DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Gov. Newsom send mixed signals on Delta policy; Storm to set up ‘firehose effect’ with rain, mountain snow; San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change; What you need to know about PFAS; and more …

A lone tree in the Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra, November 27, 2019. Photo by RS2 Photography.

In California water news this weekend, State, Gov. Newsom send mixed signals on Delta policy; Storm during early December to set up ‘firehose effect’ with rain, mountain snow in California; Scared about ‘forever chemicals’ after watching Dark Waters? Here’s what you need to know; Concerns rise that incoming storm may sweep toxic ash, sediment into Sonoma County waterways; San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change; Rising Shasta Dam, jobs and environment, and Newsom picks fish over farms in commentary; Jared Blumfeld podcast on sea level rise; and more …

In the news this weekend …

State, Gov. Newsom send mixed signals on Delta policy:  “A pair of simultaneous and seemingly contradictory actions announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration last week has sent mixed signals regarding the state’s intentions for managing the Delta.  Newsom announced plans to sue the Trump administration after the October release of a biological opinion completed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  The opinion stated, in essence, that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project (CVP) can increase the volume of water drawn from the South Delta without any negative impact to native fish like Delta smelt and Chinook salmon, a position the state disputes. … ”  Read more from The Press here: State, Gov. Newsom send mixed signals on Delta policy

Storm during early December to set up ‘firehose effect’ with rain, mountain snow in California:  “A storm currently moving in the Pacific Ocean that is loaded with moisture will slam into California during the first few days of December and drop inches of rain, as well as yards of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The storm will be double-barreled in nature with the first part set to slam Northern California into Monday afternoon. The second phase is likely to focus on Southern California during Tuesday night and Wednesday. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here: Storm during early December to set up ‘firehose effect’ with rain, mountain snow in California

Wet, wintry weekend storm bringing much-needed rain to Bay Area:  “A new storm is expected to bring California several feet of mountain snow, rain and gusty winds through the weekend.  A high wind warning is in effect starting at 10 a.m. Saturday until noon Sunday.  The rainfall that is arriving in Northern California this Thanksgiving holiday weekend is just the beginning of a wet pattern, and it is very good news. … ”  Read more from KPIX here: Wet, wintry weekend storm bringing much-needed rain to Bay Area

White House, CDC feuding over study of toxic chemicals in drinking water:  “A multimillion-dollar federal study on toxic chemicals in drinking water across the country is facing delays because of a dispute within the Trump administration, according to several people involved in the study or who have knowledge of the process.  The dispute has implications for more than half a dozen communities where drinking water has been heavily contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). ... ”  Read more from USA Today here: White House, CDC feuding over study of toxic chemicals in drinking water

Scared about ‘forever chemicals’ after watching Dark Waters? Here’s what you need to know.  ” … DuPont and other American companies have phased out use of PFOA, and the EPA has established a healthy advisory threshold for PFOA and the related chemical PFOS at 70 parts per trillion in drinking water. But that’s not enforceable limit, so the agency is currently working on a legal standard. But the legacy of decades of contamination still exists—PFOS and PFOA are long-lived in the environment. And companies have recently pivoted to other, similar compounds they believe are less risky—thousands of chemicals known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Here’s what you need to know about how these molecules are still impacting us today. … ”  Read more from Popular Science here: Scared about ‘forever chemicals’ after watching Dark Waters? Here’s what you need to know.

In the Middle East, countries spend heavily to transform seawater into drinking water:  “On the shore of the Arabian Sea, two massive pipes, each more than six feet in diameter, extend from a fenced compound down into the water.  The pipes work like powerful straws, sucking in seawater and sending it through a series of tanks and filters.   The Barka 4 desalination plant is Oman’s newest and largest. Powered by natural gas, the plant went online last year and at full capacity can churn out 74 million gallons of potable water in a day — enough to fill 112 Olympic-size swimming pools.  ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here: In the Middle East, countries spend heavily to transform seawater into drinking water

In commentary this weekend …

It’s time to secure California’s water supply by raising Shasta Dam, says Brenda Burman:  She writes, “California is in critical need of additional water storage. It seems that every other year we see fields fallowed, rivers running low, and water rationing in cities and towns across the state. Reliable water is critical to every aspect of the economy as more than 40 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown in the Central Valley, much of that using water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and its largest reservoir — Shasta Lake.  Last October, President Trump issued a “Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: It’s time to secure California’s water supply by raising Shasta Dam

It’s not either-or. It’s jobs and the environment, says Amanda Monaco:  She writes, ““Jobs or the environment” is a familiar refrain, and frankly, it’s as wrong as it is rote.  It seems everyone with a “channel”— media, elected officials, a variety of policy influencers — repeats the same tired argument: jobs/economy v. the environment. Apparently, we can’t have both. It seems we cannot recognize the common interest in human survival and creating jobs that pay the bills and provide real opportunity for upward financial mobility. We are not two different groups, environmentalists and workers; we all need a job, and we all need a planet. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: It’s not either-or. It’s jobs and the environment

Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats, says Steven Greenhut:  He writes, “When a union president was asked about his end goal in negotiations with his members’ employers, he responded with: “More.” No matter the proposal, he always demanded more of whatever was being offered to his union.  I thought of that cynical retort when looking at the latest battle over water flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — the tangled web of rivers, sloughs and marshland that supplies fresh water to millions of Southern Californians. When it comes to water supplies, environmentalists always demand “more” water for habitat preservation — they’re never satisfied with any compromise proposal. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats

Spillway gates conversation needs to happen, says the Chico Enterprise-Record:  “It’s good to see someone’s trying to keep some attention focused on the Oroville Dam spillway gates.  It’ll be a challenge as many people — most people more likely — moved on to other crises after the spillways were repaired.  But there were questions about the gates that release the water from the lake, even before the spillways broke up in February 2017. Those questions never really got answered. The focus was on fixing the obvious damage. We could get around to talking about the gates after that.  Maybe. … ”  Continue reading at the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Spillway gates conversation needs to happen, says the Chico Enterprise-Record

Sunday podcast …

Jared Blumenfeld, Podship Earth: King Tides:  “The sea level is rising and we need to get ready! From Venice to the Florida Keys, to Pacifica  – coastal communities are waking up to the realities of significant climate related impacts.  California Coastal Commissioner Sara Aminzadeh and I meet up with community organizers Jennifer Kalt, from Humboldt Bay Keeper, and Violet Saena, from Acterra.org who is working with residents in East Palo Alto to listen, learn and plan for sea level inundation. We then talk with Susanne Moser about how to remain hopeful as the tide gets higher.

In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Concerns rise that incoming storm may sweep toxic ash, sediment into Sonoma County waterways:  “A multi-day bout of heavy rainfall this weekend in the wake of the massive Kincade fire has officials and environmentalists concerned about runoff sweeping toxic ash and sediment into Sonoma County creeks and the Russian River.  An atmospheric river expected to hit the county Saturday could drop 4-6 inches of rain over the nearly 78,000 acres scorched by the Kincade fire five weeks ago, leaving behind the remains of 374  buildings, including 174  homes, now exposed to the season’s first major storm. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Concerns rise that incoming storm may sweep toxic ash, sediment into Sonoma County waterways

San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change:  “What began as an unremarkable bid to deepen a shipping channel in San Francisco Bay, making it easier for cargo vessels to come and go, has become a flash point in the debate over climate change.  Environmental groups are blasting plans by the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge 13 miles of waterways inside the Golden Gate because the work would benefit ships delivering oil to East Bay refineries. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle here: San Francisco Bay dredging fuels an unexpected concern: climate change

Some Orange County beaches reopened after major sewage spill:  “Orange County health officials reopened about six miles of beaches Friday after the city of Laguna Beach repaired a leaking pipe that had spilled raw sewage into ocean and bay waters.  The spill, reported Wednesday afternoon, had forced beach closures from Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach to Poche Beach at the Dana Point and San Clemente border. On Friday, the closure was reduced to an area extending from El Moro Creek at Crystal Cove State Beach to the southern point of Dana Strands. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Some Orange County beaches reopened after major sewage spill

Along the Colorado River …

In a revived Arizona River, a wildlife oasis is remade:  “Much of the Santa Cruz River is a dry, desert wash, only flowing after heavy monsoon rains. As Tucson Water hydrologist Dick Thompson and I walk along the river south of Starr Pass Boulevard, he points out how brown the vegetation looks.  “Dry as a bone,” he says. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: In a revived Arizona River, a wildlife oasis is remade

Colorado rethinks dam safety as climate change heightens risk for state’s 27 “unsatisfactory” structures:  “A climate-driven shift toward extreme storms has compelled Colorado officials to rethink the safety of hundreds of dams across the state that hold water and mine waste, including 27 high-hazard structures near people that already are listed as deficient.  They’re trying to calculate the potential for sudden hard rain resulting in flooding and accelerated erosion that could trigger fatal collapses. It comes down to physics: Climate scientists project temperature spikes by at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit in Colorado before 2070, and warmer air holds more moisture. … ”  Read more from the Denver Post here: Colorado rethinks dam safety as climate change heightens risk for state’s 27 “unsatisfactory” structures

This building in 2013 – check out what it’s like now!

And lastly …

Mei Wah tap room helps breathe new life in tiny Delta town:  “Once known as “the Little Paris of the Delta,” the tiny Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta town of Isleton boasted a vibrant Chinatown and adjacent Japantown where restaurants, gambling and dance halls, saloons, boarding houses, opium dens and brothels flourished. … But in today’s Chinatown, just a stone’s throw from the boarded-up Bing Kong Tong community center, a new business — a tap room with a pressed-tin exterior that harks back to the town’s Chinese roots — is now helping to infuse life into the struggling downtown.  “Isleton has had some tough times, so just seeing anything new opening was exciting,” says Galen Kusic, a regular customer from nearby Rio Vista. “Something as high-quality as this business, this was pretty special.” … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Mei Wah tap room helps breathe new life in tiny Delta town

Precipitation watch …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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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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