DAILY DIGEST: Will Gavin Newsom change the state’s water course?; California snowpack below average in year’s first survey; Weekend storm start of a Pacific storm parade; and more …

In California water news today, Will Gavin Newsom change the state's water course? Fish and farmers will soon find out; California snowpack below average in year’s first survey – ‘anything is possible’ for water supply; Weekend storm to be start of a Pacific storm parade along the West Coast; Jerry Brown interview transcript: On fights worth fighting, runaway legislatures and ‘stupid’ laws; Leading Women in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review; There's a lot at stake in the weekly US drought map; and more …

In the news today …

Will Gavin Newsom change the state's water course?  Fish and farmers will soon find out:  “In the final weeks of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, his appointees on a state board ordered some powerful water districts to cut their historic river diversions to protect endangered salmon populations.  It was a major move by a panel that in the past has often been leery of flexing its regulatory muscles.  But while the State Water Resources Control Board was demanding more water for fish, other Brown appointees were busy crafting deals that could ultimately mean less water for the environment. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Will Gavin Newsom change the state’s water course?  Fish and farmers will soon find out

California snowpack below average in year’s first survey – ‘anything is possible’ for water supply: “Despite a flurry of recent winter storms, the California Department of Water Resources’ first snow survey of the year came up short of average Thursday.  However, the substandard snowpack was a far cry from last year’s measurement, when the hills in Phillips, the site of the survey near Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada, received patchy snow at best.  John King, a DWR water resource engineer who conducted the survey, measured 25.5 inches of snow at Phillips, which is equivalent to 9 inches of water, reaching 80 percent of average for this time of year and 36 percent of average April levels. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  California snowpack below average in year’s first survey – ‘anything is possible’ for water supply

California water below average in season's first snow survey:  “Winter storms have blanketed California's Sierra Nevada in snow, but the drought-prone state is still off to another drier-than-normal start to the crucial wet season, state officials said Thursday.  California water managers said Thursday the Sierra snowpack is only 67 percent of normal in this winter's first manual measurement. The amount of snow is measured monthly through the winter at more than 260 locations to help water managers plan for how much they can deliver to customers later in the year. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California water below average in season’s first snow survey

First snow survey shows water content below average:  “A lot more snow will have to fall if California is to have enough water this year to fill reservoirs, nourish salmon, help crops flourish and moisten the fire-prone hills long enough to avoid another catastrophic conflagration, state officials said Thursday.  California’s top snow surveyors, in the Sierra on Thursday with measuring poles and electronic sensor data, concluded that the state’s frozen water supply is just adequate, at best. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  First snow survey shows water content below average

Weekend storm to be start of a Pacific storm parade along the West Coast:  “A storm packing rain, heavy mountain snow and locally damaging winds will slam the West Coast of the United States this weekend, with more storms to come into next week.  The worst of the impacts during the stormy pattern into next week will target more of California, especially northern parts of the state, than what has been the case in recent weeks.  “A storm will move into California on Saturday with areas of heavy rain and mountain snow,” said AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here: Weekend storm to be start of a Pacific storm parade along the West Coast

Jerry Brown interview transcript: On fights worth fighting, runaway legislatures and ‘stupid’ laws: “Days before he was scheduled to leave office after his record fourth term as governor, Jerry Brown met with Chronicle political writer John Wildermuth at the governor’s mansion in Sacramento to talk about his time in office, what he accomplished, what he learned and his plans for the future. The following is a lightly edited transcript of that 43-minute discussion.  Q: You’re looking back at eight years. You have any regrets about what you didn’t get done? Say they magically came up and said, “Governor, you’ve got four more years in this job.” What needs to get done? What didn’t get finished that you want to see done?  … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Jerry Brown interview transcript: On fights worth fighting, runaway legislatures and ‘stupid’ laws

Leading Women in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review:  “The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges. Find these stories and more in Western Water Year in Review.”  Read at Western Water here:  Leading Women in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review

There's a lot at stake in the weekly US drought map:  “Crippling drought this year has caused more than $1 billion in damage. As it has played out, anyone affected by the drought or trying to manage it has turned to a once obscure map that has become key to understanding what's happening: the U.S. Drought Monitor.  That includes water planners who decide resource allotments. Farmers who need water for their livelihood. Federal bureaucrats who use the map to calculate aid for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.  And then there are citizen scientists like Dave Kitts outside of Sante Fe, N.M. … ”  Read more from NPR here:  There’s a lot at stake in the weekly US drought map

In commentary today …

Stop effort to allow Trump administration to work in the dark:  The Mercury News and the East Bay Times write, The most secretive administration in the past 60 years is working to make the government’s business even more opaque. President Trump, who is still hiding his tax returns, is now moving to deprive the public of its right to know what is happening at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Outgoing Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke submitted plans Friday for new regulations that would make it more difficult for news organizations and other parties to access information from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. The new rules were submitted without a public press release during the government shutdown. The public has until Jan. 28 to comment on the proposed changes. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Jose Mercury News here:  Stop effort to allow Trump administration to work in the dark

Democratized, distributed and digital: 2019 will be transformative for water Will Sarni writes, “It’s that time of year to look forward to what may come in the world of water.  First, a macro view. I believe the greatest change for 2019 will be in how we view and value water. Progress in the past has tended to move at a snail’s pace but actually may have picked up speed in 2018. Water scarcity concerns of the type experienced by Cape Town, South Africa, and water quality matters such as those illustrated by the Flint, Michigan, crisis have drawn attention to systemic failures in how water is managed and delivered in both developed and emerging economies. … ”  Read more from GreenBiz here:   Democratized, distributed and digital: 2019 will be transformative for water

In regional news and commentary today …

Draft EIR details Klamath dam removal impacts and alternatives:  “Another important step in the process leading up to removal of four dams along the Klamath River was reached at the end of 2018. On Dec. 27, 2018, the California State Water Resources Control Board released its Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed removal of three Klamath dams located in California.  While the Klamath River Renewal Corporation’s dam removal plan includes the decommissioning of the J.C. Boyle dam, the water board’s DEIR does not discuss removal of that dam, as it is located in Oregon. … ”  Read more from the Daily Independent here:  Draft EIR details Klamath dam removal impacts and alternatives

Central California residents raise concerns over fracking:  “A controversial method of extracting natural gas from rocks deep beneath the surface has hundreds of central California residents concerned.  Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Bakersfield Field Office released the scoping report for the supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) on hydraulic fracturing on land in six counties across the Central Valley and Central Coast.  Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, is a technique used to extract natural gas from shale rock. Massive drills bore out holes thousands of feet beneath the surface. Hydraulic fluid, containing small amounts of chemical additives such as acid, is then pumped into the holes until the pressure causes the rock to crack, releasing the natural gas which flows up to the surface. ... ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here:  Central California residents raise concerns over fracking

Tiny community has tried for 20 years to force Southern California Edison to fix water system:  “Retired firefighters Julie and Dale Hutchinson stepped out the back door of their Banning Heights home on a hot night last July. A column of smoke and flames towered over the ridge above their home — the Valley fire was advancing toward their tiny community. Their first thought wasn’t the wildfire, it was lack of water.  For two decades, the Hutchinsons and their neighbors in this rural enclave tucked above the I-10 freeway have fought to have Southern California Edison repair a century-old system that carries water down the San Gorgonio mountains to their homes. … ”  Continue reading at the Desert Sun here:  Tiny community has tried for 20 years to force Southern California Edison to fix water system

Why border pollution fix requires sewers, not suers:  Carlos A. De La Parra writes, “Cross-border sewage flows in the Tijuana River reaching Imperial Beach are in the news and on the minds of concerned citizens of the region. Since pollution has been finding its way into the Tijuana River Valley for 40 years, it’s remarkable that it still manages to make the headlines.  To be clear, I don’t condone it. I’m dismayed by sewage on a river (any river), its impact on water quality, as well as on public health. But that’s urban life in developing countries and emerging economies throughout the world. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Why border pollution fix requires sewers, not suers

Along the Colorado River …

With deadline looming, can the Arizona Legislature agree to the complex drought plan?  “In early December, after months (some would say years) of tough negotiations, the Central Arizona Project board approved a framework for the state’s internal Drought Contingency Plan, which outlines how expected reductions in water deliveries would be decided. Pinal County farmers expressed concern, however, because money to help them build groundwater infrastructure was left up in the air.  Attorney Paul Orme, who represents many of those farmers, said this to the CAP board:  “It’s going to require participation by all for us to have the comfort level of, in one month from now, basically having to tell our Pinal County legislators, yes, this is something we should support.” … ”  Read more from Payson Roundup here:  With deadline looming, can the Arizona Legislature agree to the complex drought plan?

Precipitation watch …

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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