DAILY DIGEST: Heavy rain expected in NorCal thru Saturday; Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018; New report finds solutions for water justice close at hand; Dutch Slough tidal marsh project begins next month; and more …

In California water news today, Heavy rain expected in Northern California through Saturday; California storm may test spillway at nation’s tallest dam; Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018; New report finds solutions for water justice close at hand; Dutch Slough tidal marsh project begins next month; California farmers finding more ways to conserve water; and more …

In the news today …

Heavy rain expected in Northern California through Saturday:  “Residents of California are being put on alert for a renewed risk of flooding, mudslides and travel disruptions through the first part of the weekend.  A plume of moisture from the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, also known as an atmospheric river, will take aim at Northern and central California through Saturday.  “This atmospheric river will bring periods of heavy rain to Northern and central California through the first half of the weekend,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun. ... ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Heavy rain expected in Northern California through Saturday

California storm may test spillway at nation’s tallest dam:  “Northern California is bracing for a major spring storm that is expected to dump several inches of rain on burn-scarred areas of wine country and could present the first test of the partially repaired spillway at the nation’s tallest dam.  The National Weather Service issued several flood warnings throughout Northern California ahead of Friday’s expected atmospheric river, stretching to the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe.  In Sonoma County, which was devastated by wildfires in October, the weather service predicted 4 to 6 inches (10-15 centimeters) of rainfall through Sunday. Even if the rain doesn’t pan out, “it’s better to be prepared than not,” said county Supervisor David Rabbitt. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California storm may test spillway at nation’s tallest dam

Use of Oroville spillway still possible; Feather River flows steady:  “The state Department of Water Resources says that using the Oroville Dam spillway this week or next is still a possibility, as outflows from the Hyatt Powerplant into the Feather River hold steady.  The lake is down about one foot since Wednesday. Releases from the powerplant were increased on Thursday from about 9,500 cubic-feet per second to 11,500 cfs at noon, and cranked up to 13,000 cfs at 1 p.m. They hovered around 12,700 cfs at noon on Thursday.  Inflows were recorded coming in about 8,000 cfs, with the lake at 793 feet elevation at noon. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Use of Oroville spillway still possible; Feather River flows steady

Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018:  “California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot. Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.”  Read the article at Western Water here:  Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018

New report finds solutions for water justice close at hand:  “During the height of California’s drought, hundreds of residential wells went dry in the tiny community of East Porterville, putting it in the national spotlight. But a lack of water is not the only problem faced by small communities like East Porterville in California’s San Joaquin Valley – many also suffer from chronically contaminated waterA new report from the Center for Regional Change at the University of California, Davis, examines the most vulnerable communities in the valley – those known as disadvantaged unincorporated communities (DUCs). These low-income communities are outside city boundaries and often lack basic services. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  New report finds solutions for water justice close at hand

Dutch Slough tidal marsh project begins next month:  “A ground-breaking wetland restoration project that has been more than 15 years in the making is now just weeks away from breaking ground in Oakley.  The Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration project is slated to start construction next month. The project is an effort by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to restore nearly 1,200 acres of critically needed habitat for fish and wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A DWR description of the project states the restoration of these habitats is considered a critical action to increase numbers of native sensitive species and improve general ecological health of the Delta.  … ”  Read more from the Brentwood Press here: Dutch Slough tidal marsh project begins next month

California farmers finding more ways to conserve water:  “One year after Gov. Jerry Brown called off the state’s historic drought emergency, area farmers are still finding innovative ways to continue conserving water.  In one district, farmers are using a system known as drip tape irrigation, which has helped save millions of gallons of water.  Crews from G & S Farms in Brentwood have been quickly working to get one of its last fields planted before the rain moves in. The small family-owned business is one of the companies leading the way towards water conservation. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: California farmers finding more ways to conserve water

How Cape Town out-conserved California:  “Cape Town was supposed to run out of water on April 22, but an intense conservation effort averted disaster.  The city managed to find water savings that California never even dreamed of, The Los Angeles Times reported. Residents reduced water use by one half, which far outstrips savings in California, the report said. … ”  Read more from Water Online here:  How Cape Town out-conserved California

Land suitable for certain California crops expected to shrink:  “California growers should start to look seriously at how to adapt to a changing climate, which could shrink the land available for many of the state’s most popular crops, a new study has found.  “Reduced numbers of chill hours, increased pest pressure, increased water demand and water-induced stress, as well as variable and unreliable water supply, are examples of factors that are projected to adversely impact the yield and quality of various crops grown in California,” says the paper, published in the journal Agronomy. Chill hours are traditionally defined as those periods where the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. … ”  Read more from Agri-Pulse here:  Land suitable for certain California crops expected to shrink

Listening to fish: How sound may help us identify and study life underwater:  “The sounds of animals are part of any child’s education; even studying a foreign language in school, you are likely to learn, for example, how a dog barks in your new tongue. Yet for the most part, we’re stumped when it comes to fish sounds. (I had a French textbook that told me fish said “glou glou” in that language, but since I now know “glou glou” is translated as “glug glug” or gurgling, the international language for drowning, I have my doubts.)  Now, however, a research team at the Marine Bioacoustics Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography led by oceanographer Ana Širović is working to listen for the sounds fish make. Ultimately listening for fish may allow scientists to identify species based on sound alone without disturbing them, making it easier to understand how and where to protect them. … ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here: Listening to fish: How sound may help us identify and study life underwater:

In commentary today …

The Delta is dying.  The planet is warming.  Is California too focused on the tunnels, asks the Sacramento Bee:  They write, “For far too long, too many leaders in California have had tunnel vision – Gov. Jerry Brown, local elected officials, water district executives.  The epic battle over the Delta tunnels – how many, how big, who pays – has consumed this state, in one form or another, for generations. It has occupied legions of scientists and armies of lawyers – “a million hours” of study, as the governor once put it. The most recent environmental impact report has 90,000 pages of findings in it.  It’s a reasonable idea, but it has diverted attention from other ways to reliably supply the world’s sixth largest economy with water, to the point that we’ve lost sight of the most important question, just as climate change is raising the stakes. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  The Delta is dying.  The planet is warming.  Is California too focused on the tunnels

The anti-farming agenda and the Central Valley:  Johnny Amaral writes, “It’s increasingly clear that some people will not be satisfied until irrigated agriculture is eliminated from the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. As evidence, the commentary by Lloyd Carter and Donald Tayloe, M.D., which criticizes the drainage settlement between the Westlands Water District and the United States.  That piece follows a familiar pattern; its authors cherry-pick facts to mislead; they neglect to mention that the agreement contains provisions that benefit all parties; and, they ignore that the legislation to authorize the settlement has bipartisan support. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  The anti-farming agenda and the Central Valley

Pineapple Express won’t slow Californians need to save water, says the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, “The Pineapple Express conditions bringing heavy rains Friday to the Bay Area will help fill reservoirs and ease the threat of drought. But the storm also furthers the illusion that Californians are safe to go back to taking long showers and watering lawns on a daily basis.  Despite the heavy rains throughout March, the Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at only 52 percent of normal. Efficient use of water needs to become a permanent way of life in California. It’s the only way the state can manage its water supply in a sustainable fashion given the growing impact of climate change. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Pineapple Express won’t slow Californians need to save water

In regional news and commentary today …

Petaluma: Our modern plumbing system:  “Turn on your faucet, fill up a glass and take a long cool drink. That Petaluma city water that just quenched your thirst likely started out in Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino, or even in the upper reaches of the Eel River, two watersheds away.  We have a complex multi-million dollar network of plumbing to thank for the water that comes out of our taps here in Petaluma, though many residents in the city probably don’t know where our water comes from or what it takes to get it here.  The veil is about to be partly lifted on a section of water pipes in Petaluma, giving us a glimpse at the water delivery system that most of us take for granted. ... ”  Read more from the Petaluma Argus Courier here:  Petaluma: Our modern plumbing system

San Francisco: Major storm brings flood barriers, closes campsites, could rain out the Giants:  “An uncommonly intense April storm powered by an atmospheric river was expected to swamp Northern California all day Friday, prompting San Francisco officials to put up flood barriers, Yosemite to close campgrounds and Giants fans to lament that a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers might be postponed due to a rare AT&T Park rainout.  The storm began late Thursday and was forecast to continue into Saturday, dumping a total of 1 to 3 inches of rain in San Francisco and Oakland, according to the National Weather Service. In the North Bay, 3 to 6 inches were anticipated.  “This rainfall event itself could provide us with our normal rainfall for the entire month of April,” said Roger Gass, a weather service meteorologist in Monterey. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  San Francisco: Major storm brings flood barriers, closes campsites, could rain out the Giants

‘Not one to mess around with’: Sacramento could see double its usual April rainfall this weekend: “A warm and wet atmospheric river started rolling into Northern California late Thursday, kicking off three days of unusually heavy springtime rain and a gorging of rivers as far away as Reno.  A flood watch was issued for nearly all of Northern and Central California, and the National Weather Service said some localized flooding was likely. Some of greater Sacramento‘s most flood-prone areas could take on water as the weekend approached, including Discovery Park north of downtown and the Michigan Bar area in the southeastern end of the county. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento  Bee here:  ‘Not one to mess around with’: Sacramento could see double its usual April rainfall this weekend

Ridgecrest: ‘We are changing a culture:’ Peter Brown talks water conservation:  “Whatever you do, don’t call xeriscape “zeroscape.”  That was a point humorously made by Indian Wells Valley Water District Director Peter Brown when he spoke to the Rotary Club of China Lake Wednesday.  Brown gave a wide-ranging talk that touched on everything from xeriscaping and water conservation to the cost of the meeting groundwater sustainability requirements (hint: no one knows yet).  Xeriscape literally means “dry vista,” he explained. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  ‘We are changing a culture:’ Peter Brown talks water conservation

Bakersfield: In bellwether decision, water board orders McKittrick oilfield disposal pond operator to monitor pollutants:  “Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board members voted Thursday to require an oil wastewater dump site operator in McKittrick suspected of polluting nearby groundwater to install a network of wells monitoring contamination. That falls short of environmentalists’ demands for the board to shutter the operation.  Bakersfield-based Valley Water Management Company — which maintains a 149-acre pond that services oil operators in the South Belridge, Cymric and McKittrick oil fields — will have 150 days to drill wells in the environmentally-protected region where it operates and report its findings to the water board, said Dale Harvey, a supervising water resources control engineer. ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  In bellwether decision, water board orders McKittrick oilfield disposal pond operator to monitor pollutants

Along the Colorado River …

Mountain snowpack shrinks to 66 percent of normal, feds sound drought alarmColorado’s shrinking mountain snowpack — at 66 percent of normal statewide Thursday — forced an expanded federal drought designation covering nearly a quarter of the state with stream flows forecast at half of average, setting off a scramble to secure water supplies.  The scarcity spurred calls for storing more water in reservoirs to sustain the state’s growth boom.  “There’s going to be people without water. It’s going to be a tight year,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture snow survey supervisor Brian Domonkos. … ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  Mountain snowpack shrinks to 66 percent of normal, feds sound drought alarm

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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