DAILY DIGEST: California, drying out again, weighs permanent ban on wasting water; Valley farmers told to expect little water; CA winter now third driest on record; Tracking salmon migration through music; and more …

In California water news today, California, drying out again, weighs permanent ban on wasting water; Drought threat looms over water allocations, farmers told to expect little water; California winter now third driest on record; Nestle takes issue with state report on San Bernardino Mountain water extraction; California aims to get past the yuck factor of recycled water; Antelope Valley lawmakers sponsor water rate reform; Tracking salmon migration through music; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

California, drying out again, weighs permanent ban on wasting water:  “Sprinklers that splash more water onto the sidewalk than the lawn, which have increasingly drawn scornful looks in drought-distressed California, are about to be banned forever. Same goes for hosing down a driveway or patio, or washing a car with a garden-variety hose.  Recognizing California’s increasing propensity for parched weather — this winter being no exception — state water officials are planning to resurrect many of the temporary water restrictions that were enacted during the recent five-year dry spell and make them permanent. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California, drying out again, weighs permanent ban on wasting water

State considering $500 fines for wasting water:  “Amid one of California’s driest winters in modern history, state water regulators on Tuesday met in Sacramento to consider making permanent the water-wasting rules that were in effect during the last drought — rules that would carry fines of up to $500 per violation.  Members of the State Water Resources Control Board and representatives of several cities and water agencies indicated general support for the proposal on Tuesday, but the debate became bogged down in legal disagreements over whether the way the draft rules were written could threaten water rights, and the board delayed a final vote until next month. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  State considering $500 fines for wasting water

California looks to permanently ban hosing off driveways, over-watering lawns:  “California’s top water officials are considering permanent conservation rules that would outlaw hosing down driveways, over-watering lawns and running sprinklers on grassy street medians.  The proposed regulations would target wasteful water use in cities and towns statewide, permanently bringing back some of the temporary restrictions imposed during California’s record-setting 2012-16 drought. The State Water Resources Control Board is taking up the measures as California faces worsening drought conditions near the end of a record-warm winter. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  California looks to permanently ban hosing off driveways, over-watering lawns

Some fear drought cuts could erase water rights:  “A proposal to make California’s drought-era water restrictions permanent could allow the state to chip away at long-held water rights in an unprecedented power grab, representatives from water districts and other users told regulators Tuesday.  Members of the state Water Resources Control Board delayed a decision about whether to bring back what had been temporary water bans from California’s drought, spanning 2013 to 2017. It comes after U.S. officials declared that nearly half the state, all of it in the south, is back in drought, just months after emerging from it. … ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Some fear drought cuts could erase water rights

Facing specter of drought, California farmers told to expect little water:  “It’s starting to look like a drought year for California farmers who depend on water from the federal government.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday that most farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta who get water from the federal Central Valley Project will receive just 20 percent of their requested allocation this year.  Although the numbers could change and the allocations could increase this spring, the initial figures reflect the abysmal precipitation California has received so far this winter. “We have extremely low snowpack and limited anticipated runoff,” said David Murillo, the bureau’s regional director. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Facing specter of drought, California farmers told to expect little water

Water allocation for Westside Growers is going to be a meager one for 2018:  “With the threat of another drought looming, west San Joaquin Valley farmers received some dismal news Tuesday about this year’s water allocation.  The initial allocation from the Central Valley Project is 20 percent, the U.S Bureau of Reclamation announced on Tuesday.  Federal officials said the allocation is based on “a conservative estimate of the amount of water that will be available for delivery to CVP water users and reflects current reservoir storages, precipitation and snow pack in the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada.” … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Water allocation for Westside Growers is going to be a meager one for 2018

Drought threat looms over water allocations:  “With the threat of another drought looming, federal officials announced water allocations Tuesday that gave the city of Redding a full complement of water, but other water agencies, such as the Bella Vista Water District, were left with uncertainty.  Because of the dry winter and concerns over having enough water in the Sacramento River for endangered winter-run salmon, many North State water agencies likely won’t hear for weeks how much water they will receive from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  Drought threat looms over water allocations

California winter now third driest on record:  “State officials say California’s winter so far is the third driest on record as much of the state heads back toward drought.  Last year’s unprecedented rainfall has left most reservoirs slightly above their average capacity for this time of year. But water officials said Tuesday that the lack of snow this winter will prevent the reservoirs from replenishing as the season continues. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  California winter now third driest on record

Nestle takes issue with state report on San Bernardino Mountain water extraction: With the comment period now over, state officials have begun their review of 30 separate filings in response to an investigation of Nestlé’s withdrawal of millions of gallons annually from springs in the San Bernardino National Forest for its Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water brand of bottled water.  In its comments, Nestlé Waters North America says that it “is not making any unauthorized diversions from Strawberry Canyon” in a remote part of the San Bernardino Mountains, north of San Bernardino. ... ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Nestle takes issue with state report on San Bernardino Mountain water extraction

California aims to get past the yuck factor of recycled water:  (David Greene, Host): “So this has been one dry winter for many of you living in the Western United States. So dry, in fact, that some are worried about a prolonged drought. Today California’s water board is considering not just bringing back water restrictions, but making them permanent. Meanwhile, water agencies are looking for new sources of water, and NPR’s Nathan Rott tells us about one big potential source. If, that is, people are willing to accept it. … ”  Continue reading from NPR here:  California aims to get past the yuck factor of recycled water

Antelope Valley lawmakers sponsor water rate reform:  “Two Antelope Valley lawmakers have sponsored legislation to bring changes to how the California Public Utilities Commission sets rates for investor-owned water companies.  State Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Lancaster) is the lead sponsor of SB 1461 that would reform “the rate of return earned by water corporations.” Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) is the co-author of the bill.  The bill was introduced Feb. 16, the same day that the Coalition to End Water Rates Abuse had a public meeting in Lancaster to discuss the issue of how rates are set by the public utilities commission. … ”  Read more from the San Fernando Business Journal here:  Antelope Valley lawmakers sponsor water rate reform

Tracking salmon migration through music:  “Salmon researchers are turning to sound to learn more about the fish they’re trying to understand.  There is a lot of data about salmon out there, and that data is complex and hard to process. But researchers hope setting fish migration patterns into notes and tones can make it easier to analyze. … ”  Read more from OPB here:  Tracking salmon migration through music

Sea level rise: Waters on track to rise for centuries, even if emissions stop:  “It’s a given of climate change that greenhouse gases emitted today will shape the world for future generations. But new research underscores just how long those effects will last.  A striking new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications suggests that sea-level rise — one of the biggest consequences of global warming — will still be happening 300 years from now, even if humans stop emitting greenhouse gases before the end of the current century.  What’s more, the longer it takes to start reducing global emissions, the higher those future sea levels will be. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Sea level rise: Waters on track to rise for centuries, even if emissions stop

In commentary today …

California must make water conservation restrictions permanent, says the SF Chronicle:  They write, “California’s drought is coming back. Now it’s time for the state Water Resources Control Board to enforce conservation measures on a permanent basis.  The depth of the state’s 2013-17 drought forced Californians to make big adjustments. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the state’s parched conditions. That meant strict 25 percent conservation orders for cities and towns, along with a long list of prohibitions for ordinary citizens and businesses.  Californians cut back on lawn-watering and attached automatic shut-off nozzles to their hoses. … ”  Continue reading at the SF Chronicle here:  California must make water conservation restrictions permanent

Drought? What drought?  The LA Times writes,At about this time last year California was reveling in good news: The drought was over. Some parts of the state actually had so much water they were flooding. The governor ultimately lifted emergency regulations that restricted things like watering lawns during a rainstorm or letting the hose spew into the gutter while soaping down the car.  And now for the bad news, and it may not be what you think: There may never have been a drought in the first place. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Drought? What drought?

Bureaucrats are blocking badly needed reservoirs, says Frank Bigelow:   He writes, “Four years ago, California voters directed the government to update our state water system by passing Proposition 1, a $7 billion water bond that included clear guidelines for investing $2.7 billion in new reservoirs.  Voters expected billions of gallons of water to be added to our surface storage system. Sadly, with a dry start to winter and another drought looming, the state hasn’t spent a dime on the new storage it promised.  Standing in the way is the California Water Commission, which meets on Wednesday. So far, local agencies have submitted 11 water storage projects to the commission for approval. It rejected every single one. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Bureaucrats are blocking badly needed reservoirs

The most important new water bills facing California lawmakers Kirsten James writes,With the snowpack in California’s Sierr­a Nevada now at 20 percent of average – lower than at the same time three years ago, the driest year on record – Californians are girding for a repeat of drought conditions. Water scarcity seems likely to be a recurring part of our future.  Legislators in Sacramento, therefore, would be remiss to delay the adoption of a group of bills that would place the state on a path to ensuring more sustainable water supplies. February 16 was the last day that new bills could be introduced for consideration during this legislative session, and among them are some extremely important water bills, including several that are carryovers from last year. … ”  Read more from the Water Deeply here:  The most important new water bills facing California lawmakers

In regional news and commentary today …

Water districts talk drought for Klamath Project users:  “The mood was calm but somber Tuesday afternoon as Klamath Project irrigators gathered to learn more about the impact of drought conditions in the Klamath Basin from Oregon Water Resources Department and Klamath Water Users Association staff at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.  The gathering of dozens of irrigators took place only hours after Klamath County Commissioners Tuesday morning approved a request that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declare drought in the Basin, though it could take up to two or three weeks before a declaration is finalized by the state, according to OWRD officials. A federal drought declaration is anticipated this summer. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Water districts talk drought for Klamath Project users

Manteca rejects bid to freeze growth in floodplains:  “Manteca’s elected city leaders — opting to stay the course to enhance flood protection for 8,000 existing residents on the dime of the buyers of future new homes — unanimously rejected a request to suspend building in the 200-year floodplain.  The request made by rural residents to freeze growth in southwest Manteca until such time as all flooding impacts have been identified and mitigated didn’t exactly fall on deaf ears during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Manteca rejects bid to freeze growth in floodplains

Disputed Nacimiento reservoir operations manual adopted, lawsuit threatened:  “Despite the threat of additional litigation from an agricultural interest group, Monterey County water resources agency officials on Tuesday adopted an updated Nacimiento Reservoir operations manual for the first time since the turn of the century.  By a 5-2 vote, the county water agency board approved the revised operational policy document, which agency staff said formalizes what is already agency practice, after a years-long vetting process. Two board members, Claude Hoover and Mike LeBarre, dissented and argued for delaying the vote in an effort to address key issues while a third member, Deidre Sullivan, abstained. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Disputed Nacimiento reservoir operations manual adopted, lawsuit threatened

Ventura County: California manufacturer settles storm water pollution case:  “A California manufacturing company has agreed to clean up its act as part of a settlement agreement, by ensuring storm water runoff from its Ventura County facility will not pollute nearby beaches and coastal waters along the Pacific Coast.  Southern California nonprofit Wishtoyo Foundation and Ventura Coastkeeper filed their federal lawsuit against Arcturus Manufacturing Corporation in March 2017 over industrial runoff from the Oxnard facility. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Ventura County: California manufacturer settles storm water pollution case

The bigger picture: Competing visions for the Los Angeles River’s future:  “What will the Los Angeles River look like in 10 or 20 years? There are dozens of visions that offer possible answers: there are large-scale planning documents like the County’s “Los Angeles River Master Plan” or the City’s “Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan” and more focused ones like the Department of Water and Power’s “One Water LA”; or imaginative products like “LA River Gateway,” a report produced by the engineering firm AECOM that offers a vision of a future river that will offer “open space, housing, transportation, and commerce,” reconnect the city to the natural world, and “transform Los Angeles for generations to come.”   … ”  Continue reading at KCET here:  The bigger picture: Competing visions for the Los Angeles River’s future

Precipitation watch …

A more active weather pattern returns to NorCal into next week. Below normal temperatures will continue. Several weather systems will bring mountain snow from time-to-time with the possibility of some valley rain next week.

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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