DAILY DIGEST: Can CA’s groundwater basins be managed collaboratively?; The water crisis that nobody is talking about; JPL’s ‘space botanist’ may have the answer to when next drought will happen; CA strives to control adverse effects of cannabis on water; and more …

In California water news today, Can California’s groundwater basins be managed collaboratively?; A look inside the California water crisis that nobody is talking about; Can plants tell us when the next drought will happen? JPL’s ‘space botanist’ may have the answer; Amid ‘Green Rush’ of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects on Water; Oroville Dam rebuilding project set to ramp up again; Jason Phillips talks groundwater recharge, water bond, and subsidence; Deeply Talks: What Western Snowpack Tells Us About the Water Year; Gauging the effects of water scarcity on an irrigated planet; We can make large dams more friendly to the environment; Western States Water Conference and Native American Rights Fund 15th Biennial Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims; and more …

In the news today …

Can California’s groundwater basins be managed collaboratively?  “For local communities, complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the law passed in 2014 that was California’s first statewide framework for managing groundwater, has been no easy task. A recent study in the journal California Agriculture examined some of the challenges rising to the surface in large, agriculturally-oriented basins as local governments form groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), particularly for agricultural water users who have been pumping groundwater with private rights for decades. These GSAs are required to develop groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) by 2020 in critically overdrafted basins, or by 2022 in other high and medium priority basins. The analysis highlights that creating effective governance at the basin scale, while still accounting for the interests of agricultural water users, is best pursued through multi-level governance structures that include nongovernmental entities, such as nonprofits, farmers, and ranchers. ... ”  Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here:  Can California’s groundwater basins be managed collaboratively?

A look inside the California water crisis that nobody is talking about:  “For passers-by, it would be easy to miss the moderate-size cylinder jutting out of a field in rural California. But to Carol Rowland and her husband, this metal tank dictates their daily routine. When the water runs low, they go without.  “We have no lawns, no vegetable garden. We wear clothes longer and wash them less often. We take quick showers or a shallow bath but not every day,” Rowland tells mbg of the water-saving measures she has put in place in her household. “Every year, we just pray we can get through the summer.” … ”  Read more from Mind Body Green Planet here:  A look inside the California water crisis that nobody is talking about

Can plants tell us when the next drought will happen? JPL’s ‘space botanist’ may have the answer: In a few months, scientists, farmers and water managers will get answers to such questions as: Will a drought occur and if so, where? Which plants die first? Which species are adept at absorbing carbon dioxide, a gas that is overheating our planet?  Who will they ask?  The space botanist.  The nickname refers to a robotic instrument developed by a team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that will measure the temperature of plants from space. … ”  Read more from the Whittier Daily News here:  Can plants tell us when the next drought will happen? JPL’s ‘space botanist’ may have the answer

Amid ‘Green Rush’ of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects on Water: “The “green rush” from a newly legal recreational cannabis industry has introduced a host of issues as state and local officials seek to stay on top of a quickly growing industry. State Water Resources Control Board officials have crafted regulations that are unique to the cannabis industry, including a small irrigation use permit specifically for cannabis growers with unique terms and conditions. Yet no one really knows whether growers will widely accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome.”  Read more from Western Water here:  Amid ‘Green Rush’ of Legal Cannabis, California Strives to Control Adverse Effects on Water

Oroville Dam rebuilding project set to ramp up again:  “California water officials continue to defend their management of Lake Oroville as a second season of main spillway reconstruction on the reservoir’s earthen dam is set to ramp up in May.  The state Department of Water Resources has updated its operations plan for the lake for this spring and summer, arguing that the plan will maximize the 2018 construction window to ensure the rebuilt main spillway is ready for next winter. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Oroville Dam rebuilding project set to ramp up again

Jason Phillips talks groundwater recharge, water bond, and subsidence:  “Jason Phillips is the CEO of the Friant Water Authority, as well as a member of the Board of Directors with the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJWIA), which is behind the building of Temperance Flat Dam. Editor Patrick Cavanaugh sat down with Jason Phillips, and this interview reflects the topics discussed.  Cavanaugh: The California Water Commission rejected all of the storage proposals for Prop 1 money due to all applicants not showing enough in the public benefit ratio. They have all appealed to the Commission, and their decision will be at the end of July. It’s extraordinary that the California Water Commission does not see groundwater recharge as a public benefit.  Phillips: The law was written in such a way that groundwater recharge, which is what we desperately need, is not considered a public benefit. But I must say that the SJWIA team putting together the application did a great job of using water out of Temperance for multiple benefits, including salmon and keeping water in the valley for groundwater recharge, and I hope the Water Commission can see that. … ”  Continue reading at Cal Ag Today here:  Jason Phillips talks groundwater recharge, water bond, and subsidence

Deeply Talks: What Western Snowpack Tells Us About the Water Year: “In this episode of Deeply Talks, Ian Evans, Water Deeply’s community editor, speaks with Tara Lohan, Water Deeply’s managing editor and John Fleck, director of water resources at the University of New Mexico, about the status of this year’s snowpack, what it can tell us about the water year to come and how that fits with long-term climate change trends. The most significant reservoirs in the West are not stored behind concrete dams, but on top of mountains as snowpack. This year, however, snowpack has been alarmingly low throughout most of the West.  “If you look at the overall flow of the Colorado River – at Lake Powell, the main measurement point for the entire Colorado River Basin, it’s less than half of normal,” said Fleck. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Deeply Talks: What Western Snowpack Tells Us About the Water Year

Gauging the effects of water scarcity on an irrigated planet:  “Growing global food demand, climate change, and climate policies favoring bioenergy production are expected to increase pressures on water resources around the world. Many analysts predict that water shortages will constrain the ability of farmers to expand irrigated cropland, which would be critical to ramping up production of both food and bioenergy crops. If true, bioenergy production and food consumption would decline amid rising food prices and pressures to convert forests to rain-fed farmland. Now a team of researchers at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change has put this prediction to the test. ... ”  Read more from MIT here:  Gauging the effects of water scarcity on an irrigated planet

We can make large dams more friendly to the environment:  “Large dams all over the world provide necessary services such as hydropower, flood protection, and water security. The iconic Hoover Dam, for example, generates enough hydropower to serve 1.3 million people. Large dams have been estimated to contribute to more than one-tenth of the world’s food production.  But large dams also profoundly alter the freshwater ecosystems they’re built in. Fish and other native river species have evolved to thrive among particular natural patterns of river flow that provide cues for migration and reproduction. Large dams interrupt these cues, which can interfere with the life cycles of native species. Worse, these disruptions can lead to newly-suitable habitat for harmful invasive species. It’s no wonder that dams are one of the leading causes in the decline of freshwater species the world over. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here:  We can make large dams more friendly to the environment

Western States Water Conference and Native American Rights Fund 15th Biennial Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims:  “Every other year since 1991, the Western States Water Conference (“WSWC”) and the Native American Rights Fund (“NARF”) hold a symposium to discuss the complexities of settling tribal water claims and to celebrate successes from the recent years. During the three-day symposium, various panels discussed the specific details of recent settlements and the logistics of negotiating and passing Indian reserved settlements in the contemporary political climate. … ”  Read more from the University of Denver Water Law Review here:  Western States Water Conference and Native American Rights Fund 15th Biennial Symposium on the Settlement of Indian Reserved Water Rights Claims

In commentary today …

Prop 1 grants should include groundwater storage, say Jay Ziegler and Kirsten James:  They write, “In the coming weeks, the California Water Commission is set to announce its comparative ratings of proposed water storage investments, allocating up to $2.7 billion in taxpayer dollars that will shape the State’s future water storage strategy and help us through future droughts.  Most attention has been directed at surface storage projects such as Sites Reservoir and the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which are widely expected to receive funding from Proposition 1. These kinds of surface storage projects are more effective if they are operated as part of an integrated storage and water management strategy. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  Prop 1 grants should include groundwater storage

Column: The Water Wars – Garcetti & Council vs. The MWD.  Who Do You Trust?: Tony Butka writes, “Mayor Garcetti got ahead of a critical vote by the Metropolitan Water District over the Delta Tunnels, aka WaterFix, with his very own Daily News article about a New Mulholland moment. If you believe his tale, I know where the Tooth Fairy lives. In the piece, he blithely states, “I’m often asked if we have enough water in Los Angeles for our future. And I always answer that we have plenty of water.”Clearly, as he opposes WaterFix, he airily assumes that we can survive without the Tunnels and with environmentally nice reclamation plus DWP customer belt-tightening. … ”  Continue reading at City Watch here:  Column: The Water Wars – Garcetti & Council vs. The MWD.  Who Do You Trust?

The top 4 reasons California is unsustainable:  Thomas Del Becarro writes,California is a place unlike any other on the Globe.  It boasts perhaps the greatest natural resources of any state along with shining high-tech industries.  However, like many good economic stories, government policies threaten its future.  Indeed, its government has made California unsustainable.  Of course, it wasn’t always this way. ... ”  Read more from Forbes here: The top 4 reasons California is unsustainable

In regional news and commentary today …

Fort Bragg: Streambed alteration agreement reached:  “The Fort Bragg City Council unanimously approved entering into a streambed alteration agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife last week.  The item was pulled from the consent calendar for further discussion at the request of a few public commenters.  The agreement was necessary in order to release $700,000 in reimbursement grant money from Proposition 84 funds to the city for the construction of the Summers Lane Reservoir.  According to city staff, a court case in 2016 opened up the ability of the Department of Fish and Wildlife to require the agreement as part of the city’s permit for water diversion. The decision was retroactive after the Department of Water Resources had already approved the Waterfall Gulch Diversion, which has been in place for over 80 years. ... ”  Read more from the Fort Bragg Advocate here:  Fort Bragg: Streambed alteration agreement reached

No water deliveries this year for North Yuba irrigation customers:  “The North Yuba Water District announced its approximately 119 irrigation customers will not receive deliveries this year due to a lack of available water – in the form of snowpack – and a faulty conveyance system.  General Manager Jeffrey Maupin said the district must first ensure its approximately 800 domestic customers receive potable water before irrigation needs can be met. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  No water deliveries this year for North Yuba irrigation customers

West Sacramento seeks more than $1 million from site’s owners over alleged contamination: “A California city alleges an abandoned property is contaminating soil and groundwater and is seeking damages from the property’s current and former owners.  City of West Sacramento, California; and People of the State of California filed a complaint on April 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against R and L Business Management, formerly known as Stockton Plating Inc. and doing business as Capital Inc., et al. over alleged violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. ... ”  Read more from Legal Newsline here:  West Sacramento seeks more than $1 million from site’s owners over alleged contamination

Stormy season for Pacheco homeowners stuck with cost of repairing county storm pipes: On the worst night while she was in bed, the sheets of rain slamming into Kelly O’Connell’s home reminded her of crashing ocean waves, and tears ran down her face. One fear consumed her.  Dear God, is this the night my home falls into a hole?  “When it rains,” she said, “I hold my breath.”  O’Connell may be able to exhale soon but at a considerable cost. She and her neighbor are splitting the $30,000 cost for replacing a decaying storm pipe in O’Connell’s backyard that has caused material to back up and large sinkholes to appear, threatening her home’s foundation. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Stormy season for Pacheco homeowners stuck with cost of repairing county storm pipes

How San Luis Obispo County gave away Lake Nacimiento 60 years ago:  “More than 60 years ago, San Luis Obispo County officials gave away the region’s biggest source of water.  Lake Nacimiento — a 163-mile dragon-shaped reservoir in the northwest corner of the county — could hold three times the combined water contained in the Lopez, Whale Rock and Salinas reservoirs.  And county officials let Monterey County build it in 1954 with very few strings attached.  The result has been a decades-long struggle between San Luis Obispo County residents and the Salinas Valley landowners who paid $7 million to construct Nacimiento and millions more to maintain it. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  How San Luis Obispo County gave away Lake Nacimiento 60 years ago

Ridgecrest: Groundwater management discussion stirs a storm: The presentation was controversial before it even began.  Item 5 on Thursday’s IWV Groundwater Authority board meeting agenda read, “Discussion on issues and options for groundwater management in the Indian Wells Valley under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.”  This vaguely worded agenda item referred to a presentation that would be given by Anthony Brown of Aquilogic. The presentation covered a “Discussion Paper,” which one can find in the meeting’s agenda packet available at IWVGA.org. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Groundwater management discussion stirs a storm

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona agency’s actions over Lake Mead ignites water fight:  “A top official from the Southern Nevada Water Authority is calling on states that rely on the Colorado River to resolve their differences before a growing dispute derails decades of cooperation on the river.  The Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming have accused one of Arizona’s largest purveyors of manipulating the river system to maximize the amount of water Lake Powell releases downstream to Lake Mead.  But officials from the Central Arizona Water Conservation District insist they are operating within the rules of the river as they deliver water through their Central Arizona Project canals to Phoenix, Tucson and farms in between. ... ” Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Arizona agency’s actions over Lake Mead ignites water fight

CAP to meet with upper Colorado River officials in response to water ‘manipulation’ charge:  “Central Arizona water managers, facing backlash from other Colorado River users for allegedly undercutting regional conservation efforts, will visit Utah later this month aiming to smooth relations across a region struggling to agree on a way to save a key water supply.  Representatives from upstream states scolded the Central Arizona Project in a letter last week for pumping too much river water into the canal that helps supply Phoenix and Tucson, undermining “the collaboration we need now more than ever in this basin.” ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  CAP to meet with upper Colorado River officials in response to water ‘manipulation’ charge

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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