DAILY DIGEST: Brown tried to smooth the way for the Delta project. All he got was more friction; Sierra snowpack on pace to shatter record low of 2015; La Nina is on the way out. What does that mean for CA?; Western governors feel excluded by Interior Depart shift; and more …

In California water news today, Brown tried to smooth the way for the Delta project. All he got was more friction; After resistance from local water districts to Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel project, the plan could be pared down to just one; How dry is this winter? Sierra snowpack on pace to shatter record low of 2015; ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’, climate change, and the future of California’s water; La Nina is on the way out. What does that mean for California?; Invasive rodent that can grow to a meter long threatens California wetlands; UC Davis’s Jay Lund elected to National Academy of Engineering; Suit seeks up to $51 billion from DWR for discharge of Oroville debris; Wilk: Water storage projects stymied by convoluted process; EPA, Army put brakes on WOTUS; Western Governors feel excluded by Interior Department shift; and more …

In the news today …

Brown tried to smooth the way for the Delta project.  All he got was more friction:  “California officials tried to smooth the way for the Delta tunnels project by slicing it in half. Instead they’re facing more pushback and the possibility of additional delays.  One day after Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration downsized the Delta tunnels project, a host of project opponents tried Thursday to halt a state regulatory hearing that’s crucial to getting it built. They argued that Brown’s decision, after a decade of planning, creates such a monumental change that they need time to analyze the potential impacts on fish, agriculture and the rest of the Delta’s troubled eco-system. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Brown tried to smooth the way for the Delta project.  All he got was more friction

After resistance from local water districts to Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel project, the plan could be pared down to just one:  “The state water board held its first hearing Thursday since Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to move more water efficiently from Northern California to the south was pared down.  After losing financial support from some Central Valley farmers and backers in Silicon Valley last fall, the state Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday it would build one concrete tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta first and construct the second tunnel only if more money becomes available. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star-News here:  After resistance from local water districts to Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel project, the plan could be pared down to just one

How dry is this winter?  Sierra snowpack on pace to shatter record low of 2015:  “As relentless sunshine continued to pound California on Thursday, the Sierra Nevada hit a reckoning point: There’s less snowpack now than on the same date three years ago, when the winter went down as the driest in recorded history and sent shudders through cities, farmlands and the state Capitol.  The troubling lack of snow during the winter of 2014-15 not only shortchanged the state’s drinking-water reservoirs but left the Sierra nearly unrecognizable. Normally white-blanketed forests and meadows remained a springtime green, and mountain roads were free of ice. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  How dry is this winter?  Sierra snowpack on pace to shatter record low of 2015

‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’, climate change, and the future of California’s water:  “Every day, people flock to Daniel Swain’s social media platforms to find out the latest news and insight about California’s notoriously unpredictable weather. Swain, a climate scientist at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, famously coined the term “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” in December 2013 to describe the large, formidable high-pressure mass that was parked over the West Coast during winter and diverted storms away from California, intensifying the drought. ... ”  Read more from Western Water here:  ‘Ridiculously Resilient Ridge’, climate change, and the future of California’s water

La Nina is on the way out.  What does that mean for California?  “La Niña, the climate system associated with drier and warmer than average winters in Southern California, will likely be over by spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.  Scientists regularly look for the formation or absence of the system when predicting weather in the American Southwest. La Niñas are driven by changes in ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, as is the El Niño climate system that typically brings wetter, cooler winters to Southern California. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  La Nina is on the way out.  What does that mean for California?

Invasive rodent that can grow to a meter long threatens California wetlands:  “Wildlife officials are asking California residents to report any sightings of nutria — an invasive rodent that eats so much aquatic vegetation that it threatens wetlands and marshes.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it is trying to eradicate the rodents from the state because once established, nutria could cause loss of wetlands, damage to agricultural crops and levees, dikes and roadbeds. … ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Invasive rodent that can grow to a meter long threatens California wetlands

UC Davis’s Jay Lund elected to National Academy of Engineering:  “UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and Jay Lund, distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the academy announced Wednesday.  Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here:  UC Davis’s Jay Lund elected to National Academy of Engineering

Suit seeks up to $51 billion from DWR for discharge of Oroville debris:  “Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey has filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources seeking $34 billion to $51 billion in civil penalties for environmental damage following the failure of the Oroville Dam spillways last February.  That proposed penalty is based on an earlier estimate of the volume of concrete, rock, and dirt that washed into the Feather River after the dam’s main and emergency spillways experienced catastrophic erosion. A more recent and significantly higher DWR estimate of the material eroded into the river could lead to a demand for an even higher penalty. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Suit seeks up to $51 billion from DWR for discharge of Oroville debris

Wilk: Water storage projects stymied by convoluted process:  “Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, has requested the California Water Commission, the state agency that controls voter approved funding for water storage projects, to reevaluate its complicated application and review process and approve the 11 individual projects that have applied for funding.  “Last winter we had an historically wet winter yet the bulk of that rainfall washed out to sea because California has not addressed increased major water storage capacity since 1979. This year water officials already predict parts of the state are in a severe drought and once again we are unprepared,” said Wilk. … ”  Read more from SCV News here:  Wilk: Water storage projects stymied by convoluted process

EPA, Army put brakes on WOTUS:  “The EPA and U.S. Department of the Army on Wednesday finalized a rule that would delay implementation of the controversial 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years while they work to come up with a replacement.  The rule, which sought to clarify the definition of “waters of the United States” regulated under the Clean Water Act, was strongly opposed by agriculture, states and businesses — which contend it greatly expands federal regulatory authority in violation of congressional intent. … ”  Read more from Capital Press here:  EPA, Army put brakes on WOTUS

Western Governors feel excluded by Interior Department shift:  “A bipartisan group of 19 Western governors said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not consult with them about major plans for reorganizing the agency, and have asked him to delay implementing the proposal until he speaks with them.  The Feb. 1 letter from the Western Governors Association said the group had asked Zinke in April 2017 to be consulted on any reshuffling of the department, which wields considerable authority over public lands in the West.  They said last week that Zinke has still not sought the views of its members, who represent every state in the western half of the nation, from Texas to Hawaii. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Governors feel excluded by Interior Department shift

In commentary today …

We have seen the future of water and it is Cape Town, says Peter Gleick:  He writes, “Cape Town is parched. Severe drought and high water use have collided in South Africa’s second largest city, and unless the drought breaks, residents may run out of water in the next few months when there simply isn’t enough water left to supply the drinking water taps. … Severe droughts and floods. Water rationing. Economic and political disruption. Urban taps running dry. Is this the future of water? ... ”  Read more at the Huffington Post:  We have seen the future of water and it is Cape Town

In regional news and commentary today …

Water flowing again through Hyatt Powerhouse:  “Water has resumed flowing through the Hyatt Powerhouse at the base of Oroville Dam.  The releases were shut off about 7 a.m. Wednesday for what was called routine maintenance. A few hours later, a small fire forced evacuation of the hydroelectric power plant, but California Department of Water Resources officials said the incidents were not related and the powerhouse was not damaged. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Water flowing again through Hyatt Powerhouse

Drought spreads into the Sacramento Valley:  “Spreading drought conditions have reached Butte County, according the federal group that measures dryness.  The National Drought Monitor extended its “abnormally dry” classification into western Butte County in its weekly update Thursday. The whole west side of the Sacramento Valley, including all of Glenn County and western Tehama County, is considered abnormally dry.  That classification and two that indicate even worse drought, now cover almost 82 percent of California. That’s nearly double the area from the start of the year. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Drought spreads into the Sacramento Valley

Sierra Nevada snowpack: Region is snow-starved, but reservoirs provide a buffer:  “Snowpack levels at Mount Rose summit haven’t changed much since the outlook in December, as measurements indicate the area is a month behind of normal snow amounts — which could be considered drought conditions.  However, the reservoir storage in the region this year are a buffer against a full drought overall, at least for two more years; Lake Tahoe is at a healthy, 81 percent capacity and Lake Lahontan at 74 percent. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Sierra Nevada snowpack: Region is snow-starved, but reservoirs provide a buffer

Bay Area residents embrace effort to prevent flooding, clean waterways:  “Oakland resident Peter Crigger knows that the street where he has lived for decades is prone to flooding during a big rain. “Water comes down the hillside so hard that it clogs the storm drains with dirt, rocks and branches – then all this water comes shooting down the street and, since the drains are full, it floods,” he said.  Instead of just complaining, Crigger decided to do something about it: A couple of years ago, he formally adopted six storm drains in his neighborhood through Oakland’s “Adopt a Drain” program. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Bay Area residents embrace effort to prevent flooding, clean waterways

CPUC judges ask for final arguments on pursuing alternatives to desal:  “Expressing concerns about further delay while acknowledging potential benefits of a backup plan, three state Public Utilities Commission judges called Thursday for the parties to make their pitches by the end of the month for and against consideration of alternative water supply proposals to California American Water’s Marina desalination project.  CPUC judges Gary Weatherford, Robert Haga and Darcie Houck set a Feb. 22 deadline for the parties to the Cal Am desal project proceeding to submit a joint statement outlining the various arguments for establishing a new Phase 3 process to consider water supply project alternatives, such as a Pure Water Monterey recycled water project expansion, in case Cal Am’s oft-delayed desal proposal encounters further difficulties, including the prospect of lengthy litigation. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:   CPUC judges ask for final arguments on pursuing alternatives to desal

Huge invasive rodents discovered in Stanislaus County:  “A giant invasive rodent with the ability to destroy roads, levees and wetlands has been discovered in Stanislaus County.  Weighing in at 20 pounds and measuring 2 feet, 6 inches long, plus a 12-inch tail, the nutria live in or near water. They’re also incredibly destructive.  “They burrow in dikes, and levees, and road beds, so they weaken infrastructure, (which is) problematic for flood control systems,” California Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira said. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Huge invasive rodents discovered in Stanislaus County

Turlock: Irrigation season to begin in March:  “After an unexpected influx of wet weather put a stop to what would have been an early irrigation period for Turlock Irrigation District water customers in January, dry conditions as of late have growers wondering when the water will come.  TID had been prepared to enter into an early irrigation period starting on or around Jan. 18, but a welcomed rush of rain – two inches over the course of five days – quickly put a stop to the plan. Water Distribution Department Manager Mike Kavarian said that, at the time of the Jan. 9 Board of Directors meeting, “all of the conditions were right” for an early irrigation period, since the Tuolumne River Watershed has accumulated just 7.76 inches of precipitation since September and .72 inches total in the month of January. ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock: Irrigation season to begin in March

Reedley/Sanger: Water remains one of the top issues of agriculture, especially now:  “Ryan Jacobsen once addressed nearly a couple dozen issues when he spoke before a group of people.  At Sanger Rotary on Feb. 2, he said he’d narrowed that list to two.  “Water and everything else,” he said.  Irrigation is a big deal in the central San Joaquin Valley, especially as the region enters yet another year of potential drought. This comes after just one year of decent rainfall that broke about a five-year dry spell. And that’s what got Jacobsen, chief executive and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, talking about water in such detail. … ”  Read more from the Reedley Exponent here:  Water remains one of the top issues of agriculture, especially now

Digging out Montecito means wider beaches, dirtier water off of Goleta“When the county dumps tons of mud from the catastrophic debris flow of Jan. 9 on the shores of Goleta and Carpinteria, is that “beach nourishment”?  Yes, and it’s a rare opportunity for the sand-starved coast, said Jim Bailard, a Carpinteria resident and technical advisor for the Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON), a joint powers agency of elected officials from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.  “It’s actually a good thing, provided it’s being done responsibly,” Bailard said. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  Digging out Montecito means wider beaches, dirtier water off of Goleta

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority awarded over $2 million in grant funding“IWV Groundwater Authority chairperson Peggy Breeden sent out a public notice on Thursday announcing that the California Department of Water Resources has recommended that IWVGA be awarded the full requested amount of Proposition 1 grant funding, totaling $2,146,00.  “This is a significant step forward towards a sustainable Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin,” Breeden said in the note. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority awarded over $2 million in grant funding

Orange County agencies to attempt world record for most wastewater recycled to drinking water in 24 hours:  “To commemorate 10 years of breakthrough technology to enhance the reliability of local water supplies, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) today announced they will attempt to set a Guinness World RecordsTM title for the most wastewater recycled to drinking water in 24 hours. … ”  Read more from the Digital Journal here:  Orange County agencies to attempt world record for most wastewater recycled to drinking water in 24 hours

San Diego: City probe finds ‘human error’ responsible for spiking hundreds of water bills:  “The city overcharged residents by more than $100,000 in January for water they didn’t use, officials said Thursday following a months-long public outcry over skyrocketing bills.  The findings are the result of an internal review by the Public Utilities Department this week that officials said traced the billing errors back to a single worker who had misread 343 meters in November and December. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: City probe finds ‘human error’ responsible for spiking hundreds of water bills

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

 

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

(Visited 602 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply