DAILY DIGEST 1/7/2019: Governor releases water portfolio; Two bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?; Two big storms to hit NorCal this week; CA’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project; and more …

In California water news today, Governor releases water portfolio including voluntary agreements, Delta Tunnel and Sites Reservoir; Two bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?; Sierra snowpack off to strong start but region needs more storms to keep momentum; Prepare for two big storms to hit this week in Northern California; California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project; Industrial facilities may be denied business permits without proof of storm water coverage; New climate change initiative unveiled in Sacramento has far to go; A 3-decade-long water dispute heads to the Supreme Court; FEMA threat report ignores climate change, sea-level rise; and more …

In the news today …

Governor releases water portfolio including voluntary agreements, Delta Tunnel and Sites Reservoir: Dan Bacher writes, “The Gavin Newsom Administration yesterday released a controversial draft water resilience portfolio with a “suite of recommended actions to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.”   Salmon advocates criticized the portfolio for supporting agribusiness-promoted voluntary agreements for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems, promoting a single-tunnel conveyance project and fast tracking the Sites Reservoir, arguing that these actions could equal “death for salmon.” … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here: Governor releases water portfolio including voluntary agreements, Delta Tunnel and Sites Reservoir

Two bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?  “A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities. The Central Valley’s largest irrigation artery, Friant-Kern has delivered Sierra snowmelt to farmers and rural communities since 1952. However, land subsidence caused by groundwater overdraft after years of historic drought has significantly compromised the canal’s ability to do its job. … ”  Read more from the Visalia Times Delta here: Two bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

Sierra snowpack off to strong start but region needs more storms to keep momentum:  “Heavy snow in November and December means Northern Nevada’s seasonal snowpack is off to a strong start in 2020.   But it’s going to take a change in weather patterns to ensure winter finishes as strong as it began.   That’s according to the people who measure snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which accounts for the bulk of the region’s drinking water and supports winter recreation around Reno and Lake Tahoe. … ”  Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here: Sierra snowpack off to strong start but region needs more storms to keep momentum

Prepare for two big storms to hit this week in Northern California:  “Two storms will move into Northern California during the first full week of January, bringing wind, rain and snow.  The timing of these storms is beneficial with almost all precipitation falling in the overnight hours. The first system will move in late Tuesday into early Wednesday with light Valley rain. There should be enough snow, just under three inches, for momentary chain controls over major passes as some point early Wednesday. Winds will kick up as well in the high Sierra, with 10-15 mph wind and 30 mph gusts. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here:  Prepare for two big storms to hit this week in Northern California

California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project:  “California’s Wild and Scenic rivers have been in the news of late. The US Bureau of Reclamation and its cost-sharing partner, Westlands Water District, proposed to raise Shasta Dam to increase storage capacity in the state’s largest reservoir. They believe that the project would increase water supply reliability and enhance cold water storage to support salmon downstream.  Opponents of the project—including the State of California, environmental organizations, fishing groups, and Native American tribes—argue that the project would flood prime fish habitat and inundate tribal religious sites on the McCloud River, which is protected under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Given current federal and state laws, it is unlikely that the bureau will be able to raise Shasta dam anytime soon. ... ”  Read more from the PPIC here: California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act hampers Shasta Reservoir Project

Industrial facilities may be denied business permits without proof of storm water coverage:  “California regulates storm water discharges from industrial facilities under the federal Clean Water Act through its Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP). A facility obtains coverage by filing notice of its intent to comply with the IGP with the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”). The IGP identifies which industrial facilities need to comply by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which is determined based on the primary purpose of the business. But what if an industrial facility does not recognize that it should seek IGP coverage, or simply chooses not to comply? ... ”  Read more from Brownstein & Hyatt here: Industrial facilities may be denied business permits without proof of storm water coverage

California could get a green new deal of its own as lawmakers aim to address climate change and inequality:  “California needs even more ambitious climate change goals. That’s the message 14 progressive Democratic lawmakers unveiled Monday as part of the California Green New Deal Act, which they call bold and big.  “We’re not getting help from the federal administration, so it’s time for California to do what we do best: to step up and lead,” the bill’s lead author Oakland Democratic Assembly member Rob Bonta said. “Our children, Mother Nature, and the scientific community are all screaming at us to do more and to act faster.” … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California could get a green new deal of its own as lawmakers aim to address climate change and inequality

New climate change initiative unveiled in Sacramento has far to go:  “California promises to remain a leader in the nation’s fight against climate change in 2020, starting the New Year with the launch of a statewide “Green New Deal.”  About a half dozen lawmakers gathered outside the Capitol building in Sacramento on Monday to unveil far-reaching legislation that seeks to create a thriving carbon-free economy while making sure California’s least fortunate residents benefit from the boom. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: New climate change initiative unveiled in Sacramento has far to go

Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks:  “Fresh produce plays an important part of an overall healthy diet. While millions of servings of fresh produce are consumed safely every day, recent outbreaks of foodborne illness have once again placed produce safety in the spotlight. We must continue to build upon and implement the science- and risk-based controls envisioned by Congress through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), including those set forth in the Produce Safety Rule.  Last year was the first in which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and our state regulatory counterparts began conducting routine inspections of large farms for this rule established by FSMA. … ”  Read more from Food Safety News here: Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks

Ghosts in the water: Carolina Caycedo’s river portraits and video apparitions tell difficult stories:  “Climb the steps to the second-floor galleries at the Orange County Museum of Art’s temporary exhibition space in Santa Ana and you will find yourself under water. Overhead, a river streams. On the floor meander two more. Water cascades from ceilings and pours out of walls. Water flows from one room into the next.  OCMA is not flooded. It is harboring a series of installations by artist Carolina Caycedo that feature kaleidoscopic renderings of rivers printed onto billowing fabrics that undulate from gallery to gallery. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Ghosts in the water: Carolina Caycedo’s river portraits and video apparitions tell difficult stories

A 3-decade-long water dispute heads to the Supreme Court:  “For three decades, Georgia and Florida have been battling over how to share a precious resource: water. Georgia has it, and Florida, which is downstream, says it’s not getting its fair share. The dispute is once again headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Florida wants the justices to cap Georgia’s water use. But a court-appointed special master recently rejected that idea.  More than 6 million people depend on water that starts at Lake Lanier, a reservoir northeast of Atlanta. It generates hydropower as its water is released from a dam into the Chattahoochee River. ... ”  Read more from OPB here: A 3-decade-long water dispute heads to the Supreme Court

FEMA threat report ignores climate change, sea-level rise:  “The Trump administration’s latest National Preparedness Report, which describes the greatest threats and hazards to the country, says nothing about climate change, drought or sea-level rise.  The 2019 report is the eighth annual summary of U.S. vulnerability to threats such as disasters and terrorism but the first to eschew the word “climate,” except for one reference to “school climate” in a section on preventing school violence.  “Drought” and “sea-level rise” also are absent, even though the report notes the devastating California wildfires of 2018, which killed 100 people, were widely blamed on a decadelong drought that turned the state’s forests into tinderboxes. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: FEMA threat report ignores climate change, sea-level rise

In commentary today …

Behind every meal are thousands of pages of regulations, says Wayne Western.  Here’s why they matter:  He writes, “What if I told you there were two documents spanning around 1,300 pages that directly affected the water delivery to over 62 percent of California’s population and millions of acres of land that grows America’s food.  Would you think it is important?  In the interest of national security and health and safety, I assume your answer is yes.  The real question is, though: which voluminous documents, known as biological opinions, do we want? … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Sun here: Behind every meal are thousands of pages of regulations.  Here’s why they matter

In regional news and commentary today …

Nordic Aquafarms pressing ahead on Samoa Peninsula plans:  “Terra-Gen hoped to build a $300 million wind farm in the Eel River Valley.  After Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors voted last month to reject Terra-Gen’s proposal, leaving the company with millions of dollars in sunk costs, 1st District Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn worried aloud the decision would deter similar big projects.  “Too many unknowns,” he said.  Nordic Aquafarms still hopes to build a nearly $400 million land-based fish farm on the Samoa Peninsula. And while Nordic Executive Vice President Marianne Naess declined to speak directly about Terra-Gen’s project, she said her own company knows how to avoid a similar outcome. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Nordic Aquafarms pressing ahead on Samoa Peninsula plans

Three Marin sewage treatment plants fined despite upgrades:  “Three Marin County sewage treatment plants are being fined a total of $39,000 by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for exceeding limits for discharging effluents into San Francisco Bay.  The Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary District is being fined $6,000; the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District is being fined $9,000; and Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM) is being fined $24,000. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Three Marin sewage treatment plants fined despite upgrades

California sues billionaire Khosla in latest beach fight:  “California upped the ante in venture capitalist Vinod Khosla’s long-running fight over his coastal property near San Francisco, suing the billionaire to maintain public access to a Pacific Ocean beach.  Until now, non-profit organizations have fought to maintain access to Martins Beach, a crescent-shaped cove an hour south of San Francisco. On Monday, California officials stepped into the fight for the first time by suing Khosla in state court. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg here: California Sues Billionaire Khosla in Latest Beach Fight

Martins Beach: California sues billionaire Vinod Khosla over public access:  “Turning up the pressure on Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla in the high-profile battle over Martins Beach, the California Attorney General’s office on Monday filed suit against the tech mogul, claiming he has been “improperly and illegally” restricting public access to the popular beach for the past decade.  The lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court on behalf of the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission is the latest salvo in a decade-long dispute since Khosla purchased 88 acres in 2008 surrounding the beach near Half Moon Bay. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Martins Beach: California sues billionaire Vinod Khosla over public access

Santa Barbara: Allan Hancock College gets new tool to save water for firefighter training:  “Training the next generation of firefighters has become more water friendly at Allan Hancock College’s Public Safety Training Complex.  On Monday, fire academy leaders at the Lompoc Valley Center unveiled the new training tool, a Direct Recirculating Apparatus Firefighter Training and Sustainability Unit (DRAFTS) Pump Pod. … “  Read more from Noozhawk here: Santa Barbara: Allan Hancock College gets new tool to save water for firefighter training

Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional:  “A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the city of Long Beach’s practice of transferring surplus revenue from water and sewer utilities to its general fund is unconstitutional.  Passed by voters in June 2018, Measure M authorizes the city to transfer revenue from its water, sewer and gas utilities to the general fund to support public safety and other services. The measure generates about $26 million annually for the city’s general fund. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here: Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional

Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation:  “A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.  Officials say it is unknown how the sizable piece of rope got stuck in the valve, which was supposed to remain closed but instead became stuck open, thereby allowing muddy water to enter the city’s reservoir — called a clearwell — near Lake Poway during a storm. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation

Along the Colorado River …

The Colorado River is overcommitted – here’s how that happened:  “The Colorado River is overcommitted – here’s how that happened:  “In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts.  In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces. The consequences of the so-called “structural deficit” are being felt today, as states sweat through difficult river diplomacy to prop up water levels in key reservoirs on the Colorado, which serves 40 million people. … ”  Read more from Cronkite News here: The Colorado River is overcommitted – here’s how that happened

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

BLOG ROUND-UP: Water Resilience Portfolio: A genuine step forward or just another waste of time?; Kings v. Kern water districts and Boswell v. Resnick and Vidovich; Ringing in 2020: The capacity to care; Ashes to ashes and into trees; Trump’s proposed big changes to CEQ regs may not matter.; and more …

REACTIONS to the Governor’s draft water resilience portfolio.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Applications being accepted for Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery Grant Program

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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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