DAILY DIGEST: NASA resources aid a CA community devastated by wildfire; CA is testing its water, so PFAS defendants could face Prop 65 lawsuits soon; Climate liability is on the rise. Here’s what it looks like; An earthquake could impact San Diego’s water supply; and more …

In California water news today, NASA Resources Aid a California Community Devastated by Wildfire; California is testing its water, so PFAS defendants could face Prop 65 lawsuits soon; Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1220 Safeguarding Central Basin MWD’s Seats on Metropolitan’s BOD; Water Funding for Estuaries: The Glue That Guards Against Storm Devastation; Climate liability is on the rise. Here’s what it looks like; An Earthquake Could Impact San Diego’s Water Supply; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Riverine Stewardship Program Public Workshop – Merced from 1:30 to 4:30pm.  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.

In the news today …

A Partnership Forged by Fire: NASA Resources Aid a California Community Devastated by Wildfire: On the night of October 8, 2017, gale-force winds in Northern California fanned at least 15 wildfires into infernos blazing throughout Sonoma and neighboring counties.  … Schichtel knew that one of the first things the county would need for disaster response is maps of the damage, to help them target personnel and resources where they were most needed.  But Ag + Open Space had neither time, resources nor personnel to survey the whole area on foot.  Sonoma is rare among U.S. county governments in recognizing NASA as a possible source of detailed maps. … ”  Read more from NASA here: A Partnership Forged by Fire

PG&E power shutoffs affect customers both big and small:  “New regulations from the California Public Utilities Commission have authorized energy companies like PG&E to turn off power to avoid or reduce the risk of wildfires, which is inconvenient enough for residential customers, but for commercial customers — like other utility companies — it could mean huge losses in business and potential financial repercussions for their customers.  The California Water Service is already preparing to take that hit this summer. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: PG&E power shutoffs affect customers both big and small

When It Comes to Wildfire Solutions, Relocating Communities Is a Tough Sell:  “They call it “managed retreat.”  More than a buzzphrase, it’s become something of a movement among officials looking for ways to cope with rising sea levels and increased river flooding. In short, it means getting out of harm’s way, literally moving people and possibly whole communities to higher ground.  It sounds radical, but it’s now a serious topic among planners and scientists who are scheduling whole conferences to ponder the benefits as well as the challenges. But what about in fire country? … ”  Read more from KQED here: When It Comes to Wildfire Solutions, Relocating Communities Is a Tough Sell

California is testing its water, so PFAS defendants could face Prop 65 lawsuits soon:  “California could be moving toward the regulation and litigation of perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (PFAS) since government agencies have been testing water in many locations, including airports and landfills, with results due as early as this fall.  “The state water board is doing a bunch of sampling in drinking or ground water,” said Leila Bruderer, an attorney with the Downey Brand firm in Sacramento. “Under Proposition 65, there is potential for that litigation.” ... ”  Read more from Legal Newsline here: California is testing its water, so PFAS defendants could face Prop 65 lawsuits soon

Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1220 Safeguarding Central Basin MWD’s Seats on Metropolitan’s BOD:  “Legislation by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D-58th District-Downey) which sought to ensure that Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) maintained its two seats on the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California Board of Directors (BOD) was recently signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 1220 sought to ensure that fully developed areas assessed at low economic base, such as CBMWD, maintained its representation on MWD’s Board to ensure its voice regarding “the ability to sustain the level of efficacy on water policy matters, while continuing to provide a reliable source of water” as per a CBMWD fact sheet on the subject. … ”  Read more from California Water News Daily here: Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1220 Safeguarding Central Basin MWD’s Seats on Metropolitan’s BOD

Water Funding for Estuaries: The Glue That Guards Against Storm Devastation:  “Waterkeepers address estuaries as the first line of defense against devastating storms as they went before Congress to give testimony on re-authorization of the National Estuary Program under the Clean Water Act, along with several proposed funding bills.  There are major changes to the Clean Water Act (CWA) that some believe will imperil numerous river systems, lakes and the coasts. Ahead of these changes, several key U.S. waterkeepers provided testimony to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on Protecting and Restoring America’s Iconic Waters. … ”  Read more from Efficient Government here: Water Funding for Estuaries: The Glue That Guards Against Storm Devastation

Should Rivers Have Same Legal Rights As Humans? A Growing Number Of Voices Say Yes:  “In early July, Bangladesh became the first country to grant all of its rivers the same legal status as humans. From now on, its rivers will be treated as living entities in a court of law. The landmark ruling by the Bangladeshi Supreme Court is meant to protect the world’s largest delta from further degradation from pollution, illegal dredging and human intrusion.  “In Bangladesh, the river is considered as our mother,” says Mohammad Abdul Matin, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, a Dhaka-based environmental group. ... ”  Read more from NPR here: Should Rivers Have Same Legal Rights As Humans? A Growing Number Of Voices Say Yes

The world’s ageing dams are not built for ever more extreme weather:  “The town of Whaley Bridge in the UK has had to be evacuated after damage to a dam built in 1831. The Toddbrook Reservoir is just one of many ageing dams worldwide not designed for ever more extreme rainfall as the planet warms.  Dams are typically designed to cope with a so-called 1-in-100-year flood event. But as the world warms the odds of extreme rainfall are changing, meaning the risk of failure is far greater. Engineers have been warning for years that many old dams around the world are already unsafe and need upgrading or dismantling.  “The 1-in-100-year event is perhaps happening every five years,” says Roderick Smith at Imperial College London. “I’m absolutely convinced that it is due to climate change.” ... ”  Read more from New Scientist here: The world’s ageing dams are not built for ever more extreme weather

Who Will Pay for the Huge Costs of Holding Back Rising Seas?  “For cities in the United States, the price of infrastructure projects to combat rising seas and intensifying storms is coming into focus — and so is the sticker shock.  In Boston, where many neighborhoods have been built and recently expanded in low-lying areas, an estimated $2.4 billion will be needed over the next several decades to protect the city from flooding, one study says. That report came as the city abandoned plans to build a harbor barrier that would have cost between $6 billion and $12 billion, which researchers concluded was economically unfeasible. … ”  Read more from Yale 360 here: Who Will Pay for the Huge Costs of Holding Back Rising Seas?

The days have been getting shorter since June. So why does the weather keep getting warmer?  “It’s been a little over five weeks since the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Since June 21, the days have grown progressively shorter. The sun has been in retreat, casting off a little less light every day, beaming down a little less heat. And yet, in many parts of the United States, the weather has only gotten warmer.  Scientists have a name for this phenomenon: seasonal lag. In many places, the hottest day of the year comes weeks, or even months, after the longest day of the year. The reason for that has a lot to do with how water soaks up heat. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: The days have been getting shorter since June. So why does the weather keep getting warmer?

Climate liability is on the rise. Here’s what it looks like:  “In November 2018, the blaze that would become known as the Camp Fire ravaged the wooded hills of California’s Butte County.  Six months after the inferno that killed 85 people and reduced thousands of homes and businesses to ash, authorities announced that power lines run by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. — the state’s largest electric utility — started California’s deadliest wildfire.  The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, may have to pay billions of dollars for the fire. Insurance companies, in turn, are denying insurance claims to homeowners in wildfire risk zones — made riskier, research suggests, by climate change. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Climate liability is on the rise. Here’s what it looks like

And lastly … Photographs of a California beautiful and battered:  “California is a land of white sand beaches and glistening granite peaks, but also of incinerated forests and dessicated hillsides. It’s this second California that has drawn the eye of the Thomas Heinser.  For five years or so, the German-born, San Francisco-based photographer has made a study of the state’s scarred landscapes.  His images, shot from the open side of a helicopter, focus on the after-effects of drought, wildfire, and human profit. The works, he said, amount to a warning about our environmental future, even as they insist on beauty. … ” Read more and view photos from the California Sun here: Photographs of a California beautiful and battered

In commentary today …

Sea level rise is not ‘climate fear porn’ — it’s a threat to all of California, says the San Luis Obispo Tribune:  They write, “Poor California.  As if wildfires, mudslides, droughts and the threat of the Big One aren’t enough, now sea level rise is on the list of California disasters that will make life more risky — and far more costly — in the future.  On Friday, three people died when a huge chunk of a limestone cliff collapsed onto a beach in Encinitas, located north of San Diego. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Sea level rise is not ‘climate fear porn’ — it’s a threat to all of California

In regional news and commentary today …

Chico State, Stanford University helping county analyze water basin management:  “A Butte County project will expand its partnership with Chico State and Stanford University to analyze available groundwater systems.  The AEM project involves analysis of well logs, and hopes to expand the analysis using magnetics and a grid to fill in holes in the data. It’s a groundbreaking project for water management in the county, according to Paul Gosselin, director of the county’s water and resource management department. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: Chico State, Stanford University helping county analyze water basin management

Clear Lake: Tribes continue testing for cyanotoxins:  “The latest testing of the waters of Clear Lake by the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Elem Indian Colony found concerning levels of toxic cyanobacteria in six locations in the Lower Lake arm of the lake, as the County of Lake reported this week.  Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, is a naturally occurring bacteria that contains cyanotoxins, which are harmful in high concentrations to humans and animals. ... ”  Read more from the Lake County Record-Bee here:  Tribes continue testing for cyanotoxins

On the edge of SF’s Presidio, restoring a watershed will benefit nature and humans:  “There was a glint in Michael Boland’s eyes as he watched cars zooming along the Presidio Parkway over an ugly panorama of broken asphalt, weeds and construction debris behind a chain-link fence next to Crissy Field.  The chief of park development and visitor engagement for the Presidio Trust was excited as he envisioned what the vacant lot was about to become — a picturesque lagoon surrounded by walking trails, vivid greenery and a spectacular view. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: On the edge of SF’s Presidio, restoring a watershed will benefit nature and humans

From trash to treasure: Years of work on Tuolumne River in Modesto have paid off:  “Darin Jesberg and Chris Guptill walked an unpaved trail along Dry Creek on Tuesday morning, pausing a few times to pick up an empty spray-paint can, a plastic water bottle, a shirt, a broken bike pedal and other trash. They passed a tire submerged in the creek. That would have to wait for another time.  Though the men share a passion for improving Modesto’s trail system and encouraging recreational use, they appeared unfazed. After all, a couple of fistfuls of rubbish doesn’t compare to what Jesberg’s and Guptill’s respective volunteer organizations, the Dry Creek Trails Coalition and Operation 9-2-99, have pulled from local waterways and their banks over the years. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: From trash to treasure: Years of work on Tuolumne River in Modesto have paid off

Lake Casitas officials face time crunch to fix diversion issues before rainy season:  “Lake Casitas officials recently OK’d a $1 million project to try to stave off another winter of emergency shut-offs, clogged fish screens and lost water.  As storms charge rivers and creeks, the Casitas Municipal Water District can open a canal, diverting water from the Ventura River into the lake.  But after a years-long drought and a major wildfire, rainstorms brought a lot of ash and debris downstream over the past year or so. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Lake Casitas officials face time crunch to fix diversion issues before rainy season

A general plan update and state water: Ventura to vote on moving both projects forward:  ” … Another significant project could take a step forward Monday night, this one related to the city’s plans to connect to state water. For the past several years, the city, the Casitas Municipal Water District and the United Water Conservation District have been working with the Calleguas Municipal Water District to develop an interconnection to the State Water Project. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: A general plan update and state water: Ventura to vote on moving both projects forward

An activist bought 4.5 acres of the L.A. River just to have a stake in its revitalization:  “An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers once told Steven Appleton that there were no more frogs in Frogtown.  It was the kind of offhanded comment that made Appleton — as close as there is to a steward of Frogtown’s amphibians — wish for a cudgel to wake up feckless bureaucrats. Now, the Elysian Valley artist has obtained that cudgel.  With $15,000 from an anonymous donor, Appleton, who leads wading expeditions for frog-listening and rents kayaks for river tours, has purchased a piece of the Los Angeles River. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: An activist bought 4.5 acres of the L.A. River just to have a stake in its revitalization

Deadly Encinitas cliff collapse is a warning sign for California coast: “The deadly cliff collapse in Encinitas last week raised questions about the stability of large swaths of the state that are lined by bluffs, many of which support houses or offer enticing patches of shade for families relaxing on the beach.  Friday’s collapse, which killed three people, was a tragic consequence of sea cliffs’ natural erosion process, experts say. Chunks of bluffs regularly fall off to create the beach below, so all beach bluffs should be considered unstable, said Brian Ketterer, coastal division chief for California State Parks.  “Any of our bluffs have the ability to fail, and people just need to be aware of that,” Ketterer said. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Deadly Encinitas cliff collapse is a warning sign for California coast

An Earthquake Could Impact San Diego’s Water Supply:  “Earthquakes could have a major impact on San Diego’s water supply, even if they happen far away.  That’s because San Diego’s water comes from hundreds of miles away, through threads of metal and concrete that connect us to distant rivers and reservoirs. Our biggest source of water is the Colorado River, which is diverted into Southern California from the Arizona border through a 242-mile water system that includes 92 miles of tunnels. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: An Earthquake Could Impact San Diego’s Water Supply

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Water uncertainty frustrates victims of Camp Fire; Mark Arax on the forces that destroyed Paradise; Clean Water case ferments trouble for craft breweries and enviros; Meteorologists can’t forecast the weather more than 2-3 weeks in advance and they never will; and more …

RESERVOIR AND WATER CONDITIONS for August 5

UPCOMING GROUNDWATER EVENTS: Holistic groundwater management, Groundwater recharge workshops and webinar, Central Valley drinking water workshops, SGMA GSP submittal workshops, Western Groundwater Congress

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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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