DAILY DIGEST: Engineers design repairs to sunken section of Friant-Kern Canal while politicians look for funding; PG&E Orphaned the Potter Valley Project: What’s Happened & What Comes Next?; A wet winter will likely lead to a whale of a year for hydro in California; and more …

In California water news today, Engineers design repairs to sunken section of Friant-Kern Canal while politicians look for funding; PG&E Orphaned the Potter Valley Project: What’s Happened & What Comes Next?; A wet winter will likely lead to a whale of a year for hydro in California; Pebble Beach commits to clearing golf balls from the coast; Ocean conditions appear to be improving; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Board will hold a public meeting on the proposed water rights enforcement policy in Fresno from 3pm to 6pm.  Click here for the event flyer.

In the news today …

Engineers design repairs to sunken section of Friant-Kern Canal while politicians look for funding: “When it opened in 1951, the Friant-Kern Canal carried at least 4,000 cubic feet of water per second along its route from Millerton Lake, north of Fresno, to Bakersfield. Then something unfortunate happened.  A 25-mile stretch of land between Terra Bella and Pixley began to sink, and kept sinking, to the point that the canal’s gravity-powered water flow has slowed to about 1,700 cubic feet per second. The subsidence, caused by over-pumping of groundwater during drought years, means 60 percent less drinking and irrigation water can be delivered to communities along the 152-mile conveyance. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  Engineers design repairs to sunken section of Friant-Kern Canal while politicians look for funding

PG&E Orphaned the Potter Valley Project: What’s Happened & What Comes Next?: “A slow moving, hard to follow, high stakes, real life drama is unfolding in Northern California, and the next installment takes place in Eureka at the Board of Supervisors Chambers when the Eel Russian River Commission, whose sole focus is PG&E’s Potter Valley Project, meets Friday, March 28th. The pre-meeting buzz at this point sees proponents of dam removal in the Eel River watershed feeling guardedly optimistic that the “inevitable outcome” for the Potter Valley Project will be removing the 130 foot tall Scott Dam.  The outlook for dam removal on the Eel River has shifted significantly in the last year. ... ”  Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here:  PG&E Orphaned the Potter Valley Project: What’s Happened & What Comes Next?

A wet winter will likely lead to a whale of a year for hydro in California:  “Plenty of snow in the Sierra and lots of rain just about everywhere else in California have helped alleviate drought conditions across the state. But there’s also another positive byproduct of the wet winter — a likely boost in the amount of hydroelectricity in California’s energy mix.  “I’m looking at the reservoirs in the state and I see almost all of them at the historical average in terms of storage,” said Ghassan Alqaser, chief of the State Water Project Power and Risk Office at the California Department of Water Resources. “With that, we expect an above average hydro year.” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  A wet winter will likely lead to a whale of a year for hydro in California

Where did all these golf balls come from?  Pebble Beach commits to clearing errant balls from the coast:  “At Pebble Beach Golf Links, even the most skilled golfers have hit balls into the ocean.  “But not that many golf balls are hit directly into the water,” says Mark Stilwell, Pebble Beach Company’s vice president. “There’s beach areas and coastal cliff areas where the balls are often hit.” And waves, rainfall and gravity transport these errant golf balls into the ocean.  Between 2016 and 2018, Alexandra Weber, a freediver and student at Cabrillo College, and her friends removed nearly 30,000 golf balls from the Stillwater Cove region. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Where did all these golf balls come from?  Pebble Beach commits to clearing errant balls from the coast

The science behind explosion of California poppies:  “While the focus locally has been on the developing super bloom in San Diego’s desert, another spring miracle is happening right now in the foothills of the region.  Generous amounts of rainfall have triggered a spectacular wildflower display, dominated in many areas by blazing orange fields of the state’s official flower, the California poppy.  We enjoy this spring miracle, but sometimes forget to ask, “why?” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: The science behind explosion of California poppies

Ocean conditions appear to be improving:  “The ocean is still warmer than normal, but things appear to be looking up in West Coast waters — for now.  An annual status report on ecosystems in the California Current by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found there are indications the ocean waters off California, Oregon and Washington state are cooler and more productive than they were during a marine heat wave that began in 2014 with a mass of warm water nicknamed “the Blob” and persisted through 2016. ... ”  Read more from the Chinook Observer here:  Ocean conditions appear to be improving

Trump Administration Shortcuts Science To Give California Farmers More Water:  “When then-candidate Donald Trump swung through California in 2016, he promised Central Valley farmers he would send more water their way. Allocating water is always a fraught issue in a state plagued by drought, and where water is pumped hundreds of miles to make possible the country’s biggest agricultural economy.  Now, President Trump is following through on his promise by speeding up a key decision about the state’s water supply. Critics say that acceleration threatens the integrity of the science behind the decision, and cuts the public out of the process. At stake is irrigation for millions of acres of farmland, drinking water for two-thirds of Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, and the fate of endangered salmon and other fish. … ”  Read more from NPR here:  Trump Administration Shortcuts Science To Give California Farmers More Water

The US in only decades away from widespread water shortages, scientists warn:  “Much of the United States could be gripped by significant water shortages in just five decades’ time, according to predictions made in a new study.  From the year 2071 on, scientists say the combined effects of climate change and population increases are projected to present “serious challenges” in close to half of the 204 watersheds covering the contiguous US. … ”  Read more from Science Alert here:  The US in only decades away from widespread water shortages, scientists warn

Infrastructure: Democrats shape talks with long list of climate demands:  “As infrastructure talks progress on Capitol Hill, Democrats are calling for any legislative package to address climate change.  That would have been unthinkable last year, when Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.  Indeed, when President Trump initially proposed his $1 trillion infrastructure plan last year, it sparked little discussion about global warming. And the plan ultimately failed to materialize due to disagreement over funding options. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Infrastructure: Democrats shape talks with long list of climate demands

In regional news and commentary today …

Heavy rains could harm Marin salmon, steelhead recovery, surveyors say:  “The deluge of rain this winter may act as a double-edged sword for the recovery of protected fish runs in the Lagunitas Creek watershed, according to Marin County fish surveyors.  The strong rains ramped up stream flows, allowing spawning fish such as steelhead and endangered coho salmon to reach their spawning grounds. However, the historic loss of floodplains by development and dams in the watershed has resulted in rainfall concentrating into much stronger flows, which can scour creek beds where steelhead and salmon bury their egg nests, also called redds. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Heavy rains could harm Marin salmon, steelhead recovery, surveyors say

Amaral leaving Westlands for Friant Water Authority:  “After almost four years of service to the farmers and communities on the westside of the San Joaquin Valley, Johnny Amaral, deputy general manager for external affairs, is leaving Westlands Water District.  He has taken a position with the Friant Water Authority, working on eastside water issues. … ”  Read more from the Business Journal here:  Amaral leaving Westlands for Friant Water Authority

Visalia: With the drought over, will cities loosen their strings on watering?: “Months of record rain and snowfall has officially lifted the Central Valley — and much of the state — out of official drought conditions.  Just 1 percent of California is experiencing moderate drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s a far cry from 2014 when 54 percent of the state was in severe drought.  With the drought declared dead in California, will Tulare County cities begin to ease restrictions on residential watering? … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  With the drought over, will cities loosen their strings on watering?

With few ‘gully washers’ or major flooding, the Central Coast rain season has been ideal: John Lindsay writes, “Growing up in Sonoma County in Northern California, I vividly recall looking out the windows of Mark West Elementary School at the endless days of rain.  Nearby, Mark West Creek flowed like a raging waterway into the Russian River that would eventually always flood Guerneville and the surrounding areas. That’s the way I recalled the winters where I grew up.  This winter along the Central Coast brings back a lot of those memories, with numerous days of rain but with a twist, we haven’t had any “gully washers” this season. ... ”  Read more the San Luis Obispo Tribune here:  With few ‘gully washers’ or major flooding, the Central Coast rain season has been ideal

Precipitation watch …

  • From the National Weather Service: Dry weather Monday before a weak winter storm impacts NorCal Tuesday. After that, dry and warmer weather is expected through at least next weekend.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Momentum builds for public investment in water-storage projects; Energy Dept, CA spar over nuclear site cleanup; EPA sets stage for Cargill plans in Redwood City; What’s ahead for CA following waterlogged winter?; and more …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for March 11

CALENDAR EVENTS: Webinar on Fox Canyon Groundwater Market; American Water Works Assn Confluence 2019; Bruce Babbitt & Ellen Hanak: Parting the Waters; California Water Policy Conference

In announcements 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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