DAILY DIGEST: Summit meeting discusses river flows proposal; Habitat improvements paying off on the Mokelumne River; Trump officials announce $450 million loan for Sites Reservoir; SoCal legal battle could threaten federal Colorado River drought plan; and more …

In California water news today, Summit meeting discusses river flows proposal; Salmon surge: Habitat improvements paying off on the Mokelumne River; Trump officials announce $450 million loan for Sites Reservoir; Pacific Storm To Bring Rain, Mountain Snow To California; California Farm Bureau Federation posts protest form to appeal water rights fee; California Supreme Court Set to Review Companion Groundwater Cases; Legal battle in Southern California could threaten federal Colorado River drought plan; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am. Agenda items include consideration of a proposed Resolution to amend the Policy for Implementing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and a Public Hearing on the Proposed Establishment of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California; and Toxicity Provisions.  Click here for the full agendaClick here to watch on webcast.

In the news today …

Summit meeting discusses river flows proposal:  “With a draft proposal for streamflows in the Sacramento River expected by the end of the year, farmers in the basin had a chance to discuss the plan with state regulators during a Sacramento Valley Water Summit organized by the Colusa County Farm Bureau.  The State Water Resources Control Board proposal for the Sacramento and its tributaries represents the second phase of an overall plan to increase flows for salmon and other protected fish. Phase 1, involving San Joaquin River tributaries, could be finalized by the board Dec. 11. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Summit meeting discusses river flows proposal

Salmon surge: Habitat improvements paying off on the Mokelumne River:  “Near record numbers of chinook salmon are surging up the Mokelumne River, marking the second large spawning year in a row and signaling to fisheries biologists that habitat improvements in recent years are paying off for fish and the people who eat the pinkish delicacies.  The Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery, a Sierra foothills plant that is part of California’s sprawling Central Valley river system, has processed 13,695 salmon so far this year, a number that by the end of the year could come close to last year’s record of 19,954 returning fish. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Salmon surge: Habitat improvements paying off on the Mokelumne River

Sites link gets federal funding:  “A $449 million loan to build one of the links for the Sites Reservoir project was announced Tuesday.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing a loan for the Maxwell Water Intertie, which would connect the Glenn-Colusa Canal and the Tehama-Colusa Canal in the vicinity of Maxwell, in Colusa County.  A USDA press release said it’s the largest Community Facilities direct loan ever. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Sites link gets federal funding

Trump officials announce $450 million loan for Sites Reservoir:  “Trump administration officials were in California on Tuesday to announce a $450 million loan for the Sites Reservoir project in Colusa County.  The money will be used to build a tunnel to carry water from the Glenn-Colusa Canal to an existing reservoir, giving farmers on the west side of the Sacramento Valley more access to irrigation water.  The 12-foot diameter tunnel, called an intertie, will also be used to transport water to and from Sites Reservoir after it is built, said Jim Watson, general manager of the Sites Reservoir Authority. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Trump officials announce $450 million loan for Sites Reservoir

Pacific Storm To Bring Rain, Mountain Snow To California: “California will see widespread rain and heavy Sierra Nevada snowfall through midweek, potentially bringing travel problems and raising the risk of damaging runoff from wildfire burn scars, forecasters said Tuesday.  The wet pattern from a deep atmospheric fetch of Pacific moisture marks a significant change in the weather following conditions that contributed to disastrous and deadly wildfires up and down California, where hundreds of thousands of acres have burned this year.  “This is good news to help minimize that fire activity,” Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said. “But remember that if you are in an area that has seen recent fires this year or latter part of last year it could mean trouble as that soil is much more prone to mudslides and debris flow.” … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  Pacific Storm To Bring Rain, Mountain Snow To California

California Farm Bureau Federation posts protest form to appeal water rights fee:  “As it has in prior years for water rights fees imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board, the California Farm Bureau Federation recommends that water-right holders protest the fiscal year 2018-19 fee. A protest form is available on the CFBF website at www.cfbf.com.  CFBF Senior Counsel Carl Borden said it was uncertain whether CFBF will file its own protest with the board, to which the protests of water-rights holders would be joined, followed by court action. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  California Farm Bureau Federation posts protest form to appeal water rights fee

California Supreme Court Set to Review Companion Groundwater Cases and Resolve When County-Issued Well Permits May Be Treated As Ministerial and Not Subject to CEQA: “After a long drought, the California Supreme Court at its November 14, 2018 conference voted unanimously to grant review of three decisions involving the question of whether well permits issued pursuant to county ordinances and incorporating state groundwater well-drilling standards are ministerial and thus not subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). Although interpreting different county well ordinances enacted by San Luis Obispo and Stanislaus Counties, the ordinances each incorporated state well-drilling standards (Bulletin 74). Yet, the Second and Fifth Districts reached diametrically opposing conclusions regarding whether those ordinances require the exercise of discretion. … ”  Read more from JD Supra here:  California Supreme Court Set to Review Companion Groundwater Cases and Resolve When County-Issued Well Permits May Be Treated As Ministerial and Not Subject to CEQA

Journal article: Leveraging Hydrologic Accounting and Water Markets for Improved Water Management: The Case for a Central Clearinghouse:Effective management of water resources requires signaling the scarcity value of water to society. However, accurate signaling is often limited by incomplete and/or untimely accounting of hydrologic stores and flows of water. In this opinion piece, we advocate an incisive yet conceptually simple framework for transparent, real-time accounting of water stores and flows, including both groundwater and surface water, to inform water markets organized around a central clearinghouse. This framework promotes forthright collaboration among disciplines to improve system efficiency and increase water-management transparency. We use California water management as an example for the potential for a central clearinghouse framework that has proven so beneficial to transparency of energy markets in that region.”  Click here to read at the MDPI Water Journal: Journal article: Leveraging Hydrologic Accounting and Water Markets for Improved Water Management

In commentary today …

Maurice Hall: How Newsom can use water management to confront climate change: Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom has the opportunity to chart his own course on climate change by addressing one of the state’s greatest challenges: the resilience of our water supplies.  Newsom didn’t waste any time diving in.  On Election Day, he co-authored a letter with Gov. Jerry Brown asking the state water board to delay voting on a plan to increase Delta water flows for salmon so that stakeholders could negotiate voluntary agreements.  Addressing the urgent needs of our aquatic systems requires a bold vision of water governance in California, along with more funding and investment in our natural systems. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  How Newsom can use water management to confront climate change

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Water Users’ President Resigns Amid Drought, Lawsuits: “After just two years on the job, Klamath Water Users Association president Scott White is stepping down.  The group represents irrigators’ interests in the Klamath Basin along the Oregon-California border.  Before joining the association in 2016, White was the Oregon official in charge of enforcing water rights in the basin. … ”  Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here:  Klamath Water Users’ President Resigns Amid Drought, Lawsuits

Residents sue Sacramento over McKinley Park sewage tank plan: “The same attorney who represented residents who sued the city of Sacramento for allowing the McKinley Village housing development in East Sacramento has sued the city over its plan to construct a massive tank for sewage and rain runoff under McKinley Park.  The lawsuit, filed this month in Sacramento Superior Court, says the project will harm historical aspects of the 33-acre park, which opened in 1872 is on the National Register of Historic Places. The suit also says the project will create noise, vibration and air quality issues for the surrounding East Sacramento neighborhood and nearby daycare. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Residents sue Sacramento over McKinley Park sewage tank plan

Marin gets $520,000 for Novato wetlands restoration project:  “Marin County has received a $520,000 grant from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority to design a project that would restore 85 to 155 acres of natural wetlands around Deer Island in Novato and possibly make the area more resilient to flooding due to expected sea-level rise.  The land that would be affected, the Deer Island tidal basin, is along Novato Creek behind Vintage Oaks Shopping Center. Currently, the basin is subject to flooding about half the year, putting at risk sections of Highway 37, the SMART rail line, parts of downtown Novato and Novato Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin gets $520,000 for Novato wetlands restoration project

Farmers frustrated after tainted romaine tied to Central Coast: “Lettuce is king on California’s Central Coast, where row crops and produce stands line the roadways in a region that boasts of being the Salad Bowl of the World.  So it struck deep when federal authorities this week linked a rash of severe bacterial infections to romaine lettuce from California’s Central Coast. Now farmers who adopted a host of safety measures after local spinach was tied to a deadly 2006 outbreak fear another battle to win back consumers’ trust. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Farmers frustrated after tainted romaine tied to Central Coast

Santa Clarita: County OK to assess levy for water drained at Spring Canyon:  “People expected to move into more than 500 homes of the Spring Canyon housing project will likely pay for the benefit of storm water captured and cleaned in their area, and on Tuesday county supervisors authorized public works officials to determine what amount that levy should be.  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for a measure calling for the determination and levying of assessments for drainage benefit for an area identified as assessment area number 34.  The area — referred to as a drainage benefit assessment area — relates to the Spring Canyon area on Soledad Canyon Road where more than 500 homes are slated to be built between Shadow Pines and Agua Dulce. … ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Santa Clarita: County OK to assess levy for water drained at Spring Canyon

EPA gives $614 million loan to San Diego for Pure Water project development:  “San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer accepted a nine- figure loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to help the city finance phase one of the Pure Water San Diego water recycling program.  Faulconer joined EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to formally claim the $614 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan. The city estimates that the first phase of the program will cost roughly $1.4 billion, including funding from the loan.  San Diego will provide one-third of the city’s drinking water through the Pure Water program by 2035, according to city officials. The city plans to break ground on project’s first phase in 2019. … ”  Read more from Channel 8 here:  EPA gives $614 million loan to San Diego for Pure Water project development

Along the Colorado River …

Legal battle in Southern California could threaten federal Colorado River drought plan: “A fierce local battle over water rights unfolding in a small southern California courtroom Wednesday could threaten federal plans to replenish rapidly dwindling Colorado River water supplies. A third-generation farmer is seeking an injunction to block the Imperial Irrigation District from signing on to the seven-state compact.  The hearing comes a day and a half after the longtime general manager for the district, Kevin Kelley, announced he will retire at year’s end, though he could stay on as a consultant. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Legal battle in Southern California could threaten federal Colorado River drought plan

Dry and Getting Drier: Southwestern Water Scarcity The New Norm, Climate Study Says: “The effects of climate change are not far off problems for future generations. They are existential problems for everyone alive today.  That’s one big takeaway from the U.S. federal government’s latest roundup of climate science, the National Climate Assessment, now in its fourth iteration.  Released the day after Thanksgiving, the newest report is unequivocal. In heavily footnoted, short declarative sentences it urgently tells readers that climate change is happening, it’s human-caused, and it could make life in the Western U.S. increasingly difficult. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Dry and Getting Drier: Southwestern Water Scarcity The New Norm, Climate Study Says

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

CA WATER COMMISSION: Overview of Water Use Efficiency Legislation, Water Storage Investment Program Update

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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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