DAILY DIGEST: Federal water bill aims to smooth project funding; Trump policy imperils migratory birds along Pacific Flyway, environmentalists and states say; Jerry Brown made climate change his issue. Now, he’s not sure how much politicians can do; and more …

In California water news today, Federal water bill aims to smooth project funding; Reps. Denham, Costa bring water storage to the Valley; Trump policy imperils migratory birds along Pacific Flyway, environmentalists and states say; Jerry Brown Made Climate Change His Issue. Now, He’s Not Sure How Much Politicians Can Do; Record summer heat across much of state retreats; some deeper thoughts on El Niño; Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan; Monsoon storms, key to recharging groundwater, may become less common; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission will meet today beginning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include an update on the Water Storage Investment Program and future considerations; consideration of inundation map regulations, and a briefing on DSOD’s regulations for fees and enforcement.  Click here for the full agenda and webcast link.

In the news today …

Federal water bill aims to smooth project funding:  “Plans to increase California water storage capacity received a boost from passage of bipartisan, comprehensive water resources legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which the House approved last week, is expected to garner Senate passage and President Trump’s signature.  California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson called the congressional action to help secure added funding for water infrastructure “critical,” especially as California faces new state groundwater management requirements and the possibility of reduced flows in certain rivers and streams.  The House legislation, known as America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 or AWIA, contains language by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, that would provide a new tool for financing and building Central Valley water infrastructure. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Federal water bill aims to smooth project funding

Reps. Denham, Costa bring water storage to the Valley:  “The last large-scale water storage facility to be built in California was constructed in 1979, and now, almost 40 years later, the drought-stricken state will receive funding for projects to help secure its water supply thanks to two local representatives.  Valley Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) made sure that America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which passed the House last Thursday, included provisions that will support local irrigation districts and water agencies in their effort to improve and expand water projects throughout the state. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Reps. Denham, Costa bring water storage to the Valley

Trump policy imperils migratory birds along Pacific Flyway, environmentalists and states say: Frank Ruiz sees fewer birds at the Salton Sea these days.  As salinity levels climb and kill fish in the giant but receding Coachella Valley lake, there are fewer white pelicans, brown pelicans and  cormorants to be found, said Ruiz, the Salton Sea program director for Audubon California.  “We’ve also seen a huge decline in other species like eared grebes,” he said. “We used to see them by the thousands coming over the Salton Sea.” ... ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here:  Trump policy imperils migratory birds along Pacific Flyway, environmentalists and states say

Jerry Brown Made Climate Change His Issue. Now, He’s Not Sure How Much Politicians Can Do: It was a big act, one of the last in the final days of a long political career, and it was about one of his life’s passions: safeguarding the environment.  Jerry Brown, 80, the four-term governor of California who is to retire in January, was the principal organizer and reluctant star of the Global Climate Action Summit, a high-octane gathering of lawmakers, executives and scientists working to beat back global warming.  But even as he sought to rally other politicians to the cause, Governor Brown’s conference underscored the limits of what politicians can do to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change — even the politician who leads California, the wealthiest state in the country and the world’s fifth-largest economy. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  Jerry Brown Made Climate Change His Issue. Now, He’s Not Sure How Much Politicians Can Do

Record summer heat across much of state retreats; some deeper thoughts on El Niño: “After a truly searing start to summer across most of California, especially in the south, the last several weeks have felt rather mild by comparison. The record-breaking heatwaves of July, followed by record warm ocean temperatures later in the summer in SoCal, made for very uncomfortable conditions across some of California’s most densely populated regions for much of the summer. Meanwhile, in interior NorCal, record daytime highs were few and far between–but relentless overnight warmth and persistently above-average daytime temperatures again combined to produce record or near-record summer temperatures. Indeed: across many parts of southern and interior California, 2018 was the warmest summer on record. … ”  Continue reading at the California Weather Blog here:  Record summer heat across much of state retreats; some deeper thoughts on El Niño

In commentary today …

Column: How Water Fix hurts the poor:  Michael Fitzgerald writes,California’s system of dams and canals is made of equal parts concrete and injustice. Injustice is baked into the system, which unfairly burdens Stockton and the Delta.  A “vast and powerful” constituency of Delta water exporters — the south-valley water districts of Big Ag, southland urban consumers — likes it that way. Their latest baby, the California WaterFix, is more of the same.  On Monday Restore the Delta unveiled a new way of fighting the WaterFix, with its twin tunnels: showing its impacts will fall most heavily on the so-called “environmental justice community” of Stockton and the Delta region. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here:  Column: How Water Fix hurts the poor

Proposition 3 enhances investments in water system, says Danny Merkley:  He writes, “Come November, it will have been four years since California made its last meaningful investment to upgrade the state’s system to capture and deliver water—and now it’s time to take the next step.  On Nov. 6, California voters will have the chance to vote in favor of Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018. This $8.9 billion citizen’s initiative water bond will enhance the down payment made by Proposition 1—overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014—to upgrade the state’s water infrastructure.  By next year, the money from the Proposition 1 bond will be exhausted or committed, including nearly $2.7 billion for new water-storage capacity. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Commentary: Proposition 3 enhances investments in water system

Reject Prop 3 $8.9 billion pay to play water bond, says the San Jose Mercury News:  They write, “Proposition 3 is a classic “pay-to-play” initiative that California voters should soundly defeat on Nov. 6.  The $8.9 billion water bond package points to some serious water issues that demand the Legislature’s attention. But loading up an initiative with giveaways to special interests and local public agencies is no way for the state to conduct its business. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Reject Prop 3 $8.9 billion pay to play water bond

To Manage Future Water Shortages, California Must Update its Water Grid, says Ellen Hanak and Jeffrey Mount:  They write, “California’s climate is changing, and droughts are becoming more intense. Five climate pressures will seriously stress the state’s water system: warming temperatures; shrinking snowpack; shorter and more intense wet seasons; more volatile precipitation; and rising seas. While California is making good progress in addressing some areas of climate vulnerability, a more focused plan of action is needed.  Climate pressures will make future droughts more intense and affect the water system in the following ways ... ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  To Manage Future Water Shortages, California Must Update its Water Grid

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath:  $500,000 in water study funds cut:  “The Klamath Tribes believe the federal government has taken a “giant step backwards” in the road to a comprehensive, long-term agreement aiming to solve water conflicts in the Basin.  That’s because the U.S. government rolled back a federal program in its fifth year of providing $500,000 for a study aimed at testing water quality in Upper Klamath Lake. The decision came from the desk of U.S. Department of the Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke. ... ” Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath:  $500,000 in water study funds cut

Chico:  Local water savings about double the state’s rate:  “The latest water conservation figures released by the state show Butte County saving at about double the statewide rate.  The Water Resources Control Board released the number for July last week, and statewide water savings were 13.6 percent lower than in July 2013, the benchmark pre-drought year.  Locally, the Oroville Division of the California Water Service Co. reported savings of 29.5 percent. Cal Water’s Chico Division had savings of 24.9 percent and Paradise Irrigation District customers saved 25.4 percent, compared to July 2013. The Del Oro Water Co. reported savings of 21.7 percent, and Cal Water Willows customers saved 28.6 percent. ... ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Chico: Local water savings about double the state’s rate

US EPA, Sacramento Sanitation District reach settlement:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is fining a Sacramento area sanitation district for safety violations. The violations have to do with chemicals at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. Employees, who use chlorine to disinfect the water, didn’t immediately tell the National Response Center about three separate releases of chlorine in 2013 and 2014. … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  US EPA, Sacramento Sanitation District reach settlement

Monterey: Proposed alternative water treatment ordinance draws criticism: “A proposed county ordinance aimed at allowing regulated alternative treatment options for contaminated small water systems was delayed Tuesday amid criticism about cost and bureaucratic oversight.  The proposal was aimed at regulating the use of point-of-entry and point-of-use treatment under three-year permits with reporting and monitoring requirements for small water systems with higher-than-allowed levels of nitrates, arsenic and other contaminants until they can find funding or financing for a required and more expensive long-term centralized treatment strategy. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey: Proposed alternative water treatment ordinance draws criticism

Mayor says new water plant makes Fresno ‘drought-proof’:  “Dedication ceremonies were held for the new Southeast Fresno water treatment plant.  The new $250 million water treatment plan is seen as a way to give the city a sustainable supply. Mayor Lee Brand put it this way.  “Fresno has a secure, drought-proof water supply.” … ”  Read more from KFSN here:  Mayor says new water plant makes Fresno ‘drought-proof’

Hermosa Beach residents near South Park voice concerns over stormwater infiltration project: ““There is no good location in Hermosa Beach,” was the message of more than 20 concerned residents who gathered at South Park on Sunday to oppose a proposed stormwater infiltration project in the city.  Similar complaints bubbled up in the spring when Hermosa Beach announced its Greenbelt Infiltration Project, designed to treat stormwater that runs from the Herondo Drain, the South Bay beach city’s largest storm drain, into the Santa Monica Bay.  The runoff, which causes high bacteria levels and can lead to beach closures, has caused a consistent “C” grade from Heal the Bay for the last several years. … ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here:  Hermosa Beach residents near South Park voice concerns over stormwater infiltration project

Along the Colorado River …

Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan: “The appeals are piling up over a recent state decision blocking the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to pipe groundwater from Eastern Nevada.  Four days after water authority board members approved a court challenge of State Engineer Jason King’s Aug. 17 ruling, opponents of the controversial pipeline project launched an appeal of their own targeting a specific part of last month’s decision. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan

Monsoon storms, key to recharging groundwater, may become less common:  “Monsoon storms in the desert Southwest are vital for recharging groundwater – but it now appears likely this recharge effect may be compromised by climate change.  The major cities of the Southwest – Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas – currently get most of their freshwater from the Colorado River or its tributaries. That river, however, is experiencing its 19th straight drought year, suggesting a new permanent dry state is gripping the giant watershed.  As a result, groundwater recharge from monsoons could become a much more important water supply in the long term. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Monsoon storms, key to recharging groundwater, may become less common

Colorado River District unveils six principles for water-use reductions for all users: “Andy Mueller, the general manager of the Colorado River District, presented six principles last week to guide an emerging federal and state program designed to reduce water use in order to avoid a compact call on the Colorado River.  Mueller spoke at a seminar produced by the River District in Grand Junction that attracted 265 people. The theme of the seminar was “Risky Business on the Colorado River.” … ”  Read more from Vail Daily here:  Colorado River District unveils six principles for water-use reductions for all users

Trial begins to determine Hopi Tribe’s water rights to Little Colorado River: “The trial to adjudicate water rights in the Little Colorado River basin in Arizona commenced Sept. 11 in its first phase, which will determine the Hopi Tribe’s water rights for past and present uses of the Little Colorado River.  Additional phases of the trial will address the Hopi’s future rights and those of the Navajo Nation — past, present and future — and the rights of non-Native users along the Little Colorado River.  The Little Colorado River stream adjudication began in 1978 to determine conflicting water rights in the basin. The stream adjudication involves the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, the U.S., non-Indian communities (Flagstaff, Winslow, Show Low, Snowflake, Springerville, St. John and Holbrook), commercial and industrial interests (Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service) and numerous other individual and commercial interests. … ”  Read more from the Navajo-Hopi Observer here:  Trial begins to determine Hopi Tribe’s water rights to Little Colorado River

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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