DAILY DIGEST: The water marketplace; Fight over the Klamath Dams impacting enviro protections across US; Soil sampling work to advance data for Delta conveyance; State budget to fund research into atmospheric rivers; Virtual reality helps Silicon Valley design water infrastructure; and more …

In California water news today, The Water Marketplace; A Fight Between Humboldt Stakeholders Over the Klamath Dams is Impacting Environmental Protections Across the Country; Public can comment on draft abandoned vessel plan; Soil Sampling Work to Advance Data for Delta Conveyance; State budget to fund research into atmospheric rivers; Virtual Reality Helps Silicon Valley Clean Water Design Water Infrastructure; U.S. EPA and FEMA Enter into Agreement to Collaborate and Streamline Water Infrastructure and Recovery Projects After Disaster Events; Obama Water Regulations Criticized as Senate Backs Rule Change; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Independent Science Board meets via teleconference from 9am to 11:30am.  Agenda items include an update on DPIIC’s progress with addressing the Delta ISB’s recommendations to improve interagency science; a discussion on organizing an event to inform research in the Delta under rapid environmental change; and an update on reviews in process.  For more information and webex information, click here.

In the news today …

Radio show:  The Water Marketplace:After seven years of drought in California that drained aquifers and brought many farmers to the brink, legislators in Sacramento crafted a bunch of rules governing water usage. Those rules, many of which kick in next year, cap how much water farmers and cities can use.  The regulations have caused a lot of anger and panic in the farming community. But also…a lot of innovation. Pilot programs have cropped up all over that state that create little marketplaces for water — where farmers and others can buy and sell it, like you’d sell oil or gas or wheat.  On today’s Indicator: California’s new water markets: how they came to be and how they’re changing life for farmers and for water use in the West.”

A Fight Between Humboldt Stakeholders Over the Klamath Dams is Impacting Environmental Protections Across the Country:  “The past 15 years have seen a lot of complex negotiating, arguing and legal wrangling over the Klamath River Hydroelectric Project. For the most part these disputes have been limited to the fate of the four PacifiCorp-owned hydroelectric dams on that waterway.   Not to minimize the stakes there: If the decommissioning goes through as planned (the latest timetable aims for a drawdown sometime in 2021) it will be the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, with major implications for environmental restoration, the salmon fishery, agriculture and local tribes. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: A Fight Between Humboldt Stakeholders Over the Klamath Dams is Impacting Environmental Protections Across the Country

California and Water: Half Environmental Nightmare, Half Remarkable Success Story (A Dreamt Land book review):  “When delegates to the second International Irrigation Congress convened in Los Angeles in October 1893, pessimism about their mission was not supposed to be on the agenda. The gathering, after all, was meant to encourage reclamation of arid lands throughout the American West, using irrigation to transform an immense wasteland into an agriculturally productive cornucopia. Thus the reaction when John Wesley Powell rose and delivered his now-famous caveat about the limits of development in the region. “Gentlemen,” he told the delegates in the Grand Opera House, “there is not sufficient water to supply these lands.” The gentlemen responded by booing the esteemed explorer off the stage. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: California and Water: Half Environmental Nightmare, Half Remarkable Success Story

DELTA

Public can comment on draft abandoned vessel plan:  “A draft plan on how to remove abandoned commercial vessels from the Delta waterways is available for public review and comment.  The California State Lands Commission completed the removal plan as mandated by legislation authored by Assemblyman Jim Frasier, D-Discovery Bay.  “These abandoned, derelict commercial vessels pose a serious threat to the Delta’s ecosystem and navigation of its waterways. I urge interested parties to read and comment on the draft plan. I look forward to the final plan so that we can move forward with clearing the Delta of these hazards,” Frazier said in a statement released by his office. … ”  Read more from the Fairfield Daily Republic here: Public can comment on draft abandoned vessel plan

Soil Sampling Work to Advance Data for Delta Conveyance: “Following Governor Newsom’s recent direction, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is pursuing a new environmental review and planning process for a single tunnel solution to modernize water infrastructure in the Delta. As part of this process, DWR will begin soil explorations in the Delta in June and July of 2019. This work will support and inform DWR’s environmental review of water conveyance facilities as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.  This kind of work investigates soil material to determine suitability of possible facilities and to inform the evaluation of potential impacts from construction activities. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here:  Soil Sampling Work to Advance Data for Delta Conveyance

NEWSOM BUDGET

State budget to fund research into atmospheric rivers:  “California’s 2019-20 budget will provide $9.25 million to study atmospheric rivers in an effort to improve flood control.  Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who also represents Yolo County announced the news on Wednesday. He indicated the research should lead to better understanding and forecasts of the weather patterns with the intention of not just better flood control but water retention “in a state grappling with the effects of climate change and chronic drought.” ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here: State budget to fund research into atmospheric rivers

California Looks To Clean Air Funds To Pay For Clean Drinking Water:  “Erica Fernandez Zamora moved to the Central Valley after graduating from Stanford. She relies on bottled water because her well near the city of Visalia is contaminated.  “With bacteria it will be a simple solution just to boil the water, but for nitrates when you boil the water the contaminant actually concentrates more,” Fernandez Zamora said.  It’s this kind of pollution that water advocates and Californians have been fighting to fix since at least 2012 when then-Gov. Jerry Brown declared every Californian has the right “to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California Looks To Clean Air Funds To Pay For Clean Drinking Water

Dan Walters: Budget expediency overwhelms logic:  “Many factors go into making political deals – ideology, self-interest, expediency and emotion to mention just a few.  Logic rarely enters the equation, and if it does, it usually dwells at the bottom in importance.  Two cases in point are to be found in the final deal on a $213 billion state budget that was hammered out last weekend, just a few days before the June 15 deadline, by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Budget expediency overwhelms logic

George Skelton Column: Don’t like Newsom’s state budget? Blame California Republicans:  “These are some highlights — lowlights? — of a new state budget crafted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the heavily Democratic Legislature: Government health insurance for young adult immigrants living here illegally; A $1.7-billion income tax increase to finance a wealth redistribution program called the earned income tax credit; A drinking water cleanup effort funded by fees collected to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. If there’s a connection between clean water and climate change no one has explained it, at least not convincingly. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Don’t like Newsom’s state budget? Blame California Republicans

INFRASTRUCTURE

Virtual Reality Helps Silicon Valley Clean Water Design Water Infrastructure:  “When employees go to work three years from now in a new pre-treatment facility that is being built at the wastewater treatment plant in Redwood Shores, it will actually be a case of déjà vu all over again, thanks to an innovative design process that is letting them “see” the plant through virtual reality technology before the plans are finalized.  Virtual reality is being used in the design of the Front of Plant facility that is part of Silicon Valley Clean Water’s $495 million Regional Environmental Sewage Upgrade (RESCU) program, which serves some 220,000 residents and businesses in southern San Mateo County. ... ”  Read more from CWEA Water News here: Virtual Reality Helps Silicon Valley Clean Water Design Water Infrastructure

U.S. EPA and FEMA Enter into Agreement to Collaborate and Streamline Water Infrastructure and Recovery Projects After Disaster Events:  “Earlier this month, the United States EPA and FEMA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at facilitating quicker disaster response times by increasing coordination between the two agencies to provide disaster relief in the form of State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs. The agreement was likely spurred by recent struggles to provide assistance following hurricane events, especially Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and other infrastructure failures such as those experienced at the Oroville Dam in 2017. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency Enter into Agreement to Collaborate and Streamline Water Infrastructure and Recovery Projects After Disaster Events

CLEAN WATER RULE

Farmers Need New Water Rule, Farm Bureau Tells Senate:  “The EPA’s latest proposal to define which waters can be regulated by the federal government and which by state and local authorities is a vast improvement over previous efforts, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom told the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Waters, and Wildlife.  Expensive professional services needed to comply with the Clean Water Act, he said, too often make it impossible for farmers to use their own land to its fullest. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Farmers Need New Water Rule, Farm Bureau Tells Senate

Obama Water Regulations Criticized as Senate Backs Rule Change:  “Senate Republicans lambasted the previous administration’s water regulations as a federal power grab Wednesday in a hearing on the new policy rolled out by President Donald Trump.  The Environmental Protection Agency revised the rule known as Waters of the United States in December, following Trump’s 2017 executive order aimed at minimizing regulations and promoting economic growth. The order limited the definition of “waters of the United States” to include only navigable waters, leaving smaller waterways at risk of contamination from pollutants and hazardous materials. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here: Obama Water Regulations Criticized as Senate Backs Rule Change

NATIONAL

Trump administration proposes overhaul on environmental regulations managing federal forests:  “A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say.Th  e rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to prevent fires in California and other states.  Federal law requires an environmental review for projects on federal land, but exceptions are granted if industry can show it would not severely impact the environment. The Forest Service proposal would expand the types of exceptions for skipping the review process. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump administration proposes overhaul on environmental regulations managing federal forests

NASA Explores Our Changing Freshwater World:  “Water is so commonplace that we often take it for granted. But too much – or too little of it – makes headlines.  Catastrophic flooding in the U.S. Midwest this spring has caused billions of dollars in damage and wreaked havoc with crops, after rain tipped off a mass melting of snow. Seven years of California drought so debilitating that it led to water rationing came to a close after a wet and snowy winter capped off several years of slow rebound and replenished the vital mountain snowpack. … ”  Read more from NASA here: NASA Explores Our Changing Freshwater World

Water leaders chart the digital transformation journey for utilities:  “The International Water Association (IWA) and global water technology company, Xylem released a comprehensive white paper titled: “Digital Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey.”  Examining how digitalisation is transforming the water sector, this important resource provides utility decision makers with actionable learnings to accelerate their adoption of digital solutions and address critical water challenges. The paper also introduces the Digital Water Adoption Curve, a valuable new tool to help utilities assess their digital maturity and map their digital future. Water thought leader and author Will Sarni, CEO, Water Foundry, served as a key author of the report. ... ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here: Water leaders chart the digital transformation journey for utilities

In commentary today …

To save Klamath salmon, shut down the hatcheries, says Jacques Leslie:  He writes, “In 2021, four large dams on the Klamath River are due to be demolished, in part to revive the river and Klamath Basin salmon. But unless salmon hatchery operations are discontinued soon afterward on the river, the effort will founder. Allowing hatchery salmon to mix with struggling native salmon after removing the dams is like rescuing a dying man only to slowly poison him. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  To save Klamath salmon, shut down the hatcheries

Missed opportunities to capture and boost water supply:  John Kingsbury, Jim Atkinson, Shawn Dewane and Gregory Quist write,In the average year California receives about 190 million-acre feet of precipitation. However, we rarely experience an average year. This year we are blessed with an abundant supply of snow storage in the Sierra. But the inability to bank this bounty beyond our existing reservoirs is a serious missed opportunity. This wonderful wet winter will ironically elevate political complacency around one of the state’s most vital necessities — a reliable and sustainable water supply. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Missed opportunities to capture and boost water supply

In regional news and commentary today …

Cancer risks revealed: CN&R uncovers document indicating Camp Fire-zone water could be more hazardous than previously disclosed: Like 90 percent of his neighbors, Doug Teeter lost his home in last November’s Camp Fire. So as the Butte County supervisor whose district includes the Ridge, he’s speaking up not only for his constituents when he advocates for things like clean water—he’s speaking for his family, too.  “Early on, when the contaminants were identified, with benzene being the marker, I did a lot of my own research through [Environmental Protection Agency] documents online,” he told the CN&R. “It can cause an increased risk of leukemia.” … ”  Read more from the Chico News & Review here: Cancer risks revealed

New plan to safeguard Russian River targets contamination from human and animal waste: “An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this August and go into effect next year.  The move, controversial and closely watched in years past, could impose stricter regulations and mandatory septic system upgrades on thousands of landowners with properties near the river or its connected waterways. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: New plan to safeguard Russian River targets contamination from human and animal waste

Vallejo City Council approves $200,000 to fill in wetlands:  “The possible residential and commercial development of the Northern Waterfront area received a boost Tuesday night as the Vallejo City Council approved spending $200,000 to have 1.51 acres of wetlands filled in with soil.  According to city staff, Vallejo originally received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1989 to fill the 10.3 acres of salt marsh wetlands along Mare Island Way and Harbor Way. ... ”  Read more from the Vallejo Times Herald here: Vallejo City Council approves $200,000 to fill in wetlands

Ecological Detectives Hunt for San Francisco’s Vanished Waterways:  “We have so radically transformed our cities and towns that few visual clues remain to their natural landscapes and waterways. Creeks have been holstered into pipes. Wetlands have been filled with dirt and paved. Yet signs of vanished waters stubbornly pop up in unexpected places, such as seasonal “ghost creeks” running through basements. Joel Pomerantz—a San Franciscan who has devoted three decades to rediscovering the city’s historic waterways—checks for traffic, then guides me to a manhole in the middle of residential Eddy Street near busy Divisadero. Cocking our heads, we hear the sound of rushing water. When that sound is constant, Pomerantz says, as it is here, it’s a creek imprisoned in a sewer pipe—not somebody flushing. ... ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Ecological Detectives Hunt for San Francisco’s Vanished Waterways

Santa Maria: Public opinion split on Cat Canyon aquifer exemption:  “Hundreds of people filled the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Building on June 5 to voice their opinion on a proposed aquifer exemption that would expand the area in Cat Canyon where oil companies can build injection wells.  Some environmental activists and students pushed back on the proposal during the hearing, while some local ranchers and labor unions encouraged the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to move the exemption forward. DOGGR and other state agencies are considering recommending that the Environmental Protection Agency approve the expansion. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here: Public opinion split on Cat Canyon aquifer exemption

Santa Maria: Local jurisdictions oppose plan to restore endangered trout population, raise water rights concerns:  “An attempt to restore the population of endangered Southern California steelhead trout living in the Santa Ynez River is being opposed by some jurisdictions that rely on the river and Cachuma Lake for their water supply.  The number of trout, which travel to and from the ocean throughout their lifecycle, in the river began declining after the construction of Bradbury Dam on Cachuma Lake in 1953. Prior to construction, there were about 20,000 adult fish living in the Santa Ynez River, but with the dam limiting their ability to travel to and from the ocean, the population dropped to 100 adult fish by 1991, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here: Santa Maria: Local jurisdictions oppose plan to restore endangered trout population, raise water rights concerns

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority gets even more complicated: “With the priority rating of the Owens River groundwater basin jumping from medium to high and now down to low, today’s meeting of the basin’s authority should be very interesting.  Inyo County’s Water Department Director Aaron Steinwand outlined some of the complexities of the new priority rating and decisions the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority will have to make at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The one appealing thing about a low priority rating: the state will not hold a low priority basin’s feet to the fire. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley Groundwater Authority gets even more complicated

Kern County: Valley Water Management May Be Putting Groundwater at Risk:  “The Central Valley Water Regional Quality Control Board has issued a Cease and Desist Order requiring Valley Water Management Co. (VWMC), an oil field wastewater disposal center, to either bring its McKittrick 1 and 1-3 Facility into compliance with water quality regulations or stop discharging wastewater at the facility.  “Valley Water provides a valuable service to the oil industry in Kern County, but discharges from the McKittrick facility must not put groundwater beneficial uses at risk,” said Patrick Pulupa, Executive Officer of the Central Valley Water Board.  “With this Cease and Desist Order (CDO), the Board has said that if this facility cannot be brought into compliance with current regulations, discharges at the facility must cease.” … ”  Read more from Cal Ag Today here: Kern County: Valley Water Management May Be Putting Groundwater at Risk

Nestlé is still taking national forest water for its Arrowhead label, with feds’ help:  “Nestlé, the world’s largest bottled water company, continues to take millions of gallons of free water from the San Bernardino National Forest two hours east of Los Angeles, 17 months after California regulators told them they had no right to much of what they’d taken in the past. And federal officials are helping them do it, despite concluding Nestlé is drying up springs and streams and damaging a watershed.  The company says it is legally entitled to every drop, and is “sustainably collecting water at volumes believed to be in compliance with all laws and permits at this time,” according to emailed responses to questions from The Desert Sun. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Nestlé is still taking national forest water for its Arrowhead label, with feds’ help

San Diego: Salt Creek Golf Course is now available to developers:  “The Otay Water District plans to offer up the old Salt Creek Golf Course to developers.  In May, the district prepared a list of about 40 regional developers it plans to notify about the availability of the 164-acre plot of land off Hunte Parkway just east of State Route 125.  The decision to sell to developers comes more than a year since the unprofitable golf course shut down in March 2018, leaving Chula Vista’s golfers with one less place to play. ... ” Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: San Diego: Salt Creek Golf Course is now available to developers

Along the Colorado River …

Utah Presses Forward With Pipeline Plans Despite Colorado River Basin Constraints:  “The drive behind a massive water development project in southwestern Utah, the Lake Powell Pipeline, shows no signs of slowing even after the Colorado River Basin states signed a new agreement this spring that could potentially force more conservation or cutbacks.  Despite the risk that the river resource is overcommitted and it is shrinking, four Upper Basin states — Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico — are pushing forward with dams, reservoir expansions and pipelines like the one at Lake Powell that will allow them to capture what they were promised under the 1922 Colorado River Compact. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: Utah Presses Forward With Pipeline Plans Despite Colorado River Basin Constraints

Parched US Southwest gets reprieve as snowmelt fills rivers:  “A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening to push rivers over their banks.  Last winter brought above-average snowfall to much of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, so an abundance of snowmelt is rushing into the Colorado River, the Rio Grande and other waterways after a desperately dry 2018. ... ”  Read more from ABC News here: Parched US Southwest gets reprieve as snowmelt fills rivers

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

PERSPECTIVES: Interview with Susan Tatayon, Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council

SCIENCE NEWS: Comparing restored vs. historic salt marshes; Habitat restoration isn’t just for professionals; NASA explores our changing freshwater world; Water cycle diagrams give a false sense of water security; and more …

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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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