DAILY DIGEST: Details of Newsom’s plan for drinking water tax revealed; Expert claims officials flirting with disaster at Oroville Dam; Three eye-opening water maps for business; Feds sued over plan to drain more of Colorado River Basin; and more …

In California water news today, Details of Newsom’s plan for drinking water tax revealed; Expert Claims CA Water Officials Are Flirting With Disaster At Oroville Dam; State of California begins treatment of invasive aquatic plants; California’s drought is over. What will that mean for water use?; Army bill for public records on contaminant: About $300,000; Three eye-opening water maps for business; Feds Sued Over Plan to Drain More of Colorado River Basin; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Delta Stewardship Council retreat at the Crocker Art Museum from 9am to 12pm.  Click here for more information.  This will not be webcast.
  • Public Meeting on Klamath Basin water conditions and operational plans from 1pm to 3pm in Klamath Falls.  Click here for more information.
  • GRA UC Davis/Sacto branch meeting: Starting from the Problem and Working Backwards from 4pm to 6pm.  Click here to register.  You do not have to be a member to attend.

In the news today …

Details of Newsom’s plan for drinking water tax revealed:  “California Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed new details of his plans to charge water customers in the state a new tax to fund safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities.  He announced Wednesday his plans to charge water customers an extra amount ranging from 95 cents to $10 a month — money that, combined with fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers, he projects would raise $140 million a year that could be put toward testing wells, aiding public water systems and treating contaminated water. The amount paid would depend on the size of one’s water meter. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Details of Newsom’s plan for drinking water tax revealed

California water tax: Mixed reactions in Valley over proposal:  “Governor Gavin Newsom wants to charge California water customers an extra fee to help clean tainted water in low-income and rural communities.  Erica Fernandez, with Community Water Center, explained she supports this fee.  She said there are about 1 million people without safe, clean drinking water. … ”  Read more from KFSN here:  California water tax: Mixed reactions in Valley over proposal

California’s proposed affordable drinking water fund could cost residents up to $120 a year:  “As more than a million Californians don’t have access to clean drinking water, there is an outpouring of lawmakers who are trying to help, but clashing on solutions. Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a safe affordable drinking water fund to clean up contaminated water in rural and low income areas.  The fund would come from water customers across California, proposing each pay between 95 cents to $10 a month, depending on the water meter. … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here:  California’s proposed affordable drinking water fund could cost residents up to $120 a year

Expert Claims CA Water Officials Are Flirting With Disaster At Oroville Dam:  “An engineer with 20-plus years experience working on dams fears the Oroville dam could be in trouble again. He says the same problem which led to the failure of the main spillway in 2017 is still happening.  The state has spent more than a billion dollars rebuilding the main and emergency spillways at Oroville dam. Now, expert Scott Cahill told News Radio KFBK, water can be seen seeping from the foot of the dam and dozens of points along the new spillway. ... ”  Read more from KFBK here:  Expert Claims CA Water Officials Are Flirting With Disaster At Oroville Dam

State of California begins treatment of invasive aquatic plants:  “With summer just around the corner and the boating season about to get underway, the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) has started its annual treatment of Delta waterways for aquatic invasive species (AIS), like the ubiquitous water hyacinth.  DBW is charged with managing AIS, and their treatment season begins in March, running through November. Treatment areas encompass a number of East County locations, including Discovery Bay, Big Break, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough and Cruiser Haven Marina. … ”  Read more from The Press here:  State of California begins treatment of invasive aquatic plants

California’s drought is over.  What will that mean for water use?For the first time in eight years, California is drought-free. According to the United States Drought Monitor, which uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parts of the most northern and southern counties are still “abnormally dry,” but the state has no drought conditions to show.  Could the drought’s end mark the return of practices such as excessive lawn-watering? Not necessarily. California’s water conservation has seen ups and downs in recent years: When then-Governor Jerry Brown suspended the drought emergency in 2017, Californians continued to conserve (although their water use later rebounded.) … ”  Read more from City Watch here:  California’s drought is over.  What will that mean for water use?

What’s in your drinking water? Carl Cranor wants you to know — and to empower you to do something about it:  “What if every day you drank water contaminated with a toxic, manmade chemical that had been linked to cancer? What if the company that produced the chemical knew it caused cancer yet did nothing to stop you from consuming it?  For around 110 million people living in the U.S., it’s not a matter of “if ” — it’s just reality.  Produced in labs for 80 years, synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, were key to the creation of household products like Teflon pans and Scotchgard. … ”  Read more from UC Riverside here:  What’s in your drinking water? Carl Cranor wants you to know — and to empower you to do something about it

Army bill for public records on contaminant: About $300,000:  “The U.S. Army has put a price tag on releasing the results of water tests for a dangerous contaminant at military installations: nearly $300,000.  In a March 12 letter, the Army told the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group, that the military would charge the group $290,400 to provide records of water tests at 154 installations for a family of compounds known as PFAS, which federal authorities say appear linked to certain cancers and other health and developmental problems. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  Army bill for public records on contaminant: About $300,000

Tackling the water crisis will be as hard as it sounds:  “Today’s World Water Day, which falls on March 22 each year and is often an occasion for plenty of “doom and gloom,” says Scott Bryan. That’s why Bryan, president of ImagineH2O, a nonprofit organization that runs a startup accelerator and other programs aimed at solving water challenges around the globe, holds his organization’s demo day and gala event in the run-up to the day, “in hopes that there might be a story out there that’s a little more positive.”  Looking over ImagineH2O’s 10th cohort—which includes a baker’s dozen of startups offering everything from high-efficiency faucets and showerheads to handheld water-quality scanners, devices to reduce water loss in cooling towers, trenchless water-pipe replacement technology, and more—there is certainly reason for optimism. But these entrepreneurs are inspired, at least in part, by the fact that the doom and gloom is real. … ”  Read more from Fast Company here:  Tackling the water crisis will be as hard as it sounds

These machines pull clean drinking water out of thin air, and they might be a solution to the global water crisis:  “World Water Day aims to raise awareness of the global water crisis, which could leave one in four people with a recurring water shortage by 2050.  As the global population continues to climb, that means more than 2 billion people could soon be starved for world’s most precious resource. To tackle this mounting issue, one company has turned to a solution in nature. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  These machines pull clean drinking water out of thin air, and they might be a solution to the global water crisis

Three eye-opening water maps for business:  “As climate change brings more frequent droughts and floods, understanding water usage and risks arguably never has been more critical. By most measures, the world is falling short of meeting United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 6: to achieve “sustainable water management and sanitation” by 2030.  Businesses have been using more water than ever in the past few years, even as they report more about water risks, according to the CDP’s Treading Water report, released Friday.  … ”  Read more from Green Biz here:  Three eye-opening water maps for business

What do we know about climate change mitigation in cities? The emission reduction goals of the Paris Agreement demand rapid action at all scales and levels of governance – from individual to international – and cities are no exception. Many urban governments recognise this and are embarking on projects to improve public transport services, mandate efficient buildings, or produce energy from local renewable sources.  So what do we actually know about climate mitigation in cities? In our new paper, published in Nature Climate Change, we take stock of all the city case studies currently available in the peer-reviewed literature. ... ”  Read more from Resilience here:  What do we know about climate change mitigation in cities? 

In commentary today …

The drought’s over? Sure. But our hydrological bank account is still drained, says the LA Times:  They write, “California had a wet November, a moist December, an absolutely drenched January and February, and so far a fairly watery March. Los Angeles exceeded its average annual rainfall a month ago, less than halfway into the “water year” (which runs from October through the following September). The Sierra snowpack is at more than 150% of average. The state is soaked.  So how come the U.S. Drought Monitor waited until Wednesday to declare California drought free for the first time in seven years? Hasn’t he been paying attention? And who is that guy, anyway? … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  The drought’s over? Sure. But our hydrological bank account is still drained

In regional news and commentary today …

Dam removal alone won’t scour lower Klamath, says Felice Pace:  “The guest editorial “Dam removal report sparks hope for Klamath Basin Ag” by Klamath Renewal Corporation’s Dave Meurer in the March 13 H&N edition promotes the idea that removing four of PacifiCorp’s Klamath River dams will “reduce or eliminate the biological necessity for spring dilution flows by restoring more natural river flows.”  According to Meurer, that “could” free up up to 50,000 acre feet of water for federal irrigation; he points to the peer review comments of “scientists” in support of that view. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Dam removal alone won’t scour lower Klamath, says Felice Pace

Mendocino Coast catching flood debris from Russian River: “Staffers at the Point Arena Lighthouse are accustomed to seeing spectacular sights from their vantage point at the edge of the ocean on the southern Mendocino Coast.  The rugged scenery, migrating whales and other wildlife on display along that particular stretch of coastline are exactly what draw tens of thousands of visitors to the region each year.  But never has anyone seen anything quite so exotic as the fiberglass hot tub that bobbed through the waves past the promontory earlier this month — perhaps the most bizarre example of the debris swept north as flood waters gushed from the mouth of the Russian River after it spilled its banks. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Mendocino Coast catching flood debris from Russian River

Truckee Donner Land Trust awarded more than $750,000 for forest health work:  “As wildfires become a greater and greater concern with each passing year, the Truckee Donner Land Trust has been awarded $783,760 in funding for critical forestry work on its properties, a news release states.  Two grants — one totaling $364,510 for forestry work at Royal Gorge on Donner Summit, and another for $419,250 for work at Webber Lake — will allow the Land Trust to undertake significant forest health projects that will not only improve the local ecology on its protected lands, but also improve resiliency and help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun here:  Truckee Donner Land Trust awarded more than $750,000 for forest health work

West Sacramento reclamation districts offer a compromise on city’s proposed take-over of levees, drainage systems:  “After months of study and legal analysis, the two reclamation districts that operate and maintain levees and a portion of the drainage system in West Sacramento have reached a compromise on the City’s proposal to take over the districts’ governance. The proposal would allow the City to unify its internal drainage services while protecting it from potential financial risk and liability associated with operating and maintaining levees. … ”  Read more from the News-Ledger here:  West Sacramento reclamation districts offer a compromise on city’s proposed take-over of levees, drainage systems

Bay Area: Purse Opens for PCA Projects:  “Marsh restoration, Bay and Ridge Trail extensions, and urban park upgrades are among the types of projects eligible to receive funding through the 2019 Bay Area Priority Conservation Area (PCA) One Bay Area Grant Program. By March, aided by new mapping tools that can pinpoint regional landscape characteristics and needs, more than 36 cities, counties, agencies and non-profits had submitted letters of interest to the program, outlining a variety of projects that benefit one or more of the Bay Area’s 165 PCAs (see map opposite). Altogether, the grant requests totaled more than $19 million. ... ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  Bay Area: Purse Opens for PCA Projects

North County water districts unhappy with direction of Paso basin plan:  “Officials from North County’s two water districts vented frustrations about the latest draft of a Paso Robles Groundwater Basin sustainability plan at a joint meeting held at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines on March 19, calling its target for a 29 percent reduction in basin pumping unreasonable and economically dangerous.  The districts—Shandon-San Juan Water District and Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District—represent some of the biggest agricultural players in the North County and more than 150,000 acres of land. … ”  Read more from New Times San Luis Obispo here:  North County water districts unhappy with direction of Paso basin plan

Santa Susana Field Lab cleanup agreement penned years ago is ‘not achievable,’ report says:  “Officials with the state agency that oversees the cleanup of the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory said it will hold NASA “accountable” if it violates an agreement the agency inked several years ago.  The letter, sent by the state Department of Toxic Substance Control Wednesday, March 20, follows NASA’s reply to a report on the agency’s progress on environmental remediation activities at the 2,900-acre site, nested between Chatsworth and Simi Valley. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Santa Susana Field Lab cleanup agreement penned years ago is ‘not achievable,’ report says

Regional water board to hear update on H.B. desalination project, which study says poses financial risk:  “About a month after an independent study deemed Poseidon Water’s proposed ocean desalination plant in Huntington Beach the most financially risky compared with other water projects, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board will hear a status update on the project Friday.  The project has long been disputed by environmentalists, who say the $1-billion plant would harm marine life despite Poseidon’s reassurances that it wouldn’t have a significant impact on sea creatures. Poseidon said it also developed a plan for environmental protection and energy efficiency. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Regional water board to hear update on H.B. desalination project, which study says poses financial risk

Coronado City Council Approves Golf Course Modernization Project:  “The City Council met prior to its regular March 19 meeting for a special meeting to consider the 2018 Feasibility Study Report for a Satellite Water Recycling Facility (SWRF) and Turf Care Facility as part of the Golf Course Modernization Project.  City Manager Blair King said this meeting “was intended to be a workshop and special study session, something we don’t do that often, but the importance and complexity of this project deserves spending time to explain where we’ve been, where we are, what it will take to move forward.” … ”  Read more from the Coronado Times here:  Coronado City Council Approves Golf Course Modernization Project

The Shape of Water:  SDSU researchers examine the effects of shrinking water supplies in the Imperial-Mexicali Valley: “Whenever it rained, six-year-old Trent Biggs would get in trouble for digging ditches in the school playground. “I just liked watching water flow around,” he explained.  He still does. Now a San Diego State University geography professor, Biggs leads water-use studies from the Himalayan foothills of Nepal to the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. Closer to home, he’s focused on the Sonoran desert towns and farms that surround SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.  The problems there are as old as the urbanization of Southern California: insufficient water to meet community demands and ecosystem needs. The solutions, which could figure into future policy-making, are both increasingly high-tech and surprisingly personal. ... ”  Read more from San Diego State University here:  The Shape of Water:  SDSU researchers examine the effects of shrinking water supplies in the Imperial-Mexicali Valley 

Along the Colorado River …

Feds Sued Over Plan to Drain More of Colorado River Basin:  “Beset by the impacts of climate change, a drought and increased water demand, the Colorado River Basin was already running near empty before the Trump administration approved a new deal allowing additional extractions from one of its main tributaries.  While the administration found the deal would not have a significant impact on the environment surrounding the river, a collection of environmental groups say in a new federal lawsuit that it will further deplete the river basin’s supply – further endangering already threatened species that rely on its waters. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Feds Sued Over Plan to Drain More of Colorado River Basin

San Diego Explained: The Colorado Is a River, But Also a Bank: “The Colorado River essentially functions like a water bank for the three biggest states in the West: California, Nevada and Arizona.  Fearing that the federal government was about to step in to ration the river, states have been working on a new deal to share water. All this is happening because an ongoing drought along the river has collided with years of overuse by the states, primarily California and Arizona.  On this week’s San Diego Explained, VOSD’s Ry Rivard and NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia break down how the drying up of the Colorado River could impact West Coast residents.”  Watch video here: San Diego Explained: The Colorado Is a River, But Also a Bank

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: Delta Stewardship Council denies appeal of Smith Canal Gate Project; A wet winter and above average rain mean a boost to local stormwater capture in L.A.; USDA invests millions to protect communities from wildfires, restore forest ecosystems, improve drinking water

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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