DAILY DIGEST: Early April rain to return risk of flooding, mudslides to NorCal; Californians are back to wasting about as much water as before the drought; Wet spot on Oroville Dam spillway wasn’t unexpected; Initiative aims to redistribute Yuba County groundwater wealth; and more …

In California water news today, Early April rain to return risk of flooding, mudslides to Northern California; Californians are back to wasting about as much water as before the drought; Wet spot on Oroville Dam spillway wasn't unexpected; In Idaho, a model for long-term groundwater recharge tastes success; What do shrinking snowpack and warmer winters spell for western US water supply?; EPA: ‘Can we say … climate?' Agency grapples with Trump's views; Initiative aims to redistribute Yuba County groundwater wealth; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • This evening at Mc George School of Law, a conversation about consolidation of small water systems and the human right to water, featuring Distinguished Speaker California Public Utility Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves and an expert interdisciplinary panel. Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Early April rain to return risk of flooding, mudslides to Northern California:  “A double-barreled storm will take aim on California with drenching rain, high-country snow and the risk of flooding and mudslides later this week.  The first of two rounds of rain and high-country snow is scheduled to roll ashore into Northern California during Thursday night.  The rainfall during Thursday night is likely to be generally light and intermittent. The most significant impacts will be to slow travel. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Early April rain to return risk of flooding, mudslides to Northern California

Californians are back to wasting about as much water as before the drought:  “Since Gov. Jerry Brown called off California's drought emergency a year ago, we Californians seem to have gotten a little lazy when it comes to water conservation.  We've started watering our lawns more often. We're not putting buckets in our showers as much. (In fact, we're taking longer showers.) And we don’t let yellow mellow — meaning, we flush our pee instead of just letting it sit in the toilet bowl, according to Southern California residents KPCC queried for this story.  … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Californians are back to wasting about as much water as before the drought

Wet spot on Oroville Dam spillway wasn't unexpected:  “First there was the green spot, now there’s the wet spot.  There was quite a buzz around Oroville last week about aerial photos that showed a wet streak down the face of the repaired main Oroville Dam spillway.  But it was something that had been expected, and the Department of Water Resources said as early as January that it might happen.  … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: Wet spot on Oroville Dam spillway wasn’t unexpected

In Idaho, a model for long-term groundwater recharge tastes success:  “Last winter, the state of Idaho succeeded in recharging 317,000 acre-feet of water into an important aquifer, enough to serve 700,000 homes for a year. It was an important milestone in an ambitious program to restore a groundwater source that had been overtapped for decades.  The water source is the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, a massive and complex groundwater source, which is also linked to springs that contribute to flows in the Snake River. A legal settlement among various water rights holders in 2015 compelled the state to begin replenishing the aquifer, which serves a variety of important constituents, including farms, cities and fish hatcheries.  With a large network of recharge facilities constructed already and more in the works, Idaho could be a model for other states struggling with groundwater depletion. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  In Idaho, a model for long-term groundwater recharge tastes success

What do shrinking snowpack and warmer winters spell for western US water supply?  “The majority of the western United States relies on snowpack, which produces snowmelt, for its water supply.  Snowpack is the snow that falls and remains on the ground, not melting until temperatures rise. During the colder months, the snowpack accumulates and stores water, which is later released when weather conditions are drier and warmer.  In addition to supplying drinking water, the snowpack in states including California and Nevada is an integral source of ecosystem services and recreation. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  What do shrinking snowpack and warmer winters spell for western US water supply?

EPA: ‘Can we say … climate?' Agency grapples with Trump's views:  “U.S. EPA staffers aren't sure what to say about climate change in public.  Trump administration officials have taken a drastically different approach to the issue than their Obama-era predecessors. The new political team has trashed Obama climate change regulations, scrapped global warming references from agency websites and played up the uncertainties in mainstream climate science. President Trump has called global warming a hoax.  That's all left career employees at EPA and other federal agencies unsure about how to approach the thorny political topic, according to interviews with several EPA staffers. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  EPA: ‘Can we say … climate?’ Agency grapples with Trump’s views

In commentary today …

The Sierra Nevada snowpack will be 64% smaller by the end of this century; We need to prepare now, say Alex Hall and Katherine Davis Reich:  They write, “Although recent storms have dumped heavy snow across the Sierra Nevada, Monday's snowpack measurement will almost certainly show that it is still well below average. Last week, the Sierra-wide reading put the total snowpack at 15.8 inches of water content, or 43% below normal.  Here's an even more sobering reality. According to our new research, such spring snow measurements will be considered far above average in the decades to come. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: The Sierra Nevada snowpack will be 64% smaller by the end of this century; We need to prepare now

Celebrated momentum fades at the Salton Sea, says the Desert Sun:  They write, “Considering the history of the past 15 years, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the long-delayed and much-scaled-back vision for restoration of the Salton Sea only recently committed to by the state already has fallen behind.  We’re not shocked, but disappointed would be an understatement.  Just five months ago, the Editorial Board cheered what appeared to be real momentum behind the plan to build wetlands along the receding rim of the dying salty lake to quell potentially violent, health-ravaging dust storms and create wildlife habitat. Key signs that things were finally happening: Actual construction of wetlands was underway and the California Legislature had approved a massive bond measure for the June ballot that would commit hundreds of millions of dollars to sea restoration work. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Celebrated momentum fades at the Salton Sea

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

In regional news and commentary today …

Initiative aims to redistribute Yuba County groundwater wealth:  “If at first you don’t succeed… get elected to the agency that denied you in the first place and try again.  At least, that was the plan for Charlie Mathews, a Yuba County rice farmer and board member for the Yuba County Water Agency, who plans to reintroduce an initiative that would essentially redistribute proceeds made by pumpers for groundwater substitution transfers to other parts of the county, including a portion to residents. “We are proposing an initiative that tells the water agency how to divide this money up that’s made from groundwater substitution transfers,” Mathews said. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Initiative aims to redistribute Yuba County groundwater wealth

Bay Area Climate Adaptation Collaborative shutters:  “The name is a bit of a mouthful (Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium), but the acronym was surprisingly apt (BAECCC, pronounced “bake”) for an organization dedicated to confronting the challenges—such as rising temperatures and sea levels—of climate change and their impacts on the Bay Area’s natural habitats, watersheds, and shorelines.  BAECCC was founded in the spring of 2009 as a collaborative effort of four public resource agencies (California State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, U.S. Geological Survey) and the nonprofit Point Blue Conservation Science. The idea, Point Blue CEO Ellie Cohen says, was to “work across boundaries to come up with viable climate-smart solutions and to incorporate ‘natural infrastructure’ into the region’s response to climate change.” … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Bay Area Climate Adaptation Collaborative shutters

‘Pineapple Express' rain expected to soak the Bay Area:  “And you thought winter was over.  Although sunny skies are expected in the beginning of the work week, a “Pineapple Express’ storm is expected to slam into the Bay Area beginning Thursday night and produce widespread rain across the region, according to the National Weather Service.  The storm has the potential to be one of the wettest systems the Bay Area has experienced this rainfall season, according to the weather service. This atmospheric river is expected to produce steady rain for 48 hours, possibly resulting in flooding in rivers, creeks and streams. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  ‘Pineapple Express’ rain expected to soak the Bay Area

Manteca: River Islands will soon start using recycled water:  “Purple pipe is coming to River Islands. Earlier this month the Lathrop City Council signed off on a proposal that will allow Woodfield and Curran (formerly RMC Water and Environment) to serve as the program administrator for the city’s recycled water program and provide the management services needed to support the first year of the project’s implementation. The $57,843 cost of hiring the firm will be fully reimbursed by River Islands. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  River Islands will soon start using recycled water

Ventura County: Workshop planned for agricultural well owners on upcoming meter requirements:With new rules in play requiring automated meters for many local agricultural wells, a workshop is being held Tuesday afternoon in Oxnard on the metering program and financial incentives available for farmers.  The meters, which will automatically gather and transmit groundwater pumping data, are part of an ordinance approved by the board of the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency in late February. For ag wells, the deadline for installation is Dec. 31. The agency's boundaries include the Oxnard Plain and stretch inland past Camarillo and Moorpark. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Workshop planned for agricultural well owners on upcoming meter requirements

Jet Propulsion Laboratory says California's drought is killing oaks:  “Humans weren’t the only ones who suffered — and continue to suffer – thanks to California’s recent drought.  Take those glorious live oaks in places near Topanga State Park where mountainous open space separates Calabasas and Pacific Palisades.  This is an area once covered by a natural arbor of these trees, but now there are more trunks and branches covering the ground than healthy specimens. ... ”  Read more from Pasadena Now here:  Jet Propulsion Laboratory says California’s drought is killing oaks

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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