DAILY DIGEST: Trial date set for Oroville Dam lawsuits against DWR; Climate change and California’s water supply: How can we adapt?; Where Cox and Newsom stand on the top issues; and more …

In California water news today, Trial date set for Oroville Dam lawsuits against DWR; Climate Change and California’s Water Supply: How Can We Adapt?; Where California gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Gavin Newsom stand on the top issues in the state; Proposition 3 pours money on Central Valley water projects, faces opposition; Every president since 1961 was warned about climate change; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30 am.  Agenda items include an update on hydrologic conditions, urban water conservation, and a public hearing on consideration of a proposed Order on the Amendment to the Statewide General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities.  Click here for the full agenda.

In the news today …

Trial date set for Oroville Dam lawsuits against DWR:  “A trial date has been set to hear several lawsuits against the state Department of Water Resources over the Oroville Dam crisis.  The court scheduled the trial for June 1, 2020 during the second case management conference Friday in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Nearly all cases against DWR over the spillway crisis are being considered together through what is called a coordinated proceeding.  A few new parties have been added to the proceeding since the last conference, including PG&E, Butte County and Mary’s Gone Crackers with Richard Wilbur Ranch, Inc. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Trial date set for Oroville Dam lawsuits against DWR

Climate Change and California’s Water Supply: How Can We Adapt?  “Climate change is expected to alter water supplies in California fundamentally. The state must find ways to adapt. This article explores potential adaptation strategies and the role that water markets can play in mitigating some of the economic costs of climate change.” Read the article from the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics here:  Climate Change and California’s Water Supply: How Can We Adapt?

With this dry forecast, we’re starting to wonder, where is El Nino? Before we even go there, yes it’s true that sometimes El Nino forecasts can be a total bust.  Famously, the last big one did the exact opposite of what we were thinking. Around the world, the El Nino of 2015-16 was spot on, but not in California, and that is what we remember.  With that out of the way, let’s look ahead to the current status of El Nino. For a quick primer, El Nino is when the central Pacific at the equator is warmer than normal. When this happens, it can alter some common patterns and you can get wet areas, and areas of drought. You could also get large fires in Indonesia and coral bleaching, among other phenomena. ... ”  Read more from ABC 10 here:  With this dry forecast, we’re starting to wonder, where is El Nino? 

Where California gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Gavin Newsom stand on the top issues in the state:  This guide from the LA Times gives the candidates’ positions on education, health care, housing and homelessness, immigration, jobs, transportation and infrastructure, and more.  Read it from the LA Times here:  Where California gubernatorial candidates John Cox and Gavin Newsom stand on the top issues in the state

Proposition 3 pours money on Central Valley water projects, faces opposition: “Voters across the Central Valley have been flooded with water initiatives this election season.  President Trump’s Western Water Memo sought to “ease regulatory burdens” that he says keeps water out of Valley farms, while Proposition 3 will appropriate billions of dollars to Valley water projects.  Though experts say the benefits of Trump’s executive action are unclear at best, Prop. 3 commits $8.9 billion in bonds that would directly benefit water projects throughout the state — many of them concentrated right here in the San Joaquin Valley. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: Proposition 3 pours money on Central Valley water projects, faces opposition

Every president since 1961 was warned about climate change:  “John F. Kennedy was warned about “climate control” in February 1961, becoming perhaps the first American president to learn about people’s impact on planetary temperatures.  The warnings never stopped. Every president since then has been exposed to similar scientific findings. Sometimes it was called “climatic change,” other times it was “air pollution.”  The history of cautionary messages with the West Wing is documented in hundreds of records submitted in Juliana v. United States, a court case against the federal government. The files show an arc of steadily improving climate science and a clearer picture of damages, even as presidents diverged on how to address the problem.  Below are excerpts of documents received by the past 11 U.S. presidents. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Every president since 1961 was warned about climate change

In commentary today …

San Joaquin water plan is good for the Delta and Valley, says Peter Drekmeier:  He writes, “It’s fitting that the Bay Area was named after Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. After all, the San Francisco Bay Delta was historically one of the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth.  Sadly, the estuary is now on the brink of ecological collapse. Starved of fresh water flow from rivers that feed the Bay, the salt balance has been altered dramatically, affecting everything from plankton to marine mammals and leading to toxic algae blooms that can make people sick and kill pets and wildlife. Problems extend up into the rivers that flow into the Delta. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: San Joaquin water plan is good for the Delta and Valley

Buying a myth on California water impedes real-world solutions, say Brent Hastey and Steve LaMar:  They write, “The same black-and-white perspective that overshadows nearly all discussion on the water of the San Francisco Bay-Delta unfortunately briefly became San Francisco policy last week when the Board of Supervisors reflexively labeled the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as being against restoring the health of the bay-delta’s ecosystem.  In this narrative, one party incorrectly identifies restoring unimpaired flows as the only answer to declining fisheries. The other party disagrees, which instantly labels them as anti-environmental. This in turn creates a false reality that stalls progress, widens divisions and reinforces a good guy/bad guy myth.  It’s time to overturn this myth. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Buying a myth on California water impedes real-world solutions

San Francisco must do better in sharing water, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write, “San Francisco needs to protect and share California’s most precious and vital resource.  That means working with the State Water Board to reduce the amount of water the city takes from the Tuolumne River at certain times of the year in order to help restore the San Joaquin River, ensure the survival of our iconic West Coast salmon and the health of the San Francisco Bay, as well as maintain predictable water deliveries.  Mayor London Breed vetoed a resolution on Friday after the Board of Supervisors split with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission over the state’s proposed Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  San Francisco must do better in sharing water

In regional news and commentary today …

San Francisco: Funds flow in for Prop. A to repair SF seawall despite lack of opposition: “Proposition A on the San Francisco ballot, which would allow a $425 million bond to strengthen the Embarcadero seawall, has no organized opposition. So why is the Yes on A campaign budget approaching $1.5 million?  One answer: Plenty of big developers and corporations are writing big checks.  The campaign has netted $1.5 million in contributions so far, according to records filed with the city’s Ethics Commission, and the donors include several players with an obvious stake in the result — such as the owners at Pier 39 and Waterfront Plaza, who gave a combined $55,000. Their properties are on the front line, as it were. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  Funds flow in for Prop. A to repair SF seawall despite lack of opposition

How do voters feel about water in the Central Valley?  George Hostetter writes, “Perhaps the long-sought binding agent for the Valley’s increasingly diverse population will be water.  Where to get it? How to store it and keep it safe? Can everyone get all they need?  That’s the kind of stuff to bring a people together.  At least that’s my takeaway after reviewing a new survey from Fresno State and the Friant Water Authority on voter sentiments regarding water issues. ... ”  Read more from the Central Valley Observer here:  How do voters feel about water in the Central Valley?

San Diego: Environmentalists want more marshland in Mission Bay to fight sea level rise:  “San Diego’s proposed redevelopment of Mission Bay Park’s northeast corner could include significantly more marshland if city officials embrace new proposals from local environmentalists concerned about sea level rise.  One proposal calls for 200 acres of marshland, more than double the 84 acres proposed by the city, which would limit acreage for new amenities and could require closure or shrinkage of Mission Bay Golf Course. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Environmentalists want more marshland in Mission Bay to fight sea level rise

Along the Colorado River …

Controlled flood of the Grand Canyon begins a four-day exercise on the Colorado River:  “Octavia Patno and her mom, a federal hydraulic engineer, stood on a narrow walkway at the base of Glen Canyon Dam Monday morning, their heads covered with hard hats. The Colorado River flowed below. Red-rock canyon walls towered above. The dam’s hydropower turbines hummed.  At 11 a.m., it was time for Octavia, 13, to flood the Grand Canyon. She pulled a lever above four empty jet tubes that pointed toward the river. It was heavier than she expected. In the next moment, she turned around, her mouth open in surprise. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Controlled flood of the Grand Canyon begins a four-day exercise on the Colorado River

Looming Drought Prompts Arizona Cities to Stock up on Colorado River Water:  “Before a natural disaster hits, what do you do? You run to the store and load up on food, water, and batteries, of course.  Something similar is happening in central Arizona with water as a serious drought looms on the horizon.  In recent years, cities, municipalities, tribes, and industries have been upping their orders from the Central Arizona Project, which is responsible for transporting water through 336 miles of pipelines and canals from Lake Mead on the Colorado River to Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties. … ”  Read more from New Times Phoenix here: Looming Drought Prompts Arizona Cities to Stock up on Colorado River Water

Tribes want a say in the Colorado River’s future:  “There are several ticking time bombs in western water.  The first is obvious. How much less water will fall from the sky because of climate change?  Another big one is barely talked about and will take decades if not a century to end. How will bureaucrats, lawmakers and the courts deal with the rights of Native American tribes that have claims to water from the Colorado River? … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  Tribes want a say in the Colorado River’s future

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Climate change and salmon on the San Joaquin, A water budget for the environment, Countdown to drought, When levees fall down, Contaminated Valley groundwater, and more …

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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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