DAILY DIGEST: To manage groundwater, California could learn from its neighbors; Last California drought one of the worst since Columbus landed in the New World; This week’s storms could dump 100 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada; A look back at the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster in photos; and more …

In California water news today, To manage groundwater, California could learn from its neighbors; Last California drought one of the worst since Columbus landed in the New World; This week’s storms could dump 100 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada; ‘March mitigation’ commences as unusually cold late-season storm sequence arrives; Oroville Dam class action case moves from Butte to Sacramento; New report sparks debate: Delta tunnels could help save fish species; A look back at the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster in photos; Schwarzenegger says he wants to sue global oil companies for first-degree murder; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

To manage groundwater, California could learn from its neighbors:  “California is well behind the curve on groundwater regulation. With a few exceptions, groundwater extraction has never been regulated in the state or even monitored with any precision.  However, a 2014 law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), at last will require groundwater basins in the state to reverse longstanding overdraft problems. This will mean metering individual groundwater wells for the first time, as well as collecting fees from groundwater users to fund management efforts. ... ”  Continue reading at Water Deeply here:  To manage groundwater, California could learn from its neighbors

Last California drought one of the worst since Columbus landed in the New World:  “Just how bad was California’s last drought?  For most of Southern California, it was either the worst or second worst since the century Columbus landed in the New World, the Ottoman empire was started and Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.  In other words, it was one of the worst since the 1400s, according to a study released Monday by the California Department of Water Resources. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Last California drought one of the worst since Columbus landed in the New World

This week’s storms could dump 100 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada:  “Two storms are projected to dump up to 100 inches — that’s more than eight feet — of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains Tuesday through Saturday, according to new projections from the National Weather Service.  Sacramento is expected to get two to three inches of rain by Saturday, including a half-inch to an inch-and-a-half and 20-30 MPH winds by Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall is forecast for Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  This week’s storms could dump 100 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada

‘March mitigation’ commences as unusually cold late-season storm sequence arrives:  ” … A renewed series of storm activity is expected to bring widespread precipitation over (at least) the next 7-10 days, and the potential is there for a rather strong storm or two in the mix. Ensemble forecasts are suggesting that precipitation over the next two weeks could be quite substantial, with several inches possible in some coastal spots and 6 inches of liquid equivalent in the favored Sierra Nevada watersheds. These are not exceptional totals, but they are definitely above average for a two week period this late in the season. Importantly, there will be quite a bit of cold air associated with this precipitation, and so snow levels will once again be low enough for most of this water to fall in frozen form above about 4000 feet (and locally lower). That’s great news from a snowpack perspective, as it appears that this storm sequence could cumulatively drop several new feet of snow in some places (perhaps nearly as much as the last event at the highest elevations). … ”  Read full post from the California Weather Blog here:  ‘March mitigation’ commences as unusually cold late-season storm sequence arrives

Oroville Dam class action case moves from Butte to Sacramento:  “A change of venue request from Butte County to Sacramento County has been granted for plaintiffs in the first class action lawsuit filed against DWR for the Oroville Dam crisis.  Attorneys, on behalf of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed in August against the state Department of Water Resources, asked for the change in September and got final approval on Wednesday. McNicholas & McNicholas, a Los Angeles-based trial firm, along with Frantz Law Group are representing Butte County residents Francis Bechtel, Jacob Klein, Denise Johnson, Chantel Ramirez and the proposed group of 188,000 residents downstream ordered to evacuate their homes on Feb. 12, 2017. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam class action case moves from Butte to Sacramento

New report sparks debate: Delta tunnels could help save fish species:  (Reprint of article which appeared in Water Deeply earlier this week) “One of California’s foremost experts on freshwater fish believes there may be hope for restoring native salmon to abundance – but there’s a catch: California must build the controversial Delta tunnels, he says.  “The expected costs are tremendous and there is a lot of concern over that, but our paper is about what’s good for fish,” said Peter Moyle, a professor of fisheries with the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Will the Delta tunnels be good for fish or not? I think they will.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  New report sparks debate: Delta tunnels could help save fish species

A look back at the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster in photos:  “A memorial next to San Francisquito Power Plant No. 2 on San Francisquito Road is dedicated to the more than 450 victims of the March 12, 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster. It is one of the few reminders you’ll find near the dam site, located on the northern edge of Santa Clarita, of the devastation unleashed when billions of gallons of water broke through the dam and rampaged about 50 miles to the ocean. ... ”  View photos at KNBC here:  A look back at the 1928 St. Francis Dam disaster in photos

The government is nearly done with a report on climate change.  Trump isn’t going to like it:  “The country’s top independent scientific advisory body has largely approved a major climate report being prepared by scientists within the Trump administration — suggesting that another key government document could soon emerge that contradicts President Trump’s skepticism about climate change and humans’ role in driving it.  The U.S. National Academies on Monday released a public peer review of a draft document called the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a legally required report that is being produced by the federal Global Change Research Program. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  The government is nearly done with a report on climate change.  Trump isn’t going to like it

Schwarzenegger says he wants to sue global oil companies for first-degree murder: “Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is going after Big Oil and climate change. The actor and former governor of California said in a Politico-sponsored podcast at the SXSW festival in Austin that he is in talks with law firms about possibly suing global oil companies “for knowingly killing people all over the world.”   “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill,” Schwarzenegger said in the podcast. … ”  Read more from USA Today here:  Schwarzenegger says he wants to sue global oil companies for first-degree murder

In commentary today …

Spend water storage money state voters approved, says Adrian Covert: He writes, “A Kafkaesque scene is unfolding deep in the bureaucracy of the California Water Commission that could undermine efforts to adapt the state’s water system for climate change and threaten the reliability of the water you drink.  In a move that defies logic and common sense, Water Commission staff is recommending withholding $1 billion in voter-approved funding for a variety of badly needed water storage projects, including new and expanded reservoirs and aquifer recharge projects. … ”  Continue reading at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Opinion: Spend water storage money state voters approved

In regional news and commentary today …

Sonoma County turns to public for input on how to fund new groundwater management system:  “Sonoma County is launching a public outreach campaign this week to gather input on its nascent groundwater regulatory system that could eventually levy new costs on thousands of residents throughout the region. The county has a trio of new groundwater management agencies — one each for the Santa Rosa Plain, the Sonoma Valley and the Petaluma Valley — that will over the coming weeks hold community workshops focused on the funding mechanisms they might implement moving forward. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Sonoma County turns to public for input on how to fund new groundwater management system

San Francisco Bay shellfish are loaded with toxins, study finds:  “A whopping 99 percent of mussels collected from the San Francisco Bay were contaminated with at least one algal toxin, while more than a third contained four different kinds of algal toxins, according to a study published in the March issue of the scientific journal, Harmful Algae.  Contamination levels were often high enough to make people and animals sick, according to researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Their findings revealed that contamination levels “greatly exceeded” regulatory guidelines for multiple toxins in 2012, 2014, and 2015. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  San Francisco Bay shellfish are loaded with toxins, study finds

Monterey: Winter storm damage repair funding still being sought by County:  “More than a year after a series of winter storms swept through Monterey County and caused an estimated $62.3 million worth of damage, county supervisors are still trying to find money to cover at least a portion of needed repairs to roads and other infrastructure.  On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is set to consider a report on the prioritization of the various 2017 winter storm repair projects and financing options to address them. Among those options would be a move to tap county strategic reserves or future revenue from Measure X transportation sales tax, SB 1 gas tax, or cannabis tax. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Monterey: Winter storm damage repair funding still being sought by County

Beneath the surface: What lies at the depths of Lake Tahoe’s waters?  “Lake Tahoe’s cold, deep waters have long been the source of tall tales about death and hidden secrets. There are stories of bodies dumped by the Mafia floating in its depths, perfectly preserved by the cold temperatures, and others of Chinese laborers who were tied together and dropped into the icy waters to avoid payment for their work on the railroad.  Famed explorer Jacques Cousteau was rumored to have gone scuba diving in Lake Tahoe, emerging from the water only to utter, “The world is not ready for what I have seen.” ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Beneath the surface: What lies at the depths of Lake Tahoe’s waters?

Storm triggers evacuations in Santa Barbara County: ‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that this can’t happen again’: “Santa Barbara County authorities ordered mandatory evacuations Monday for residents below fire-ravaged mountains ahead of a “fast-approaching” storm that could cause flooding and mudflows.  “Those hills are filled with silt, with rocks, with boulders, there’s plenty more up there that could come down,” Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters Monday, adding that conditions may be more precarious than in January, before deadly mudslides swept through Montecito. “Don’t be fooled into thinking that this can’t happen again.” ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Storm triggers evacuations in Santa Barbara County: ‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that this can’t happen again’

Along the Colorado River …

How a dying lake in California factors into the Colorado River’s future:  “The biggest lake in California is shrinking.  The Salton Sea occupies a hot, desert basin a short drive from the Mexico border and it’s been evaporating for years. From the air the lake is pear-shaped, bordered by an intense concentration of farms growing winter vegetables on its south end, and date palms, citrus and brussels sprouts to the north. It’s sustained by the Colorado River water that passes through these farms as irrigation before flowing into the 350 square mile lake. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here: How a dying lake in California factors into the Colorado River’s future

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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