DAILY DIGEST: Mapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas, CA losing groundwater at a record pace; Patience wears thin at the Salton Sea; Supply, demand key to balancing valley’s water needs; and more …

In California water news today, Mapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas,  losing groundwater at a record pace; As salinity grows and toxic dust spreads, patience wears thin at the Salton Sea; How much water should California cities use? New data may help; Supply, demand key to balancing valley’s water needs; Officials angered over Temperance Flat lack of funding; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • WEBINAR: Water, Wildfire and Wellness: Field notes from the aftermath of recent Western megafires from 9am to 10am.  Click here for more information and to register.
  • The Delta Protection Commission meets in Courtland at 5:30pm.  Agenda items include an update from the Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC), a report on invasive nutria in the Delta, a presentation on the 2018 Delta Leadership Program, and consideration of  approval of final Delta Flood Risk Management Assessment District Feasibility Study (Levee Financing Feasibility Study) report.  Click here for full agenda.

Tomorrow in Visalia …

  • Your Valley, Your Voice: Bringing Environmental Justice to San Joaquin Valley Communities conference presented by the California Lawyers Association at the Lamp Liter Inn in Visalia.  MCLE credit available.  For more information and to register, click here.

In the news today …

Mapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas: “Using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, NASA scientists have tracked changes in water supplies worldwide and they’ve found that in many places humans are dramatically altering the global water map.  The team of researchers analyzed 14 years of data from NASA’s twin GRACE satellites and studied regions that have seen large increases or decreases in the total amount of freshwater, including water in lakes and rivers and water stored in underground aquifers, soil, snow and ice. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Mapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas

Twin satellites circling the globe find California is losing groundwater at a record pace:  “Southern California loses the groundwater equivalent of the volume of Lake Mead every 15 years due to drought and farming.  That’s 32 gigatons of water, said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A gigaton is one cubic kilometer of water.  That loss matters because groundwater makes up about one-third of our water supply.  There is some good news, said Famiglietti, who co-authored the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Southern California’s cities have become more sustainable through water conservation efforts like sewage recycling, stormwater capture and desalination. … ”  Read more from KPCC here:  Twin satellites circling the globe find California is losing groundwater at a record pace

As salinity grows and toxic dust spreads, patience wears thin at the Salton Sea:  “Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia watched with ill-disguised frustration as a hearing aimed at expediting state projects to restore habitat and control dust storms at the shrinking Salton Sea instead dissolved into discussion of why the efforts were falling further behind schedule.  “We have a plan, we have money, there is additional money lined up, and we have a constituency — myself included — that is running out of patience,” Garcia (D-Coachella), chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, said.  Those banking on a revival of the Salton Sea have unfortunately grown familiar with waiting.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  As salinity grows and toxic dust spreads, patience wears thin at the Salton Sea

How much water should California cities use? New data may help:  “The relatively dry 2017-18 winter in California resurfaced recent memories of drought conservation mandates. From 2013-16, urban water utilities complied with voluntary, then mandatory, water use limits as part of Executive Order B-37-16. Urban water utilities met a statewide 25 percent conservation target, helping the state weather severe drought. Winter rains in 2016-17 led to a reprieve from mandatory conservation. Freed from statewide requirements, urban water agencies ended mandatory cutbacks by meeting “stress tests” that included several years of secured water supplies. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  How much water should California cities use? New data may help

Supply, demand key to balancing valley’s water needs:  “As general manager of a water district that serves about 27,000 agricultural acres in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Eric Averett knows the solutions to the region’s water shortages are fairly straight-forward.  He speaks of two knobs that valley water users can turn. One controls supply, and the other  demand.  In past years, Averett says he figuratively had his hand slapped by his Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District board whenever he tried to adjust the knob that affected the supply of water to growers. But as droughts, surface water cutbacks and groundwater overdrafts confront districts throughout the Central Valley, all solutions are now on the table. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Supply, demand key to balancing valley’s water needs

Study projects massive northward shift of species as ocean warms:  “Marine life across North America will experience a substantial shift northward over the next few decades, according to a new comprehensive report that looks at how climate change will alter the habitats of 686 marine species.  “As water warms up in some places it allows fish to colonize,” says  Malin Pinsky, an ecologist at Rutgers University and co-author of the study.  “But if it gets too hot, the species gets driven out of the region. This is something that we already see happening all over North America, all over the world.” … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Study projects massive northward shift of species as ocean warms

In commentary today …

Prop 68 will prepare California for climate change, says Jay Ziegler and Tim Quinn:  They write, “California’s safe drinking water and natural resources are increasingly threatened by drought, wildfires, floods and mudslides.  Proposition 68 is designed to help make our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The measure was placed on the June 5 ballot by a bipartisan, two-thirds vote of the Legislature to make much-needed investments to bolster the reliability of our water supply and the infrastructure we depend on to help get us through wet and dry years. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Prop 68 will prepare California for climate change

Prop 68 means more debt and higher taxes:  “It’s time, Californians, to hold on to our collective wallets.  “It does NOT raise taxes,” proponents of Proposition 68 insist in the official state voters’ guide. Then where do they think the money will come from to repay the $4 billion in bonds that are supposed to go for parks and “climate adaptation,” whatever that is?  Bonds are debt. Debt needs to be repaid, with interest. The debt payments will increase the state budget or something in the budget will have to be cut to provide the required funds. But most likely, taxes will have to be raised. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Prop 68 means more debt and higher taxes

Column: This zombie dam project underscores California’s dilemma over water, says Michael Hiltzlk: “Despite what you may have gleaned from television and the movies, zombies aren’t always constituted of flesh and blood. Sometimes they come in concrete and rock.  Exhibit A is a $3-billion dam proposal on the San Joaquin River known as Temperance Flat. The project’s beneficiaries, chiefly growers in the San Joaquin Valley, have struggled for years to justify its construction. Its critics say they’ve done so by exaggerating the probable water yield from the dam and reservoir while understating its negative impact on the region’s ecology and cultural and recreational environmental impacts, and overstating its recreational resources. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Column: This zombie dam project underscores California’s dilemma over water, says Michael Hiltzlk

Officials angered over Temperance Flat lack of funding:  “Agricultural leaders from cities, along with state and federal officials representing the Central San Joaquin Valley, are reeling with anger and disappointment with the California Water Commission’s failure to fund the Temperance Flat Dam storage project.  “The California Water Commission have ignored the facts and their own guidelines and have ignored the will of the people,” said Lee Brand, mayor of Fresno. “We believe the voters, especially those in the Central Valley, overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1 where there was an expectation that their hard-earned money would be spent to help build water storage.” … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here:  Officials angered over Temperance Flat lack of funding

In regional news and commentary today …

Humboldt County supes question state water tax proposal:  “The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and community members were divided Tuesday over a state plan to tax drinking water in order to fund clean drinking water projects throughout California.  While board took no stance, some supervisors voiced their personal views. Board Chairman and 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg and 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell said they were opposed to the measure, while 3rd District Supervisor Mike Wilson said he was split on the benefits and costs of imposing the tax. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Humboldt County supes question state water tax proposal

Calistoga to sell water to south bay water district for $80,000:  “Santa Clara Valley Water District will purchase a portion of Calistoga’s allotment from the State Water Project, generating nearly $80,000 for the city’s enterprise fund.  Calistoga will sell 400 acre-feet of water to the Santa Clara Valley Water District for $200 per acre-foot. The district will “return” 50 percent of that water exchange within the next 10 years. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Calistoga to sell water to south bay water district for $80,000

Yearlong Bay ‘challenge’ ends with lofty plans for staving off sea level rise:  “Design teams from around the world unveil their visions today for a ring of ambitious projects circling San Francisco Bay, all aimed at increasing “resilience” to the challenges of rising sea levels and other growing threats to communities.  After a year’s worth of ground work, nine teams participating in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge take the wraps off of their various visions. Some are long on lofty language and short on concrete plans, but all are the product of some of the world’s most forward-thinking urban designers, funded mainly by the Rockefeller Foundation. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Yearlong Bay ‘challenge’ ends with lofty plans for staving off sea level rise

Moss Landing’s Kerstin Wasson: Happy as a scientist in the mud:  “For more than 18 years, Kerstin Wasson has plowed through mud, eelgrass, and brackish water in a quest to understand and preserve the salt marshes of the West Coast. In recognition of her many contributions to science and conservation, the Environmental Law Institute honored Wasson on May 9 at the National Wetlands Awards in Washington, DC.  As the Research Coordinator at the Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Research Reserve, her work spans from the microscopic to the immense. Some days, she hunts down individual oysters to determine if they’ve survived a recent rainfall, and other days she organizes wetlands researchers on conservation efforts across the continent. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Moss Landing’s Kerstin Wasson: Happy as a scientist in the mud

Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses $500,000 advance to Groundwater Authority:  “Despite the lack of necessary votes to pass an item, Indian Wells Valley Water District board members carried on a spirited discussion about a $500,000 advancement paid to the IWV Groundwater Authority months ago.  The vote was whether to delay seeking reimbursement until after the IWVGA implemented its groundwater sustainability plan, due at the end of January 2020. With board members Peter Brown and Don Cortichiato absent, the vote came to 2-1. The vote required a majority of the full board.  It boiled down to simple numbers. If the district delays seeking reimbursement, fees implemented to help fund the development of the plan would be reduced by $10 per acre-foot per month. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses $500,000 advance to Groundwater Authority

Closing arguments made in Pomona’s ‘poisoned’ groundwater trial:  “Attorneys made their closing arguments Wednesday in a case where the city of Pomona claims that a subsidiary of a Chilean chemical company “poisoned” its groundwater over the course of decades, costing millions in cleanup costs.  Fertilizer used on citrus orchards in 1930s southern California is at the center of the city’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against a chemical company who imported its product from Chile.  The city of Pomona, approximately 30 miles east of Los Angeles, seeks $30 million in damages from the North American subsidiary of SQM, a Chilean chemical company. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Closing arguments made in Pomona’s ‘poisoned’ groundwater trial

Grant will fund model for predicting water flows in the Santa Ana River:  “The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District has been awarded a $1 million grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a mathematical model for predicting surface and groundwater flows along the Santa Ana River.  ... ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here:  Grant will fund model for predicting water flows in the Santa Ana River

Along the Colorado River …

Podcast: Phoenix Water Official: Shortage On Colorado River Looks ‘Inevitable’: “There’s a better than 50 percent chance Arizona will get less water from the Colorado River by 2020.  The Federal Bureau of Reclamation is projecting a 52 percent chance Lake Mead water levels fall enough to trigger cutbacks in two years. That chance increases to 64 percent in 2021 and 68 percent in 2022.  If that happens, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico would be the first to see less water.  Kathryn Sorensen, director of Phoenix Water Services, joined The Show to talk about it.”  Listen or download podcast from KJZZ here:  Phoenix Water Official: Shortage On Colorado River Looks ‘Inevitable’

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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