DAILY DIGEST: Two perspectives: CA plan would shift water away from farms and cities, and back to rivers; Oroville Dam independent review board releases first report; AB 1755 and the politics of California water data; and more …

In California water news today, Two Perspectives: California Plan Would Shift Water Away From Farms And Cities, And Back To Rivers; Oroville Dam independent review board releases first report; AB 1755 and the politics of California water data; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Radio show: Two Perspectives: California Plan Would Shift Water Away From Farms And Cities, And Back To Rivers:  ” … Under the proposal from the California Water Resources Control Board, water users who divert flow from the San Joaquin and its tributaries upstream from the delta would find their water supply reduced. Currently only about 20 percent of the river’s natural flow makes it through the system. If adopted, the new proposal would increase those number to between 30 to 50 percent of natural flow. While the proposal has spurred talk of habitat restoration deals that could lessen the impact to water users, it’s also sparked opposition from both farmers and urban water districts. To learn more about the plan, we spoke with two experts from different backgrounds:  Felicia Marcus, chair of the Water Resources Control Board, and Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming in Los Banos and chair of the San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority.”  Listen to the radio show from KVPR here:  Two Perspectives: California Plan Would Shift Water Away From Farms And Cities, And Back To Rivers

Proposal to increase Delta water flows causes contention between farmers, fisheries:  “Following nine years of research, a California agency has proposed to increase water flows in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. But the decision is causing contention between farmers and fisheries.  The California State Water Resources Control Board says the proposal will prevent an ecological crisis, including the total collapse of fisheries. About 70,000 fall-run Chinook salmon adults returned to the San Joaquin Basin in 1984, but that number fell to just 8,000 in 2014. …”  Read more from Capitol Radio here:  Proposal to increase Delta water flows causes contention between farmers, fisheries

Board should reject flows plan, coalition says:  “Urging the state water board to reject a proposal to redirect flows in three Central California rivers, a coalition of more than 50 agricultural, water and business organizations encouraged the board to renew efforts for voluntary agreements with affected water users.  “This unified response from groups representing farmers, ranchers, and urban and rural residents alike demonstrates the impact the water board’s proposal would have, and the need for the board to explore alternative methods that would help fish without the severe human cost of its current approach,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Board should reject flows plan, coalition says

What every Stanislaus County resident needs to know about the state water plan:  “Don Barton of Barton Ranch near Escalon is not mincing words over a state water board proposal. He says the plan to raise flows in the Stanislaus River is a disaster waiting to happen for farms on the river’s north side from Ripon to Oakdale.  As “unimpaired flows” are released from New Melones Dam located far upstream, more than 300 acres of the family’s walnut trees will be flooded for months during above-average water years and destroyed, he said. With a temporary “pulse flow” this year, pushing water over the bank, walnut trees owned by Barton stood in water 3 feet deep, killing 45 trees. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  What every Stanislaus County resident needs to know about the state water plan

State Water Board’s plans generate protest rally plans:  “Stakeholder groups in opposition to state water regulators’ intentions to double the volume of spring fish flows are circling the troops.  Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray, who represents the Merced area, is busily circulating plans for a “Stop the State Water Grab Rally,” scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20 in Sacramento. The gathering is slated to take place from noon until 3 p.m. on the North steps of the Capitol Building, facing L Street. The event date falls a day ahead of the Water Board’s currently slated Aug. 21-22 meeting during which is anticipates approving a finalized plan. … ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here:  State Water Board’s plans generate protest rally plans

Oroville Dam independent review board releases first report:  “The independent review board hired by the state Department of Water Resources to put outside eyes on an assessment which will play a large role in the future operations of the Oroville Dam has released its first report.  Suggestions for infrastructure changes like the construction of a second gated spillway are expected to be considered through what DWR is calling a comprehensive needs assessment. The department has selected four independent industry experts to be part of a board which will review the assessment and make recommendations. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Oroville Dam independent review board releases first report

AB 1755 and the politics of California water data:  “Each year millions of us collect receipts, financial statements and a host of other documents required to file our taxes. Some receipts are paper, some are digital, some files we have, while others are sent to us by employers, and for many, figuring out where things are is an arduous process. Accessing water data in California can be similarly frustrating. It isn’t unusual for water data to be irrationally and incoherently distributed across a wide array of organizations and web portals, in different formats and with varying quality, spatial and temporal coverage, metadata standards, and so forth, making even basic analyses a challenge. In the bigger picture, this situation stymies effective integrated water management.  … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  AB 1755 and the politics of California water data

In commentary today …

Madam Chairwoman: Your plan does nothing for fish, plenty for LA, says Brian Raymond:  He writes, “Dear Chairwoman Marcus and members of the State Water Resources Control Board,  As a city councilman representing Atwater in Merced County, I have followed this issue (of unimpaired flows on the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers) closely and without rancor. But now it is time to get angry. I was ready to accept your Christmastime scheduling of hearings on the (state’s) plan because I knew there would be a tremendous community response. I did not support the oft-stated contention that it was set up to minimize our community’s contributions to the discussion. But I was wrong.  The hundreds of witnesses, the thousands of letters and petitions have all been dismissed by your board. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Madam Chairwoman: Your plan does nothing for fish, plenty for LA

Fires and sea levels point to climate change failure, says the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat:  They write, “California is on the front lines of climate change. If last year’s wildfires that devastated Sonoma County weren’t proof enough, check out the massive fires raging across the state this year. And yet the Trump administration is poised to roll back vehicle efficiency standards, including California’s. We’re having a tough time reining in emissions as it is.  As the skeptics are quick to point out, it’s hard to tie any one event to long-term, global climactic change. Fine. It’s also hard to ignore the trends and the evidence in front of one’s face. California for the past few years has suffered through hotter than average weather, drought and more weather extremes, precisely what to expect from climate change. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Fires and sea levels point to climate change failure

Improved ESA would work better for species, people:  “Congress and the Trump administration are considering ways to improve the federal Endangered Species Act—and the greatest opportunity to improve it in a long time may come from legislation in the U.S. Senate. To explain why, we need to go back to 1973.  In 1973, Congress passed the ESA with only four votes against the bill. President Nixon quickly signed the bill into law, stating the ESA “provides the federal government with needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our national heritage—threatened wildlife.” ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Improved ESA would work better for species, people

In regional news and commentary today …

Fire Safe Council will address Upper Feather River water plan for sustainability: “Butte County Fire Safe Council will hold a meeting Wednesday seeking to adopt The Upper Feather River Integrated Regional Water Management Plan.  According to the Upper Feather River Watershed web page it states the watershed extends from the California/Nevada border to Oroville Dam and from Mount Lassen to Sierra Valley.  The collective streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs of the watershed flow into Lake Oroville, which is the principle storage facility for the State Water Project that delivers water to approximately two-thirds of California’s population, the web page adds. … ”  Read more from the Paradise Post here:  Fire Safe Council will address Upper Feather River water plan for sustainability

Sacramento: Recycled water program receives $280 million in funding for agricultural irrigation:  “The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District has received $280 million in funding for a project to supply recycled wastewater to southern Sacramento County farms.  Funding for the project, known as the South County Ag Program, came from bonds issued under Proposition 1, a 2014 state ballot measure that raised $7.55 billion to fund water supply and infrastructure projects. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  Sacramento: Recycled water program receives $280 million in funding for agricultural irrigation

Soquel Creek Water District won’t wait for anyone:  “Bruce Daniels, board chair for the Soquel Creek Water District, remembers feeling “very surprised” five years ago this month.  That’s when he got a late-night heads-up about a big change afoot in regional water planning. The next day, on the morning of Aug. 19, 2013, then-Mayor Hilary Bryant and City Manager Martín Bernal jointly announced their intention to pull the plug on a planned desalination facility—one on which the city had collaborated with Soquel Creek Water District—for more than a decade.  This, of course, was not about pulling one over on the over-stressed mid-county water district or its drying groundwater basin underneath. … ”  Read more from Good Times Santa Cruz here:  Soquel Creek Water District won’t wait for anyone

Turlock: City moves forward with recycled water project:  “The Turlock City Council approved construction contracts for the Turlock portion of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project, which will see City of Turlock recycled water go to drought-stricken farmers in the county’s westside.  Members of the recycled water program broke ground two years ago on the first phase of the project that will see recycled water conveyed from Turlock and Modesto to the Delta-Mendota Canal for agricultural use by Del Puerto Water District. … “  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Turlock: City moves forward with recycled water project

Indian Wells Valley: Groundwater Authority policy, technical committees meet Thursday:The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s policy and technical advisory committees meet Thursday at the IWV Water District offices, 500 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. The TAC meets at 1 p.m. and the PAC at 6 p.m.  The PAC will review a technical advisory committee memo on recycled water for any policy-related issues. Recycled water is one of many studies the Groundwater Authority is considering as part of its groundwater sustainability plan, or GSP.  … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Groundwater Authority policy, technical committees meet Thursday

Water to begin flowing from Cachuma Lake on Monday to recharge groundwater:  “Water will soon be released into the Santa Ynez River from Cachuma Lake in response to the continued drought in the Santa Ynez watershed.  A Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District spokesman said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will start releasing water from Bradbury Dam at 8 a.m. Monday and continue for about three months.  A total of about 10,000 acre-feet of water is expected to be released. An acre-foot is roughly 326,000 gallons, or enough to meet the average yearly water needs of about six people in most urban settings. … ”  Read more from the Santa Ynez Valley News here:  Water to begin flowing from Cachuma Lake on Monday to recharge groundwater

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona: In the midst of a drought, there is no stopping farmers from dipping deep into wells:  “When she drives by the water wheels irrigating farms in the Red Lake area, Robin Hood wonders why Mohave County officials aren’t taking action to stop the waste.  The watering starts in the morning when temperatures are already in the 90s and it’s evaporating before it hits the ground, she said. Some of the tumbleweeds are taller than the orchard trees.  “Even when it’s raining, they’re watering,” said Hood, who lives off Stockton Hill Road on the way to Meadview. “They need to stop buying up land and planting trees because that’s our drinking water.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Miner here:  In the midst of a drought, there is no stopping farmers from dipping deep into wells

And lastly …

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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