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DAILY DIGEST: Officials: Oroville Dam rebuild is 45% complete; The environmental impact of growing cannabis, both legally and illegally; Congress gets into Delta water debate; Water plant serving Ceres, Turlock stalls over MID counsel’s fear of eroding rights; and more …

In California water news today, Officials: Oroville Dam rebuild is 45% complete; The environmental impact of growing cannabis, both legally and illegally; Congress gets into Delta water debate; Radio show: Californians Might Get A Tax Break For Capturing Rainwater; Water on the way to Klamath project; New restoration effort would give big boost to Lake Tahoe watershed; Water plant serving Ceres, Turlock stalls over MID counsel’s fear of eroding rights; Tale of three desalination plants: Why the Doheney proposal is winning over some skeptics; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Officials: Oroville Dam rebuild is 45% complete:  “Reconstruction of the Oroville Dam’s main and emergency spillways is about 45 percent complete, but the project is still on track to be finished by the end of this year, state Department of Water Resources officials say.  While the earth-moving portion of the estimated $870 million project is mostly behind them, crews will race this summer to put all the finishing touches on the new concrete structure. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Officials: Oroville Dam rebuild is 45% complete

The environmental impact of growing cannabis, both legally and illegally:  “Last week, a big multi-agency “reclamation” effort on national forest lands in California’s Emerald Triangle brought attention again to the serious environmental impacts of outlaw cannabis cultivation. But while environmental regulators condemn these illicit growers, they often overlook the obvious reality that legal crops also take an ecological toll. After years of breakneck well-drilling, much of California’s best farmland is threatened by drought and seawater intrusion into groundwater aquifers. With many California counties approving large-scale cannabis farms, the environmental impacts of growing cannabis is also an issue for the legal industry in the years ahead. … ”  Read more from Cannabis Now here:  The environmental impact of growing cannabis, both legally and illegally

Congress gets into Delta water debate:  “Some Delta groups and local lawmakers are decrying language in a U.S. House of Representatives spending bill that would make the California WaterFix immune from judicial review.  The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations added a rider to its funding requests for the 2018-19 fiscal year specifically regarding the long-debated plan to pump water from the Delta to customers in the Bay Area and Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Tracy Press here:  Congress gets into Delta water debate

Radio show: Californians Might Get A Tax Break For Capturing Rainwater:  “State Sen. Steve Glazer is the lead author of Proposition 72, Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Amendment, which is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. He joins us in studio to explain what it means, why it’s necessary and why it passed the legislature without opposition.” Listen to radio show from Capital Public Radio here:  Radio show: Californians Might Get A Tax Break For Capturing Rainwater:

In commentary today …

All Californians should have safe drinking water:  Soren Bjorn, Cheri Chastain, Bruce Karas and Jerry Lynch write,As major food and beverage producers investing in agriculture, our companies are ever mindful of our dependence on water. We believe that responsibly sharing water and protecting watersheds are key to our businesses.  We strive to use water wisely, conserve water where we can and help farmers in our supply chains be efficient with water and minimize fertilizer and pesticide runoff that could degrade watersheds.  As water supplies become scarce in certain regions as a result of a changing climate and increased demand from a growing population, the role companies play to help ensure sustainable water supplies is growing. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  All Californians should have safe drinking water

Government studies have shown Temperance Flat is a bad place for a new dam, says Anita Lodge:  She writes, “As you might know, we recently won a battle in the war against Temperance Flat. It was an important battle, but we have not won the war. On May 2nd, the California Water Commission gave the Temperance Flat Dam project the second from the lowest public benefit ratio of all the projects that have made it this far in the Proposition 1 money allotment process.  In 1939 the Temperance Flat site was passed over in favor of Friant Dam. This decision was not based on the cost or size of the project as the proponents of TFD would like you to believe. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Government studies have shown Temperance Flat is a bad place for a new dam

The contemporary tyranny we know as ‘sustainability’:  Susan Shelley writes,In 2017, Stanford researchers discovered a link between water usage and media coverage. It turned out that people in California used less water when the news was full of stories about the drought.  The researchers scraped the internet for news stories containing terms like “California drought.” Then they collected data from utilities. Then they compared the volume of news to the volume of water.  It probably wasn’t necessary to pay for a study to find out that if you scare people to death, they’ll do anything you tell them to do. Governments have known this since the dawn of time. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena News Star here:  The contemporary tyranny we know as ‘sustainability’

In regional news and commentary today …

Water on the way to Klamath project:  “Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office announced late Wednesday afternoon that up to 3,500 acre feet is available for delivery to Klamath Project irrigators starting today and running through May 31 before deliveries start on June 1.  The amount allows for a diversion rate of approximately 500 acre feet per day from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River in the remaining week of May, according to Jeff Nettleton, manager of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office.  “This is still additional amounts of water, not the start of delivery,” said Laura Williams, BOR’s public affairs officer. “This just is to carry over and get people through June 1.” … ”  Read more from the Herald and News here:  Water on the way to Klamath project

Klamath River: Emotions run high as water dips lower:  “While visibly there is water sitting in the A canal, Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office-directed water flows from the canal’s headgates have been significantly reduced as of Monday morning, a move that essentially has shut off potential for deliveries until June 1.  Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office issued a notice to Klamath Project irrigators Monday stating a need to sustain Upper Klamath Lake levels as required by a federal court order means there isn’t enough water to go around before June 1. Reclamation will re-evaluate how much water is available as early as Friday. … ”  Read more from the Herald and News here:  Klamath River: Emotions run high as water dips lower

New restoration effort would give big boost to Lake Tahoe watershed:  “Conservationists in the Lake Tahoe region are celebrating the acquisition by the Tahoe Resource Conservation District of a 206-acre property, Johnson Meadow, in South Lake Tahoe. The property is a key piece of the puzzle for conservation groups who are working to restore the Upper Truckee River watershed and help improve Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity, which has been on the decline in recent decades.  Johnson Meadow contains 9 miles of the Upper Truckee River, the largest watershed in the basin, just before it empties into Lake Tahoe. The river is the main pathway for fine sediment to reach the lake, which impacts its clarity. Restoration efforts are aimed at restoring highly eroded stream banks, providing wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities and reconnecting the meadow with its floodplain. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  New restoration effort would give big boost to Lake Tahoe watershed

Folsom Lake nearly full as several California reservoirs top historical averages:  “Folsom Lake is about two feet away from being full heading into Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer, as other lakes across NorCal are also inching their way up.  As of Wednesday morning, the lake’s surface elevation was 463.84 feet above sea level, 2.16 feet below the reservoir’s maximum elevation of 466 feet, according to the California Department of Water Resources.  At that level, Folsom Lake stands at 97 percent of capacity, and 120 percent of historical average. During the height of California’s recent drought, the lake held roughly 18 percent of capacity. Despite a slow start to the rainy season, several other key state reservoirs sit at or above historical average as summer approaches. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Folsom Lake nearly full as several California reservoirs top historical averages

Livermore:  Zone 7, DSRSD want to move ahead on potable reuse:  “Members of two Valley boards of directors liked what they saw in a study of possible future new supplies of water.  Dublin San Ramon Services District directors met May 15, and viewed slides about potable water reuse from a study by Carollo Engineers. The process would take treated wastewater, and filter it through reverse osmosis membranes to purify it, then deposit it into the ground-water basin or perhaps a reservoir.  The Zone 7 Water Agency board saw the presentation from Carollo, and Zone 7 engineer Amparo Flores at its May 16 meeting. ... ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here:  Livermore:  Zone 7, DSRSD want to move ahead on potable reuse

Water plant serving Ceres, Turlock stalls over MID counsel’s fear of eroding rights:  “A proposed water plant for Ceres and Turlock faces potentially significant opposition from the Modesto Irrigation District, whose attorney fears potential erosion of water rights because the cities’ environmental studies aren’t up to snuff, the attorney said.  General Counsel Ronda Lucas in late April blasted the cities’ plan in an official letter on behalf of MID, saying, “We have no other option but to object to the project.”  Her comments had the effect of halting progress on the water plant, an important project aimed at providing a new tap water source for Ceres and Turlock. Both rely exclusively on groundwater; the plant would treat Tuolumne River water before delivery to the cities. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Irrigation District here:  Water plant serving Ceres, Turlock stalls over MID counsel’s fear of eroding rights

Tale of three desalination plants: Why the Doheney proposal is winning over some skeptics:  “Some environmentalists go so far as to call the desalination proposal for south Orange County, just north of Doheny State Beach, a “good” approach.  With Southern California’s future water supplies haunted by a host of uncertainties, turning ocean water into tap water has proved as controversial as it is attractive. Environmentalists and other activists have been fighting tooth-and-nail for years against efforts to build desalter plants in Huntington Beach and El Segundo.  But Doheny distinguishes itself in many ways, as detailed in a 700-page draft environmental report released Wednesday, May 23 for public review and comment. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here:  Tale of three desalination plants: Why the Doheney proposal is winning over some skeptics

Coachella Valley:  Heavy pumping threatens desert water supply:  “Water pumped from hundreds of wells has transformed the desert of the Coachella Valley into a lush patchwork of golf courses, farms, resorts and swimming pools. Those wells draw heavily from the underground aquifer year after year and have led to dramatic declines in water levels, posing serious long-term risks for the water supply.  The diminishing water levels in the aquifer during the past half-century illustrate how heavy water use in the Coachella Valley has long outstripped available water supplies. And while public officials have made some progress in recent years, their efforts to reverse the trend have lagged behind the declines in water levels and haven’t fully addressed the problem. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Heavy pumping threatens desert water supply

Along the Colorado River …

‘Time for action’ to avert Colorado River crisis, federal official says:  “The Colorado River has for years been locked in a pattern of chronic overuse, with much more water doled out to cities and farmlands than what’s flowing into its reservoirs.  The river basin, which stretches from Wyoming to Mexico, has been drying out during what scientists say is one of the driest 19-year periods in the past 1,200 years.  Its largest reservoir, Lake Mead, now stands just 39 percent full. And the federal government has warned that the likelihood of the reservoir dropping to critical shortage levels is growing. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  ‘Time for action’ to avert Colorado River crisis, federal official says

Advocates call for collaboration to address drought:  “Earlier this month the Federal Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, Brenda Burman, called on western states to work together on long-term solutions to address water shortages on the Colorado River.  A group of western water advocates is focused on finding ways for western communities to work together to protect wildlife and the environment. Drew Beckwith is water policy manager with Western Resource Advocates, a team of scientists, lawyers and economists following drought conditions in the west. … ”  Read more from Utah Public Radio here:  Advocates call for collaboration to address drought

Experts:  “Alarming drought conditions hit Southwest US:  “Rivers and watering holes are drying up, popular mountain recreation spots are closing and water restrictions are in full swing as a persistent drought intensifies its grip on pockets of the American Southwest.  Climatologists and other experts on Wednesday provided an update on the situation in the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. They say the area is among the hardest hit and there’s little relief expected, and even robust summer rains might not be enough to replenish the soil and ease the fire danger. … ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  Experts:  “Alarming drought conditions hit Southwest US

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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