DAILY DIGEST: Dry wells, sinking land and fears of a global food crisis; Santa Clara Valley Water District to buy site for huge new reservoir, largest in 20 years in Bay Area; Feds: Americans conserving water like never before; Judge kills cities climate change suits; and more …

In California water news today, Dry wells, sinking land and fears of a global food crisis; Santa Clara Valley Water District to buy site for huge new reservoir, largest in 20 years in Bay Area; Feds: Americans conserving water like never before; Judge kills cities climate change suits; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Dry wells, sinking land and fears of a global food crisis:  “The bottom is falling out of America’s most productive farmland.  Literally.  Swaths of the San Joaquin Valley have sunk 28 feet — nearly three stories — since the 1920s, and some areas have dropped almost 3 feet in the past two years.  Blame it on farmers’ relentless groundwater pumping. The plunder of California’s aquifers is a budding environmental catastrophe that scientists warn might spark a worldwide food crisis.  “This is not sustainable,” said Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “If those aquifers continue to be depleted and if we start running out of water in these big aquifer systems, the global food system is going into meltdown mode.” ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Dry wells, sinking land and fears of a global food crisis

Santa Clara Valley Water District to buy site for huge new reservoir, largest in 20 years in Bay Area: Saying it needs an insurance policy against future droughts, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is moving forward with plans to purchase a key property to build the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in the past 20 years.  The water district’s board is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on an agreement to purchase 274 acres near Pacheco Pass for the project.  The land is currently owned by the tiny Pacheco Pass Water District and is submerged under a small lake used by farmers that is known as Pacheco Reservoir. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Santa Clara Valley Water District to buy site for huge new reservoir, largest in 20 years in Bay Area

Feds: Americans conserving water like never before: “Americans are conserving water in their homes like never before, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report released this month.  In per capita terms, domestic water use has plummeted from 112 gallons per day in 1980 to just 82 gallons in 2015, a 27 percent decrease. Take 30 gallon-sized milk jugs, fill them up with water and set them aside — that’s how much water you’re saving, every day, relative to the average American in 1980. For a typical family of four that means about a half-ton of water saved, or eight cubic feet, every single day relative to 1980. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Feds: Americans conserving water like never before

Judge kills cities climate change suits:  “San Francisco and Oakland cannot hold five of the planet’s largest oil companies liable for climate change, a federal judge ruled Monday.  “The issue is not over science,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote in his motion to dismiss ruling. “The issue is a legal one – whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level.”  Oakland and San Francisco sued the oil giants last year, asking the court to make them pay billions of dollars for sea walls and other projects needed to combat rising sea levels. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Judge kills cities climate change suits

In regional news and commentary today …

Salmon are booming in Oregon’s Rogue River. Dam Removal May Be Why.: “After chasing salmon along the southern Oregon coast for 48 years, commercial fisher Duncan MacLean has developed a strong sense of who’s who at the end of his hook. This year, he says, most of the Chinook salmon he’s catching are likely from the Rogue River, where the state of Oregon and conservation groups have worked for years on one of the nation’s largest dam removal programs.  “From everything we normally see, I would think that they are Rogue fish,” MacLean said. “If you were to go back over history and look at the way the fishery resource acts, this is a good time for them to be showing up.” … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Salmon are booming in Oregon’s Rogue River. Dam Removal May Be Why

Los Angeles River 51-mile master plan update underway:  “The 51-mile flood control channel that is the L.A. River is the topic for this week’s Newsmakers.  The river runs through 15 cities but is overseen by the county. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, 1st District, was joined by architect Frank Gehry, of Gehry Partners.  The 88-year-old renowned architect is serving as a unpaid consultant on the master plan. When asked why he’d volunteer for the project, Gehry said he’s lived in Los Angeles since 1947 and “I grew up architecturally here.” … ”  Read more from KABC 7 here:  Los Angeles River 51-mile master plan update underway

Los Angeles: Adi Liberman on Lessons Learned from Prop O, LA City’s 2004 Clean Water Bond Program:  “As the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors debates whether to include the Safe, Clean Water program stormwater capture parcel tax on the November ballot, ​​TPR ​sat down with one of the environmental leaders that started the move to green’ Southern California’s infrastructure. … Prop O, a City of LA 2004 clean water bond, funded a half billion dollars of stormwater projects. As someone who has played a leadership role in both crafting and implementing Prop O, former LADWP GM Ron Deaton laid out criteria for measuring O’s success. He said, people should view “the quality and creativity of our projects to devote stormwater to more productive issues” as the right metric. Fourteen years later, how well has the City done with its ‘Prop O’ clean water project investments?  Adi Liberman: Yes. Prop O’s successes are beyond what we expected. … ”  Read the full article at The Planning Report here:  Los Angeles: Adi Liberman on Lessons Learned from Prop O, LA City’s 2004 Clean Water Bond Program

Eel grass restoration in Upper Newport Bay may help reduce acid in seawater promoting better ocean environments: “Eelgrass restoration efforts in Newport Bay – and across California – are starting to show growth, scientists say.  Since 2012, more than 3,000 students and community volunteers have helped plant beds of the underwater grasses, and water sensors recently retrieved by Orange County Coastkeepers, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit environmental group, from the bottom of Upper Newport Bay show beds there are getting more dense. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Eel grass restoration in Upper Newport Bay may help reduce acid in seawater promoting better ocean environments 

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado River water managers can imagine the future and it doesn’t look pretty:  “Fear can be a powerful motivator.  The mention of one plausible future scenario along the Colorado River is enough to make some water managers in the West break into a sweat. It’s called the Compact Call, and even though it’s never happened — and is years away from ever happening — its invocation conjures up dystopian imagery of a southwest battling over scarce water supplies. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Colorado River water managers can imagine the future and it doesn’t look pretty

And lastly …

How one man is using an amphibious vehicle to enjoy Sacramento summer ... (source here)

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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