DAILY DIGEST: Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway; Sonoma County launches first test of ‘groundwater banking’ to bolster supplies; Stronger together: The Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines; and more …

In California water news today, Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway; ‘Moisture surge’ from atmospheric river to drench Sacramento on Friday and Saturday; California’s nearly dismal snow year a harbinger of things to come; Drought puts UC’s water-savings strategies into practice; Sonoma County launches first test of ‘groundwater banking’ to bolster supplies; Stronger together: The Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines; and more …

In the news today …

Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway:  “With a powerful storm barreling toward California’s coast, state officials warned they may have to use the largely rebuilt flood control spillway at troubled Oroville Dam as early as next week.  The California Department of Water Resources announced Tuesday that water levels at Lake Oroville could quickly rise to the “trigger elevation” of 830 feet, the point at which DWR plans to open the spillway gates and release water down the 3,000-foot-long concrete chute.  DWR said it has begun ramping up water releases from other outlets, including the dam’s hydroelectric plant, in an effort to keep water below that 830-foot threshold. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway

Repaired Oroville Dam spillway may be used within a week:  “The partially repaired main spillway at Oroville Dam may be put into use this week or next, according to the state Department of Water Resources.  The oncoming storm is expected to raise the water level of Lake Oroville to 830 feet above sea level, which requires stepped-up releases to 14,500 cubic feet per second under DWR’s flood control plan for April. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Repaired Oroville Dam spillway may be used within a week

‘Moisture surge’ from atmospheric river to drench Sacramento on Friday and Saturday:  “Northern California’s wet season will run at least another week as an unseasonably strong storm hits the region heading into this weekend.  Late Thursday drizzles are expected to turn into strong rain and winds by Friday morning, which will hold steady until petering out Saturday afternoon.  The subtropic “pineapple express” atmospheric river could bring up to 3 inches of rain total to Sacramento, South Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area and maybe 2 to 4 inches of snow Sunday along the I-80 and I-50 corridors. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  ‘Moisture surge’ from atmospheric river to drench Sacramento on Friday and Saturday

Atmospheric river is a recipe for flooding disaster in the Sierra:  “It’s a recipe for flooding.  A tropical storm pulling moisture from the South Pacific, often called an atmospheric river, will deliver mild temperatures and heavy rain to the snow-covered northern Sierra Nevada later this week.  The current forecast indicates that with temperatures in the 50s, snow levels could rise as high as 11,000 feet on Friday. The heaviest band of precipitation is expected to soak areas of the Truckee and Tahoe basins in 3 to 5 inches of precipitation. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Atmospheric river is a recipe for flooding disaster in the Sierra

Early April rain to return risk of flooding, mudslides to California:  “A double-barreled storm will take aim at 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 California

California’s nearly dismal snow year a harbinger of things to come:  “Californians may collectively be breathing a sigh of relief, but not elation, this week, after the state’s latest snowpack reading. A wet and cold March saved California from a near record-low snowpack, but it proved too little too late to bring a full recovery. And worse, climate scientists say we should start getting used to these low snowpack years.  How much water content the snow holds in the Sierra Nevada mountains is crucial to the state’s water supply, and snowpack readings at the start of April – usually the peak accumulation of the season – are a key indicator of the winter’s bounty (or lack of). … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  California’s nearly dismal snow year a harbinger of things to come

Drought puts UC’s water-savings strategies into practice:  “The historic drought from 2012 to 2016 forced almond growers to put into practice water-conservation strategies they’d been taught by University of California Cooperative Extension crop advisors — so say a farmer and an advisor in a newly released video on water management.  Raj Meena of the Gustine, Calif.-based Meena Farms, says tools such as the pressure chamber, which measures water stress in trees, and soil moisture monitoring helped the operation survive drastic cutbacks in water. “I would say our water management improved considerably because it had to,” he says in the video, part of series on drought tips from the UC California Institute for Water Resources. “If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t still be farming. When you’re so regulated in the water that you have, you have to allocate it very carefully.” ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Drought puts UC’s water-savings strategies into practice

In commentary today …

What the bullet train boondoggle can tell us about the Delta tunnels:  Susan Shelley writes,If you look up “boondoggle” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you’ll learn that it’s “a wasteful or impractical project or activity,” but if you live in California, you don’t need a dictionary.  We’re ten years into the wasteful and impractical effort to build a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and the first 119-mile segment — the “easy” segment — is already 77 percent over budget. …  Now it looks like the bullet train will have a companion boondoggle to help it enjoy its golden years. Gov. Jerry Brown’s long-desired Delta tunnel project may be close to getting the go-ahead to put a shovel in the ground, even though the funding to complete the project has not been identified. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  What the bullet train boondoggle can tell us about the Delta tunnels

In regional news and commentary today …

Sonoma County launches first test of ‘groundwater banking’ to bolster supplies:  “Sonoma County’s first experiment with underground drinking water storage is taking place at an unremarkable well drilled to 230 feet into the floor of Sonoma Valley.  Here, enough Russian River water to fill a large swimming pool — about 500,000 gallons — is now on deposit in a sand and gravel aquifer that lies beneath a thick lid of 8 million-year-old lava rock underlying part of the valley. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Sonoma County launches first test of ‘groundwater banking’ to bolster supplies

Stronger together: The Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines:  “The Bay Area’s deeply unequal cities, home to mansions and shacks alike, are linked by one thing: thirst.  Banding together, the region’s water agencies on Tuesday unveiled the latest upgrades to a vast network that connects six million people and provides mutual aid in a crisis, such as an earthquake or severe drought.  “Interconnection makes all of us more reliable,” said Steve Ritchie, assistant general manager of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Stronger together: The Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines

Climate change and land subsidence pose threat for coastal Bay Area:  “The Bay Area is sinking and climate change is speeding things up, according to a new study published in Science Advances this month.  The study was conducted over the span of two years by researchers Manoocher Shirzaei and Roland Burgmann, who used satellite images to evaluate regions of the Bay Area, such as Treasure Island, which are experiencing sea level rise because of the accelerated melting of polar ice. Shirzaei is a former UC Berkeley post-doctoral student, and Burgmann is a professor in the university’s earth and planetary sciences department. ... ”  Continue reading from Richmond Confidential here:  Climate change and land subsidence pose threat for coastal Bay Area

Feasibility study of public takeover of Monterey Peninsula water system moves closer to November ballot:  “The hundred million dollar question of whether to buy the local water utility could be answered with a half million dollar study brought forth by an almost $200,000 ballot initiative.  Public Water Now, the community-based organization committed to the public ownership of the local water supply, held a press conference outside the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District office on Tuesday to announce the final signature count for its November ballot initiative. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Feasibility study of public takeover of Monterey Peninsula water system moves closer to November ballot

Ridgecrest: 10 months in, Groundwater Authority policy advisory committee unsure how to proceed:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s Policy Advisory Committee met for its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 29. The primary focus of the meeting was to finalize a draft of its Communication and Engagement plan.  However, in a brief discussion on questions fielded to them from IWVGA Water Resources Manager Steve Johnson, PAC members expressed that, after ten months of meetings, many of them are still unclear on what exactly the PAC’s purpose entails. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  10 months in, Groundwater Authority policy advisory committee unsure how to proceed

Santa Clarita: Water heads consider plan to manage Santa Clara watershed:  “Water officials developing strategy for better management of groundwater, recycled water, stored water and stormwater have come up with a brand new plan for the Santa Clara River Watershed.  Board members of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency were asked Tuesday to review a program hammered out by agency staffers calling for the agency to play a greater role in the stewardship of the Santa Clara River and its watershed.  With the formation of SCV Water, we promised a more holistic and regional approach to managing our water resources,” SCV Water Agency Assistant General Manager Steve Cole told The Signal just before Tuesday’s regular board meeting. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Santa Clarita: Water heads consider plan to manage Santa Clara watershed

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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