DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF; 100-yr-old Shasta County dam creating conditions of ‘extreme peril’; UC: Study shows CA must value ecosystem services; Ridgecrest farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’; and more …

Truckee River

In California water news this weekend, Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF; 100-year-old Shasta County dam creating conditions of ‘extreme peril’; UC: Study shows Calif. must value ecosystem services; Ridgecrest: Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’; Calif. breaks with feds over water system operations; US officials: Don’t eat romaine grown in Salinas; El Nino swings more violently in the industrial age, compelling hard evidence says; also in commentary: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’, San Joaquin should look north to Columbia River, and Sacramento should sue itself; and more …

In the news this weekend …

Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF:  “The Environmental Protection Agency fanned the flames of an ongoing dispute with San Francisco on Thursday, reaffirming its stance that the city’s water agency improperly discharges wastewater into the ocean.  In a letter to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, EPA officials reiterated their assessment that the city was out of step with its wastewater discharge permit, which regulates water quality standards. The letter also implied that state water regulators may have erred in issuing permits to the SFPUC. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Trump’s EPA fires new round in water pollution fight with SF

100-year-old Shasta County dam creating conditions of ‘extreme peril’:  “With winter rains on their way, officials worry a dam that creates a small lake 17 miles west of Redding could collapse, inundating downstream homes with up to 20 feet of water if sediment and debris clogging two outlet pipes is not cleared.  Two 30-inch outlet pipes at Misselbeck Dam have been clogged with silt and debris since last summer, forcing water from Rainbow Lake to flow over the top of a deteriorated 100-year-old spillway, said Charles Tucker, president of the Igo-Ono Community Services District, which owns the dam. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: 100-year-old Shasta County dam creating conditions of ‘extreme peril’

UC: Study shows Calif. must value ecosystem services:  “The ecosystem services of landscapes in California are essential to the state’s future, but many people take them for granted.  In addition to direct economic outputs, working landscapes – farms, rangelands, forests and fisheries, to name a few – sequester carbon, capture water, support wildlife, offer picturesque views and make space for hiking, skiing, boating and other recreational activities. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: UC: Study shows Calif. must value ecosystem services

Ridgecrest: Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’:  (Note for context: The Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin is considered critically overdrafted, so they are preparing a GSP due in January of 2020.  Also, more news from this basin in the regional section.)  “The Mojave Pistachios has filed a claim for a physical solution/injunction request in the Kern County Superior Court along with a coalition of other farmers in the Indian Wells Valley, including Conway and Nugent families.  The action comes following the release and brief review of the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority draft groundwater sustainability plan.  The complaint filed in court on Nov. 19 asks the court to “impose a ‘physical solution’ amongst nine groundwater users in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin (“Basin”) to preserve and protect the Basin’s water supply, the investment-backed expectations of agriculture, and the economy that is dependent upon that supply.” ... ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’

Calif. breaks with feds over water system operations:  “California water regulators this week telegraphed another fight with President Donald Trump’s administration over the environment, announcing plans to use their own data to operate the State Water Project rather than rely on new federal biological opinions proposed last month.  State officials also said Thursday they plan to sue the federal government over the proposed rules, arguing its conclusions are not scientifically adequate and fall short of protecting species and the state’s interests, according to The Associated Press. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Calif. breaks with feds over water system operations

US officials: Don’t eat romaine grown in Salinas:  “U.S. health officials are telling people to avoid romaine lettuce grown in Salinas as they investigate a food poisoning outbreak.  They also say not to eat the leafy green if the label doesn’t say where it was grown.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 40 people in more than a dozen states. ... ” Read more from the Salinas Californian here:  US officials: Don’t eat romaine grown in Salinas

House passes bill to reauthorize NAWCA:  “The House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) at $60 million a year until 2024. This legislation, H.R. 925, led by Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), is vitally important for the continuation of this grant-based wetlands conservation program. NAWCA is the nation’s most successful wetlands conservation program.  “We’d like to thank everyone who supported the passage of this vital piece of conservation legislation out of the House, especially Representatives Thompson and Wittman for sponsoring the bill,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. … ”  Read more from Ducks Unlimited here: House passes bill to reauthorize NAWCA

El Nino swings more violently in the industrial age, compelling hard evidence says:  “El Ninos have become more intense in the industrial age, which stands to worsen storms, drought, and coral bleaching in El Nino years. A new study has found compelling evidence in the Pacific Ocean that the stronger El Ninos are part of a climate pattern that is new and strange.  It is the first known time that enough physical evidence spanning millennia has come together to allow researchers to say definitively that: El Ninos, La Ninas, and the climate phenomenon that drives them have become more extreme in the times of human-induced climate change. ... ” Read more from PhysOrg here: El Nino swings more violently in the industrial age, compelling hard evidence says

In commentary this weekend …

Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’, says the Mercury News:  They write, “Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  Give the governor credit for announcing that California will sue the Trump administration over its plan to send more water to farmers at the expense of the Delta’s health. That’s huge. The White House plan is a recipe for extinction for endangered species living in the largest estuary west of the Mississippi. But the alternative put forward by the governor also ignores decades of peer-reviewed science. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

San Joaquin Valley’s water solution? Look north to the mighty Columbia River, says Phil Fullerton:  He writes, “Central Valley agriculture faces a looming existential water crisis from the interlocking problems of drought, climate change, and falling underground water tables. Yet the potential answer to this problem is incredibly simple and only a lack of political will may defeat it. The solution is to send south to California the abundant waters of the Columbia River.  New ground water rules to take effect in the coming decades are forecast to force the abandoning of thousands of acres of prime farm land. Potential drought and global warming mean less snow and more early, wasteful runoff. These spell doom for many farms. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: San Joaquin Valley’s water solution? Look north to the mighty Columbia River

Sacramento needs to save the environment by suing itself instead of federal government, says Dennis Wyatt:  He writes, “California does need to sue a government water agency for its misdirected policies that are raising havoc with the environment.  But the Governor and his band of merry politically correct environmentalists are suing the wrong government agency for the wrong environmental calamity.  After all isn’t government’s most sacred environmental crisis climate change? And aren’t our nation’s coastal cities going to be doing an Atlantis act by 2090 or — if you go by climatologist expert Dr. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s drop dead date for New York City — by the end of Bernie Sanders’ second term as president? … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Sacramento needs to save the environment by suing itself instead of federal government

California drains lakes as rains fail to arrive, says Todd Fitchette:  He writes, “The practice of draining California reservoirs by rote starting Oct. 1 needs to be revisited given the state’s refusal to store up water for farms and cities.  Granted, there’s still a few months remaining to our yet-to-arrive rainy season, but with every passing dry day in the West we’re one day closer to more drought and draconian water curtailments. The back-to-back wet years we just experienced suggest we might not want to bank on a third season of the kind of rain and snow that can quickly fill our lakes and reservoirs. Meanwhile, we continue to pour fresh water into the Pacific Ocean at an unsustainable rate. … ”  Continue reading at the Western Farm Press here: California drains lakes as rains fail to arrive

Sunday podcast …

Adjusting to the Times- Ohio Family Farming:  Steve Baker writes,”Farmers put it all on the line every single year because nobody really knows how much water will be available to feed the crops each year. Decisions are made many months before the seeds are planted.  John Lane is an Ohio farmer that has been growing crops since the mid-1950s. A lot of things have changed in the last 70 years; manmade and natural. John has learned to adjust. He has found a way to remain productive and considerate of his community.  Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Steve Baker, Operation Unite®, Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Eureka’s Natalie Arroyo to serve on Klamath River restoration nonprofit:  “Eureka City Councilmember Natalie Arroyo will serve as a board member for the organization heading the Klamath River’s restoration, the governor’s office announced Friday.  Arroyo will be one of 15 board members serving the Klamath River Renewable Corporation, a nonprofit tasked with overseeing the removal of four Klamath dams. She is one of five board members appointed by the governor.  First elected to the city council in 2014, Arroyo currently works as a senior planner in natural resources at the Redwood Community Action Agency. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Eureka’s Natalie Arroyo to serve on Klamath River restoration nonprofit

Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?  Regina Chichizola writes, “When it comes to federal water policy, there is no question we have a fox in charge of the hen house.  David Bernhardt, our current Secretary of Interior, has been bought and paid for by his former client, the Westlands Water District. Trump and Bernhardt have promised Central Valley farmers that water will no longer be wasted by flowing into the ocean. This promise is playing out in the new Trump Water Plan, the proposed permanent water contract for Westlands, and a proposal for a new reservoir in the North State, Sites Reservoir, that will impact the Trinity River. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?

Redding is still drying out as Phoenix, LA and Las Vegas get drenched. What gives?  “If you feel like it’s been an unusually dry fall in the area, you’re not paranoid.  As notoriously sunny cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix saw rain and even the chance for flooding on Wednesday, Redding was still drying out under historically relentless blue skies — with no chance of precipitation for almost a week.  All told, it’s been the sixth-driest fall since records started being gathered in 1893, though some years have missing data, said Brendon Rubin-Oster, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.  … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Redding is still drying out as Phoenix, LA and Las Vegas get drenched. What gives?

What’s next for Potter Valley Project?  Janet Pauli and James Russ write, “California Trout, Humboldt County, the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission and the Sonoma County Water Agency signaled to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission in June that they are exploring options for the future of the Potter Valley Project.  These organizations, along with the Round Valley Indian Tribes, entered into a planning agreement to advance shared objectives that will set water users in the Eel and Russian river basins on a path toward economic and environmental sustainability. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: What’s next for Potter Valley Project?

State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater:  “California has told Napa County to form a local groundwater agency to ensure the underground reservoir that nurtures world-famous wine country is being kept in good shape.  The county submitted more than 1,000 pages of documents to try to avoid that outcome. It argued that the groundwater basin is already being managed sustainably and is nowhere near to being sucked dry.  But the state Department of Water Resources earlier this month reaffirmed a tentative verdict announced in July by rejecting a county appeal. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here: State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater

Water resources plan reviewed at GDPUD meeting:  “The Nov. 12 meeting of the Georgetown Public Utility District Board of Directors was a mixed bag that ended up covering a lot of ground.  One issue brought up by a resident of Auburn Lake Trails was how the previous PG&E power shutoffs may have affected her septic system and if staff could provide residents with more information on what they should do before the next power outage. ... ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Water resources plan reviewed at GDPUD meeting

Lemoore breaks ground on ‘life-changing’ drinking water project:  ““This is life-changing for the City of Lemoore,” said Lemoore Utilities Manager John Souza.  City officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Lemoore to break ground on construction of a new groundwater treatment plant project. The plant is located at 18th and W. Glendale avenues.  The City obtains all of its drinking water from local groundwater resources that are challenged by naturally-occurring water quality issues. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here: Lemoore breaks ground on ‘life-changing’ drinking water project

Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types:  “With the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority moving at increasing speed to wrap up the development of a groundwater sustainability plan by Jan. 31, the question posed is: how will one pay for administration costs and projects the plan proposes.  Ridgecrest City Attorney Keith Lemieux, who is part of the IWVGA’s legal team, provided an overview on mechanisms that would ensure revenue streams over in the coming decades. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Spelling out post-GSP water fee types

Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact:  “The Indian Wells Valley Water District board discussed its own place in the IWV Groundwater Authority and how its groundwater sustainability would impact them after its implementation.  Board member Ron Kicinski noted that with the release of the entire draft GSP to the IWVGA’s advisory committees and to the public in general, questions will be coming.  The water district is one of five voting member agencies on the IWVGA, with the others being Kern County, the City of Ridgecrest, Inyo and San Bernardino counties. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Indian Wells Valley Water District board discusses GSP impact

Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations:  “The state legislature in 2014 passed the groundwater sustainability management act, a sweeping and unprecedented attempt to halt the widespread depletion of groundwater basins up and down the state.  The implementation of SGMA, as it’s called, will make California the last state in the western U.S. to regulate access to and use of our groundwater supplies.  Since 2014, newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies, or GSA’s have been hammering out the details of how they will comply with this state law…an extremely complicated and contentious endeavour. … ”  Read more from KGET here: Video: Kern County In Depth: Ground water regulations

Mayors testify support to close AES Redondo Beach power plant:  “For nearly 20 years, Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand has quietly traveled back and forth from Los Angeles to Sacramento every chance he got to testify in support of closing the AES Redondo Beach power plant.  This week, he made the journey once again, this time with Hermosa Beach Mayor Stacey Armato. Together, the pair spoke before the California State Water Resources Control Board as it faces a critical decision on whether to continue with plans to shutter the Redondo Beach power plant by the end of 2020. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Mayors testify support to close AES Redondo Beach power plant

Along the Colorado River …

Nevada: Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA:  “A company is seeking federal permits to construct new reservoirs in the mountains above two Nevada desert lakes in an attempt to harness hydropower and provide stability to an increasingly renewable electricity grid. But the projects’ water consumption and new reservoirs have raised concerns in the basins, where historic water diversions have already diminished the two lakes.  Mineral County, with a case to restore Walker Lake pending before the Supreme Court, plans to intervene in a federal regulatory process because it is worried the proposed project could affect the amount of water in the lake. … ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here: Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA

Arizona: Drought panel recommends continued drought declaration as experts foresee a drier winter:  “Remember all that “cautiously optimistic” happy talk last fall about how the coming winter could create a splendid snowpack in the Rocky Mountains and in Arizona’s mountain regions?  Remember how well it actually panned out?  The wet season started out early and strong. “The early winter – from October through December (2018) – was really, really good” at delivering moisture, much of it at just the right time,” said Arizona State Climatologist Nancy Selover in an April summary of the 2018-2019 winter. … ”  Read more from Arizona Department of Water Resources here: Drought panel recommends continued drought declaration as experts foresee a drier winter

Arizona: Locals Shut Down Water Transfer Proposal to Maricopa County:  “Over 200 people filled Yuma City hall Thursday, Nov. 21, for an AZ Department of Water Resources public hearing on a proposed sale of water rights from La Paz County to Queen Creek, Arizona.  GSC Farm LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, wants to sell its annual entitlement of nearly 2,100-acre feet of Colorado River water. They purchased 485 acres of farmland near Cibola in La Paz County. ... ” Read more from KAWC here: Locals Shut Down Water Transfer Proposal to Maricopa County

Embattled water district an economic boon for Arizona, homebuilders’ study says:  “A district that recharges renewable water supplies to allow new housing development brings in about $13.4 billion a year in economic benefits, says a study written for a homebuilders’ group.  The three-county Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District has been a major economic boon, triggering the building of 350,000 homes in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties that otherwise wouldn’t have been built since 1995, says the report done for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Daily Star here: Embattled water district an economic boon for Arizona, homebuilders’ study says

Precipitation watch …

From the National Weather Service: A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the weather system expected to come through next week greatly impacting holiday travel. Several feet of snow will be possible with this storm and hazardous travel is anticipated.

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NEW REPORTS: Innovation in action: 21st century water infrastructure solutions; Funding a future for water in the San Joaquin Valley; Water Smart housing development; Closing the water access gap in the United States

NOTICE: Posting of preliminary modeling information related to potential voluntary agreement for updates/implementation of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Now available online: preliminary public review draft for Delta Plan Chapter 4

NOTICE: Comment period extended for Delta soil investigations Initial Study/proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration

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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.

Maven’s Notebook
where California water news never goes home for the weekend

no weekends

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