DAILY DIGEST: Tweaks to Senate Bill 1 leave critical Calif. water questions unresolved; 9th Circuit revives Clean Water Act lawsuit over tile drains; Grant Davis Q&A on managing at the watershed level; EPA Action Plan to boost water reuse across U.S.; and more …

In California water news today, Tweaks to Senate Bill 1 leave critical Calif. water questions unresolved; 9th Circuit revives Clean Water Act lawsuit over tile drains; State seeks comment on its Water Resilience Portfolio; Grant Davis Q&A: The Russian River: Managing at the Watershed Level; Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?; Chevron Faces New Demands From Regulators as Kern County Oil Releases Continue; EPA Action Plan to Boost Water Reuse Across U.S.; Color coordinating: How urban green infrastructure can build resilience; Lawmakers grill manufacturers over ‘forever chemicals’ contamination; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • Public meeting for State Water Project contract amendment for Delta conveyance from 10am to 3pm in Sacramento.  Agenda and remote listening information by clicking here.
  • WEBINAR: Science and Policy-making: Where Rubber Meets the Road from 10am to 11am.  Presented by the American Water Resources Association.  Click here to register.  You do not have to be a member to attend.
  • GRA SACRAMENTO BRANCH MEETING: Factors Affecting 1,2,3-Trichloropropane in Groundwater in California from 5:30 to 8:30pm.  Click here to register.  You do not have to be a member to attend.
  • Water & Social Justice in the Central Valley from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in San Francisco.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

Tweaks to Senate Bill 1 leave critical Calif. water questions unresolved:  “Despite demands for key changes to Senate Bill 1 – California’s hotly-debated water legislation – from a chorus of Valley Democrats and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California legislative leaders appeared to have ignored those calls.  Senate Bill 1 would tie California’s environmental laws governing water and air quality to Federal standards as they existed on the final day of the Obama administration, Jan. 19, 2017.  Opponents of the bill said the move restricts scientific advancements in analyzing California’s water needs and air quality conditions by relying on outdated science. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Tweaks to Senate Bill 1 leave critical Calif. water questions unresolved

9th Circuit revives Clean Water Act lawsuit over tile drains:  “A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit that alleges tile drains in California’s Central Valley discharge pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act.  The complaint was originally filed about eight years ago by a coalition of fisheries and environmental groups that claimed the Grasslands Bypass drainage system doesn’t qualify for an agricultural exemption to the Clean Water Act because not all the discharged water originates from irrigation. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here: 9th Circuit revives Clean Water Act lawsuit over tile drains

State seeks comment on its Water Resilience Portfolio:  “In a new effort to balance California’s water needs, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed state agencies to prepare a water plan known as the California Water Resilience Portfolio that includes “a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system.” The portfolio features a broad approach that addresses safe drinking water, flood risks, depleted groundwater aquifers, water supply uncertainty for agriculture, and native fish populations faced with extinction. ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: State seeks comment on its Water Resilience Portfolio

Grant Davis Q&A: The Russian River: Managing at the Watershed Level:  “Water managers across the state face new and more extreme challenges as the climate warms—from balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of urban, agricultural, and environmental water users to reducing risks from fires, floods, and droughts. We talked to Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, about how his agency is approaching these challenges comprehensively, at the scale of the entire watershed.  PPIC: In your experience, what does it mean to manage at the watershed level? … ”  Read more from the PPIC here: Grant Davis Q&A: The Russian River: Managing at the Watershed Level

Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?  “Four months after the town of Paradise was incinerated in the most destructive wildfire in California history, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation, ordering agencies to thin trees and clear shrubs near some of the state’s most fire-threatened communities.  Saying the $32 million in projects were vital “to protect the lives and property of Californians” he swept aside environmental reviews and competitive bidding requirements to speed the work.  But the state’s recent fire chronicles are riddled with examples of how such fuel break projects don’t guard against the wind-driven infernos that have laid waste to communities the length of California. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires. So why is California spending millions on them?

Chevron Faces New Demands From Regulators as Kern County Oil Releases Continue:  “After months of back and forth with Chevron over a series of uncontrolled crude petroleum releases in a Kern County oil field, state regulators are demanding new information about its operations in the spill area.  California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, issued a formal directive to the San Ramon-based company Tuesday, requiring the firm to provide a wealth of technical data on its petroleum extraction practices in the Cymric oil field.  Those practices involve injecting steam deep underground to recover oil trapped in a rock formation beneath the field. The agency’s letter said that Chevron’s Cyrmic operations, which have been going on for decades, have not received proper regulatory need additional scrutiny. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Chevron Faces New Demands From Regulators as Kern County Oil Releases Continue

NATIONAL

EPA Action Plan to Boost Water Reuse Across U.S.: The U.S. EPA today released a draft plan to advance water reuse nationally at the WateReuse Association Symposium in San Diego.  The National Water Reuse Action Plan identifies 46 proposed actions organized around 10 strategic objectives, including leadership and collaboration, to support the implementation of water reuse.  “Forty states anticipate experiencing fresh water shortages in certain regions within their borders over the next decade,” said David Ross, EPA’s assistant administrator for water. “Diversifying our nation’s water portfolio must be a nationwide priority, and water reuse has the potential to ensure the viability of our water economy for generations to come.” ... ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: EPA Action Plan to Boost Water Reuse Across U.S.

Satellite data record shows climate change’s impact on fires:  “”Hot and dry” are the watchwords for large fires. In just seconds, a spark in hot and dry conditions can set off an inferno consuming thick, dried-out vegetation and almost everything else in its path. While every fire needs a spark to ignite and fuel to burn, hot and dry conditions in the atmosphere play a significant role in determining the likelihood of a fire starting, its intensity and the speed at which it spreads. Over the past several decades, as the world has increasingly warmed, so has its potential to burn. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here: Satellite data record shows climate change’s impact on fires

Color coordinating: How urban green infrastructure can build resilience:  “In the United States, as summer continues, the heavy spring rains are continuing, and more towns and cities in the Midwest are underwater. These communities are suffering devastating losses from flooding, with roads and dams damaged, over 62 levees breached or overtopped and hundreds of miles of levees damaged along the Missouri River. Damage to water treatment plants and contamination of wells means that many towns were left without water and expected to be without drinking water service for weeks or even months.  What is even more worrying as we confront this crisis is that America’s critical water infrastructure — drinking water systems, dams, levees and inland waterways — all received a D in the latest American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Report Card. … ”  Read more from GreenBiz here: Color coordinating: How urban green infrastructure can build resilience

Tougher arsenic standard shows desired effect: Public’s drinking water is safer:  “Toughening the federal standard for arsenic in 2001 has led to fewer violations by the public systems that supply more than 80 percent of the United States’ drinking water, research led by Oregon State University shows.  Researchers found that despite lower allowable arsenic levels, the percentage of in violation fell from 1.3% in 2008 to 0.55% in 2017, with most of the violations occurring in a handful of counties in California and Texas. In terms of number of people out-of-arsenic-compliance , the figure fell nationally by more than 1 million, dropping to about 450,000. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here:  Tougher arsenic standard shows desired effect: Public’s drinking water is safer

Lawmakers grill manufacturers over ‘forever chemicals’ contamination:  “Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed frustration with major manufacturers behind chemicals that have contaminated drinking water across the country, demanding answers on how they plan to deal with toxic “forever chemicals.”  Members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee grilled company representatives over what they say was decades of awareness of the dangers of their products and their role helping spread fluorochemicals known as PFAS. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Lawmakers grill manufacturers over ‘forever chemicals’ contamination

In Congressional Hearing, Democrats And Tribes Remain Opposed To BLM Move:  “The House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing today on the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to move headquarters out west. Congressional Democrats are among those skeptical that the move is the right choice. That includes Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva.  “We are here to discuss what is being called a reorganization of the Bureau of Land Management,” he said. “In reality, given the lack of transparency, analysis and consultation, this appears to be nothing more than a poorly veiled attempt to dismantle a federal agency.” ... ”  Read more from KUER here: In Congressional Hearing, Democrats And Tribes Remain Opposed To BLM Move

Grijalva mulls subpoena for BLM relocation docs:  “The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee said yesterday the “next step” in the panel’s back-and-forth with the Bureau of Land Management over its proposal to move its headquarters out of Washington, D.C., is a subpoena.  Rep. Raúl Grijalva told reporters that acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley’s appearance before his committee yesterday morning to defend the transfer of hundreds of employees and jobs out West “validated some things we have been considering and also justifies us going further in the consideration of a subpoena to get those reorganization papers.” ... ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Grijalva mulls subpoena for BLM relocation docs

In commentary today …

Caballero on SB1: Environmentalists can’t have it both waysAnna Caballero writes, “The California State Senate will soon consider sending Senate Bill 1, authored by Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D–San Diego), to Gov. Newsom for signature.  Senate Bill 1 is an effort to insure that the Trump administration does not frustrate California’s efforts to protect our environment and combat the fiscal impact of climate change through federal regulatory rollbacks.  In an effort to improve fisheries in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, SB 1 is flawed, as the bill rejects new science that would change how water supplies from the Central Valley are managed. ... ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Caballero on SB1: Environmentalists can’t have it both ways

Can California water woes be solved?  Todd Fitchette writes,Can California’s water woes be solved?  Some think that all it takes is money, which is exactly what the California Legislature may ask voters in 2020 for in the name of clean drinking water.  In the last several years Californians bought the arguments made by farmers, environmentalists and pretty much everyone else who was promised access to the cookie jar. Farmers were told they’d get more water storage to augment their annual allocation of irrigation water, which continue to shrink because of bad public policy. While not said overtly, the implications were “give us more money and we’ll get you back up to a full irrigation allotment.” … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Can California water woes be solved?

In regional news and commentary today …

Plans target irrigation power cost reduction: KWUA hearing details water study progress:  “A final draft is still several months away, but on Tuesday Klamath Project irrigators had the opportunity to hear firsthand from agencies involved in drafting potential solutions to reduce growing power costs in the Klamath Basin.  Under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, passed last year thanks to a bipartisan collaborative effort by California and Oregon members of Congress, a collective of representatives from multiple partners involved in an ongoing study about rising power costs presented information and answered questions during a presentation at Klamath Community College. The goal was to present information related to the ongoing Affordable Power Measures Study, which builds on the Comprehensive Agricultural Power Plan (CAPP). … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Plans target irrigation power cost reduction: KWUA hearing details water study progress

Is a pipeline from Paradise to Chico even possible? Supervisors approve study to find out:  “A major groundwater sustainability study was approved by the Butte County Board of Supervisors which will look at different aspects into future water allocations and conservation in Butte County, including the possibility of building a pipeline from Paradise to Chico.  As the Swedes Fire continues to burn in Butte County, supervisors also heard from the county’s top firefighter on efforts to battle the blaze. ... ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury Register here: Is a pipeline from Paradise to Chico even possible? Supervisors approve study to find out

Collaboration and persistence bring South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan to life:  “Multiple agencies and stakeholders from the Sacramento area gathered recently at the Sacramento County Administration building to acknowledge and celebrate the formal adoption of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSCHP).  The project has been twenty years in the making, and is a first-of-its-kind project. But what exactly is it? The SSHCP is a 50-year plan under the federal Endangered Species Act that balances the conservation of important species with planned development in a 317,655-acre area within Sacramento County. … ”  Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here: Collaboration and persistence bring South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan to life

Trash cleanup at Tahoe beaches provides lessons for future:The sixth annual Labor Day beach cleanup at Lake Tahoe did more than just remove 168 pounds (76 kilograms) of trash from the shoreline.  It’s also apparently provided some clues to help design new strategies to keep the cigarette butts and other garbage from ending up there in the first place. … ”  Read more from KMPH here: Trash cleanup at Tahoe beaches provides lessons for future

2018 Was a Record-Setting Year for Fresno County Farmers:  “Fresno County farmers and ranchers shattered the yearly record for the value of what they produced by nearly a billion dollars in 2018.  Despite below-average surface water supplies, their crops and livestock totaled $7.888 billion last year, according to the Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s annual report released Tuesday.  That marked a 12.23% increase from 2017 and was substantially higher than the previous record year of 2014 when total production hit $7.069 billion. ... ”  Read more from GV Wire here: 2018 Was a Record-Setting Year for Fresno County Farmers

Southern California water agency approves $5 million for stormwater pilot:  “The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday, Sept. 10, approved $5 million for a stormwater pilot project to determine the best and most efficient way to capture the tens of billions of gallons of rainwater that flow off roofs and pavement each year.  “A lot of hope has been placed in the potential of stormwater as a local water supply for Southern California,” said Metropolitan Chairwoman Gloria Gray. “We want to better understand that potential, and its cost, as part of our commitment to developing local resources.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Southern California water agency approves $5 million for stormwater pilot

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

PANEL DISCUSSION: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Legal Framework: ‘All the acronyms you need to know’

NEWS WORTH NOTING: USBR DWR to restore floodplain habitat in the Yolo Bypass; C-WIN sues the city of Ventura over State Water Interconnection Pipeline; Pyramid Dam modernization project kicks off; Metropolitan to assess supply potential of stormwater capture; EPA updates Strategic Plan

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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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