DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Navy failed to warn San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show; Who owns the aquifer? Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights; Record heat in California is no fluke, experts warn; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Navy failed to warn San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show; Feds protest California water changes; Who owns the aquifer? Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights; A vicious climate cycle: Droughts are becoming hotter, raising risk of wildfire, scientists say; Record heat in California is no fluke, experts warn; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Navy failed to warn San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show:  “The U.S. Navy knew as far back as 1993 that the tap water at its former shipyard in San Francisco contained dangerous amounts of lead, but didn’t tell local officials, visitors or people who worked there, including hundreds of police employees stationed at the site since 1997.  Documents obtained by The Chronicle show how the Navy has sometimes kept other government agencies and the public in the dark about hazards at the old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a sprawling Superfund waste site contaminated with radioactivity and industrial pollutants. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Navy failed to warn San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show

Feds protest California water changes:  “The U.S. Secretary of the Interior issued a stern warning to the State Water Resources Control Board over proposed amendments to water use and quality in the Stanislaus River, the Lower San Joaquin River and the Delta.  On July 6, the board released a final draft of amendments to its water control and flow requirement policies. The board is recommending allowing less water to be diverted from the Lower San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers to better protect fish and wildlife. It also calls for allowing slightly higher salinity levels in the Delta from April through August to match levels allowed the other months of the year. … ”  Read more from the Tracy Press here:  Feds protest California water changes

Who owns the aquifer?  Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights – and opportunities for better freshwater management:  “California’s Coachella Valley may be ground zero for a new chapter in water rights for Native American tribes, according to a new Stanford study published in the journal Science.  Better known for lush golf courses, glittering pools, a popular music festival and temperatures topping 120 degrees, this inland desert is also home to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which has fought since 2013 for federal courts to affirm its right to groundwater beneath its reservation. Lower courts ruled in the tribe’s favor, and in late 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal. … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights – and opportunities for better freshwater management

A vicious climate cycle:  Droughts are becoming hotter, raising risk of wildfire, scientists say:  “Droughts don’t just make a place drier. As new research shows, they also make it hotter.  A team from UC Irvine that compared temperature changes across the U.S. found that temperatures rise faster in places under drought conditions than they do in places with average climates. This relationship could also raise the risk of concurrent heatwaves and wildfires, the researchers say. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  A vicious climate cycle:  Droughts are becoming hotter, raising risk of wildfire, scientists say

Record heat in California is no fluke, experts warn:  “At Scripps Pier in San Diego, the surface water reached the highest temperature in 102 years of records, 78.8 degrees.  Palm Springs had its warmest July on record, with an average of 97.4 degrees. Death Valley experienced its hottest month on record, with the average temperature hitting 108.1. Park rangers said the heat was too much for some typically hardy birds that died in the broiling conditions.  Across California, the nighttime brought little relief, recording the highest minimum temperature statewide of any month since 1895, rising to 64.9. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Record heat in California is no fluke, experts warn

In commentary this weekend …

California salmon industry fears it will be wiped out by Trump:  Michael Hiltzik writes, “Heather Sears has been fishing for salmon out of this unassuming coastal community for nearly two decades. This year, for the first time since she arrived in 1999, she won’t be going out to sea.  “I just didn’t think we’d have much fish this year,” she was telling me in a chilly backroom of her newly opened fish market on the Noyo River, Fort Bragg’s marine thoroughfare. As she spoke, she expertly sliced into triangular fillets ideal for sashimi a 90-pound albacore that a tuna boat had caught off Hawaii and delivered to her fish market. But what was on her mind was the threat to the industry she had grown up in. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  California salmon industry fears it will be wiped out by Trump

Counting casualties as state weaponizes ‘combat science’:  Mike Dunbar writes,Up in Sacramento, they call it “combat science.” Most forms of combat leave casualties behind. If the State Water Resources Control Board gets its way, we are those casualties.  The water board is making some wrongheaded demands for increased flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. In what the board insists is an effort to save salmon and flush the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, it is demanding 40 to 50 percent of our rivers flow unimpeded to the ocean. That’s more than double what flows away now.  Our rivers supply drinking water for Manteca, Modesto and 23 Bay Area cities; they provide water for crops grown by thousands of farmers, feeding millions of people. They sustain life in our Valley. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Counting casualties as state weaponizes ‘combat science’

California’s leaky bucket theory of public improvement: Jon Coupal writes,Unfortunately, Californians have come to expect significant levels of waste and incompetence when it comes to government programs. Just last week, we learned that the “new” $290 million computer system for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration — in the works for over a decade — was having significant problems with tax filers trying to submit their quarterly returns. Despite California being home to Silicon Valley and the best high-tech minds on the planet, the State of California has a sorry history of failure when implementing big computer projects.  Although Will Rogers famously said it’s good that we don’t get all the government we pay for, Californians surely want more value for the outrageous level of taxation under which they are burdened. Other states provide better and higher levels of public service with much smaller tax burdens. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  California’s leaky bucket theory of public improvement

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Land managers have big ideas for Sonoma Creek Baylands:  “The San Pablo Bay comprises the north end of the larger San Francisco Bay and its shores reach three North Bay counties.  From the top of a hill near the Sonoma Raceway and overlooking Sonoma Creek, you can get a good look at this vast body of water and what’s left of its surrounding wetlands. Julian Meisler, with the Sonoma Land Trust, says this area used to be an expanse of tidal wetlands.  “If you came here 150 years ago this would have been tidal marsh and open water,” says Meisler. “You might have seen bears, eagles, salmon and steelhead swimming up Sonoma Creek.” ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Land managers have big ideas for Sonoma Creek Baylands

East Palo Alto approves new developments water fee:  “Commercial and residential developers seeking to build in East Palo Alto will have to pay a water-capacity fee for new projects, the City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night.  The fee would help the city repay $5 million in loans the city received to purchase water allotments from the city of Mountain View in 2017 and to rebuild and upgrade the city’s aging water-delivery infrastructure. ... ”  Read more from Palo Alto Online here:  East Palo Alto approves new developments water fee

Kings River agency joins coalition to fight state water plan:  “The Kings River East Groundwater Sustainability Agency, the governing board that oversees water use in Dinuba and surrounding areas, has joined forces with a large group of agencies and organizations to fight the recently released plan by the California State Water Board.  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 today to renew efforts for voluntary agreements with affected water users. … ”  Read more from the Dinuba Sentinel here:  Kings River agency joins coalition to fight state water plan

NDAA includes provision to benefit China Lake water, energy security:  “With the National Defense Authorization Act sitting on President Donald Trump’s desk, a key component that benefits Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the surrounding area as a whole could be signed into law as late as next week.  The U.S. Senate passed the NDAA — the military’s budget for the next year — on Wednesday.  The provision, spearheaded by Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Paul Cook, will guarantee that China Lake will retain 50 percent of the revenue generated from Coso Geothermal’s electricity sales. Those funds will be utilized for installation-related energy or water security initiatives. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  NDAA includes provision to benefit China Lake water, energy security

Nacimiento water group planning lawsuit:  “Concerned Nacimiento residents are worried about the amount of water being released from the lake and are exploring their legal options.  The Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee (NRWMAC) created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $100,000 to cover ongoing legal costs. In three weeks, the group has received $42,000 from more than 200 people.  NRWMAC is raising money to take legal action against Monterey County — which they claim is letting too much water out and as a result is hurting recreation. ... ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Press here:  Nacimiento water group planning lawsuit

Indian Wells Valley Water District retains two members:  “The Indian Wells Valley Water District on Tuesday returned board members Peter Brown and Chuck Griffin to the IWV Groundwater Authority board as its primary and alternate representatives, respectively.  The decision to return Brown, who was appointed shortly after the Groundwater Authority’s formation, was unanimous. Terms are two years, or at the discretion of the Water District board.  Board member Don Cortichiato noted that Brown “has put up an awful lot of time, understands the issues and, occasionally, can be very vocal.”  The choice to appoint an alternate, on the other hand, bore more discussion. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Water District retains two members

Ventura County: Securing a reliable future:  Steve Blois writes,The imported water that keeps most of Ventura County running comes from one main source — Northern California. It is delivered to us through the State Water Project.  Protecting our supply — and our economy — means modernizing the heart of this delivery system hundreds of miles away in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The state is on the verge of doing so with a project known as California WaterFix, with Ventura County securing an important role in managing its construction. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  Ventura County: Securing a reliable future

San Diego: Judge clears Water Authority delegates to keep meeting in private:  “A judge has ruled in favor of the San Diego County Water Authority, dismissing a lawsuit by an open government group that wanted the agency to hold certain gatherings of its board members in public.  The water authority sends delegates to the Metropolitan Water District, a large regional organization based in Los Angeles. The San Diego water authority delegates meet regularly with no public notice or access — a situation challenged by attorney Cory Briggs in a lawsuit in June 2017. He cited the state’s open meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Judge clears Water Authority delegates to keep meeting in private

Historic water deal provides less expensive, more reliable supplies for San Diego, says Mark Muir:  He writes, “A historic achievement for the San Diego region passed almost unnoticed when the San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors adopted new wholesale water rates in late June.  The rate-setting process highlighted how the Water Authority’s independent water supplies from the Colorado River are now both less expensive and more reliable than supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It’s an accomplishment that the region’s water officials started working toward two decades ago, and one that will bear fruit for decades to come. ... ”  Read more from San Diego Downtown News here:  Historic water deal provides less expensive, more reliable supplies

Along the Colorado River …

Survival of North America’s desert wetlands depends on Lake Mead:  “La Cienega de Santa Clara, sitting at the edge of the Sonoran Desert in northwestern Mexico, appears like a mirage. Lagoons filled with cattails are a balm to dry eyes after a dusty, hourlong ride from the U.S.-Mexico border.  Fed by water draining from farms in the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District in Arizona, the Cienega—created by an engineering accident in the late 1970s—is the largest brackish water marsh in the Colorado River region, spanning about 40,000 acres.  North of the lagoon is the Salton Sea, which also relies on drain water from California farms in the Imperial Irrigation District.  Now these wetlands, as well as the hundreds of species of birds and fish that live in them, may be at risk. ... ”  Continue reading at Bloomberg here:  Survival of North America’s desert wetlands depends on Lake Mead

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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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