DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Data collection begins toward raising Shasta Dam; Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention; Wine woes and water stress: How non-essential industries cope with a changing climate; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Data collection begins toward raising Shasta Dam; Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention; Largest Bay Area dam built in 20 years is finally finished; DWR posts cost-benefit analysis for Cal WaterFix; Wine woes and water stress: How non-essential industries cope with a changing climate; No stone unturned: Little worlds inside stream riffles and pools; Despite Risk of Unprecedented Shortage on the Colorado River, Reclamation Commissioner Sees Room for Optimism; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Data collection begins toward raising Shasta Dam:  “Geologists are beginning take core samples to collect data for a proposal to raise Shasta Dam by 18 1/2 feet.  The Bureau of Reclamation says the samples will be taken over the next few months from on, around and deep within the dam, in order to characterize concrete and geology conditions.  The federal government has been studying the idea of raising the dam and enlarging Shasta Reservoir on and off since the 1980s. But the state of California, environmental groups and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe have been and remain opposed. ... ”  Read more from the Paradise Post here:  Data collection begins toward raising Shasta Dam

Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention:  “Concerns are rising Kern might lose local control over groundwater pumping — an activity vital to farmers, ranchers, oil producers and others — after county officials moved to scale back their own oversight role.  The county informed property owners Aug. 24 it does not have the expertise or the money to actively manage groundwater use in portions of Kern where no other management authority exists. It encouraged them to join a local water district or form their own management organization, either of which would be expected to come up with a plan for making the practice sustainable. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Kern County downsizes groundwater management role, raising concerns of state intervention

Largest Bay Area dam built in 20 years is finally finished:  “After toiling away in the remote hills east of Interstate 680 on the Alameda-Santa Clara county line for seven years, hundreds of construction workers have finally finished the largest dam built in the Bay Area in 20 years.  The 220-foot tall dam at Calaveras Reservoir — as high as the roadway on the Golden Gate Bridge soars above San Francisco Bay — replaces a dam of the same size, built in 1925. State dam inspectors flagged the older dam in 2001 as at risk of collapse in a major earthquake on the nearby Calaveras Fault. If it had failed, state officials estimated it could have sent a 30-foot wall of water into Fremont and neighboring communities, potentially killing thousands of people. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Largest Bay Area dam built in 20 years is finally finished

DWR posts cost-benefit analysis for Cal WaterFix:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released a Benefit-Cost Analysis for California WaterFix by Dr. David Sunding, a professor of natural resource economics at UC Berkeley, that finds WaterFix could bring billions of dollars in benefits to Californians who obtain their water from participating State Water Project (SWP) contractors. These benefits include improved water quality, more reliable water supplies, enhanced disaster preparedness, and climate change resilience.  “The analysis described in this report demonstrates that investment in the California WaterFix results in positive net benefits for the SWP urban and agricultural contractors,” Sunding wrote in the report prepared for DWR. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  DWR posts cost-benefit analysis for Cal WaterFix

Wine woes and water stress: How non-essential industries cope with a changing climate:  “In discussions about water shortage, the topic of the human right to water seems to be a key topic of debate. Different countries approach the question of whether individuals should have a right to access safe water differently, and much has been written comparing approaches.  One aspect that is less well covered is how different countries approach water allocation for “non-essential” water uses in times of shortage.  The wines of South Africa’s Western Cape are world renowned. But the recent water crisis in this region has strained the industry, causing lower yields, increasing costs, and raising the question of priority for uses not considered essential to fulfilling a human right to water.  … ”  Read more from the University of Denver Water Law Review here:  Wine woes and water stress: How non-essential industries cope with a changing climate

No stone unturned: Little worlds inside stream riffles and pools: “University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) stream ecologist David Herbst, a research scientist with Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL), is committed to exploring the little worlds inside stream riffles and pools, one overturned stone at a time. Living in these small, dynamic systems are the benthic invertebrates that offer up clear signals about water quality and stream health.  Recent research from Dr. Herbst and his team, published in the journal Hydrobiologia, elucidates the connections between the communities of benthic invertebrates that live in stream riffles and pools, how and why they move as conditions change, and what changing conditions mean for the stream and the rest of the local ecosystem. ... ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  No stone unturned: Little worlds inside stream riffles and pools

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Festival celebrates return of chinook salmon:  “The 24th annual Oroville Salmon Festival Saturday attracted thousands who celebrated the return of the chinook salmon to the Feather River. And, this year, the salmon were also in full attendance.  Anna Kastner, who has been the Feather River Hatchery manager for more than 20 years, said the hatchery is responsible for the environmental education portion of the Salmon Festival. Each year, the salmon spawning tours fill up fast — this year was no exception.  People lined up to take a look through the windows to watch fish and wildlife technicians fertilizing chinook salmon eggs from the spring run. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Festival celebrates return of chinook salmon

Yuba-Sutter agencies adapt to climate change:  “Droughts and floods are nothing new to California residents. They’ve happened before and they’ll happen again. But scientists say climate change is expected to enhance those weather extremes even more in the Sacramento Valley in the coming decades, which will require agencies and industries to change.  Scientists from UC Davis recently released a climate change assessment for the Sacramento Valley region. The report – one of 13 summary reports included in California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment – details the expected effects of climate change moving forward and provides potential solutions to avoid threats. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here:  Yuba-Sutter agencies adapt to climate change

Davis City Council to consider opt out for new water meters:  “Since January, the city of Davis has been replacing residential water meters with new meters featuring a low-powered communication device that transmits hourly water usage information over a secure network.  The new meters — with Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMIs — not only allow residents to keep track of their water usage online, they eliminate the need for the city to hire meter readers to visit houses every month.  So far west, central and north Davis installations have been completed, according to the city, and installations throughout the rest of the city are expected to be completed by the end of the month. ... ”  Read more from the Davis Enterprise here:  Davis City Council to consider opt out for new water meters

Stanislaus County appeals ruling that would make it harder for farmers to dig wells:  “Stanislaus County will ask the state Supreme Court for a ruling on whether environmental review is a necessary step for a new water well.  In August, a state appeals court overturned the Stanislaus Superior Court’s decision in the Protecting Our Water lawsuit, which sought an injunction against county well permit approvals. The plaintiffs claimed the county was violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving well permits without considering environmental harm.  … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Stanislaus County appeals ruling that would make it harder for farmers to dig wells

Central Valley officials kick off Prop 3 campaign:  “Central Valley leaders from both sides of the aisle gathered Thursday near the Friant-Kern Canal to kick off the “Yes on Proposition 3” campaign.  Proposition 3 is an $8.8 billion water bond initiative that dedicates funds for projects in the areas of infrastructure repair and long-term drought relief.  The measure, called the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018, would fund new technologies for local water supply such as water reuse and storm water capture, safe water for disadvantaged communities, watershed restoration, fish and wildlife protection, sustainable groundwater management and repair of existing dams and canals. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Central Valley officials kick off Prop 3 campaign

Along the Colorado River …

Despite Risk of Unprecedented Shortage on the Colorado River, Reclamation Commissioner Sees Room for Optimism: “The Colorado River Basin is more than likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said during a talk in Sacramento. Burman, speaking at the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit, also said California needs more water storage, and added that raising Shasta Dam could be one way to effectively add storage.”  Read more from Western Water here:  Despite Risk of Unprecedented Shortage on the Colorado River, Reclamation Commissioner Sees Room for Optimism

Securing the Shoshone station’s water rights must be a priority for the next Colorado governor, says Scott McInnis: He writes, “When I was a young boy, my folks would pack us kids up in the car and go out to the Shoshone Power Plant. They told us that like the book, The Little Engine That Could, this was “The Water Right that could!” Not that we kids understood what “water right” meant, but we got the picture. We knew it meant a lot for some reason. It seemed like the biggest power plant in the world to us and little did we know that it in fact was powered by water, the use of which was dependent upon one of the most critical water rights in Colorado.  We need to talk about the Shoshone water right’s future and the need to make it permanent. ... ”  Read more from the Grand Junction Sentinel here:  Securing the Shoshone station’s water rights must be a priority for the next Colorado governor

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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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