DAILY DIGEST: CA’s plan to store water underground could risk contamination; LA water officials discuss SWP contract extension; Congressman Garamendi says Delta tunnels letter is full of misrepresentations; Lawmakers voice concerns over Oroville cost overruns; and more …

In California water news today, California’s plan to store water underground could risk contamination; Los Angeles water officials discuss State Water Project contract extension; Congressman Garamendi says Delta tunnels letter is full of misrepresentations; Lawmakers voice concerns over Oroville cost overruns; Bill to form Oroville Dam citizens advisory commission signed into law; Professor’s Novel Mercury-Mapping Project Wins State Grant; The most dangerous man in the Delta; El Nino Watch: Here’s what it means for cities; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Board will meet today at 9:30am. Agenda items include water rights and water quality fees regulations, and consideration of water recycling funding to Kern-Tulare Water District for oil field water reuse project.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.
  • The Delta Protection Commission meets in Stockton at 5:30pm. Agenda items include Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) report; presentation on Franks Tract Futures Feasibility Study; presentation on Central Delta Corridor Conservation Strategy and Delta Conservancy Bond Funding; Consider approval of scope of work for Delta Trail Master Plan; report on Delta Heritage Area Initiative (DelHAI) heritage project feasibility studies; update on CA WaterFix (supplemental EIR/EIS and DSC certification of consistency process).  For more information, click here.

In the news today …

California’s plan to store water underground could risk contamination:  “As California begins handing out $2.5 billion in state funds for several new water management projects, a shift is taking place in the ways officials are considering storing water. To contend with the likelihood of future extreme droughts, some of these new strategies rely on underground aquifers — an approach far removed from traditional dam-based water storage.  While diversifying the toolbelt of water management strategies will likely help insulate the state against loss, a group of researchers at Stanford University are drawing attention to a risk they say has long ridden under the radar of public consciousness: the introduction of dangerous chemicals into California groundwater, both through industrial and natural pathways. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  California’s plan to store water underground could risk contamination

Los Angeles water officials discuss State Water Project contract extension:  “Water officials discussed Monday extending the supply contract for the State Water Project, a program that provides water for 25 million people and irrigates more than 750,000 acres of California farmland, for a 50-year period.  Members of the Board of Directors for Foothill Municipal Water District — which distributes water imported from Metropolitan Water District to customers of the La Cañada Irrigation District, Valley Water Co. and the Crescenta Valley and Mesa Crest water districts, among others — considered the matter in a regular board meeting. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Los Angeles water officials discuss State Water Project contract extension

Congressman Garamendi says Delta tunnels letter is full of misrepresentations:  “Congressman John Garamendi’s office (D-Solano) confirmed Wednesday he sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler describing the “misrepresentations” present in the Delta Conveyance Finance Authority (DCFA) Letter of Interest (LOI) for the Delta Tunnels project known as California WaterFix.  The DCFA submitted a Letter of Interest to the EPA’s Water Infrastructure, Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program seeking $9.5 billion in funding for the Delta Tunnels. The total estimated project cost is $19.8 billion.  Garamendi’s letter, according to a press release, asserts that the WaterFix LOI overestimates the amount of jobs the tunnels project would create, does not address the lack of federal participation in the project, and misrepresents the status of essential permits and environmental reviews for the project. ... ”  Read more from The Reporter here:  Congressman Garamendi says Delta tunnels letter is full of misrepresentations

Lawmakers voice concerns over Oroville cost overruns:  “The California congressman whose district includes the area round the Oroville Dam is voicing concerns that the cost of a dam reconstruction project now in its second year is now projected at $1.1 billion.  That’s up from the $870 million projected in January, and way above the state Department of Water Resources initial cost estimate for repairs of $200 million, says Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a Republican rice farmer from nearby Richvale. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Lawmakers voice concerns over Oroville cost overruns

Bill to form Oroville Dam citizens advisory commission signed into law:  “Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law Sen. Jim Nielsen’s bill to form a citizens advisory commission for the Oroville Dam.  Senate Bill 955 creates a 19-member commission to provide a forum for residents and state officials to discuss reports, maintenance and other ongoing issues related to the dam. Nielsen, R-Red Bluff, is the bill’s lead author. Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, are co-authors. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Bill to form Oroville Dam citizens advisory commission signed into law

Professor’s Novel Mercury-Mapping Project Wins State Grant: “Civil and environmental engineering Professor Erin Hestir’s proposal for a unique system of mapping mercury in the waters of the San Francisco Delta has won her and her team of collaborators a $1.7 million grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). … She and her colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park and the USGS California Water Science Center in Sacramento, are developing rapid, easy-to-use techniques to analyze the amount of mercury and methylmercury in the surface waters of the San Francisco Bay Delta. ... ”  Read more from UC Merced here:  Professor’s Novel Mercury-Mapping Project Wins State Grant

The most dangerous man in the Delta:  “”I live in a very dark place,” Dan Bacher says, glancing into sunrays glinting off the Sacramento River. “This problem of corporate influence, the domination of big money in Sacramento, is just growing beyond control.”  Bacher’s been shining a light into dark corners for decades as an independent journalist. For the last eight years, much of his work has cast a critical glow on Gov. Jerry Brown’s environmental policies. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here:  The most dangerous man in the Delta

El Nino Watch:  Here’s what it means for cities:  “Think back a few years to the winter of 2015-2016 and you might remember a plethora of headlines surrounding El Niño, a phenomenon that can influence weather patterns around the world. That winter, we wondered whether a record-breaking El Niño event could save California from drought and how it impacted snow in the Northeast.  Now, El Niño is set to return. In an update from earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that there’s a 50-55 percent chance of an El Niño onset in the U.S. through November. By winter, the chance of El Niño conditions increases to about 65-70 percent.  But what does it all mean, and why should city dwellers care? Curbed breaks through the hype to tell you what exactly El Niño is and what you can expect this winter. ... ”  Read more from Curbed here:  El Nino Watch:  Here’s what it means for cities

In commentary today …

Congress must move to renew federal fund vital for watershed protection, says Jay Ziegler:  He writes, “For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has protected national parks and open spaces in every corner of the United States. In many ways, it is the most important conservation and recreation program in the U.S. But it will expire at the end of this month, unless Congress acts to reauthorize it prior to that.  We need the LWCF to protect iconic outdoor places, increase public access to public lands for hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities, and create parks for our communities.  Today, there is additional urgency. ... ”  Continue reading from Water Deeply here:  Congress must move to renew federal fund vital for watershed protection

Why we must save the Endangered Species Act from the Trump Administration:  Bruce Babbitt writes,In the 1984-like Newspeak of the Trump Interior Ministry, officials are broadcasting plans to “modernize” and “improve” the Endangered Species Act, even as the Head of the Ministry issues decrees to undermine its reach and effectiveness.  Since taking office, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has set out to eviscerate the act by restricting and manipulating scientific research, by narrowing the review process, and by hiring underlings dedicated to its destruction. And now Republicans in Congress, who realize they could lose their majorities in the November midterm elections, are threatening to join the wrecking crew with a host of destructive amendments that would further weaken the act. … ”  Read more from Yale 360 here:  Why we must save the Endangered Species Act from the Trump Administration

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Project water relief funding advances:  “The U.S. House of Representatives passed major legislation last week, with key provisions promising $10 million annually over the next four years for Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators.  The funds were authorized for use by Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the Project, via the America’s Water and Infrastructure Act (AWIA). The legislation was passed in the House last Thursday, with a vote anticipated in the near future by the U.S. Senate. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Klamath Project water relief funding advances

With impeding shutdown of Cemex sand mine in Marina, USGS takes stock of the local sand supply:  “With the Cemex sand mine on the beach in Marina slated to shut down by the end of 2020, the U.S. Geological Survey saw an opportunity for science: Gather data on how much sand was in southern Monterey Bay, both on the beach and under the water, and study how that changes over time.  Southern Monterey Bay has for years experienced one of the highest coastal erosion rates in the state, and scientists have long argued sand mining was to blame. Retired Naval Postgraduate School coastal engineer Ed Thornton, who championed the fight against the Cemex mine for decades, estimates that mine alone contributes to an average of 4 feet of coastal erosion annually from Marina to Monterey. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  With impeding shutdown of Cemex sand mine in Marina, USGS takes stock of the local sand supply

As Cal Am’s desal project is set for approval, important questions remain about its water’s costs:  “As the California Public Utilities Commission is set to consider approving California American Water’s proposed desalination project sometime in September – as the Weekly went to print, it was not yet clear if it would be considered on Sept. 13 or Sept. 27 – crucial questions about the cost of that water remain unanswered.  For Cal Am ratepayers and shareholders, those answers – mainly, how the project’s financial risk is allocated between the two groups – have massive implications. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here:  As Cal Am’s desal project is set for approval, important questions remain about its water’s costs

Oakdale Irrigation District board blesses controversial payments to fallowing farmers: “On a split vote, irrigation leaders on Tuesday ratified nearly $1 million in payments to farmers who volunteered to fallow land two years ago, even though the program fell apart in the face of a lawsuit.  Before the On-Farm Conservation program failed, the Oakdale Irrigation District entered into 59 contracts with growers willing to idle some land in return for money from outside buyers of freed-up water. Many did expensive work, and board members long ago authorized General Manager Steve Knell and attorney Fred Silva to negotiate settlements. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Oakdale Irrigation District board blesses controversial payments to fallowing farmers

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meets today:  “The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors meets on Thursday beginning at 11 a.m. at Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave.  A closed session will be held at 10 a.m. to discuss anticipated litigation, though a short public comment session on that particular item will be held prior to the board going behind closed doors.  The board will hear updates from Steve Johnson of Stetson Engineers, Inc., the agency’s water resources manager, on items including the Plan of Action and Milestones, updates on the status of the Groundwater Authority’s Prop. 1 grant, and updates on the pump fee imposed on major well owners in the Indian Wells Valley basin. ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meets today

The Salton Sea is shrinking even faster, and California still hasn’t done much to fix it: “In November 2015, there was a rare celebration at the Salton Sea.  More than 100 people gathered on a dry stretch of dirt at Red Hill Bay, where the lake’s shoreline was receding quickly. They were there to break ground on the Salton Sea’s first major restoration project, which would create hundreds of acres of habitat for migratory birds and help keep lung-damaging dust out of the air. Several public officials  — including state lawmakers Eduardo Garcia and Ben Hueso — grabbed shovels and posed for a photo scooping dirt out of the ground, with a bulldozer in the background. ... ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  The Salton Sea is shrinking even faster, and California still hasn’t done much to fix it

Along the Colorado River …

Mandatory curtailment of water rights in Colorado raised as a possibility:  “A state-imposed mandatory curtailment of water in the Colorado River Basin within Colorado was discussed as a looming possibility during a meeting of the Colorado Water Conservation Board on Wednesday in Steamboat Springs.  Representatives from the Western Slope told the statewide water-planning board that while they favor creating a new legally protected pool of water in Lake Powell and other upstream federal reservoirs to help prevent a compact call on the river, they have significant concerns about the pool being filled outside of a program that is “voluntary, temporary and compensated.” … ”  Read more from the Aspen Times here:  Mandatory curtailment of water rights in Colorado raised as a possibility

Soothing words on water but little else:  “Western Slope water interests received verbal assurances but nothing more formal from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Wednesday in regard to concerns about interstate drought-response negotiations and the implications for agriculture west of the Continental Divide.  CWCB staff and board members sought to ease Western Slope worries that Colorado and other states are moving toward agreement about creating a dedicated account or pool in Lake Powell or other reservoirs for storing water saved through a potential demand management program. Those worries arise from a lack of any rules that would govern such a program in Colorado. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Sentinel here:  Soothing words on water but little else

And lastly …

Depression-era discovery: Shasta Dam construction photos unearthed:While The Chronicle’s archive contains gems dating to the newspaper’s 1865 founding, discovering staff photos from before the 1950s is like striking gold. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Depression-era discovery: Shasta Dam construction photos unearthed

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Sign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post …

Daily emailsSign up for free daily email service and you’ll get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. And with breaking news alerts, you’ll always be one of the first to know …


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.

 

(Visited 680 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply