DAILY DIGEST: Three-way wrangle over plan to expand Shasta Dam; Peter Gleick on the CA’s drinking water bill; For CA’s redwoods, climate change isn’t all bad; Tattered britches a good sign for soil health; Bringing climate projections down to size for water managers; and more …

In California water news today, Three-Way Wrangle Over Plan to Expand Shasta Dam; Peter Gleick on the CA’s drinking water bill; For California’s redwoods, climate change isn’t all bad; Californians’ Concerns About Worsening Wildfires at Record High; Tattered britches a good sign for soil health; Bringing Climate Projections Down to Size for Water Managers; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Riverine Stewardship Program Public Workshop – in Sacramento or via Webinar from 9am to 12pm: DWR will host an Applicant Assistance Workshop for the Riverine Stewardship Program to provide information on how to apply for a grant.  Click here for more information.
  • Governor’s Water Portfolio Input Meeting from 1pm to 5pm in Sacramento: The Portfolio Recommendations Group is an ad hoc gathering of leaders from over 80 urban water districts, ag water districts, tribes, environmental justice groups, business groups, environmental groups, flood agencies, fire agencies and watershed groups. All interested parties are invited.  Click here for more information.
  • Riverine Stewardship Workshop (Tribal) from 1pm to 4pm – in Sacramento or via webinar: This workshop is intended for Tribal Governments, Grant Managers working with Tribes and NGOs working with Tribes.  Click here for more information.
  • PUBLIC MEETING: Draft EIR for CVP and SWP operations (Los Banos) from 5pm to 7pm.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Three-Way Wrangle Over Plan to Expand Shasta Dam:  “A cornerstone project of the New Deal and the dam-building boom of the 20th century, Shasta Dam is not just the linchpin of California’s water delivery and flood control systems but one of the country’s tallest and most iconic dams.  After nearly 75 years of operation, the federal government has decided it’s time to raise the dam and increase storage at what is already the state’s largest reservoir. While the Trump administration is in favor, current law requires the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – which manages Shasta Dam – to split new water project costs with other participating agencies. In order to comply with the 2016 law, the bureau is courting an influential water district located hundreds of miles downstream to share the estimated $1.3 billion price tag. ... ”  Read more from Courthouse News Service here: Three-Way Wrangle Over Plan to Expand Shasta Dam

Judge delays ruling to stop Shasta Dam study:  “A judge on Monday backed off a decision to stop a Fresno-based water district from going forward with a study on whether to raise the height of Shasta Dam.  The judge had issued a tentative ruling that would have forced the Westlands Water District to stop work on an environmental impact report assessing the impacts of raising the height of the dam.  However, after listening to arguments in Shasta County Superior Court on Monday from the district and the state Attorney General’s Office, the judge said he would issue a final statement within 48 hours. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Judge delays ruling to stop Shasta Dam study

Speaking Of Water With Peter Gleick – California Drinking Water Bill:  “Eileen Wray-McCann (radio show host): Peter, why have so many people in California been without clean drinking water?  Dr. Peter Gleick: Obviously in the United States we’re blessed mostly with an incredibly great water and sanitation system that’s been built over 150 years with better and better technology. And so most of us take fresh water and sanitation for granted. We turn on the water in the morning in the faucet and incredibly great potable water comes out, and we flush our toilet and it magically disappears to some treatment plant that we don’t even know exists. But the reality is that even in this country, there are many, many people without access to what most of us think of as safe, affordable, clean water and sanitation. … ”  Continue reading or listen to radio show here: Speaking Of Water With Peter Gleick – California Drinking Water Bill

For California’s redwoods, climate change isn’t all bad:  “With record-breaking summer temperatures in Alaska, melting sea ice in Greenland and animal species going extinct, the effects of a changing climate are grim. But for one of the oldest and largest living things on Earth, a warmer world isn’t completely terrible, at least for the time being. California’s coast redwood trees are now growing faster than they ever have, according to an ongoing study from Redwoods Climate Change Initiative, producing a tremendous amount of wood in the process. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: For California’s redwoods, climate change isn’t all bad

Californians’ Concerns About Worsening Wildfires at Record High:  “A new poll reveals Californians’ considerable anxiety about the effects of climate change on the state.  A record number of California adults, 71%, said they’re very concerned about wildfires becoming more severe due to global warming, according to the survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California. That’s an increase of almost 10 percentage points over last year.  Another 15% said they’re somewhat concerned about the worsening blazes. Last November’s Camp Fire, in Butte County, was the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in 100 years, killing 85 people and destroying the town of Paradise. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Californians’ Concerns About Worsening Wildfires at Record High

Review: Kaufmann’s watercolor hope is for California’s watery future:  “Naturalist and artist Obi Kaufmann has made a specialty of pairing information-packed text with gorgeous art. His 2017 book, “The California Field Atlas,” was a best-selling magnum opus. In its 552 pages, Kaufmann did justice to every facet of natural California — geology and botany, wildlife and weather — in fact-laden prose matched with lyrical watercolors.  Kaufmann’s second book, “The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource,” has a narrower though still ambitious focus: California’s rivers, lakes and watersheds, their wildlife, and the ways in which we humans have altered them. “The State of Water” begins with an overview that includes a roster of California rivers, tamed and still wild; ghost lakes like vanished Tulare and Owens; and our mammoth dams and reservoirs. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Review: Kaufmann’s watercolor hope is for California’s watery future

AGRICULTURE

One Generation to the Next: Hamilton Brothers Farm and Family Ranching:  “For Richard Hamilton and family, farming and ranching in Northern California’s Sacramento Valley is a multigenerational operation. In 1867, Hamilton’s great grandfather established the Hamilton Brothers Farm—now over 150 years later, the farm is still a testament to that legacy. “My uncle Dave Hamilton is third generation. I am fourth generation and my kids are fifth generation,” explains Hamilton to Food Tank.  Hamilton Brothers Farm is a diversified operation in Rio Vista, Solano County, featuring sheep, lamb, and cattle, along with dryland farming that produces grains like wheat and barley. … ”  Continue reading at Food Tank here: One Generation to the Next: Hamilton Brothers Farm and Family Ranching

Tattered britches a good sign for soil health:  “After 60 days in the ground, not much remained of the white cotton underwear buried by Gayle Goschie at her family’s farm in Silverton, Ore.  Goschie, who grows 500 acres of hops and 150 acres of wine grapes in the Mid-Willamette Valley, was one of 10 female farmers who participated in the “Soil Your Undies” challenge organized by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Marion Soil & Water Conservation District.  The challenge is meant to demonstrate healthy soils in a uniquely visual way. Farmers “planted” a pair of oversized tighty-whities in early May, leaving tiny microbes and bacteria to break down the organic cotton over several months. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: Tattered britches a good sign for soil health

Amid Climate-Linked Drought, Farmers Turn To New Water Sources. Those Are Drying Up Too. Summer is the center of the growing season for many American crops. But as already warm summers start to heat up with climate change, what impact could this have on crops? As one example, without policy changes, two of the most important crops in the United States—corn and wheat— could see yield declines upwards of 80% in the Midwest.  Modern agriculture is big business, so it only makes sense that sophisticated farmers would find ways to adapt to a changing climate. … ”  Read more from Forbes here: Amid Climate-Linked Drought, Farmers Turn To New Water Sources. Those Are Drying Up Too. 

NATIONAL

“Blue power” could make wastewater plants energy-independent:  “Coastal wastewater treatment plants may be a nasty but necessary way to handle the effluent from our cities, but a new study by Stanford University indicates that they could also double as power plants to make them energy independent and carbon neutral. By mixing fresh water from the plants with seawater, the researchers say they have the potential to recover 18 gigawatts of electricity worldwide. … ”  Read more from New Atlas here: “Blue power” could make wastewater plants energy-independent

Reusing Wastewater for Crops Could Reduce Water Scarcity, If We Can Stomach It.  “What happens to water after washing your hands or flushing the toilet? Worldwide, over 80 percent of wastewater is released untreated into the environment. Cleaning that water and recycling it for use in agriculture could cut down on pollution of lakes and streams and slow the rate at which food production depletes freshwater. And the nutrients in partially treated wastewater can nourish plants, diminishing the need for fertilizers.  A new paper in Agricultural Water Management by researchers at the University of Alicante in Spain analyzed 125 studies for themes related to the acceptance and use of recycled wastewater for irrigation in agriculture. ... ”  Read more from Undark Magazine here: Reusing Wastewater for Crops Could Reduce Water Scarcity, If We Can Stomach It.

Can We Reuse Polluted Water? Yes, Add Bacteria:  “Drilling a single oil or natural gas well with hydraulic fracturing requires between 1.5 to 16 million gallons of water. When the well starts flowing, the fluid that is brought back to the surface alongside the oil and gas is a combination of the injection fluid and brine from aquifers – a difficult-to-treat mixture known as produced water. Brimming with hydrocarbons, harsh salts, and industrial chemicals, the vast majority of produced water is injected into disposal wells after it is collected. Currently, less than 1% of the billions of gallons generated each year is reused.  How can this “wastewater” be turned into usable water? One answer: Let microbes do the work. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Labs here: Can We Reuse Polluted Water? Yes, Add Bacteria

Bringing Climate Projections Down to Size for Water Managers:  “Models of what global climate will look like in 10, 50, and 100 years get more sophisticated every year. But what will climate change mean for water resources in regional communities? A group of researchers is building tools to help scientists and regional water managers answer that question.  “We’ve been developing new models and new techniques…to refine our understanding of the uncertainty in projections going forward—for hydrology, for snowpack, for important water resources, for flood extremes,” said Andy Wood, a hydrometeorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. Wood is the principal investigator of the project. ... ”  Read more from EOS here: Bringing Climate Projections Down to Size for Water Managers

Faster Water Cycle Brings Worries of Increased Drought and Flooding in the United States:  “New calculations of changes in the water cycle over the United States pinpoint several areas that could become increasingly dry over the next few decades, a new study says. They also showed areas that could see more flooding.  The water cycle is the movement of water on the planet — from falling as precipitation, such as rain, ice or snow, to being absorbed in the soil or flowing into groundwater and streams and then being evaporated to start all over again. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: Faster Water Cycle Brings Worries of Increased Drought and Flooding in the United States

In regional news and commentary today …

Monterey: Peninsula mayors water authority downsizes:  “Seven and a half years after it was formed, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority is moving forward with a smaller, less expensive version of itself.  Executive Director Jim Cullem resigned last month after six years at the helm of the organization popularly known as the Peninsula mayors’ water authority, leaving Monterey city staff handling his duties and responsibilities. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Monterey: Peninsula mayors water authority downsizes

Central Coast reservoirs riding high after winter rains; Lake Nacimiento group continues with lawsuit:  “The heavy rains that hit the Central Coast this past winter are keeping recreators at area lakes and reservoirs happy this summer. However, the precipitation has done little to ease concerns for a group fighting Monterey County over the water it withdraws from Lake Nacimiento.  The water level at Lake Nacimiento on Monday measured at 63 percent. This same time last year, the lake was 27 percent full.  “The increased reservoir levels we have now is due to the rains we got this year,” said Ray Dienzo, San Luis Obispo County Supervising Water Resource Engineer. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: Central Coast reservoirs riding high after winter rains; Lake Nacimiento group continues with lawsuit

Does Montecito want greater self-governance?  “Bob Hazard, associate editor of the Montecito Journal and past president of the Birnam Wood Golf Club, has finally speared a big fish in his campaign for a community services district in the affluent community: County Supervisor Das Williams.  At Hazard’s urging, Williams has agreed to convene and chair a meeting with Montecito’s special districts to discuss the pros and cons of a possible merger. Hazard favors consolidating only water and wastewater services, but both men believe that a community services district also could raise funds for Montecito’s library and trails network, and the ring nets and debris basins on local creeks – depending on what residents are willing to pay for. … ”  Read more from KEYT here: Does Montecito want greater self-governance?

Montecito Pursues Project Funding for Groundwater Basin Management Plan:  “An early step in managing Montecito’s groundwater basin is gathering more data about it, including how much private well-owners pump out.  The Montecito Groundwater Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, which has the same five members as the Montecito Water District board of directors, met last week to talk about creating a management plan for the basin and projects to implement that plan.  Montecito has a “medium priority” basin under the state Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which went into effect in 2015, and requires local agencies to regulate groundwater as a water supply. … ”  Read more from Noozhawk here: Montecito Pursues Project Funding for Groundwater Basin Management Plan

Western Municipal Water District acquires first-ever local groundwater right:  “In a move that expands Western’s local water supply while saving customers money, Western Municipal Water District (Western) has acquired its first-ever groundwater right in the San Bernardino Basin.  In June, Western completed the purchase from MD Water LLC, a private individual shareholder.  Western acquired nearly 23,000 shares of common stock in the Meeks and Daley Water Company (M&D).  Shares from M&D will bring Western customers more than 226 acre-feet of affordable local water annually, which is enough water to meet the yearly indoor needs of more than 800 families of four.  Under a 1969 Court Judgment, rights to the groundwater will continue without end. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Western Municipal Water District acquires first-ever local groundwater right

San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District Breaks 30-Year Record for Groundwater Storage, at 20 Billion Gallons and Counting:  “Like money in the bank, local groundwater aquifers have seen record-breaking deposits this year with a staggering 20 billion gallons saved so far and another two months still left in the water year, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District announced today.  More than 61,000 acre-feet of snowmelt and rainfall has been diverted from Mill Creek and the Santa Ana River by the District and recharged into the groundwater basin for future use by those who pump water from the basin.  Imported water was also used to help supplement the amount of water stored. … ”  Read more from the Inland Empire Community News here: San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District Breaks 30-Year Record for Groundwater Storage, at 20 Billion Gallons and Counting

Long Beach: ‘It’s just me and friends and family and volunteers,’ but Long Beach’s one-of-a-kind Farm Lot 59 continues to grow:  “Sasha Kanno is the eternal optimist.  The founder and farmer of Farm Lot 59, an organic farm, retail spot and education center that sits on a one-acre site surrounded by oil fields, is absolutely convinced that the people of this city need a business like hers.  But…  “I’m just a one-woman show here,” she said. “It’s a very expensive operation. We are looking for a grant to fund it. (Long Beach) Park and Rec is supposed to do some improvements to the area. Some improvements need to happen to re-open the stand.” … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Long Beach: ‘It’s just me and friends and family and volunteers,’ but Long Beach’s one-of-a-kind Farm Lot 59 continues to grow

The Dana Point Headlands is setting an example for how conservation can be done in urban areas:  “As the sun sets on one of Southern California’s last undeveloped promontories, a mouse that weighs slightly more than a nickel steps out of its burrow.  With twitching whiskers and staccato-like movements, the nocturnal rodent searches for seeds and grain to store in its cheek pouches. When inflated to capacity, the mouse’s head nearly dwarfs its body.  The Pacific pocket mouse is the smallest mouse species in North America. It was once considered extinct, a casualty of increased development, until a small population was discovered in the Dana Point Headlands in 1993. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: The Dana Point Headlands is setting an example for how conservation can be done in urban areas

Concrete tide pools tested along Harbor Island in San Diego Bay:  “The Port of San Diego announced Monday a three-year pilot project to test the use of concrete tide pools as a shoreline stabilizing tool.  The concrete company ECOncrete will analyze the efficacy of its concrete tide pools as a possible replacement for traditional shoreline-stabilizing tools like rock armoring. The concrete tide pools will also serve as ecosystems for aquatic animals and organisms that live in natural tide pools. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Concrete tide pools tested along Harbor Island in San Diego Bay

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: The Yolo Bypass: It’s a floodplain! It’s farmland! It’s an ecosystem!; What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot; Delta Science Plan – It’s not that complicated; “The plans are so vague as to be worthless.”; 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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