WEEKLY CA WATER NEWS DIGEST for Jan 5 through 10: Groundwater allocations under SGMA, Central Valley Flood Protection Plan update, Underappreciated effects of sea-level rise on groundwater levels
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This week’s featured articles …
ACWA PANEL: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA
As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability. For groundwater basins in overdraft, groundwater production allocations may be a vital tool; however, SGMA explicitly states that it does not alter water rights, which means groundwater sustainability agencies have to carefully navigate between the confines of water rights and SGMA requirements in developing and implementing their groundwater sustainability plans.
At ACWA’s fall conference, a panel discussed the legal framework, different types of groundwater rights, lessons learned from existing groundwater production allocation programs, and potential pitfalls and practical approaches to developing a groundwater sustainability plans with production allocations as a component to reaching sustainability goals.
Seated on the panel:
- Wendy Wang, an attorney with Best Best and Krieger
- Eric Robinson, an attorney with Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann and Girard
- Dr. Jill Weinberger, a hydrogeologist with Dudek
Here’s what they had to say.
CA WATER COMMISSION: Update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan
While considerable progress has been made to improve flood management in the Central Valley, the vast region still faces significant flood risk. Approximately 1 million Californians live and work in the floodplains of the Central Valley, with approximately $80 billion worth of infrastructure, buildings, homes, and prime agricultural land at risk. It has been estimated that California needs to spend at least $34 billion to upgrade dams, levees, and other flood management infrastructure. Accomplishing these upgrades within 25 years would mean spending $1.4 billion per year—roughly twice the current level of investment.
One of the California Water Commission’s statutory responsibilities is to advocate for federal funding for flood control projects; however, the Commission has not been involved in the federal flood advocacy for some time. The Commission’s draft strategic plan includes a goal of determining whether there is a need to reactivate this role. At the December meeting of the California Water Commission, commissioners were briefed by Darren Suen, Principal Civil Engineer and Policy Advisor for the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, who gave an overview of the Board’s responsibilities and its role in obtaining federal funding for flood control projects.
STATE OF THE ESTUARY: Underappreciated Effects of Sea-Level Rise on Groundwater Levels
When most think of the possible impacts of sea level rise, they think of coastal flooding and the growing risks to shore-based infrastructure — but there’s another sea level rise-related threat that is much less talked about. As sea level rises, so too will groundwater levels in coastal aquifers, and some recent studies have concluded that in some coastal areas, as much or more land could flood as a result of rising groundwater tables than will flood directly from rising tides.
Since most infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and pipelines were built with historical groundwater levels in mind, this could lead to costly fixes for coastal communities. Mitigation of the effects by retrofitting existing facilities may not be physically or economically feasible.
The effects of a rise in groundwater tables due to sea level rise is of particular concern for the Bay Area, which has many low-lying areas with relatively shallow depth to groundwater levels. At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Dr. Reid Fisher, Principal Engineering Geologist at Cal Engineering & Geology, gave a presentation on the potential effects of rising groundwater tables in low-lying areas of the Bay Area and the potential impacts to infrastructure.
In water news this week from around the web …
WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: Midwinter dry spells like this are not unusual in California, even in wet years; New California environmental laws; Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage; What drifting car tires can tell us about dead sea otters; Trump rule would exclude climate change in infrastructure planning; and more … READ IT HERE: Weekend Daily Digest
MONDAY: 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 … READ IT HERE: Monday’s Daily Digest
TUESDAY: 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 … READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest
WEDNESDAY: Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans; California’s salmon barely survived the 20th century, (but will they vanish before the next one?); Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true; DWR honors apprenticeship program’s newest graduates; UCR investigates some of the nation’s worst nitrogen pollution; ‘Multiheaded Hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny; Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy, says Dan Errotabere; and more … READ IT HERE: Wednesday’s Daily Digest
THURSDAY: Ag pumping threatens California’s main water artery; A growing threat for military bases in California and beyond: wildfires driven by climate change; 1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests; Trump is set to alter NEPA, upend years of climate planning; Sites Reservoir receives $10 million toward completion; Friday’s Bay Area king tides offer a hint of what rising sea levels look like; and more … READ IT HERE: Thursday’s Daily Digest
FRIDAY: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules; Gov. Newsom to propose more spending on wildfire efforts in new California budget; Crystal Geyser pleads guilty to illegally storing arsenic-laden wastewater; Study confirms climate models are getting future warming projections right; Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer; New Napa County groundwater agency hears from critics at its first meeting; Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests; Colorado River water forecast lower than normal despite snowpack; and more … READ IT HERE: Friday’s Daily Digest
Other news items this week …
- THIS JUST IN … State Agencies Release Draft Water Resilience Portfolio
- REACTIONS to the Governor’s draft water resilience portfolio.
- MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for January 1, prepared by Robert Shibatani
Weekly features …
- 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 …
- SCIENCE NEWS: Federal court stops longline fishing to protect turtles; How we can live with humpback whales in SF Bay; San Diego’s native Hermes Copper Butterfly proposed for listing; Washington considers breaching Lower Snake River dams; Catastrophic wildfires in southeastern Australia; and more…
Announcements this week …
- WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Resilience Portfolio~ Crop Mapping~ Data Workshop~ Splash: Water Resilience ~~
- DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Proposition 68~ DPAC Meeting~ Delta Workshop~ DPC Meeting~ Bridge Closure~ Estuarine Symposium~ Public Comments ~~
- WATER SUPPLY INDEX FORECAST for January 1, 2020
- NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED for Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee
- FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Applications being accepted for Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery Grant Program
- 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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