DAILY DIGEST, Thursday: Newsom restarts giant water tunnel project; State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply; A busy year for California rice in 2019; Water governance: Could less sometimes be more?; 2019 was 2nd hottest year on record; and more …

In California water news today, California governor restarts giant water tunnel project; State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply; Report highlights busy year for California rice in 2019; State just starting to grapple with climate change; How many water bottles could a filling station save?; Water governance: Could less sometimes be more?; 2019 was 2nd hottest year on record; Extreme weather forecasting in the Bay Area has a new high-tech tool; Inyo to take ‘no’ position on Indian Wells Valley plan to tap into LA Aqueduct; Kern’s final groundwater plan approved; Del Mar looks to postpone Coastal Commission hearing over sea level rise to July; A Colorado River Water Primer; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors meets from 2pm to 5:30pm in Sacramento.  Click here for more information.
  • The Delta Protection Committee meets at 5:30pm in Oakley. Agenda items include a Delta Protection Advisory Committee report, Delta National Heritage Area, DWR funding for Delta levee projects, striped bass policy, and Delta conveyance update.  Click here for the agenda.

In the news today …

California governor restarts giant water tunnel project:  “California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state.  Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process. … ”  Read more from the AP here: California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California moves toward single water tunnel under delta:  “California is moving forward with its biggest water project in decades, a single tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that will help move Northern California water south to cities and farms, state water officials said Wednesday.  The proposal piggybacks on plans by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who wanted to build a pair of 30-mile-long tunnels through the delta but was stymied by funding shortfalls and controversy. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California moves toward single water tunnel under delta

RELATED CONTENT:

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply:​  “With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018.  One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) signed the agreement, which strips the agency, during exceptionally dry years, of 254,000 acre-feet of water — about what Los Angeles consumes in six months. This change will place extra strain on urban water users during drought years. The agreement could also have potentially disastrous implications for the Sacramento River’s salmon runs, since it will negatively impact river flows and water temperatures. ... ”  Read more from KCET here: State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

Report highlights busy year for California rice in 2019:  “A new report points to an eventful year for the California rice industry in 2019, with several ongoing conservation programs and significant developments occurring in various trade markets. The 2019 Annual Report from the California Rice Commission (CRC) that was recently released highlights some of the progress made in industry initiatives and points of emphasis moving forward. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Report highlights busy year for California rice in 2019

State just starting to grapple with climate change:  “California’s vulnerability to climate change — from deadly fires to sea level rise — has been well documented.  But the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser says the state, with rare exceptions, has only just begun to assess the risk climate change poses to roads, dams, parks and schools.  “Consequently, much more work will need to be done before state agencies, their facilities, and the people they serve are adequately protected,” the Legislative Analyst reported. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here: State just starting to grapple with climate change

Pacific Ocean marine heatwave known as ‘the blob’ killed a million US seabirds:  “A million seabirds that died along the US west coast were probably the victims of an unprecedented marine heatwave in the Pacific. Such events are expected to become more frequent due to climate change.  About 62,000 common murres (Uria aalge) washed ashore from summer 2015 to spring 2016 between Alaska and California, most having apparently starved. Researchers extrapolate that this means around a million died in total.  “The amazing question is, how could a million die over 6000 kilometres, pretty much all at the same time, and what could cause it,” says John Piatt at the US Geological Survey. ... ”  Read more from Phys Org here: Marine heatwave known as ‘the blob’ killed a million US seabirds

NATIONAL

Legal analysis: CEQ releases proposed revisions to NEPA regulations:  “For the first time since their adoption in 1978, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is proposing major changes to its regulations governing federal agency implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  CEQ outlines these additions and revisions in its January 10, 2020 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, inviting public comments on the document until March 10, 2020.  Water users and other businesses, state and local agencies with projects involving any federal issues should be tracking the NEPA regulatory changes to determine if there are impacts to their projects. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Legal analysis: CEQ Releases Proposed Revisions to NEPA Regulations

How many water bottles could a filling station save? Filling a water bottle at a public fountain is a pain. It never fits, so you have to tilt your bottle sideways—which makes it even harder to get the water into the narrow mouth. But there are new fixtures that solve this problem; you might have seen them in office buildings or airports. Along with a normal spout for drinking, there’s a special outlet just for bottles.  Well, here’s the thing. … ”  Read more from Wired here: How many water bottles could a filling station save? 

How US sewage plants can remove medicines from wastewater:  “A study of seven wastewater treatment plants in the Eastern United States reveals a mixed record when it comes to removing medicines such as antibiotics and antidepressants.  The research points to two treatment methods — granular activated carbon and ozonation — as being particularly promising. Each technique reduced the concentration of a number of pharmaceuticals, including certain antidepressants and antibiotics, in water by more than 95%, the scientists’ analysis found. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: How US sewage plants can remove medicines from wastewater

Water governance: Could less sometimes be more?  “The use of environmental resources has been regulated for centuries with the aim of improving the management and behaviour of private and public actors on an on-going basis. But, does the never-ending introduction of new regulations really have a positive effect? Or, does a surfeit of rules cause malfunctions and lead to disturbing overlaps? In an attempt to answer these questions, researchers from the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland, analysed water governance regulations in six European countries from 1750 to 2006. Their results, published in the journal Ecological Economics, show that rules designed to improve resource management eventually come into conflict in the long run, creating an equal number of positive and negative effects until the system falls apart. At this point, the only way out is for the state to overhaul governance. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Water governance: Could less sometimes be more?

2019 was 2nd hottest year on record for Earth say NOAA, NASA:  “The world’s five warmest years have all occurred since 2015 with nine of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2005, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).   It was also the 43rd consecutive year with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above average.   The average temperature across the globe in 2019 was 1.71 degrees F (0.95 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average and just 0.07 of a degree F (0.04 of a degree C) cooler than the 2016 record. … ”  Read more from NOAA here: 2019 was 2nd hottest year on record for Earth say NOAA, NASA

In regional news and commentary today …

KRRC to foot bill for new Yreka city water line:  “To ensure a steady water supply if and when the Klamath Dams are removed, Klamath River Renewal Corporation is paying to replace a $4 million water line for the City of Yreka.  The city’s water comes from Fall Creek, located approximately 23 miles north, near the Oregon border, which is pumped at one point on its journey through a 24-inch pipe that runs along the bottom of Iron Gate Reservoir. … ”  Read more from the Taft Midway Driller here: KRRC to foot bill for new Yreka city water line

Over a million snow geese are lunching in California’s rice fields: How you can see them:  “More than a million snow geese return to California’s wetlands every winter.  It’s a migration dating back millennia. Their arrival sends bird enthusiasts and conservationists flocking to the Sacramento Valley to catch the noisy spectacle. And for the past 20 years, there’s been Chico’s Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway celebrating the birds’ landing.  The five-day festival starts next Wednesday. With festivities only days away, we answer some questions about this very Californian winter roost. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Over a million snow geese are lunching in California’s rice fields: How you can see them

More than 100 turn out for meeting about damaged dam:  “More than 100 people packed into the Ono Grange hall in western Shasta County Wednesday night to hear about plans to repair Misselbeck Dam, which has been declared a local emergency.  The Ono Community Services District has been trying since last summer to get federal and state money to pay for repairs to the 100-year-old dam, which has holes in its spillway and no other way to release water after its outlet pipes became plugged with dirt and debris last spring. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: More than 100 turn out for meeting about damaged dam

Reclamation district to discuss building permits in north Chico:  “The Rock Creek Reclamation District will hold its January board meeting Wednesday; on the docket is a potential, temporary moratorium on issuing building permits in north Chico and an official decision on the board’s opinion of the Tuscan Water District formation.  The board will discuss the Butte County Board of Supervisor’s decision to either allow or stop issuing building permits for new and expanded structures and land-use approval within the north Chico area. ... ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Reclamation district to discuss building permits in north Chico

Extreme weather forecasting in the Bay Area has a new high-tech tool:Valley Water joined local, regional, state, and federal agencies today to unveil the first permanent X-Band radar in the San Francisco Bay Advanced Quantitative Precipitation Information (AQPI) System. The radar, located on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant in San Jose, is the cornerstone in a new network of high-resolution, low-elevation radars that will improve weather forecasting of atmospheric rivers and extreme weather events across the region.  “Today marks a great milestone in a collaboration that will provide vital information during storms,” said Valley Water CEO Norma Camacho. “We and our partners across the region are committed to helping keep our communities safe from floods.” … ”  Read more from Valley Water News here: Extreme weather forecasting in the Bay Area has a new high-tech tool

New radar system in San Jose will make more accurate weather predictions: “Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant in San Jose is first permanent x-band weather radar system in the Bay Area.  “The radar system that you see up there is collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water.”  Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C., Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system, which will improve weather forecasting across the region. … ”  Read more from KRON here: New radar system in San Jose will make more accurate weather predictions

Pajaro flood agency proposal considered by county board:  “Praising progress on a long-awaited Pajaro River flood prevention project, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors reviewed a proposed regional flood prevention agency that would oversee construction and operation of the $393.7 million initiative.  By a unanimous vote, the county board directed staff to finalize a joint powers agreement at the center of the proposed Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency. It would include a five-member board with representatives from both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. It would return for adoption when the agreement is finalized. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Pajaro flood agency proposal considered by county board

Hope springs eternally at Vernalis for everyone but Northern SJ Valley:  Dennis Wyatt writes, “Take a trip to Ground Zero in the California water wars.  It is not the pumps at Tracy.  It is not the Owens Valley.  It is not where Gov. Newsom wants to plop down his myopic tunnel vision to siphon life giving water away from the Delta to guarantee non-native Kentucky bluegrass can make Beverly Hills estates shine like emerald fields while slowly destroying the Delta ecological system.  Ground Zero is just a short drive west on Maze Boulevard and up Kasson Road where you will find mid-afternoon farm equipment intermingling with Tracy Amazon commuters eager to return to their homes in Modesto. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here: Hope springs eternally at Vernalis for everyone but Northern SJ Valley

Inyo to take ‘no’ position on Indian Wells Valley plan to tap into LA Aqueduct:  “Inyo County Supervisors had a no-brainer at Tuesday’s Board meeting. The question: what position should the Board’s representative take on Indian Wells Valley’s option to tap into the Los Angeles Aqueduct to solve its critical overdraft problem? The decision was a unanimous “no.”  Listening to John Vallejo, deputy county counsel, describe the situation begged the question “what was Indian Wells thinking?” … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Inyo to take ‘no’ position on Indian Wells Valley plan to tap into LA Aqueduct

Ridgecrest: GSP vote set for January 16:  “After years of planning, discussion and debate, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board will vote on the adoption of the groundwater sustainability plan at its meeting Thursday.  The meeting, set for 11 a.m. at Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave., will consist of a public hearing on the GSP, which will shape the future of the basin. It will be one last chance for members of the public to give more feedback or raise concerns before its adoption. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: GSP vote set for January 16

Kern’s final groundwater plan approved:  “After months of fireworks over low-ball pumping numbers and concerns that some groundwater agencies wouldn’t get on board, Kern’s last Groundwater Sustainability Plan was approved Wednesday with barely a murmur.  The Kern Groundwater Authority board of directors voted unanimously to adopt its final GSP with just two weeks to spare before the massive document is due to the State Department of Water Resources. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here (note: free registration required): Kern’s final groundwater plan approved

Petrochem sold as a water war looms in the Ventura River Watershed:  “The Ventura River Watershed is a vast area stretching from the Ventura River mouth to the Upper Ojai Valley and back to the edges of the Sespe, with an arm reaching into Santa Barbara County. It encompasses all the land that gathers water from local mountain peaks, channeling it down into barrancas and drainages, combining into creek beds and eventually all coming together into the Ventura River to stream out to the Pacific Ocean. It includes not just water visible at the surface, but also the deep groundwater basins that fill water wells for thousands of property owners in the area. … Two stories are currently unfolding in the Ventura River Watershed, one regarding a polluted property that is changing hands, the other involving a legal case that could have ramifications for all water users and water rights for decades. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here: Petrochem sold as a water war looms in the Ventura River Watershed

Bickering environmental groups are holding L.A.’s last surviving tidal wetland hostage, says Jon Christensen:  He writes, “Los Angeles only has one coastal tidal wetland left to save. And environmentalists can’t stop fighting each other over it.  The Ballona wetlands, at the end of Ballona Creek in Playa del Rey, is the second biggest natural open space in the city of Los Angeles after Griffith Park. It represents the last remaining 5% of tidal wetlands that once existed in Los Angeles. The rest were dredged and filled to build areas like Marina del Rey, the construction of which buried most of the wetlands at Ballona under yards of dirt, decimating crucial native wildlife habitats and allowing invasive species to take root. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Bickering environmental groups are holding L.A.’s last surviving tidal wetland hostage

Beaches reopen in Long Beach following closure caused by 11,000-gallon sewage spill:  “The shoreline in Long Beach is once again open to the public.  City Health Officer Anissa Davis announced Wednesday, Jan. 15, that all coastal beaches could reopen following a closure that went into effect Monday, Jan. 13.  The shutdown was necessary because of water-quality concerns after roughly 11,000 gallons of sewage were discharged into the San Gabriel River on Sunday, Jan. 12. The sewage spill was caused by a grease blockage in Hawaiian Gardens. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: Beaches reopen in Long Beach following closure caused by 11,000-gallon sewage spill

“Overwhelming”: Santa Barbara Reckons With Impending Sea Level Rise:  “A new report says the rise in the sea level over the coming decades could be devastating to coastal areas like Santa Barbara.  That would include iconic areas like Stearns Wharf, as well as beaches like Leadbetter and East Beach, and areas like Cabrillo Boulevard and Shoreline Park. ... ”  Read more from KCLU here: “Overwhelming”: Santa Barbara Reckons With Impending Sea Level Rise

Del Mar looks to postpone Coastal Commission hearing over sea level rise to July:  “Del Mar City Council members will attempt to withdraw and resubmit applications to the California Coastal Commission related to the city’s plan to handle sea level rise, with the goal of postponing a hearing in front of the commission until July.  The council members voted 3-2 at their Jan. 13 meeting to have the city manager send a letter to the Coastal Commission asking for Del Mar’s applications to be withdrawn and resubmitted as new applications. The administrative maneuver allows the city and the Coastal Commission more time to come to terms on Del Mar’s Local Coastal Program Amendment applications pertaining to sea level rise. … ”  Read more from the Del Mar Times here: Del Mar looks to postpone Coastal Commission hearing over sea level rise to July

San Diego sues SDG&E for allegedly delaying water-recycling project:  “The city of San Diego announced Wednesday it is suing San Diego Gas & Electric for around $35 million, alleging the utility’s failure to relocate underground infrastructure is delaying a costly capital project that will provide millions of gallons of drinking water for residents. … ”  Read more from Fox Channel 5 here: San Diego sues SDG&E for allegedly delaying water-recycling project

Along the Colorado River …

A Colorado River Water Primer:  Brian Richter writes, “A good number of my friends and colleagues have complained that my recent blogs about the Colorado River have been too wonky, too geeky. “They’re boring.” “They’re incomprehensible.”  That has inspired me to break it down. Simplify. Create a primer. Here we go! ... ”  Read more from Sustainable Waters here: A Colorado River Water Primer

And lastly …

32 award-winning underwater photos reveal a troupe of tiny seahorses, a hot-pink sea slug, and fish living in beer bottles: “Most of the world is water, and we humans miss out on a lot of the action that happens there.  Luckily, photographers across the globe dive with their cameras to document the creatures we don’t get to see. The Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition has recognized their best work for the last eight years.  The most recent round of awards showcase the beauty and drama of marine life, from playful sea lions to fish that seek shelter in the arms of jellyfish. … ”  Read more and check out photos (and not in some annoying time-consuming slideshow) from Business Insider here:  32 award-winning underwater photos reveal a troupe of tiny seahorses, a hot-pink sea slug, and fish living in beer bottles

Precipitation watch …

Strong and cold NorCal storm Thursday, then a less active late January pattern to follow:  ” … A strong and well-defined winter storm system (classic extratropical cyclone!) is currently located off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, and is slated to bring widespread precipitation to California [today]. Due to a pre-existing cold airmass, this storm is actually expected to produce accumulating snow down to sea level in parts of the Seattle and Vancouver metro areas, though not quite to the degree as earlier model forecasts might have suggested.  … ”  Read more from the California Weather Blog here: Strong and cold NorCal storm Thursday, then a less active late January pattern to follow

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

REACTIONS: Organizations and water agencies react to DWR’s issuance of a Notice of Preparation for the Delta conveyance project.

STATE OF THE ESTUARY: Microplastics Everywhere: Understanding Microplastics in the Bay and Recommended Actions

SCIENCE NEWS: 2019 was 2nd hottest year on record for Earth say NOAA, NASA; Marine heatwave known as ‘the blob’ killed a million US seabirds; Modeling the fall-run chinook salmon lifecycle; Response to fire impacts water levels 40 years into future; and more …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Water Memorandum~ Watershed Report~ Post-fire Course~ Water Tours~ Splash ~~

 

 

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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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