DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Water storage projects move forward in funding process; Unfavorable review may jeopardize Oroville Dam spillway funding; Twain’s whiskey and water adage still relevant to the Delta; Salton Sea residents say legislators broke funding promises; and more …

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In California water news this weekend, California water projects move forward in funding process; Unfavorable review may jeopardize Oroville Dam spillway funding; Twain’s whiskey and water adage still relevant to the Delta; Salton Sea residents say California legislators broke funding promises; Inside the $4.1 billion California measure that thinks small to fix parks, waterways; Arizona water agencies pledge to work together on Colorado River drought plan; and more …

In the news this weekend …

PROP 1 STORAGE PROJECTS

California water projects move forward in funding process:  “Just two months after lawmakers accused it of sitting on voter-approved funds, California regulators have switched their tune and are ready to spend billions on water infrastructure projects.  After three days of public comment, the state agency tasked with vetting and doling out Proposition 1 funding said Friday that eight applicants, including two new dam projects, meet cost-benefit muster and tentatively qualify for state funding.  The big winner was Sites Project, an off-stream reservoir that would add 1.8 million acre-feet of water storage in Northern California. The California Water Commission said the new dam project that will siphon water from the Sacramento River will be eligible for $1 billion in funding, up from $933 million recommended by commission staff in April. … ” Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  California water projects move forward in funding process

These Sacramento-area water storage projects just got a boost in state money:  “Two water-storage projects in the Sacramento region are closer to becoming a reality after getting another bump in state bond funding.  The California Water Commission announced Friday that the Sites Reservoir project was eligible for $1 billion in Proposition 1 funds, up from $933 million the commission had said it might receive last month. It’s the most money tentatively awarded to any of the 11 projects that have applied for Prop. 1 funds.  If completed, the project near Williams along the Glenn-Colusa county line would store water piped in from the Sacramento River. Sites would have nearly twice the storage capacity of Folsom Lake, making it the state’s seventh largest reservoir. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  These Sacramento-area water storage projects just got a boost in state money

Separating water and politics in California isn’t easy:  “The 2014 water bond included a novel funding approach designed to take at least some of the politicking out of deciding which projects get public money.  This week’s tortured deliberations by the California Water Commission showed just how tough it is to do that. By applying a complex procedure for grading proposals, the bond restricted state taxpayer spending to the pieces of a project that would provide measurable benefits to the public.  Commissioners struggled mightily with that formula as it become obvious that certain proposals were headed for little or no funding. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Separating water and politics in California isn’t easy

Water Commission OKs $1 billion for Sites Reservoir:  “Sites Reservoir is in line for a billion bucks.  The State Water Commission, meeting this week in Sacramento to decide the public benefits of projects seeking the water storage bond money included in Proposition 1, declared the off-stream reservoir west of Maxwell to be eligible for $1.008 billion dollars of the roughly $2.6 billion that is available.  That doesn’t mean the Colusa County reservoir will actually get that much money, as the commission OK’d a bit over $2.8 billion for nine projects. Three others proposals were deemed ineligible for funding.  There is also another level of review before final allocations are made. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Water Commission OKs $1 billion for Sites Reservoir

Water Commission sets projects’ Prop 1 eligibility:  “The California Water Commission has determined the funding that projects are eligible for under Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in 2014.  Of the more than $2.8 million in maximum eligibility, the largest chunk by far is for the planned Sites Reservoir west of Maxwell, Calif. Based on its public benefits, the 300,000 acre-foot reservoir could receive as much as $1.008 billion, according to a commission news release. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Water Commission sets projects’ Prop 1 eligibility

Valley leaders won’t give up fight for Temperance Flat, despite water commission vote:  “Leaders from across the central San Joaquin Valley gathered Friday to promise people here they won’t give up the fight for Temperance Flat reservoir, one day after the California Water Commission decided to allocate minimal money to the project.  But, project proponents said it was too soon to know exactly how they’ll proceed. Mostly, they used sharp words to express their anger and frustration with the commission during a Friday news conference at Fresno City Hall. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Valley leaders won’t give up fight for Temperance Flat, despite water commission vote

OTHER STATEWIDE NEWS

Unfavorable review may jeopardize Oroville Dam spillway funding:  “The Federal Emergency Management Agency reportedly told two California congressman that an unfavorable independent review of the state Department of Water Resources’ management of the Oroville Dam may jeopardize federal reimbursement for the dam’s reconstruction.  U.S. Reps. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican, and John Garamendi, a Democrat, say FEMA officials responded to a letter they sent in February seeking clarification on whether the state’s perceived mismanagement of the dam could affect funding. The state has asked for 75 percent of the two-year project’s estimated $870 million price tag, with the State Water Project contractors paying the rest. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Unfavorable review may jeopardize Oroville funding

Twain’s whiskey and water adage still relevant to the Delta:  “John Vasquez, the unofficial resident historian on the Solano County Board of Supervisors, often turns the pages of time to find truths for today and tomorrow.  One adage the board chairman frequently uses is attributed to Mark Twain – and it’s one that continues to have great relevance when it comes to the San Joaquin Delta.  “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.”  The Delta battle fronts spill over such issues as environmental protection, flood protection and perhaps most intensely, the conveyance of water from the north to the south.  Solano County supervisors this week took a step to shore up one flank by formalizing an alliance of area agencies that are working toward a common flood-protection strategy. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Twain’s whiskey and water adage still relevant to the Delta

Salton Sea residents say California legislators broke funding promises:  “Four years ago a 10News crew traveled to Bombay Beach on the eastern side of the Salton Sea. This once thriving resort community is littered with abandoned homes and some of the 200 plus residents who still live there struggle to get out. People like the man who would only identify himself as “Bucky.”  “We own two houses. We can’t replace what we have into them,” says Bucky. “Basically we’re stuck. Me and my wife talked about it a couple of weeks ago I said, ‘You know we’re gonna die here.'” … “  Read more from Channel 10 here:  Salton Sea residents say California legislators broke funding promises

Inside the $4.1 billion California measure that thinks small to fix parks, waterways:  “A far-reaching measure before California voters in June would authorize the state to borrow $4.1 billion for investments in outdoor recreation, land conservation and water projects. But Proposition 68, which needs a simple majority vote to pass, is not your typical water and parks bond measure.  The proposition steers clear of flashy, big-ticket items like new dams and major state park expansions. Instead, it favors upgrading smaller neighborhood parks, protecting local greenways and open space and cleaning up polluted riverbanks and groundwater supplies, largely in urban and suburban areas. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Inside the $4.1 billion California measure that thinks small to fix parks, waterways

In commentary this weekend …

Water bond conflict heats up, of course, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “As the Water Commission crept closer this week to actually spending the water storage money voters approved in 2014, things predictably got ugly.  What the commission did this week is determined the public benefit of the 12 projects that were seeking the $2.7 billion in Proposition 1 that was earmarked for water storage.  The problem is, it wasn’t just earmarked for water storage. It was earmarked only for water storage that provide five defined public benefits: ecosystem benefits, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  Water bond conflict heats up, of course

Invest in watershed improvements, not taller dams, says Laurie Wayburn:  She writes, “There is broad consensus that California’s water challenges are only going to get worse as climate change continues. We will have more drought, more major rain events with consequent flooding and more uncertainty. In this era of global warming, we need new approaches to help solve our water problems.The Trump administration proposal to raise the Shasta Dam by 18½ feet, along with the recent vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to support the delta tunnels, illustrate our complete and outmoded dependence on built infrastructure to provide water. Both ignore the least expensive and most effective means of increasing water security: restoring the watersheds that supply the vast majority of utilized water in the state. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Invest in watershed improvements, not taller dams

Tax on drinking water is wrong solution, says Susan Mulligan:  She writes, “As the largest urban water supplier in Ventura County, serving nearly 700,000 residents, the Calleguas Municipal Water District is committed to delivering safe and reliable water to our customers.  Unfortunately, some Californians who live in small, rural, disadvantaged communities may not have access to safe drinking water. While we wholeheartedly support the goal of ensuring safe drinking water for all Californians, the latest state proposal to impose a new tax on drinking water is the wrong solution. … ”  Continue reading at the Ventura County Star here:  Tax on drinking water is wrong solution

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Winnemem Wintu and WATER sue to stop waste discharge at Mt. Shasta bottling facility:  “It’s a gorgeous warm day in September 2015. Small cascades of cold, pristine water rush out of the hillside at Big Springs, the headwaters of the Sacramento River, as they converge in a clear and shallow pool located in the Mount Shasta City Park.  Adults and children fill their jugs and bottles with the crystalline water that takes 50 years to make it from snow and rain on Mount Shasta down through the volcanic aquifer to where the torrents converge in the park.  The icy water rushes from the hillside to make its way to Lake Siskiyou, then Lake Shasta and then to the Delta and the ocean. People from throughout the world walk along the creek and hike along shaded trails and footpaths that cross through hedges of horsetail fern and willow and across small bridges. … ” Read more from the Daily Kos here:  Winnemem Wintu and WATER sue to stop waste discharge at Mt. Shasta bottling facility

Yolo Bypass blamed for stench across Sacramento:  “A horrid stench descended across the region from West Sacrament to Downtown Sacramento. Even neighbors in Natomas were complaining, but nobody knew where it was coming from.  “It was horrible. It was nasty,” said Ruben Galindo who first thought it was his newborn in the back seat.  But as the day heated up, the smell grew stronger. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Yolo Bypass blamed for stench across Sacramento

Golden Gate Bridge towers get dizzying inspection:  “Workers dangled more than 700 feet above the water atop the Golden Gate Bridge Monday morning, then rappelled down its towers to examine its massive steel structures as part of a federally mandated inspection.  The high-wire act began at 10 a.m. amid the regular late-morning commute, with news helicopters buzzing the span to get a look at the metal mountain climbers. Those workers used ropes to make their way up, down and around the north and south towers. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Golden Gate Bridge towers get dizzying inspection

Elkhorn Slough researcher to receive national award:  “On Wednesday, Kerstin Wasson, Ph.D., Research Coordinator for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, will receive the 2018 National Wetlands Award for Science Research, to be presented by the Environmental Law Institute in a ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Gardens in Washington, D.C.  The award recognizes Wasson’s commitment to the conservation and restoration of the nation’s wetlands.  “The recipients of the National Wetlands Awards are on the forefront of protecting wetland resources in the face of development and climate impacts,” said ELI President Scott Fulton. “Through their dedication and achievements, they inspire wetlands protection across the country and worldwide.” … ”  Read more from the Register Pajorian here:  Elkhorn Slough researcher to receive national award

Monterey:  Deep Water Desal seeks county public ownership rule change, subsurface exemption:Proponents of a proposed Moss Landing regional desalination project are taking aim at resolving two major regulatory obstacles to the project’s success.  Deep Water Desal, which proposes to produce up to 25,000 acre-feet of desalinated potable water for the Monterey Bay region, is pursuing a modification of Monterey County’s public desal ownership rule and seeking to address the state’s requirement to prove subsurface intake isn’t a feasible option. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Deep Water Desal seeks county public ownership rule change, subsurface exemption

More than 1 million gallons spilled near Paso after crews drill into pipeline: “Crews installing underground cable wires north of Paso Robles on Tuesday drilled a hole in a Nacimiento Water Project pipeline, spilling more than 1 million gallons of water.  A subcontractor drilling a hole for Charter-Spectrum on Monterey Road, near the intersection of Wellsona Road and Highway 101, hit the 3-foot pipe around 1 p.m. and created a 3-inch hole, said Mark Hutchinson, deputy director of San Luis Obispo County’s Public Works Department.  The crews notified county staff immediately, and they were able to shut off the water remotely. Even so, about 4 acre-feet of water, or 1.2 million gallons, spilled out of the hole, Hutchinson said. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  More than 1 million gallons spilled near Paso after crews drill into pipeline

Most urban trees in Southern California aren’t from here.  Why we need to replace them:  “Most trees growing in urban Southern California aren’t a good fit for a climate-changed future.  So, what should we replace them with?  To answer that question, researchers with the US Forest Service and the UC Cooperative Extension planted test plots of drought-tolerant trees across Central and Southern California. They plan to monitor them for 20 years to see how well they grow. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Most urban trees in Southern California aren’t from here.  Why we need to replace them

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona agency angers Colorado River users upstream:  “Lake Mead is the country’s biggest reservoir of water. Think of it as the savings account for the entire Southwest. Right now, that savings account is nearly overdrawn. For generations, we’ve been using too much of the Colorado River, the 300-foot-wide ribbon of water that carved the Grand Canyon, supplies Lake Mead, and serves as the main water source for much of the American West.  The river sustains one in eight Americans — about 40 million people — and millions of acres of farmland. In the next 40 years, the region is expected to add at least 10 million more people, as the region’s rainfall becomes more erratic. … ”  Read more from High Country News here:  Arizona agency angers Colorado River users upstream

Arizona water agencies pledge to work together on Colorado River drought plan:  “After months of sparring over how to manage Arizona’s share of Colorado River water, the state’s two big public water agencies have announced they’re ready to talk it out.  The Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District issued a joint statement Thursday declaring their intention to work together toward an interstate conservation agreement known as the DCP, or drought contingency plan. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Arizona water agencies pledge to work together on Colorado River drought plan

Colorado River Managers Begin First Experimental ‘Bug Flows’: “This weekend, managers at Glen Canyon Dam will begin a first-of-its-kind experiment to release water that benefits bugs, which play a vital role in the Colorado River ecosystem. These “bug flows” are meant to provide safe places for aquatic insects to lay their eggs.  Under normal operations, the Colorado River fluctuates widely with hydropower demand, which causes eggs on the riverbanks to dry out and die. This experiment will provide low, steady flows on the weekends. Normal operations will continue during the week. … ”  Read more from KNAU here:  Colorado River Managers Begin First Experimental ‘Bug Flows’

Patch recalled as CRIT Chairman:  “By a very narrow margin, members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes voted April 28 to remove Dennis Patch as Tribal Chairman. In a special recall election, the unofficial results showed 469 Tribal members voted “yes” to remove Patch, while 467 voted “no” to keep him in office.  The election saw all the members of the Tribal Council facing recall. Patch and Council Member Valerie Welsh-Tahbo were the only members to be recalled. Welsh-Tahbo received 495 “yes” votes to recall her and 441 “no” votes for her to stay on the council. … ”  Read more from the Parker Pioneer here:  Patch recalled as CRIT Chairman

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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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