DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: In reversal, Santa Clara Valley Water District may provide $650 million to Brown’s Delta tunnels plan; Assemblyman Frazier not impressed by Delta Council vote; Supreme Court moves closer to taking case in beach public access dispute; and more …

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In California water news this weekend, In reversal, Santa Clara Valley Water District may provide $650 million to Brown’s Delta tunnels plan; Assemblyman Frazier not impressed by Delta Council vote; California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle; Martins Beach: Supreme Court moves closer to taking case in billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempt to block public access; San Bernardino-area lawmakers say they’re seeking state safety funds for California Aqueduct; and more …

In the news this weekend …

In reversal, Santa Clara Valley Water District may provide $650 million to Brown’s Delta tunnels plan: “In a dramatic reversal of a position it took only six months ago, Silicon Valley’s largest water district has scheduled a vote Wednesday to endorse and commit up to $650 million to Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water south.  The shift comes amid questions over whether the district, a government agency based in San Jose, struck a deal with the Brown administration to support the tunnels plan — one of his two legacy projects along with high-speed rail — in exchange for the state funding a new dam that the water district wants to build near Pacheco Pass. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: In reversal, Santa Clara Valley Water District may provide $650 million to Brown’s Delta tunnels plan

Silicon Valley’s water district to revisit Delta tunnels:  “Silicon Valley’s largest water district executed an about-face regarding California Gov. Jerry Brown’s beloved water project on Friday, indicating a willingness to foot $650 million for the Delta Tunnels.  Six months after voting down contributing to the Delta Tunnels project, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has scheduled a vote for next Wednesday to reconsider approving the provision of an enormous contribution to a project that seeks to funnel enormous amounts of water from the northern part of the state to thirsty farms in the southern part of the Central Valley. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Silicon Valley’s water district to revisit Delta tunnels

Assemblyman Frazier not impressed by Delta Council vote:  “Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Solano, continues to speak out against the Delta Stewardship Council.  The Council, created in the Delta Reform Act, was created to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta — a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta as an evolving place, according to the council’s website — deltacouncil.ca.gov.  After various amendments to the Delta Plan were approved Thursday by the Delta Stewardship Council, Frazier said it solidified his belief that the council should disband. … ”  Read more from The Reporter here:  Assemblyman Frazier not impressed by Delta Council vote

California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle: “Two different water bonds are set to appear on the California ballot this election season, after a $9 billion measure gathered enough signatures to qualify in November, according to the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.  Primarily backed by farmers, water districts and conservation groups, the ballot initiative would split funding between each of their priorities, distributing $3 billion to water quality improvement projects, $3 billion to watersheds and fisheries, and about $1 billion to protect habitats. The rest of the funding, about $2 billion, would be divvied up between water delivery and storage projects. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle

Martins Beach: Supreme Court moves closer to taking case in billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempt to block public access: In the first sign that the nation’s highest court might take up Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempt to block the public from Martins Beach on the San Mateo County coast — potentially rewriting the state’s landmark Coastal Act — the court has asked environmentalists who sued Khosla to respond to his appeal.  Often the U.S. Supreme Court simply denies appeals by people who lose in lower courts, as Khosla has. But in a letter Thursday, it gave the Surfrider Foundation until June 13 to respond to the petition Khosla filed in February. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Supreme Court moves closer to taking case in billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempt to block public access

In commentary this weekend …

California Water Fix a smart investment, says Randy Record:  He writes, “The meager 3 inches of rainfall this season is a reminder just how dependent San Diego and all of Southern California is on water from somewhere else. Most of San Diego County’s supplies, including those to be recycled, start out as imported.  Leaders of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California recently had a historic choice to make regarding our largest imported supply from Northern California via the State Water Project. We could either provide the funds necessary to ensure that the full modernization project known as California WaterFix could move forward. Or we could fund a fraction of it and hope the funding and project would somehow materialize. We also could delay and debate some more. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here:  California Water Fix a smart investment

Water district wagers billions of rate-payer dollars on Bay-Delta project, says Mark Muir:  He writes, “A fundamental fact has been lost in the discussion of Metropolitan Water District’s recent decision to underwrite most of the cost of the California WaterFix: MWD knowingly overpaid by billions of dollars with no certainty of return on its big gamble.  The agency’s own documents clearly show that MWD won’t get any more water for spending $10.8 billion on two giant water-conveyance tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta than it would for spending $5.2 billion on a single tunnel. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Water district wagers billions of rate-payer dollars on Bay-Delta project

Why the Metropolitan Water District invested in the Delta tunnels:  Randy Record writes, “Recently, Southern California water leaders made their biggest investment decision in half a century. They decided to invest more than $10 billion in modernizing a key portion of the system that delivers 30 percent of the region’s overall supply from Northern California.  An investment this big justifiably raises important policy questions about where Southland water management is heading. This investment in no way signals a shift away from Southern California’s increasing need to develop more local supplies and become more efficient, particularly outdoors. Instead, it reflects California’s complicated water reality and the need to look ahead to a future for which we must prepare. ... ”  Read more from the Redlands Daily Facts here:  Why the Metropolitan Water District invested in the Delta tunnels

Safe drinking water is essential to life and a human right.  Let’s fund it.  “Safe drinking water is essential to the survival of human beings and is a fundamental human right enshrined in California law. Yet 1 million Californians lack access to clean and affordable drinking water each year.  That is why the American Heart Association has joined a broad coalition of more than 110 health, environmental justice, labor, business and agricultural groups to solve this public health crisis. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: Safe drinking water is essential to life and a human right.  Let’s fund it.

Water investment must include flood protection, says the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:  They write, “The next huge natural catastrophe to strike California might not be an earthquake. New research suggests that a major flood could inundate large swaths of California in the next few decades. The last “200-year flood” was more than 150 years ago, and climate change is jacking up the odds of a repeat sooner rather than later. In order to prepare, state water officials must rethink whether big, costly dams really are the best investment of limited resources.  The peer-reviewed research, which appeared in the journal Nature Climate Change, predicts that California’s average annual rainfall will remain fairly stable in a warming world. The problem is in the annual fluctuations and potential for shorter more-intense wet seasons. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Water investment must include flood protection

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Whiskeytown: Follow the water and trek the Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail:  “Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail follows a pioneer ditch that’s been transporting water some 150 years through a woodsy hillside. So it nicely channels history and nature.  “This is one of my very favorite trails in the park,” says Matt Switzer, interpretive ranger at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.  The trail, less than a mile long and mostly level, was off limits for nearly four years. In July 2013, the Bureau of Reclamation ordered a nearby water release that lasted 11 hours and discharged millions of gallons of water. The high-velocity release scoured the Crystal Creek drainage, damaging the historic ditch. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  Whiskeytown: Follow the water and trek the Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail

West Marin: Progress made on new rules for coast:  “Marin County supervisors steered a middle course this week, saying no to two of five proposed amendments to the county’s Local Coastal Program while also rejecting calls to ditch it all and start again from scratch.  The county is facing a May 2 deadline set by the California Coastal Commission to either accept or reject the revisions to the five amendments it approved in November. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  West Marin: Progress made on new rules for coast

Full court press for San Rafael Canal dredging funds:  “With a target on potential new federal money, Marin’s lawmakers and county officials are teaming up with local leaders and activists to lobby the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $11.7 million to dredge the San Rafael Canal.  San Rafael Public Works Director Bill Guerin and Nadine Urciuoli, CEO of the newly formed San Rafael Channel Association, will travel next week to Washington, D.C. to meet with Corps of Engineers officials about including the dredging in the Corps’ 2018 work plan, to be announced May 22. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Full court press for San Rafael Canal dredging funds

Water district looking at how to conserve Lake Casitas water supply:  “Glancing at Lake Casitas, the impact of California’s severe drought is clearly visible by the shrinking water supply.  As of April 2, it was estimated to be at only 36 percent full, and the last time it was at capacity was in 2005.  “Looking at it is traumatic,” said Ojai Valley farmer Jim Finch. ... ”  Read more from ABC 7 here:  Water district looking at how to conserve Lake Casitas water supply

San Bernardino-area lawmakers say they’re seeking state safety funds for California Aqueduct:  “There is an allure to the shimmering waters of the California Aqueduct that draws people in to fish, hike, bicycle and play, even though swimming is perilous and riding bikes next to the canal is prohibited.  And for good reason. People fall in and drown in the aqueduct’s deep and often turbulent waters.  In 2017, 17 people statewide died in the aqueduct or its reservoirs. Eight of those deaths occurred in San Bernardino County’s Victor Valley region, an expanse of the Mojave Desert that includes Hesperia and Victorville and the unincorporated communities of Phelan, Pinon Hills and Baldy Mesa. ... ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  San Bernardino-area lawmakers say they’re seeking state safety funds for California Aqueduct

Del Mar: Beach sand replenishment moves to Solana Beach:  “As part of the ongoing restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon, crews will begin pumping sand from the lagoon onto Fletcher Cove Beach in Solana Beach April 27, continuing the process of replenishing and preserving part of the North County shoreline.  Over the last eight weeks, crews pumped nearly 300,000 cubic yards (averaging 7,000 cubic yards per day) of sand onto Cardiff State Beach, working their way south from the lagoon inlet toward Seaside State Beach. … ”  Read more from the Del Mar Times here:  Beach sand replenishment moves to Solana Beach

Needles: Hexavalent chromium cleanup planned: An informal open-house presentation about remediation of a chromium six plume at the Pacific Gas and Electric Topock Compressor Station was held at the Needles Regional Senior Center on April 17.  From 1951 to 1985, PG&E used hexavalent chromium as a corrosion inhibitor for the facility’s gas compression cooling tower. From 1951 to 1964, the hexavalent chromium was dumped into dry washes and treated wastewater was discharged into ponds for storage and evaporation. Eventually, hexavalent chromium seeped into the groundwater and created a plume under PG&E’s compressor station. … ”  Read more from the Needles Desert Star here:  Hexavalent chromium cleanup planned

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado sits at the center of the rights of nature debate:  “This past fall, Denver lawyer Jason Flores-Williams filed a lawsuit that no U.S. federal court had ever seen. On behalf of the Colorado River, he sued the state of Colorado to establish “legal personhood” for the waterway, which would grant the river the ability to take corporations and individuals that threaten its health to court. The suit was dismissed in December, but for those in the rights of nature movement, its appearance in court at all was a small victory toward achieving a larger goal: to shift the legal perception of nature from property to a rights-bearing living being. ... ”  Read more from 5280.com here:  Colorado sits at the center of the rights of nature debate

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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