DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: How Cape Town found water savings California never dreamed of; Lawsuit: What is killing endangered salmon in San Jose creeks?; Trump’s border wall won’t stop sewage; and more …

In California water news this weekend, How Cape Town found water savings California never dreamed of; Cape Town drought is global harbinger, says NASA scientist; California Court of Appeal rejects challenge to water right permit and license fee; Feeling drought fatigue? How to get back to saving water and money; What 3 feet of sea level rise means for the world’s turtles; Marin bolsters flood prevention efforts with more weather devices; Lawsuit: What is killing endangered salmon in San Jose creeks?; Trump’s border wall won’t stop sewage; and more …

In the news this weekend …

How Cape Town found water savings California never dreamed of:  “A six-car municipal police convoy skidded to a halt outside a Cape Town house, and police leaped from their cars at the offending sight: a trickle of hose water splashing onto a squat red flower.  Resident Mohammed Adhikari looked bemused and a little sheepish as police surged into his house, slapped him with an $87 fine and delivered a lecture. Watering yards with bore water is limited to one hour Tuesdays and Saturdays — and totally banned with tap water. This was a Monday. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  How Cape Town found water savings California never dreamed of

Cape Town drought is global harbinger, says NASA scientist:  “Factors like population growth, income inequality and climate change have exacerbated water related issues around the world. Abuse and depletion of the natural resource has led to instability and violence in places like Iran, Syria and Bangladesh as well as crises in the U.S. Jay Famiglietti, NASA’s senior water scientist, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Los Angeles to discuss the global pattern.”  Read transcript or watch video from PBS News Hour here:  Cape Town drought is global harbinger, says NASA scientist

Feeling drought fatigue? How to get back to saving water and money:  “When it comes to saving water, people prefer efficiency to conservation.  “We need to be efficient no matter the weather,” said Amy Talbot, program manager for the Regional Water Authority. “As we’ve seen, weather is variable, but we still need to be efficient and save water. We’re hoping that message really gets across.”  How do you get people excited – again – about saving water? That’s the challenge California water providers face in an almost-normal year. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Feeling drought fatigue? How to get back to saving water and money

What 3 feet of sea level rise means for the world’s turtles:  “Ninety percent of the world’s coastal freshwater turtle species are expected to be affected by sea level rise by 2100, according to a study from UC Davis.  The study, published in an “early view” online this week in the journal Biological Reviews, is the first comprehensive global assessment of freshwater turtles that frequent brackish, or slightly salty, waters. The study may help guide conservation strategies for turtles. ... ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here: What 3 feet of sea level rise means for the world’s turtles

California Court of Appeal rejects challenge to water right permit and license fee:  “In the recently decided case of Northern California Water Association et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board et al. C075866, 2018 WL 1127892, 3rd Appellate District, March 2, 2018 (NCWA), the California Court of Appeal rejected challenges to a new annual fee on water right permit and license holders imposed on them during Fiscal Year 2003-2004 by the State Water Resources Control Board (the Board). The fee was imposed in order to cover a portion of the costs of regulatory activities of the Board’s Division of Water Rights (the Division). In so doing, the court reversed the trial court and determined that the fee constituted a valid regulatory fee and not an unlawful tax. … ”  Read more from JD Supra here:  California Court of Appeal rejects challenge to water right permit and license fee

In commentary this weekend …

Fix California’s laws before next flood hits, says Steve Ellis:  He writes, “The record-breaking floodwaters that recently soaked areas around Merced should serve as the latest warning that unless Congress reforms and renews the nation’s debt-ridden flood insurance program more than 238,900 residents across California might be unable to rebuild after the next storm strikes.  The National Flood Insurance Program, which provides flood insurance coverage to more than 22,000 communities across the country, expired last fall and is billions of dollars in debt to U.S. taxpayers. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Fix California’s laws before next flood hits

Don’t sock Southern California ratepayers with Delta tunnels costs, says the OC Register:  They write, “The question of whether to build some version of the massive Delta tunnels project long pursued by Gov. Jerry Brown is not yet settled, but the answer to how it would be financed seems to be coming into focus.  An extra cost acknowledged to be as much as $4.80 per month would be added to the water bills of the 6.2 million households that receive water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California if the MWD board votes on April 10 to pick up most or all of the cost of the project now known as California WaterFix. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Don’t sock Southern California ratepayers with Delta tunnels costs

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Butte County: PG&E snow survey finds big improvement in March:  “PG&E scientists took a measure of the snow Tuesday at Lake Helen in Lassen Volcanic National Park, and found that March storms have improved the picture for hydropower generation.  PG&E hydrographers Ted Baker and Mike Hedgpeth helicoptered to the lake at the base of Lassen Peak. Driving a sampling tube into the snow, they found 11 feet of snow, according to PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Butte County: PG&E snow survey finds big improvement in March

Santa Rosa: Neighbors balk as legal marijuana gains ground in Sonoma County:  “David Drips has spent weeks tending cannabis seedlings and clones inside an old milking barn in rural Petaluma in preparation for the day he’d plant them in the ground.  On Friday, that day arrived. With a pending permit and county permission to start, he and several others nestled plant after plant into the loamy soil at the windswept Nadale Ranch on Middle 2 Rock Road, where they’ll grow alongside several hundred head of dairy cows.  But complaints against legal cannabis cultivation are mounting in some rural Sonoma County areas, from wooded enclaves west of Healdsburg to farmland outside Petaluma and narrow vineyard-lined lanes in rural Santa Rosa. Echoing concerns about traffic and water use often spurred by new wineries, critics of legal cannabis farms also question whether they will be safe living or working near marijuana farms. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Neighbors balk as legal marijuana gains ground in Sonoma County

Marin bolsters flood prevention efforts with more weather devices:  “Marin County is adding nine new weather gauges that collect real-time data on rain, wind and stream activity, bringing its fleet of such devices to 18 across the county.  The Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District announced this month that it has won approval to receive the devices used to help with flood preparedness. They will likely be in hand this summer and ready to install by the end of fall, said Julian Kaelon, a spokesman for the department of public works. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin bolsters flood prevention efforts with more weather devices

Lawsuit: What is killing endangered salmon in San Jose creeks?  Environmentalists blame the water district:  “Claiming that mismanagement by Silicon Valley’s largest water agency has likely wiped out endangered steelhead trout in Coyote Creek, a coalition of environmentalists, including the Sierra Club, has filed a complaint with state water officials seeking to force big changes to protect the fish in the nearby Guadalupe River.  The groups contend that the Santa Clara Valley Water District has not released enough water from its dams into the creeks that feed the Guadalupe, the main river that flows through downtown San Jose. They also claim that a concrete barrier the district built on the upper river roughly 50 years ago near Almaden Expressway and Highway 85 to divert water to recharge underground aquifers is also killing the fish. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Lawsuit: What is killing endangered salmon in San Jose creeks?  Environmentalists blame the water district

Placerville: Local reservoirs runneth over while snowpack lags behind:  “There’s no rain in sight for the next seven days, National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Dang said Tuesday.  As of press time Thursday, the forecast showed no rain in the area until April 6.  After a dry winter, March came through with above average rainfall. So the question is, “Is the glass half empty, or half full?” Dare people bask in springtime’s sunshine guilt free, knowing local reservoirs are brimming over with water — or should they be fretting about a less than normal snowpack? … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here:  Placerville: Local reservoirs runneth over while snowpack lags behind

Manteca: Wasting wastewater? What you send down the drain could help reduce future costs to operate the Manteca wastewater treatment system.  An “independent party” has approached the city recently about securing the rights to Manteca’s treated wastewater that is currently being returned to the San Joaquin River. That request follows on the heels of an inquiry during the drought by another local agency that also wanted to buy the city’s treated wastewater. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Manteca: Wasting wastewater?

Modesto, partners win praised for wastewater project:  “An industry group likes what Modesto has done with the highly treated water from its sewage treatment plant.  WateReuse California gave the city its Recycled Water Agency of the Year award last week.  It recognizes a project that recently started irrigating farms in the Del Puerto Water District. The district, which is paying for the project, serves about 45,000 acres along Interstate 5 from Vernalis to Santa Nella. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Modesto, partners win praised for wastewater project

Ridgecrest: Public workshop to discuss new local water pumping fees:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is holding a public workshop to discuss a proposed new groundwater pumping fee. The workshop will be on Thursday, April 5 at 5 p.m. at Ridgecrest City Hall on 100 W. California Avenue.  IWVGA proposed enacting a new groundwater pumping fee in order to close the gap in its budget between the funds it will need to complete its Groundwater Sustainability Plan and the funds it either has or will receive from membership fees and state grants. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Public workshop to discuss new local water pumping fees

Trump’s border wall won’t stop sewage:  “President Trump’s proposed border wall will do nothing to fix the biggest problem crossing into the California coastal city of Imperial Beach from Mexico, local officials say.  Water pollution.  Millions of gallons of wastewater, sewage and garbage regularly flow across the border via the Tijuana River and discharge into the Pacific Ocean south of San Diego.  The contamination creates a major public health risk and fouls habitat for threatened species. Large swaths of murky brown water are easily seen off the coast during peak flows, and officials have closed beaches more than 160 days in the last two years due to the pollution. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Trump’s border wall won’t stop sewage

Along the Colorado River …

Grand Canyon officials pursue overhaul of aging water system:  “Crews are drilling at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to test the idea of shifting the area where water is drawn to serve millions of people at the national park’s popular South Rim.  The park’s water supply comes from a natural spring that flows through 12.5 miles of pipeline. But the 1960s aluminum pipeline to the South Rim twists and turns around trails and through rocky terrain, frequently breaking and leaking. Each repair costs an average of $25,000. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  Grand Canyon officials pursue overhaul of aging water system

Climate forecasts remain gloomy, say experts at University of Arizona workshop:  “Talk about mixed messages.  Forecasts of continued hotter weather, greater risk of “megadroughts,” more destructive wildfires, more tree dieoffs, future Colorado River shortages and more deaths from extreme heat peppered a University of Arizona climate change workshop last week.  While the groundbreaking Paris Climate Accord has pledged to limit future temperature increases to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), “I don’t think you need to worry about 1.5 or 2 degrees” as the upward temperature limit, said a semi-joking Diana Liverman, a UA geography professor and a workshop co-organizer. “They are not on the horizon.” ... ”  Read more from the Arizona Star here:  Climate forecasts remain gloomy, say experts at University of Arizona workshop

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

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

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