DAILY DIGEST: CA voluntarily cuts back Colorado River water allotment; New laws on drought, forests, and safe drinking water; Prop 3: Smart water plan or costly gift to farmers?; How will CA’s climate ambitions reshape food and ag?; and more …

In California water news today, California Voluntarily Cuts Back Colorado River Water Allotment; New Laws on Drought, Forests, and Safe Drinking Water; Prop 3: Smart water plan or costly gift to farmers?; Smoke from wildfires has cooling effect on water temperatures; For the next California governor, there’s plenty of advice on water issues; How will California’s climate ambitions reshape food and agriculture?; Trump questions report on climate change; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Webinar: How Chula Vista used a collaborative stakeholder approach to create an actionable water stewardship plan from 12pm to 1:30pm.  Hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association.  Click here to register.
  • Groundwater quality and SGMA roundtable in Visalia from 5pm to 7:30pm.  Hosted by the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability and Self Help Enterprises.  Click here for an event flyer in both English and Spanish.
  • Groundwater Restoration at Federal and State Superfund Sites from 5:30 pm to 8:30pm in Sacramento.  Hosted by the Sacramento Chapter of the Groundwater Resources Association.  Click here for more information and to register.  You do not have to be a member to attend.

In the news today …

California Voluntarily Cuts Back Colorado River Water Allotment:  “Seven U.S. states in the Southwest that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached tentative agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, officials said Tuesday.  The announcement was a long-awaited step toward preserving the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico.  “We have, after many years of discussion and negotiation, a real milestone,” said James Eklund, a water lawyer who represents Colorado in the interstate negotiations on the river. … ”  Read more from the AP via CBS Sacramento here:  California Voluntarily Cuts Back Colorado River Water Allotment

Western states release proposed Colorado River agreements:  “States that rely on the shrinking supply of water from the Colorado River have released drafts of a set of agreements intended to prevent reservoirs on the river from falling to perilously low levels.  The documents, which were released Tuesday, lay out a framework for cuts in water deliveries to prop up the levels of the river’s two biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell.  The documents included proposed drought-contingency plans for the Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — as well as the Lower Basin states — Arizona, Nevada and California. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Western states release proposed Colorado River agreements

New Laws on Drought, Forests, and Safe Drinking Water: “The legislative session that just wrapped up addressed a number of water and forest management issues. Progress was made in three major areas—urban drought management, forest health, and safe drinking water. ... ” Continue reading at the PPIC here:  New Laws on Drought, Forests, and Safe Drinking Water

Prop 3: Smart water plan or costly gift to farmers? California voters may be feeling a sense of deja vu when they consider Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion water bond on the November ballot to fund a long list of water projects — from repairing Oroville Dam to restoring Bay Area wetlands to helping Central Valley farmers recharge depleted groundwater.  Didn’t the voters recently approve a big water bond? Maybe two of them?  Yes. And yes. ... ”  Read more from the Mercury News here:  Prop 3: Smart water plan or costly gift to farmers? 

Smoke from wildfires has cooling effect on water temperatures:  “Smoke generated by wildfires can cool river and stream water temperatures by reducing solar radiation and cooling air temperatures, according to a new study in California’s Klamath River Basin.  “Wildfire Smoke Cools Summer River and Stream Water Temperatures,” published recently online in the journal Water Resources Research, suggests that smoke-induced cooling has the potential to benefit aquatic species that require cool water to survive because high summer water temperatures are a major factor contributing to population declines, and wildfires are more likely to occur during the warmest and driest time of year. ... ”  Read more from YubaNet here:  Smoke from wildfires has cooling effect on water temperatures

For the next California governor, there’s plenty of advice on water issues:  “There’s going to be a new governor in California next year – and a host of challenges, both old and new, involving the state’s most vital natural resource, water.  So what should the next governor’s water priorities be?  That was one of the questions put to more than 150 participants during a wrap-up session at the end of the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento. … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  For the next California governor, there’s plenty of advice on water issues

How will California’s climate ambitions reshape food and agriculture?  ” … Brown has signed a number of bills spelling out how California might achieve its goal, including SB100, which commits the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, as well as a series of bills intended to increase the adoption of electric vehicles. But missing from the flurry of legislation are concrete plans for the future of food and agriculture.  California began investing in agricultural solutions to climate change four years ago, using revenue from the state’s cap and trade program. Since 2014, the state has spent more than $180 million on four climate-smart agriculture initiatives, permanently protecting nearly 80,000 acres of farmland, and funding 735 on-farm projects. It’s a good start: the on-farm projects alone are estimated to collectively eliminate 42 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, while saving more than 28 billion gallons of water. … ”  Read more from the Civil Eats blog here:  How will California’s climate ambitions reshape food and agriculture? 

Trump questions report on climate change:  “President Trump expressed skepticism yesterday about a major U.N. report on climate change that warned of irreversible warming if the world fails to act immediately.  Trump said he wanted to know more about who wrote the report. He has been historically dismissive of climate science, calling it “bullshit” and a “hoax” before he was elected. More recently, he claimed that low temperatures disprove climate change.  “It was given to me. It was given to me,” Trump said of the report. “And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. Because I can give you reports that are fabulous, and I can give you reports that aren’t so good. But I will be looking at it. Absolutely.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Trump questions report on climate change

In commentary today …

Dear Felicia, Your plan would hurt mountain counties too, says John Kingsbury:  He writes, “The State Water Resources Control Board is slated for a Nov. 7 vote on a Bay-Delta Water Quality Plan which would require 40 percent of unimpaired flows to remain in the rivers to purportedly revive chinook salmon through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  If the Board adopts the proposed Plan, it is with little to no regard for the impacts on the ecosystem of mountain counties and impacts on endangered aquatic plant and animal species, including endemic and migrating species that are already stressed by forest fires and drought. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here:  Dear Felicia, Your plan would hurt mountain counties too

Johansson: ESA must work better for species, people:  “In California, battles over everything from spotted owls to delta smelt have reshaped rural communities and, sadly, have created tremendous conflict–all this with little to show in improvements for protected species.  This culture of conflict and lack of success is evidence that conservation is at a crossroads. We can either continue down the path of escalating conflict and seemingly endless cycles of listings and lawsuits, or we can take a long, hard look at what the past 45 years of implementing the Endangered Species Act can teach us as we strive to make the ESA work better.  The law can be better for species, whether listed or unlisted, and better for people, whether farmer or conservationist. There are three reasons this is the case. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  ESA must work better for species, people

In regional news and commentary today …

San Rafael marsh restoration to bolster sea level rise defenses, group says:  “A Marin Audubon Society-led marsh restoration project in San Rafael’s Canal area seeks to pack a double punch on the environmental front by both restoring some of the state’s dwindling wetland habitat and bolstering defenses against sea level rise.  The project at the 20-acre Tiscornia Marsh near Pickleweed Park is in its early planning and fundraising stages, but has already gained widespread support among San Rafael officials and departments.  ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  San Rafael marsh restoration to bolster sea level rise defenses, group says

Belvedere seawall now at risk of caving in, officials say:  “Belvedere officials this week declared a state of emergency for the bayfront community after further investigation of a damaged seawall revealed the scope of the issue is larger than the city had realized.  Consulting engineers told the city late last month it should act immediately to prevent the seawall along Beach Road — which protects the area from flooding — from shifting any further or collapsing into the bay. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Belvedere seawall now at risk of caving in, officials say

Radio show:  Fresno State Symposium To Address Concerning Arsenic Levels in Groundwater: “In June of this year, the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications published a research article linking over-pumping of the San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater to rising concentrations of arsenic. The research caught the attention of water leaders from across the state, and on Thursday, October 11, many will be gathering at Fresno State for a symposium to discuss the problem of arsenic in groundwater and workshop solutions to it. The event was organized by Fresno State’s California Water Institute and features speakers from across campus as well as Stanford University, the U.S. Geological Survey, the State Water Resources Control Board, and others.  Listen to the audio for an interview with Fresno State Associate Vice President of Water and Sustainability Thomas Esqueda, who dives deeper into the problem and looks ahead to Thursday’s Arsenic Symposium.”  Listen to the radio show from Valley Public Radio here:  Fresno State Symposium To Address Concerning Arsenic Levels in Groundwater

Santa Clarita Valley: Report Projects Adequate Supplies Enough to Meet 2018 SCV Water Demands:Due to a diverse water supply portfolio and continued water use efficiency efforts, the SCV is projected to have more than adequate supplies to meet all water demands in 2018. This is according to the 2017 SCV Water Report just released. Now in its twentieth year, the report provides a snapshot of where we started and ended the year in terms of water supply and demand. … ”  Read more from SCV News here: Report Projects Adequate Supplies Enough to Meet 2018 SCV Water Demands

Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal, start to 4-year project at Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park, to begin by October’s end: After four years of public meetings, lawsuits and heated debate, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works will begin the massive sediment-removal project behind Devil’s Gate Dam in Pasadena at the end of the month.  All together, the county will remove 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment from mostly natural lands within Hahamongna Watershed Park behind the dam, a Pasadena city park.  The main goal is to clear away tons of sediment that has prevented the oldest dam in the county from functioning at its fullest capacity.  County engineers say large-scale dredging within the city park is needed to return the nearly 100-year-old dam to full operation. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star News here:  Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal, start to 4-year project at Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park, to begin by October’s end

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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