DAILY DIGEST: Zinke to visit CA as GOP steps up fight over state’s water; Delta tunnels backers seek $1.6B loan from Trump administration; State posts Water Fix EIR, proposes changes; Newsom talks water storage in Fresno; and more …

In California water news today, Interior Secretary Zinke to visit California as GOP steps up fight over state’s water; Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6B loan from Trump administration; State posts Water Fix EIR, proposes changes; Newsom talks gas tax, water storage, and rural vs. urban divide in Fresno; Water agencies, farmers say plan would cause pain; Scientists, lawmakers assail EPA’s secret science rule; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Interior Secretary Zinke to visit California as GOP steps up fight over state’s water:  “With little clout in Sacramento, Republicans are trying to use their power in Washington to reshape California’s water policies.  Less than two weeks after state regulators announced sweeping new water allocation limits, the GOP-controlled House is expected this week to pass spending legislation that would block federal funding for that allocation plan. It also includes measures that would bar legal challenges to major water infrastructure projects in the state.  On Friday, Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock is hosting Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in his district to “discuss the administration’s potential role in improving water infrastructure and protecting Valley water rights.” ... ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  Interior Secretary Zinke to visit California as GOP steps up fight over state’s water

Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6B loan from Trump administration:Critical permits and legal challenges are still pending, and some farming groups still haven’t committed to paying for part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial $17 billion Delta tunnels project.  But even with the uncertainty, backers of the project are poised to ask the Trump administration for a $1.6 billion federal loan that millions of Californians ultimately would have to repay through increases in their water bills.  On Thursday, the just-formed Delta Conveyance Finance Authority, led by the regional water agencies backing the tunnels project, is expected to start the application process for a $1.6 billion federal water infrastructure loan administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. … “  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: Delta tunnels get ‘real’ as backers seek $1.6B loan from Trump administration

Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega farms:  “Isabel Solorio can see the water treatment plant from her garden across the street. Built to filter out the arsenic in drinking water, it hasn’t been active since 2007 – it shut down six months after opening when the California town of Lanare went into debt trying to keep up with maintenance costs.  “It’s cruel to be living in a state that’s so powerful, so rich, but we can’t count on clean water,” said Solorio, 51, sipping from a bottle amid her flowers and cactus collection. ... ”  Continue reading at the Guardian here:  Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega farms

State posts Water Fix EIR, proposes changes:  “The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for California WaterFix. The document analyzes several proposed changes designed to reduce the project’s footprint and costs, and minimize impacts on environmental resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), including wetlands and other water resources.  Public comment will be accepted through Sept. 17, 2018. DWR will respond to all substantive comments received on the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS and consider them in the decision-making process. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  State posts Water Fix EIR, proposes changes

Newsom talks gas tax, water storage, and rural vs. urban divide in Fresno:  “Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom toured a Fresno trade school Tuesday as part of a series of central San Joaquin Valley campaign stops in his bid to become California’s next governor.  During a news conference after the tour, Newsom answered questions on many of the Valley’s most pressing political issues: water storage, the gas tax, crime, high-speed rail and what he called a “divide” and “growing animus” between California’s urban and rural residents.  “I feel a deep sense of responsibility, if I’m successful as governor, to reconcile (the divide) and to get serious about that,” he said. “I don’t want to become a meme. I don’t want to become the guy that’s here before an election and you never see again.” ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Newsom talks gas tax, water storage, and rural vs. urban divide in Fresno

River flows: Water agencies, farmers say plan would cause pain:  “Saying the state water board appears to have ignored or discounted the significant impacts on people from its plan for stream flows in the San Joaquin River watershed, water agencies, farm organizations and other groups organized opposition to the plan in advance of its potential adoption next month.  The final draft plan from the State Water Resources Control Board, which recommends reducing water diversions to increase flows in the main tributaries of the San Joaquin for native salmon, remained mostly unchanged from its earlier version—despite extensive testimony from people in the affected area about the plan’s predicted economic toll and despite local alternative proposals to increase benefits for fish while reducing economic losses. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  River flows: Water agencies, farmers say plan would cause pain

Scientists, lawmakers assail EPA’s secret science rule:  “Critics at a public hearing Tuesday sounded off on the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to limit the use of scientific research in drafting new regulations.  Opponents of the draft rule — who ranged from congressmen, former health officials and scientists — voiced their concerns at the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters this morning at a hearing that’s expected to last all day.  Critics urged EPA officials not to adopt a measure that they say would jeopardize the health and safety of Americans by excluding critical research that can lead to stronger environmental protections. Those expressing their concerns Tuesday include Gretchen Goldman, the research director at the Center for Science and Democracy. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Scientists, lawmakers assail EPA’s secret science rule

In commentary today …

In California, all water use must be reasonable, says Chris Scheuring:  He writes, “The headlines about a huge new regulatory proposal for the upper San Joaquin River have me thinking about all of California’s rivers, the water rights Farm Bureau members hold and use on those rivers, and a concept called “reasonable use.”  The requirement that water be used “reasonably” actually represents a constraint on the exercise of any water right. In other words, whatever the face value of any water right might be, it can be no greater than the amount of water that can be used in a reasonable manner.  In fact, that’s a constitutional command. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  In California, all water use must be reasonable

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath tribes oppose irrigator’s $50 million bond request:  “A federal lawsuit that could determine access to water in the Klamath Basin this summer has taken a new turn as parties argue whether the Klamath Tribes should post a $50 million bond to protect irrigators.  According to parties intervening in the suit, at least $50 million is needed to cover financial losses for agricultural producers who would lose access to water if the court rules in the Tribes’ favor.  The Tribes said such an amount far exceeds the funds they have budgeted for the lawsuit and, if they are required to post the bond, they would be forced to abandon their efforts. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath tribes oppose irrigator’s $50 million bond request

DWR continues with improvements at Oroville recreation area: Enhancements to several Lake Oroville recreation areas are in the works this summer as the state Department of Water Resources makes good on its promise to improve lake access ahead of the Oroville Dam relicensing. Some means of getting more people out on the water include adding boat launch lanes and parking spots and providing free shuttle services. … ” Continue reading from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  DWR continues with improvements at Oroville recreation area

Report: Aging infrastructure, heat to blame for Martinez water main breaks:  “There have been six water main breaks in the last week in Martinez, giving residents a headache.  Reports say the aging infrastructure combined with heat may be to blame.  On Tuesday afternoon, a pipe burst flooded the streets of Shell Avenue and Orange Street.  Public works crews call the summer time leak season because the soil shrivels up in the heat, making the aging pipes more vulnerable to breaking. … ”  Read more from KRON here:  Report: Aging infrastructure, heat to blame for Martinez water main breaks

Dangerous levels of toxic blue-green algae found in Discovery Bay:  “There are major concerns deep in the East Bay after dangerous levels of blue-green algae were found in Discovery Bay.  This comes as temperatures are rising and more people are out on the water.  Blue-green algae can cause rashes, respiratory problems, and if ingested, can cause liver and kidney damage along with death. … ”  Read more from KRON here:  Dangerous levels of toxic blue-green algae found in Discovery Bay

Patterson:  Recycling project supplements farm water:  “Having received little to no water from the federal Central Valley Project in recent drought years, farmers in a western Stanislaus County irrigation district have partnered with cities to purchase tertiary-treated recycled water, to help secure a more certain water supply.  Farmers within the Patterson-based Del Puerto Water District say its water contract with the federal Central Valley Project has been insufficient during the past two decades due to shortages resulting from hydrology, environmental regulation and the general inability to move water north to south across the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Patterson:  Recycling project supplements farm water

Fresno, Clovis Plan To Mix Recycled Sewer Water For Drinking:  “If you’ve been to Disneyland, Cambria, many parts of Los Angeles, then you most likely had a swig of highly treated recycled water. Recycled water meaning, yes, it was once in a sewage treatment plant.  For many years this recycled water has helped Orange County meet the needs of its growing population and reduce the toll on its declining aquifers. Soon, the same kind of water may be coming to Clovis and Fresno’s drinking water. ... ”  Read more from Valley Public Radio here:  Fresno, Clovis Plan To Mix Recycled Sewer Water For Drinking

LADWP responds to Friends of Inyo on Mono Ranch water practices:  “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released letter to Friends of the Inyo Executive Director Wendy Schneider. ... ”  Read the letter at Sierra Wave here:  LADWP responds to Friends of Inyo on Mono Ranch water practices

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority meetings get interesting:  “Owens Valley Groundwater Authority meetings are a little like watching a chess match. Not really adrenaline inducing, but there’s a lot going on between moves.  Last Thursday’s meeting is a good example.  The question before the 11-member board dealt with the re-prioritization of the Owens Valley basin from medium to high—a new wrinkle from the Department of Water Resources to slam a 42-point whammy on basins that export water. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Owens Valley Groundwater Authority meetings get interesting

LA County votes to put new property tax before voters to clean stormwater:  “Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to place a property tax before voters in November to raise money for projects to capture and clean storm water.  The measure would allow the county to levy a tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable space” on private property. Government buildings, public schools and nonprofit organizations would be exempt.  Revenue from the tax, estimated to amount to $300 million annually, would fund the construction, operation and maintenance of projects that collect, clean and conserve storm water. The average tax for a single-family house would be $83. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  LA County votes to put new property tax before voters to clean stormwater

Is the cost of a Huntington Beach desalination plant too high?  Some water officials say yes:  “Water officials throughout drought-prone Southern California are eager to bolster supplies and diversify sources, but some say desalination in Huntington Beach isn’t the way to do it.  Concerns of those skeptics, particularly cost, will be front and center Wednesday, July 18, when new contract terms are considered for Poseidon Water’s proposal. Officials may want greater water security, but not necessarily at any price.  “Everyone is very sensitive about the economic aspects,” said Denis Bilodeau, Orange County Water District chairman. ... ”  Read more from the Los Angeles Daily News here:  Is the cost of a Huntington Beach desalination plant too high?  Some water officials say yes

Laguna Beach: Upstream cities commit to improving water quality: In a step towards drying up runoff fouling swimming beaches in south-county, regional water regulators signed off on a water quality improvement plan two years in the making that involves 11 cities.  “It’s definitely a step forward because it puts more responsibility in the watershed instead of just on the edges,” said David Shissler, the water quality director for Laguna Beach, one of the participants.  Accepting the plan last month satisfies a storm sewer permit requirement of the San Diego Regional Water Control Board, which regulates runoff in south county and San Diego. ... ”  Read more from the Laguna Beach Indy here:  Upstream cities commit to improving water quality

Surfrider Foundation to file lawsuit over sewage spills:  “The Surfrider Foundation announced Tuesday that it is filing a lawsuit against the federal agency in charge of water and sanitation issues at the U.S.-Mexico border for its inability to stop Tijuana River sewage flows from polluting local beaches.  Specifically, the nonprofit foundation contends the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission has failed to comply with water quality standards, in addition to monitoring and reporting requirements of the Clean Water Act.  “The Surfrider Foundation files this suit on behalf of all of the surfers, swimmers and everyone who loves the beach in south San Diego County. The IBWC must be held responsible for their flagrant violations of the Clean Water Act and wanton disregard for public health,” said Angela Howe, the foundation’s legal director. … ”  Read more from KPBS here:  Surfrider Foundation to file lawsuit over sewage spills

San Diego Water Department Resisted Oversight, Downplayed Meter Issues:  “Shortly after Vic Bianes took over San Diego’s water department, he instructed his staff to hide information.  Less than a month after he began leading the $1.1 billion Public Utilities Department in mid-October, Bianes emailed staffers who were preparing a presentation for one of the water department’s oversight bodies. Bianes said it’d be best to be “vague” and not give the Independent Rates Oversight Committee any specifics about how the department was handling ongoing customer service issues. ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  San Diego Water Department Resisted Oversight, Downplayed Meter Issues

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona officials target species of invasive snail in the lower Salt River:  “Applesnails are a common aquarium pet, but they’ve also become a nuisance in some of the state’s waterways.  The Arizona Game & Fish Department wants to eradicate them from the lower Salt River, and it has enlisted the public’s help to clear the South American invaders from certain areas.  Erin Raney, the department’s aquatic invasive-species coordinator, said applesnails threaten Arizona rivers and lakes. The snails, whose shells can reach 6 inches across, also have been found in the Colorado River near Yuma, according to the Game & Fish Department. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here:  Arizona officials target species of invasive snail in the lower Salt River

Yesterday’s breaking Cal Water Fix news …

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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