WEEKLY CA WATER NEWS DIGEST for March 15-20: David Orth on SGMA implementation in the Valley; What’s on tap for CA infrastructure; and more …

A list of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …

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This week’s featured articles …

SGMA IMPLEMENTATION: David Orth gives his observations on how SGMA implementation is playing out in the San Joaquin Valley

David Orth is the principal of New Current Water and Land, which offers strategic planning, program implementation, and water resource development services.  At the California Irrigation Institute’s 2020 Annual Conference, he gave his observations having watched Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) form and develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014.

New Current Water and Land is a small strategic planning shop that combines experience in water engineering, finance, district management, and water law to create a strategic planning platform.  Their clients are from the farming community, the investment community, and the lending community.  They also work with one environmental NGO.  Over the last several years, they have monitored over 60 GSAs on behalf on that client base in over 40 subbasins, including about 15 of the 21 subbasins that are considered critically overdrafted.

Click here to read this article.

KERN COUNTY WATER SUMMIT: Infrastructure: What’s on Tap for California

Armando Quintero, chair of the California Water Commission, gives an update on the Water Storage Investment Program, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the Water Resiliency Portfolio

The California Water Commission consists of 9 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.  Seven members are chosen for their expertise related to the control, storage, and beneficial use of water and 2 are chosen for their knowledge of the environment.  The California Water Commission has numerous responsibilities, and in 2014, the Commission was tasked with allocating $2.7 billion of Prop 1 funds earmarked for water storage projects.  At the 2020 Kern County Water Summit, Chair Armando Quintero spoke about the role of the Water Commission, gave an update on the Water Storage Investment Program and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and spoke of their new role defined in the water resiliency portfolio.

Click here to read this article.

GUEST COMMENTARY: A new threat to California Streams: Will the rush to develop our newest water source destroy more streams?

Commentary by North Coast Stream Flow Coalition, written by Felice Pace, Policy Advisor

The first plans implementing California’s landmark groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA, have been submitted to the California Department of Water Resources.  They are for portions of the state where groundwater is “critically over-drafted,” a situation the plans are supposed to reverse. Some of the plans call for diverting flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage as a means to comply with SGMA while allowing the maximum amount of irrigated and animal agriculture to continue.

Click here to read this article.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Significant progress being made in implementing the state’s groundwater law

Guest commentary by Geoff Vanden Heuvel, Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs, Milk Producers Council:

I remember being surprised when attending a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting and I first saw a schematic that visually depicted the various levels of groundwater underneath one of the Central Valley’s numerous subbasins. There was a horizontal line going across the chart that said “base of freshwater”.  Beneath the freshwater line there was another line labeled “top of basement”.  I asked the subbasin hydrologist about what occupied the space between those lines and he explained that it was ancient salt water that occupied the lowest depths of the aquifer.  He said a study done decades ago had identified that the salt water was there, but they were now guessing about exactly where, because other than that one study done many years ago, no one had a reason to drill down into it to attempt to characterize it.  Why does this matter? If you are going to estimate how much fresh water is contained in a groundwater basin, you need to know how deep it is.

Click here to read this article.

In water news this week from around the web …

WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: Double-edged sword of stormy weather targets CA; Building recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike; Lawmakers told Trump’s new water rules will push salmon closer to extinction; and more … READ IT HERE:  Weekend Daily Digest

MONDAY:  ‘Miracle March’: Sierra Nevada pummeled by feet of snow; Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates seeks a breakthrough at the Salton Sea; Tensions emerge as a top Arizona official discusses tribes’ unresolved water claims; and more … READ IT HERE: Monday’s Daily Digest

TUESDAY: ‘Miners’ pull lead bullets from the Santa Ana River, is it helping?; Valley water district employee tests positive for coronavirus; Could coronavirus collide with wildfire season?; CSPA sues over groundwater sustainability plan; and more … READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

WEDNESDAY: Coronavirus doesn’t jeopardize tap water, but it might be carried in raw sewage; Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA; Cattle ranchers cope with dry pastures; 12 cities with the worst tap water in the US; and more … READ IT HERE: Wednesday’s Daily Digest

THURSDAY: ‘March Miracle’ continues as several storms queue up for CA; Butte County expresses concerns over Delta tunnel project; Ag water use accounting provides path for surface water use solutions; and more … READ IT HERE: Thursday’s Daily Digest

FRIDAY:  The West is in an expanding 20-year drought that a ‘March Miracle’ will do little to change; Toilet paper shortages caused by coronavirus blamed for spike in raw sewage spills; Madera sub basin loses $500,000 due to lack of coordination agreement; and more …  READ IT HERE: Friday’s Daily Digest

Other news items this week …

DWR GROUNDWATER REPORT: Groundwater Levels Continue to Rebound from Last Drought

NOTICE: Delta Conveyance Project scoping comment period extended to April 17, 2020

Weekly features …

BLOG ROUND-UP: New science or just spin: science charade in the Delta; NRDC’s response to the Climate Resilient Water Portfolio; Delta Defenders calls for pause in Delta tunnel stakeholder engagement process; Scientists must learn how to interact with Indigenous people; and more …

SCIENCE NEWS: Environmental flows in CA; Microplastics found in fish; Environmental DNA; New app for wetland data; and more …

Other publications …

ESTUARY NEWS: Deep dive into the science of salmon telemetry; Dam removals and retrofits on the Klamath River and Alameda Creek; Water recycling via IRWM in the Pajaro Valley; and more …

CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE: Watershed-level water accounting; Rethinking responses to food safety outbreaks in leafy greens; Reducing runoff with cover crops and mulch; and more …

Funding opportunities this week …

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: 2020 Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) for the Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program

Announcements this week …

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2020 Website Relaunch – California Salmon Snapshots is now the State of Salmon in California

SWP CONTRACT AMENDMENT: Negotiations to extend into April

NOTICE: Update from the Delta Conveyance Project: In Response to Ongoing Public Health and Safety Concerns

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~OEHHA Workshop~ FIRO Forecasts~ Floodplain Management~ Habitat Grants~ Interim Rule~ Sierra Meadows ~~

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Cancelled Events~ DPC Postponement~ IEP Postponement~ Career Fair~ Conservancy Meeting ~~

DWR’s SGMO NEWS: DWR operations continue; Update on annual report submittals; Statewide groundwater level change report and dot maps available; and more …

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