DAILY DIGEST: Could a massive aquifer beneath the Mojave Desert help solve CA’s water problem?; Guerneville floods more than anywhere in the Bay Area. Why can’t it be fixed?; Colorado River’s decline poses long-term risks for Southern Nevada; and more …

In California water news today, A massive aquifer lies beneath the Mojave Desert. Could it help solve California’s water problem?; Yuba Water agency finalizes proposal for state’s Bay-Delta Plan; Guerneville floods more than anywhere in the Bay Area. Why can’t it be fixed?; Colorado River’s decline poses long-term risks for Southern Nevada; Surprise! It’s a Bipartisan Bill, and a Gift for California’s Desert Wildlife; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

A massive aquifer lies beneath the Mojave Desert. Could it help solve California’s water problem?:  “The landscape here is more Martian than Earthly, rust and tan plains that rise in the distance to form the Old Woman Mountains to the east and the Bristols and Marbles to the north and west.  Almost everything here is protected by the federal government. The opportunity or threat, depending on your point of view, lies beneath the dusty surface that, after a recent rain, blooms with sprays of yellow desert dandelion.  There is water here in the Mojave Desert. A lot of it. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here:  A massive aquifer lies beneath the Mojave Desert. Could it help solve California’s water problem?

Yuba Water agency finalizes proposal for state’s Bay-Delta Plan:  “To protect the Bay-Delta watershed, the state of California has indicated it wants more water from the watersheds that feed it. The plan requires more unimpaired flows, but the state water board is open to alternative plans – or “voluntary settlement agreements” – if it’s proven all stakeholders benefit, including the environmental side.  The Yuba Water Agency recently came up with a framework it believes meets that requirement and is an alternative to the state’s “one-size-fits-all” requirement. The agency planned to present it to the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Water agency finalizes proposal for state’s Bay-Delta Plan

Surprise! It’s a Bipartisan Bill, and a Gift for California’s Desert Wildlife:  “As anyone who has access to broadcast media, the internet, or gradeschool friend they have blocked on Facebook knows, we live in an era of hyperpartisanship. Which makes particularly noteworthy Congress’ recent bipartisan passage of the biggest land conservation bill in a decade.  The bill protects more than 1 million acres of wilderness across the country. It also permanently reauthorizes a program that uses revenue from oil and gas drilling leases to pay for conservation initiatives. And it closes off some areas to mining, permanently. … ”  Read more from KQED here:  Surprise! It’s a Bipartisan Bill, and a Gift for California’s Desert Wildlife

In commentary today …

California should stop thinking about more dams. The state is brimming with them, says George Skelton:  He writes, “Think California should build a lot more dams to catch these deluges? Forget it.  Yes, the next severe drought is inevitable. And after California dries out and becomes parched again, we’ll wish we’d saved more of the current torrents. Instead, the precious water is washing out to sea.  There’s one dam being planned north of Sacramento in Colusa County that makes sense: Sites. There are also some dam expansion projects that could work.  But California is already dammed to the brim. Every river worth damming has been. And some that weren’t worth it were dammed anyway. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here:  California should stop thinking about more dams. The state is brimming with them

In regional news and commentary today …

Guerneville floods more than anywhere in the Bay Area. Why can’t it be fixed?: “It is a scenario familiar to Northern California residents: A wet winter arrives with heavy storms, and Guerneville, the picturesque Sonoma County town 75 miles north of San Francisco, is hit with flooding.  Since 1940, the Russian River has poured over its banks at Guerneville a stunning 38 times, an average of nearly once every other year.  Why can’t the river be fixed and the misery ended for people who live nearby? Building a dam or other major flood control project would be prohibitively expensive for a town of just 4,500 people, experts say. And federal law doesn’t allow tax money to be spent on large water projects whose benefits are worth far less than the costs of the project. ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Guerneville floods more than anywhere in the Bay Area. Why can’t it be fixed?

Sonoma County prepares for more rain as Russian River communities continue cleanup efforts after flood:  “Green and blue balloons flew outside shops in Guerneville’s business district Sunday, signaling the doors were open to patrons amid a large-scale cleanup of mud and debris left behind by floodwaters that dealt a damaging blow last week to lower Russian River communities.  About two dozen people waited in line outside an assistance center, which Sonoma County officials opened Sunday in an old Bank of America building on Main Street. Among them was Fawn Whitt, who filled out a questionnaire on a clipboard. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Sonoma County prepares for more rain as Russian River communities continue cleanup efforts after flood

Fresno: Irrigation districts take advantage of excess water, start deliveries to farmers:  “A spectacular snowpack and a series of storms in the San Joaquin Valley are bringing smiles to valley farmers’ faces.  On Friday, the Fresno Irrigation District started moving water to farms in the cities of Fresno, Clovis, and their surrounding ag land.   “It allows farmers to take surface deliveries and put the water on crops but back into the ground level,” said FID board president Ryan Jacobsen. … ”  Read more from KFSN here:  Irrigation districts take advantage of excess water, start deliveries to farmers

Along the Colorado River …

Colorado River’s decline poses long-term risks for Southern Nevada:  “It supplies water and power to 40 million people from Wyoming to Mexico and irrigates billions of dollars in cropland used to feed millions more.  No wonder so many people are worried about the Colorado River. Punishing drought has ravaged the system for almost 20 years, shrinking its two largest reservoirs to a record low 40 percent of combined capacity.  A bleached bathtub ring 130 feet tall marks the decline of Lake Mead, which supplies 90 percent of the water used by nearly three-quarters of Nevada residents. That white stripe on the  cliffs surrounding the nation’s largest reservoir is expected to grow another 30 feet over the next two years as farms and cities downstream continue to divert more water than the Colorado can reliably provide. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here:  Colorado River’s decline poses long-term risks for Southern Nevada

A future no one could see capped Nevada’s share of the Colorado River:  “When representatives from seven Western states met in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to divvy up the Colorado River in 1922, Las Vegas was a dusty railroad stop with fewer than 2,500 residents.  No one could have imagined this isolated desert community would one day become an international destination with more than 2 million residents and 40 million annual visitors.  No one thought Nevada would ever need more water than it eventually got from those early Colorado River negotiations. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal here:  A future no one could see capped Nevada’s share of the Colorado River

Why Drought Contingency Plan ‘deadlines’ don’t tell the whole story:  “The last day of January was looking like a banner day for Arizona’s water planning. State lawmakers had passed legislation authorizing Arizona to enter into an important deal. Governor Doug Ducey signed the bills almost immediately.  “Working together with a common goal in mind, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. And today proves it,” he pronounced. There was applause and relief in the old state Senate chamber where the ceremony took place. The Drought Contingency Plan would keep water in Lake Mead and reduce its chance of dropping rapidly. As a bonus, this milestone came on the date the federal government had set as a deadline of sorts. … ”  Read more from KUNC here:  Why Drought Contingency Plan ‘deadlines’ don’t tell the whole story

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Voluntary agreements shared with State Water Board. Will they replace disputed flow plan?; Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done; Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Senator Melissa Hurtado introduces legislation to invest $400 million to fix Friant-Kern Canal; ‘Slightly improved’ forecast for CA’s 2019 ocean salmon season

https://mavensnotebook.com/2019/03/04/reservoir-and-water-conditions-for-march-4/

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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