DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: As CA’s groundwater free-for-all ends, gauging what’s left; Developing El Niño may be good news for fire risk; Trump threatens to pull federal funding for CA wildfires over ‘gross mismanagement’; A bubbling pool of mud is on the move near the Salton Sea; and more …

Cuyama Valley

In California water news this weekend, As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left;  Developing El Niño and California’s Upcoming Wet Season May Be Good News for the Fire Risk; How science fared in the midterm elections; Trump threatens to pull federal funding for California wildfires over ‘gross mismanagement’; Poseidon desalination plant scores low in ranking of Orange County water projects; A bubbling pool of mud is on the move near the Salton Sea, and no one knows why; and more …

In the news this weekend …

As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left: “Most areas of California farm country have a significant lack of information about their groundwater use. The water managers responsible for putting California’s depleted aquifers on the path to sustainability now need to get the data to do the job. Running the new agencies created under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, these managers must first decide what they need to know, and how to get the information.  The measuring gauges they need would ideally give two different views of groundwater reality. First, account for withdrawals by identifying who is taking the water, then control the withdrawals to ensure sustainability, now required in 109 of the state’s 517 groundwater basins. Second, monitor the overall health of the aquifer to ensure it is not trespassing over the various boundaries of unsustainability now carved into state law. … ”  Read more from Water in the West here:  As California’s Groundwater Free-for-All Ends, Gauging What’s Left

Developing El Niño and California’s Upcoming Wet Season May Be Good News for the Fire Risk:  “California is experiencing another round of dangerous wildfires as generally dry conditions have prevailed so far this wet season, but the developing El Niño may be good news.  Increasing drought has gripped California, helping to further fuel destructive wildfires across the state.   But could the growing chance of an El Niño change that dry environment? Generally, El Niño years can mean more precipitation for the Golden State, but that might not necessarily be the case for all areas of California this wet season. Let’s dive into the details for California and whether or not that expectation could become reality. … ”  Continue reading at the Weather Channel here:  Developing El Niño and California’s Upcoming Wet Season May Be Good News for the Fire Risk

How science fared in the midterm elections:  “This year, more candidates with degrees in science, medicine and engineering ran for Congress than ever before. Of the nearly two-dozen new candidates in this crop, at least seven won seats in the House of Representatives.  The newcomers, mostly Democrats, include Chrissy Houlahan, who has a degree in industrial engineering and won in Pennsylvania. Sean Casten, who has worked as a biochemist, flipped a longtime Republican district in Chicago. Ocean engineer Joe Cunningham, who came out strongly against offshore drilling, won in South Carolina. Lauren Underwood, a registered nurse, won Illinois’s 14th District. In Virginia, Elaine Luria, who has a nuclear engineering background, defeated the Republican incumbent, Scott Taylor. Jeff Van Drew, who won a seat representing the 2nd Congressional District in New Jersey, is a dentist. … ”  Read more from The Washington Post here:  How science fared in the midterm elections

Trump threatens to pull federal funding for California wildfires over ‘gross mismanagement’: “President Donald Trump woke up in Paris on Saturday in the mood to make threats toward California as it deals with deadly wildfires in Northern California and hundreds of smoldering homes in Southern California. In an angry tweet, the president threatened to pull federal funding for the state if nothing is done to “remedy” the situation.  Trump is in Paris to take part in a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. But his mind was still on the disaster unfolding out west in the U.S. ... ”  Read more from ABC News here:  Trump threatens to pull federal funding for California wildfires over ‘gross mismanagement’

In commentary this weekend …

How California can chart new approach to water woes:  The East Bay Times/Mercury News writes, For all of his accomplishments, when it comes to water issues, Gov. Jerry Brown is leaving Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom with a mess. What’s needed is a paradigm shift — a change in the conversation that doesn’t pit Northern California vs. Southern California and environmentalists against farmers and urban dwellers.  Consider: What if Newsom borrowed a page from Brown’s climate change playbook, which called for a big move away from coal and oil in favor of renewable and green energy? ... ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  How California can chart new approach to water woes

Four problems Brown is leaving for Newsom to address:  The San Diego Union Tribune writes, “In two months, Jerry Brown, the state’s 34th and 39th governor, will leave a different California to successor Gavin Newsom. …  Elected on Tuesday, Newsom can be glad he isn’t inheriting a fiscal crisis, as Brown did. Nevertheless, the current governor isn’t exactly leaving a tidy desk behind for the current lieutenant governor. Instead, there are huge issues that will challenge Newsom from day one. Here are four pressing ones. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Four problems Brown is leaving for Newsom to address

Congrats to DWR for having dam construction done, says the Appeal-Democrat:  “The Department of Water Resources announced last week that they had met their goal of reconstructing the main spillway at Oroville Dam by Nov. 1.  They’re prepared for the upcoming winter, spokespersons for DWR said. The new spillway is good to go. DWR kept storage down through the past year to accommodate work and to have extra capacity for runoff had there been rainy weather before the cutoff date. … ”  Continue reading here:  Congrats to DWR for having dam construction done

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Concerns fester around Centennial Dam, says Melinda Booth:  She writes, “It has been four years since Nevada Irrigation District Board (NID) passed closed-session Resolution 2014-43, authorizing a water rights application for a “water storage project on the Bear River” without any public comment or board discussion. This was the beginning of Centennial Dam. Since then, (South Yuba River Citizens League) SYRCL and others have tried to bring Centennial Dam into public purview to promote transparency and open dialogue.  The most recent attempt was at NID’s Special Board Meeting on Oct. 9. … ”  Read more from the Colfax Record here:  Concerns fester around Centennial Dam

Poseidon desalination plant scores low in ranking of Orange County water projects: The controversial Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach is the least cost-effective option and carries the most fiscal risk of key water projects being pursued in Orange County, according to a newly released draft report.  Additionally, the plant would produce far more water than needed except in the most extreme scenarios and most shortages could be met by other projects, according to the report by Municipal Water District of Orange County, which oversees water imported into the county.  A final version of the report, which analyzes the county’s future water needs and projects underway to meet those needs, is expected by the end of the year. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Poseidon desalination plant scores low in ranking of Orange County water projects

Orange County solicits public input of Westminster Watershed flood risks:  “The Orange County Public Works Department wants residents’ input for a study that could help reduce flood risks in certain areas.  The Westminster/East Garden Grove Flood Risk Management Study calls for modifying about 25 miles of drainage channels within the Westminster Watershed, which spans about 87 square miles on a flat, coastal plan that includes Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach and other communities. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Orange County solicits public input of Westminster Watershed flood risks

A bubbling pool of mud is on the move near the Salton Sea, and no one knows why:  “When it comes to matters of geology and rumbling earth in California, the San Andreas Fault is usually the star of the show. But this time around, the area near the infamous fault has caught people’s attention due to a mysterious pot of bubbling mud.  Refusing to stay in place, a roiling mass of carbon dioxide and slurry-like soil is migrating across the state at a pace of 20 feet a year. So far, it’s carved a 24,000-square-foot basin out of the earth, and it’s set to continue its crusade until whatever’s driving it dies out. Scientists currently have no real idea why it’s moving or if it can be stopped.  So, what do we know about it? … ”  Continue reading at National Geographic here:  Salton Sea: A bubbling pool of mud is on the move, and no one knows why

Along the Colorado River …

States voice shared goal for helping the Colorado River Basin:  “Representatives of states up and down the Colorado River Basin on Thursday described their shared desire to address the threat of drought to water supplies through a suite of proposed new agreements.  “When you see the Upper Basin and Lower Basin sitting up here together, it’s because failure is not an option and we need to do something,” Rebecca Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said at the annual Upper Colorado River Basin Water Forum presented by Colorado Mesa University’s Hutchings Water Center. … ”  Read more from the Daily Sentinel here:  States voice shared goal for helping the Colorado River Basin

Charles Cole: Planning a sustainable water future for Southern Arizona: “Deserts have been expanding in the Southwest for well over 100 years, accelerated by climate change. Pumping of groundwater more rapidly than it is replaced is drying up rivers, causing subsidence of the ground, and reducing availability of water for agriculture.  The CAP (Central Arizona Project), which brings water from the Colorado River to the Phoenix and Tucson areas, has allowed these cities to grow beyond the carrying capacity of their historical local water supplies. Now, however, the Colorado River carries a significantly reduced volume of water, and it is no longer a reliable supply. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star here:  Charles Cole: Planning a sustainable water future for Southern Arizona

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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