DAILY DIGEST: New groundwater woes and regulations in California’s wine country; San Diego’s efforts to divest from rival LA water agency have driven up rates for customers. Is it worth it?; After delays, squabbles, Arizona drought plan back on track; and more …

In California water news today, New groundwater woes and regulations in California’s wine country; San Diego’s efforts to divest from rival LA water agency have driven up rates for customers. Is it worth it?; After delays, squabbles, Arizona drought plan back on track; Corporation submits plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River; The Bay Area’s sinking neighborhood gets a boost; and more …

In the news today …

New groundwater woes and regulations in California’s wine country:  “California’s premier wine-growing region has been targeted for more regulation under the state’s new groundwater law, likely resulting in new fees and limits on water extraction for the industry.  The state Department of Water Resources declared in May that 14 groundwater basins across the state are at risk of overdraft, and thus should be reprioritized under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Four of these are in Napa and Sonoma county wine-growing valleys. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  New groundwater woes and regulations in California’s wine country

San Diego’s efforts to divest from rival LA water agency have driven up rates for customers.  Is it worth it? If the most powerful water officials in San Diego get their way, the county will ratchet down to a trickle one of its cheapest sources of water in the next two decades.  Local officials say ongoing efforts to secure alternatives to the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — known as the Met — have safeguarded businesses and residents against crippling cuts triggered during prolonged drought.  However, the strategy of the San Diego County Water Authority to move away from Southern California’s largest wholesaler has come with a cost. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego’s efforts to divest from rival LA water agency have driven up rates for customers.  Is it worth it?

If we don’t want to run out of water, we should look to the sun:  “… Huntington Beach, a seaside Southern California city, is taking the long view, investing in a new desalination plant that will turn seawater into clean, drinkable H20. While the plant’s supporters say it’s necessary to guard against worsening water shortages, critics say the plant is a waste of ratepayer money, urging officials to manage water more efficiently instead. As temperatures rise and droughts worsen, this conflict is likely to play out in more and more coastal cities.  Central to this fight is the fact that desalination plants require a tremendous amount of energy, making them extremely costly to run. If that energy comes from burning fossil fuels, it will only make climate change worse. The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking to avoid this problem by funding research aimed at dramatically reducing the cost of using solar power to get the salt out of seawater. … ”  Read more from Popular Science here:  If we don’t want to run out of water, we should look to the sun

In other regional news and commentary today …

Corporation submits plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River:  “The largest dam removal project in U.S. history is set to begin in 2020 on the Klamath River in Siskiyou County, according to documents filed recently with federal regulators.  The Klamath River Renewal Corp. plans to begin site work in two years to remove four dams on the Klamath River and deconstructing the dams will begin in 2021, according to the “Definite Plan for the Lower Klamath Project.” … ”  Read more from the Record Searchlight here:  Corporation submits plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River

Alameda County Water District should be more transparent, grand jury says:  “The Alameda County Water District needs to be more open with customers about how much labor costs influence water bills, and be tougher in negotiations with labor unions, according to a newly released Alameda County civil grand jury report.  The district — which provides water to 350,000 people in Fremont, Newark and Union City — has raised rates every year except one over the past two decades, including the most recent hike of 25 percent over two years in February 2017, over the protests of dozens. ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Alameda County Water District should be more transparent, grand jury says

The Bay Area’s sinking neighborhood gets a boost:  “Welcome to Alviso, where at any given time it can be 10 to 15 feet below sea level.  This neighborhood, which used to be its own bona fide town, sits on the southernmost tip of the bay in San Jose, and it’s the next stop in our series about where our money from Measure AA is going. That’s the “Clean and Healthy Bay” tax measure that passed two years ago.  Alviso has a population of about 5,000. It is surrounded by three bodies of water: the San Francisco Bay, Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek. So as you can probably imagine, flooding has always been an issue here. That’s what the South Bay Shoreline Project is trying to change. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  The Bay Area’s sinking neighborhood gets a boost

As Modesto rain year ends, there remains gratitude for the very wet rainfall season:  “It wasn’t the best of times, it wasn’t the worst of times.  With the Modesto Irrigation District’s rainfall season — July 1 to June 30 — at its end, district and farming officials indicated they’re feeling OK about the water picture. Especially since they’re still feeling the benefits of the very wet 2016-17 year.  MID’s recorded rainfall in downtown Modesto is just a small part of the local water picture. As of Friday, it stood at 7.87 inches, less than two-thirds of the historical seasonal rainfall average of 12.23 inches. For comparison, 2016-17 totaled 17.93 inches, and the wettest year on record is 1982-83, with 26.01 inches. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  As Modesto rain year ends, there remains gratitude for the very wet rainfall season

Happy New Year! 2018 rainfall season begins:  “July 1 is the start of the 2018 rainfall year season. In 2015, the National Weather Service forecast offices in California changed from a “rainfall year season” to a “water year” designation.  A water year is defined by hydrologists as the 12-month period that starts Oct. 1 and continues through Sept. 30 the following year. A rainfall year season is defined as the 12-month period beginning July 1 that continues through June 30 of the subsequent year. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here:  Happy New Year! 2018 rainfall season begins

Lower Kern River will flow as lake managers shrink Isabella for planned work on dam:  “Bakersfield residents should see more water than usual tumbling and crashing over rocks and boulders in the Kern River Canyon this summer.  No, nothing like record amounts, but more water than one would typically see in a year like this one, a year with just half the normal snowpack runoff in the Kern River Basin.  “They’re releasing water at the dam to lower the lake level,” said Matt Volpert, owner of Kern River Outfitters, a rafting company based in Wofford Heights. ... ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Lower Kern River will flow as lake managers shrink Isabella for planned work on dam

Santa Clarita: Would a water agency ever say there isn’t enough water?, asks Lynne Plambeck:  She writes, “The Signal reported (June 14) that yet another mega-development, Tapia Ranch, would have plenty of water, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency. They assured the community that existing residents would continue to have adequate supplies. As residents look around at graded hills and see headlines about tens of thousands of units of new development, we can’t help but wonder if this is true. Obviously there is not plenty of water because residential water use cuts continue to be required. How do these water agencies determine that sufficient supplies for all of us really exist? ... ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Would a water agency ever say there isn’t enough water?

Diamond Valley Lake remains closed:  “Diamond Valley Lake will remain closed until at least Wednesday, July 4, because of an algal bloom outbreak, officials said Friday, June 29.  All lake recreation has been suspended by the Metropolitan Water District since Thursday, June 21.  The situation will be reassessed Tuesday, July 3 … ”  Read more from the Press-Enterprise here:  Diamond Valley Lake remains closed

Along the Colorado River …

After delays, squabbles, Arizona drought plan back on track:  “For the first time in well over a year, a clear path exists for completion of Arizona’s share of a three-state drought plan for the Colorado River.  The plan would step up already-approved requirements for cuts in water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and eventually California as Lake Mead drops below certain key levels.  While many hurdles and potential disputes remain, water officials said last week they’re ready to work together and hold public meetings to solicit comments on the plan from various water users and other interest groups. The first such meeting will be held July 26 in the Phoenix area. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star here:  After delays, squabbles, Arizona drought plan back on track

Reclamation commissioner to Arizona: Get a water deal done this year:  “After a detailed – and dire – technical presentation from one of her experts, the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday told an audience of water stakeholders that officials weren’t trying to scare people, only make plain the risks of historically low levels on Lake Mead.  Commissioner Brenda Burman and other federal officials urged, cajoled and pushed Arizona to finalize a so-called Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. The plan identifies earlier, steeper cuts to water users than those mandated by a 2007 agreement to decrease the risk of a rapid decline in lake level.  Burman said if Arizona doesn’t act, the secretary of the interior would have to step in. ... ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Reclamation commissioner to Arizona: Get a water deal done this year

Officials identify a source in the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak:  “The strain of E. coli bacteria that contaminated romaine lettuce and was tied to the deaths of five people was found in a tainted irrigation canal in Arizona, federal officials said on Thursday.  The outbreak appeared to be over, more than three months after the first illnesses were recorded, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.  Samples of canal water in the Yuma area of Arizona were found to contain the same genetic strain of E. coli that caused the outbreak, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the federal Food and Drug Administration, said in a statement. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Officials identify a source in the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

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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