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DAILY DIGEST: Groundwater agencies await finalized basin priorities; Is resistance futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Coastal Litter; New Bullards Bar Dam is fortifying for heavier rainfall; What a Gold Rush era orchard could mean for the future of food; and more …

In California water news today, Groundwater agencies await finalized basin priorities; Is resistance futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Coastal Litter; Denham pleads Valley’s case for water to EPA chief; The New Bullards Bar Dam is fortifying for heavier rainfall; What a Gold Rush era orchard could mean for the future of food; California sea lion population hit hard by bacterial outbreak; That terrifying UN climate report: 10 different takes; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The California Water Commission will meet this morning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include an update on Oroville Spillways construction, a briefing on Delta levees special projects priorities, and discussion of the 2019 Commission work plan.  Click here for the agenda and webcast link.
  • Sacramento Groundwater Authority 20-Year Anniversary Luncheon Celebration from 11:30am to 1:30pm.  Keynote speaker is Roger Dickinson.  Click here for more information.
  • The Department of Water Resources and California Rural Water Association is holding a Drought Management Workshop in Temecula from 12pm to 4:30pm.  This no-cost workshop is targeted to small communities and rural, disadvantaged systems.   Click here for more information.
  • Delta Science Proposal Solicitation Notice Application Webinar from 2pm to 4pm.  Click here for more information.
  • Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Understanding Emerging Issues with these Widespread Compounds from 5:30pm to 8:30pm in Oakland:  Hosted by the San Francisco Chapter of the Groundwater Resources Association.  You do not have to be a member to attend.  Click here for more information.

 

In the news today …

Groundwater agencies await finalized basin priorities:  “As local agencies tackle the task of writing groundwater sustainability plans for basins around California, two ongoing processes will affect both the number and the scope of those plans.  Next month, the state Department of Water Resources plans to finalize its rankings of basins and sub-basins that will need to produce groundwater management plans by early 2022. Next spring, DWR plans to finalize boundaries for 43 basins where local agencies requested changes before writing their plans.  Meanwhile, agencies overseeing critically overdrafted basins must have their sustainability plans finished in about 15 months—by Jan. 31, 2020. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Groundwater agencies await finalized basin priorities

Is resistance futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Coastal Litter: “For the environmental advocacy group Surfrider, a plan to curb the littering of cigarette butts began with energetic optimism. It was 1992, and at the time, cigarette filters were the single most frequently occurring item found in most beach cleanups – a statistic the organization hoped to erase.  However, the Hold On To Your Butt campaign has dragged on and on. Even as the 23rd annual California Coast Cleanup Day on September 15, 2018, calculates its successes – in terms of tons of trash removed from the state’s shores – on the butt end it continues as a humbling exercise in futility.  “Cigarette butts are still the number one item that we find,” says Shelly Ericksen, the director of the San Francisco chapter of Surfrider’s campaign. “It’s pretty clear we haven’t made a recognizable dent in the numbers.” … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  Is resistance futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Coastal Litter

Denham pleads Valley’s case for water to EPA chief:  “With the State Water Board poised to order the flushing of 40 percent of water stored at three local reservoirs to enhance fish population and thus bypass Valley farms, Congressman Jeff Denham called in the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.  Denham took Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the EPA, on a tour of a Stanislaus River fish weir and allowed local irrigation districts to stress the devastation the proposed Bay-Delta Plan would have on local farms and the Valley’s economy. ... ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here:  Denham pleads Valley’s case for water to EPA chief

What a Gold Rush era orchard could mean for the future of food:  “Five thousand feet up in the Sierra Nevada and a half-hour’s drive from the last paved road, a clearing opens at the edge of a forest. The clearing is ringed with pine, fir, and aspen, a dense palisade that shields its contents from a rutted track that runs past its hidden gate. Inside, a meadow harbors more than 100 gnarled trees. It is early September, but the trees’ leaves are still green, and other colors peek out among them: apples crimson and scarlet, pears golden and rusty, almonds and walnuts in globes of dull olive. ... ”  Read more from National Geographic here:  What a Gold Rush era orchard could mean for the future of food

California sea lion population hit hard by bacterial outbreak:  “The California sea lion population has fallen prey to a devastating bacterial outbreak.  It’s the second largest outbreak of leptospirosis on record, with at least 220 reported cases so far in 2018, according to the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center, which has been treating infected animals.  The number of sea lions infected with the potentially fatal bacteria represents more than half of all sea lion rescues this year, according to the center. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  California sea lion population hit hard by bacterial outbreak

That terrifying UN climate report: 10 different takes:  “Remember when the eminent scientist Jor-El warned the council of Krypton that the planet would explode, and sooner rather than later? And they didn’t believe him, but it happened anyway?  Pardon my glib intro, but you have to reach into the world of comic books to describe the kind of global catastrophic negligence the recently released U.N. climate report has now put on the record. …  A lot has been written about the report and its implications. Here are excerpts from 10 of the more interesting takes we found ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  That terrifying UN climate report: 10 different takes

In commentary today …

Proposition 3 water bond represents an important step, says Justin Frederickson:  He writes, “No doubt you’ve heard: There’s another water bond on the ballot this November—specifically, the $8.9 billion Proposition 3, or the Watershed Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond Initiative of 2018.  If you’d only read the op-eds from opponents in urban newspapers, you’d be at risk of falling prey to a number of false narratives about Proposition 3. Among the most repeated and least true is the charge that Proposition 3 represents a giveaway to Central Valley agriculture.  Certainly, Proposition 3 contains programs important to California farms and ranches of all sizes—large, small and everywhere in between. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Proposition 3 water bond represents an important step

In regional news and commentary today …

Humboldt Bay is at ‘highest risk of sea level rise on the West Coast’:  “Humboldt Bay is at the highest risk of sea level rise on the entire U.S. west coast. The County has completed a sea level rise vulnerability assessment indicating three communities are at risk of being inundated by sea level rise. Nearly 400 residential parcels are vulnerable in the unincorporated communities of King Salmon, Fields Landing, and Fairhaven.  Community members will have the opportunity to learn about local sea level rise and participate in planning conversations at two public workshops focused on these three communities. … ”  Read more from KIEM Channel 3 here:  Humboldt Bay is at ‘highest risk of sea level rise on the West Coast’

The New Bullards Bar Dam is fortifying for heavier rainfall:  “The Yuba River snakes through Northern California, draining water that runs off the Sierra Nevada mountains. During droughts, the river’s flow slows dramatically. But in wet years, the river is prone to dangerous floods.  Aikens: “And that’s why storage on the West Coast in terms of reservoirs is so important.”  That’s Curt Aikens of the Yuba Water Agency. In the 1960s, the agency built the New Bullards Bar Dam. It forms a huge reservoir that holds water for agriculture, drinking water, and power. The storage is especially important during dry years. ... ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections here:  The New Bullards Bar Dam is fortifying for heavier rainfall

Diversifying San Francisco’s water supply:  “Last week, students at Robert Luis Stevenson Elementary School celebrated a more sustainable future. As part of the Stormwater School Yard Project, city officials replaced a portion of playground pavement with green infrastructure.  Now, instead of running off the concrete into drains, rain will seep into the soil through gardens and permeable pavers. The project will remove over 475,000 gallons from the sewage system yearly and recharge groundwater.  “Conservation of water is important because water is essential to life,” Trisha Yee, a fourth-grade student, told the assembled students at the unveiling. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here:  Diversifying San Francisco’s water supply

Sierra Club challenges LADWP’s ‘water grab’:  “The Sierra Club has intervened in a lawsuit brought by Mono County, California against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), challenging LADWP’s decision to drastically reduce vital irrigation waters it has for decades delivered to important wetlands, meadows and rangelands in southern Mono County.  LADWP’s decision to dewater these lands abruptly changed 70 years of irrigation and management practices on 6,400 acres in Long Valley and Little Round Valley so that increased amounts of water may be exported from the Eastern Sierra to Los Angeles.  The agency’s decision was made in direct violation of a state law requiring a careful  analysis of its environmental and related impacts. ... ”  Read more from Sierra Wave here:  Sierra Club challenges LADWP’s ‘water grab’

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado River Reservoirs Start Water Year At Lowest Point Since Filled: “Key reservoirs along the Colorado River are collectively at their lowest point at the start of a new water year since the last one filled nearly 40 years ago.  As of Oct. 1 reservoirs that store the Colorado River’s water are at just under 47 percent  of their capacity, according to recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Put another way: Reservoirs that provide water to 40 million people and irrigate 5.5 million acres of farmland in the southwest are less than half full. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Colorado River Reservoirs Start Water Year At Lowest Point Since Filled

The cost of drought: Less water from Lake Mead in 2020, higher rates for consumers: “Swaths of mineral-stained white rock, more than 100 feet tall, mark Lake Mead’s basin, punctuating decades of drought in the Southwest. At one point, the white rock was underwater.  If the lake levels dip too low, Arizona could lose about a seventh of its annual water allotment to the Central Arizona Project, which supplies much of the state’s water. Water experts said that could lead to farmers and homeowners paying higher water rates and prioritize Arizona behind neighboring states in CAP water availability. Conservation may be key to keeping water in everyone’s taps in Arizona. … ”  Read more from the Cronkite News here:  The cost of drought: Less water from Lake Mead in 2020, higher rates for consumers

“Somebody’s going to have to use less:” River managers grapple with drought plans:  “Years into a record-breaking drought across the Southwest, officials of the seven states along the Colorado River finally forged an agreement in 2007 on how to deal with future water shortages. Then they quietly hoped that wet weather would return.  It didn’t.  Those states now are back at the negotiating table to hammer out new deals to avoid a slow-moving crisis on the river system that supports 40 million people from Colorado to California.  You can see the extent of the problem in a place like Page, on the southern edge of Lake Powell, the second-largest reservoir in the country behind Lake Mead. … ”  Read more from Grand Canyon News here:  “Somebody’s going to have to use less:” River managers grapple with drought plans

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DR. JAY FAMIGLIETTI: Cape Town: A Harbinger of Future Water Crises for California Cities and Farms?

 

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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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