NEWS WORTH NOTING: California Urban Water Agencies releases white paper on declining flows and adapting to change; Draft feasibility report for Yuba River Eco Study published, meetings set; San Joaquin River Restoration Program extends comment period for environmental document

California Urban Water Agencies releases white paper on declining flows and adapting to change

From the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA)

The California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) has released a new white paper on Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows to provide decision makers, water/wastewater system managers, and other stakeholders an understanding of the impacts of declining system flows and how utilities are adapting to these circumstances.

“Wise water use is a fundamental component of CUWA’s mission and an important part of our agencies’ long-term water supply reliability efforts for sustainably meeting future water demands. And yet, within the interconnected urban water cycle, rapidly declining flows can potentially impact water, wastewater, and recycled water systems,” said CUWA Executive Director, Cindy Paulson.

During the recent historic drought, Californians responded to the Governor’s call for emergency statewide water use reductions. And the corresponding reduction in water demands brought to light some unintended consequences of declining flows that have a ripple effect throughout systems within the urban water cycle. “Our goal with this white paper is to better understand the system-wide impacts of increased conservation and water use efficiency so that decision makers are better informed as they address California’s current and future water challenges,” said CUWA Staff Engineer, Wendy Broley.

CUWA’s white paper was developed through a partnership with California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), the Water Research Foundation (WRF), WateReuse California, and the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). The white paper summarizes information from several resources, including:

 A literature review to gain a foundational understanding of what impacts utilities may be experiencing because of declining flows.
 A high-level survey to determine the level and range of observed impacts in California.
 One-on-one interviews and developing case studies to illustrate the broad range of issues agencies are experiencing and their associated impact.

“It is interesting how water use reductions, and the subsequent declining flows are impacting agencies throughout California. Our survey showed that 50% of respondents did in fact experience impacts on their drinking water, wastewater, or recycled water infrastructure,” said City of San Diego External Water Policy Program Manager, Cathy Pieroni. Since the completion of the white paper, CUWA has received multiple requests from utilities interested in responding to the survey with observations and experiences of their own. As a result, CUWA has agreed to keep the survey open for those that would still like to respond. CUWA will incorporate the updated results in outreach materials, such as presentations and/or a future article.

The white paper can be accessed on CUWA’s website at:
http://www.cuwa.org/pubs/CUWA_DecliningFlowsWhitePaper_11-28-17.pdf

The survey can be accessed here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/decliningflows
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About CUWA
Established in 1990, the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) is a nonprofit corporation of 11 major urban water agencies that are responsible for delivering drinking water to about two-thirds of California’s population. As the collective voice for the largest urban water purveyors in California, CUWA provides technical perspective to promote common understanding and consensus solutions among the urban water community. CUWA agencies include Alameda County Water District, City of Fresno, Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Diego County Water Authority, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Zone 7 Water Agency in Livermore. For more
information, visit: http://www.cuwa.org/

Draft feasibility report for Yuba River Eco Study published, meetings set

From the Army Corps of Engineers:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District published a draft feasibility report and environmental assessment today, marking a major milestone in the Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration feasibility study.

The draft report outlines a proposed plan to reconnect the Yuba River to its floodplain, create rearing habitat for juvenile fish, create riparian habitat, and facilitate improved conditions for the natural recruitment of riparian habitat.

Improvements to approximately 178 acres of existing aquatic and riparian habitat along the lower Yuba River, between Englebright Dam and the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers in Yuba County, are being proposed. Measures such as side channels, backwaters, floodplain lowering, riparian planting, and installation of hydraulic roughness and structural complexity features that replicate nature could be implemented throughout the project area.

The release of the draft feasibility report and environmental assessment kicks off a 45-day public review period. The Corps will host public meetings in Marysville and Sacramento to discuss the proposed project, answer questions and accept comments.

The public meetings will be held:

Marysville – Tuesday, January 16, 2018 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Yuba County Government Center Marysville and Wheatland Conference Room (915 8th Street, Marysville, CA 95901)

Sacramento – Monday, January 22, 2018 from 1 to 3 p.m. at John E. Moss Federal Building Stanford Room (650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814)

Interested individuals can review the draft FR/EA on the study’s web page: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental-Projects/Yuba-River-Eco-Study/.
Additionally, the draft documents are available at the following locations:
• Sacramento Public Library Central Branch – 828 I Street, Sacramento, Ca 95814
• Nevada County Public Library – 980 Helling Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
• Yuba County Library – 303 Second Street, Marysville, CA 95901
• Downieville Branch Library – 318 Commercial Street, Downieville, CA 95936

Comments on the draft FR/EA will be accepted until February 23, 2018. Written comments on the draft FR/EA may be submitted to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, Attn: Planning Division, 1325 J Street, Sacramento, California 95814, or by email to Yuba-River-Eco-Study@usace.army.mil. Emailed comments should include “Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study” in the subject line and the commenter’s mailing address.

The Sacramento District initiated the Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study in 2015 at the request of its non-federal sponsor, the Yuba County Water Agency.

San Joaquin River Restoration Program extends comment period for environmental document

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program is extending public review of a joint Initial Study and Environmental Assessment for the Eastside Bypass Improvements Project by 10 days. The original comment period was scheduled to close on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and will now close on Friday, January 19, 2018.

The proposed project, part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, has the primary purpose of facilitating fish migration and increasing Restoration Flow capacity in the Eastside Bypass by 2020. The proposed Eastside Bypass Improvements Project would improve levee stability and thereby increase the flow capacity in the Eastside Bypass – a critical improvement as the Eastside Bypass between Sand Slough and the Mariposa Bypass is identified as the most limiting channel reach with regards to levee stability. The proposed project also calls for modifications to existing structures in order to facilitate fish passage for federally and state-listed salmonids and other native fish. Project completion is expected by the end of 2020.

The document is available at: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=30741 and a hard-copy can be reviewed by contacting the individuals below. Written comments are due by Jan. 19, 2018, and can be emailed or mailed to Rebecca Victorine, Bureau of Reclamation, San Joaquin River Restoration Program, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento , CA 95825 or rvictorine@usbr.gov and/or Karen Dulik, California Department of Water Resources, South Central Region Office,3374 E. Shields Avenue, Fresno, CA 93726 or Karen.Dulik@water.ca.gov .

For additional information about the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, please visit http://www.restoresjr.net or contact Josh Newcom, Public Affairs Specialist, at 916-978-5508 or snewcom@usbr.gov.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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