DAILY DIGEST, 2/20: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue; Western snowpack is in great shape, except the Sierra; Class action lawsuit filed over water rates; and more …

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On the calendar today …

  • The Central Valley Regional Water Board meets at 9:00 am.  Agenda item include consideration of renewal of waiver for waste discharge requirements for small food processors, wineries and related agricultural processors within the Central Valley, Central Valley Water Board enforcement program mid-year update, Delta Mercury Exposure Reduction program update, and an update on the Eastern San Joaquin surface water framework expert panel review.  For agenda, meeting materials, and webcast link, click here.
  • EPA Webinar: Understanding State Requirements for America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) Section 2018 from 10am to 11:30am:  This webinar series, held monthly, will highlight the role water agencies have in enhancing security and resilience of the water sector. On October 23, 2018, America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) was signed into law, amending numerous provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. AWIA also amended the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).   This webinar, the first in the series, “Partnering for Security and Resilience,” will discuss the spill notification requirements, including the roles of SERCs, TERCs, LEPCs, and applicable state agencies in spill notification, and chemical data availability requirements. Click here to register.
  • Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, Board of Directors Meeting from 2pm to 5:30pmFor more information, click here.
  • PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING: Delta Conveyance Environmental Review in Brentwood from 6pm to 8pm. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will initiate the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California.  Read the full Delta Conveyance Notice of Preparation.

 

In California water news today …

TRUMP VISIT

Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue:  “Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley.  Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”  The announcement came just minutes before Trump appeared in Bakersfield to announce he’s finalized an order removing regulatory roadblocks and enabling the giant Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to deliver additional water to the southern half of the state. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Fact check: Trump says California is rationing water. Here’s what’s really going on:  “President Donald Trump had a lot to say about his efforts to fight off water rationing in California Wednesday before a cheering crowd of farmers in Bakersfield tired of seeing their water deliveries reduced to protect endangered fish.  But Trump’s claims — about how much of California’s water flows to the Pacific Ocean, and claims the state had set limits on daily water — left out key nuances that make his statements misleading. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Fact check: Trump says California is rationing water. Here’s what’s really going on

Trump delivers water promise to San Joaquin Valley. That’s not how Newsom sees it:  “Thousands of people stood in line at Meadows Field Airport and packed a private hangar for President Donald Trump’s visit Wednesday where he said he’s fulfilling his promise to deliver much-needed water for San Joaquin Valley farmers.  The president arrived on stage around 3 p.m. to deliver remarks and sign a document from the Department of the Interior that could allow more water to flow through the Delta to southern regions in California.  “I’m going to be signing a very important piece of legislation that is going to give you a lot of water, a lot of dam, and a lot of everything,” the president said in opening remarks.  Just before Trump’s announcement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled the state’s opposition to the federal plan. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Trump delivers water promise to San Joaquin Valley. That’s not how Newsom sees it

Trump brings more water — and himself — to Central Valley farmers:  “President Trump swooped into California farm country Wednesday and, with a flourish, signed off on a plan that would take water away from fish and ship more to farmers in the Central Valley.  A crowd of several hundred farmers cheered inside an airplane hangar at Meadows Field Airport, northwest of Bakersfield, as Trump finalized a federal plan, known as a biological opinion, that loosens restrictions on water deliveries to growers in the region. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Trump brings more water — and himself — to Central Valley farmers

Trump vows more water for Central Valley farmers, less for fish. Can he deliver?  “Following a golf fundraiser outside Palm Springs, President Trump swung through Bakersfield on Wednesday to claim credit for sending “a magnificent amount” of water to Central Valley farms.  As a cheering crowd of supporters watched, Trump signed a memo directing federal agencies to move ahead with relaxed endangered species protections that have curbed water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and the urban Southland.  Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s administration said Wednesday that it would challenge the federal action in court. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Trump vows more water for Central Valley farmers, less for fish. Can he deliver?

Trump to Calif. farmers: Here’s more water: “The Trump administration is catering to California’s water-dependent farmers and some of the president’s closest congressional allies by finalizing plans to open up the taps for thirsty cotton fields, pistachio orchards and field crops at the potential expense of fish.  In a record of decision polished for a ceremonial signing today, President Trump commits to delivering additional irrigation water to farms south of the state’s ecologically sensitive and hydrologically crucial Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.  “The new plan of how we move water, manage water and allocate water is based on new technology, better science, real-time monitoring [and] temperature-control science,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said yesterday. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: 🔓Trump to Calif. farmers: Here’s more water

Trump bashes California leaders during Bakersfield visit to celebrate new water rules:  “President Donald Trump on Wednesday dropped into one of the few regions in California that has embraced his presidency to celebrate new federal rules delivering more water to Central Valley farmers and rolling back protections for fish.  Trump basked in the cheers from 2,000 supporters in an airplane hangar on the outskirts of the agriculture- and oil-focused city represented by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, immediately taking aim at the state’s Democratic leaders in Sacramento.  “What they’re doing to your state is a disgrace,” Trump said. “After decades of failure and delays in ensuring critical water rights for the people of the state, we are determined to finally get your problems solved.” … ”  Read more from Politico here: 🔓Trump bashes California leaders during Bakersfield visit to celebrate new water rules

SEE ALSO:

OTHER STATEWIDE NEWS

Western snowpack is in great shape, except the Sierra:  “While much of the eastern U.S. has been basking in a mild winter, parts of the West that thrive on winter recreation are loving repeated mountain snowfall events.  The season has been looking very good for most areas, with the exception of the Sierra, where an extended period of recent dry conditions has brought up the “D” word – drought – again. … ”  Read more from the Weather Channel here: 🔓Western snowpack is in great shape, except the Sierra

How dismal is California’s snowpack? These photos tell a grim story:  “Side-by-side satellite photos show the difference a year can make when it comes to California’s vital snowpack in Sierra Nevada Mountain range.  The photos show the mountains covered in snow at this time last year following a conveyor belt of storms that brought steady snowfall throughout the winter. A photo taken Feb. 17 of this year illustrates the dreadful condition of the snowpack, which provides water for about 30 percent of California. ... ”  Read more from NBC LA here:  🔓How dismal is California’s snowpack? These photos tell a grim story

Online tool assesses drought risk for residents on private wells, public water systems:  “California is doing more to preserve its groundwater levels than ever before, but a new, interactive tool by a local water advocacy group suggests it may not be enough.  Last Wednesday, Visalia-based Community Water Center (CWC), an organization that strives to educate, organize and solve water problems in disadvantaged communities, argueD that California will experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change. This will cause drinking water supplies for vulnerable communities to run dry or become contaminated, directly threatening California’s ability to secure safe and affordable drinking water for all of its residents. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  Online tool assesses drought risk for residents on private wells, public water systems

Metropolitan’s in-house water conservation ad campaign spoofs movies and cringeworthy comics:  “They’ve already heard the stereotypes—that a public affairs office of a government agency isn’t the first place you’d think of going for creative advertising.   Yet, the employees at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California just created a campaign that is as memorable as anything out of Playa Vista, at a fraction of the cost. These “bureaucrats” conceptualized, storyboarded, cast and rented the cameras to shoot a new campaign about water conservation. Then, the employees devised media strategy and placed most of the spots themselves.   Being in Los Angeles meant there were plenty of Hollywood dreamers ready to write and art-direct, along with departments of people volunteering to be extras. … ”  Read more from Campaign US here: 🔓Metropolitan’s in-house campaign spoofs movies and cringeworthy comics

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In national/world news today …

Trump budget calls for slashing funds to climate science centers:  “President Trump’s budget proposes closing a network of climate science centers, prompting concerns the administration will hamstring climate change research while booting employees from the federal workforce.  Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget would slash funding for the National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers, eliminating all $38 million for research to help wildlife and humans “adapt to a changing climate.”  Rather than fund all eight regional centers along with the national one, the budget instead calls for just one center, at a cost of $20 million. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: 🔓Trump budget calls for slashing funds to climate science centers

Trump admin’s clean water rollback will hit some states hard:  “The Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife, irrigation, recreation and other cultural uses, and provides 40% of the water supply for the city of Santa Fe’s 85,000 residents.  But some stretches of the river don’t flow year-round, and that means parts of this vitally important water system could lose federal protections under changes to clean-water rules just passed by the Trump administration. … ”  Read more from The Revelator here: 🔓Trump admin’s clean water rollback will hit some states hard

How warming winters are affecting everything:  “Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it’s causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.  Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn’t spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.  “The cold seasons are warming faster than the warm seasons,” says Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “The colder times of day are warming faster than warmer times of day. And the colder places are warming faster than the warmer places.” … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here:  🔓How warming winters are affecting everything

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Legal briefs …

Class action lawsuit filed over water rates:  Eighty-one people filed a class action against 🔓80 California cities and water districts, claiming they charge water rates that exceed the cost of service, in violation of voter-approved Proposition 218, of 1996, in Santa Clara County Court.  Via Courthouse News.

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In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath Project farmers say question marks loom over coming season:  “Now is usually the time of year when Brad Kirby, manager of the Tulelake Irrigation District in northern California, starts getting phone calls from farmers and ranchers asking about water availability for the spring and summer growing seasons.  This year, however, he said he has no idea what to tell them.  Tulelake is the largest irrigation district within the federally operated Klamath Project straddling the Oregon-California border. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for determining the project’s annual water supply, which Kirby said this year remains a question mark. … ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Klamath Project farmers say question marks loom over coming season

KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems:  “Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou County have continued fighting to keep them in place. Many dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about an alternative fish passage technology the association believes could “make it possible” for the dams to remain. But the Klamath River Renewal Corporation – the nonprofit organization responsible for decommissioning the dams – stated that a fish passage solution fails to address other issues that led to the dam removal decision. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: KRRC says fish passage system ‘doesn’t address’ other dam problems

‘Unlike any disaster we have ever seen,’ says state agency about rising seas in Bay Area:  “An investigation by NBC Bay Area has found more than two dozen major construction projects worth billions of dollars – either recently completed or still in development or – located in areas along San Francisco Bay that scientific computer models show will be flooded or surrounded by water by 2050 or earlier.  The developments include everything from retail and office buildings, to entertainment facilities and housing developments. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: 🔓‘Unlike any disaster we have ever seen,’ says state agency about rising seas in Bay Area

Discovery Bay: Groups working to uproot algae:  “If you live in Discovery Bay or the surrounding Delta area, harmful algae blooms (HAB) are a well-known and unwelcome presence each summer, but several local organizations are hard at work, actively searching for a solution to the pernicious water weeds.  Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta (RTD) — an organization that serves as a watchdog agency in defense of the Delta — said two things need to happen before control of the algal blooms can be obtained. ... ”  Read more from The Press here: Groups working to uproot algae

Lindsay plant to convert sewage to hydrogen fuel:  “A new project is being proposed in the city of Lindsay to convert a contaminated and polluting plot of land into a renewable source of fuel.  Ergostech, a renewable energy company, plans to develop a hydrogen production facility near the city’s waste water treatment facility that will convert sewer waste into bio-hydrogen. Hydrogen is an important component for many industries for uses including making vegetable oil, ammonia, rocket fuel, welding fuel, inflating weather balloons for scientific research, cryogenics and fuel. The hydrogen produced in Lindsay will primarily be used to power farm equipment, backup generators, heavy duty trucks, forklifts and passenger vehicles. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun Gazette here: Lindsay plant to convert sewage to hydrogen fuel

Ridgecrest: Meters, geothermal project discussion planned for Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meeting:  “The first read of a meter ordinance and letter of concern about the Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area project are among the primary topics for the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors when it meets Thursday at 10 a.m at Ridgecrest City Hall council chambers, 100 W. California Ave.  According to the released agenda, the proposed ordinance will the installation and reporting of meters on all groundwater extraction facilities defined in the ordinance. … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Meters, geothermal project discussion planned for Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority meeting

Hermosa Beach launches VR project to show effects of sea level rise:  “It’s one thing to hear “three feet of sea-level rise.” It’s quite another to see the waves overtake your favorite volleyball court.  The difference between those two experiences is at the heart of Look Ahead Hermosa Beach, a new, city-sponsored initiative that uses immersive, virtual reality technology to show what Hermosa’s beaches and coastal attractions would look like under various scenarios of rising sea levels associated with climate change. Hermosa officials are betting the experience of seeing beloved places transformed by the ocean will help bring home the seriousness of rising sea levels, and perhaps lessen some of the resistance that has limited the city’s previous efforts to address climate change. ... ”  Read more from the Easy Reader here:  🔓Hermosa Beach launches VR project to show effects of sea level rise

Coastal Commission prepares to order removal of unpermitted beach encroachments in Newport:  “The California Coastal Commission is prepared to formally begin ordering the removal of private property on the public beach abutting oceanfront homes on the far east end of the Balboa Peninsula, seven months after the commission rejected a request by Newport Beach to allow some of the long-standing but unpermitted permanent encroachments on the sand — what one commissioner called “squatting by the rich.”  ... ” Read more from the LA Times here:  Coastal Commission prepares to order removal of unpermitted beach encroachments in Newport

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And lastly …

Ballot-initiative effort to move eastern Oregon counties and some of Northern California to Idaho gains momentum; leader calls it ‘peaceful revolution’: “Talk of secession is in the air — always.  The Cascadia movement has been around for years in the Pacific Northwest, inspired in part by Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 utopian novel “Ecotopia,” while others in the region call for a conservative, rural-centric state of Jefferson.  Mike McCarter doesn’t think anything will come of these efforts.  “I’m a proponent of the state of Jefferson,” the retired La Pine nurseryman says. “But I don’t see it happening.” … McCarter is one of the leaders of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho. The goal, as the group’s name suggests, is to flip Oregon’s eastern counties into Idaho. … ”  Read more from the Oregonian here: Ballot-initiative effort to move eastern Oregon counties and some of Northern California to Idaho gains momentum; leader calls it ‘peaceful revolution’

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: Water rights permitting options for groundwater recharge projects

ACWA/State Water Board webinar presentation outlines temporary and permanent options, including a new streamlined permitting pathway for standard water rights permits

Almost five years ago, in the midst of a historic drought, the legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA).  The centerpiece of the legislation is the principle of local groundwater basin management, requiring the establishment of local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (or GSAs) and the preparation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (or GSPs) for groundwater basins statewide.  The plans detail how the basin will be managed to avoid undesirable results, such as salt water intrusion or land subsidence, and to achieve sustainability managed basins over a 20 year planning and implementation horizon.

As many groundwater basins work to achieve sustainability, many if not most will look to groundwater recharge as a tool to help balance supplies and demands.  At a webinar held at the end of last year, State Water Board staff discussed new permitting options for Groundwater Sustainability Agencies pursuing recharge projects.

Click here to read this article.

And more on Maven’s Notebook …

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Image credit: CA streamflow assessment map, courtesy of Belize Lane.   From this paper: Lane, B. A., Dahlke, H. E., Pasternack, G. B., & Sandoval‐Solis, S. (2017). Revealing the diversity of natural hydrologic regimes in California with relevance for environmental flows applications. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association53(2), 411-430.

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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