DAILY DIGEST: Three water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency; Facing climate and water challenges, farmers return to age-old practice; Grace FO will help monitor droughts; Democrats demand release of ‘nightmare’ toxicology study; and more …

In California water news today, Three water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency; Facing climate and water challenges, farmers return to age-old practice; Grace FO will help monitor droughts; Democrats demand release of ‘nightmare’ toxicology study; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am. Agenda items are primarily routine, with the exception of the consideration of a CDO for unauthorized diversions against a party in Napa County.  The Board will then meet in closed session.  Click here for the agendaClick here for webcast.

In the news today …

Three water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency:  “The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other water districts that agreed to fund the California Waterfix tunnel project announced today the formation of a public agency that will be charged with its design and construction.  The MWD, which serves as a major supplier of water to the Los Angeles region, along with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Zone 7 Water Agency in the Bay Area, formed the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority, or DCA, which will hold its first meeting on Thursday. … ”  Read more from CBS LA here:  Three water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency

Facing climate and water challenges, farmers return to age-old practice:  “This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen.  Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California. Used to enhance soil nutrition and improve the growth of plants, it fell out of favor after World War II when the practice was replaced by the use of chemical fertilizers. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Facing climate and water challenges, farmers return to age-old practice

Grace FO will help monitor droughts:  “You may not notice water in the ground under your feet, but it plays an important role in keeping you alive. Plants draw water from soil into their roots and use it to grow. If there’s not enough, the resulting drought may have impacts that spread across local water supplies, regional agriculture and even international food prices. NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission was the first satellite system to directly measure global changes in the water stored underground in the world’s largest aquifers. GRACE Follow-On, scheduled to launch this month, will continue this important task. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Grace FO will help monitor droughts

Democrats demand release of ‘nightmare’ toxicology study:  “Congressional Democrats yesterday expressed outrage that the Department of Health and Human Services still hasn’t published a toxicology study that a White House official earlier this year described as a “potential public relations nightmare.”  The lawmakers are demanding that the study be released immediately and that an oversight hearing be held.  The study of four types of stain- and water-resistant chemicals is being conducted by HHS’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Democrats demand release of ‘nightmare’ toxicology study

Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the ‘Magna Carta of environmental law:  “Building the U.S. Interstate highway system in the 1950s and 60s is often cited as one of government’s great achievements. But it had harmful impacts too. Many city communities were bulldozed to make space for freeways. Across the nation, people vigorously objected to having no say in these decisions, leading to “freeway revolts.”  This outcry, coupled with the growing environmental movement, gave rise to the idea – revolutionary at the time – that agencies should take a hard look at the environmental impacts of their actions, consider reasonable alternatives and allow community input. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), enacted in 1970, codified these principles and allowed citizens to sue if they believed government had not complied. Because it represents a turning point in thinking about environmental protection, NEPA has been called the “Magna Carta of environmental law.” … ”  Read more from The Conversation here:  Trump proposal to weaken project reviews threatens the ‘Magna Carta of environmental law

In commentary today …

Day Zero … for California?  Congressman Jeff Denham writes, “In a few short months, the city of Cape Town, South Africa is scheduled to run out of water. Taps will shut off, and people are scared. It’s being called “Day Zero.” Save for a miracle, this will be the first time in modern history a major city runs out of water.  With so many pressing issues facing our country – like immigration reform and national security – building new water storage reservoirs and dams doesn’t exactly grab anyone’s attention. But Californians need to pay very close attention, because the crisis in South Africa draws striking parallels to Central Valley communities that could be left without our most precious resource the next time a major drought hits the area. It takes years to plan and execute large-scale water infrastructure projects; if we wait until “Day Zero” is upon us, it’s too late. … ”  Read more from the Patterson Irrigator here:  Day Zero … for California?

Brown’s levee funding a pleasant surprise, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “With tax revenues running billions of dollars ahead of expectations, Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revision was bound to have some surprises.  One of the biggest surprises for us was the inclusion of an additional $125 million for levee repairs.  It’s always surprising when rural needs get the attention of anyone in Sacramento, with the governor at the top of that list. In the almost eight years he’s been in office, he’s made it into the north valley just three times that we can recall: in 2010 when he was running for office, in 2012 to promote the Proposition 30 tax increase, and last year when he helicoptered into Oroville for a quick look at the dam spillway. ... ”  Read more from Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Brown’s levee funding a pleasant surprise

In regional news and commentary today …

Crucial dredging at Bolsa Chica wetlands could run out of money:  “The ocean inlet to the Bolsa Chica wetlands, once again being dredged to allow the tidal flushing vital to the abundant wildlife in the area, could run dry of funds necessary for the near-annual pumping operation required to maintain the ecosystem.  Money earmarked for dredging at the state reserve in Huntington Beach will be exhausted by 2020.  When the inlet was opened in 2006 for the first time in more than a century, a trust fund was established to pay for periodic dredging. But sand migrating along the coast filled in the inlet, located at the south end of the wetlands, more rapidly than expected. The trust fund’s interest earnings have not been able to keep up. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Crucial dredging at Bolsa Chica wetlands could run out of money

California AG intends to sue over Tijuana River sewage problem:  “California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board submitted a 60-day notice of intent to sue the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) over the Tijuana River sewage crisis Monday.  The U.S. Commission is in charge of protecting residents on both sides of the border and addressing the wastewater discharges from the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Becerra claims the commission is not adequately managing the flows across the border. … ”  Read more from NBC San Diego here:  California AG intends to sue over Tijuana River sewage problem

Head of federal water agency overseeing efforts to combat Tijuana sewage steps down:  “The top United States official at the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley stepped down on Friday.  The departure of Edward Drusina, former commissioner of the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, comes as the agency continues to face legal attacks from South Bay cities that routinely shutter beaches due to pollution from south of the border. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Head of federal water agency overseeing efforts to combat Tijuana sewage steps down

Along the Colorado River …

What Another Dry Winter Means for Colorado and the West:  “It wasn’t just a low snow season. It was another low snow season, the latest in what is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in Colorado. As skiers across the state bemoaned the lack of fresh powder this winter, climate scientists and hydrologists recognized something more acute: The dry winter exacerbated water scarcity in the Centennial State, placing more stress on our rivers and increasing the likelihood of an active fire season.  To put things in perspective, on April 9—which is historically the peak day for snowpack in Colorado—almost the entire state was sitting at below-average levels. … ”  Read more from 5280 here:  What Another Dry Winter Means for Colorado and the West

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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