DAILY DIGEST 1/6/20: Fecal bacteria in California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis; Widespread power shutdowns in CA helped reduce chances of human-related fire ignitions; California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters; These legislative issues need attention; and more …

In California water news today, Fecal bacteria in California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis; DWR and State Water Resources Control Board to host SGMA Workshops this week; Widespread power shutdowns in CA helped reduce chances of human-related fire ignitions; California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters; These legislative issues need attention; Gavin Newsom’s ambitious and uneven first year as California governor; Overfishing: Can we ever reverse the damage we’ve done; and more …

In the news today …

Fecal bacteria in California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis:  “President Donald Trump, a self-described germophobe, has made no secret of his disgust with California’s growing homeless problem, which he has called a “disgrace” and “inappropriate” and equated to “living in hell.”  “We should all work together to clean up these hazardous waste and homeless sites before the whole city rots away,” Trump tweeted about San Francisco on Oct. 26. “Very bad and dangerous conditions, also severely impacting the Pacific Ocean and water supply.”  San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection. … ”  Read more from California Healthline here:  Fecal bacteria in California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

DWR and State Water Resources Control Board to host SGMA Workshops this week:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) are hosting educational workshops in January to assist local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) submitting Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for DWR evaluation. GSPs for critically over drafted basins are due by January 31, 2020.  The purpose of the workshops is to discuss the GSP evaluation and assessment process, DWR and SWRCB interaction during GSP evaluation, annual reporting requirements and process, and DWR and SWRCB assistance programs that will support GSP implementation and future GSP updates. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR and State Water Resources Control Board to host SGMA Workshops this week

Widespread power shutdowns in CA helped reduce chances of human-related fire ignitions:  “It could have been another bad wildfire year in California. A bountiful summer crop of quick-to-burn dead grass carpeted the hillsides. Autumn was warm and dry. A record-breaking stretch of fire weather hit the Bay Area in October.  But it wasn’t. California wildfires charred about 270,000 acres in 2019, the smallest number since 2011. The three fatalities and roughly 735 burned structures were a fraction of the catastrophic losses of the previous two fire seasons. … ”  Read more from KTLA Channel 5 here: Widespread power shutdowns in CA helped reduce chances of human-related fire ignitions

California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters:  “In a state burdened by billions of dollars in wildfire damage, California lawmakers are hoping for an advance loan before the next climate-fueled catastrophe hits.  Lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state Legislature return to work Monday for the second year of a two-year session. Their to-do list includes a $4.2 billion climate bond, an ambitious proposal to borrow money before they need it to prepare for the types of natural disasters that have plagued the state. The disasters are so destructive they forced the nation’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, to file for bankruptcy last year. … ”  Read more from the Associated Press here: California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters

These legislative issues need attention:  “As the state Legislature reconvenes for the second half of the biennial session, we will see a flurry of activity as Gov. Gavin Newsom delivers his second State of the State address and proposes a 2020-21 budget, based on an assumption that the state’s record-long economic expansion will continue for at least another year.  The early flurry will also include the every-other-year ritual of legislators’ trying to resuscitate their bills that didn’t make it in 2019. There’s a brief window for legislative revival before lawmakers turn their attention to new bills. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: These issues need attention

Gavin Newsom’s ambitious and uneven first year as California governor:  “Few California governors have entered office with a more ambitious agenda than Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose ascension to the job one year ago was marked by a sense of urgency, an insistence that the times demanded a leader who would multitask in a way his predecessors had not.  “People’s lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe — they all hang in the balance,” Newsom said in his inauguration speech last January. “The country is watching us. The world is waiting on us. The future depends on us. And we will seize this moment.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Gavin Newsom’s ambitious and uneven first year as California governor

Overfishing: Can we ever reverse the damage we’ve done:  “The global numbers regarding fishing have gone from sustainable to straight-up devastating in just a few decades. Now, the creatures of the water have to fear about two more things in addition to human-made disasters – the rising water temperatures and plastic.  There is no harm in fishing. It actually helps the marine ecosystem by keeping the aquatic population in check.  But there is a difference between justified consumption and exploitation. And it seems that the differences are just a blur to us. … ”  Read more from Interesting Engineering here: Overfishing: Can we ever reverse the damage we’ve done

Cloud seeding to stop the rain? That story and others in the latest edition of This Week in Water:  The Australian fires, the rollback on stream protections, Jakarta floods to be controlled with cloud seeding, and more …  Transcript here.  Podcast below.

In regional news and commentary today …

A desalination plant can transform the Monterey Peninsula and help avert a water crisis, says Jeff Davi:  He writes, “Nobody likes to look out to the Pacific Ocean and see oil derricks on the horizon. That’s why California wisely banned new offshore oil drilling 50 years ago.  But in Monterey County, coastal views are limited by a relic of a bygone era: a giant, industrial sand plant right on the dunes between Highway One and the ocean.  In 2017, the California Coastal Commission reached an agreement with the sand plant for operations to shut down by 2020 and for all buildings and equipment to be removed by 2023. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: A desalination plant can transform the Monterey Peninsula and help avert a water crisis

Monterey: Del Rey Oaks’ new housing plan ignores impacts and lack of water supply, lawsuit says.  “Del Rey Oaks City Council found itself caught between a state deadline and the threat of a lawsuit when it considered adopting a revised housing plan on Dec. 17, its first one since 1992.  The council voted 4-1 to adopt the plan allowing the city to meet a Dec 31 deadline by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The vote triggered a lawsuit brought by LandWatch Monterey County, which filed against Del Rey Oaks in Monterey County Superior Court the same day. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Del Rey Oaks’ new housing plan ignores impacts and lack of water supply, lawsuit says.

Ventura County: A collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource, says Matt LaVere, Mayor of Ventura:  He writes, “The future of the Ventura River Watershed is in our hands.  A vital water resource, the watershed serves many diverse interests in the region including agricultural users, businesses, individuals, water districts and cities that depend on it each day. Right now, this essential water supply is at risk, consistently being stretched to capacity as a result of changing climate conditions and prolonged periods of drought. It’s a serious challenge that requires timely action. That’s why the city is committed to establishing a balanced solution that protects this precious water resource now and moving forward. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: A collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Antelope Valley wastewater revamp: RCSD to hire treatment plant engineer:  “With construction underway to revamp and expand the Rosamond Community Services District’s wastewater treatment plant, District officials are looking to hire a consulting engineer to ensure it becomes operational as intended.  The Board of Directors on Wednesday will consider contracts with a firm for operations oversight for the expansion and to develop plans and policies for compliance with the state requirements and those of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley wastewater revamp: RCSD to hire treatment plant engineer

Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports:  “The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years.  The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands. … ”  Read more from the Chino Champion here: Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports

Comment period begins on expansion of Chino’s water treatment plant:  “A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 on the city’s plans to expand the capacity of its Eastside Water Treatment facility that is located on Schaefer Avenue, between Euclid and Bon View avenues in Ontario. ... ”  Read more from the Chino Champion here: Comment period begins on expansion of Chino’s water treatment plant

Solar surges in the California desert. So why are environmentalists upset? Alfredo Figueroa, an 85-year-old former miner, can rattle off the name of every major geographic feature rising from the desert floor outside of Blythe, Calif., a town of 19,000 off the Interstate 10 freeway, halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix.  On a warm winter day, the descendant of the Chemehuevi and Yaqui tribes hiked along a mesa dotted with petroglyphs, and waved his walking stick at a chunky mountain peak 20 miles in the distance, bathed in orange by sunshine. “That’s Palen,” he chuckled, pointing at the formation. “See his chin sticking up?” … ”  Read more from The Desert Sun here: Solar surges in the California desert. So why are environmentalists upset? 

Along the Colorado River

Lawmakers could stop Arizona’s next water war. But will they? asks Bruce Babbitt:  He writes, “Another water war is getting underway.  This time we are not fighting California. It’s a family feud right here in Arizona. Urban versus rural. Phoenix and Tucson ganging up on the rural communities along the Colorado River in western Arizona.  The opening shots have been fired by out-of-state speculators buying up farms along the river. Once they have these “water farms” in hand, they intend to strip the water from the land and send it 200 miles up the Central Arizona Project canal to developers in Maricopa and Pima counties. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Lawmakers could stop Arizona’s next water war. But will they?

Precipitation watch …

  • Wet Weather Returns: From NWS Sacramento:Dry weather is expected today before a couple weak weather systems bring light rain & mountain snow to NorCal Tuesday through Thursday. Limited impacts are expected with these systems.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years; New California environmental laws; What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters; Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning; and more …

MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for January 1

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT: Draft policy for developing the fund expenditure plan for the Safe And Affordable Drinking Water Fund

DATA AVAILABILITY: Statewide 2016 Crop Mapping Data Now Available

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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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