DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Gallagher survey: Respondents worry more about DWR than terrorists; California fires: Cost pegged at $1 billion and counting; Illegal grows bring environmental crimes; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Gallagher survey: Respondents worry more about DWR than terrorists; California fires: Cost pegged at $1 billion and counting; Repair costs double for Oroville Dam; Illegal grows bring environmental crimes; North Coast crab toxin tests mostly clean; An early look at how the North Bay fires have impacted undeveloped land in the region; Radio show: From fire to floods: A coming danger for the Bay Area?; San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District banks water for future use; and more … and lastly, Would you like my car to make you a glass of water?

In the news this weekend …

Gallagher survey: Respondents worry more about DWR than terrorists:  “Survey results largely showed that respondents weren’t happy with how things went down this past February at the Lake Oroville spillways and the events that followed. Most respondents expressed their concerns were with the California Department of Water Resources. A majority said they were more concerned about the state entity responsible for operating and maintaining the reservoir in a check-box titled “other” than they were of terrorists threatening the facility’s critical infrastructure.  And that was only one of 12 questions in a recent survey conducted by Assemblyman James Gallagher that saw 3,322 residents participate last month. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Gallagher survey: Respondents worry more about DWR than terrorists

California fires: Cost pegged at $1 billion and counting:  “With damage estimates as high as $6 billion, the wildfires that ravaged wine country and parts of Sacramento Valley likely will rank among the most expensive natural disasters in California history.  The fires, which killed 42 people, figures to rank alongside the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire as the state’s costliest blaze. When adjusted for price inflation, the Oakland fire caused more than $2.7 billion in damages that were covered by insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.  Preliminary estimates for the latest wildfires vary widely. Gov. Jerry Brown said the damages could be in the tens of billions of dollars. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California fires: Cost pegged at $1 billion and counting

Repair costs double for Oroville Dam:  “The cost of repairing the crippling damage to Oroville Dam’s spillways caused by last winter’s fierce storms has almost doubled, state water officials said Thursday.  Kiewit, the Nebraska-based construction firm that has the main contract to rebuild the main spillway and emergency spillway at Oroville, the nation’s tallest dam, estimated in its winning bid in April that the work would cost at least $275 million. But the price tag has now grown to at least $500 million, said Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Water Resources. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:  Repair costs double for Oroville Dam

Illegal grows bring environmental crimes:  “A sense of indifference drives the egregious environmental crimes occurring at numerous illegal marijuana grows throughout the county, according to state law enforcement officials.  Many responsible for annihilating the environment do so on federal lands or on properties they do not own, said Lt. Chris Stoots of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Enforcement Division. “They just don’t care about what they are doing.”  “There is zero accountability,” said Stoots. “Nobody is connected to the (land). If it is on private land, there is an aspect of caution of concern.” … ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here:  Illegal grows bring environmental crimes

In commentary this weekend …

What next after water district’s brave Delta vote? asks the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, “The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board made the most courageous decision in its history Tuesday when it stood up to direct pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown and rejected his $17 billion plan to build two, 35-mile long, four-story tall tunnels 150 feet under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  The unanimous vote  begs the huge question of: What next?  We need to ensure Silicon Valley’s water supply while also maintaining the health of the fragile Delta, the largest estuary west of the Mississippi. But the twin tunnels would likely come at a cost of untold billions more than the $17 billion estimate with no promise of more water — unless, at some future time, state leaders decide to actually use the massive capacity of those tunnels to flood Southern California with all the water it wants, destroying the Delta. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  What next after water district’s brave Delta vote?

In this horror flick, we’re playing the part of Victim No. 1, says Mike Dunbar:  He writes, “At the climax of most horror movies, the mask gets ripped away and we see the face of the villain – Jason, Leatherface, Freddie Kruger, Jerry Brown.  We’re living our own slow-motion horror movie, in which the state has been plotting for years to steal the water that sustains our lives and a third of the Northern San Joaquin Valley’s economy. The plot is really boiling now, so let’s pull off some masks. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  In this horror flick, we’re playing the part of Victim No. 1

Keeping Lake Oroville low sounds like a good idea, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “As much as we like to see Lake Oroville full, and as much as our recreation economy needs the lake full, we can’t find fault with the plan to draw the lake water level down this winter to avert flooding.  Sure, the Department of Water Resources says it will have a functional spillway by Nov. 1, we’d rather not see it used.  That spillway will be, after all, a stretch of 60-year-old patched concrete, followed by a stretch of new concrete, followed by a 3-foot drop to a stretch of a different kind of concrete that’s temporary and will be replaced next year, followed by another stretch of new concrete.  What can go wrong, eh? … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Keeping Lake Oroville low sounds like a good idea

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

North Coast crab toxin tests mostly clean:  “Early test results show that toxic algae blooms won’t be getting in the way of this year’s sport and Dungeness commercial crabbing seasons.  Nearly all of the crabs tested for domoic acid between Monterey and Crescent City came up clean, but late September crab tests released this week show one of six crabs tested near the Eel River had a higher concentration of the toxin than is deemed safe by Food and Drug Administration standards.  In recent years, domoic acid produced by algae blooms caused significant impacts to the state’s crab fleet. On the North Coast, the commercial season in 2015-16 was delayed by about six months after crabs tested for high levels of the toxin. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times Standard here:  North Coast crab toxin tests mostly clean

An early look at how the North Bay fires have impacted undeveloped land in the region:  “As the North Bay fires are increasingly contained and communities begin to rebuild their lives, a picture is emerging of where the fires burned. It’s a patchwork landscape of homes, farms, and undeveloped lands containing various habitats, including chaparral, grasslands, mixed woodlands, and streams.  Data released by the Bay Area Open Space Council this week detail the acreage of land burned in Sonoma, Napa, and Solano counties and its various uses. According to the data, the fires passed over 75,000-acres of farmland in the two counties, with almost 4,000 of those acres supporting important agricultural crops, such as orchards and vineyards. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  An early look at how the North Bay fires have impacted undeveloped land in the region

Radio show: From fire to floods: A coming danger for the Bay Area?  “The Bay Area had a light rain this past Thursday night. That’s great news for firefighting efforts, but it’s also a reminder that floods and mudslides pose a danger for fire-ravaged areas. Forum discusses possibilities for floods and mudslides when harder rains arrive, and we’ll also talk about whether toxic runoff from the fires could endanger water resources. Guests:  Mike Mierzwa, lead flood management planner, California Department of Water Resources; Matt St. John, executive officer, North Coast Regional Water Board.”  Listen or download radio show here:  From fire to floods: A coming danger for the Bay Area?

Rate hikes poor way to launch water agency, says the Santa Clarita Signal:  They write, “With little fanfare, California Gov. Jerry Brown last weekend changed the course of Santa Clarita Valley water history by signing Senate Bill 634, creating a single valleywide water district with an elected board to represent a unified voice on valley water policy.  Effective Jan. 1, 2018, gone will be a two-layer water district system with a water wholesaler to import Northern California water and three main water retailers to distribute both state water and domestic groundwater to homes and businesses.  At the initiative of wholesaler Castaic Lake Water Agency and retailer Newhall County Water District, and on the approval of the state Legislature and Brown, the four will become one. … ”  Read more from the Signal here:  Rate hikes poor way to launch water agency, says the Santa Clarita Signal

San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District banks water for future use:  “In the flat, undeveloped desert north of Mentone, ducks and geese float in a series of large ponds, enjoying water from Northern California.  Ponds like these are designed to capture water so that it can percolate through the soil and recharge the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, which serves about 600,000 resients in the East San Bernardino Valley and 300,000 residents in the city of Riverside. … ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here:  San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District banks water for future use

Julian: Here’s your water bill, complete with $5,000 in district legal costs:  “Officials from a public water district outside Julian added thousands of dollars of extra charges onto one customer’s water bill — for legal work the agency racked up in a dispute with the family over a fence.  Michael and Kathy Young refused for months to pay the bill, which was first assessed earlier this year. They continued to pay for the water they used as customers of the Wynola Water District, which has fewer than 80 customers. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Julian: Here’s your water bill, complete with $5,000 in district legal costs

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado attorney general moves to dismiss request seeking ‘person status’ for the Colorado River:  “The state of Colorado moved in federal court this week to dismiss a lawsuit from an environmental group and five of its members who are seeking to declare the Colorado River ecosystem a “person” and represent its interest in court.  In a filing from the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday, Colorado wrote to the U.S. District Court in Denver that Deep Green Resistance and its members do not have jurisdiction to sue the state in federal court under the 11th Amendment, do not have standing in the case due to lack of a specific injury and do not state a claim “upon which relief can be granted.” … ”  Read more from the Aspen Times here:  Colorado attorney general moves to dismiss request seeking ‘person status’ for the Colorado River

Lake Powell pipeline will require state borrowing and higher water bills, Utah tells federal regulators: “Specifics remain fuzzy, but a clearer picture is emerging of just how much Washington County residents might have to pay for water from the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline — and it isn’t going to be cheap.  It’s also likely the state will have to borrow money to help pay for a majority of the southern Utah pipeline’s construction costs, judging from new documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  “Bonded debt is likely going to be pursued,” said Joshua Palmer, a spokesman for the Division of Water Resources. However, he would not say how much of the pipeline’s $1 billion-plus price tag would have to be covered by a state bond. … ”  Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here:  Lake Powell pipeline will require state borrowing and higher water bills, Utah tells federal regulators

And lastly …

Would you like my car to make you a glass of water?  “A few years ago, Ford engineer Doug Martin read about an unusual billboard in Lima, Peru: It was designed to collect and filter water that condenses on the billboard’s cool surfaces when humid air rolls in from the coast.  The billboard produces hundreds of gallons of clean water every week. “Residents can just come and fill jugs with high-quality water and take it home,” Martin said.  A short time later, it occurred to him: Why couldn’t a car produce drinking water, too? Air-conditioners do something similar to the Peruvian billboard — generating water by removing moisture from the air. Then he and a Ford colleague, John Rollinger, went about developing a system that dispenses that moisture as cool and filtered drinking water to people inside the vehicle. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Would you like my car to make you a glass of water?

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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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where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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