DAILY DIGEST: Bay Area Senator the sole no vote on Newsom’s clean water plan; CA’s future will alternate between drought and atmospheric rivers, study says; Vintner steps forward to protect endangered salmon; Detecting leaks with satellite imagery; and more …

In California water news today, Why This Bay Area Senator Was the Sole No Vote on Newsom’s Clean Water Plan; California’s future weather will alternate between drought and atmospheric rivers, study says; California Vintner Steps Forward to Protect Endangered Salmon; Study: Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought can reduces tree loss in Sierra Nevada; Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans; Legal alert: Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators; Detecting Leaks With Satellite Imagery; Trump defends environmental record that critics call disastrous; U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Webinar: Removing Barriers to Direct Potable Reuse from 11am to 12pm.  The National Water Research Institute and Water Reuse will provide perspectives on recent scientific, technical, and policy developments in direct potable reuse.  Click here to register.
  • GRA Sacto Branch Meeting: The Disconnect Between Groundwater Legal Systems and Groundwater Hydrology at 5:30pm.  Click here for more information.  You do not need to be a member to attend.

In the news today …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DRINKING WATER

Why This Bay Area Senator Was the Sole No Vote on Newsom’s Clean Water Plan:  “Bob Wieckowski stands alone.  He was the only state senator to vote against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to clean up dirty drinking water in the California’s poorest communities, which passed the Senate in a 38-1 vote on Monday.  The bill — SB 200 — passed the Assembly last week without a single vote in opposition.  To be clear, Wieckowski thinks clean water is an important priority. His quibble is that California will pay for it with revenue generated from the state’s cap-and-trade auction. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Why This Bay Area Senator Was the Sole No Vote on Newsom’s Clean Water Plan

California Senate approves clean drinking water fund:  “The California Senate on Monday sent legislation to Gov Gavin Newsom’s desk that will spend $130 million a year over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people.  About one million of California’s nearly 40 million residents don’t have access to clean drinking water because of pollution from humans or natural causes, a fact state lawmakers have called an embarrassment for a state with the fifth-largest economy in the world. The problem is statewide, but it is concentrated in the Central Valley — the capital of the state’s $20 billion agriculture industry. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  California Senate approves clean drinking water fund

HYDROLOGY

California’s future weather will alternate between drought and atmospheric rivers, study says:  “Remember the parade of atmospheric-river storms that deluged the Bay Area last winter, giving us the wettest rainy season in 20 years?  There are a lot more of those on the way, scientists say. And they’ll be stronger.  But California will also experience more periods of extreme dryness, according to a new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, looked at climate scenarios from 16 global climate models focusing on western North America. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  California’s future weather will alternate between drought and atmospheric rivers, study says

Never mind those earthquakes: Atmospheric rivers could put Sacramento 30 feet under water: “The biggest freshwater rivers on Earth don’t flow along the planet’s surface.  Instead, they surge and whip through the atmosphere thousands of feet above our heads, carrying 2½ times the amount of water that gushes through the Amazon River at any given time.  They’re called atmospheric rivers, or, more aptly, rivers in the sky.  These rivers are capable of burying Sacramento under 30 feet of water. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Never mind those earthquakes: Atmospheric rivers could put Sacramento 30 feet under water

WATERSHEDS

California Vintner Steps Forward to Protect Endangered Salmon:  “A vintner in Northern California is upgrading a concrete fish barrier to return native salmon and steelhead to valuable spawning habitat that has been blocked for nearly a century. A cooperative “Safe Harbor” agreement between the landowner Barbara Banke, Chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, and NOAA Fisheries and other state and local agencies has fostered the improvements. These agreements provide incentives to private landowners who help recover threatened and endangered species. The story begins in the late 1800s, when two real estate speculators, F.E. Kellogg and W.A. Stuart, bought part of a Spanish land grant in Sonoma County and built a post office, general store, school, cottages, a hotel, and a diversion structure on a nearby stream to provide water for residents and visitors to the town. ... ” Read more from NOAA here: California Vintner Steps Forward to Protect Endangered Salmon

Study: Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought can reduces tree loss in Sierra Nevada:  “Thinning forests and conducting prescribed burns may help preserve trees in future droughts and bark beetle epidemics expected under climate change, suggests a study from the University of California, Davis.  The study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, found that thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-16. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Study: Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought can reduces tree loss in Sierra Nevada

AGRICULTURE

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans:  “Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.  California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley said the process stems from 2009 law, and updates passed last year, which require the state Department of Water Resources to consult with agricultural stakeholders to quantify water-use efficiency. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

Newsom reiterates attention to rural issues:  “Renewing his pledge to focus on issues important to rural California, Gov. Gavin Newsom told California Farm Bureau Federation leaders he considers the success of the state’s farmers and ranchers “a point of pride,” and that he recognizes his “role and responsibility” in elevating issues that affect rural regions.  Newsom met with the CFBF Board of Directors in his state Capitol office, during a wide-ranging, hour-long meeting that featured discussion of water, environmental regulations and other topics that affect farmers’ and ranchers’ competitiveness. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Newsom reiterates attention to rural issues

Legal alert: Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators: “An irrigation district may adopt and enforce reasonable rules related to water service, and may terminate water delivery for failure to comply with such rules, a California appellate court ruled. Although this case involved an irrigation district, the decision may also strengthen other water providers’ authority to adopt and enforce rules relating to water service.  In Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors, the issue was the District’s rule prohibiting planting “in, on, over, or across” any District easement or right of way in a manner that interferes with its maintenance or operation obligations. The District rules also say that the District can terminate water service to any landowner who fails or refuses to comply with any District rules or regulations. … ”  Read more from BB&K here:  Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators

NATIONAL

Detecting Leaks With Satellite Imagery:  “Water utilities across the country struggle with aging infrastructure that results in water loss from leaks. …  The significant loss of drinking water before it reaches the customer is especially critical in California’s drought. Additionally, the value of lost water is compounded by the energy required to treat and convey it.   In the hope of finding ways to save energy used in water conveyance, the California Energy Commission funded a grant in 2016 to study the development and deployment of technologies that detect water leaks in residential, commercial and industrial areas and to prevent water loss in water-conveying systems. … ”  Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here:  Detecting Leaks With Satellite Imagery

At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them: “More than five years after Flint’s water crisis first hit the news, the city has successfully lowered the lead levels in its water.  The most recently available testing, from the second half of 2018, puts the lead in Flint’s water at 4 parts per billion. That’s well below the level, 15 ppb, that the federal government currently regards as dangerous for public health.  No amount of lead in water is safe, but the lower level in Flint represents a substantial improvement over the 27 ppb reported by the Virgina Tech Water Study at the peak of the crisis in April 2015.  However, even Flint’s highest levels were not atypical for water systems that have problems. … ”  Read more from The Conversation here: At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them

Trump defends environmental record that critics call disastrous:  “President Trump delivered a full-throated defense of his administration’s environmental record Monday, despite relaxing nationwide limits on air and water pollution and reversing course on U.S. climate policy.  Trump’s address, covering policies ranging from marine debris to hunting on public lands, comes as environmental issues are gaining traction in the 2020 presidential campaign. While voters still rank the environment below such top-tier priorities as the economy and health care, rising concern about climate change has prompted several Democratic hopefuls to make it central to their presidential bids. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Trump defends environmental record that critics call disastrous

Global warming could mean fewer fish for sport fishing, more die-offs across US:  “Global warming is putting lake fish in hot water, with worrisome possibilities for many species, as well as the nation’s fishermen and the $115 billion sport fishing industry that employs as many as 820,000 people. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Science Monday found at least a 100 fish die-offs in Wisconsin between 2004 and 2014 were strongly linked with warmer summer temperatures fueled by climate change. Already, some species, such as walleyes and cisco, are experiencing declines because of warming water temperatures. ... ”  Read more from USA Today here:  Global warming could mean fewer fish for sport fishing, more die-offs across US

How climate change got labeled ‘a crisis’:  “Al Gore made two cameos on the acclaimed NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” showing up to assist the fictionalized version of the TV network in its hapless attempts to go green. He used a phrase that’s become intimately familiar to climate activists in recent months.  “If we’re going solve the climate crisis, we’ve got to change more than the lightbulbs and the windows. We’ve got to change the laws and the policies through collective political action on a large scale,” the former vice president said in one 2009 appearance, before telling Kenneth the NBC page that it was “an old African proverb that I made up.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  How climate change got labeled ‘a crisis’

U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again:  “Wet conditions from July 2018 through June 2019 resulted in a new 12-month precipitation record in the U.S., with an average of 37.86 inches (7.90 inches above average), according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.  The average precipitation for June was 3.30 inches (0.37of an inch above average), placing it in the upper third in the record books. Flooding conditions persisted along the central and Lower Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers. ... ”  Read more from NOAA here: U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again

In regional news and commentary today …

Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service:  “On Monday the Glenn Groundwater Authority passed an operation fee increase for water service, despite meeting some opposition.  Anyone within the Glenn County portion of the Colusa subbasin except for Willows and Orland will have to pay the fee.  The board set the operation fee at $1.61 per acre, per year for the fiscal 2019-2020 year. ... ”  Read more from Action News Now here: Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

Glenn County: EPA issues emergency order to Elk Creek drinking water system:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order about the drinking water in Elk Creek.   The EPA has ordered the Grindstone Indian Rancheria in Elk Creek to provide alternative drinking water, disinfect the system’s water and monster the water for contamination, according to the press release.  The Grindstone Indian Rancheria Public Water System serves approximately 150 residents. The system uses water from Stony Creek, which has numerous potential contaminants from agricultural, municipal and industrial operations, according to the press release. … ”  Read more from the Glenn County Transcript here: EPA issues emergency order to Elk Creek drinking water system

Russian River: Expect water level drops in river and tributaries on Tuesday and Wednesday:  “The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) began ramping down releases of water from Lake Mendocino on the afternoon of Monday, July 8 at the request of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department in order to attempt the recovery of a missing person near the outlet structure in the lake at the base of Coyote Valley Dam. … ”  Read more from Sonoma West here: Expect water level drops in river and tributaries on Tuesday and Wednesday

How PG&E’s planned outages could affect Marin County’s water supply:  “High up on a hill, behind a barbed wire fence, are large steel tanks– the likes of which hold Marin County’s water supply.  “In the summer months, we have about two days of supply in our tanks,” said Drew McIntyre, general manager of the North Marin Water District (NMWD).  McIntyre says gravity pulls water down pipes to supply homes in the area, but in order to refill the tanks, electricity is needed. A potential problem if PG&E decides to cut power during high fire danger conditions. ... ”  Read more from KGO here: How PG&E’s planned outages could affect Marin County’s water supply

Marin: Skeptics question San Geronimo golf site’s detriment to fish:  “Critics of a plan to return the former San Geronimo Golf Course to its natural state say the purported environmental benefits are overblown.  Scientists familiar with the situation, however, say otherwise.  The golf course property, now earmarked by its nonprofit owner the Trust For Public Land for “rewilding” after a fierce community battle over its future, sits in the headwaters of the Lagunitas Creek watershed. … “  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here:  Skeptics question San Geronimo golf site’s detriment to fish

San Francisco: Sunset Reservoir shut down for cleaning:  “The Sunset Reservoir South Basin which delivers drinking water to 43 percent of The City, is empty for the first time since 2016.  But not to worry.  The 33-foot-deep, 270 acre-feet reservoir has been drained for the past two months as part of a maintenance and inspection operation by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commision and will be operational again by around mid-August. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here: Sunset Reservoir shut down for cleaning

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley:  “Millerton Lake is at full capacity for the first time since 2017, sending water gushing out over the spillway.  The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water.  But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley. … ”  Read more from KMPH here: Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

Officials monitoring Millerton after it reaches capacity, spilling water into San Joaquin River:  “Millerton Lake is at capacity, allowing officials to prepare for spilling by making sure equipment at Friant Dam is working properly.  The gates atop the dam’s spillway were tested Tuesday morning to ensure they function ahead of any major spilling due to overflow.  “This equipment can only be tested when the reservoir is full, so we took the opportunity,” said Duane Stroup, deputy area manager at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Officials monitoring Millerton after it reaches capacity, spilling water into San Joaquin River

The earthquakes in southern California were centered near a naval station contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’:  “The ground is no longer shaking in Ridgecrest, the California city rocked by a spate of strong earthquakes over the 4th of July weekend, but residents are starting to consider a new set of dangers.  Beyond scientists’ worrisome predictions that another earthquake might strike in the coming days, questions have arisen about risks associated with the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a large military testing site outside the city.  The station was evacuated and later closed amid reports that some of its structures were damaged by the earthquakes. On July 5, the station confirmed via Facebook that the epicenter was located on two faults on its property, which spans an area larger than Rhode Island. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: The earthquakes in southern California were centered near a naval station contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

Most Of Trona Still Without Water Tuesday Following Quakes:  “Most of the small San Bernardino County town of Trona remained without water Tuesday as officials work to recover from last week’s two massive earthquakes.  Trona has been reeling since being hit by two earthquakes in the span of 48 hours. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck on the morning of July 4th, followed by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on the night of July 5th.  They were the two largest earthquakes to hit Southern California since 1999. ... ”  Read more from CBS LA here:  Most Of Trona Still Without Water Tuesday Following Quakes

Will Morro Bay get a new sewer plant? Coastal Commission to decide this week:  “A decade-long debate over how and where to build the new Morro Bay sewage treatment plant will come to head at a California Coastal Commission meeting in San Luis Obispo on Thursday.  After years of controversy, multiple site planning changes, and Morro Bay City Council and staff turnover, the Coastal Commission holds the final decision on the proposed wastewater treatment and water reclamation facility.  The preferred site is located on about 15 acres of a 396-acre property at the corner of Highway 1 and South Bay Boulevard, which is slated to be annexed into the city. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Will Morro Bay get a new sewer plant? Coastal Commission to decide this week

Ventura County: General Plan update must include water supply, says the Ventura County Star:  They write, “It is vital for a local resilient water supply that the county acknowledge and address the limited, local resource of freshwater in the redo of the county’s General Plan.  From current stressors such as drought, overpumping of groundwater basins, extreme water consumption by fracking and enhanced oil extraction technologies, federal mandates on endangered species, an increasing population and the hardening of the permeable landscape, to future stressors such as climate disruption, contamination of aquifers from legacy injections of oil field production fluids, sea level rise and intrusion of sea water into the aquifers and diminishment of surface water and state water resources, the county must be proactive and forward-thinking in planning for these realities.  ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here:  General Plan update must include water supply, says the Ventura County Star

San Diego: Local Water Providers Have Racked Up Dozens of Violations:  “In theory, because water is hard to come by in the arid West, it should be well taken care of.  But the West sometimes squanders its limited water. We have contaminated creeks, polluted rivers, broken bays, fouled beaches and, even today, hundreds of thousands of people across California who lack reliably safe drinking water.  This week, the Diego County Water Authority disclosed a problem close to home: The region’s main water supplier was cited for failing to properly operate one of the region’s major drinking water treatment plants. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: San Diego: Local Water Providers Have Racked Up Dozens of Violations

San Diego: California’s Changing Weather Patterns Will Impact San Diego’s Water Retention:  “From years of drought to intense storms dumping buckets of rain in a short amount of time: New research revealed Tuesday says changes in California’s weather are about to make it the Wild West.  The author of the study, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, says there are two words San Diegans need to know when it comes to climate change locally: “Atmospheric Rivers”  “The dry periods get longer but then when the rain comes it will tend to be more intense,” Research Meteorologist Alexander Gershunov says. … ”  Read more from NBC Channel 7 here: California’s Changing Weather Patterns Will Impact San Diego’s Water Retention

San Diego: Helix pledges additional $2.5 million for Padre Dam reclaimed water plan:  “The Helix Water District says it remains committed to the East County Advanced Water Purification Project, a multimillion-dollar, multi-agency recycled water project facilitated by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in Santee.  The $650 million project involves a joint financial partnership between Padre Dam, Helix, San Diego County and the city of El Cajon.  The Helix board voted 4-1 last week to continue funding the Advanced Water Purification project, which is expected to have reclaimed water flowing into faucets by 2025. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here:  San Diego: Helix pledges additional $2.5 million for Padre Dam reclaimed water plan

Along the Colorado River …

Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future:  “As Midwest states struggled with record spring flooding this year, the Southwest was wrestling with the opposite problem: not enough water. On May 20, 2019, federal officials and leaders from seven states signed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, a sweeping new water management agreement for this arid region.  The plan is historic: It acknowledges that southwestern states need to make deep water use reductions – including a large share from agriculture, which uses over 70% of the supply – to prevent Colorado River reservoirs from declining to critically low levels.  But it also has serious shortcomings. … ”  Read more from The Conversation here: Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

GSA SUMMIT: SGMA and Land Use Issues

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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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