DAILY DIGEST: ‘Tahoe will not be blue.’ Why the lake’s warming trends are worrisome; An interview with Laura Friedman on new water efficiency standards; 106 salmon counted in the Salmon River, sparking worries about potential fish kill; and more …

In California water news today, ‘Tahoe will not be blue.’ Why the lake’s warming trends are worrisome; Water Efficiency Standards for Water Agencies & Local Governments Now State Law: An Interview with Laura Friedman; New state water proposal strongly opposed; Temperance Flat wins some funding; Judge denies preliminary injunction in Klamath Tribes suit; 106 salmon counted in the Salmon River, Groups worried about potential fish kill; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Central Valley Flood Protection Board meets beginning at 9am.  Agenda items include an briefing on a report that documents impacts of the high water year in 2017 on streams, floodplains, streets, and homes; a briefing on the State flood operations after action report for 2017, consideration of approval of permitting and inspection fee rulemaking documents, and an update on EcoRestore.  Click here for agenda and webcast link.

In the news today …

‘Tahoe will not be blue.’  Why the lake’s warming trends are worrisome:  “Climate change is gradually warming Lake Tahoe, clouding its clarity and threatening its fabled “blueness,” scientists at UC Davis warned Thursday.  In its annual “State of the Lake” report, the university’s Tahoe Environmental Research Center said surface water temperatures in July 2017 spiked to an average 68.4 degrees. That was the highest since researchers began taking Tahoe’s temperature in 1968, and 6 degrees higher than the year before. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  ‘Tahoe will not be blue.’  Why the lake’s warming trends are worrisome

Water Efficiency Standards for Water Agencies & Local Governments Now State Law: An Interview with Laura Friedman:As part of a package of water related legislative reforms championed by both Assemblymember Laura Friedman and State Senator Bob Hertzberg, California established landmark water efficiency standards and enforcement mechanisms when Governor Brown signed the bills in May. Sitting down with TPR, Asm. Friedman explains how her AB 1668 (along with Hertzberg’s SB 606) codifies the many of the goals outlined in the Governor’s Water Action Plan. … Q: You and Senator Hertzberg authored AB 1686, now signed into law, to establish new water efficiency standards for various industries and to provide guidance for California’s water agencies. What are the new law’s primary objectives?  Laura Friedman: The first goal of this law is to make every water agency and every user of water across the state highly efficient over time. … ”  Read the full article at The Planning Report here:  Water Efficiency Standards for Water Agencies & Local Governments Now State Law

New state water proposal strongly opposed:  “Water continues to be a hot topic in California, and particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, where the resource is vital for preserving the rich agricultural economy. Now that resource is at risk of being cut back even further, due to a new proposal by the California State Water Resources Control Board.  As last week’s Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency regular board meeting, held Thursday at Dinuba City Hall, members of the agency heard of the recent proposal that threatens to take away 288,000 acre-feet of water from the San Joaquin River. The number is a staggering amount, considering that an acre-foot is 326,000 gallons of water. ... ” Read more from the Dinuba Herald here:  New state water proposal strongly opposed

Temperance Flat wins some funding:  “The California Water Commission has granted $171 million in state water bond funding to the central San Joaquin Valley’s proposed Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir project.  The action came during a Water Commission hearing Tuesday in Sacramento.  The $171 million award under the state’s Water Storage Investment Program is well short of the $1 billion in funding that had been sought when the application process was launched by the project’s lead agency, the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, but is still welcomed. ... ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Temperance Flat wins some funding

Is Zinke trolling San Francisco with plan to dismantle city’s reservoir?  “US interior secretary Ryan Zinke has prompted puzzlement by meeting with a group that seeks to dismantle a dam providing San Francisco’s water, as experts wonder whether he is taking the fringe proposal seriously or trolling the city.  Zinke’s Sunday discussion with Restore Hetch Hetchy concerned the dam at Hetch Hetchy reservoir in California’s Yosemite national park. Removing it would restore the valley, which was once so beautiful that the environmentalist John Muir called it “one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples”, to its natural state – and force San Francisco to figure out where else to store 90% of its water supply. … ”  Read more from The Guardian here:  Is Zinke trolling San Francisco with plan to dismantle city’s reservoir?

In commentary today …

To prepare for climate change, California is making a huge investment in water storage, say Armando Quintero and Carol Baker:  They write, “On Tuesday, the California Water Commission completed a groundbreaking process to make the state’s largest investment in water storage in a generation.  With the commission’s action, eight diverse projects around the state are in line to receive nearly $2.7 billion from Proposition 1, approved by voters in 2014. These projects – including $816 million for the Sites reservoir north of Sacramento – could add 4.3 million acre-feet of new water storage both above and below ground, better preparing California for climate change and drought. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  To prepare for climate change, California is making a huge investment in water storage

Live and learn from flawed water bond process, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  They write, “The state water overlords deigned to award nearly $816 million, less than one-sixth of the total price, to help build a long-discussed reservoir in Colusa County. Those who have been trying to get the project off the ground for 25 years are celebrating, and so are politicians who have been lobbying for the money.  While we agree it’s a welcome outcome, don’t expect us to join the rejoicing. The flawed process made fools of a lot of people. It shouldn’t be celebrated. Instead, it should used as a cautionary tale of what not to do next time — if voters are kind enough to provide a next time. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Live and learn from flawed water bond process

Don’t sacrifice the watershed, says John Kingsbury:  He writes, “The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Bay-Delta Water Quality Release would mandate a minimum of 40% of “unimpaired flow” along the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers each year from February 1 to June 30 for fish.  Look for the same percentage or more on the Sacramento system and tributaries. “Unimpaired flow” is a hydrology term for natural runoff of a watershed or waterbody that would have occurred prior to anthropogenic or human influences on the watershed.  This proposed application is fantasy, as not only do we have a highly altered watershed with dams and diversions, we have a highly altered Delta waterway that includes dozens of islands and over one-thousand miles of levees and diversions that will never return to pre-anthropogenic or human influenced conditions. ... ”  Read more at the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association here:  Don’t sacrifice the watershed

The water grab:  Dennis Mills writes, ““This is a water grab, pure and simple”. The question is, what do the salmon have to do with this? It’s the red herring that is being used to support the need to a change in direction on the operations of the California Water Project. We need to look past the fish to the reasons for why the flows are being manipulated and why the state feels a need for reoperation of the project.  As the state continues to struggle with what many see as a water grab intended for fish flows in the Delta, allow me to explain a perspective that has been missed in this overall discussion. Having been on a recent tour of facilities in Orange County including those of the Metropolitan Water District (MET), and had direct conversations with agency managers and elected officials including those of MET, I can assure you water agencies in the south have a much tougher road in maintaining adequacy of safe water, than is discussed. ... ” Read more at the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association here:  The water grab

Before passing more water restrictions, review inefficient rules, says Griffin Bovee:  He writes, “The backlash stemming from California’s latest restrictions on water use is not entirely based upon “pure fiction,” as the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, claims.  AB 1668, which encourages the State Water Board to fine water suppliers for straying from their water budgets, is just the latest instance of California’s overregulation of water rights.  Before our elected officials provide the State Water Board with any additional regulatory authority, they should review the impact some of the current regulations have had, specifically those associated with SB 88. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here:  Before passing more water restrictions, review inefficient rules

Why California’s cannabis regulations could have indirect water benefitsKathleen Stone writes, “The external pressures for cannabis cultivation and the immediate need for water use regulation may provide opportunities for broader, long-sought environmental objectives in California. Specifically, legislation and state programs regulating water use for cannabis cultivation could produce collateral benefits for environmental instream flow and water quality management in general.  The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act included several state laws from 2015 and 2016. Of these, Assembly Bill 243 and Senate Bill 837, passed in October 2015 and June 2016, respectively, include several provisions for regulating water use for cannabis cultivation. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Why California’s cannabis regulations could have indirect water benefits

In regional news and commentary today …

Judge denies preliminary injunction in Klamath Tribes suit:  “Klamath Project irrigators are breathing a sigh of relief after a federal judge in San Francisco denied a preliminary injunction to hold more water in Upper Klamath Lake for endangered sucker fish.  The injunction was requested by the Klamath Tribes as part of a lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to protect declining populations of Lost River and shortnose suckers in the lake. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Judge denies preliminary injunction in Klamath Tribes suit

106 salmon counted in the Salmon River, Groups worried about potential fish kill:  ““Devastating” was how Karuk Tribe Executive Director Josh Saxon described the news that only 106 adult spring-run Chinook salmon were found on the Salmon River this year — believed to be the second lowest count on record.  The results of the annual Salmon River fish count on Wednesday as well as poor river conditions on the Klamath River tributary has prompted concerns about the potential for a fish kill and the future viability of what some say is already an endangered species. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Herald here:  106 salmon counted in the Salmon River, Groups worried about potential fish kill

Hornbook chlorine levels too high:  “Chlorine intended to disinfect Hornbrook’s soiled water system has reached levels that are too high, and residents are now asked not to shower in it as it may cause skin and eye irritation.  Hornbrook residents have not had potable water since the Klamathon Fire blazed through the community on July 5, burning the roof off a water tank and dropping metal, ash and other debris into the water system.  According to a press release from the Hornbrook Community Services District, testing conducted on Wednesday revealed higher than allowable levels of chlorine. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here:  Hornbook chlorine levels too high

Road leading to Oroville Dam to reopen on Monday:  “The stretch of Oroville Dam Boulevard East that has been closed to the public since the spillway first split open more than a year ago is set to reopen.  Oroville Dam Boulevard East between Glen Drive and Canyon Drive, which offers views of the spillway, will be accessible to pedestrians and vehicles starting Monday. The state Department of Water Resources announced the reopening on a moderated media call Wednesday afternoon. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Road leading to Oroville Dam to reopen on Monday

How one couple saved Muir Woods from being a dammed reservoir:  “Hundreds of thousands of people visit Muir Woods National Monument each year, but, if not for one couple, there wouldn’t be a Muir Woods to visit at all.  More than a century ago, most of California’s old-growth redwoods had been clear-cut by logging interests, and a water company threatened to take possession of a valley just north of San Francisco that was home to one of the remaining groves in the Bay Area and across the Pacific coast. Enter William and Elizabeth Thacher Kent. ... ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  How one couple saved Muir Woods from being a dammed reservoir

CPUC hearing to allow Cal Am desal critics, backers to argue positions:  “Led by the Marina Coast Water District and the city of Marina, critics and supporters of California American Water’s desalination project will get a chance to make their case before a majority of the state Public Utilities Commission next month before the full commission formally considers the proposal.  In a ruling issued this week, the CPUC judges overseeing the Cal Am project proceeding scheduled an Aug. 22 hearing for oral argument on the proposal at CPUC headquarters in San Francisco. The hearing is set to start at 2 p.m. and last two hours. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  CPUC hearing to allow Cal Am desal critics, backers to argue positions

Fresno Irrigation District’s water deliveries extend to August 31:  “After a below-average year, Fresno Irrigation District’s (FID) water deliveries for the 2018 season will extend through the month of August this year, officially concluding water service and beginning the annual winter system shutdown on Aug. 31.  By the time the annual winter system shutdown begins, FID will have delivered approximately 440,000 acre-feet of water for the 2018 water year, which officially began on April 16 district-wide. ... ”  Read more from the Sanger Herald here:  Fresno Irrigation District’s water deliveries extend to August 31

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority mulls over sustainability plan outline and timeline:  “Stetson Engineers, the firm acting as water resources manager for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, outlined progress and a timeline on a required groundwater sustainability plan during a July 19 meeting.  According to Steve Johnson, Stetson Engineers’ president, elements of the plan go to the Groundwater Authority’s technical advisory committee and its policy advisory committee, which is tasked with looking through it and making recommendations to the water resources manager.  Jeff Helsley, with Stetson, said that in the next six to eight weeks, the Groundwater Authority may have an introductory chapter before the committee, followed by more committees later on. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority mulls over sustainability plan outline and timeline

Recent study casts doubt on claims by Cadiz about protecting California’s desert, says Randall Ceniceros:  He writes, “For years, Cadiz Inc. has been telling Southern Californians that its project would provide clean, safe and reliable water without harming the irreplaceable California desert. But a recent study badly undermines those claims, and begs for state legislators to step in to protect our parks, wildlife, and water.  Cadiz would like to pump an average of 16 billion gallons of groundwater every year from an ancient aquifer that lies deep beneath Mojave Trails National Monument and Mojave National Preserve. The company has promised that its project won’t harm that aquifer, or the dozens of small seeps and springs that provide a crucial source of water for desert wildlife. … ”  Read more from the Fontana News Herald here:  Recent study casts doubt on claims by Cadiz about protecting California’s desert

San Diego Water Department sent 2,750 bills in 2017, audit found:  “An audit released Thursday of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department prompted by reports of sky-high water bills found that last year 2,750 water bills had to be changed after customers received them. That’s out of 1.3 million customers billed.  The audit also found that almost 19,000 water meter reads were corrected last year before the bills were even sent to customers. That’s about 1.4 percent of water customers. ... ”  Read more from KPBS here:  San Diego Water Department sent 2,750 bills in 2017, audit found

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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