This edition of the weekend Daily Digest is 100% virus-free! 😀 

In California water news this weekend …

Double-edged sword of stormy weather targets California before official start of spring:  “The final days of winter will bring more stormy weather across much of California.  A storm started off the weekend along the northern California coast, helping to produce snow and blizzard conditions across the Cascades and northern Rockies.  The storm will shift south along the California coast early week, bringing precipitation to central and southern California. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here: Double-edged sword of stormy weather targets California before official start of spring

Some good news: after record dry February, a sudden shift toward wetter conditions:  “Most of California experienced its driest February on record in 2020–on the heels of what had already been a very dry start to winter (and autumn before it, at least in Northern California). Many places saw zero precipitation of any kind for the first time in over 100 years of precipitation records–quite a remarkable feat during what is typically one of the wettest months of the year in this part of the world. Temperatures during February were also well above average, with record spring or even summer-like warmth occurring on quite a few days. Sierra Nevada snowpack, already suffering after a dry January, dropped rapidly amid dry and warm conditions. As of today, state-wide snowpack is around 38% of average for the date. ... ”  Read more from the California Weather Blog here:  Some good news: after record dry February, a sudden shift toward wetter conditions

How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike:  ” …  Recharge basins are becoming increasingly popular in overdrafted regions in California, where water managers are seeking solutions to balance groundwater supply and demand to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  Water managers and farmers can use recharge basins — essentially man-made ponds or lakes — to capture excess runoff from increasingly intense winter storms. They can then store the water in the basin for future use or let it permeate into the ground to bolster groundwater levels and avoid issues such as land subsidence and domestic well failure. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here: How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike

Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR:  “In California, groundwater is a precious resource that supports the health of our communities, the economy, and the environment.  Groundwater is critical to ensuring a more resilient water future for California, explained Taryn Ravazzini, Deputy Director, Statewide Groundwater Management, with the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Not only does it represent more than half of the state’s water supply in dry years, it is the only source of drinking and irrigation water for many communities, she added. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

DWR awards $47 million in grants for groundwater sustainability:  “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $47 million in grant funding to 53 applicants to support local agencies in development of plans to manage groundwater basins for long-term sustainability. These grants will support various projects including facilitating community outreach efforts, preparing feasibility studies for proposed actions to restore groundwater supplies, and installing monitoring wells to oversee groundwater levels.  This funding will provide important assistance in successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources. ... ”  Read more from DWR here: DWR awards $47 million in grants for groundwater sustainability

SEE ALSO: State doles out grants to groundwater agencies – except Madera, from SJV Water

Researchers look to improve leak detection for the world’s aging water pipes:  “Across the United States, underground labyrinths of leaky pipes lose more than a trillion gallons of water a year — and the problem is mirrored around the world.  “It’s a huge problem, especially in the cities,” said Daniel Tartakovsky, a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University in California. Tartakovsky and his former student Abdulrahman Alawadhi from the University of California, San Diego have proposed a way to improve a traditional method of detecting these leaks. … ”  Read more from Inside Science here:  Researchers look to improve leak detection for the world’s aging water pipes

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In people news this weekend …

Assemblymember Frazier appointed to Delta Protection Commission:  On March 12th, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Protection Commission, and the Advisory Commission on Special Education. He released the following statement:  “I am honored to be appointed by Speaker Rendon to these very important commissions. My district encompasses almost the entirety of the Delta and I am committed to ensuring that this vital California waterway is clean, free of debris and safe for generations to come.”  The Delta Protection Commission works to protect, maintain, enhance and enrich the overall quality of the Delta environment and economy. (Source: Press release from Assemblymember Frazier’s office)

Erin Curtis, 48, of Carmichael, has been appointed deputy secretary for communications and external affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Curtis has been assistant regional director for external affairs at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento since 2019. She was public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region from 2017 to 2019 and 2014 to 2015, deputy state director for communications at the Bureau of Land Management’s Idaho state office from 2015 to 2017 and chief of the Office of Communications, Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska state office from 2013 to 2014. She was public affairs specialist/public affairs lead for the Bureau of Land Management’s California state office from 2010 to 2013 and public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Western Colorado office from 2009 to 2010. Curtis held multiple positions for the Coast Community College District, including associate vice chancellor for educational services and external affairs from 2005 to 2007 and public affairs director from 2001 to 2005. Curtis earned a Master Public Administration degree from California State University, Long Beach. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $155,008. Curtis is a Democrat.      (Source: Governor’s press release) 

Carol Baker, 68, of Sacramento, has been reappointed to the California Water Commission, where she has served since 2016. Baker was chair of the California Fish and Wildlife Strategic Vision Blue Ribbon Citizen Commission in 2011 and was an independent water policy consultant for Kaufman Consultants in 2009. She served as chief policy consultant for natural resources and environmental protection policy and deputy budget director in the Office of the State Assembly Speaker from 2000 to 2008. Baker held multiple positions at the Department of Finance, including principal budget analyst from 1994 to 2000 and from 1985 to 1992, and staff budget analyst from 1982 to 1985. She was a deputy director for administration and management at the Department of Housing and Community Development from 1992 to 1994. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Baker is a Democrat.  (Source: Governor’s press release.)

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Sunday podcasts …

Lawmakers told Trump’s new water rules will push salmon closer to extinction:  “The Trump Administration’s new rules governing water deliveries will push California’s salmon population closer to extinction. That’s the consensus of experts who testified to a legislative panel. The panel met for its annual review of the condition of the state’s fisheries and the multi-billion-dollar industry that employs nearly twenty-five thousand workers and provides seafood for the world. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.”


Real  Estate and Water:  Steve Baker writes, “Living in a rural residential setting can only be enjoyed when water is present. To what degree does the real estate market recognize its connection with water and what words of wisdom do they have to offer? Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.”  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co

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In commentary this weekend …

Approvals take 40 years and 40 weeks thanks to environmental perfectionists, says Dennis Wyatt:  He writes, “The Big Guy upstairs was pretty disgusted at what he saw was going on in the Central Valley.  So he called on his loyal servant, Noah to build him a Land Ark.  “What for?” Noah asked.  “I need you to ferry my creatures out of the valley so I can start anew by having it rain for 40 days and 40 nights,” the Big Guy replied.  “Wouldn’t it be easy just to let the California Department of Water Resources continue doing what it’s doing in the name of flood control?” Noah responded. “Give them time and they’ll do your work.” … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Approvals take 40 years and 40 weeks thanks to environmental perfectionists

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In regional news and commentary this weekend …

Klamath: 2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court:  “Agricultural producers in the Klamath Project have taken the water “takings” case to the highest court in the land.  Somach Simmons & Dunn from Sacramento, along with Timothy Bishop of the law firm Mayer Brown, filed a petition on the decision related to the class action case with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. Roger and Nancie Marzulla, of Marzulla Law, who both worked on the case for many years, have withdrawn as counsel on the case. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here: Klamath: 2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court

Klamath dam removal project takes next step forward:  “The nonprofit organization, Klamath River Renewal Corporation, tasked with removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, submitted budget information about the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Feb. 28.  In the Feb. 28 filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) submitted updated cost information, including the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) submitted by Kiewit Infrastructure West (Kiewit) and Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES), and other requested material that further demonstrate KRRC’s capacity to become licensee for the Lower Klamath Project (Project). … ”  Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here: Klamath dam removal project takes next step forward

Owens Valley Groundwater Authority shrinks, major players pick up the financial slack:  “The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority board will need a much smaller table to seat the six remaining members when it meets this afternoon in the Bishop City Council chambers. But, that number could change with the addition of organizations that have been eager for a place at the table.  Tri-Valley Groundwater Management District and Wheeler Crest Community Service District were the latest to drop out of the Authority. The districts won’t participate in the OVGA, but will still have to comply with the sustainability plan. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley Groundwater Authority shrinks, major players pick up the financial slack

Santa Barbara: Pipeline owner agrees to pay $60M over 2015 California spill:  “The owner of an oil pipeline that spewed thousands of barrels of crude oil onto Southern California beaches in 2015 will pay $60 million to to settle allegations that it violated safety laws, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday.  Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline didn’t admit any wrongdoing or liability in the consent decree that will end a lawsuit filed on behalf of federal and state agencies. But it agreed to operational changes and to five years of federal and state scrutiny to ensure it is obeying the pollution and safety rules. ... ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Pipeline owner agrees to pay $60M over 2015 California spill

Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules:  “The levels of PFAS found are above the state-mandated response level, according to Kathie Martin, public information officer for Santa Clarita Valley Water.  “We promised early on in the process that if we exceed those levels we’ll shut down,” Martin said. “SCV Water has taken proactive steps to protect public health by voluntarily removing 13 of its groundwater wells from service.” … ”  Read more from KHTS here: Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules

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Along the Colorado River …

Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says:  “Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt is speaking out about widespread problems of excessive groundwater pumping in rural areas of Arizona, saying the state Legislature should give counties and communities the power to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.  Babbitt appealed for action during a visit this week to the Willcox area, where heavy pumping for farms has led to falling water tables and left a growing number of families with dry wells. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says

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Precipitation watch …

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

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Image credit: Tioga Lake, photo by Don Graham via Flickr.

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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