DAILY DIGEST: Metropolitan, Coachella Valley vote yes on Delta tunnels; Los Angeles mayor on Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan: just build one; State board sticks to flow regime on Sacramento River; What pumps tell us about water, power, and the worker; and more …

In California water news today, Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive Delta tunnels project; Metropolitan says yes to the tunnels; $17 Billion Twin Tunnels OK’d By Southern California Water District; Coachella Valley water agency supports Jerry Brown's controversial $17 billion project; Los Angeles mayor on Jerry Brown's tunnel plan: just build one; State board sticks to flow regime on Sacramento River; Column: What pumps tell us about water, power, and the worker; California pursuing new water solutions; and more …

In the news today …

DELTA TUNNELS VOTE

Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive Delta tunnels project:  “Southern California’s largest water agency Tuesday threw a lifeline to California WaterFix, approving a $4.3-billion buy-in to the water delivery project.  The closely watched vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board does not ensure the survival of the $17-billion project, which needs significant funding from other urban and agricultural water districts to move forward. … ” Read more from the LA Times here:  Southern California water agency approves pitching in $4.3 billion for massive Delta tunnels project

Metropolitan says yes to the tunnels:  “A behemoth Southern California water agency voted Tuesday to pay its share of the $17 billion Delta tunnels, a decision that keeps the project alive after some San Joaquin Valley farmers earlier gave an emphatic “no.”  The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to move forward with the support of 69 percent of its member agencies. Considering what happened with the farmers, a “no” vote by urban Metropolitan likely would have been disastrous for tunnels supporters.  “It’s a very historic vote, but the journey still has a long way to go,” said Jeff Kightlinger, Metropolitan’s general manager. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Metropolitan says yes to the tunnels

$17 Billion Twin Tunnels OK’d By Southern California Water District:The powerful Metropolitan Water District voted Tuesday to pay its share of the $17 billion project to build two massive tunnels to pipe water from Northern California to Southern California cities. … The vote came after spirited comment from supporters who said the project was a modern day fix to improving reliability of water supplies that would also support jobs and critics who said it would inflate water prices for residents and projected it would further harm salmon and endangered fish in the delta. … ” Read more from the AP via KQED here: $17 Billion Twin Tunnels OK’d By Southern California Water District

Here's a photo gallery from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:  Photos: Metropolitan Water District Board meeting, California Water Fix

Coachella Valley water agency supports Jerry Brown's controversial $17 billion project:  “The Coachella Valley's largest water agency voiced support for California’s proposed $16.7 billion plan to build two water tunnels beneath the Delta, even as key questions about the project remain unanswered — including how much customers would end up paying.  The Coachella Valley Water District's board members voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve a nonbinding resolution backing the project, saying they believe the tunnels would significantly improve the reliability of water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. .. ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: Coachella Valley water agency supports Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion project

Los Angeles mayor on Jerry Brown's tunnel plan: just build one:  “Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came out Tuesday against Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin Delta tunnels project to carry water southward, saying he preferred just one tunnel.  Speaking at the Sacramento Press Club, the Democrat said he told the governor that he was taking the “Jerry Brown approach,” meaning making the correct, not the expedient, policy decision.  Garcetti said he worried that under Brown’s plan Los Angeles ratepayers would be burdened with a disproportionate share of the infrastructure costs, “And I think that’s unfair,” he said. “Secondly, I want to make sure that there are environmental protections that are much more aggressive,” he added. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Los Angeles mayor on Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan: just build one

OTHER NEWS

State board sticks to flow regime on Sacramento River:  “Despite calls to consider a more comprehensive approach to water management that serves multiple, beneficial purposes, an updated science report from the State Water Resources Control Board doubles down on what it has tried before: increasing flows for fish to the Sacramento River and delta.  Representatives of Sacramento Valley water users say they continue to evaluate the new report, an earlier draft version of which was released last year. Their initial assessment, they said, is that not much has changed from the original draft, although the board does encourage voluntary agreements to help achieve its objectives, an approach farm groups and irrigation districts favor.  The state water board, which allocates surface-water rights and is responsible for protecting water quality, has been trying to update its Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan for years. The Bay-Delta Plan, as it is known, outlines how water in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will be managed. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  State board sticks to flow regime on Sacramento River

Column: What pumps tell us about water, power, and the worker:  “High up in the Tehachapi Mountains of California’s Central Valley lies the largest consumer of the state’s electricity, driving 14 centrifugal pumps, each rated at 80,000 hp. The Tehachapis derive their name from the Kaiwassuu indigenous word meaning “hard climb”; at a maximum elevation of 7,981 ft., the original term is quite fitting. These massive pumps at the Edmonston Pumping Plant require 60 MW of power  to move water 1,926 ft. high, through 8.5 miles of mountain range. Water and electricity flow in tandem throughout California’s State Water Project and at times let gravity do some of the work.  I can’t think of a better symbol of the water-energy nexus than the pumps at the foot of those colossal mountains. For a closer look at Edmonston Plant, check out Maven’s awesome photo tour. ... ”  Read more from Water Online here: What pumps tell us about water, power, and the worker

California pursuing new water solutions:  “The Golden State is stretching for a new grip on both long-term water supplies and state water management policies after a tenacious five-year drought, capped by torrents of rain and snow across most of the state last fall through spring.  Most of California’s past decade had been unusually dry, even for a state that’s about half desert: 2012 through 2015 was the driest four-year stretch on record statewide. Then, in the 2017 “water year” (which ended Sept. 30), there was a deluge, with more than 100 inches falling in parts of the Sierra Nevada range, and an average of 95 inches throughout  the state. That's nearly double the long-term average across the primary Central Valley watersheds, which feed the state’s water supply systems.  The result of the climate roller coaster trip is mixed. ... ”  Read more from Agri-Pulse here:  California pursuing new water solutions

SB 623 could resurface when Assembly begins a new session in January:  “Access to clean water should be a basic human right that should be upheld at every level of government. But in California, the richest agriculture state with the most communities struggling with contaminated water, it was drowned out by housing reform, a parks and water bond and immigration.  Senate Bill 623, a legislative answer to funding projects that could rid contaminants from the water supply of disadvantaged communities, was a political casualty in the final days of the legislative session that ended last month. The bill was held in the Assembly Rules Committee and was lost amidst negotiations for much more controversial issues.  ... ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here:  SB 623 could resurface when Assembly begins a new session in January

In commentary today …

California WaterFix needs fixing, says the OC Register: They write, “A new report by the state auditor is an alarm bell for the proposed Delta tunnels project, and like any alarm, it sounds for a reason and shouldn’t be ignored.  The 91-page report on the major infrastructure project now called California WaterFix reveals that the state’s Department of Water Resources has not completed an economic or a financial analysis of the project to demonstrate its financial viability. Further, the DWR has yet to fully implement a governance structure for the design and construction phase of WaterFix, and the agency has failed to maintain important program management documents. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  California WaterFix needs fixing, says the OC Register

In regional news and commentary today …

Farms, fish, and water fun – and $150 million in 50-year Don Pedro Reservoir plan:  “The owners of Don Pedro Reservoir made their pitch Tuesday for how it can serve both people and Tuolumne River fish over the next half-century.  The boards of the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts each voted 5-0 at separate meetings to submit their final application for a new federal license for the project.  The proposal, six years in the making and topping 6,000 pages, mainly deals with how to boost the number of salmon on the 52 miles of river below Don Pedro. The districts offer to increase reservoir releases from current levels, but much less than sought by environmental and fishing groups. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Farms, fish, and water fun – and $150 million in 50-year Don Pedro Reservoir plan

County supervisors join brewing legal battle against feds over Tijuana sewage spills:  “The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the growing legal campaign to force the federal government to do more to stop sewage from spilling over the border from Tijuana that routinely fouls South Bay beaches.  “Enough is enough,” Supervisor Greg Cox, whose district includes border region with Mexico, said in a statement. “We’ve exhausted all our efforts to resolve this terrible situation and it’s time we force those responsible to once and for all fix this problem.” ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  County supervisors join brewing legal battle against feds over Tijuana sewage spills

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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