DAILY DIGEST: Santa Clara Valley Water District files suit challenging state plan to divert water for fish; Potent Pacific storm to bring extra snow and rain to California; Nasdaq launches California water pricing index; Babbitt: Colorado River drought plan just the beginning of tough decisions needed; and more …

In California water news today, Santa Clara Valley Water District files suit challenging state plan to divert water for fish; People will be saying ‘atmospheric river’ a lot on Wednesday. Here’s what that means; Potent Pacific storm to bring extra snow and rain to California; Governor Newsom unveils $144 billion budget; Government shutdown strains farm country; Nasdaq launches California water pricing index; Babbitt: Colorado River drought plan just the beginning of tough decisions needed

In the news today …

Santa Clara Valley Water District files suit challenging state plan to divert water for fish: “In an attempt to block the state’s plan to divert more water toward the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and away from the Bay Area, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has filed a lawsuit arguing the project could significantly reduce the local water supply.  If the plan advances, the water district might have to spend millions of dollars to obtain alternate water supplies and pull up more groundwater.  In December, the State Water Resources Control Board said more water needs to flow through the San Joaquin River and the rivers that flow into it to protect endangered and threatened fish species in the delta. But if that happens, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) would see a significant decrease in water, leaving its customers, including some in Santa Clara County, relying more heavily on the water district. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Santa Clara Valley Water District files suit challenging state plan to divert water for fish

People will be saying ‘atmospheric river’ a lot on Wednesday.  Here’s what that means:  “A so-called “atmospheric river” is poised to barrel into the Bay Area Wednesday afternoon, delivering a drenching of rain that forecasters say could add up to 3 to 6 inches in the hills and 1 to 3 inches in the valleys in a matter of two days.  “The city is likely to see in excess of two inches,” says Ryan Walbrun, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Monterey. “Even places like Livermore where you don’t usually get heavy rain will likely receive more than an inch, so it’s going to be a good soaking for everybody.” ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  People will be saying ‘atmospheric river’ a lot on Wednesday.  Here’s what that means

Potent Pacific storm to bring extra snow and rain to California:  “A series of Pacific storms will bring heavy rain, extreme winds and deep snow to California through the week.  These rains could lead to mudflows in areas burned by wildfires earlier in the year. A mandatory evacuation has already been issued for residents in the Holy Fire burn area.  … ”  Read more from CNN here: Potent Pacific storm to bring extra snow and rain to California

Governor Newsom unveils $144 billion budget:  “On Dec. 10, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2019-’20 budget for the State of California. The budget proposes approximately $144 billion in general fund spending, which is about $6 billion higher than last year’s budget signed by previous Governor Jerry Brown.  The budget prioritizes spending in the areas of education, social services, and homelessness, and seeks to strengthen the state’s already sizable fiscal reserve, which Newsom noted is the largest state reserve fund in American history.  The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements. ... ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Governor Newsom unveils $144 billion budget

Government shutdown strains farm country:  “A wall is standing between farmers and ranchers and the government assistance and insurance they need to keep their operations intact.  The standoff between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a wall on the Mexican border has stalled funding for USDA and shut down “non-essential” activities.  But many of those services are critical to producers, including financial and technical assistance and access to market data.  “Many of the activities deemed ‘non-essential’ by USDA are absolutely essential to family farmers this time of year,” Andrew Jerome, communications director for National Farmers Union, said. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Government shutdown strains farm country

As government shutdown drags on, science sputters:  “Big, important scientific breakthroughs are built of small, incremental experiments. And the partial government shutdown is already interfering with some of that research.  Scientists often depend on the government for grant funding, expertise and — in some cases — even regulatory approval. With the shutdown, some researchers are missing those key elements of scientific collaboration. Here’s how some scientists say the shutdown is affecting their work. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  As government shutdown drags on, science sputters

Nasdaq launches California water pricing index:  “Nasdaq, along with Veles Water and WestWater Research, has announced the launch of the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (NQH2O), the first of its kind water index that benchmarks the price of water in a way that supports price discovery and enables the creation of a tradable financial instrument.  While existing water indexes track companies active in the extraction and delivery of water, the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index sets a weekly rate for the price of water in California, enabling important price discovery and the launch of financial instruments. The index is calculated weekly, using a proprietary water index methodology developed by Nasdaq and Veles Water. ... ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Nasdaq launches California water pricing index

UN Warns of Rising Levels of Toxic Brine as Desalination Plants Meet Growing Water Needs: “The fast-rising number of desalination plants worldwide — now almost 16,000, with capacity concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa — quench a growing thirst for freshwater but create a salty dilemma as well: how to deal with all the chemical-laden leftover brine.  In a UN-backed paper (“The state of desalination and brine production: A global outlook“), experts estimate the freshwater output capacity of desalination plants at 95 million cubic meters per day — equal to almost half the average flow over Niagara Falls. … ”  Read more from Environmental News Network here:  UN Warns of Rising Levels of Toxic Brine as Desalination Plants Meet Growing Water Needs

In commentary today …

The Delta is California’s heart.  Gavin Newsom must save it, says Barbara Barrigan-Parilla:  She writes, “The confluence of California’s two great rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, creates the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. Those of us who live here call it, simply, the Delta.  It is part of my very fiber, and it is essential to California’s future. That’s why we must save it.  In the early 1800s this estuary teemed with salmon migrating to and from the rivers of the Sierra Nevada. Salmon were, as documented in photographs, so plentiful that you could harvest them from the river with a pitchfork.  The Delta ecosystem was so rich in fish and wildlife an estimated 300,000 Native Americans lived in the Delta. Tule elk, antelope, and migratory waterfowl depended on the estuary. Some that survive still do. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: The Delta is California’s heart.  Gavin Newsom must save it

In regional news and commentary today …

Sacramento:  New Powerhouse Science Center Will Educate Visitors On California Water Issues: “Work on the new Powerhouse Science Center is underway and architects released a new rendering of the building Monday.  The museum, which is expected to be complete in 2020, is located along the Sacramento riverfront. Once open, the 50,000 square-foot campus will teach area children and adults through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects and exhibits. … ”  Read more from CBS here:  New Powerhouse Science Center Will Educate Visitors On California Water Issues

Marin reservoirs in ‘good shape’ with more rain ahead:  “An approaching storm this week is expected to pick up the slack for Bay Area rainfall. Meanwhile, local reservoirs are also showing signs of improvement following the meager rainfall from the last water year.  While Tuesday is only expected to bring light rain to the North Bay, meteorologists have their attention focused on a Wednesday storm front that could bring as much as 6 inches of rain to Mount Tamalpais.  “Basically, we’re going to get a lot of rain to fall in a short amount of time,” National Weather Service Bay Area meteorologist Ryan Walbrun said. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Marin reservoirs in ‘good shape’ with more rain ahead

Update on Owens Valley Groundwater Authority:  “The scope of the Owens River basin’s sustainability plan became clearer following a presentation by DBS&A’s Tony Martin at last Thursday’s meeting of the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority.  The consulting firm’s tasks include compiling data, developing a timeline and stakeholder outreach plan and pulling together ecosystem data. The key, it seems, is setting objectives (best case scenarios) and thresholds (worst case) with enough of a spread to keep the Authority from violating its own plan but still get the plan approved by the state Department of Water Resources.  According to Martin, the OVGA can set area-specific criteria, important in light of the diversity of the water demands on the basin. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here:  Update on Owens Valley Groundwater Authority

Santa Clarita:  Placerita Canyon Nature Center awaits funding for habitat restoration project:  “The total project cost is estimated to be $500,000, which includes construction, consulting services, and a youth employment program, according to John Wicker, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.  Placerita Canyon Natural Area and Nature Center is a 360-acre facility owned by the State of California and managed by LA County.  It features a variety of opportunities including hiking, picnicking, education, wildlife, exhibits, local history and community programs. … ” Read more from KHTS here: Santa Clarita:  Placerita Canyon Nature Center awaits funding for habitat restoration project

Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build: “Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif.  Currently, the City of Santa Monica partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the City to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply (including the Clean Beaches Initiatives Project, the Enhanced Watershed Management Program and the City of Santa Monica Sustainable Water Master Plan). ... ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build

New Escondido council poised to rescind siting of recycled water plant: “The new majority on the Escondido City Council appears poised to rescind the former council’s 2017 decision to locate a $44 million recycled water plant in the middle of a residential area.  “It’s the wrong location,” newly elected Mayor Paul “Mac” McNamara said Friday of the site in the center of the city at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Ash Street. ”I’m seriously considering moving it. It’s in the middle of a neighborhood. It’s not the right location. It never was. I totally get it. It might cost us a few more bucks, but in the long term, it’s better to have it where it needs to be.” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  New Escondido council poised to rescind siting of recycled water plant

Along the Colorado River …

Babbitt: Colorado River drought plan just the beginning of tough decisions needed:  “A proposed Colorado River drought plan that will cost well over $100 million is just the beginning of what’s needed to protect the over-allocated river, says Bruce Babbitt, the former governor who rammed through Arizona’s last big water legislation nearly four decades ago.  After Gov. Doug Ducey urged legislators to “do the heavy lifting” and pass the proposed drought-contingency plan for the Colorado, Babbitt said Monday that authorities will have to start discussing a much longer-term plan immediately after it’s approved. ... ”  Read more from Tuscon.com here:  Babbitt: Colorado River drought plan just the beginning of tough decisions needed

Radio show: California Begins ‘Emergency Withdrawals’ From Lake Mead: “There is a massive deadline looming for states that draw water from the Colorado River Basin — Arizona included.  If an agreement on water use and conservation isn’t reached by Jan. 31, the federal government can step in and begin to make conservation decisions for the states. We’ve covered this story extensively on The Show with KJZZ’s Bret Jaspers, but now, there is another twist in it — this time out of California.  The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — that’s the water district for Los Angeles — began what is being referred to as “defensive withdrawals” from Lake Mead. Remember, Lake Mead is severely low, and if L.A. takes all of the water they’ve been allotted, it will trigger emergency supply restrictions for everyone else.  So, why are they doing this with the agreement deadline so close? The Show turned to Debra Kahn who covers California environmental policy and broke the story for Politico Pro.” Listen to the radio show from KJZZ here: Radio show: California Begins ‘Emergency Withdrawals’ From Lake Mead

Nevada water official retires; court fights go to successor:  “Nevada’s top water regulator has stepped down after eight years as state engineer, leaving several key court battles to his acting successor.  Jason King retired last Friday after 28 years as a state employee, and Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources chief Bradley Crowell announced last week that he would be replaced at least temporarily by state Division of Water Resources Deputy Administrator Tim Wilson.  Wilson has been with the department since 1995 and served as King’s top aide. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Sentinel here:  Nevada water official retires; court fights go to successor

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Voluntary settlement agreements, Safe drinking water, Delta tunnels, Behavior of juvenile salmon, Crashing Lake Mead, and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Feinstein, DeSaulnier introduce bill to upgrade Contra Costa’s water infrastructure; No landing here: Birds and airports do not mix; The 2019-20 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s budget

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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