DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Oroville Dam: one year after crisis, distrust lingers, big questions remain; Debate emerges over speed of Prop 1 projects; Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it’s entitled to continue piping water; A little bit of snow in the forecast; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Oroville Dam: one year after crisis, distrust lingers, big questions remain; Debate emerges over speed of Prop 1 projects; Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it’s entitled to continue piping water; Why California is freaking out over this invasive giant swamp rodent; Conservation is key for cannabis cultivators; Ventura County is at ‘epicenter’ of state’s drought, experts say; In the fire-prone West, differing views of what forest health means; Budget a windfall for mitigating sea level rise; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Oroville Dam: one year after crisis, distrust lingers, big questions remain:  “Today marks one year since water spilled down the Oroville Dam emergency spillway for the first time in history, spelling near-disaster for nearly 188,000 residents downstream.  As erosion on that unlined hillside intensified on Feb. 12, water headed upward toward the concrete weir and there was fear that uncontrollable releases from the reservoir behind it would come crashing down on the cities below. Residents were given just one hour to evacuate that afternoon. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam: one year after crisis, distrust lingers, big questions remain

Debate emerges over speed of Prop 1 projects:  “Proposition 1, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014 to fund water projects through $7.5 billion in bonds, has become the source of a recent debate over whether its moving ahead quickly enough.  The California Water Commission, responsible for $2.7 billion of that money, had received 12 applications over a five-month period for projects seeking funding. One was deemed ineligible, and none of the others were immediately given the go-ahead. Instead, the Commission determined they did not provide the public benefits claimed.  In a letter to the CWC dated Jan. 31, state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, urged the board to push them forward. He also accused commissioners and staff of having “adopted a position that is contrary to the intent of Prop. 1 to develop water supply storage projects ...” Read more from the Victorville Daily Press here:  Debate emerges over speed of Prop 1 projects

Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it’s entitled to continue piping water:  “Nestlé is disputing the findings of an investigation by California water regulators, arguing the company is entitled to keep piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest — even more water than it has been bottling and selling in the past few years.  State officials carried out a 20-month investigation and concluded in December that the company doesn’t seem to have valid rights for much of the water it’s been drawing from the forest north of San Bernardino. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it’s entitled to continue piping water

Why California is freaking out over this invasive giant swamp rodent:  “A giant invasive swamp rodent known for destroying wetland habitats and damaging levees has invaded the West Coast’s largest estuary that sits on Sacramento’s doorstep.  State biologists report that they’ve found nearly two dozen nutria, a South American aquatic rodent, since March in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The infestation so far is in wetlands in Merced, Stanislaus and Fresno counties. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Why California is freaking out over this invasive giant swamp rodent

Conservation is key for cannabis cultivators:  “As the Central Valley nears the end of yet another dry winter, farmers around the region have water on the mind with irrigation season looming. While the area’s largest agribusiness operations include fruit, nut and vegetable crops, marijuana is the state’s newest cash crop, and its cultivators are looking to conserve water when growing the in-demand plant.  Estimations from the Journal of Bioscience state that, on average, a one-acre outdoor cannabis crop requires 457,600 gallons of water per year, or about 1.4 acre feet of water. Though it sounds high, cannabis falls in the mid- to low-range compared to some of California’s other crops. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Conservation is key for cannabis cultivators

Ventura County is at ‘epicenter’ of state’s drought, experts say:  “Record heat. Too little rainfall. A shrinking lake.  None of those are new for Ventura County. Six years into a drought, unusually dry, warm weather has become routine.  California just wrapped up its warmest summer on record, breaking the previous record set just a year earlier.  “Now, the winter is exceptionally dry and warm, as well,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County is at ‘epicenter’ of state’s drought, experts say

In the fire-prone West, differing views of what forest health means:  “Last year’s intense fire season led to calls for more “treatment” of federal forests to remove excess fuel that can make for bigger, hotter wildfires.  In November, House Republicans — including Oregon’s Greg Walden – passed a bill to grease the skids for more work in the woods. The bill now awaits action in the Republican-controlled Senate.  But while there’s broad bipartisan agreement that more needs to be done to promote forest health, the opposing sides can have very different pictures of what that looks like on the ground. ... ”  Read more from Oregon Public Radio here: In the fire-prone West, differing views of what forest health means

Budget a windfall for mitigating sea level rise:  “While the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers are loathe to mention global warming, there is consensus that “future risks” must be addressed, and the government is now putting taxpayer money where its mouth is.  The broad, two-year budget deal that Congress passed overnight and President Trump signed this morning includes almost $100 billion in supplemental funding for disaster recovery, with the largest set aside in history for “mitigation activities.” The legislation also sets up a cost-share program to reward states that are actively mitigating. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Budget a windfall for mitigating sea level rise

In commentary this weekend …

One Delta tunnel is no better than two, says the SF Chronicle:  “The Brown administration has pulled the plug on the 5-year-old plan to build twin 35-mile tunnels to move water from the north end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to points farther south — sort of.  Bowing to reality that the beneficiary water agencies were not going to pay $17 billion for what the state calls WaterFix, the state announced Wednesday it plans to build a single tunnel now and a second tunnel later. One now and one later is still two tunnels that reduce needed water flows to the San Francisco Bay, an environmentally bad idea. ... ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  One Delta tunnel is no better than two

California needs a workable Delta tunnel plan, says the LA Times:  They write, “Like a patient waiting for heart bypass surgery while the insurance company dickers with the hospital over the numbers, California has been stuck in pre-op for decades, awaiting approval of an aqueduct or tunnel bypass from the Sacramento River around (instead of through) the state’s hydrological heart — the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  The $17-billion proposal to build twin tunnels stalled again last year when several large water agencies withheld their financial support. Now the state Department of Water Resources is proposing to build the project in stages, starting with just a single tunnel at a cost of $10.7 billion. Half the size, half the cost, half the trouble? If only. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  California needs a workable Delta tunnel plan

The drought is back.  Here’s how California needs to start saving water now:  “As Gov. Jerry Brown noted in his recent State of the State address, water is a fundamental good in California, but not something we can take for granted. With a booming population and economy, we have to make the most of every drop.  Our rivers and aquifers simply can’t support water waste, and wise use will become even more important as a changing climate brings hotter summers with less snowpack to sustain us. With nearly half the state plunging back into drought, we must act now to secure a reliable and affordable water future. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  The drought is back.  Here’s how California needs to start saving water now

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Agency recommends protection for Mokelumne River:  “On Jan. 26, the California Natural Resources Agency released its draft Mokelumne River Wild and Scenic River Study Report, and several environmental and recreational advocacy groups have already publicly praised its findings.  The agency recommended granting Wild and Scenic status to 37 miles of the North Fork and main stem of the Mokelumne River that it studied.  The 1972 California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act preserves designated rivers or river segments that are “free-flowing and possess extraordinary wildlife, fishery, scenic or recreational values.” … ”  Read more from the Calaveras Enterprise here:  Agency recommends protection for Mokelumne River

Tracy: Irrigation starts early in dry orchards:  “The latest recorded rainfall in Tracy was on Jan. 26, and it wasn’t much — two-hundredths of an inch — and there’s no rainfall expected in the next two weeks at least. More and more people are beginning to say, “It’s feeling a lot like a drought — again.”  Evidence of that is unfolding in rural Tracy farmland, where irrigation water is starting to flow out of canals and into fields — a month earlier than “normal.” ... ”  Read more from the Tracy Press here:  Tracy: Irrigation starts early in dry orchards

Manteca water use up 25% as weather forces ski resort closure:  “Manteca’s water use shot up 25 percent last month compared to January 2017 as much of the state including the Northern San Joaquin Valley appear to be slipping back toward drought conditions.  At the same time the record warm spell reached its seventh day Friday when the high hit 76 degrees at the Civic Center shattering a record of 71 degrees set in 2003. Friday also saw the early blooming almond varieties starting to bud roughly a week ahead of normal thanks to the unseasonably warm weather. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Manteca water use up 25% as weather forces ski resort closure

Precarious water year ahead:  As things stand now, SSJID will barely get by in meeting demands:  “South San Joaquin Irrigation District is caught in a Catch-22 that could make water conservation the highest priority in the coming months for farmers as well as the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy.  The bottom line: Given current conditions the SSJID could end up with just enough water to get through 2018 providing they don’t start the first irrigation run until March 5. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Precarious water year ahead:  As things stand now, SSJID will barely get by in meeting demands

‘Good news’ from first batch of DNA tests at Goleta Beach:  “Initial DNA testing of bacteria in the mud and the surf zone at Goleta Beach County Park, where the county is dumping mud from the Jan. 9 debris flow in Montecito, show very low to no evidence of human fecal material, a UCSB scientist said Friday.  “This is good news,” said Patricia Holden, a professor of environmental microbiology who began the DNA study at the beach on Jan. 18. “I’m so delighted.” … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here:  ‘Good news’ from first batch of DNA tests at Goleta Beach

Santa Barbara: Supervisors to hear report on groundwater basins management“A proposal to remove “fringe” areas from the Santa Maria River Valley Groundwater Basin is among the issues the Santa Barbara County supervisors will consider Tuesday when they receive a status report on managing groundwater basins.  The Board of Supervisors will be asked to set a public hearing for the May 8 meeting to consider asking the state for a modification in the groundwater basin’s boundaries to remove the fringe areas.  Those consist of small spots along the east side of the Cuyama River south of the Twitchell Reservoir, a finger stretching northward along Tequsquet Creek and a longer reach along the Sisquoc River. … ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here:  Santa Barbara: Supervisors to hear report on groundwater basins management

Restoration work scheduled at Ventura nature preserve:  “The Ventura Land Trust is offering two opportunities to help restore the Willoughby Nature Preserve near the Ventura-Ojai bike path.  From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, the area near the entrance to the preserve will be re-landscaped. Volunteers will build a bioswale, spread mulch and begin planting next to the “Welcome to Ventura” sign along the bike path, next to the parking lot at Main and Peking streets in Ventura. ... ” Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Restoration work scheduled at Ventura nature preserve

Dreamer obsessed with irrigating the desert never got to see the Salton Sea:  “The vast desert of our valley was greatly feared and avoided by travelers for centuries.  The only recorded passages across the forbidding and dangerous desert were rare raiding parties of Yuma Indians from neighboring Arizona.  When the Spanish established the missions along the coast of California around 1769 the padres would come to the great, flat, crusted basin of an ancient lake, surrounded by mountains to harvest its salt.  (There is no record of any contact between the Cahuilla and the Spanish.)  … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Dreamer obsessed with irrigating the desert never got to see the Salton Sea

Along the Colorado River …

No rain in sight for drought-ridden Southwestern US:  “Warm, rain-free weather has been constant in the Desert Southwest for the past several weeks. Despite being in the midst of what is normally the wettest period of the year, there is no change in sight.  With the exception of one soaking storm that set off devastating mudslides in Southern California, hardly any rain has fallen over the region in 2018.  “The dry and warm pattern will continue this week due to a storm track focused on Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies,” said AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  No rain in sight for drought-ridden Southwestern US

Precipitation watch …

Click here to read more editions of the Daily Digest.

Daily emailsSign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!

—————————————-
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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

(Visited 705 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply