DAILY DIGEST: Feds give CA $205M for Oroville Dam spillway restoration; McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects; Ex-Zone 7 manager retiring from WaterFix interim leader post; Can Newsom’s tap water tax plan stay afloat?; and more …

In California water news today, Feds give California $205 million more for Oroville Dam spillway restoration, only a portion of Oroville Dam spillway cost; McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects; Ex-Zone 7 Manager Retiring from WaterFix Interim Leader Post; Can Newsom’s Tap Water Tax Plan Stay Afloat?; State Water Board holds informational meeting on PFAS; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Feds give California $205 million more for Oroville Dam spillway restoration:  “The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved $205 million to reimburse California for the Oroville Dam spillway reconstruction costs, the state Department of Water Resources announced Thursday.  The latest reimbursement is based on cost estimates the state water agency gave FEMA in the summer, DWR wrote in a news release. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  Feds give California $205 million more for Oroville Dam spillway restoration

FEMA only repays portion of Oroville Dam spillway cost:  “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Thursday it would pay $205 million for Oroville Dam spillway repairs, leaving $306 million in costs they said were not eligible for reimbursement.  This is in addition to $128.4 million FEMA previously approved for reimbursement for emergency response, debris removal, and other costs. … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  FEMA only repays portion of Oroville Dam spillway cost

DWR increasing Hyatt Powerplant releases, water reaches Oroville Dam spillway gates: “The state Department of Water Resources plans to increase releases from Hyatt Powerplant to prepare for forecasted weather and water storage considerations.  Lake Oroville was at 817 feet elevation, about 67.6 percent of its total capacity, on Wednesday afternoon. DWR said in a press release Tuesday that 10-day projections showed the lake reaching 835 feet on March 15. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here:  DWR increasing Hyatt Powerplant releases, water reaches Oroville Dam spillway gates

McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects:  “Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation on Thursday to repurpose federal funding for the high-speed rail project.  The Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act would take funding from the high-speed rail project and use it for water infrastructure projects in California and the West, according to a news release from McCarthy’s office. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here:  McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects

Ex-Zone 7 Manager Retiring from WaterFix Interim Leader Post:  “Jill Duerig, Interim Executive Director of the California WaterFix JPA, will be leaving her position for retirement.  Duerig led Zone 7 Water Agency as its General manager for 10 years, retiring in the spring of 2018. Afterward, she signed a contract to become Interim Executive Director of the Delta Conveyance and Construction Authority, which uses the acronym DCA.  The DCA is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the State Water Contractors (SWC), an association of 29 water providers that buy water from the state, and the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Zone 7, one of the SWC members, distributes water to the Valley’s four water retailers. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here:  Ex-Zone 7 Manager Retiring from WaterFix Interim Leader Post

Can Newsom’s Tap Water Tax Plan Stay Afloat?: “The shortage and contamination of water in California is hitting millions of people hard, particularly Blacks and Latinos.  More than 300 communities across the state and one out of every four schools in the Central Valley lack access to safe drinking water, according to the state Water Board. The problem is so bad in some places, families end up spending about 10 percent of their income buying bottled water.  Responding to the crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for a new water tax. If the proposal passes, the levy will generate $110 million in annual revenue. But some Californians – many working directly with the state’s water authorities – oppose the plan. Theysay there are better ways to raise the money needed than taxing tap water. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Journal here:  Can Newsom’s Tap Water Tax Plan Stay Afloat?

State Water Board holds informational meeting on PFAS:  “The State Water Resources Control Board held an informational meeting today featuring a panel of speakers discussing Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).  The goal of the informational meeting was to inform the State Water Board and public about PFOA and PFOS, which are part of the group of chemicals referred to as Perflouroalkyl Substances (PFAS). PFAS are man-made chemicals used to create a number of industrial and consumer products. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  State Water Board holds informational meeting on PFAS

California’s Rainfall Totals Are Above Average Thanks To Latest Storms:  “This week’s storms helped push California’s water year into above average territory, according to a couple of the state’s key tools for measuring.  Precipitation readings in the northern and southern Sierra Nevada jumped above the 50-year average, and the central Sierra’s are expected to do the same soon. Two rainy seasons ago, this milestone was hit in January. Last year, and several other years this decade, the state didn’t hit it at all. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  California’s Rainfall Totals Are Above Average Thanks To Latest Storms

‘A sea of wildflowers’:  “The benefits of rain are endless, especially in Southern California, where drought-like conditions often persist for months on end. Thanks to this year’s significant rainfall, the annual wildflower blooms are set to be quite spectacular, according to Jorge Moreno, information officer for California State Parks.  “Because the fall and winter seasons brought more rain to the state this year, we anticipate a very good year for wildflowers blooming throughout the state,” said Moreno. “Most people imagine the desert as a lifeless and hostile habitat where nothing grows, but it is quite the opposite. ... ”  Read more from the Victorville Press here:  ‘A sea of wildflowers’

Denis Peirce: Mokelumne River Hatchery: A success story:  “The ocean salmon fishing outside of the San Francisco Bay has been very good the last couple of years. … These recent ocean salmon catches have shown an unusual number of fish from the Mokelumne River Hatchery. The Mokelumne River facility produces less than 25 percent of the salmon from the Central Valley yet they were responsible for more than 40 percent of the catch. … ”  Read more from The Union here:  Mokelumne River Hatchery: A success story

In commentary today …

California water: The only real mistake is forgetting the past:  Mike Wade writes, “Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Rules enacted a decade ago that were intended to protect California’s iconic salmon and Delta smelt populations aren’t working and federal agencies are now in the process of modernizing them, this time using much better science.  This is positive for California because it allows us to examine what has and has not worked in the past and make changes for the better. The goal is to improve the job of serving California’s water users, including people, farms and the environment. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  California water: The only real mistake is forgetting the past

A river runs through us:  Rollie Atkinson writes, “We love our Russian River for its eternal beauty, its nurturing forces, its quenching properties, its recreation and play and its renewing spirits. We love our river — except when we don’t. And right now we are distraught over the destruction its breached muddy torrents visited upon us yet again.  For all its positive powers, our Russian River also has a famous reputation for making national TV news on a too frequent basis. Last week’s “Flood of 2019” peaked at 45.4 feet, making it the sixth worst in recorded history. Early flood damages have been placed above $155 million, including major damage to 1,760 homes and almost 600 commercial businesses. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  A river runs through us

In regional news and commentary today …

Sacramento River levels inch toward Anderson homes, causing concerns Thursday: “Water releases were increased to 40,000 cubic feet per second, out of Keswick Dam Thursday morning, causing flooding concerns along the Sacramento River.  The high water prevented some park goers from being able to enjoy the great outdoors in Anderson, where the park remains closed due to high water and storm damage.  Howard Willman lives at the Riviera Mobile Estates, next to Anderson River Park. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: Sacramento River levels inch toward Anderson homes, causing concerns Thursday

Severe Drinking Water Contamination Surfaces After Brutal Camp Fire:  “In November, a wall of flames fueled by dry forests and wooden structures tore through this Sierra foothill town like the dogs of Hell. More than 9,000 homes were destroyed and 86 people were killed. Yet even with those extraordinary measures of tragedy, Paradise today confronts the most fiendish and unexpected consequence of wildfire desolation ever encountered by an American city.  Beneath the blast furnace heat that incinerated buildings and vehicles above ground, an intricate network of drinking water pipes below the surface became so contaminated with toxic chemicals that many are unusable. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  Severe Drinking Water Contamination Surfaces After Brutal Camp Fire

Washoe Fuels of Quincy Fined After Long-term Neglect Harms Town’s Water Supply:The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has fined Washoe Fuel Inc. $660,521 after its failure to clean up a former bulk fueling business caused chronic harm to the water supply in the Plumas County town of Quincy.  In a case dating back more than a decade, the Board found that petroleum products leaking out of large storage tanks at the company’s Allied Washoe site on Crescent Street in Quincy are negatively impacting the nearby groundwater supply, including a well once operated by the local water district and the Quincy Community Services District’s sewer system. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Booster here:  ​Washoe Fuels of Quincy Fined After Long-term Neglect Harms Town’s Water Supply

City of Healdsburg’s Water Reclamation Facility damage causes temporary shutdown of Windsor’s town wells:  “Windsor largely escaped serious damage from last week’s atmospheric river, but damage sustained by our neighbor to the north threatened the wells that supply water to the town.  The flood waters inundated the city of Healdsburg’s wastewater utility, the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF), where the city’s wastewater is treated. The flooding entered the treatment plant, knocking out pumps and motors as well as electrical and control equipment. As a result, the WRF was temporarily not able to treat wastewater. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here:  City of Healdsburg’s Water Reclamation Facility damage causes temporary shutdown of Windsor’s town wells

Napa Planning Commission comes up with watershed protection recommendations: “The Napa County Planning Commission is sending the controversial, draft Water Quality and Tree Protection Ordinance back to the Board of Supervisors with a few recommended changes, but no sea change in direction.  Commissioners heard from about 50 speakers on Wednesday. Some warned that too many additional environmental restrictions will hurt farming. Some said that bold action is needed to protect drinking water and combat climate change. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  Napa Planning Commission comes up with watershed protection recommendations

Merced Irrigation District Announces Full Water Allocations For 2019 Season – Says Lake McClure is in Good Shape:  “At its March 5, 2019 meeting, the Merced Irrigation District Board of Directors approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and set the water rate for in-District customers for the season.  “We’ve had a healthy winter this year in terms of snow and precipitation,” said MID General Manager John Sweigard. “Lake McClure is in good shape and we want to be as responsive as possible to our growers. It is critical that we use our surface water supply while we have it and preserve local groundwater for future use.” ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun Times here:  Merced Irrigation District Announces Full Water Allocations For 2019 Season – Says Lake McClure is in Good Shape

Dozens attend special Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting:  “About 60 people turned out Wednesday afternoon at the Paso Library Conference Room for a special meeting of the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee.  The committee includes Chairperson John Hamon, (who requested a new chair be elected at the next meeting), Joe Parent of San Miguel, Vice Chair and County Supervisor John Peschong and Secretary Willy Cunha of Shandon-San Juan. Those committee members all attended yesterday, although John Hamon left early to attend Ash Wednesday ceremonies, so alternate committee member Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin filled in for the latter part of the meeting. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here:  Dozens attend special Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting

Recurring rainstorms keep Santa Barbara County’s reservoirs rising:  “With rainfall approaching 150 percent of normal for this time of year, two of Santa Barbara County’s reservoirs are full and storage in two continues to rise, with one now well above 50 percent but the other — the county’s largest — far behind at less than 20 percent, according to Flood Control District numbers.  As of Thursday morning, Gibraltar Reservoir was at 101 percent of its 4,314 acre-foot capacity, holding 4,359 acre-feet, and spilling water into the Santa Ynez River that feeds into Cachuma Lake, which was holding 68.4 percent of its 193,305 acre-foot capacity at 132,165 acre-feet. … ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here:  Recurring rainstorms keep Santa Barbara County’s reservoirs rising

Kern County: Hundreds wade into complex, challenging world of California water: “Hundreds of Bakersfield agriculture, oil and political leaders came together Thursday to examine the challenges and opportunities associated with providing California residents and businesses with a secure, reliable supply of clean water.  Lest the wet winter create a sense of complacency around one of the state’s most vital needs, specialists from various fields urged collective attention to the costly and increasingly complex problems that surround sourcing, storing and conveying water across the Golden State. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Kern County: Hundreds wade into complex, challenging world of California water

Santa Clarita Valley Water explores ‘Next Drop’ recycled water strategy:  “SCV Water Agency heads, who were surprised to hear that additional water expected from the local sanitation district would not be forthcoming, are already hammering out a plan to acquire water in new ways.  On Tuesday night, members of the SCV Water Agency board were briefed on a new strategy for acquiring recycled water.  Every drop of recycled water used to irrigate grassy public areas such as school campuses and parks is a drop of drinking water saved, agency officials say. ... ”  Read more from the Signal here:  Santa Clarita Valley Water explores ‘Next Drop’ recycled water strategy

Downtown L.A. has gotten more rain in 4 months than it normally gets for the whole year: “Travelers who seek the splendor of basking in the sun’s rays amid a cloudless sky nearly year-round haven’t found much success in Los Angeles these days.  The typically temperate climate has been replaced by gloomy storm clouds, chilly temperatures and enough rainy days to make many Angelenos shudder — and winter isn’t over yet.  Much of Southern California has received above-average rainfall for this time of the year, and many areas have already recorded an average year’s worth of rain. Downtown Los Angeles has received 17.98 inches since the water year began in October, surpassing the 14.93 inches the city gets on average annually. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Downtown L.A. has gotten more rain in 4 months than it normally gets for the whole year

210-acre artificial reef approved for San Clemente despite surfers’ concerns: “The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been shut down for seven years, but its operators — led by Southern California Edison — are still trying to complete sea-life mitigation for offshore damage caused by the plant.  To that end, the California Coastal Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a $20 million, 210-acre artificial reef offshore of nearby San Clemente. The Surfrider Foundation was unsuccessful in its call for a delay of construction, expected to last from May to September, so that possible negative effects on waves could be better studied. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  210-acre artificial reef approved for San Clemente despite surfers’ concerns

Along the Colorado River …

Nevada: Senate measure would reserve water to avoid over-appropriation: “Environmentalists and rural water users expressed broad support last week for a bill that would create small water reserves in aquifers across the state.  Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Republican Sen. Pete Goicoechea of Eureka, aims to prevent regulators from issuing more rights to water than there is water available, an issue already playing out in more than 100 groundwater basins.  In the dry Great Basin where surface water is scarce, groundwater is a primary water source for towns, ranchers and the environment. But about half of the state’s 256 groundwater basins are over-approriated because of past regulatory decisions and federal policies used to settle the West. ... ” Read more from the Nevada Independent here: Senate measure would reserve water to avoid over-appropriation

And lastly …

Check out drone view of a beautiful curved waterfall over Lake Clementine’s dam, courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: DWR, State Water Contractors respond to FEMA Reimbursement for Oroville Spillways Work; Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

THIS JUST IN … McCarthy Introduces Legislation to Repurpose High-Speed Rail Funding to Water Infrastructure Projects

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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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