DAILY DIGEST: Making California’s water supply resilient; Controversial water legislation heads to Calif. Assembly floor; Hidden danger in water confronts CA wildfire survivors; Two small agencies want a divorce from the San Diego County Water Authority; and more …

In California water news today, Making California’s Water Supply Resilient; Controversial water legislation heads to Calif. Assembly floor; Hidden Danger in Water Confronts California Wildfire Survivors; A New Way to Measure How Water Moves; Q&A: Moving Forward On Desalination; Antelope Valley: Payments required for those who pump excess groundwater; Two Small Agencies Want a Divorce From the San Diego County Water Authority. It Could Get Messy.; These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills; and more …

In the news today …

Making California’s Water Supply Resilient:  “As with the stock market, climate change requires a diversified portfolio of solutions. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to develop a comprehensive strategy for making the state’s water system climate-resilient. The order calls for a broad portfolio of collaborative strategies to deal with outdated water infrastructure, unsafe drinking water, flood risks and depleted groundwater aquifers. In a related study published earlier this year, Stanford researchers Newsha Ajami and Patricia (Gonzales) Whitby examined effective strategies to rising water scarcity concerns. Ajami is director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program and a hydrologist specializing in sustainable water resource management. Whitby is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Stanford’s civil and environmental engineering department and currently a water engineer at environmental consulting firm Brown and Caldwell. Below, they discuss their research and how a diversified water portfolio can meet the water needs of California into the future. ... ”  Read more from Stanford’s Water in the West here: Making California’s Water Supply Resilient

Controversial water legislation heads to Calif. Assembly floor:  “Senate Bill 1, a highly controversial piece of water legislation, is headed to the floor of the California State Assembly in the coming weeks after clearing the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday.  The bill, penned by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) would tie California’s air quality and water laws to the Federal standards as of Jan. 19, 2017 – the final day of the Obama administration. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: Controversial water legislation heads to Calif. Assembly floor

Hidden Danger in Water Confronts California Wildfire Survivors:  “California’s 2018 Camp Fire was the deadliest blaze in state history. The fast-moving inferno burned 153,000 acres in Butte County, destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings, and caused the deaths of 86 people.  From all that destruction, a mysterious threat has emerged for those who appeared to have gotten by unscathed: household water supplies with concentrations of toxic benzene—including one sample that had 923 times what the state considers safe.  More than nine months after the fire, the Paradise Irrigation District still has a “do not drink” order unless individual parcels have been cleared. Even baths are discouraged, according to a district advisory. State and federal officials say they don’t know what’s causing the contamination, how severe it may be, and how long it will last. Nor is there a clear pattern. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: Hidden Danger in Water Confronts California Wildfire Survivors

A New Way to Measure How Water Moves:  “When a chemical spills in the environment, it’s important to know how quickly the spill will spread. If a farmer irrigates a crop, the person will need to know how fast the water should move through the soil and be absorbed by the roots. In both cases, a good understanding of water pore structure is necessary.  A new method to measure pore structure and water flow is described in a study published in the journal Water Resources Research. With it, scientists should be able to more accurately determine how fast water, contaminants, nutrients and other liquids move through the soil—and where they go. ... ”  Read more from UC Davis here: A New Way to Measure How Water Moves

Q&A: Moving Forward On Desalination:  “Scientists at Berkeley Lab have been exploring different approaches for efficiently separating out salt and other contaminants to generate water that’s fit for drinking or other uses, such as agricultural irrigation. For example, they’re looking at charge-based brackish water desalination, nanoconfinement of water, better membranes, and other advanced water treatment techniques.  Another desalination technology that has shown great promise is forward osmosis — it requires far less energy then reverse osmosis, but there are still barriers to wider adoption. Jeff Urban, a staff scientist who specializes in new materials for energy storage and conversion at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a Department of Energy nanoscience research facility, explains what forward osmosis is and how Berkeley Lab is addressing the challenges. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Q&A: Moving Forward On Desalination

In regional news and commentary today …

Santa Cruz: Regional water board fines former Scotts Valley hotel builder, contractor:  The former owner of a Scotts Valley Drive hotel has agreed to pay a nearly $12,000 fine in a settlement agreement with a regional water quality oversight board.  The violation complaint stemmed from a contractor working last year on building what is now the Four Points by Sheraton Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz. During a site visit by a Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board inspector, workers were observed intentionally allowing runoff from the construction site to drain, via a trench, into nearby Carbonera Creek after multiple days of rain. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz: Regional water board fines former Scotts Valley hotel builder, contractor

Antelope Valley: Payments required for those who pump excess groundwater:  “Those with wells within the Antelope Valley who pump more groundwater than is allowed under a 2015 court settlement will be required to pay between $415 per acre-foot and $948 per acre-foot to replace the additional water, based on assessments approved Wednesday by the Antelope Valley Watermaster Board.  The Watermaster is the body tasked with overseeing the settlement which set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley in what is known as the Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Payments required for those who pump excess groundwater

With new state law, Pico Rivera’s water is now considered tainted:  “Under new water quality standards issued by the state, the Pico Rivera water supply is now considered tainted.  The city will soon be sending notices to all residents about high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, more commonly referred to as PFOA and PFOS.  Dubbed “forever chemicals,” the two are “readily absorbed, but not readily eliminated from the human body,” according to the state’s Water Resources Control Board. Long-term exposure can damage an individual’s immune system, thyroid and liver. It can also cause cancer and harm developing fetuses and infants alike. ... ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: With new state law, Pico Rivera’s water is now considered tainted

San Diego County beefs up water-quality testing at beaches with focus on South Bay shorelines:  “The county of San Diego says beachgoers should “feel more confident” that water quality is being closely watched throughout the region, especially along South Bay shorelines where sewage pollution from Tijuana regularly fouls beaches.  Those planning a trip to the beach this Labor Day weekend are encouraged to check the county’s water quality website at sdbeachinfo.com before jumping in the ocean. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego County beefs up water-quality testing at beaches with focus on South Bay shorelines

Two Small Agencies Want a Divorce From the San Diego County Water Authority. It Could Get Messy.  “Back in January, the head of an obscure government agency that exists almost entirely to draw the boundary lines of other public agencies had gotten wind of something. Two rural water agencies wanted to bolt from the San Diego County Water Authority so they could start buying cheaper water from Riverside County.  Keene Simonds knew what was in store for his agency, the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees things like where a city’s limits end and where water districts can sell water. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: Two Small Agencies Want a Divorce From the San Diego County Water Authority. It Could Get Messy.

These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills:  “The only bi-national financial institution dedicated to funding environmental infrastructure projects along the border unveiled six possible solutions to slowing down the cross-border sewage spills that routinely shut down southern San Diego’s beaches.  The North American Development Bank published their feasibility study of six projects — three in Mexico and three in the U.S. — that would reduce the amount of waste that flows from Tijuana to San Diego. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union Tribune here: These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills

Seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration makes ocean water importation key, says Bob Terry:  He writes, “The Salton Sea Coalition is a team of grassroots individuals who live and work near the Salton Sea and are directly impacted by its deteriorating condition.  We are water resource professionals, teachers, farm workers, health professionals and environmentalists.  The sea is drying faster than any of the models predicted. The salinity (more than two times ocean water) and toxicity are causing reproduction of fish to halt. At last count, recently hatched fish were spotted at only a couple of drain sources, not in the sea body itself.  … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration makes ocean water importation key

How to Save the Colorado River from Climate Change and Chronic Overuse:  “Paul Kehmeier is a fourth-generation farmer from western Colorado. One hundred and twenty years ago, his great grandfather Wilhelm Kehmeier bought land in Delta County, dug an irrigation ditch to bring water from a nearby stream, and got to work planting. The Kehmeier family has been farming on the same land ever since, growing alfalfa, hay and oats. But a few years ago, Paul Kehmeier did something unusual: he decided not to water about 60% of his fields.  He was one of a few dozen farmers and landowners in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico—the four states comprising the upper basin of the Colorado River— who volunteered for a pilot program meant to test out a new water-conservation strategy: paying farmers to temporarily leave their fields dry, to save the Colorado River. … ”  Read more from TIME Magazine here: How to Save the Colorado River from Climate Change and Chronic Overuse

And lastly …

What Draws Hundreds to This Lake Bed? Spellbinding Crystals:  “At the 77th Annual Gem-O-Rama last October, hundreds of professional and amateur rockhounds descended on the tiny community of Trona, Calif., for a weekend of treasure hunting. Gem dealers, geologists, retirees and school children dived into the mud and brine of Searles Lake to extract specimens of spellbinding molecular order: hanksite, pink halite, borax and other salt crystals.  Crystals, the now ubiquitous wellness accessories sitting on your desk or bedside table, all come from somewhere. Some come from this dry lake bed in the California desert. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: What Draws Hundreds to This Lake Bed? Spellbinding Crystals

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend/Monday edition: SB 1 advances to CA Assembly; Delta island sells for $1.2 million; Wildlife experts unsure how federal rollbacks will affect Sacramento Valley bird populations; Jury awards Atwater $63 million in groundwater pollution suit against oil giant Shell; and more …

BLOG ROUND-UP: California water bureaucrats refuse to use a perfectly good water delivery system; The unintended consequences of laws; Delta tunnel; Plastic in the ocean; Drinking water systems; and more …

UPCOMING EVENTS: Incentivizing groundwater recharge; Second Annual Western Groundwater Congress; SoCal stormwater workshop; Water Smart Innovations

PUBLIC MEETING: SWP Contract Amendment for Delta Conveyance

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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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