DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Weekend storm not as bad as expected; more wind and rain to come; CA lawmakers push for oversight of Delta tunnels; CA has a weird new desert. It’s in the Pacific Ocean; Feds blast CA: Close but not good enough on Colorado River drought plan; and more …

In California water news this weekend, Weekend storm not as bad as expected, but more wind and rain to come; California lawmakers push for oversight of Delta tunnels project; California has a weird new desert. It’s in the Pacific Ocean; Northern California town is sinking, according to state survey; Leaky canals costly to Placer Water; Climate resilience: Reconnecting creeks to tidal baylands; Feds blast California: Close but not good enough on Colorado River drought plan; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Weekend storm not as bad as expected, but more wind and rain to come:  “A cold front that brought rain and high winds to the Bay Area on Friday and Saturday was not as severe as expected, but another system is expected to bring more winter weather starting Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.  Forecasters on Friday warned of damaging winds, heavy rainfall and possible flooding from the incoming storm, but a flash flood watch and high wind warning for the region were canceled Saturday morning as winds and rains weakened overnight. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Weekend storm not as bad as expected, but more wind and rain to come

California lawmakers push for oversight of Delta tunnels project:  “A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.  The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  California lawmakers push for oversight of Delta tunnels project

California has a weird new desert.  It’s in the Pacific Ocean“Six years after it was stricken by a wasting disease off the northern California coast, the sunflower sea star – one of the most colorful starfish in the ocean – has all but vanished, and the domino effect threatens to unravel an entire marine ecosystem.  The cause of the sea star’s demise is a mystery, but it coincided with a warming event in the Pacific Ocean, possibly tied to the climate, that lasted for two years ending in 2015. It heated vast stretches of water in patches, and likely exacerbated the disease, according to a new study released Wednesday. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  California has a weird new desert.  It’s in the Pacific Ocean

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Crescent City: Harbor to discuss dam removal:  “Following a presentation from Pacific Power representatives Tuesday, Crescent City Harbor commissioners will weigh in on efforts to remove four dams on the Klamath River.  Monte Mendenhall, Pacific Power’s business manager and Bob Gravely, the utility’s public information officer, will speak on the status of the dam removal process. Harbor commissioners will then vote on a letter of support for the project to the State Water Resources Control Board. ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here:  Crescent City: Harbor to discuss dam removal

Dinner gives update on Klamath, Eel dam removal:  “A fundraiser dinner at the Arcata Veterans Hall hosted by Save California Salmon and Friends of the Eel River provided updates Saturday on the status of the removal of several Klamath River dams, as well an insight into the future of dam removal on the Eel River.  Regina Chichizola, who works with Save California Salmon, said the process of removing the Klamath dams has been complicated, and the dinner was intended to clarify any uncertainties that might exist. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Dinner gives update on Klamath, Eel dam removal

Northern California town is sinking, according to state survey:  “New data released  last Tuesday shows that Arbuckle is sinking.  And portions of Yolo County aren’t far behind.  The study, done by the state Department of Water Resources, measures changes in land subsidence in the Sacramento Valley over the past nine years and found the greatest land surface declines near Arbuckle in Colusa County. According to the Sacramento Valley GPS Subsidence Network Report, most of the valley has experienced little to no subsidence, however, land in the Arbuckle area has sunk 2.14 feet compared with baseline measurements recorded in the same location in 2008. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Northern California town is sinking, according to state survey

Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee hears big plans for reopening, lake area improvements:  “Several areas of the Oroville Dam and lake are undergoing extensive renovations and improvements, and the Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee met Friday to hear reports from the various member organizations overseeing them.  Among the topics discussed were recreational areas and improvements along the dam at Lime Saddle, Bidwell Canyon Marina and Loafer Creek Campground. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise Record here:  Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee hears big plans for reopening, lake area improvements

Chico sewage numbers spike post-Camp Fire:  “The City of Chico has seen a population explosion, and it’s not just the roads that are impacted. Post-Camp Fire sewage production numbers are at an all-time high.  Action News Now reporter Stephanie Lin sat down with Public Works’ Eric Gustafson for a closer look at the cause behind all the waste. He reports seeing an average of a million gallons extra per day being pushed through the city’s treatment facilities.  “Multiple family members or friends are staying in one household,” Gustafson explains, “so that’s double the flow from one household but the [charged sewage] rate is still the same.”  ... ”  Read more from Action News here:  Chico sewage numbers spike post-Camp Fire

Leaky canals costly to Placer Water:  “A $500,000 program to mitigate for destruction of artificial habitat created by Placer County Water Agency canal leaks has ended.  The Water Agency started working in the mid-2000s to fix ongoing leaks along its canals and confronted a problem of its own doing.  The leaks had created what state Environmental Quality Act standards defined as artificially established wetlands and habitat for wildlife.  As a result,  the agency partnered with the Placer Land Trust in 2007 to establish mitigation funding to allow what was considered damage to 8,865 acres of habitat as the leaks were fixed. … ”  Read more from the Auburn Journal here:  Leaky canals costly to Placer Water

Climate resilience: Reconnecting creeks to tidal baylands:A new approach to flood management around the San Francisco Bay could trim maintenance costs for water agencies, restore habitat for endangered species, and help protect against rising seas. What links the three? Sediment.  Winter storms push sediment down creeks that flow into the Bay and, long ago, these waterways fanned out when they reached the edge. Sediment settled there, nourishing tidal baylands — salt marshes and mudflats that are rich in wildlife, and also buffer the shore from storm surges, the highest tides, and sea level rise. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here: Climate resilience: Reconnecting creeks to tidal baylands

Pure Water Monterey project hits home stretch:  “A complex of buildings and water tanks in the late stages of construction now stands north of Marina as the most obvious sign of progress on a new recycled water project designed to provide the Monterey Peninsula with a new source of potable water supply by this summer.  Under construction since May 2017, the Pure Water Monterey advanced wastewater treatment plant on a three-acre site down a long drive off Del Monte Boulevard is a central element of the  $120 million project, which Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto told The Herald earlier this week is about 80 percent complete and on track to deliver water for the Peninsula by July. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Pure Water Monterey project hits home stretch

Watsonville: Rain doesn’t halt World Wetlands Day: “The wetlands certainly lived up to its name Saturday morning.  With torrent rains pummeling the region in the early morning, volunteers slipped in the drenching vegetation and shoveled heavy clumps of mud at Ramsay Park as they planted 20 oak trees and smaller plants along Watsonville Slough for World Wetlands Day.  The rain didn’t let up until about a third of the way through the three-hour event, when the clouds cleared just enough to offer the workers a reprieve from the soaking cold. ... ”  Read more from the Register-Pajaroian here:  Watsonville: Rain doesn’t halt World Wetlands Day

Public meeting for Success Dam enlargement set for February 4:  “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District will host a public meeting Feb. 4 to discuss the re-initiation of the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project, which received $74 million in appropriations in 2018 to raise Success Dam’s spillway up to 10 feet higher.  “This meeting is kind of a kick off so the public can be advised of the program that we will be starting back up at Success Dam for the spillway raise project,” said Calvin Foster, a member of the USACE. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here:  Public meeting for Success Dam enlargement set for February 4

Palmdale Board extends water contract: In a step to secure water supplies well into the future, the Palmdale Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved extending the contract for water imported from Northern California for another 50 years, to 2085.  The contract with the state Department of Water Resources for State Water Project water is a “principle and foundational part of our water supply,” Jon Pernula, PWD water and energy resources director, said in recommending the contract extension during the Jan. 28 meeting. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here:  Palmdale Board extends water contract

Southern California: Unrelenting rain floods roads, forces evacuations in burn areas:  “The season’s strongest storm bombarded Southern California with hours of rainfall, flooding freeways and forcing evacuations in the region’s wildfire burn areas.  High rainfall rates could trigger mudslides, debris flows and rock slides, and strong winds will pummel the region. The storm is being fueled by a long band of moisture over the Pacific, acting like a conveyor belt carrying rain to the West Coast. … ”  Read more from NBC LA here:  Unrelenting rain floods roads, forces evacuations in burn areas

Commentary: Local role in protection of the desert is critical too:  Courtney Degener writes, “California’s Mojave Desert holds deep meaning for many people. For some, it’s a place for refuge and recreation; for others, it’s home. The Mojave is a vast, diverse landscape covering more than 25,000 square miles, dozens of cities and countless claims upon its resources, history and legacy.  It is also home to San Bernardino County’s largest farm, the Cadiz Ranch, which has sustainably grown fruit and vegetables for over 30 years. Cadiz was founded in the early 1980s and we have grown to own and manage over 50 square miles in the Mojave, including Cadiz Ranch, which is run by locals who have lived in the area for decades. … ”  Read more from the Desert Dispatch here:  Local role in protection of the desert is critical too

Along the Colorado River …

Late push for Salton Sea improvements complicates Colorado River drought plan: “Arizona and California aren’t done with finalizing a plan that would establish how states in the Colorado River Basin will ensure water for millions of people in the Southwest, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Friday.  Despite Arizona lawmakers meeting Burman’s deadline to sign off on a plan to keep Lake Mead’s water levels from hitting critically low levels, agreements with Native American tribes and other water users still need to be signed.  … ”  Continue reading at Cronkite News here: Late push for Salton Sea improvements complicates Colorado River drought plan

Feds blast California: Close but not good enough on Colorado River drought plan:  “U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman put her foot down on Friday, saying Arizona and California, including the Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley Water District, had failed to meet the deadline to sign on to a multi-state plan to shore up the Southwest’s severely depleted Colorado River water supplies.  Seven states have worked with the bureau for years on plans to shore up dwindling water supplies from the river for 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland. Burman set a deadline of midnight Thursday for approved agreements. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Feds blast California: Close but not good enough on Colorado River drought plan

Not so fast on the drought plan: Arizona and the feds disagree:  “Arizona and officials with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation disagree over whether or not the state made the federally imposed Thursday deadline to complete the Drought Contingency Plan.  The Legislature passed the necessary bill Thursday afternoon, and Gov. Doug Ducey signed it about six hours before the deadline.  But Friday, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Arizona and California missed the deadline. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Radio here:  Not so fast on the drought plan: Arizona and the feds disagree

After Arizona passed the Colorado River drought plan, experts weigh in on what’s next: “Arizona lawmakers may have felt great relief Thursday after passing the Colorado River drought plan just hours before a federal deadline.  But state conservationists and water-policy experts say this is not the time to relax, not when water managers are expected to declare the river’s first shortage next year — even with the drought plan place.  Almost 20 years of drought, rising temperatures and chronic overuse have strained Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado. Following a shortage declaration, which could come as early as January, Arizona would have to reduce its use of Colorado River water by 18 percent. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  After Arizona passed the Colorado River drought plan, experts weigh in on what’s next

How Arizona’s drought plan will spread the pain to farms, cities, tribes, developers:  “Everyone will feel pain” was the mantra emanating from supporters of Arizona’s drought plan for the Colorado River as it wound through the Legislature.  It is true that under the plan, now embedded in state law, the major water users served by the $4 billion Central Arizona Project — cities, tribes and farms — will all take a hit.  But some users will be hurt more, and some will be hurt sooner, than others. Cities will lose the least amount of water and those cuts will not be noticed by their customers. … ”  Read more from Tucson.com here:  How Arizona’s drought plan will spread the pain to farms, cities, tribes, developers

Drought plan’s tab could hit $280 million:  “Arizona’s drought contingency plan for the Colorado River is shaping up as a pricey water-saving affair, with a potential tab of up to $280 million.  The state, the Central Arizona Project and the federal government have approved, or are expected to, the spending of many tens of millions of dollars to compensate river water users who will be losing supplies due to the drought plan. … ”  Read more from Tucson.com here: Drought plan’s tab could hit $280 million

COMMENTARY:

Commentary: Will it take a Magic 8-ball to see a path forward on the Colorado River?  Mike Wade writes, “As the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) continues to gain the necessary approvals we should switch from assessing its chances of passing to examining whether it can succeed. While a Magic 8-Ball may be the only way to know if the DCP will be authorized, a clear-eyed look at the facts tells us it is our best option to soften the impact of drought on Colorado River water users.  Seven states and Mexico share water from the Colorado River. In Southern California, this water helps supply more than 19 million people as well as fertile farm land that produces a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. The drought that has persisted since 2000 has brought hard times to all who share that water. Protecting the Colorado River is critical to California homes, farms and the environment. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Will it take a Magic 8-ball to see a path forward on the Colorado River?

Commentary: How could Arizona pass the drought contingency plan and still fail?: Joanna Allhands writes, “Did the goalposts just move on us?  We’ve known for quite some time that not every I would be dotted and T would be crossed by the feds’ Jan. 31 deadline to join the Drought Contingency Plan, which aims to keep Lake Mead from tanking to critical levels.  The gamble was that if we passed the plan legislatively by then, the federal Bureau of Reclamation would recognize what a monumental action that was and give us a pass.  Yet media reports suggest that Reclamation is lumping Arizona with California, which clearly did not meet the deadline, in its reasoning for taking an action that we had all hoped to avoid. … ”  Continue reading at Arizona Central here: How could Arizona pass the drought contingency plan and still fail?

Blog: How things stand now that the Arizona legislature has approved the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan: John Fleck writes, “New plan: a temporary tattoo that reads, “CLOSE IS NOT DONE.”  That was Commissioner of Reclamation Brenda Burman’s talking point during a press call this morning explaining what happens next now that we all turned into DCP-less pumpkins last night at midnight.  The Arizona legislature gave its last-minute approval late yesterday (hilariously, as I was in the middle of lecturing to UNM Water Resources Program students about DCP – went into the lecture  – no DCP vote – logged in to the Arizona Republic to check during a class break – DCP vote approved screaming headlines and excited #azwater tweetage). ... ” Continue reading from the Inkstain blog here: How things stand now that the Arizona legislature has approved the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

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