DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: SoCal might pay for two Delta tunnels after all; Lake Oroville rises, spillway likely to be needed; Statewide water savings stopped in February; CA’s lost wetlands get help from Sacto Valley rice farms; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Southern California might pay for two Delta tunnels after all; Lake Oroville rises; spillway likely to be needed; West Coast still drenched after second rainiest day since since 1849 Gold Rush; ‘Pineapple Express’ fills up Bay Area reservoirs; Friant water users will get full allotment of Class 1 irrigation water; Statewide water savings stopped in February; California’s lost wetlands get help from Sacramento Valley rice farms; A mighty confluence of events created a model stream; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Southern California might pay for two Delta tunnels after all:  “A powerful Southern California water agency has breathed life back into the twin-tunnels Delta water project, a plan that appeared dead just a few days ago.  In a dramatic 11th-hour pivot, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is considering again whether to finance the lion’s share of the entire Delta tunnels project instead of supporting the scaled-back, single-tunnel approach.  The district, in a memo Friday to its board, said board members will vote next week on supporting one of two options for the controversial project: Spend about $5 billion to help pay for a single tunnel or spend nearly $11 billion to fund the majority share of two tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Southern California might pay for two Delta tunnels after all

California’s zigzags on ambitious water-delivery project, puts two-tunnel concept back on the table:  “Four days after Southern California’s biggest water agency dropped a plan to pay for most of a major water delivery project, the funding proposal is back on the table.  In agenda materials posted Friday afternoon, the staff of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California presented two options for the board to vote on Tuesday: Approve $5.2 billion in funding for a single tunnel that would be built in the center of the state’s waterworks, or OK up to $10.8 billion to help finance the construction of two tunnels. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California’s zigzags on ambitious water-delivery project, puts two-tunnel concept back on the table

RELATED: Read the Board letter by clicking here.

Lake Oroville rises; spillway likely to be needed:  “The atmospheric river has left the north valley but all that rainfall left problems in its wake.  Lake Oroville rose 5 feet in a 24-hour period and the state Department of Water Resources said it expects to need to release water down the partially rebuilt spillway by the middle of the week.  The current forecasts show the potential for inflows to raise the reservoir near the 830-foot trigger elevation by the middle of the week. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Lake Oroville rises; spillway likely to be needed

West Coast still drenched after second rainiest day since since 1849 Gold Rush:  “Heavy rain is drenching the west from southern California to Seattle. Freeway overpasses became urban waterfalls as the massive Pacific storm dumped a month’s worth of rain on San Francisco in just a day and a half.  Flooded roads caused rush hour gridlock downtown San Francisco, Friday was the second rainiest day since the Gold Rush in 1849. The Giants game was rained out for the first time in more than a decade. … ”  Read more from CBS News here: West Coast still drenched after second rainiest day since since 1849 Gold Rush

‘Pineapple Express’ fills up Bay Area reservoirs:  “This weekend’s record-breaking storm is proving to be a big boost for Bay Area water reserves.  A river of moisture from Hawaii dubbed the “Pineapple Express” delivered up to 8 inches of rain in some coastal areas and set a record for humidity during the colder months, from October to April.  The state capital saw more than 1.17 inches of rain Friday and San Francisco saw nearly 2 inches. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  ‘Pineapple Express’ fills up Bay Area reservoirs

Rain shuts Yosemite, threatens problems at Oroville Dam:  “A fierce Northern California storm Friday shut down Yosemite National Park, threatened mudslides in wildfire-ravaged wine country and could present the first test of a partially repaired offshoot of the nation’s tallest dam.  Recent heavy rainfall has led to problems for a state recovering from devastating wildfires, forcing people to flee their homes repeatedly for fear of debris flows tearing down hillsides stripped bare by flames. But the downpours also have provided relief as parts of California plunged back into drought less than a year after a historic dry stretch. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Rain shuts Yosemite, threatens problems at Oroville Dam

Friant water users will get full allotment of Class 1 irrigation water:  “Friant water users were told Friday morning that they can expect 100 percent of their Class 1 allocation from the Bureau of Reclamation, effective immediately. The promise is contingent on reassessments of hydrology or the magnitude of early runoff.  This weekend’s storm is expected to drop as much as 400,000 acre feet of precipitation on the upper San Joaquin River watershed, according to a statement from Friant Water Authority. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Friant water users will get full allotment of Class 1 irrigation water

Statewide water savings stopped in February:  “Water conservation is officially dead in California.  The State Water Resources Control Board reported this week that Californians used more water this February than in February 2013, the benchmark pre-drought year.  Water savings have been on a fairly steady decline since mandatory conservation targets were dropped in spring 2017, and crossed zero in February. Water use was up 1 percent, the Water Board said Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Statewide water savings stopped in February

California’s lost wetlands get help from Sacramento Valley rice farms:  “Before the Gold Rush, the Central Valley in California was like a bathtub. Rivers full of water from the mountains meandered through the valley, spreading the water far and wide across a vast expanse of natural wetlands.  This created rich feeding grounds for migrating species: salmon going to and from the ocean, or birds flying through from Alaska or Argentina. But with the development of farms, dams, houses and roads over the course of the 20th Century, California lost more than 90 percent of its natural wetlands — and that, in turn, threatened the wildlife. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  California’s lost wetlands get help from Sacramento Valley rice farms

A mighty confluence of events created a model stream:  “A recent study from researchers at the University of California, Davis presents the case of what is now a model stream: the Putah Creek. Nestled in its own riparian reserve just a few miles from campus, the creek is an idyllic habitat for birds, fish, benthic species, and other denizens of the stream—but it wasn’t always.  In 1999, the stream had disappeared, leaving a dry channel behind. The wildlife disappeared with the stream, and in place of the water and wildlife humans dumped old appliances and garbage. Then, in 2000, things changed course, and what researcher Melanie Truan calls a “mighty confluence of events” led to the stream’s return and the ultimate restoration of the ecosystem. ... ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  A mighty confluence of events created a model stream

In commentary this weekend …

Candidates for Governor need to focus on water, says Lester Snow:  He writes, “About a year into his second go-round as governor, Jerry Brown was talking about all the challenges facing California. Mostly, these were issues he had raised during his campaign — an enormous budget shortfall, high unemployment, immigration, education and more.  And now, he said, we have a drought.  As it turned out, the drought was one of the most persistent challenges Brown faced during these two terms. He had likely not anticipated a water crisis during his campaign, but not a week went by without his administration wrestling with urgent water issues.  In January, someone new will occupy the governor’s office for the first time since 2010. Considering that three of the past four governors have faced both drought and flood emergencies, our next governor must be prepared for these threats. … ”  Continue reading at the SF Chronicle here:  Candidates for Governor need to focus on water

State leaders must show political courage to reject Water Fix for genuine solutions:  “More groups are coming to their senses by not wanting to spend tens of billions of dollars on a wasteful project that will ruin the Delta forever. San Joaquin County has fought for years to defeat Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed twin tunnels because we have better solutions that cost less, restore the Delta, minimize flooding and increase water supply statewide — none of which the WaterFix will accomplish.  To this day, Delta counties, Delta farmers and Delta communities, who will be most impacted, have been relegated to a mere chair in the corner of the room during state hearings and other official proceedings while water exporters take center stage. But that is all about to change. Despite the big-money-interests and strong political forces who seek to sideline us, we finally are beginning to see some light at the end of this tunnel fight. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  State leaders must show political courage to reject Water Fix for genuine solutions

Recent years prove we need more water storage, says Dan Walters:  “The first thing to remember about precipitation in California is that it’s unpredictable, as the past several winters have once again shown us.  Several years of severe drought ended in the 2016-17 winter with near-record rain and snow storms that filled the state’s badly depleted reservoirs.  The 2017-18 “water year,” as hydrologists call it, began with what seemed to be a return to drought but then, in March, the state experienced a steady stream of storms that added to the Sierra snowpack upon which Californians are so dependent. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Recent years prove we need more water storage

Water bills offer map to California water security, says Mike Mielke:  He writes, “While the rains of March and early April were a welcome relief, they will likely do little over the long-term to lift California out of its water crisis. That’s because the state’s single largest source of water storage – the Sierra Snowpack – has been reduced considerably in recent decades and is projected to shrink more in the future, as we enter a “new normal” with hotter and drier years to come due to man-made climate change.  Going forward, we will all have to make more from less. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Water bills offer map to California water security

Propositions 68, 69 deal with your wallet and should get your vote, says the Desert Sun:  They write, “Two of the measures on the June 5 statewide ballot center on money that ultimately comes from the pockets of California residents.  Proposition 68 would authorize the state to issue $4 billion in new bonds to finance new parks, environmental projects and water quality improvements. Proposition 69 would amend the state Constitution to ensure that virtually all the $5.2 billion per year in new revenue from the 2017 fuel tax and vehicle fee increases imposed by the Legislature is  spent on transportation projects.  Voters should approve both measures. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Propositions 68, 69 deal with your wallet and should get your vote

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

The KBRA killed the Klamath River, says Lyle Marshall:  He writes, “I’m still livid over the March 29 Times-Standard deck head under the headline, “Salmon season likely to reopen” which read, “Hoopa tribe overharvested salmon by 10 times its share, agencies say.” Who determined the Hoopa Tribe’s “share”? The Hoopa Valley Tribe’s position has always been that the 80/20 allocation of in-river harvest, established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the late 1980s was an arbitrary decision not based on federal law or legal precedence. But, at the time, it wasn’t an issue because there was ample Trinity River salmon for the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s subsistence needs. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  The KBRA killed the Klamath River

Folsom Dam to continue releases after storm passes:  “The Bureau of Reclamation said releases from Folsom Dam could continue even after this latest storm passes through Northern California.  Already, all five of the dam’s gates are open, releasing water at 25,000 cubic feet per second.  Due to the storm’s warmth, Sierra runoff is likely to play a big role in how long the releases are needed. ... ”  Read more from KCRA here:  Folsom Dam to continue releases after storm passes

FEMA: Foster City levee won’t hold back a flood; voters to decide next move:  “Could Foster City sink in a major storm? For the past three years, Public Works Director Jeff Moneda and his team have been trying to determine the viability of a levee surrounding the man-made city.  “You don’t have to believe in climate change to understand that this system won’t work as sea levels rise,” Moneda said of the 1970s rock levee that surrounds the city. “We have a reprieve from FEMA right now to fix this, but it will run out.” … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  FEMA: Foster City levee won’t hold back a flood; voters to decide next move

To restrict or not restrict: Santa Cruz County water agencies take differing approach:  “Santa Cruz’s reservoir is nearly full and Soquel Creek Water District’s coastal groundwater supplies are at some of the highest levels in the utility’s recorded history.  Yet, both agencies this month are faced with difficult choices in setting usage parameters and associated water supply costs for their customers.  During the recent years of drought, the city of Santa Cruz stood out among water agencies in California for having both some of the toughest water rationing restrictions and some of the highest cutback compliance by customers. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  To restrict or not restrict: Santa Cruz County water agencies take differing approach

Recycled water means purple pipe for green lawns:  “Plans to outfit the Santa Clarita Valley with purple pipe to carry recycled water are well underway, engineers with the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency reported Thursday night.  Members of SCV Water’s engineering committee met to review the status of all their ongoing capital improvement projects, with a half-dozen of them involving recycled water.  “The use of recycled water extends our drinking water supplies, reduces our reliance on costly imported water supplies and enhances our water supply reliability,” Brian Folsom, SCV Water’s chief engineer, told The Signal on Friday. … ”  Read more from the Valley Signal here:  Recycled water means purple pipe for green lawns

San Diego: Photos of Lake Hodges capture developing drought in San Diego County:  “San Diego County might get a tiny bit of rain on Saturday. But the region isn’t expected to benefit from the “atmospheric river” of moisture that’s streaming into Northern California.  That means that the San Diego area will continue to slip into drought. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Photos of Lake Hodges capture developing drought in San Diego County

Along the Colorado River …

Dismal forecast for Lake Powell runoff heightens future CAP shortage risk:  “Colorado River runoff that flowed like wine last year is sputtering this year, boosting future shortage possibilities.  A cutback in Central Arizona Project deliveries in 2019 is considered highly unlikely at best. But shortage risks increase dramatically in the following years, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says.  Federal forecasters predicted last week that the spring-summer runoff into Lake Powell will be only 43 percent of normal this year. That’s due in part to a poor winter snowpack season and an expectation that the next two months’ weather will be about normal. ... ”  Read more from Tuscon.com here:  Dismal forecast for Lake Powell runoff heightens future CAP shortage risk

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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