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DAILY DIGEST: LA to oppose $17 billion tunnels if its residents must pay more than fair share; Assembly Committee calls for more transparency, clarity during Water Storage Investment Program oversight hearing; Federal budget proposal includes Sites Reservoir study funding; and more …

In California water news today, LA to oppose $17 billion tunnels if its residents must pay more than fair share; Assembly Committee calls for more transparency, clarity during Water Storage Investment Program oversight hearing; Federal budget proposal includes Sites Reservoir study funding; Oroville Dam: Construction of secant pile wall wraps up; Yep, it’s nice rain but no ‘March Miracle’, experts say; Pineapple Express: New tools help scientists better predict wet, wild ‘atmospheric rivers’; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Stewardship Council meets at 9:00 am at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria, 1110 West Capitol Ave, West Sacramento.  Agenda items include an overview of the synthesis report on lessons learned from the drought, and an update on the Delta Levee Investment Strategy.  Click here for the full agendaClick here for webcast link.

In the news today …

LA to oppose $17 billion tunnels if its residents must pay more than fair share:  “The Los Angeles City Council moved today to officially oppose staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water-delivery tunnel project if it would result in greater costs or a greater portion of the financial burden for Los Angeles ratepayers.  State water officials announced last month they will pursue staged construction of the California Waterfix project, leaving water agencies in the Southland and elsewhere to decide if they want to continue supporting the effort.  The project would divert water from the Sacramento River as it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and carry it to existing federal and state pumping stations in the southern part of the delta through two 35-mile tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here:  LA to oppose $17 billion tunnels if its residents must pay more than fair share

Assembly Committee calls for more transparency, clarity during Water Storage Investment Program oversight hearing:  “On March 20, the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee conducted an oversight hearing for the California Water Commission’s (CWC’s) Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).  During the over two-hour discussion, committee members expressed strong concerns about the WSIP process including review criteria and the timeline for allocating the funds. The committee also focused on the need to include appropriate process steps for the allocation process.  The witness panel for the hearing was comprised of CWC Chair Armando Quintero, CWC Vice Chair Carol Baker, ACWA Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck, and Environmental Defense Fund Association Vice President of Water for the Ecosystems Program Maurice Hall. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Assembly Committee calls for more transparency, clarity during Water Storage Investment Program oversight hearing

Federal budget proposal includes Sites Reservoir study funding:  “Inclusion of money for raising Shasta Dam got the most attention in a recently released federal budget proposal, but the same package also includes money for Sites Reservoir.  The Department of Interior is recommending spending $33.3 million under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016.  The biggest piece of that would be $20 million for design and pre-construction work on raising Shasta Dam 18 feet. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Federal budget proposal includes Sites Reservoir study funding

Oroville Dam: Construction of secant pile wall wraps up:  “Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. said on Wednesday that construction of the underground wall below the Oroville Dam emergency spillway completed in early March.  The 1,450 feet long wall, drilled 35-65 feet into bedrock, is one preventative measure against the type of erosion that occurred there last year, should the emergency spillway ever be used again. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here:  Oroville Dam: Construction of secant pile wall wraps up

Yep, it’s nice rain but no ‘March Miracle’, experts say:  “It has all the earmarks of a “Miracle March” — heavy dousings of rain, intense flurries of snow in the Sierra mountains and roadway havoc — but the showy display of stormy weather across California this week isn’t fooling the experts.Despite encouraging signs, including a Sierra snowpack that has risen to respectability from record-breakingly meager depths this month, meteorologists say California will almost certainly emerge from the winter drier than normal. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Yep, it’s nice rain but no ‘March Miracle’, experts say

Pineapple Express: New tools help scientists better predict wet, wild ‘atmospheric rivers’:  “Peering out at sea, scientists last weekend saw a formidable sight: the spawning of a wet and wild storm the size of 30 Mississippi Rivers, headed towards California.  The anticipation has officials all over the Golden State watching the skies and wondering: Will my town get a fraction of rain, or a bucketful? Will streets flood? Do we need sandbags?  Until recently, it’s been a coin toss. But a growing network of sophisticated gauges, sensors and computers that can predict the power of “atmospheric rivers” with the greatest precision ever, estimating not just when rain will arrive, but where and how much — saving lives and property in the process. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Pineapple Express: New tools help scientists better predict wet, wild ‘atmospheric rivers’

California utilities want customers to help pay for wildfire damages.  Will politicians oblige? Minutes before President Donald Trump landed in California last week, the most powerful politicians in the state sent out a public statement that had nothing to do with him and would garner little attention. The announcement from Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said that due to recent devastating fires and mudslides, they would work together this year to “make California more resilient against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.” Among the issues they promised to address: updating liability laws for utility companies.  The innocuous-sounding statement belies a controversial idea: that Californians could eventually have to pay more for electricity because of last year’s wildfires. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  California utilities want customers to help pay for wildfire damages.  Will politicians oblige?

Chevron, SF, and Oakland present climate change tutorial before US judge:  “A lawyer for Chevron Corp. told a federal judge in San Francisco Wednesday that the company “accepts the consensus of the scientific community” that climate change is real and is caused primarily by human activity.  “That has been Chevron’s position for a decade,” attorney Theodore Boutrous told U.S. District Judge William Alsup.  Boutrous spoke at an unusual tutorial session scheduled by Alsup in connection with two lawsuits filed against San Ramon-based Chevron and four other oil and gas companies by San Francisco and Oakland. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here:  Chevron, SF, and Oakland present climate change tutorial before US judge

Report: How the biggest companies score on water sustainability:Cape Town is expected to run out of water in a few months. Just plain out.  California endured five years of drought with the help of urban areas cutting back water consumption and farmers fallowing fields. During 2015 alone, the state’s agriculture sector lost nearly $2 billion and 10,000 farmworker jobs.  The 2012 drought in the Midwest dented the corn harvest by 15 percent and caused a global spike in corn prices.  The risks from water insecurity span the globe and have deep economic impacts, as many in the business sector have come to understand. Without water to grow alfalfa for cow forage, you can’t produce milk and beef. Without water to cool data centers, the servers that power our smartphones and computers won’t run. … ” Read more from Water Deeply here: Report: How the biggest companies score on water sustainability

In commentary today …

Yes on Prop 68: Bond will upgrade parks and water purity, says the SF Chronicle:  They write, “California’s landscape is an enduring treasure, but its rivers, beaches and parks require public stewardship, especially as harsh weather and population growth take a toll. That’s why voters should support Proposition 68, a $4 billion bond measure on the June 5 ballot.The money will go to refurbish rundown park structures, build hiking trials and preserve beach access across the state. Along with those appealing projects come harder challenges: ensuring the water that pours out of faucets is drinkable, and preparing for the climate’s whipsaw changes such as droughts, wildfires and floods. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Yes on Prop 68: Bond will upgrade parks and water purity

No on Prop 68: Parks and water bond would leave California in a mountain of debt, says Jon Coupal:  He writes, “All Californians desire clean air, clean water, coastal protection, environmental protection, flood prevention and safe, well-maintained recreation areas. That’s why our state already spends about $5 billion annually to support these types of programs, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.  In June, voters will be asked to approve Proposition 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access For All Act, which would authorize the sale of $4.1 billion in bonds. The borrowed funds will have to be paid back over 40 years with interest. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  No on Prop 68: Parks and water bond would leave California in a mountain of debt

For millions of Americans, lack of access to water isn’t just a drought problem, says George McGraw:  He writes, “The 4 million residents of drought-stricken Cape Town, South Africa, have held Day Zero at bay. Their water-saving efforts appear to have kept the city’s taps from running dry just yet. But as Capetonians breathed a sigh of relief this month, some Americans I know left their homes in rural New Mexico, bucket in hand, to collect water from a nearby livestock trough. Those dirty two or three gallons would be all they had for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing that day. For these Americans, it is always Day Zero.  Water poverty affects nearly 1.6 million people in the United States, but it remains a stubbornly invisible crisis. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  For millions of Americans, lack of access to water isn’t just a drought problem

In regional news and commentary today …

Yuba River will rise to about 74 feet as New Bullards Bar Dam releases outflows to compensate for storm:  “The elevation of the Yuba River is expected to get close to monitor stage by Thursday night as the Yuba County Water Agency ups its releases out of New Bullards Bar to make more room for flood storage.  It’s nothing the general public should be concerned about, said YCWA General Manager Curt Aikens, but it is something to be aware of for those who might find themselves on the river or along the banks over the next couple days. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: Yuba River will rise to about 74 feet as New Bullards Bar Dam releases outflows to compensate for storm

Folsom Lake outflows increased as rain flows into Northern California:  “Water managers increased the outflows from Folsom Lake in preparation for all the rain the region is seeing during the first week of spring.  As a result of the heavy rain expected through the coming days, the Joint Flood Operations Center in Sacramento was activated and the key areas flood control officials will be watching over the next 12 to 48 hours are rivers and streams.  Despite water releases increasing at Folsom Lake, one of the state’s largest flood-control reservoirs, there is still plenty of room in the lake because of a drier-than-normal season. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Folsom Lake outflows increased as rain flows into Northern California

Ocean Beach sand to be moved around, again:  “Like middle-aged men balding in some areas and sprouting hairs in others, Ocean Beach has some evening out to do.  But coastal erosion has more impactful consequences, like threatening wastewater facilities and proper beach access. To combat this erosion, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission this week is again moving sand from the north end of the beach, which tends to have buildup, to the south end, which has more erosion hotspots. … ”  Read more from SF Weekly here:  Ocean Beach sand to be moved around, again

Best case: Santa Cruz sharing water with Soquel Creek by December:  “More than three years after talks began, water quality concerns remain paramount over quantity in cooperative talks between Soquel Creek Water District and Santa Cruz Water Department.  Best-case scenarios for the water sharing agreement place the pilot program’s launch as early as year’s end, the Soquel Creek Water District board of directors heard at its meeting Tuesday night during a joint water-sharing update with Santa Cruz Water Director Rosemary Menard. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Best case: Santa Cruz sharing water with Soquel Creek by December

Tanks a lot! Water providers move to ease the effects of drought:  “Madera Acres, Chowchilla and City of Madera all have improvement projects in the works.  A new water tower and at least two new surface water tanks will be built this year in Madera County to improve domestic water services.  Ground will be broken in early April for one of the tanks, a 157-foot-high, 1.5-million-gallon-capacity design, that will serve the 2,052 members of the Madera Valley Water Co., plus Berenda School, north of Madera. ... ”  Read more from the Madera Tribune here:  Tanks a lot! Water providers move to ease the effects of drought

Inyo County: Tech group can’t agree on mitigation at Five Bridges:  “The Technical Group meetings have morphed into the E-ticket of all local meetings.  Comprised of representatives of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Inyo County Water Department staff, agenda items are approved with agreement on both sides, like the Standing Committee. That agreement has been elusive lately.  Monday afternoon’s meeting was called to deal with one item on last Wednesday’s agenda—an item the group didn’t get to after not agreeing on a number of other items. The subject: resolve any disagreement over attainment of mitigation goals for the Five Bridges impact area. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Inyo County: Tech group can’t agree on mitigation at Five Bridges

Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District rejects Cadiz water project“A company’s controversial plan to sell groundwater from the Mojave Desert ran into new opposition as a Southern California water district voted against the proposal.  The board of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District decided not to approve a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase water from the Cadiz Inc.’s proposed project. The company is looking to pump as much as 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater a year and pipe it across the desert to sell to cities in Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District rejects Cadiz water project

Salton Sea fixes still lagging far behind and cost is growing:  “A year ago, California’s Natural Resources Agency issued a plan for the Salton Sea.  That $383-million blueprint called for building thousands of acres of wetlands to control dust and revitalize the deteriorating habitats around the shrinking lake over the next 10 years.  One year later, less than 50 acres of wetlands have been built. The estimated cost of the plan has grown to $410 million, and much of that funding has yet to be approved. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Salton Sea fixes still lagging far behind and cost is growing

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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