DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Brown announces CA plan to launch satellite to track climate change; ‘Walking conflict of interest’ Deputy Interior Secretary creates headaches for the agency; The environmental legal ramifications of dam decommissioning on the Colorado River; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Brown announces California plan to launch satellite to track climate change; ‘Walking conflict of interest’ Deputy Interior Secretary creates headaches for the agency; The Environmental Legal Ramifications of Dam Decommissioning on the Colorado River; Mt. Shasta Chamber plans meeting about dam removal opportunities; State launches investigation into San Jose Water overbilling claims; Legislation could abolish an embattled Compton water board. But it won’t be without a fight; Why sinking San Francisco tower is now a tourist attraction; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Brown announces California plan to launch satellite to track climate change: “Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday that California will launch a satellite into space to track and gather data on global warming, a symbolic, if not far-reaching, move that comes as President Trump threatens to hamstring the climate work of NASA.  The governor’s announcement was made on the final day of the Global Climate Action Summit, which brought thousands of mayors, regional leaders and corporate executives to San Francisco to motivate communities to do more to halt the planet’s warming as Washington has disengaged. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Brown announces California plan to launch satellite to track climate change

A blizzard of pledges, a planet-scanning satellite: Brown wraps up his climate summit: “Sitting in a quiet hall on Friday, away from the cacophony of the Global Climate Action Summit, state senator Ricardo Lara recalled an experience that brought into high relief something he hadn’t known: California’s policies to decelerate climate change are watched and admired by a global audience.  The realization came at a meeting during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, when he was asked to speak first, as an acknowledgement of California’s leadership on the issue.  “I came out of that understanding our role, and the importance of being at the table,” said Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: A blizzard of pledges, a planet-scanning satellite: Brown wraps up his climate summit

‘Walking conflict of interest’ Deputy Interior Secretary creates headaches for the agency:  “The No. 2 official at the Department of the Interior canceled plans to speak at a water industry forum in Colorado after department ethics officials concluded his appearance at the event could raise conflicts-of-interest concerns.  Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former industry lobbyist described as a “walking conflict of interest,” notified the Colorado River District that he could not give his scheduled keynote speech on Friday at the district’s water forum in Grand Junction, Colorado. … ”  Read more from Think Progress here:  ‘Walking conflict of interest’ Deputy Interior Secretary creates headaches for the agency

In commentary this weekend …

Proposition 3 would issue $8.9 billion in general obligation bonds for a range of water infrastructure projects. The funding breakdown includes $2.4 billion to restore and protect watersheds and another $4.1 billion for disadvantaged communities seeking to improve their water infrastructure. Prop. 3 would also allocate $640 million for groundwater improvements and $500 million for safe, affordable drinking waterYes: Initiative’s main backer says Prop. 3 will meet state needs as population grows and climate changesNo: Sierra Club leader says Prop. 3 benefits billionaire stakeholders and could harm the environment.

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Mt. Shasta Chamber plans meeting about dam removal opportunities:  “The Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce has scheduled an informational meeting regarding business opportunities for contractors in connection with dam removal on the Klamath River.  The Chamber says it wants local businesses to be aware of the many goods and services that will be required for the largest dam removal and environmental restoration effort in US history.  The Klamath River Renewal Corporation expects to have $450 million at its disposal to carry out the project. … ”  Read more from the Mt. Shasta News here:  Mt. Shasta Chamber plans meeting about dam removal opportunities

Butte County:  Groundwater managing agencies begin to take shape:  “Two of the agencies that will manage the water beneath Butte County began to take shape this week, one with some controversy.  Groundwater sustainability agencies are required under the September 2014 law regulating the state’s aquifers, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  The GSAs are supposed to set sustainability goals for the various groundwater basins in the state, develop plans to reach those goals, and then administer the plans to ensure the goals are met. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Groundwater managing agencies begin to take shape

Tahoe Conservancy receives $1.7 million from CDFW to restore the Upper Truckee Marsh: “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has awarded $1,700,066 to the California Tahoe Conservancy (Conservancy) to help fund the restoration of the Upper Truckee Marsh, the largest remaining wetland in the Sierra Nevada.  “This is exciting news for one of the most important environmental restoration projects in the Basin’s history,” said Conservancy Board Chair and City of South Lake Tahoe representative Brooke Laine. “This week’s award will help keep the Conservancy’s plans on schedule to restore the Upper Truckee Marsh’s functions as Lake Tahoe’s most effective natural pollution filter.” … ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Tahoe Conservancy receives $1.7 million from CDFW to restore the Upper Truckee Marsh

State launches investigation into San Jose Water overbilling claims:  “A state commission will formally consider whether the San Jose Water Company has over-billed customers by millions of dollars for years.  On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced that it had opened an investigation into the company’s billing practices after a  staff report suggested that for at least 30 years, San Jose Water failed to pro-rate bills when a change in service charges went into effect in the middle of a billing cycle. Instead of pro-rating the bill, the company allegedly charged customers the new, higher service fee for the entire cycle. The company also allegedly double-billed customers some $5 million when it switched from billing service charges in advance to billing them in arrears. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: State launches investigation into San Jose Water overbilling claims

The CPUC approves Cal Am’s desal project. Here’s what it means, and what’s next:  “It was a momentous decision Sept. 13 when the California Public Utilities Commission, in a unanimous 5-0 vote at a hearing in San Francisco, approved California American Water’s desalination project in Marina. The project was first proposed in April 2012.  Immediately after the vote, Cal Am spokesperson Catherine Stedman was all smiles, and said that a water supply solution for the Monterey Peninsula was “much closer at hand.” … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  The CPUC approves Cal Am’s desal project. Here’s what it means, and what’s next

Legislation could abolish an embattled Compton water board. But it won’t be without a fight: “A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival.  The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end. Lawmakers say the legislation is necessary to ensure Sativa’s 6,800 customers in Compton and Willowbrook quickly receive water free of the manganese that taints the district’s supply. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Legislation could abolish an embattled Compton water board. But it won’t be without a fight

Along the Colorado River …

The Colorado River is headed for a shortage:  “Every day this summer brought another alarming reminder that our climate is steadily growing hotter and drier. Headlines across the country featured wall-to-wall coverage of increased temperatures, low water levels, rampant wildfires, and air filled with smoke. These conditions have been especially dire for the Colorado River Basin, which is grappling with a decades-long drought.  As birdwatchers, hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, our members and partners are on the front lines of these changes and the associated impacts to our fish, wildlife, and natural systems. We know that it will take forward-looking solutions and robust support from federal and state leaders to secure the future of the Colorado River. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  The Colorado River is headed for a shortage

Southern Nevada Water Authority will appeal key Vegas pipeline water rights ruling:  “Water officials aren’t giving up a nearly 30-year effort to get state approval to pump groundwater from arid valleys just west of the Utah state line and pipe it to faucets, fountains and fairways in Las Vegas.  The Southern Nevada Water Authority board decided Thursday to appeal last month’s decision by Nevada’s top state water official to deny the agency key groundwater use rights in parts of Lincoln and White Pine counties. … ”  Read more from the AP via the Grand Junction Sentinel here:  Southern Nevada Water Authority will appeal key Vegas pipeline water rights ruling

Prepping for Colorado River water shortage, Phoenix considers water rate increase: “About 40 percent of Phoenix’s water supply comes from the Colorado River — an increasingly fickle water source with a limited future.  The Phoenix City Council will soon vote on a citywide water-rate hike that officials say will ensure the northern portion of Phoenix still has access to drinking water, even if Colorado River water is no longer an option.  The increase would support $1.5 billion in new systems for north Phoenix, repairs and replacement of aging water pipelines in south and central Phoenix and other updates to the city’s massive water treatment and delivery systems. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Prepping for Colorado River water shortage, Phoenix considers water rate increase

A dam fine mess: The Environmental Legal Ramifications of Dam Decommissioning on the Colorado River: “While the Bureau of Reclamation recently recommissioned the Glen Canyon Dam for the next twenty years, many scientists and environmentalists still argue that removing the Dam will help the river and the animal and plant life return to the Glen Canyon area. For thousands of years the Colorado River flowed through the Glen Canyon into the Grand Canyon—untamed and wild—bringing life to the canyon walls and the riverbanks. Construction of the Dam and Lake Powell changed the ecosystems of both the Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Lake Powell’s water quality suffered as contaminated sediment settled on the lake bottom behind the Dam. Numerous native fish species in Glen Canyon became extinct or endangered as temperatures in the Lake changed and new species arrived. Natural beaches in the Grand Canyon began to disappear due to a lack of sediment freely flowing down stream, destroying habitats throughout the canyon. … ”  Continue reading at the UC Denver Water Law Review here:  A dam fine mess: The Environmental Legal Ramifications of Dam Decommissioning on the Colorado River

And lastly …

Why sinking San Francisco tower is now a tourist attraction:  “Ever since news of its precarious tilt became public in 2016, San Francisco’s Millennium Tower has mortified its owners and entertained just about everyone else.  Add such twists as last week’s oddly cracked window on the 36th floor, caused by who knows what, and the saga shows no signs of ending anytime soon. It also shows, I hate to admit, that architecture can be irrelevant in terms of a building’s renown.  For instance: When people now visit from out of town, our sinking glass shaft is the 21st century sight they want to see. Museums by name-brand architects are a badge of civic pride, but let’s get real: Millennium Tower is more fun to ponder over drinks. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Why sinking San Francisco tower is now a tourist attraction

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

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