DAILY DIGEST: Imperial Valley judge warns fight over water rights could head to Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court; When will sea level rise swallow Santa Barbara beaches?; Water rights fee protest ends; Another disruptive storm has its sights set on the West Coast this week; and more …

In California water news today, Imperial Valley judge warns fight over water rights could head to Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court; When will sea level rise swallow Santa Barbara beaches?; Water rights fee protest ends; Feds deny WaterFix funding request; Central Valley Salmon Population Remains Strong After Record Numbers Last Year; California’s attorney general clashes with Trump’s acting EPA chief over climate change; Another disruptive storm has its sights set on the West Coast this week; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • A seminar/webinar: Data Legacy of the Recent California Drought from 12:30pm to 1pm: Following the historic action to adopt a drought emergency water conservation regulation in July 2014, the State Water Board has been tracking urban water use for each of the state’s larger water suppliers on a monthly basis.  This webinar will provide an overview of the monthly urban water use database.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Imperial Valley judge warns fight over water rights could head to Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court: “A group of powerful Imperial Valley farmers and their irrigation district need to work together for the benefit of the region, according to Superior Court Judge L. Brooks Anderholt. He warned a fight between the two sides over rights to Colorado River water and the need to address a prolonged drought across the Southwest could spur action by Congress, or end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.  “I think the parties ought to try to work together. We are a very small place with a lot of water that a lot of other people want. … I would advise the parties to be careful,” he said. “None of those people live here and none of them understand life here, so I just urge caution.” … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  Imperial Valley judge warns fight over water rights could head to Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court

When will sea level rise swallow Santa Barbara beaches?  “Right now, there are 94 acres of shoreline beaches within Santa Barbara City limits; by the year 2100, 66 sandy waterfront acres of that will be gone, gobbled up by sea-level rise, triggered by climate change. That’s according to a draft report that details the impacts of rising sea levels on Santa Barbara between now and the end of the century.  The report, prepared for City Hall by consulting firm ESA, assumed that greenhouse emissions would proceed at their current rate without significant reduction. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  When will sea level rise swallow Santa Barbara beaches?

Water rights fee protest ends:  “In the wake of a final, adverse appellate court decision, the California Farm Bureau Federation and other groups have decided to end their legal challenges to water rights fees imposed annually by the State Water Resources Control Board.  CFBF Senior Counsel Carl Borden said Farm Bureau and the other groups had challenged in court the fee imposed for the 2003-04 fiscal year as an unconstitutional tax. Agreeing with the challengers, a trial court ruled the fee invalid in 2013.  But earlier this year, the California Court of Appeal overturned that favorable decision. Both the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the unfavorable appellate court decision. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Water rights fee protest ends

Feds deny WaterFix funding request:  “When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its list of 39 projects invited to apply for federal funding for water-related projects last month, the California WaterFix Project (WaterFix) was conspicuously absent from that list.  The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by the EPA that is intended to accelerate investment in the water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. The EPA announced in April that up to $5.5 billion was available and invited prospective borrowers to submit a letter of interest (LOI) to be considered as a recipient of a portion of those funds. … ”  Read more from The Press here:  Feds deny WaterFix funding request

Central Valley Salmon Population Remains Strong After Record Numbers Last Year: “Central Valley rivers are seeing a strong showing of Chinook salmon returning to spawn after record numbers last year.  The 20-year average for Chinook salmon coming up the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery has been about 9,500. But last year, almost 20,000 salmon made it upriver, the highest recorded since 1940. … ”  Continue reading at Capital Public Radio here: Central Valley Salmon Population Remains Strong After Record Numbers Last Year

California’s attorney general clashes with Trump’s acting EPA chief over climate change: “The acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency was on stage Wednesday morning, but he wasn’t the one defending his own agency’s latest findings about the huge economic toll that unchecked climate change will take on the United States.  It was his nemesis, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who made that case. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  California’s attorney general clashes with Trump’s acting EPA chief over climate change

As Trump dismisses climate change report, California plans to use it against him: “The ominous climate change report the Trump administration released on Thanksgiving weekend could provide legal ammunition for states such as California, which are suing or threatening to sue the federal government over weakened regulations on fossil-fuel industries, automobiles and other contributors to a warming climate.  “Absolutely, we will use every bit of that report,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Wednesday in Washington, where he appeared with acting Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler. … ”  Read more from McClatchy DC here:  As Trump dismisses climate change report, California plans to use it against him

White House tries to quell climate attention; still it rises:  “The Trump administration’s rebuke of a 1,700-page climate report produced by 13 federal agencies has fueled a week of media coverage that shows little sign of dying down.  The National Climate Assessment was dropped on Black Friday, an obscure time that was widely perceived as an attempt to bury the report. Instead, it’s been given extra life.  Climate scientists have appeared on national and international television shows for days, newspapers continue to pump out headlines, and the president himself is being questioned about it. Administration officials have said that the report is fraudulent or exaggerated, which produces another wave of fact-checking. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  White House tries to quell climate attention; still it rises

Another disruptive storm has its sights set on the West Coast this week: “A new round of soaking rain and heavy mountain snow for the West Coast is forecast to sweep much farther to the south than the last and reach Southern California and the deserts prior to the end of this week.  Rain and high-elevation snow have been buffeting Washington, Oregon and Northern and central California over the past several days, but until Wednesday night, Southern California had not received rainfall in nearly a week.  While the majority of California is experiencing moderate drought conditions as of Nov. 21, coastal areas from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara are still in an extreme drought. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Another disruptive storm has its sights set on the West Coast this week

In commentary today …

California Natural Resources secretary ‘off key’ when it comes to the Salton Sea: “The Salton Sea OpEd by John Laird, secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency, (“California is committed to the Salton Sea’s future,” Nov. 8) sings the same old song: The Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) is delayed, but we’re working on it!   We have been hearing this same tune for decades and it is time for a new hit single.  The reality is the Salton Sea water elevation has declined 18 inches since the QSA mitigation water stopped about one year ago. This has resulted in more exposed playa. Meanwhile, the miserable evidence of the sea’s decline is increasingly clear to all of us in the region. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  California Natural Resources secretary ‘off key’ when it comes to the Salton Sea

With or without Trump, nation must address climate change, says the Las Vegas Sun:  They write, “Natural disasters are not only getting more severe, they’re ganging up. Coming two, three or four at a time, they’re killing hundreds and displacing thousands.  In California, killer wildfires continue to break out amid drought conditions, followed by destructive mudslides. In Florida, coastal areas are swamped as rising sea waters are pushed inland by hurricanes of enormous strength, while other areas suffer through droughts. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here:  With or without Trump, nation must address climate change

Trump’s Right About California’s Fires: It Wasn’t Climate Change; Two New California Laws Prove It, says Chuck DeVore:  He writes, “California’s politicians, bureaucrats, electric utilities and even celebrities have taken to using “climate change” as a multipurpose excuse for having done nothing to prevent deadly wildfires.  Doing nothing, at least nothing effective, has been a central public policy feature in the climate change debate, especially when it comes to wildfires. … ”  Read more from Forbes here:  Trump’s Right About California’s Fires: It Wasn’t Climate Change; Two New California Laws Prove It

In regional news and commentary today …

Rain comes as Lake Nacimiento sits at 11 percent capacity, area residents continue fight: “As rain entered the Central Coast, Lake Nacimiento was 11 percent full. Residents around the lake that has docks hugging the dry ground below relished the rain.  So far this year, the lake had received .54 inches of rain. That could change in the coming month with an El Nino expected and a wetter winter ahead. In 2017, the lake notched more than nine inches of rain.  Regardless of how much water falls, area residents will still take issue with the management of the Nacimiento Reservoir, one designed for irrigation, flood control, groundwater recharge, and recreation. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: Rain comes as Lake Nacimiento sits at 11 percent capacity, area residents continue fight

Borrego Springs’ water dilemma demands a county response, says the San Diego Union-Tribune:  They write, “The tiny, remote dot in northeastern San Diego County known as Borrego Springs and its several thousand residents face a daunting task: To survive, they need to ensure they use the same amount of water as the town has in its sole aquifer, which provides declining supplies. Officials expect to have 75 percent less water available by 2040, and they say the town must allow most of its 3,800 acres of citrus and other farms — which use 70 percent to 80 percent of all the community’s groundwater — to fallow. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Borrego Springs’ water dilemma demands a county response, says the San Diego Union-Tribune

Along the Colorado River …

Project to build deeper Lake Mead water intake passes key milestone: “After a three-year battle to keep their underground job site from flooding, the construction crew at Lake Mead is ready to let the water win.  Sometime late next week, workers plan to shut off the pumps keeping the water out and allow it to fill the cavern they have carefully excavated more than 500 feet beneath the shore.  The move will mark the latest milestone for the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s low-lake-level pumping station, a $650 million safety net for a community that draws 90 percent of its drinking water from Lake Mead. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here: Project to build deeper Lake Mead water intake passes key milestone

And lastly …

From High Above, A New Way of Seeing Our Urban Planet:Driven by rapid economic expansion and global trade, the world’s urban population has more than quintupled since the mid-20th century, from 751 million people in 1950 to 4.2 billion today. Centuries-old cities have pushed upward and outward to accommodate the influx of people, and entirely new megacities, home to tens of millions, have sprung up.  Nowhere can this swift urban growth be seen as vividly as from space. In their new book City Unseen, geographers Karen C. Seto and Meredith Reba, experts in urbanization and global change, offer a collection of satellite images from all seven continents that exhibit the massive imprint these cities have on the landscapes around them. … ”  Read more from Yale 360 here:  From High Above, A New Way of Seeing Our Urban Planet

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Drought, climate change, and restoration resiliency

SCIENCE NEWS: How many Central Valley salmon come from hatcheries?; Pacific Northwest woodlands less vulnerable to drought; New study explores ecosystem stability; US groundwater in peril; and more …

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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