting off service to some 700,000 residents of south Orange County, some for more than a week. Although the blowout was later ascribed to “operator error,” it exposed some fundamental weaknesses in the MWD system and prompted the district to undertake a closer inspection. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Efforts to save money on pipelines in the 1970s will cost water systems billions in the years to come
In regional news and commentary this weekend …
Chico community mobilizes to preserve water tanks: “Mike Magliari, a Chico State history professor, kicked off Chico Museum’s fall lecture series Saturday with a discussion on the elevated water towers, which have been put on California Water Service Co.’s list of towers to remove. Magliari said that while the water towers represent “obsolete technology and just a cost” for Cal Water, they are worthy of historical preservation because they are local landmarks. Four towers in Chico are on the list for removal due to a recent finding by Cal Water that they are not able to stand up to seismic activity. They also pose an insurance liability, according to Assistant District Manager Rosanna Marino. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Chico community mobilizes to preserve water tanks
Sea lions competing with salmon fishermen on Sacramento rivers: “The typically calm waters of where the Sacramento and American rivers converge aren’t so calm these days. Fishermen hoping to catch salmon are facing some unexpected competition: sea lions. That may not sound like such a big deal, but local fishermen like Jim Thompson says the sea lions are becoming overly-aggressive. ... ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Sea lions competing with salmon fishermen on Sacramento rivers
Lower American River contains unsafe levels of E. coli. Are homeless camps to blame? “Levels of E. coli bacteria found in the lower American River exceed the federal threshold for safe recreational use, in part due to human waste from homeless camps, state regulators say. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed adding the bacteria to a list of pollutants that make the lower American River a federally designated impaired water body. A state board is expected to sign off on the decision later this year and ask for final approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Lower American River contains unsafe levels of E. coli. Are homeless camps to blame?
Stockton: Fighting floods … and using them? “When last winter’s atmospheric river storms pummeled farmland east of Lodi, a different “river” of water began flowing through the vineyards and down Acampo Road right toward an isolated neighborhood known informally as Cooper’s Corner. Storm drains were overwhelmed. Water backed up into people’s yards and, in some cases, their homes. Water climbed the steps of the Houston School near Acampo Road and Highway 99, and spilled into a convenience store across the street. Viviano Saldana, 53, was forced to pump out his basement four times in the span of two days. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: Fighting floods … and using them?
Madera County: Supes OK water rules for large developments: “Madera County supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance this week that requires “groundwater balance” for large-scale development projects and establishes developer fees and surcharges to fund a new Groundwater Recharge Program. A large scale development is defined as one that either has more than 500 permanent or temporary dwelling units, employs more than 1,000 persons, covers more than 250,000 square feet of floor space if an office building, or more than 500,000 square feet if a shopping center. … ” Read more from the Madera Tribune here: Supes OK water rules for large developments
Las Vegas: BLM approval of water pipeline largely Ok’d: “A federal judge has given the go-ahead for a planned 263-mile water pipeline from central Nevada to Las Vegas, pending a further look at how to mitigate habitat loss. The Southern Nevada Water Authority intends to open the pipeline sometime between 2035 and 2050, depending on local water needs. The federal Bureau of Land Management recently approved the first phase of the plan to lay out the pipeline’s pathway, which drew legal challenges. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: BLM approval of water pipeline largely Ok’d
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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.
where California water news never goes home for the weekend