DAILY DIGEST: Future uncertain for Shasta Dam raising after Westlands stops work on study; September Delta conveyance update; DWR reports ‘good water year’; Bid for limited boating at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; How climate change affect mountainous watersheds; and more …

In California water news today, Future uncertain for Shasta Dam raising after irrigation district stops work on study; September Delta conveyance update; 2018-19 water year closes with some good and some great news; A historic bid for limited boating at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir; How Does Climate Change Affect Mountainous Watersheds That Give Us Our Water?; Big Ag is in the running to be a climate crisis hero; Understanding and Responding to the Role of Drought in National Security; and more …

In the news today …

Future uncertain for Shasta Dam raising after irrigation district stops work on study:  “Following losses in court, a Fresno-based irrigation district has backed off its plans to do an environmental study on raising the height of Shasta Dam.  The Westlands Water District announced Monday that it has stopped working on the report because it could not meet the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s schedule for the project.  The bureau is trying to get non-federal partners to help pay half the cost of the $1.4 billion project to raise the height of the dam 18½ feet. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Future uncertain for Shasta Dam raising after irrigation district stops work on study

Westlands bid to study raising Shasta Dam squashed by courts, Becerra:  “Westlands Water District is scrapping its plans to study raising Shasta Dam following heavy legal resistance from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.  In late July, a Shasta County judge stopped the Fresno-based water district from conducting an environmental impact review on raising Shasta Dam by up to 18.5 feet.  The Shasta Dam enlargement project was awarded $20 million by Congress in 2018 via the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, a key bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) in 2016. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: Westlands bid to study raising Shasta Dam squashed by courts, Becerra

September Delta conveyance update:  “Throughout September, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) continued to prepare for the environmental review of a single tunnel solution to modernize State Water Project infrastructure. The department anticipates that the formal environmental review process will begin with the Notice of Preparation (NOP) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) later this year. While moving toward the NOP release, DWR continues to work on the foundational components – including data collection to support preliminary review and consultant selection – of environmental compliance that are not project specific. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here: September Delta conveyance update

2018-19 water year closes with some good and some great news:  “September 30 marks the end of the water year. The water year runs from October 1 the year prior through September 30 the following year.  The 2018-19 water year will close with some good and some great news.  The water year got off to a slow start but then really ramped up by January and February throughout California. … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 10 here: 2018-19 water year closes with some good and some great news

DWR Reports ‘Good Water Year’ for California:  “During this past winter, FOX40 met people who moved up the mountains for the snow — and then got sick of it. Many homes were completely buried in snow and the region saw heavy downpours of rain that tested storm drains and levees.  But from a Water Resources perspective, it was “a good water year,” according to spokesman Chris Orrock.  Orrock said California had above-average precipitation, with around 30 atmospheric rivers during the 2018-2019 water year, which ends on the last day of September. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: DWR Reports ‘Good Water Year’ for California

A historic bid for limited boating at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir:  “A landmark proposal to allow rental kayaks, canoes and electric-powered boats for the first time at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park is being considered by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, who has oversight over the national parks system.  The process started a year ago when Spreck Rosekrans of Restore Hetch Hetchy met with former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in Yosemite. That meeting went well, both said, and Zinke then tweeted, “Taking a fresh look at different opportunities and options to restore public access and recreation to the valley.” … “  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: A historic bid for limited boating at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

How Does Climate Change Affect Mountainous Watersheds That Give Us Our Water? The image of huge chunks of ice breaking away from glaciers and ice sheets, then floating out to sea in Earth’s most remote places, may be the most iconic symbol of a warming planet. And while most people will never see these familiar phenomena up close, what’s happening within some of the iciest settings still affects people and regions thousands of miles away.  Ecologist Heidi Steltzer, a Fort Lewis College professor and member of the Department of Energy’s Watershed Function Scientific Focus Area (SFA) project led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, studies how reduced snowpack and earlier snowmelt caused by climate change impact water supply in high-mountain areas. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Lab here: How Does Climate Change Affect Mountainous Watersheds That Give Us Our Water? 

Big Ag is in the running to be a climate crisis hero:  “Farmer Jay Hill nearly walked away from it all. It was 2011, Hill was on the verge of bankruptcy and public opinion about farmers’ impact on the environment was wearing him down. He was contemplating leaving the farm operation that began with 10 acres from his father at age 16, and that he has grown in the last two decades to 18,000 acres across two Southwest states.  “I thought, ‘Why the hell am I doing this?’” Hill recalled in an interview with Civil Eats. “I get on social media and see, ‘The farmers are destroying the environment and ruining waterways.’ And I think, ‘Look at all the things I’m trying to improve on and am improving on.’ “But Hill stayed, and today says he is deeply committed to leaving behind a sustainable farming operation for future generations. … ”  Read more from Green Biz here: Big Ag is in the running to be a climate crisis hero

Understanding and Responding to the Role of Drought in National Security:  ““We don’t have a world water crisis, we have a world water management crisis,” said Brigadier General Gerald Galloway (U.S. Army Ret.) at the 2nd National Drought Forum, hosted by the National Integrated Drought Information System and the National Drought Resilience Partnership at the United States Institute of Peace. The Forum brought together subject matter experts with federal and state leaders to discuss how to strengthen the state-federal relationship to improve U.S. drought readiness and resilience.  On a panel titled “Linking National Security and Drought,” Galloway, Wilson Center Senior Fellow Sherri Goodman, and Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (U.S. Navy Ret.) discussed the importance of making our nation drought-ready and resilient. ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Understanding and Responding to the Role of Drought in National Security

In commentary today …

Newsom takes a back seat on environmental legislation, says the San Francisco Chronicle:  They write, “Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted he takes “a back seat to no one” on environmental advocacy just before he vetoed the most significant environmental-protection bill of the legislative session.  His rejection of Senate Bill 1 puts Newsom squarely at odds with just about every major conservation group in the state in fortifying defenses for endangered species against the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken federal law. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Newsom takes a back seat on environmental legislation

Balance in policy is the goal, says the Lompoc Record:  They write, “You have to hand it to California Gov. Gavin Newsom for showing resolve in the face of adversity.  The governor late last week vetoed Senate Bill 1 that would have kept in place endangered species protections and water-pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta from the administration of President Obama. Without the veto, those rules would have been shielded against the Trump administration, which seems keen to battle California on almost every issue. … ”  Read more from the Lompoc Record here: Balance in policy is the goal

Column: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story, says Michael Hiltzik: He writes, “The Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick garnered a heaping helping of adulatory publicity last week with the announcement of their record-breaking $750-million pledge to Caltech for research into climate change and “environmental sustainability.”  The donation, according to the university’s announcement, is the largest single gift it has ever received, and the second largest ever to an American university. (It’s topped only by a $1.8-billion gift from businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to his alma mater Johns Hopkins.) … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story

In regional news and commentary today …

Paradise Residents Still Can’t Drink the Water:  “Since last November, when the Camp Fire almost completely destroyed the town of Paradise, the cancer-causing chemical benzene has tainted the town’s water, leaving it undrinkable. Now an independent team of scientists will begin testing for the carcinogen and other pollutants inside the houses that the fire left standing.  “The main goal is to really understand what’s going on, basically, and to address any issues that come up,” environmental health investigator Dr. Gina Solomon told residents at a recent Paradise Irrigation District meeting. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Paradise Residents Still Can’t Drink the Water

Sacramento: Crews Continue Work On Levees In Jeopardy Due To Homeless Camps:  “Sacramento is near the top of the list when it comes to cities at risk of catastrophic flooding. Last May, CBS13 reported on a new threat, homeless people carving out camps in the levees that surround the region. Now, we’re getting answers on the work being done to upgrade them.  Construction crews are scrambling to finish up levee work in Sacramento before the wet weather sets in.  “It’s very important, I mean, all we need to do is have one bad winter,” Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) said. … ”  Read more from CBS 13 here: Sacramento: Crews Continue Work On Levees In Jeopardy Due To Homeless Camps

Garden Highway levee construction in Natomas nears completion:  “Since July, a heavily trafficked portion of Garden Highway along Interstate 5 has been the site of strengthening flood control.  Garden Highway sits atop a levee protecting the Natomas Basin. The Army Corp of Engineers have been constructing a roughly 3-foot wide, 50-foot deep barrier down the median. The concrete, soil and clay mixture to prevent seepage.  “This is a heavily populated area and it has a very high-risk seepage, under and through seepage, through the levee,” project manager Stacy Pereyda Hill said. “I think this project is so important now because we have so many people developing in the Natomas area.” … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Garden Highway levee construction in Natomas nears completion

Bridges In Sacramento River Delta Being Closed Nightly For Repairs:  “Drivers are being warned about bridges in the Sacramento River Delta being closed nightly.  Starting on October 1, the Iselton, Three Mile Slough, and Paintersville bridges in Sacramento County along State Route 160 will begin “alternating” overnight bridge closures in order to make necessary repairs, according to a Caltrans statement. … ”  Read more from CBS Channel 13 here: Bridges In Sacramento River Delta Being Closed Nightly For Repairs

New ‘green stormwater spine’ in West Berkeley aims to clean water traveling to the bay:  “On the last block of San Pablo Avenue before Berkeley gives way to Albany, natural and commercial worlds collide.  The calm Codornices Creek runs alongside a drive-through McDonalds and perpendicular to a major cross-city thoroughfare. When it rains, stormwater mixes with the particulate matter from the cars driving down the busy street and pours into the creek, which carries the tainted water to the bay. ... ”  Red more from Berkeleyside here: New ‘green stormwater spine’ in West Berkeley aims to clean water traveling to the bay

Cal Am buyout study ready for district board review:  “A much-anticipated draft feasibility analysis of a potential public buyout of California American Water’s local water system is headed for a confidential unveiling later this week.  On Thursday, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board is set to conduct a special closed session review of the draft analysis. It will be the first time the district board will have seen the analysis, according to district officials.  The special meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the water management district’s conference room at the district offices, 5 Harris Court, Bldg G in Ryan Ranch, Monterey. A public comment period will precede the closed session. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Cal Am buyout study ready for district board review

Carmel launching plans to combat climate change:  “On the heels of a United Nations summit on climate change last week, Carmel is in the initial stages of cobbling together a plan to contend with the effects it will have on the coastal town.  Storms have become worse every decade since the 1960s, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Assessment. And Carmel’s geography already has issues with stormwater runoff.  “Carmel is one big drainage problem with water going where water isn’t supposed to go,” said City Councilman Jeff Baron, who, along with fellow council member Carrie Theis, is leading the effort. “We’ll be putting together a committee to understand the impacts of climate change and then study ways to mitigate those impacts the best we can.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Carmel launching plans to combat climate change

To guard against drought, Santa Maria looks to acquire rights to suspended state water supply:  “To guard against volatility in the amount of state water it receives, Santa Maria and several other Central Coast Water Authority members are planning to claim an additional 12,214 acre-feet of state water that was set aside decades ago.  The move — which would be funded by issuing a $42 million bond — would increase Santa Maria’s annual right to state water from 17,820 to over 27,000 acre-feet each year. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Sun here: To guard against drought, Santa Maria looks to acquire rights to suspended state water supply

Who gets Ventura River water? Ventura agrees to track, potentially reduce its usage:  “To help protect endangered fish and other critters that rely on the Ventura River for habitat, migration and procreation, the city of Ventura has agreed to better monitor and reduce its water draw in dry times.  The city will also take steps to remove barriers for steelhead trout to make the journey to and from the sea, according to terms of a temporary settlement announced Monday.   The agreement reached between the city and the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, which lasts 164 days and covers essentially Foster Park to the estuary, includes the following key elements ... ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Who gets Ventura River water? Ventura agrees to track, potentially reduce its usage

Santa Clarita: Water treatment facility to be built next to baseball park:  “Local water officials anticipating tougher state guidelines for a non-stick chemical suspected of being carcinogenic have begun work on a treatment plant next to the William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball park to remove the chemical from groundwater in the Santa Clara River.  Officials at the SCV Water Agency found trace amounts last month of a chemical called PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, in 17 of its wells, requiring them to notify key agencies about the discovery. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal here: Water treatment facility to be built next to baseball park

San Diego: Water Vending Businesses Tap Into Customer Fears Over Water Quality:  “People flock to a Chula Vista parking lot to fill up jugs with water from a colorful kiosk owned by Colorado-based Watermill Express.  The company is one of several competing for customers suspicious of city tap water and fed up with buying bottled water.  Watermill, which runs a few dozen water vending machines across San Diego County, typically pays about $4,000 for the water that comes into its machines – city tap water that must meet state and federal water quality standards to begin with. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: San Diego: Water Vending Businesses Tap Into Customer Fears Over Water Quality

8 Million Gallons Of Tainted Water Foul Tijuana River Valley:  “The United States-Mexico border region is enduring the latest in a series of massive cross-border sewage tainted spills.  Federal officials in charge of monitoring the trans-border sewage situation on the U.S. side of the border said nearly 8 million gallons of tainted water flowed crossed the border in the Tijuana River channel. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: 8 Million Gallons Of Tainted Water Foul Tijuana River Valley

Ruptured pipe sends untreated sewage from Mexico into the U.S.:  “A broken water line in Tijuana is sending a mix of potable water and untreated sewage across the U.S.-Mexico border.  The spill, which started Sunday night at 7:30 p.m., showed no signs of stopping Monday, according to a spokesman from the International Boundary Water Commission. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Ruptured pipe sends untreated sewage from Mexico into the U.S.

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: Newsom Admin faces difficult tests on CA water this fall; “Then they’d be ready when the VSAs fall apart.”; The snow must go on; Critical habitat: The next endangered species?; 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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