DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Rally against flow plan set for Monday in Sacramento; Feds settle lawsuit over ‘wild and scenic’ rivers; Fire rained down ash on Redding; now a race to protect salmon and water supply; Nevada rejects applications to pump rural water to Las Vegas; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Why San Francisco is joining Valley farmers in a fight over precious California water; Stanislaus, Merced County opponents gear for water rally at Capitol on Monday; Federal government settles lawsuit over ‘wild and scenic’ rivers; Fire rained down ash on Redding. Now a race to protect salmon and water supply; Other woes may distract California voters on the environment; Restored wetlands could lower local surface water temperatures; State of Nevada rejects applications to pump rural Nevada water to Las Vegas; Arizona water bank started as a safeguard against California; and more …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

In the news this weekend …

Why San Francisco is joining Valley farmers in a fight over precious California water:  “Originating in a glacier at the eastern edge of Yosemite, the Tuolumne River runs into a man-made roadblock in the towering granite cliffs of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. A massive concrete dam captures its icy water and ships much of it through pipes and tunnels to the residents of San Francisco.  Further downstream, the Tuolumne is halted again, this time by a dam in the oak-covered Sierra foothills. From there, a network of canals spreads the Tuolumne’s waters over mile after mile of rich San Joaquin Valley vineyards, orchards and dairy farms.  The meager amounts left in the river to flow to the Pacific — some years, as little as 11 percent of what would have been its natural flow — must sustain a population of salmon and steelhead plummeting toward extinction. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Why San Francisco is joining Valley farmers in a fight over precious California water

Stanislaus, Merced County opponents gear for water rally at Capitol on Monday:  “Opponents of a state “water grab” are taking their political battle to the steps of the state Capitol building in Sacramento on Monday.  From 500 to 1,000 people are expected at a rally to protest a state water board plan to double the amount of water taken from the Tuolumne River to improve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta and restore fish populations.  The plan, also to take additional water from the Stanislaus and Merced rivers, is opposed by irrigation districts and cities that predict devastating effects on agriculture and the economy in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The noon rally is expected to draw busloads of people from the Modesto and Merced areas, but organizers also have heard from folks in Tulare and the Sacramento Valley who want to attend. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus, Merced County opponents gear for water rally at Capitol on Monday

Legislators, community members to rally against state water plan:  “Farmers, laborers, students, citizens and even lawmakers opposed to a plan they believe will disrupt Northern California’s water supply plan to demonstrate on the steps of the State Capitol next week, urging the State Water Resources Control Board to reject the proposal that would cut water use for the benefit of fish and wildlife.  Despite vehement opposition from a broad coalition of local governments and organizations, the water board in July released its third and final draft of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan update, which calls for allocation of 40 percent of unimpaired flows along the lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries — the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers — to help rehabilitate the area’s native fish species. ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Legislators, community members to rally against state water plan

California water wars: State plans to cut SF’s Sierra supply to save the Delta:  “The cold, rushing water of the Tuolumne River, piped from the high peaks of Yosemite to the taps of Bay Area residents, is not only among the nation’s most pristine municipal water sources but extraordinarily plentiful.  This point of pride for San Francisco, which has maintained rights to the cherished Sierra supply since the early 1900s, is being threatened, however. Under a far-reaching state plan to bump up flows in California’s rivers, the city would be forced to limit its draws from the Tuolumne for the first time in recent memory. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  California water wars: State plans to cut SF’s Sierra supply to save the Delta

Heated battle, proposal aims to divert water from several rivers to help restore fish habitat: “From the farm to the packing factory, Bob Weimer grows several different crops, but sweet potatoes are what helps put food on his table.  He hires dozens of people to help him harvest.  However, he says the State Water Board’s Bay Delta Conservation plan could mean less water for farmers, which could mean he will have to let go of some his employees.  “If we start to drop acreage out, we’re going to drop jobs down,” said Weimer. ... ”  Read more from KFSN here:  Heated battle, proposal aims to divert water from several rivers to help restore fish habitat

Fire rained down ash on Redding.  Now a race to protect salmon and water supply:  “Employees of two Redding-area water treatment plants didn’t flee as flames surrounded their pump stations, tucked in the forests wrecked by the Carr Fire.  They trained firehoses and sprinklers on the buildings and kept working. If they stopped, so could the flow of water for firefighters brawling the blaze.  If you ask Steve Watson, a senior sanitary engineer for the California State Water Resources Control Board, that makes employees of Redding and Shasta’s water treatment plants the “unsung heroes” in a fire narrative overflowing with them. Conrad Tona, the public works supervisor for Redding’s water department, is more modest about it. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here:  Fire rained down ash on Redding.  Now a race to protect salmon and water supply

Federal government settles lawsuit over ‘wild and scenic’ rivers:  “Under a new legal settlement, the federal government has agreed to present plans to protect eight California rivers and streams that Congress designated years ago as “wild and scenic” rivers.  The agreement ends a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued in March to demand President Donald Trump’s administration develop plans for the rivers.   Under the settlement, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will be required to finish management plans to protect the rivers and streams by 2024. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Federal government settles lawsuit over ‘wild and scenic’ rivers

Feds settle to protect eight California rivers:  “A federal judge in Los Angeles approved a settlement Friday requiring the Trump administration to prepare and implement plans to protect eight “wild and scenic” rivers in Southern California.  The settlement comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity on March 27, which claimed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S Forest Service violated a 1968 federal law protecting the “natural condition” of wild rivers by delaying management and protection plans. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here:  Feds settle to protect eight California rivers

Other woes may distract California voters on the environment:  “In the upcoming election, Californians must confront a panoply of issues affecting the state: the homelessness epidemic and affordable housing, immigration, transportation and a tempestuous relationship with the Trump administration. But where does the environment fit into the glut of issues facing the state and its electorate? … ”  Read more from Courthouse News here:  Other woes may distract California voters on the environment

Restored wetlands could lower local surface water temperatures:  “ … The [Delta’s] role as a central hub of California’s water supply has led to decades of challenges and legal controversy over land use in the delta, but today, restoration efforts are under way to restore wetlands in parts of the 2,800-square-kilometer delta. These restoration efforts provide a unique opportunity to study the climate effects of this land use transition.  Previous research has suggested that wetland restoration efforts could help mitigate the effects of climate change. However, most prior studies have focused on changes in greenhouse gas flux resulting from such efforts while neglecting biophysical impacts, such as changes in heat exchange with the atmosphere and changes in reflectance of solar radiation. ... ” Read more from EOS here:  Restored wetlands could lower local surface water temperatures

New algorithm provides real-time monitoring of groundwater pollutants:  “A team of researchers has developed a new, low-cost method for continuous, real-time monitoring of groundwater pollution. The development could provide a critical boost for “green” remediation efforts that reduce groundwater contamination without adversely affecting the surrounding environment.  The study, entitled “In Situ Monitoring of Groundwater Contamination Using the Kalman Filter,” is the result of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is run by the University of California, and the Savannah River National Laboratory. … ”  Read more from the University Network here:  New algorithm provides real-time monitoring of groundwater pollutants

In commentary this weekend …

The twin tunnels are best water fix for California, says Charles Wilson, Tracy Hernandez, and John Hakel:  They write, “Let’s start with this: California WaterFix, Gov. Brown’s $17 billion twin-tunnels project, is the best and most affordable long-term solution to our great state’s water woes. If we’re going to call it a time machine, we should acknowledge it will transport us to a brighter future, where there’s clean, reliable water for generations to come.  The boondoggle rhetoric that has recently appeared in these pages is classic political redirection. Opponents have been serving up nonsense for more than a decade in hopes of derailing California WaterFix. To correct the record and do Californians the justice of having all the facts, we must assert that WaterFix is only one component — albeit necessary and prudent — of the state’s critical State Water Project infrastructure. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  The twin tunnels are best water fix for California

South San Joaquin mayors warn state water plan will hurt our communities:  “As mayors from Escalon, Lathrop, Manteca, Ripon and Tracy representing more than 210,000 residents in southern San Joaquin County, we cannot sit idly by while the state attempts to unfairly steal our region’s water supplies away from the Stanislaus River and other tributaries to the San Joaquin River. If you are a resident of our communities, you should be very concerned about what the State Water Resources Control Board wants to do. Here’s why:  The state plans to flow billions of gallons more water each year down local rivers and out of the hands of locally responsible irrigation and water districts. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  South San Joaquin mayors warn state water plan will hurt our communities

Water fight is a fight we must win, but it’s not a fight to the death, says Mike Dunbar: Patrick Koepele is a hero. Coming from someone who resolutely disagrees with much of what Koepele is trying to accomplish on the Tuolumne River, that statement might be surprising. But it’s true.  Koepele is executive director of the Tuolumne River Trust, one of the consortium of environmental organizations demanding that flows on the three main tributaries of the San Joaquin River be dramatically increased to benefit salmon. We agree salmon need help, but we vehemently disagree over how it should be done.  Like state regulators who often travel in lockstep with professional environmentalists, Koepele believes almost exclusively in letting more water flow down the rivers to the ocean. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Water fight is a fight we must win, but it’s not a fight to the death

Sacramento’s new way to tax the water you drink:  Susan Shelley writes,Another new tax is headed for your water bill, as if it wasn’t high enough already.  Gov. Jerry Brown has been trying to push through a statewide tax on drinking water, the first ever in California history, and as you might imagine, it has been a challenge for him.  People are fed up with new taxes. That was demonstrated very convincingly in the June recall of state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton.  All the political tricks that were employed to save him — delaying the election, allowing voters to withdraw their signatures on petitions, lifting the cap on campaign contributions from other politicians — failed to prevent voters from firing the politician who cast a critical vote in favor of a huge increase in gas and car taxes. … ” Read more from the Daily Breeze here:  Sacramento’s new way to tax the water you drink

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Mendo County stakeholders want to take over the Potter Valley Project; Local enviros say that spells trouble:  “Pacific Gas & Electric has owned and operated the 110-year-old Potter Valley Project since 1930, the heyday of hydroelectric dams in the United States. But now, almost a century later, demand for electricity is down, the project is no longer cost-effective, and PG&E wants out.  In May the utility company announced plans to auction off the Potter Valley Project. The auction process is scheduled to begin Sept. 3. However, PG&E also indicated that it’s open to negotiating with interested parties before the auction, and on July 31 a group of Mendocino County government interests, united as the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC), sent PG&E a letter, initiating a discussion about simply transferring the project, rather than holding an auction. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here:  Mendo County stakeholders want to take over the Potter Valley Project; Local enviros say that spells trouble

City of Santa Cruz finalizes updated climate adaptation plan:  “Santa Cruz’s main beaches, which rake in a projected $56 million in tourism each year, will be reclaimed by the Pacific by the year 2100, according to a preliminary assessment under review by the city.  Sustainability and Climate Action Manager Tiffany Wise-West has presented findings from Santa Cruz’s Climate Adaptation Plan Update — which projects the impacts of rising sea levels on coastal erosion, creeping shorelines and storm-induced flooding — to more than 600 residents in the past nine months. The update, which Wise-West will bring to Santa Cruz City Council for approval in October, identifies the neighborhoods most vulnerable to climate hazards. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  City of Santa Cruz finalizes updated climate adaptation plan

Monterey One Water celebrates 20 years of recycled water production for the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project:  “Monterey One Water celebrated 20 years of recycled water production for the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project at the North County Recreation District headquarters in Castroville on Friday.  The project has delivered over 80 billion gallons of recycled water through the Salinas Valley Reclamation Project and a 45-mile distribution system known as the “purple pipe” since it began serving 12,000 acres of farmland in northern Monterey County in April 1998. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Monterey One Water celebrates 20 years of recycled water production for the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project

Denham brings Ag Secretary to California for town hall, tour with Central Valley producers:  “U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Aug. 14 met with local growers and stakeholders during a Modesto, Calif., town hall meeting to learn about critical issues facing Central Valley farmers.  Responding to an invite by Rep. Denham, the secretary’s attendance at the event and subsequent local tour complimented the congressman’s ongoing efforts to stop contentious amendments proposed to the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary by the California State Water Resources Control Board. Rep. Denham thinks the board’s plan would cripple the economy, farms, and community in his California district’s Central Valley region. … ”  Read more from the Ripon Advance here:  Denham brings Ag Secretary to California for town hall, tour with Central Valley producers

Mono County sues LA, DWP over water irrigation:  “On Wednesday, Mono County filed litigation challenging the decision of the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to dry out 6,400 acres of wetlands, meadows and pastures in Long and Little Round Valleys in order to export additional water from California’s Eastern Sierra.  The lands in question have been irrigated for more than 100 years and provide important habitat for wildlife, including the bi-state-sage grouse, a California bird species of special concern currently being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Mono County sues LA, DWP over water irrigation

Mono will sue this week:  “Words of collaboration and expressions of neighborliness between Mono County and the Department of Water and Power gave way this week to legal action as Mono County prepared to file a lawsuit against the water agency. The lawsuit is intended to stop the immediate dewatering of dewatering of irrigated leased meadowland near Crowley Lake and in Little Round Valley and, to require the agency to do a full environmental review before making changes to future irrigation allocations.  “The goal is to file it this week,” said Stacey Simon, Mono County Counsel. “There is still some logistical coordination, but that is our goal. … ”  Read more from the Mammoth Times here:  Mono will sue this week

LADWP begins EIR process for ranch leases in Mono County:  “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Thursday released a Notice of Preparation for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) — marking the beginning of the environmental review process for the proposed Mono County Ranch Lease Renewal Project (Project).  The study will assess the environmental impacts of a proposal to enter into new, 20-year leases, with 10 current lessees of approximately 28,000 acres of City of Los Angeles-owned lands in the Long Valley area of Mono County. Past leases of these lands to the same operators have expired, and they are currently operating on holdover status. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  LADWP begins EIR process for ranch leases in Mono County

Ridgecrest: Imported water options presented to Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority:  “Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board members and residents alike received a bit of information on possible alternative water sources Thursday when a marketing company made a presentation.  Steve Johnson of Stetson Engineers, the Groundwater Authority’s water resources manager, introduced Todd Tatum of Tatum Companies and Jeff Simonetti of Capital Core Group, noting he has communicated with Tatum over the years.  Johnson said it was a good idea that the board be aware of information regarding imported water as they delve into development of the groundwater sustainability plan that is due to the state by Jan. 31, 2020. He stressed that water rights are especially important. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Imported water options presented to Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority

Santa Clarita Valley water users views sought on state proposal:  Matt Stone writes, “It started with a compelling need. Years of drought and water source contamination have brought some small California water systems to the brink, if not past the breaking point.  Small, disadvantaged communities, many in Central Valley farming towns, face nitrates or pesticides in their well water. The hard reality is they do not have enough money in their ratepayer base to pay for treatment, find replacement supplies, or merge with neighboring systems. But something must be done. The policy question is, who should pay for this? And how? ”  Read more from the Signal here:  Santa Clarita Valley water users views sought on state proposal

Pasadena: Graves Reservoir project breaks ground on Saturday:  “A massive reservoir reconstruction project broke ground Saturday that, when completed, could deliver fresh, clean drinking water to South Pasadena residents.  Saturday’s groundbreaking marks the city’s ongoing “aggressive water capital improvement program” that will eventually make 1 million gallons of water available, which is the estimated storage capacity of Graves Reservoir.  “The Graves Reservoir is a critical part of the city’s water infrastructure, and the replacement project will help insure both the continuity and sustainability of the water supply for decades to come,” said John Pope, the city’s interim public information officer. ” Read more from Pasadena Now here:  Pasadena: Graves Reservoir project breaks ground on Saturday

Santa Monica bans private wells pending new groundwater plan:  “The City of Santa Monica has temporarily outlawed construction of new private wells in the city while staff work towards adoption of a new set of rules governing the use of groundwater.  Council approved a measure banning new construction or expansion of existing wells at their August 14 meeting until the City adopts a comprehensive groundwater management plan that specifically allows such construction.  A Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) is required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Santa Monica is in the midst of drafting the rules in partnership with City of Culver City, City of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the County of Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from the Santa Monica Daily Press here:  Santa Monica bans private wells pending new groundwater plan

Water for sale: Hunters of California seek buyers for water rights in Death Valley:  “While much of the state burns out of control, the Hunter family of Death Valley, California is looking for a place to go with their water.  Wayne Hage, Jr., who, like his father before him, has become well known for lifelong battles defending water and grazing rights on his Nevada ranch, said the Hunters have asked him to serve as a broker as they look for a buyer for their water rights. … ”  Read more from Tri Valley Livestock here:  Water for sale: Hunters of California seek buyers for water rights in Death Valley

Along the Colorado River …

State of Nevada rejects applications to pump rural Nevada water to Las Vegas:  “The Nevada Division of Water Resources on Friday denied water rights applications that the Southern Nevada Water Authority needs to support a pipeline that would move rural groundwater to Las Vegas.  The ruling denies previously approved applications from the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pump groundwater from four rural valleys in the eastern part of the state. ... ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette-Journal here:  State rejects applications to pump rural Nevada water to Las Vegas

Arizona water bank started as a safeguard against California:  “Today the Arizona Water Bank is seen as a savings account for the state’s water supply as an era of Colorado River shortages looms.  But when the water bank was created back in 1996, it was also touted as a way to keep what many Arizonans saw as a greedy California from running off with much of the state’s Colorado River water supply.  The Legislature did create the water bank as a way to set aside river water for use in times of shortage. But what got more publicity and public attention then was the idea of the bank as a backstop protecting Arizona’s water supply. ... ”  Read more from the Arizona Star here:  Arizona water bank started as a safeguard against California

And lastly …

Audubon unveils bird-themed beer to raise awareness for Colorado River supply:  “Audubon Arizona wants you to remember the Colorado River’s chronically overallocated water, and the wildlife that depend on it, before you start drinking like a fish.  In July, Audubon unveiled the Rain Crow IPA, a beer named after the threatened western yellow-billed cuckoo, in hopes the craft brewing community will champion conservation on the river that serves some 40 million people in seven states and Mexico.  Like other conservation groups, Audubon is looking for new ways to spread its conservation message. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Central here:  Audubon unveils bird-themed beer to raise awareness for Colorado River supply

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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