DAILY DIGEST: San Diego County Water Authority conditionally backs Cal Water Fix; CalTech animation shows SoCal “breathing water”; New challenges to Californians’ beach access; Homeowners fined $1 million in seawall fight; and more …

In California water news today, San Diego County Water Authority conditionally backs $17B Delta tunnels plan; CalTech animation based on satellite data shows Southern California “breathing water”; New challenges to Californians’ beach access; Homeowners fined $1 million in seawall fight; Hundreds of abandoned boats create problem on the Delta; July 2018 warmest month in California history; and more …

In the news today …

San Diego County Water Authority votes to support $17B Water Fix proposal:  “The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors Thursday unanimously voted to support current plans for California WaterFix, the state’s $17 billion proposal to address water supply constraints in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.  The board’s backing is contingent on a financing plan that fairly allocates project costs to San Diego County taxpayers, according to the Water Authority. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the sole source of Bay-Delta water for the San Diego region, is responsible for such allocations. ... ”  Read more from Fox News 5 here:  San Diego County Water Authority votes to support $17B Water Fix proposal

San Diego County Water Authority conditionally backs $17B Delta tunnels plan:  “The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors gave conditional support Thursday to the California WaterFix, the state’s $17 billion plan to upgrade key water infrastructure.  San Diego joins the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles and Santa Clara County Water District in Silicon Valley in backing one Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature long-term projects.  The massive project would divert water from the Sacramento River as it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and carry it to existing federal and state pumping stations in the southern part of the delta through one or two 35-mile tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Times of San Diego here:  Water Authority conditionally backs $17B Delta tunnels plan

CalTech animation based on satellite data shows Southern California “breathing water”:  “Using an unprecedented number of satellite radar images, geophysicists at Caltech have tracked how the ground in Southern California rises and falls as groundwater is pumped in and out of aquifers beneath the surface.  Their findings are presented in a study that tracks deformation of the earth’s surface over an 18-year period. The work can be used by water management districts to assess the precise shape and size of aquifers and the impact of the region’s water use on those aquifers. The work also reveals what could be a previously unmapped fault running across northeast Orange County. … ”  Read more from Pasadena Now here:  CalTech animation based on satellite data shows Southern California “breathing water”

New challenges to Californians’ beach access:  “California legislators passed the California Coastal Act in 1976 as a way to protect the state’s famed shoreline and to enshrine beach access for all. But that landmark law has spawned a nearly five-decade-long tug-of-war between the state and private property owners. Now, two highly-publicized legal skirmishes — including one pending before the U.S. Supreme Court — have coastal advocates worried.  Santa Barbara native Joshua Brown practically grew up in the ocean waves here in California’s picturesque Santa Barbara County. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  New challenges to Californians’ beach access

Homeowners fined $1 million in seawall fight:  “The California Coastal Commission slapped a Laguna Beach homeowner with a $1 million fine Thursday for remodeling a pre-Coastal Act property in violation of a permit issued by the agency tasked with protecting California’s beaches.  The issue pitted the owners of a seaside mansion against members of the public who use a beach that is eroding at a higher rate because of a seawall. The property owners, Jeffrey and Tracy Katz, built the wall to protect their home from rising seas. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Homeowners fined $1 million in seawall fight

Hundreds of abandoned boats create problem on the Delta:  “The delta is filling up with abandoned boats and the cleanup is costly.  “Some of them are floating, some of them are sunk, some of them are partially sunk,” said Steve Hampton with California Department of Fish & Wildlife.  The pristine waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta are supposed to be an oasis for fish, waterfowl, and recreational boating. But now state officials say there’s a growing danger. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here:  Hundreds of abandoned boats create problem on the Delta

California court bans pesticide, says Trump Administration endangered public health:  “A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping a widely used pesticide on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  California court bans pesticide, says Trump Administration endangered public health

July 2018 warmest month in California history; unprecedented early-season wildfire activity continues:  “July 2018 was an extraordinary weather month across most of California. Early in the month, a searing heatwave brought all-time record heat to some locations in Southern California. While the truly extreme heat receded somewhat during the rest of the month, temperatures never cooled back to anywhere near average, and the past 3-4 weeks have been punctuated by heatwaves that have broken countless daily temperature records. Interestingly, a number of more “subtle” temperature records have fallen this July, with all-time record warm overnight temperatures occurring across a majority of the state and “consecutive 100+ degree day” records falling through parts of the Central Valley. Death Valley apparently recorded the warmest single month officially recorded anywhere on Earth. ... ”  Read more from the California Weather Blog here:  July 2018 warmest month in California history; unprecedented early-season wildfire activity continues

In commentary today …

Trump hates this fish:  Robert Gebelhoff writes,The delta smelt is a rather unimpressive fish that lives in the San Francisco estuary and measures about three inches long. Typically, its most menacing predators are larger, nonnative fish, such as the striped bass and largemouth bass.  But today, it has a more dangerous enemy: Trumpus presidenticus. ... ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  Trump hates this fish

Trump is wrong about California’s wildfires, but right about its water, says Scott Moore:  He writes, “Last week, as California recorded its largest-ever wildfire, President Trump tweeted that it was “magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized.” The president was dead wrong about the link between environmental laws and wildfires –—they have virtually nothing to do with each other — but he does have a point about how poorly we use our water. Unless we do something about it, the consequences could be dire.  … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Trump is wrong about California’s wildfires, but right about its water

Water efficiency is a good business proposition, says Mary Ann Dickinson:  She writes, “When you think about dry cleaning, water might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but Sharon Sargeant of Bud’s Cleaners in Roseville says that water is one of their largest costs. “Of course, we use it in the laundry,” she said. “But most of the water we use is actually to cool our dry-cleaning machine, which is about the size of a Volkswagen.”  When the city of Roseville’s water conservation team contacted Bud’s in 2015 to investigate a sudden spike in its water use, they found that the water chiller used to cool Bud’s dry-cleaning machine could be upgraded with a high-efficiency model that recycles water. The new equipment spurred a dramatic drop in water use — about 85 percent or 3.6 million gallons annually —in addition to providing a 48 percent savings in their water, sewer and energy costs. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Business Journal here:  Water efficiency is a good business proposition

Discovery Bay under attack, says Jan McCleery:  She writes, “The community of Discovery Bay has been battling the state over the Delta Tunnels that would wreak havoc with the Discovery Bay. We have fought hard. We are winning and feel confident that we can stop the tunnels!   Now we feel we are under a new attack when Contra Costa County, in an abundance of caution, sends out a general warning: “Stay out of the water in Discovery Bay.”  … ”  Read more from The Press here:  Discovery Bay under attack

In regional news and commentary today …

Napa to earn $1 million by selling off surplus state water reserves:  “A bounty of state-supplied water reserved for Napa will provide the city with $1.06 million to keep its water treatment and pipes in shape.  Six thousand acre-feet of Napa’s allotment with the State Water Project – which channels Sierra Nevada snowmelt to cities across California – will be transferred to the Kern County Water Agency in the southern Central Valley, in a deal the City Council approved Tuesday. Kern County also agreed to return a third of that share to Napa within 10 years. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Napa to earn $1 million by selling off surplus state water reserves

Forum: Pure Water Monterey expansion as possible Cal Am desal back-up plan:  “With a key decision time approaching for California American Water’s desalination project, local activist group Public Water Now is hosting a forum next week aimed at exploring the potential for an expanded Pure Water Monterey recycled water project that could potentially replace the desal project if it falters or is delayed, perhaps by litigation.  Set for Tuesday, the forum will feature Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto, whose agency is in the midst of building the Pure Water Monterey project and has developed an expansion proposal in response to a request by the California Public Utilities Commission and Planning and Conservation League executive director Jonas Minton, who has been one of the leaders among those calling for exploring an alternative water supply plan based on recycled water expansion in case Cal Am’s desal project is delayed with a series of Carmel River cutback order milestones rapidly approaching. … ”  Continue reading at the Monterey Herald here:  Forum: Pure Water Monterey expansion as possible Cal Am desal back-up plan

Santa Maria:  Watching our water disappear:  The Santa Maria Times writes,The annual drawdown of Cachuma Lake to help virtually all water users along the Santa Ynez watershed has begun.  The release started last Monday at Bradbury Dam, and is expected to continue for about three months.  Over that period, a total of about 10,000 acre-feet of water is expected to be released. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, or enough to meet the needs of the average annual water requirements for about six people in normal urban settings. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  Watching our water disappear

In yearslong drought, lake at record lows, Casitas water district to search for new leader:  “The district that manages a drought-stressed Lake Casitas will be looking for a new leader.  General Manager Steve Wickstrum announced Wednesday that he will retire Aug. 31 after 34½ years working at the Casitas Municipal Water District.  At a board meeting, Wickstrum lauded staff and talked about some of the accomplishments the district has achieved, including its response to past emergencies and water treatment projects.  He also spoke of the one milestone he had hoped to see while still in the post. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  In yearslong drought, lake at record lows, Casitas water district to search for new leader

Santa Clarita Valley Water files lawsuit against Whittaker Corporation:  “SCV Water filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Whittaker Corporation, seeking to cover the cost of removing two harmful contaminants — volatile organic compounds and perchlorate — from the Santa Clarita Valley groundwater basin.  The suit was filed in the U.S. Central District Court of California, comes ahead of just months ahead of when Whittaker claims it will be.  “Despite the recent news accounts and public relations charm campaign to depict the Whittaker site cleanup as ‘nearly complete,’ the legacy of their historic contamination of the community’s groundwater basin remains to be fully addressed,” said Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water, in a prepared statement Thursday. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Santa Clarita Valley Water files lawsuit against Whittaker Corporation

Along the Colorado River …

Want water?  Arizona Supreme Court clears way for desert housing project:  “A proposed desert housing development opponents fear will drain the last free-flowing river in Southern Arizona can be move forward, as the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the developer has sufficiently proven it can provide a long-term water supply.  The nearly 7,000-home Tribute Master Planned Community development is set to be built in Sierra Vista, about five miles from the San Pedro River. Water for the development will be provided by the Pueblo Del Sol Water Company, which got its permit from the Arizona Department of Water Resources in 2013. … ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Want water?  Arizona Supreme Court clears way for desert housing project

Colorado Western Slope pursues water ‘risk study’ without state funds:  “Two Western Slope water conservation districts are moving forward with the third phase of a “risk study” exploring how much water might be available to bolster water levels in Lake Powell, and they are doing so without state funding to avoid Front Range opposition to the study.  Lake Powell today is half full and dropping and water managers say several more years like 2018 could drain the reservoir, which today contains 12.3 million acre-feet of water. And the looming water shortage is revealing lingering east-west tensions among Colorado’s water interests. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Colorado Western Slope pursues water ‘risk study’ without state funds

New Leader Takes Over as the Upper Colorado River Commission Grapples With Less Water and a Drier Climate:  “Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin. Those challenges include a drier climate and less water for the Colorado River, drought planning and tribal water rights among Native Americans and their impact throughout the Colorado River Basin. Haas talked with Western Water’s Gary Pitzer about the Upper Basin’s challenges and what’s ahead for the four Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.” Read more from Western Water here:  New Leader Takes Over as the Upper Colorado River Commission Grapples With Less Water and a Drier Climate

 

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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