DAILY DIGEST: Veteran’s Day edition: Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District; 2 years after spillway crumbled, lessons learned at Oroville Dam; SCOTUS Argument analysis: Context trumps text as justices debate reach of Clean Water Act; and more …

Happy Veterans Day!

In California water news today, Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District; 2 years after spillway crumbled, lessons learned at Oroville Dam; SCOTUS Argument analysis: Context trumps text as justices debate reach of Clean Water Act; EPA seeks to speed up environmental dispute process; Reuse ramps up; The week in water podcast; and more …

In the news today …

Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District:  “Westlands Water District, a sprawling San Joaquin Valley farm district with ties to the Trump administration, is poised to get a permanent entitlement to a massive quantity of cheap federal irrigation supplies.  Westlands is the first in line to permanently lock in its contract for Central Valley Project deliveries under a 2016 law. Other valley farm districts are expected to follow, but as the project’s biggest customer, Westlands arguably has the most to gain. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District

2 years after spillway crumbled, lessons learned at Oroville Dam:  “It is the tallest earthen dam in the country, standing at 770 feet. The central feature standing over the town of Oroville, the dam brings water and electricity to parts of the state using water from the Feather River.  Today, construction crews are still busy doing some final grading on work that has spanned more than two years. It all began in February 2017 when the main and emergency spillways were damaged. More than 180,000 people were forced to evacuate downstream from the dam. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: 2 years after spillway crumbled, lessons learned at Oroville Dam

Argument analysis: Context trumps text as justices debate reach of Clean Water Act:  “The Clean Water Act requires a permit for the addition to the navigable waters of any pollutant that comes “from any point source.” On Wednesday, the Supreme Court examined this clause during oral argument in County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The question in this case is whether a permit is required for pollutants that originate from a point source but travel through groundwater before reaching a navigable water.  The textual crux of the case is the word “from”: Does “from” mean that a pollutant must be directly delivered to a navigable water by a point source or that a pollutant must merely originate at a point source? … ”  Read more at the SCOTUS blog here: Argument analysis: Context trumps text as justices debate reach of Clean Water Act

Meet the feds who track changes in the nation’s wetlands:  “When Megan Lang flies on airplanes with her children, she says she has to “fight them” for the window seat.  Chief scientist at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory, Lang leads a team working to track wetlands changes across the country. With a report due to Congress in 2022, she spends most of her days staring at satellite and other images finding and documenting wetlands. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Meet the feds who track changes in the nation’s wetlands

EPA seeks to speed up environmental dispute process:  “The EPA said Nov. 6 it wants to speed up permit disputes that go before its Environmental Appeals Board.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule is aimed at settling disputes faster by giving parties the choice of using either alternative dispute resolution or a hearing before the appeals board.  If all parties don’t unanimously agree, the permit would become final but could still be challenged in federal court, EPA said. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg Environment here: EPA seeks to speed up environmental dispute process

Reuse ramps up:  “Water reuse has long been a staple of water providers in arid regions of the United States, especially for nonpotable uses. But facing demands to ensure greater resiliency and sustainability of future supplies, many providers are turning to reuse for potable applications, both indirect and direct. Amid increasingly successful efforts to address public perception questions regarding water reuse, the practice is beginning to take hold even in areas with more abundant water resources. … ”  Read more from Civil Engineering here: Reuse ramps up

This week in water podcast …

A recent Keystone pipeline spill sent nearly 400,000 gallons of heavy tar sands oil into wetlands and it will be nearly impossible to clean up; Recycled plastic bags and bottles are being ground up to pave roads; Why are gondoliers plunging into the polluted canals of Venice? and more on This Week in Water podcast. (Source)

And lastly …

After the water: “When a flash flood ripped through Old Ellicott City in Maryland, residents thought it was a freak occurrence. Instead, it was a hint about the future. And adapting to that future has been painful.” An incredible multimedia presentation from NPR here:  After the water

More news and commentary in the weekend editions …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Bernhardt suggests Westlands for major contract; Westlands steps back from Shasta expansion. Environmentalists still worry; How to start adapting to CA’s “precipitation whiplash”; Dust kicked up from the West’s drying lakes a looming health hazard; and more …

NEWS WORTH NOTING, weekend interesting stuff edition: Feds rule American River hydroproject does not need CA water quality certification; AG Becerra secures settlement against Westlands for Shasta Dam project; Orange County breaks ground on project to recycle 100% of wastewater

 

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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