DAILY DIGEST: Forecasts call for up to 10 inches of Sierra snow in May; Satellite photo shows state drying out fast; Experts warn of cold snowmelt and swift waters; Aging water workforce spurs industry recruiting efforts; Walmart slashing CO2 of thousands of suppliers; and more …

In California water news today, ‘More like winter’: Updated forecasts call for up to 10 inches of Sierra snow in May; California had a wet winter. But a satellite photo shows the state is drying out fast; After Tule River swallows teen, experts warn of cold snowmelt and swift waters; There’s a plan to improve drinking water in California – at a cost; Aging water workforce spurs industry recruiting efforts; Walmart has thousands of suppliers. It’s slashing their CO2; Landmark UN plastic waste pact gets approved but not by US; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Statewide Environmental Flows Workgroup meeting from 9:30am to 3:00pm.  Agenda items include: State Water Board – SGMA overview, with a focus on the State Water Board’s role and interconnected surface waters; DFW: identification of specific challenges to public trust resources and discrete opportunities to help GSAs implement SGMA; State Water Board – Streamflow Depletion Risk Assessment Framework and Tools.  Click here for the full agenda and Skype information.
  • WEBINAR: Prop 1 IRWM Implementation Grant Program Applicant Assistance from 1:30 to 3:00pm.  Meeting available via GoToWebinar.  Click here for more information.
  • Kern County SGMA Open House in Bakersfield from 5:30 to 7:30pm.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

‘More like winter’: Updated forecasts call for up to 10 inches of Sierra snow in May:  “A rare, mid-May “winter” storm is blowing into Northern California from Alaska, and it’s set to drop more than a foot of snow in some parts of the Sierra by the end of this week.  By Thursday, Sacramento and most of Northern California will see moderate rain, breezy winds and a sharp drop in temperatures – potentially sharp enough to set daily records in some parts of the valley and foothills.  Updated forecasts by the National Weather Service are providing some more clarity on the precipitation outlook as the wet, cold winter-like storm creeps closer. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  ‘More like winter’: Updated forecasts call for up to 10 inches of Sierra snow in May

California had a wet winter. But a satellite photo shows the state is drying out fast:  “NASA released a satellite image over the weekend that showed what a large swath of California look like during the winter, when the Sierra Nevada was heavily covered with snow.  A second image shows what the same region looks like now.  It’s a classic good news, bad news story.  Reservoir conditions are good throughout virtually all of California. In April, the snow level in the Sierra was 162 percent of average. The reservoirs will be well stocked for a long period of time. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  California had a wet winter. But a satellite photo shows the state is drying out fast

After Tule River swallows teen, experts warn of cold snowmelt and swift waters:  “Search teams were deployed Sunday night after a teenager was swallowed by the cold, fast-moving waters of the Tule River.  A 16-year-old boy went under the water about 6:45 p.m., according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Divers searched the waters, and deputies used a drone to get a bird’s-eye view of the area.  The teen, whom officials did not identify, was last seen in an area known as the Stairs between Springville and Camp Nelson, just above the Coffee Camp Campground in the Central Valley. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: After Tule River swallows teen, experts warn of cold snowmelt and swift waters

There’s a plan to improve drinking water in California – at a cost:  “Contaminated, toxic water plagues an estimated one million people across California.  Gov. Gavin Newsom has a proposal to fight the problem by raising $140 million to operate and maintain water treatment systems — but it means higher taxes for ratepayers, an estimated $1 a month for most people. For apartment buildings and multi-family homes, the amount could be up to $10 a month.  “It would be a water tax. It would be taxing something that you have to have to live,” Association of Water Agencies Deputy Executive Director Cindy Tuck said. “We don’t think that makes sense.” … ”  Read more from Fox 40 News here:  There’s a plan to improve drinking water in California – at a cost

Aging water workforce spurs industry recruiting efforts:  “A flood of water industry professionals nearing retirement has prompted local agencies to form a task force charged with assessing ways to develop the water workforce of the future. Education leaders are stepping up outreach to fill their career training programs, and water agencies are looking for new ways to attract employees.  “For many years now, we’ve been talking about the ‘Silver Tsunami’ of aging baby boomers who are going to be leaving the workforce, but it really is coming to fruition now,” said Don Jones, who helped spearhead Cuyamaca College’s new Center for Water Studies housing the college’s Water & Wastewater Technology program. … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here:  Aging water workforce spurs industry recruiting efforts

WEF releases first-ever stormwater needs analysis revealing major funding gap: The first-ever analysis of needs of the U.S. stormwater sector shows an estimated $7.5 billion annual funding gap and revealed top priorities and challenges across the country.  The inaugural MS4 Needs Assessment Survey led by the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) Stormwater Institute, reflects an effort to learn more about the nature and needs of the MS4 sector at a scale that has never been attempted.  The survey generated some significant and surprising findings, according to WEF … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  WEF releases first-ever stormwater needs analysis revealing major funding gap

Walmart has thousands of suppliers. It’s slashing their CO2:  “A corporate cause emerged from Hurricane Katrina.  Among the storm’s tragic results in 2005 were over 1,835 deaths, $135 billion in damage and 1 million displaced people. There was also at least one positive outcome. It’s called “Project Gigaton,” an international plan by Walmart to cut greenhouse gases 1 billion metric tons by 2030 from its sprawling supply chain. If it works, it could be one of the world’s most ambitious attempts so far to curb climate change: the equivalent of taking 212 million cars off U.S. highways for one year.  The effort, first announced in April 2017, and others like it have spread to more than 5,000 companies. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Walmart has thousands of suppliers. It’s slashing their CO2

Landmark UN plastic waste pact gets approved but not by US:  “Nearly every country in the world has agreed upon a legally binding framework to reduce the pollution from plastic waste except for the United States, U.N. environmental officials say.  An agreement on tracking thousands of types of plastic waste emerged Friday at the end of a two-week meeting of U.N.-backed conventions on plastic waste and toxic, hazardous chemicals.  Discarded plastic clutters pristine land, floats in huge masses in oceansand rivers and entangles wildlife, sometimes with deadly results . … ”  Read more from the AP here:  Landmark UN plastic waste pact gets approved but not by US

In commentary today …

New currents of cooperation on California’s wicked water problems:  Maurice Hall and Steve Rothert write,The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it make up California’s primary water supply and one of the state’s most wicked water challenges.  Difficult negotiations on how to efficiently and fairly share water among farmers, cities including San Francisco, and fish and wildlife have been underway since 2012 with little resolution in sight—until last month.  Difficult negotiations on how to efficiently and fairly share water among farmers, cities including San Francisco, and fish and wildlife have been underway since 2012 with little resolution in sight—until he Newsom administration came on board. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  New currents of cooperation on California’s wicked water problems

A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all, says the SF Chronicle:  They write, “At least 1 million Californians don’t have stable access to clean drinking water. That’s a shameful and unacceptable fact in this wealthy state.  In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.”  He’s right. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here:  A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In regional news and commentary today …

Hoopa’s Copper Bluff Mine listed as Superfund site:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially added the Copper Bluff Mine in Hoopa to the Superfund National Priorities list, one of seven sites added across the county and the only one in California.  The list includes the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination.  “By adding these sites to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of the local communities, and return the sites to safe and productive reuse,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a prepared statement. “Our commitment to these communities is that sites on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority.” … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here:  Hoopa’s Copper Bluff Mine listed as Superfund site

Ukiah: Work underway on damaged water storage basins:  “Work to repair water storage basins at the city of Ukiah’s Water Treatment Plant is underway, director of water resources Sean White confirmed.  White said the crucial infrastructure he called the “backwash basins” were damaged during the flooding that occurred because of the heavy rainfall in late February, and that they needed to be repaired as soon as possible because they help the city provide drinking water to its residents during the peak demand months coming soon. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Ukiah: Work underway on damaged water storage basins

Northern California’s famed clothing-optional Wilbur Hot Springs listed for $10 million:  “In the oak-sided foothills of the Coast Range 120 miles northeast of San Francisco, the fabled Wilbur Hot Springs is seeking a new owner to take over the property and its lithium-rich waters that have soothed wellness-seekers for centuries.  The 1,700-acre off-the-grid health retreat, where clothing is optional in the pools, went up for sale quietly last year for $10 million. Now, the property near Williams (Colusa County) is officially listed with Sotheby’s International Real Estate. ... ”  Read more the SF Gate here: Northern California’s famed clothing-optional Wilbur Hot Springs listed for $10 million

Napa: We can stop sediment, say :  They write, “We are concerned about the issue of sediment and debris and how it is affecting the Napa Valley watershed. This is due to agriculture and road/building construction. Sediment is going into our river.  This is a problem because when sediment and debris fall into the water, it kills fish eggs, plants, and tiny organisms that help keep our watershed healthy. When the sediment falls in the water, the temperature in the water rises because the river gets more shallow and all fish in the Napa Valley watershed need cold water to survive. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here:  We can stop sediment

Sacramento City officials worried homeless campers are weakening levees:  “Homeless camps along the Sacramento and American rivers are creating a potential problem that could affect thousands.  Denise Plescia, who lives nearby, often sees the homeless camps all along the rivers.  “They find places to hide, like that bush right there,” she told FOX40.  Now, some of the campers may be putting Plescia’s home at risk by compromising the structural integrity of the levees themselves. … ”  Read more from Fox 40 here:  Sacramento City officials worried homeless campers are weakening levees

Marina, Coastal Commission staff disagree over Cal Am right to desal appeal:  “Marina city officials issued a notice Friday listing the city planning commission’s March 7 denial of California American Water’s desalination project coastal development permit bid as the “final agency action.” It argued the denial is not appealable to the Coastal Commission under the city’s rules because the company withdrew its appeal to the city council and skipped a mandated step in the local appeal process.  However, Coastal Commission staff on Monday reiterated to The Herald that Cal Am can appeal the city’s denial under the state’s Coastal Act because the city charges an appeal fee. They called the city’s own rules “internally inconsistent” and noted the Coastal Act’s regulations supercede local ones. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Marina, Coastal Commission staff disagree over Cal Am right to desal appeal

Kern County: The massive snowmelt is coming.  Are we ready?  “There’s a lot of ice and snow in the mountains that feed water to the farms and cities of Kern County.  Estimates vary, and can change as the water year progresses, but the Kern River basin, the rivers and streams that collect the water that flows into Isabella Lake and downstream toward Bakersfield, is estimated to be at 172 percent of normal, possibly more.  And all that ice and snow is starting to melt, big time.  “Historically, the peak melt will come sometime between May 26 and the first of June,” said John W. Ryan, hydrographic supervisor for the city of Bakersfield.  Are local water managers ready? ... ”  Read more from Bakersfield.com here:  The massive snowmelt is coming.  Are we ready?

How LADWP Uses Two Lakes To Store Energy Like A Giant Battery:  “If L.A. is going to stop burning fossil fuels by 2045 — a key goal of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed Green New Deal — it must store a lot more of the excess solar and wind energy it produces during the day so it doesn’t have to rely on gas and coal energy to power the city when the sun sets and the wind dies.  There’s a growing focus on building big batteries — for example, the kind that use lithium ions. But L.A. needs energy storage that is far bigger than any traditional battery.  And it’s found one. … ”  Read more from the LAist here:  How LADWP Uses Two Lakes To Store Energy Like A Giant Battery

A different border crisis: It’s not security or immigration, it’s sewage:  “People who live along the southern border all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks.  The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes that run from Mexico to wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns. ... ”  Read more from the Fairfield Sun Times here:  A different border crisis: It’s not security or immigration, it’s sewage

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Some common questions on CA water; Land purchases: MWD’s new water grab?; Rationing next?; Developing a decision-support framework for curtailment; Climate change and your family’s future; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING: First-ever Water-Energy Nexus Registry in California launches; CDFW, Delta Science Program award funding for restoration and scientific studies; Newsom appoints Deputy Secretary & Special Counsel for Water

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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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