DAILY DIGEST: Could this obscure agency derail Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels?; Flooding in California as rain hits wildfire-burned areas; In California, houses burned; so did the toxic chemicals they contained; Outline of Colorado River drought agreement takes shape in Arizona; and more …

In California water news today, Could this obscure agency derail Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels?; Flooding in California as rain hits wildfire-burned areas; In California, houses burned; so did the toxic chemicals they contained; Camp Fire’s climate toll: Greenhouse gases equal about a week of California auto emissions; Recent storms have many hopeful for a deep Sierra snowpack this season; ‘Getting close’: Outline of Colorado River drought agreement takes shape in Arizona; and more …

Calendar note …

  • Working on SGMA implementation?  Join us for a live demo of the Groundwater Exchange to learn more about key features and opportunities to engage with the site and others on December 4th from 12pm to 1pm.  Click here to register.

On the calendar today …

  • A second public meeting on the Draft EIR for SWP contract amendments will be held today from 9:30 to 10:30am at the Resources Building, 1416 9th Street, Sacramento.

In the news today …

Could this obscure agency derail Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels?  “As Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office, his controversial Delta tunnels plan is on the ropes.  Most farmers who would get water from the tunnels still haven’t agreed to pay their share. Rather than support the tunnels, the Trump administration is trying to bend federal environmental laws to simply deliver more water through the existing Delta system to San Joaquin Valley farms and cities — and just rejected the project’s request for a big startup loan. Brown’s successor, Gavin Newsom, says he would like to see the project scaled down. Lawsuits challenging the project abound. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Could this obscure agency derail Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels?

Flooding in California as rain hits wildfire-burned areas:  “Heavy rains that hit in an area scarred by the deadliest wildfire in recorded California history caused flooding that prompted evacuations of homes and shut down part of a highway on Thursday, officials said.  The Butte County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for an area east of Chico, a city near the Camp Fire burn area, after storms dumped as much as 1-and-a-half inches of rain in the area burned by the fire, and after thunderstorms on Thursday dropped another 1 ¼ inches, officials said. … ”  Read more from NBC News here:  Flooding in California as rain hits wildfire-burned areas

In California, houses burned; so did the toxic chemicals they contained:  “The long, laborious process of returning Paradise and neighboring towns to a safe state will begin next month when crews in masks, Tyvek suits and booties begin combing through every last property in this town that was decimated by wildfire. Their targets are things like burned bottles of bleach, melted cans of paint, and corroded car batteries, which will be tagged and removed. Next, they will test the surrounding soil and, if needed, scrape away layers to get to clean earth, free from oil and gasoline. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  In California, houses burned; so did the toxic chemicals they contained

Camp Fire’s climate toll: Greenhouse gases equal about a week of California auto emissions: “Butte County’s Camp Fire not only claimed a staggering amount of lives and property, it spewed out a whole lot of greenhouse gases – about as much as all of California’s cars and trucks produce in a week, according to new state estimates.  This blast of emissions contributes negligibly to the planet’s overall warming, but taken together with other wildfires, big blazes like the Camp Fire are posing an increasing threat to the climate, scientists say. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Camp Fire’s climate toll: Greenhouse gases equal about a week of California auto emissions

Recent storms have many hopeful for a deep Sierra snowpack this season:  “A pair of storms in the past week have water officials keeping an eye on the snowpack in the Sierra.  While recent storms have produced more rain than snow, they could be building the foundation the mountains need this winter after a long, hot and dry summer.  “Snow is really important. The rain will run off real quickly and to some extent that is not a problem right now Pine Flat Reservoir is only 26% full and there is plenty of flood control space,” said Randy McFarland, Kings River Water Association. … ”  Read more from KFSN here:  Recent storms have many hopeful for a deep Sierra snowpack this season

In columns today …

Column: Fighting denial in the face of water shortages, wildfires and rising seas: Michael Smolens writes, “We’ve been in denial for a long time,” a water official said about Borrego Springs residents coming to terms with a looming water shortage.  Those desert folks aren’t alone. Denial about changes and limits in the natural world is running into harsh reality, whether it’s regarding water supply, wildfires or sea-level rise.  A cold snap back East or rain in California doesn’t change any of that.  While the politically charged debate over climate change rages at high levels, states and local communities are having to deal with its effects. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Fighting denial in the face of water shortages, wildfires and rising seas

Column: For some romaine farmers on California’s Central Coast, the E. coli scare is a maddening mystery:  Robin Abcarian writes, “Californians know a lot — or think they do — about our Central Valley’s crops and their controversies.  In our most recent drought, for instance, everyone became an instant “expert” on the pros and cons of almond trees, and their irrigation needs. Almonds, ridiculously, became the scapegoat of the water shortage.  But people know a lot less about the farm operations of our Central Coast, the “salad bowl of America,” where lettuce and spinach flourish, along with the specialty crops — arugula, escarole, endive, bok choy, frisee, parsley, cilantro — that farmers in the Salinas Valley call “the chimichangas.” (You won’t find that definition in any dictionary, by the way.) ... ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here:  Column: For some romaine farmers on California’s Central Coast, the E. coli scare is a maddening mystery

In regional news and commentary today …

Evacuees on water wells urged to take precautions when returning home:  “With more Camp Fire evacuees being allowed to return home this week and next, residents who have homes and working wells are being urged to take precautions.  North State Water Treatment, based in Durham, offers tips for residents of burned areas who have been away from home.  Kristin Cooper Carter, co-owner of North State Water Treatment, said the most important immediate step it to flush all the pipes. This means turning on all faucets and spigots for 20 minutes to eliminate water that has been stagnant and may contain bacteria. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Evacuees on water wells urged to take precautions when returning home

Sea level rise preparation plan puts Pacifica property owners on edge:  “The Fairway Park West neighborhood in Pacifica has been the place Jeff Guillet and his family have called home for nearly a decade, but he’s concerned his property and its value could soon be at risk with the passage of a new coastal plan.  The City of Pacifica is working on updating the Local Coastal Program plan or LCP, which includes preparing for sea level rise over the next 50 to 100 years. It involves making tough decisions to prepare for the worst case scenario. Guillet claims his entire neighborhood is located in a hazard zone, made up of any land west of Highway 1 in Pacifica. ... ”  Read more from KTVU Channel 2 here:  Sea level rise preparation plan puts Pacifica property owners on edge

San Diego: Earthquake expert urges San Diego to be more ambitious about replacing old pipes, building retrofits: “A leading earthquake expert says San Diego should consider accelerating replacement of aging water pipes and completing a comprehensive inventory of local buildings, especially structures made of unreinforced brick.  While San Diego faces less risk of a major earthquake than Los Angeles or San Francisco, Dr. Lucy Jones told San Diego officials this month that the risk of damage might be similar here because those cities are better prepared. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Earthquake expert urges San Diego to be more ambitious about replacing old pipes, building retrofits

Along the Colorado River …

‘Getting close’: Outline of Colorado River drought agreement takes shape in Arizona:  “Arizona’s water agencies, cities, farmers and tribes haven’t quite sealed a Colorado River deal. But they’re getting closer.  The outline of a new compromise proposal emerged this week and was presented at a meeting on Thursday. The plan would help Arizona join in a proposed three-state Drought Contingency Plan by spreading the impacts of the water cutbacks, providing “mitigation” water to farmers in central Arizona while paying compensation to other entities that would contribute water. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here:  ‘Getting close’: Outline of Colorado River drought agreement takes shape in Arizona

Park service prepares for additional drop in Lake Mead water level:  “The National Park Service expects to spend about $25 million to move marinas and extend boat launch ramps if Lake Mead continues to shrink in the coming years, according to a new low-water plan released Thursday.  Marina operators would pay an additional $8 million under the plan, which lays out how recreational access to the water can be maintained should the lake drop to a once-unthinkable level 125 feet lower than it is now. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  Park service prepares for additional drop in Lake Mead water level

El Nino teases Southwest as drought continues to spread:  “National climate experts have been watching and waiting but El Nino has only been teasing, leaving the American Southwest to hang on longer until the weather pattern develops and brings more moisture to the drought-stricken region.  Experts with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and the National Weather Service on Thursday said the epicenter of the nation’s drought has been center for months now over the region where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  El Nino teases Southwest as drought continues to spread

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Attorney General Becerra and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife issue legal advisory on Migratory Bird Treaty Act; Water and climate update: Winter storms blanket parts of the Midwest and Northeast

THIS JUST IN … Draft Basin Boundary Modifications Released

Today’s announcements …

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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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