DAILY DIGEST: Should more Delta water go to fish or farms?; Report: Oroville Dam has unsatisfactory rating for second year in a row; Grower sees potential for groundwater recharge; Global warming, El Nino could cause wetter winters, drier conditions in other months; and more …

In California water news today, Radio show: Should more Delta water go to fish or farms?; Report: Oroville Dam has unsatisfactory rating for second year in a row; Grower sees potential for groundwater recharge; Global warming, El Nino could cause wetter winters, drier conditions in other months; Working with natural processes – and beavers – to improve water quality; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg) Conservation Legislation Stakeholder Listening Sessions from 9:30 to 3:30pm in Sacramento and also by webinar.  Click here for more information.
  • Webinar: How Chula Vista used Lean thinking to develop an actionable Water Stewardship Plan, from the Groundwater Resources Association from 12:00pm to 1:30pm.  Click here for more information and to register.

In the news today …

Radio show: Should more Delta water go to fish or farms?  “The past month there have been debates over how to manage the water in the Delta — the Bay Area’s largest source of freshwater — and that’s drawn a lot of attention from the state capitol. What it comes down to is whether more water should go to fish or to farms.”  Listen to the radio show from KALW here (6:02): Radio show: Should more Delta water go to fish or farms?

Battle brewing over water rights in California:  “There’s a noisy battle over water rights going on in the Golden State.  Late last month, a diverse group of over 1,000 Californians flooded the State Capitol to tell the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) that their updates to the Bay-Delta Plan just won’t hold water.  Politicians from both sides of the aisle, farmers, citizens from San Francisco and the East Bay, as well as reps from agribusinesses are uniting in a nearly unprecedented effort to oppose proposed changes to state water regulations. The plan might benefit the environment, they say, but it would devastate communities and local economies. ... ”  Read more from Agri-Pulse here:  Battle brewing over water rights in California

Report: Oroville Dam has unsatisfactory rating for second year in a row:  “A new report on the safety of more than 1,200 California dams reveals only one dam is listed as unsatisfactory — and that dam is Oroville.  In this Butte County town of some 19,000 people, some are getting wary.  “Businesses are concerned with getting on with business,” said Eric Smith, CEO of the Oroville Chamber of Commerce. “And folks are wanting to get on and feel they can live safely in their homes.” ... ”  Read more from Channel 3 here:  Report: Oroville Dam has unsatisfactory rating for second year in a row

Grower sees potential for groundwater recharge:  “Jim Morris had lots of reasons for embracing a University of California research project to use his alfalfa field for groundwater recharge.  His operation, the Bryan-Morris Ranch in Etna, Calif., has emphasized environmental stewardship since his wife’s family started it in the 1850s. The ranch was the site of soil conservation and other studies as long ago as the 1940s. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Grower sees potential for groundwater recharge

Global warming, El Nino could cause wetter winters, drier conditions in other months:  “So here’s the good news: Despite fears to the contrary, California isn’t facing a year-round drought in our warming new world.  However, UC Riverside Earth Sciences Professor Robert Allen’s research indicates that what precipitation the state does get will be pretty much limited to the winter months — think deluge-type rainfall rather than snow — and non-winter months will be even dryer than usual, with little or no rain at all.  “It is good news,” Allen said. “But only relative to the alternative of no rain at all.” ... ”  Read more from the University of California Riverside here:  Global warming, El Nino could cause wetter winters, drier conditions in other months

Working with natural processes – and beavers – to improve water quality:  “Nature’s industrious architect, the beaver, may help remove excess nutrients from rivers and prevent agricultural soil from losing those valuable nutrients in the first place, according to recent research. A team from the University of Exeter demonstrated the significant impact beavers have on water quality using a captive beaver trial run housing a single family of beavers.  The Exeter team, led by hydrologist and professor Richard Brazier, began working with the beavers in 2011.  “For some years I had been researching the negative impacts of soil erosion, flooding, diffuse pollution,” remarks Professor Brazier. “What the beavers do when they build dams seemed like it would make a positive difference to these problems, so the inspiration really came from trying to see if these animals could help with the problems that we have caused.” … ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  Working with natural processes – and beavers – to improve water quality

In commentary today …

‘Water wars’ language obscures a complex issue, says Dave Kranz:  “After more than 1,000 Central Valley residents converged on the north steps of the state Capitol last month to protest planned redirection of water supplies, and more turned out to the next day’s state water board hearing on the topic, reporters and editorial writers fell back on time-worn language to describe the situation.  “California’s water wars heat up at Sacramento hearing over river flows,” the San Francisco Chronicle declared in a headline.  “Stage set for uncivil war over water in California,” the Courthouse News service wrote in its headline, before referring in the story’s first sentence to “California’s ceaseless war to manage shrinking water sources.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  ‘Water wars’ language obscures a complex issue, says Dave Kranz

Proposition 3 will provide clean, safe, reliable water, says Jerry Meral; Proposition 3 is a irresponsible water bond, says Eric Parfrey: Jerry Meral writes, “California needs a clean, safe and reliable water supply to meet its needs as the population grows and the climate changes.  Proposition 3 will provide that water supply for people, agriculture, and our native fish and wildlife. … ”  Eric Parfrey writes, “Proposition 3 is an irresponsible approach to California’s water problems. The nearly $8.9 billion bond was crafted behind-the-scenes, contains critical elements that could directly harm the environment and turns important water policies on their head. … “  Read both commentaries at Cal Matters here:  Proposition 3 will provide clean, safe, reliable water

Next governor should focus on climate adaptation, says Jim Wunderman and Jonathan Parfrey:  They write, “California’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have made the state an icon in the fight against climate change, a status validated by Gov. Jerry Brown hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco next month.  Yet despite its success, California is only slowly beginning to take action to help communities adapt to the brutal changes in our climate already well underway. California’s next governor should focus on climate adaptation as an urgent priority to protect California’s businesses and residents — particularly the elderly and the poor — from the ravages of climate change. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Next governor should focus on climate adaptation

In regional news and commentary today …

Sick river: Can these California tribes beat heroin and history?  “For thousands of years, the Klamath River has been a source of nourishment for the Northern California tribes that live on its banks. Its fish fed dozens of Indian villages along its winding path, and its waters cleansed their spirits, as promised in their creation stories.  But now a crisis of opioid addiction is gripping this remote region. At the same time, the Klamath’s once-abundant salmon runs have declined to historic lows, the culmination of 100 years of development and dam building along the river.  Today, many members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa tribes living in this densely forested area south of the California-Oregon border see a connection between the river’s struggle and their own. ... ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Sick river: Can these California tribes beat heroin and history?

Isleton’s origins“Isleton dates back to 1874 when Josiah Pool established the town in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and constructed a wharf for steamboats that stopped twice daily on routes between San Francisco, Sacramento and Marysville. Meanwhile, Chinese laborers built the levee system that transformed the Delta’s peat soil into fertile farmland. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here:  Isleton’s origins

Hetch Hetchy’s Moccasin Dam is in poor condition, state Dams Safety Commission says:  “Moccasin Dam at Hetch Hetchy Water & Power’s company town Moccasin remains in poor condition due to damage incurred during the March 22 megastorm that tore up Groveland, Moccasin and Highways 49 and 132, according to the state Division of Dams Safety.  The dam, called Moccasin Lower in a state report, has capacity of 554 acre-feet, it was built in 1930, and it’s owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. It’s one of 10 dams rated poor statewide out of 1,246 dams under state jurisdiction. ... ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here:  Hetch Hetchy’s Moccasin Dam is in poor condition, state Dams Safety Commission says

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority committees meet Thursday:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority technical and policy advisory committees meet Thursday, Sept. 6.  The technical advisory committee meets at 1 p.m. at the IWV Water District office, 500 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. and will discuss a number of times, including the existing network used to monitor the basin, as well as stream gages and weather stations.  The existing network is made up of monitoring wells drilled throughout the basin. A large chunk was made by the Navy, while others were done by the county or other agencies. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority committees meet Thursday

Santa Clarita Valley Water says usage is trending up:  “Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers who were commended by water officials for their diligence in conserving water are beginning to use as much water as they did before the latest drought.  A report on the supply and demand of water in the SCV was presented Tuesday to the members of the SCV Water Agency board.  It shows water production in July exceeded the amount SCV ratepayers required a year ago, and approached what we used in 2013, before the recent drought. ... ”  Read more from the Signal here:  Santa Clarita Valley Water says usage is trending up

Water from the Mojave Desert – one company’s plan:  “They say you can’t get water from a stone, but one man says he can solve California’s water crisis with water from the desert.  Scott Slater is the CEO of Cadiz, a California company that owns 45,000 acres in the Mojave, one of the driest places on earth. He says that a few hundred feet beneath the ground surface lies an enormous watershed the size of Rhode Island, about 1300 square miles.  He is proposing taking hundreds of trillions of gallons of desert ground water a year and piping it over a hundred miles to the populated suburbs around Los Angeles. … ”  Read more from Fox News here:  Water from the Mojave Desert – one company’s plan

Along the Colorado River …

Nevada official to lead US-Mexico water treaty:  “The Trump administration selected a top Nevada water and power official to lead the International Boundary and Water Commission for the United States and Mexico.  The White House on Friday announced plans to appoint Jayne Harkins, executive director of the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, to head the U.S. side of the cross-border treaty organization.   Harkins said she was recommended for the post by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  Nevada official to lead US-Mexico water treaty

Colorado River flows drop by 15% over the last 100 years:  “Warming temperatures are sapping the Colorado River, the water source for more than 40 million people in the southwest. A new study finds over the last 100 years the river’s flow has decreased by more than 15 percent.  Colorado State University researcher Brad Udall co-authored the study with UCLA scientists Mu Xiao and Dennis Lettenmaier. It’s published in the journal Water Resources Research. Some of Udall’s research is supported by the Walton Family Foundation, which also supports KUNC’s Colorado River coverage. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Colorado River flows drop by 15% over the last 100 years

Water levels continue to drop at Lake Mead, Lake Powell:  “Water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are dropping to dangerous levels, reflecting the Colorado River’s worsening “structural deficit,” scientists said.  Scientists from the Colorado River Research Group said Lake Powell has declined because of extra water releases flowing into Lake Mead, the Arizona Republic reported last week.  “I want people to know that what’s going on at Lake Mead is very, very closely tied to what’s going on Lake Powell,” Doug Kenney said, the group’s chair and a professor at the University of Colorado. “We’re draining Lake Powell to prop it up.” … ”  Read more from the Denver Post here:  Water levels continue to drop at Lake Mead, Lake Powell

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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