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DAILY DIGEST: Three storms aimed at Sacramento, Sierra; What does CA’s future look like?  Scientists asked trees; Central Valley irrigation districts team up to boost water levels; A look at the incredible shrinking Salton Sea; Mercury News editorial on how to decide if a single Delta tunnel makes sense; and more … 

In California water news today, Three storms aimed at Sacramento, Sierra; What does California’s future look like?  Scientists asked trees; Central Valley irrigation districts team up to boost water levels; A look at the incredible shrinking Salton Sea; Weather extremes shaking up fouling communities in urban estuaries; Clean water vs. cannabis? in Humboldt County; Mercury News editorial on how to decide if a single Delta tunnel makes sense; and more …

In the news today …

Three storms aimed at Sacramento, Sierra:  “Three more rainstorms took aim at the Sacramento area Monday, as the region’s dry spell continued to gradually give way to more normalized winter conditions.  The National Weather Service said Monday’s foggy conditions were expected to turn rainy as the day wore on, with most of the rain not forecast until late in the evening. The rainy weather was expected to let up shortly after the Tuesday morning commute. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Three storms aimed at Sacramento, Sierra

What does California’s future look like?  Scientists asked trees:  “The wildfires that torched California last fall came right on the heels of another calamity, a five-year drought that was finally washed away in early 2017. Much ink has been spilled trying to pin these extreme weather patterns on human-caused climate change, but such debates raise an even more basic question: how “extreme” are these events? Was this drought really that rare in notoriously arid California?  The answer is tricky. To make a well-educated guess at how often prolonged droughts have occurred in California’s past we would need centuries, if not a millennium, of climate data. Unfortunately, humans haven’t been measuring precipitation and temperature for that long. But thankfully, someone else has. ... ”  Read more from Massive here:  What does California’s future look like?  Scientists asked trees

Central Valley irrigation districts team up to boost water levels:  “A central California irrigation district will build a new water bank in an adjoining district to bolster groundwater supplies and help reduce subsidence, which caused a 60 percent reduction in delivered capacity in the Friant-Kern Canal.  Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District (DEID) hopes to have a 30,000 acre-foot water bank in neighboring Pixley Irrigation District (PID) complete by the end of 2019. The plan is to use surface water from the Friant-Kern Canal in surplus seasons to bank water in the aquifer under DEID’s northern neighbor and draw on those supplies in dry seasons.  … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Central Valley irrigation districts team up to boost water levels

A look at the incredible shrinking Salton Sea:  “The valley that is home to the Salton Sea sits below sea level. It has been flooded and dried multiple times on a historical geological scale. The current lake was born of a construction accident that pierced an irrigation canal in 1905. The damage was not repaired for 18 months, allowing the low-lying area to flood.  Lake levels are expected to drop at about a foot-and-a-half per year, exposing tens of thousands of acres of lake-bottom. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  A look at the incredible shrinking Salton Sea

Weather extremes shaking up fouling communities in urban estuaries:  “Marine fouling species may seem to be lowly creatures, situated toward the bottom of that portion of the food chain animals comprise. However, these filter-feeding invertebrates that make their homes on hard underwater substrates such as the hulls of ships are among some of the most successful invasive species. Their secret is simply their ability to latch onto human vehicles and survive.  Now, new research on the fouling community in the San Francisco Bay indicates that a single wet winter and the change in salinity that high levels of precipitation bring can knock back the advance of these hearty creatures. ... ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Weather extremes shaking up fouling communities in urban estuaries

In commentary today …

San Jose Mercury News: How to decide if a single Delta tunnel makes sense:  “One of Jerry Brown’s biggest failures as governor has been his stubborn, foolhardy approach to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that provides a portion of the drinking water for 25 million Californians, including more than 5 million South Bay and East Bay residents.  The news Friday that the Brown administration is reportedly scaling back his $17 billion, twin-tunnel plan to a single tunnel at slightly more than half the cost is a relief for Northern Californians fearing a massive Southern California water grab at the expense of the health of the Delta. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Editorial: How to decide if a single Delta tunnel makes sense

In regional news and commentary today …

North Valley could see three storms by next week:  “While the work week started draped in fog, it will end drenched in rain. There’s rain in between and even next week. There’s also talk of hail and snow.  Picking up plenty of moisture from the Pacific, the first storm this week rolled in Monday night, putting an end to the fog.  Tuesday night is expected to be dry, along with part of the day Wednesday, but the second storm is expected Wednesday night, bringing a couple of days of wet weather.  Meterologist Will Farr of Western Weather Group in Chico says the east side of the valley will get more rain than the west. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  North Valley could see three storms by next week

Humboldt County: Clean water vs. cannabis? Water district opposes extraction facility:  “The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District argues a proposed plan for a cannabis extraction facility could be problematic – posing a threat to the safety of our drinking water.  “The reason we are in opposition is because we perceive that there is a risk to water quality,” said Sheri Woo, Board President of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.  New zoning changes could allow for construction company Mercer-Fraser to embark on building the 5,000 square foot extraction facility, to create cannabis edibles adjacent to where water is collected, and replacing a current gravel site they’ve been operating for years. … ”  Read more from KIEM here:  Humboldt County: Clean water vs. cannabis? Water district opposes extraction facility

Yuba County Water Agency may grant funds for temporary fix to antiquated Marysville drainage system:  “Rains nearly overwhelmed Marysville’s storm drainage system last year, which highlighted the city’s need to improve its outdated infrastructure, a city official said.  The cost to implement temporary fixes while permitting is sought for a permanent solution is expected to reach six figures, but the Yuba County Water Agency is considering granting the city the needed funds.  “During the winter storm events in early 2017, pump stations were all pushed to their limits,” said Jim Bermudez, director of Community Development and Services for Marysville, in a staff report. “Overall drainage was maintained, but revealed a fragile and antiquated system which could present future drainage challenges should the city experience an unseasonal climate event and/or hydraulic system failure similar to the Oroville Dam in the future.” ... ”  Read more from the Marysville Appeal Democrat here:  Yuba County Water Agency may grant funds for temporary fix to antiquated Marysville drainage system

El Dorado water agency boards get water updates: “Board members of the El Dorado County Water Agency (EDCWA) and the El Dorado Water and Power Authority (EDWPA) met on Jan. 10 for back to back meetings.  Ken Payne, who is the executive director of both agencies, first provided an update to the EDWPA board on all the different projects the agency is engaged in.  While the list includes 84 different projects, he focused on four main ones including progress in pursuing the right to an additional 40,000 acre-feet of water for the county from the State Water Board; negotiations to obtain a long-term contract to 15,000 acre-feet of Fazio water from the Bureau of Reclamation; progress on the Alder Creek Dam and Reservoir project; and efforts to secure a reliable water supply for agriculture in the county. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here:  El Dorado water agency boards get water updates

How Hetch Hetchy Valley’s natural beauty was sacrificed to quench San Francisco’s thirst“It’s an environmental conflict that has been coursing through California for more than a century: the unrelenting thirst of San Francisco versus the pristine beauty of nature.  After years of debate, O’Shaughnessy Dam opened in 1923, holding back the Tuolumne River and flooding Hetch Hetch Valley, a Sierra gem compared in its grandeur to nearby Yosemite Valley. As final construction continued into the 1930s, San Franciscans began tasting water piped directly from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to their homes.  These photos were recently found in The Chronicle’s archive, and many haven’t been published in decades. They show the valley before the damming, the construction of the huge structure, and how nature was transformed in its shadow. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  How Hetch Hetchy Valley’s natural beauty was sacrificed to quench San Francisco’s thirst

Closure of Highway 101 leaves swamped Montecito without its lifeline“The mighty 101 has fallen silent, closed indefinitely after floods early last week piled a stinking, dangerous mess of watery mud and debris onto a short section of the roadway.   Authorities have no idea when the six-lane U.S. Highway 101 will reopen but acknowledge it could be weeks if the damage is as bad as feared. They’re pleading for patience, especially since the closure is also causing additional crashes as frustrated drivers seek alternate routes. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Closure of Highway 101 leaves swamped Montecito without its lifeline

Long Beach wetlands trust says it supports swap that preserves land, allows new drilling:  “Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, the advocacy group that aims to protect Long Beach wetlands, has announced its support for a land swap headed to the City Council Tuesday night.  The announcement, sent in an email Monday from Executive Director Elizabeth Lambe, says that after extensive research and negotiations with the proponent, the trust board voted to support a swap that eventually puts 146 acres of restored wetlands in the public’s hands in exchange for 5 acres from the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority. ... ” Read more from the Long Beach Press-Telegram here:  Long Beach wetlands trust says it supports swap that preserves land, allows new drilling

Orange County:  Bacteria at the beach: Tests reveal high levels in water after ‘first flush’ of rain:  “The results are in — and they are bad.  Pamela Conti knew bacteria levels after this week’s first rains would be higher than normal, but she wasn’t expecting the samples taken at the rivermouth at San Juan Creek at Doheny Beach and at the Santa Ana River in Huntington Beach to be off the charts, literally.  Both tests, taken on Wednesday morning, Jan 10, after the storm cleared, came back with bacteria results as high as the test will go — levels that reached 24,196 MPN.  The state standard for “MPN,” or the Most Probable Number of bacteria in 100 milliliters of water that public agencies warn is unsafe to exceed? 104. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Bacteria at the beach: Tests reveal high levels in water after ‘first flush’ of rain

Take a virtual tour of the State Water Project …

Along the Colorado River …

Plans for Utah pipeline to tap Colorado River hit a snag:  “A controversial pipeline project that would pump Colorado River water to a rapidly growing corner of Utah passed a regulatory goal and also hit a regulatory snag on the same day, prompting the state to ask the federal government to delay further decisions until the snafu is worked out.  As proposed, the Lake Powell Pipeline would cross 140 miles, top a 2,000 ft mountain ridge within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (as it exists now) and produce electricity in six hydropower stations as it carries water from Lake Powell on the Colorado River to a suburb of St. George, which has a booming metropolitan sprawl of 155,000 people. The possible route has not been finalized and neither has the price tag, which state estimates put somewhere between $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Plans for Utah pipeline to tap Colorado River hit a snag

Precipitation watch …

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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