DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Westlands water settlement in limbo; Workshop explores the importance of improved forecasting on water management; Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s struggle is America’s tale; $300 billion war beneath the street; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Westlands water settlement in limbo; Federal vacancies would impede recovery from next drought, Natural Resources secretary says; Workshop explores the importance of improved forecasting on water management; Photo gallery: Bay Area Students Turn Legos into Robots; The Oroville Dam spillway was wrecked months ago. Here's where the repairs stand as rain season looms; Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: Houston's struggle is America's tale; $300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America's pipes; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Westlands water settlement in limbo: “This year, the annual bill governing national defense policy almost settled a three-decades-old conflict in California over toxic water draining from farm fields.  Lawmakers finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the military bill, legislation that addresses troop numbers and overseas operations, on Wednesday. They considered — but ultimately dropped — a rider, the San Luis Unit Drainage Resolution Act, that would have confirmed a 2015 settlement transferring federal responsibility for dealing with contaminated water in California’s Westlands Water District to the district. ... ”  Read more from High Country News here:  Westlands water settlement in limbo

Federal vacancies would impede recovery from next drought, Natural Resources secretary says:  “California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, who lives in Santa Cruz, said the state will be in trouble if another drought strikes as federal support remains uncertain.  Key U.S. departmental vacancies could hamper negotiations for emergency relief, Laird said after the Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County meeting Saturday. Laird and Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, spoke to about 70 people in Santa Cruz. ... ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Federal vacancies would impede recovery from next drought, Natural Resources secretary says

Workshop explores the importance of improved forecasting on water management:  “Weather forecasting has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go before it will be a reliable tool for making water management decisions. That was the message delivered by various expert speakers during a half-day workshop titled “Can We Really Predict the Weather? The Latest in Forecasting.”  The workshop, co-sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources and ACWA on Thursday, Nov. 9, featured presentations from local water district representatives, DWR and NASA. DWR Director Grant Davis and ACWA Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs Jennifer Persike kicked off the workshop with opening remarks. … ” Read more from ACWA's Water News here:  Workshop explores the importance of improved forecasting on water management

Photo gallery: Bay Area Students Turn Legos into Robots: ” … This weekend, more than 600 student teams across Northern California (and their robots) participated in qualifying tournaments for the FIRST LEGO League competition. The robots were built by the students with Lego pieces and other materials and had to do specific tasks on a pre-set ping-pong sized table — pushing buttons, grabbing Lego items, pulling levers — all within a set amount of time.  The science and engineering competition’s theme this year was hydro dynamics, and the students were responsible for programming their robots to meet the challenges around water. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Photo gallery: Bay Area Students Turn Legos into Robots:

The Oroville Dam spillway was wrecked months ago.  Here's where the repairs stand as rain season looms:  “New images released by state water officials Thursday highlight the immensity of repairs made to the Oroville Dam spillway as seasonal rains begin to fall once again.  More than an inch of rain is expected in the area between Thursday and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.  In a series of photographs released by the California Department of Water Resources, workers contracted by the state are shown drilling, blasting, and smoothing out portions of the damaged spillway and the earthen pool below it. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The Oroville Dam spillway was wrecked months ago.  Here’s where the repairs stand as rain season looms

Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: Houston's struggle is America's tale:  “The mayhem that Hurricane Harvey unleashed on Houston didn’t only come from the sky. On the ground, it came sweeping in from the Katy Prairie some 30 miles west of downtown.  Water drains naturally in this stretch of Texas, or at least it used to. At more than 600 square miles, Houston has grown to be as big as Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia combined, a giant spread of asphalt smothering many of the floodplains that once shuttled water from the prairies to the sea. When finished, the newest road to ring the city and propel its expansion, called the Grand Parkway, will encircle an area equivalent to all of Rhode Island. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: Houston’s struggle is America’s tale

$300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America's pipes:  “Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares.  America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task.  Two powerful industries, plastic and iron, are locked in a lobbying war over the estimated $300 billion that local governments will spend on water and sewer pipes over the next decade.  It is a battle of titans, raging just inches beneath our feet. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  $300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America’s pipes

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Two contracts approved to continue work on J levee replacement:  “A Willows firm been awarded an $8.8 million contract to continue the construction of a new levee to protect Hamilton City, according to a press release from Reclamation District 2140.  The Army Corps of Engineers recently approved two contracts: $600,000 to Landology, Inc. of Lincoln to prepare the project site this winter and $8.8 million to James Fisher Jr. Excavating of Willows for levee construction next spring.  The work next year will be the second of four phases of construction to build a new setback levee to replace the ancient J Levee. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Two contracts approved to continue work on J levee replacement

Solano groundwater agency budget set at $60,000 to get started:  “The groundwater sustainability agency that includes Solano County and seven other agencies Thursday set its initial budget Thursday at $60,000.  “The budget is set, and we will call that seed money to get up and running,” Supervisor Skip Thomson said in a phone interview Friday.  The seed money establishes the administrative structure, headed by Chris Lee at the Solano County Water Agency, to start developing a groundwater management plan required by the Groundwater Management Act enacted in 2014. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Solano groundwater agency budget set at $60,000 to get started

South Coast board poised to make another decision on Doheny desalination facility:  “A proposed desalination facility producing 5 million gallons of drinkable water a day would satisfy the needs of all South Coast Water District customers, district General Manager Andy Brunhart said this week, though he added the agency would not rely completely on that source to serve ratepayers.  The 5-acre Doheny Ocean Desalination Project would be built on 30 acres of district-owned property near San Juan Creek in Dana Point. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  South Coast board poised to make another decision on Doheny desalination facility

San Diego:  Dudek to study Rainbow Municipal Water District groundwater recovery potential:  “Dudek will be studying the possibility of the Rainbow Municipal Water District obtaining some of its water supply from the Bonsall Groundwater Basin of the San Luis Rey River.  The board voted 5-0 to approve a $572,903 contract with Dudek, Oct. 24, to provide engineering services for studies which would bring a Bonsall Groundwater Basin desalter project closer to implementation.  “This project is to evaluate what water rights we have in the Bonsall basin and the feasibility of extracting that,” Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy said. ... ”  Read more from Valley News here:  San Diego:  Dudek to study Rainbow Municipal Water District groundwater recovery potential

Precipitation watch …

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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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