DAILY DIGEST: Metropolitan Water District to debate it’s stake in $17 billion Delta tunnels project; Oroville fish hatchery sees lowest salmon run in years; Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels; Top Nevada water official begins key Vegas hearings; and more …

In California water news today, Metropolitan Water District to debate it’s stake in $17 billion Delta tunnels project; California Water: Debating the Delta tunnel plan; Oroville fish hatchery sees lowest salmon run in years; After 20 years, California’s whale tail license plates remain one of the state’s most successful environmental programs ever; Giant blob of cold water rises from the depths of the Pacific, possibly heralding the arrival of La Niña this fall; Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels; Top Nevada water official begins key Vegas hearings; U.S., Mexico on verge of Colorado River water pact; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Metropolitan Water District will be holding a special workshop on the California Water Fix beginning at 9:30am.  Click here to access the webcast link. (Note:  Link does not show until meeting begins)

In the news today …

Metropolitan Water District to debate it’s stake in $17 billion Delta tunnels project:  “A proposal to build giant water tunnels under the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta suffered a setback last week when a key partner that was expected to help fund a big slice of the $17 billion project voted to pull out.  That leaves the Metropolitan Water District — which supplies imported water for 19 million Southern Californians — to decide whether it should fund its $4 billion share of the project known as the California Water Fix.  The plan would route Northern California water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers under the delta in big tunnels, delivering it to the north end of the California Aqueduct for its journey to Southern California. Now, the water flows across the delta, causing environmental problems. Proponents say the tunnels would improve the delta habitat. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Metropolitan Water District to debate it’s stake in $17 billion Delta tunnels project

RELATED NOTE:  Watch the Metropolitan workshop on webcast beginning at 9:30.  Click here to access the webcast link.

California Water: Debating the Delta tunnel plan:  “The state’s water users will find out soon if they will be paying for the $17 billion tunnel project called the California WaterFix.  The controversial plan proposes building tunnels under the Sacramento Delta to secure the supply of water being sent south. But the plan is already finding itself in rough waters.  The $17 billion project has the backing of California Gov. Jerry Brown and Southern California’s largest water wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District.  But farmers in the Westland’s Water District have decided the project is too expensive. That district was expected to pay about $3 billion as part of a funding formula that spreads the cost between state and federal water contractors. ... ”  Read more from the KPBS here:  California Water: Debating the Delta tunnel plan

SacBee/Jack Ohman cartoon: Plan B on the Delta tunnels

Oroville fish hatchery sees lowest salmon run in years:  “Where are all the fish?  That’s what hatchery workers are wondering, left scratching their heads after seeing low levels for fall-run Chinook salmon — about a third of the average for this time period.  “These are the lowest numbers we’ve seen in the last few years, for sure,” said Anna Kastner, manager of the Feather River Fish Hatchery. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville fish hatchery sees lowest salmon run in years

After 20 years, California’s whale tail license plates remain one of the state’s most successful environmental programs ever:  “What started as a simple picture of a whale’s tail emblazoned on a specialized California license plate decades ago has morphed into one of the most successful environmental programs in the state.  The Whale Tail license plate — celebrating its 20th anniversary — continues to be popular among motorists. Since 1997, 243,000 plates were sold and the program has raised $95 million, according to the California Coastal Commission, the state agency that doles out cash from the Environmental License Plate (ELP) fund.  As expected, on a per capita basis, sales are highest among coast dwellers. Yet the whale plates are surprisingly popular among inland motorists in Southern California, said Chris Parry, the commission’s public education manager. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  After 20 years, California’s whale tail license plates remain one of the state’s most successful environmental programs ever

Giant blob of cold water rises from the depths of the Pacific, possibly heralding the arrival of La Niña this fall: “Here we go again?  Following a mild and short-lived La Niña episode in 2016/2017, the climatic phenomenon stands a 55 to 60 percent chance of developing once again this fall and winter. That’s the most recent forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Based on observations of what’s happening in the Pacific Ocean, and modeling to predict what may be coming, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued a La Niña watch, indicating that conditions are favorable for its development. ... ”  Read more from Discover here:  Giant blob of cold water rises from the depths of the Pacific, possibly heralding the arrival of La Niña this fall

In commentary today …

San Joaquin Valley desperately needs the Water Fix, says Ted Page:  He writes, “I am proud to say I was born and raised in Kern County. I’ve lived here all my life. The people that live here with me are the best people I know. They never quit, and they never falter. They are tenacious and they persevere. Our character has served us well, because it is founded on what we know to be true: the decisions we make and the actions we take determine our future.  Fate gave the Valley little natural water, but it provided the people who live here with the tenacity to find it for themselves. In 1961 we banded together to become part of Gov. Pat Brown’s State Water Project. We made that decision because we knew our region wouldn’t grow unless we took a leap of faith and joined the State Water Project. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  San Joaquin Valley desperately needs the Water Fix

In regional news and commentary today …

Bureau of Reclamation got it right in the Klamath Basin, say John Bezdek and Dan Keppen:  They write, “Is it acceptable to simply take water from farmers for environmental purposes, without paying them?  A recent federal audit prepared in response to claims lodged by federal “whistleblowers” in the Klamath Basin of California and Oregon appears to support this premise. This is serious, and has ramifications not just for family farmers and ranchers throughout the West, but also for anybody with an interest in protecting fish and wildlife resources. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Bureau of Reclamation got it right in the Klamath Basin

Tahoe Conservancy awards $3.35 million for 8 Lake Tahoe projects:  “The California Tahoe Conservancy Board on Thursday awarded up to $3.3 million for eight project around the Tahoe Basin intended to improve forest health, lake clarity and water quality.  “The suite of projects approved today help address some of the most pressing issues facing Lake Tahoe,” said Larry Sevison, the Conservancy’s board chairman. “If we are to tackle the threats of catastrophic wildfire, aquatic invasive species, and polluted storm water, we must plan for the future and implement innovative solutions. I’m pleased to report that these projects support that goal.” ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Tahoe Conservancy awards $3.35 million for 8 Lake Tahoe projects

Hill Slough tidal wetland project moves forward in Suisun Marsh:  “A two-phase, $10.65 million project to restore 850 acres of managed wetlands to tidal wetlands in the Hill Slough Wildlife Area of the Suisun Marsh recently won approval by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.  The state Department of Fish and Wildlife project, which received unanimous support on a 19-0 commission vote with one abstention, is also designed to provide greater public access, according to commission documents. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Hill Slough tidal wetland project moves forward in Suisun Marsh

Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels:  “Santa Clara County’s groundwater — which provides nearly half the drinking water every year for 2 million Silicon Valley residents — fell by up to 60 feet during the state’s recent historic drought due to heavy pumping.  But now the vast underground basins have filled back up to the levels where they were before the drought started in 2011, a welcome trend that experts say was driven by heavy winter rains and strict water conservation rules during the drought that eased the need for pumping. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Groundwater in Santa Clara County now back to pre-drought levels

Contamination found in private wells in north Stockton:  “Investigators have discovered what appears to be a new plume of polluted groundwater in north Stockton, the culprit being a chemical commonly associated with dry cleaning businesses.  A meeting to provide residents with more information is scheduled for tonight from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the New Day Community Church, 7525 Oakmont Drive.  The area of concern is mostly between Thornton Road and Lower Sacramento Road, north of Hammer Lane and south of Paloma Avenue, officials said. Of 37 private domestic wells that have been sampled mostly in that area, concentrations of the chemical commonly known as PCE exceeded federal standards in 13 wells. ... ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Contamination found in private wells in north Stockton

Manteca: Park wells helped city use 20% less water than in 2007:  “Manteca’s never ending drive to squeeze pennies out of municipal expenses where they can has allowed the city to use 20.11 percent less water today than a decade ago when the city had 65,076 residents or 11,000 less people.  The city used 639 million gallons of water in August of 2007 compared to 532 million gallons of water in August of 2017.  Manteca at the time had required new construction to use new state standards for low-flow toilets and low-flow showerheads. But what drove water use down were two pressing concerns — rising water bills for the Parks & Recreation Department to keep the grass green at parks and complaints from citizens regarding water pressure that often dipped significantly right before dawn and in the hours afterwards as residents prepped for the day. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Manteca: Park wells helped city use 20% less water than in 2007

Coachella Valley farmworker’s dilemma: Affordable housing but undrinkable water:  “September is the time of year that country clubs become ghost towns in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. It’s still too hot for tee times at the valley’s golf courses with temperatures often soaring to the century mark.  And while most tourists aren’t flocking to posh Indian Wells or parties in Palm Springs, it’s the busy season for the region’s other industry: date farming.  There are veritable forests of date palms growing here – tufts of green feathery fronds poke the horizon in almost every direction. Ladders dangle from 80ft trees, awaiting ascension by palmeros who will spend months picking most of the country’s date supply – some 44 million lbs. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Coachella Valley farmworker’s dilemma: Affordable housing but undrinkable water

Along the Colorado River …

Top Nevada water official begins key Vegas hearings:  “Nevada’s top state water official begins hearings Monday on a crucial issue in a plan for Las Vegas to drill drinking water wells beneath arid rangeland in rural valleys just west of the Nevada-Utah state line.  State Engineer Jason King in Carson City has to decide, again, if pumping will irreparably harm basins serving farmers, Indian tribes, a Mormon church ranch and the counties of White Pine in Nevada and Millard and Juab in Utah.  The hearings are expected to last two weeks. They amount to a do-over ordered by state District Court Judge Robert Estes in Ely in December 2013. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Top Nevada water official begins key Vegas hearings

Arizona Governor’s office proposes major rewrite of water laws:  “Gov. Doug Ducey’s office is pushing for a spate of changes aimed at altering water laws, from groundwater rules to audits of another public body.  The proposed laws have already rankled some lawmakers and the Central Arizona Project, setting up what could be a major battle during the 2018 legislative session.  Many of the dozen proposals focus on mundane, wonky water details, but have big implications for water management in Arizona’s desert landscape, where sound water policy has allowed the nation’s fifth-largest city to grow. ... ”  Read more from the Arizona Capital Times here:  Arizona Governor’s office proposes major rewrite of water laws

Does the Colorado River have rights?  A lawsuit seeks to declare it a person:  “Does a river — or a plant, or a forest — have rights?  This is the essential question in what attorneys are calling a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit, in which a Denver lawyer and a far-left environmental group are asking a judge to recognize the Colorado River as a person.  If successful, it could upend environmental law, possibly allowing the redwood forests, the Rocky Mountains or the deserts of Nevada to sue individuals, corporations and governments over resource pollution or depletion. Future lawsuits in its mold might seek to block pipelines, golf courses or housing developments and force everyone from agriculture executives to mayors to rethink how they treat the environment. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Does the Colorado River have rights?  A lawsuit seeks to declare it a person

U.S., Mexico on verge of Colorado River water pact:  “An agreement amending the longstanding treaty between the U.S. and Mexico on management of the Colorado River will continue the practice of water shortage sharing, but also fund new conservation and environmental programs, and aim to reduce the risk of ruinous drought.  The two nations are tentatively scheduled to execute the agreement—Minute 323, an amendment to a 1944 water treaty—on Sept. 26 in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez. Minute 323 will govern water flows in the Colorado River and other water management issues by extending an existing binational agreement, Minute 319, which was set to expire at the end of 2017. ... ”  Read more from BNA here:  U.S., Mexico on verge of Colorado River water pact

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: