DAILY DIGEST: In the California desert, a farm baron is building a water and energy empire; Deeply Talks: Water Conservation and Efficiency Challenges; Butte DA jumps another hurdle for Oroville Dam lawsuit against DWR; and more …

In California water news today, In the California desert, a farm baron is building a water and energy empire; Deeply Talks: Water Conservation and Efficiency Challenges; Here’s what you should know about the state water plan; 2017 was one of the hottest on record; Butte DA jumps another hurdle for Oroville Dam lawsuit against DWR; and more …

On the calendar today …

 

In the news today …

In the California desert, a farm baron is building a water and energy empire:  “Far from the highways of Los Angeles and the shipyards of San Diego, in California’s southeastern corner, nearly half a million acres of lush green farmland unfold in the middle of the bone-dry Sonoran Desert. Sprawling fields of lettuce and sugar beets and onions, irrigated by water from the Colorado River, brush up against the U.S-Mexico border in a region once known as the Valley of Death but today called the Imperial Valley.  A few hundred landowning families dominate the Imperial Valley and its lucrative agriculture industry, which produces much of America’s winter vegetables. The valley is one of California’s most impoverished areas, with a stark divide between the mostly white landowners and the mostly Latino farmworkers who labor in their fields.  Even among the landowning elite, Mike Abatti stands out. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  In the California desert, a farm baron is building a water and energy empire

Deeply Talks: Water Conservation and Efficiency Challenges:  “In this month’s episode of Deeply Talks, Water Deeply managing editor Tara Lohan discussed California’s statewide and local conservation and efficiency efforts with Cynthia Koehler, cofounder and executive director at WaterNow Alliance, and Erik Porse, a research engineer in the Office of Water Programs at California State University, Sacramento.  California’s recent statewide regulations, Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668, which aim to boost California’s water efficiency, are often misunderstood. Despite what you may have heard, it is not illegal to shower and do laundry on the same day. Koehler provided some historical context for the regulations, which are part of Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order aimed at making water conservation “a California way of life.” ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Deeply Talks: Water Conservation and Efficiency Challenges

Here’s what you should know about the state water plan:  “Many farmers are caught in a battle over the State Water Resources Control Board’s final Bay Delta Plan, released in early July, which proposes that dams release 40 percent of the natural flows in rivers to benefit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from February through June. Water shortages are the primary threat to agriculture in Merced, Stanislaus, and southern San Joaquin County.  “This has been falsely portrayed as a choice between agriculture and salmon. We can have both,” said Mike Jensen, spokesman for the Merced Irrigation District. “Further, this is about an entire community – from our water supply and water quality to the local environment and our economy.”  What follows is important information on questions posed by readers about elements of the water board plan ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Here’s what you should know about the state water plan

2017 was one of the hottest on record:  “NOAA has released the latest State of the Climate report, its annual checkup on our planet.  So, how did Earth fare in 2017?  Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: highest concentrations ever. Global surface temperature: near-record high. Sea surface temperature: near-record high. Global sea level: highest on record.  Warm global temperatures have been a strong trend in recent years: the four warmest years on record all occurred since 2014, and last year was among them. In fact, 2017 was the warmest non-El Niño year ever recorded. … ”  Read more from NPR here:  2017 was one of the hottest on record

In regional news and commentary today …

Cattle revenues dip 50 percent; Klamath irrigators share concerns with commissioners:  “Several Upper Basin irrigators shared concerns with Klamath County Commissioners on Wednesday about the approximate 50 percent loss in cattle revenue in the region, a dive that irrigators link to a call on water by the Klamath Tribes, validated by Oregon Water Resources Department.  The Klamath Tribes, which have a senior water right, made the call on March 8. Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), using water gauges in the Wood River to monitor flows, validated the request in April.  Some of the concerns shared by irrigators include no stockwater delivery for Modoc Point irrigators. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Cattle revenues dip 50 percent; Klamath irrigators share concerns with commissioners

Butte DA jumps another hurdle for Oroville Dam lawsuit against DWR:  “Another attempt by the state Department of Water Resources to have the Butte County District Attorney’s lawsuit against the department thrown out was thwarted Friday.  The civil suit stem from the Oroville Dam crisis and the alleged 3.4 billion to 5.1 billion pounds of debris which fell from the collapsing spillway into the Feather River in February 2017. The district attorney is prosecuting under an 1875 law which could result in up to $51 billion in damages.  As a first defense, DWR filed a demurrer, which is essentially a plea to have a case dismissed, with the Butte County Superior Court and that demurrer was overruled by a judge on May 31. DWR then filed a petition against the ruling, and that petition was denied Friday by the Third District Court of Appeal. ... ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Butte DA jumps another hurdle for Oroville Dam lawsuit against DWR

Petersen Ranch riparian project part of Prop 1 grant awards:  “The Solano County Resource Conservation District this week received $444,796 in Proposition 1 funding through the Delta Conservancy to continue work on a project to restore riparian habitat and water quality on farmland along Lindsey Slough.  The Petersen Ranch Working Waterway Habitat Enhancement Project is designed to restore about 13.5 acres of riparian habitat. Additionally, the program is designed to enhance water quality by implementing improved cattle management practices on approximately 525 acres of farmland. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here:  Petersen Ranch riparian project part of Prop 1 grant awards

As Soquel wastewater treatment plant study end draws near, public plies district with questions:  “Soquel resident Wayne Stanton wants to know how long it will be before he can go back to having lawns and vegetable gardens.  Stanton was one of a handful of community members on Tuesday at Twin Lakes Church to take up Soquel Creek Water District on their offer to comments on and question a draft environmental study for its proposed Pure Water Soquel project. The water district is in the midst of studying potential impacts of building a new treatment plant that would pump purified wastewater into the area’s groundwater basins. The report highlights treatment plant construction noise, plus well pumping during operations, as the project’s only major environmental impact for which mitigation measures cannot counteract. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  As Soquel wastewater treatment plant study end draws near, public plies district with questions

River Islands keeps water while Manteca may sell water:  “Allan Chapman has an astute understanding of California water.  Ironically, he happens to live 5,300 miles away from the Delta that serves as ground zero of the water wars that have been raging non-stop for the past 170 years.  He directs Somerston Group that has been around almost as long as California’s water wars. One of the company’s wholly owned subsidiaries is Cambay Group. They were the developers of the 11,000-home Dougherty Valley project in San Ramon and are now building the 11,000-home River Islands at Lathrop planned community. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  River Islands keeps water while Manteca may sell water

Deadly Dennett Dam, intended to create a serene Lake Modesto, will finally be removed:  “An eyesore and hazard along the Tuolumne River in Modesto soon will be gone.  Work started this week on the removal of the remnants of Dennett Dam, a roughly $1.6 million project that is a partnership between the city and the Tuolumne River Trust.  The tiny dam — which is near the Ninth Street Bridge — impedes fish and people who canoe and kayak along the river. It also has been the site of three drownings since 2006. Trust Executive Director Patrick Koepele said the water flowing over the dam can create a whirlpool that pulls swimmers down into a hole created by the falling water. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Deadly Dennett Dam, intended to create a serene Lake Modesto, will finally be removed

Groundwater in the Cuyama Valley:  ” … In 2014, state lawmakers passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA. It changed everything about how groundwater will be used in the future. But will it work?  Jeremy P. Jacobs is a reporter for E&E News. That’s a non-partisan news service based in Washington DC. Jacobs is one of the news service’s California-based reporters. He recently took a close look at the Cuyama Valley, on the Central Coast. Jacobs wrote about what he found in an article that appeared in Greenwire, a publication of E&E News. His article is part of a series called “When The Wells Run Dry.”  KCBX News spoke with Jacobs about his reporting in the Cuyama Valley, and started by asking him how he got interested in groundwater—and in that particular place. … ”  Read more from KCBX here:  Groundwater in the Cuyama Valley

Indian Wells Valley Water District discusses future role with Groundwater Authority:  “When the Indian Wells Valley Water District board of directors held its midyear workshop on Tuesday, one topic took center stage: its role in the IWV Groundwater Authority.  The Water District stands poised to take over leadership of the Groundwater Authority board and general manager in January. Leadership rotates among three of the five member agencies, known as “The Big Three” — the City of Ridgecrest, Kern County, and the Water District.  “Hopefully we will have an opportunity to move ahead in the direction we all see as working for the ratepayers and the district,” said board president Ron Kicinski. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Water District discusses future role with Groundwater Authority

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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