DAILY DIGEST: Does water scarcity threaten CA’s agricultural industry?; Gov candidate Travis Allen: Green lawns, long showers for all; LA’s transformative stormwater plan; Four states say CAP keeps too much CO River water for AZ; 10 questions about the 11 proposals to save the Salton Sea; and more …

In California water news today, Radio show: Does water scarcity threaten California’s agricultural industry?; Thomas Elias interviews gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen: Green lawns, long showers for all?; Four states that also get Colorado River water say CAP keeps too much for Arizona; Drought returns to huge swaths of the US, raising fears of shortage; Records contradict feds’ story behind disbanding of Trinity River watchdog group; Tahoe gets another big snow dump; some resorts extending season; Can ‘cool pavement technology change Sacramento’s climate?; Mark Pestrella on LA County’s Transformative Stormwater Plan; Ten questions about the eleven proposals to save the Salton Sea; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets beginning at 9:30 am. Agenda items include an update on current hydrologic conditions and a briefing on the annual report on cooling water intake structures.  Click here for the full agenda.
  • A public meeting for the California WaterFix Contract Amendment will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the downtown Sacramento Holiday Inn. 300 J Street.  Draft Public Process

In the news today …

Radio show: Does water scarcity threaten California’s agricultural industry?  “In the next installment of our ongoing series on sustainable food production, host Ethan Elkind focuses on water. What does uncertainty around water supplies mean for California farmers?  Last Wednesday, California’s water officials announced water allocations based on snow pack measurements, reviving concerns about the environment, urban vs. agricultural water needs, and the need to prepare for a future with a less reliable water supply.  Does water scarcity put our agricultural industry at risk? Is there legislation that can help? …”  Guests are Ellen Hanak (PPIC), Ashley Boren (Sustainable Conservation), and Cannon Michael, (Bowles Farming, @agleader).  Listen to the KALW show here:   Does water scarcity threaten California’s agricultural industry?

Thomas Elias interviews gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen: Green lawns, long showers for all?Travis Allen chortles as he boasts that “We took back America in 2016,” then adds the bold and seemingly unlikely prediction that “We’ll take back California this year.”  Allen believes President Trump is making America great again, just as his campaign slogan promised, and he pledges to “make California the nation’s greatest state again, too.”  His plan for doing this starts with a planned social and traditional media campaign “including 13 million pieces of mail” during May, a month when many voters will already have primary election ballots in their hands. Even though fellow Republican John Cox, a businessman who moved from Illinois to San Diego County in 2011, has run ahead of him in several polls this spring, Allen happily notes that “It’s within the margin of error and he’s spent millions of dollars more.” … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Thomas Elias interviews gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen: Green lawns, long showers for all?

Four states that also get Colorado River water say CAP keeps too much for Arizona:  “The agency that runs the $4 billion Central Arizona Project is being accused of manipulating Colorado River reservoirs’ operations to suck out more water for its Tucson, Phoenix and Pinal County customers.  The accusation came in two letters in the past few days from representatives of four Upper Colorado River Basin states, the federal government and the Denver Water Dept. They say CAP’s approach threatens a Western water supply serving nearly 40 million people. It also threatens the harmony that has marked relations among the seven basin states since they approved guidelines to run the Colorado River’s reservoirs in 2007, they say. … ”  Continue reading from the Arizona Star here:  Four states that also get Colorado River water say CAP keeps too much for Arizona

Drought returns to huge swaths of the US, raising fears of shortage:  “Less than eight months after Hurricane Harvey pelted the Texas Gulf Coast with torrential rainfall, drought has returned to Texas and other parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast, rekindling old worries for residents who dealt with earlier waves of dry spells and once again forcing state governments to reckon with how to keep the water flowing.  Nearly a third of the continental United States was in drought as of April 10, more than three times the coverage of a year ago. And the specter of a drought-ridden summer has focused renewed urgency on state and local conservation efforts, some of which would fundamentally alter Americans’ behavior in how they use water. … ”  Read more from Governing here:  Drought returns to huge swaths of the US, raising fears of shortage

In regional news and commentary today …

Records contradict feds’ story behind disbanding of Trinity River watchdog group:  “Federal documents and emails provided to the Times-Standard contradict and call into question the Trump administration’s reasoning for disbanding a citizen’s watchdog group tasked with overseeing a multi-million dollar, publicly funded Trinity River restoration project.  The U.S. Interior Department told the Times-Standard last year that the advisory group, known as the Trinity River Adaptive Management Working Group or TAMWG, was dissolved because it never turned in a short memo justifying why it should continue to be funded. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Records contradict feds’ story behind disbanding of Trinity River watchdog group

Outdoor enthusiasts should be aware of Sacramento River levels and their safety:  “As temperatures are expected to warm, water flow released from Shasta Dam is expected to increase which will cause Sacramento River levels to rise, posing safety threats for those who aren’t careful.  Right now, Shasta Lake is 90 percent full, 15 feet away from the crest. Water flows from Shasta Lake downstream 9 miles to Keswick Dam. From there the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation can regulate a 3,000 cfs release into the Sacramento River.  In the summertime, Sheri Harral, with the bureau, pointed out irrigation is critical and water may be released at 8,000 to 12,000 cfs. … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Outdoor enthusiasts should be aware of Sacramento River levels and their safety

Tahoe gets another big snow dump; some resorts extending season:  “Sunday was slated to be the last day slopes were open at many Tahoe ski resorts, but a cold spring storm dumped more snow overnight and a few places are planning to stay open.  Boreal Mountain announced Monday: “With over 16 feet of snow in March, we’re extending our season out to April 22.” Mount Rose says it’s staying open until April 29.  Sierra-at-Tahoe and Soda Springs were open Monday and the resorts’ closing dates are unknown. Squaw Valley and Heavenly plan to keep lifts running for a couple more weeks. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Tahoe gets another big snow dump; some resorts extending season

Tahoe-Truckee area water agencies oppose California drinking water fee:  “The Tahoe-Truckee area’s water agencies say they oppose a budget trailer bill that is part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget.  The bill, according to the Association of California Water Agencies, is essentially a modified form of State Bill 623, dubbed the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee.”  A Lake Tahoe regional coalition of local water agencies including Tahoe City Public Utility District, South Tahoe Public Utility District, North Tahoe Public Utility District, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Northstar Community Services District, Squaw Valley Public Service District and Alpine Springs County Water District strongly oppose the legislative proposal, which would tax Californians’ drinking water. ... ”  Read more from the Tahoe Tribune here: Tahoe-Truckee area water agencies oppose California drinking water fee

Can ‘cool pavement technology change Sacramento’s climate?  “It may only be spring but in Sacramento the summer heat comes quick.  Locals know, dry, high heat is just a part of living in the Capitol City. Unfortunately, the high temperatures can not only be uncomfortable for residents, it can also be costly or– deadly.  Due to it’s urban nature, over the summer, Sacramento suffers from the ‘Heat Island Effect’, which happens when roof and pavement surfaces reach temperatures 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 10 here:  Can ‘cool pavement technology change Sacramento’s climate?

Update on Eastern Sierra water issues:  “Last Thursday’s Technical Group meeting was one of the shortest and least adversarial so far this year as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Inyo County through its Water Department have grappled with Well 385 and the success, or not, of the department’s mitigation efforts at Five Bridges.  The reason for the brevity was simple: both entities agreed to delay those issues, potential subjects of the dispute resolution process, to a future meeting. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Update on Eastern Sierra water issues

8 debate future of Ojai’s water supply, Lake Casitas:  “An eight-member panel on Sunday delved into a fraught topic in the Ojai Valley these days: what to do about the area’s shrinking water supply, embodied primarily by drought-stressed Lake Casitas.  The panel included local water agency board members, conservation experts, a member of the Ojai City Council and the managing director of the Ojai Valley Inn. They appeared before a packed audience inside the Matilija Junior High School auditorium.  It was the latest public discussion organized by Ojai Chautauqua, an organization that seeks to promote civil discourse on controversial topics, including those directly affecting the Ojai Valley. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  8 debate future of Ojai’s water supply, Lake Casitas

Mark Pestrella on LA County’s Transformative Stormwater Plan: “Mark Pestrella, in his first year as Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works,  has brought broad vision to the historic regional agency. Now, he shares an update on the county’s priorities, namely, a proposed climate resilient funding plan for stormwater infrastructure that would both invest in innovative ideas and improve LA’s existing capture/storage system. The proposal will eventually appear on the LA County ballot, and has been called crucial to the success of the Los Angeles River revitalization—another complex county project Pestrella unpacks in this special TPR interview.  QUESTION: The LA County Public Works has begun taking community input on its Safe, Clean Water infrastructure program. Could you share the program’s goals?  Mark Pestrella: It’s an exciting day for us to finally bring forth this innovative infrastructure program proposal. We are proud to sponsor this program to improve the water resiliency of LA County by increasing our stormwater capture portfolio. … ”  Continue reading at The Planning Report here:  Mark Pestrella on LA County’s Transformative Stormwater Plan

The LA River can’t be all things to all people, but it can be better than what we have now, says the LA Times:  They write, “You do know the water temperature of the Los Angeles River, right?  98.6 degrees.  That little joke among L.A. River enthusiasts is a bit of a head-scratcher at first, until you take a minute to think it over. During most of the year, water that flows down the river and out to sea comes from the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, and from similar facilities in Burbank and Glendale. And where does their water come from? Well, not to be indelicate about it, but — from us. No, the river isn’t actually body temperature. But it does in fact flow through the people of Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from the LA River here:  The LA River can’t be all things to all people, but it can be better than what we have now

Ten questions about the eleven proposals to save the Salton Sea:  “Less than fifteen miles from where Beyonce took the stage at the Coachella Music Festival, the Salton Sea is in crisis. As evaporation causes the sea’s shoreline to recede, more of the toxic chemical matter previously embedded in the water is being exposed and swept up into the atmosphere by desert winds.  To combat the sea’s shrinkage, and the public health and environmental disasters it is causing, experts over the past thirty years have suggested importing water from elsewhere to raise or maintain the water level. But because of the high potential price tag, “Sea to Sea” projects, as they’re called, haven’t made much headway.  Until now, that is. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Ten questions about the eleven proposals to save the Salton Sea

Along the Colorado River …

Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway ocean could aid future water needs:  “Sin City has never been a place that thinks small. So it should come as no surprise that Las Vegas – about 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean – is pondering seawater desalination to meet its long-term water demand.  That doesn’t mean Vegas plans to build a pipeline to the ocean. More likely, it would help pay for a desalination facility in a place like Mexico, then trade that investment for a piece of Mexico’s water rights in the Colorado River.  This prospect is described in the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s 2017 Water Resource Plan, a strategy to satisfy water demand in the Las Vegas Valley over the next 50 years. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway ocean could aid future water needs

A look inside new pump station under construction at Lake Mead:  “Elected officials and Southern Nevada Water Authority employees got a rare glimpse inside the community’s water supply safety net at Lake Mead on Saturday.  For several hours in the morning, during a lull in construction activity, the authority opened its low-lake-level pumping station to tours.  “Pumping water from the (nation’s) largest man-made reservoir is an enormous effort. It takes a lot of detailed infrastructure,” said Erika Moonin, project manager for the authority. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  A look inside new pump station under construction at Lake Mead

Four states that also get Colorado River water say CAP keeps too much for Arizona:  “The agency that runs the $4 billion Central Arizona Project is being accused of manipulating Colorado River reservoirs’ operations to suck out more water for its Tucson, Phoenix and Pinal County customers.  The accusation came in two letters in the past few days from representatives of four Upper Colorado River Basin states, the federal government and the Denver Water Dept. They say CAP’s approach threatens a Western water supply serving nearly 40 million people. It also threatens the harmony that has marked relations among the seven basin states since they approved guidelines to run the Colorado River’s reservoirs in 2007, they say. … ”  Continue reading from the Arizona Star here:  Four states that also get Colorado River water say CAP keeps too much for Arizona

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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