DAILY DIGEST: Recharging depleted aquifers key to CA’s water supply future; Governor’s veto of SB 1 criticized; Were the PG&E shutoffs necessary?; Officials demand investigation into Trump admin’s CA threats; Ocean clean-up machine finally works; and more …

In California water news today, Recharging Depleted Aquifers No Easy Task, But It’s Key To California’s Water Supply Future; Of vetoes and vehemence: Governor’s recent veto of SB1 criticized as playing into the hands of an anti-environmental White House; Millions are out of power in California, but were the PG&E shutoffs necessary?; 600 former EPA officials demand investigation into Trump administration over California threats; New E.P.A. Lead Standards Would Slow Replacement of Dangerous Pipes; A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say; and more …

On the calendar today …

In the news today …

Recharging Depleted Aquifers No Easy Task, But It’s Key To California’s Water Supply Future:  “To survive the next drought and meet the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability law, California is going to have to put more water back in the ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging overpumped aquifers is no easy task.  Successfully recharging aquifers could bring multiple benefits for farms and wildlife and help restore the vital interconnection between groundwater and rivers or streams. … ”  Read more from Western Water here: Recharging Depleted Aquifers No Easy Task, But It’s Key To California’s Water Supply Future

Of vetoes and vehemence: Governor’s recent veto of SB1 criticized as playing into the hands of an anti-environmental White House:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of Senate Bill 1 means the honeymoon may be over with environmental groups who saw the bill as a bulwark to protect California’s water quality and endangered species from the Trump administration’s regulatory slashing.  Newsom has expressed confidence that California can protect its conservation goals in the courts—state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is currently suing the White House on several fronts—but critics argue Newsom’s veto was aimed at appeasing agribusinesses and utility contractors currently negotiating voluntary water use agreements with state agencies. Those agreements are expected to be unveiled in mid-October. … ” Read more from the Sacramento News and Review here: Of vetoes and vehemence: Governor’s recent veto of SB1 criticized as playing into the hands of an anti-environmental White House

PG&E outage slows California ag to a crawl:  “The forced blackout imposed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to reduce fire danger amid high winds has slowed agricultural activities in some parts of California to a crawl as shuttered processing facilities have caused a backup in harvests.  Elaine Trevino, president of the Modesto-based Almond Alliance, said Wednesday she knew of five almond hullers that couldn’t operate because of the outage, which affected more than 1 million people throughout the state. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: PG&E outage slows California ag to a crawl

Millions are out of power in California, but were the PG&E shutoffs necessary?  “On Tuesday, Pacific Gas & Electric warned 51,000 customers in Contra Costa County, California that they could lose power, as the beleaguered utility company shut down its grid due to an elevated wildfire risk. Nearly 800,000 PG&E subscribers — more than 2 million people — were expected to lose power in the region overall. … Strong seasonal winds that regularly strike California in autumn and early winter — called Diablo winds in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south — motivated PG&E to conduct widespread power shutoffs. … ”  Read more from PBS News Hour here: Millions are out of power in California, but were the PG&E shutoffs necessary?

Here’s how to know if your water is safe to drink after a power outage“The largest Public Safety Power Shutoff by PG&E is affecting so many in the Northstate in a number of ways – one of them being private water wells.  If you are on a private well and are experiencing water outages or low pressure, you are advised to immediately discontinue any non-essential water use. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: Here’s how to know if your water is safe to drink after a power outage

How Otters Keep Seagrass Healthy:  “In California, which has lost an estimated 90 percent of its saltwater marshes, an outstanding question is whether degraded or lost marine wetlands can be easily restored. In Elkhorn Slough, a meandering seven-mile-long inlet in the middle of Monterey Bay, Monique Fountain, tidal wetland program director at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is testing the possibility.  The slough has lost about half its wetlands in the past 150 years. Some areas have subsided between four and six feet.  “We’re a sediment-starved system,” Fountain told me one breezy, overcast day in July. … ”  Read more from Voices of Monterey Bay here: How Otters Keep Seagrass Healthy

600 former EPA officials demand investigation into Trump administration over California threats:  “Nearly 600 former Environmental Protection Agency officials have called for an investigation into whether the agency’s leaders abused their authority by threatening punitive action against California.  In a letter to the House committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Energy and Commerce, 593 signatories asked for a probe to determine whether EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s aggressive focus on California officials is rooted in a retaliatory effort to punish the state for not backing President Trump’s political agenda. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: 600 former EPA officials demand investigation into Trump administration over California threats

NATIONAL

New E.P.A. Lead Standards Would Slow Replacement of Dangerous Pipes:  “The Trump administration on Thursday proposed new regulations on lead and copper in drinking water, updating a nearly 30-year-old rule that may have contributed to the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich., that began in 2015.  The draft plan, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, at a news conference in Green Bay, Wis., includes some provisions designed to strengthen oversight of lead in drinking water. But it skips a pricey safety proposal advocated by public health groups and water utilities: the immediate replacement of six million lead pipes that connect homes to main water pipes. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: New E.P.A. Lead Standards Would Slow Replacement of Dangerous Pipes

A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say:  “A huge trash-collecting system designed to clean up plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean is finally picking up plastic, its inventor announced Wednesday.  The Netherlands-based nonprofit the Ocean Cleanup says its latest prototype was able to capture and hold debris ranging in size from huge, abandoned fishing gear, known as “ghost nets,” to tiny microplastics as small as 1 millimeter. ... ”  Read more from CNN here: A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say

Sierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change ‘is 50 to 75 years out’:  “The Sierra Club sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday after the agency refused to turn over any documents to back up Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s claim that climate change “is 50 to 75 years out.”  The Sierra Club had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in April asking the EPA to provide all records Wheeler relied on in making that statement, as well as any research from the EPA that supported his claim. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Sierra Club sues EPA over claim that climate change ‘is 50 to 75 years out’

12 major climate change reports from 2019:  “Over the last six weeks, Americans have witnessed a remarkable burst of climate activism and communication. … Over the same time period, many governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations released major new reports, underlining the urgency of meeting the challenge of climate change and offering recommendations for ways to meet that challenge. This month’s two-part bookshelf highlights 24 reports, including twelve that have been published since July. The first 12 are presented below. ... ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections here: 12 major climate change reports from 2019

In regional news and commentary today …

Huffman Gets Bleak Input on Fisheries:  “Long before the first refugees from the city planted cannabis seeds in the hills of Southern Humboldt, fishermen braved the seas in summer and winter to bring back crab, salmon, rockfish, lingcod and a variety of other seafood.  It was always considered a reliable — if dangerous — way to make a living.  Things have changed. A hodgepodge of rising costs, shrinking fish stocks, impossible bureaucratic requirements and crumbling on-shore infrastructure is gradually driving people out of Humboldt’s oldest occupation. … ”  Read more from the North Coast Journal here: Huffman Gets Bleak Input on Fisheries

Woodland Public Works staff put focus on water issues over the past three months:  “Over the past three months, the Woodland Public Works Department has logged 2,047 service requests and 2,976 work orders or more than 31 per day, according to a quarterly report released this week.  The reports are traditionally released by the Police, Fire, Public Works and Community Services departments to provide a summary of the activities worked on by city staff as well as the incidents which have cropped up that needed to be handled.  The reports are used by city administrators to better focus their resources. … ”  Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here: Woodland Public Works staff put focus on water issues over the past three months

SFO plans to surround airport with 10-mile wall to protect against rising bay waters:  “Concerned that rising waves will flood runways and buildings in the coming years, officials at San Francisco International Airport are moving ahead with a $587 million plan to build a major new sea wall around the entire airport.  The plan, the latest example of the growing cost of climate change in California, involves driving steel pilings — sheets with interlocking edges — into the mud and also constructing concrete walls in some places around all of the airport’s 10-mile perimeter.  “This is something we’ve been looking at for many years,” said Doug Yakel, a spokesman for the airport. “What’s changed is the level of protection that is needed.” … ”  Read more from the Times-Herald here: SFO plans to surround airport with 10-mile wall to protect against rising bay waters

Santa Clara County: Quake threat looms over Anderson Dam project:  “The prospect of another typical winter rainy season—the third in a row—combined with continued anxiety about the long-dormant Calaveras and Hayward faults has public water experts accelerating their efforts to improve the capacity and stability of Santa Clara County’s biggest body of water, the Anderson Reservoir.  The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which now calls itself Valley Water, says it hopes to break ground on a five-year, $550 million project to upgrade the earthquake safety of the Anderson Dam in 2021. ... ”  Read more from the Morgan Hill Times here:  Quake threat looms over Anderson Dam project

Valley Water resumes normal operations after Public Safety Power Shutoff:  “PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program resulted in widespread outages in Santa Clara County, including several Valley Water facilities.  Valley Water monitored our facilities and operations closely during the first-of-its-kind event. Power has since been restored to all Valley Water facilities except for Calero Valve Yard, which remains on generator power. ... ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Valley Water resumes normal operations after Public Safety Power Shutoff

Multi-million dollar plan proposed to change Kings County groundwater management:  “Kings County’s groundwater management will begin a 20-year transformation in 2020. Five local groundwater agencies presented more information behind the groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) in a public outreach meeting Thursday night. Groundwater is a significant source of California’s water supply and can be found in groundwater basins, which contain aquifers, according to Bill Pipes, principal geologist of Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here: Multi-million dollar plan proposed to change Kings County groundwater management

Santa Barbara County: Environmental groups file lawsuit for water releases from Twitchell Dam:  “A lawsuit has been filed in federal court on behalf of local environment groups to ask for water releases from Twitchell Dam to protect endangered steelhead in the Santa Maria River.  The lawsuit is being backed by several groups including San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, Los Padres ForestWatch by the Environmental Defense Center, Cooper & Lewand-Martin, Inc. and Aqua Terra Aeris Law Group. It claims the Santa Maria Valley Water District and Bureau of Reclamation, which operate the dam, are violating the Endangered Species Act. ... ”  Read more from KSBY here: Environmental groups file lawsuit for water releases from Twitchell Dam

Wastewater project could create drought-proof drinking water for 500,000 Southern California homes:  “In its effort to establish a new, drought-proof source of water that could serve a half-million Southern California homes, the Metropolitan Water District on Thursday, Oct. 10 unveiled a $17 million pilot plant that will bring wastewater to drinkable standards.  Water from the trial project in Carson will not be piped to customers – it will be put back with regularly treated wastewater and pumped into the ocean.  But it’s a key step toward construction of a working plant that would reduce the region’s dependence on imported water. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Wastewater project could create drought-proof drinking water for 500,000 Southern California homes

San Bernardino: Govenor’s Water Resilience Portfolio will impact local water agencies:  “San Bernardino Valley residents will find out later this month how far Governor Gavin Newsom is willing to go to support projects designed to ensure the long-term reliability of our imported water supplies.  The governor’s soon-to-be-released Water Resilience Portfolio will describe current and future water projects that are considered priority projects for the Newsom administration, including improvements to the State Water Project, which provides roughly 25 percent of the San Bernardino Valley’s water supply. … ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here: Govenor’s Water Resilience Portfolio will impact local water agencies

Coachella Valley: Misery at the Oasis: 1,900 trailer park residents contend with arsenic in water, patchwork of laws:  “Life at the Oasis Mobile Home Park on Torres Martinez tribal land in Southern California is a hardscrabble existence. Residents liken it to a slum — or a dump, given the amount of trash that regularly piles up.  Known for its cheap rent, the trailer park near Thermal is home to 1,900 people, many of whom are undocumented farmworkers. Some come from remote parts of Mexico and speak the indigenous language of Purepecha. … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Misery at the Oasis: 1,900 trailer park residents contend with arsenic in water, patchwork of laws

Along the Colorado River …

Groups Oppose Plans to Dam AZ’s Little Colorado River:  “Conservation groups say a proposal to build dams along Arizona’s Little Colorado River could trigger an environmental disaster.  A Phoenix-based company has filed for a permit to construct two dams that would generate power through a process known as pumped hydro storage. It also would create a pair of reservoirs, stretching two miles up the Little Colorado River Gorge.  Alicyn Gitlin, conservation coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, said the project would threaten an endangered species, interfere with the Grand Canyon’s already degraded hydrology and damage sites held sacred by two Arizona tribes. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here: Groups Oppose Plans to Dam AZ’s Little Colorado River

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

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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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