DAILY DIGEST, 4/7: What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley?; CA might ban sportfishing in some areas to prevent coronavirus spread; Rain, mountain snow to continue through Thursday; NASA snow report; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The Delta Independent Science Board meets at 9am.  The teleconference meeting will be audio recorded and the live audio feed will be available via WebEx (Password: DeltaISB). Upon entering the webcast, you should hear the audio out of your computer and see the presentation on your screen.  Agenda items include the Delta Lead Scientist’s Report, Discussion and Potential Action on the draft memorandum on Ecology During Rapid Environmental Change, and updates on various program reviews.  Click here for the full meeting notice and agenda.
  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets at 9:30am.  Agenda items include an update on current hydrologic conditions, an update on urban water conservation, consideration of a proposed resolution on general waste discharge requirements for commercial composting operations and associated general order, and a public workshop on the definition of microplastics in drinking water.  Click here for the full agendaClick here for the webcast.  Meeting will be held by webcast only.

In California water news today …

What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley? SGMA requires water users to bring their groundwater basins into long-term balance over the next two decades. Although there are no easy solutions, the math is simple: bringing these basins into balance will require expanding water supplies, reducing water demands, or a combination of these two approaches.  Our in-depth study of water solutions for the San Joaquin Valley found that about a quarter of the region’s 1.8 million acre-feet (maf) of annual overdraft could be filled with new supplies at a cost that local water users can afford. Among supply options, by far the most promising approach is expanding groundwater recharge: storing more of the runoff from large storms in underground aquifers. Filling the remaining three-quarters of the gap will likely require demand reductions. Since agriculture is the predominant water user, this will entail taking some farmland—at least 500,000 acres—out of production. Giving farmers the flexibility to trade water—so it can be used on the most productive lands—can reduce the costs of ending overdraft by two-thirds. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley? 

California poised to ban sportfishing in some areas. Rural towns worried about coronavirus spread:  “California is poised to close the spring sportfishing season in some counties in response to worries that anglers will spread COVID-19 to rural communities.  The state’s Fish and Game Commission will meet via teleconference Thursday to decide whether to grant emergency powers to Charlton Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The move would give him the authority to postpone the sportfishing season through May in certain areas, Bonham said Monday in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California poised to ban sportfishing in some areas. Rural towns worried about coronavirus spread

California rain, mountain snow to continue through Thursday:  “A slow-moving storm system will bring more rain and mountain snow to parts of California through Thursday, and could trigger flash flooding in the Mojave Desert, including some of America’s typically driest places.  This large gyre of low pressure spinning just off the California coast has sent waves of precipitation into California since last weekend. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: California rain, mountain snow to continue through Thursday

Climate change has doubled riskiest fire days in California:  “Climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires, according to research released yesterday.  An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Climate change has doubled riskiest fire days in California

‘Hella connected’: How California lawmakers are governing from home:  “When criminal justice advocates got together recently to lobby California lawmakers for changes to the state’s prison system, they gathered as so many of us do these days: on a video conference.  With the state under government orders to stay home to curb the spread of coronavirus, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer listened to the advocates’ pitches — for bills related to parole and wages for incarcerated workers — and then delivered some blunt news.  “We cannot carry the bill load that we’ve had in the past,” the Los Angeles Democrat told them. “We just won’t have the capacity to handle everything.” ... ”  Read more from Capitol Public Radio here: ‘Hella connected’: How California lawmakers are governing from home

Groundwater sustainability planning undeterred by COVID-19:  “COVID-19 has forced many of us to find creative ways of working together while sheltering in place. For California’s new groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), that means bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders in virtual forums to develop and implement state-mandated groundwater sustainability plans. We talked to Dave Ceppos—who, as managing senior mediator at Sacramento State’s Consensus and Collaboration Program, is working with many GSAs—about how the pandemic is affecting the complex public outreach process required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  Groundwater sustainability planning undeterred by COVID-19

Environmental coalition urges California governor to maintain water quality regulations during covid-19 crisis:  Restore the Delta writes, “Following last week’s sweeping announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will suspend enforcement of environmental protection laws due to the current COVID-19 crisis, California environmental groups urge Governor Newsom not to follow the federal government’s lead.  The Chair of the California Senate Committee on Transportation has already asked the California Air Resources Board to delay existing regulatory requirements and suspend the development of future regulations related to air quality. Environmental groups are wary that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards) will be similarly asked to relax regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 crisis. ... ”  Read more from Restore the Delta here: Environmental coalition urges California governor to maintain water quality regulations during covid-19 crisis

CSPA and coalition oppose waiver of Clean Water Act:  “CSPA and allies in the Foothills Water Network have filed a Response in Opposition to Yuba Water Agency’s Request for Waiver of water quality certification for the Yuba River Development Project.  The Network filed its letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 2, 2020.  Waiver of certification would place a 40-to-50-year restriction on the state of California’s ability to regulate operation of this huge hydroelectric project on the Yuba River.  FERC is conducting a proceeding to relicense the Yuba River Development Project. … ”  Read more from the CSPA here: CSPA and coalition oppose waiver of Clean Water Act

Public notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for Dam Replacement and Tricolored Blackbird Habitat Enhancement at Frisky Lake, Yuba County, California:  “Beale Air Force Base announces their intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment for the proposed dam replacement and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement project. Project activities would: 1) replace Frisky Lake dam and spillway in order to increase the storage capacity of Frisky Lake to 500 acre-feet; and 2) create and/or enhance 12 acres of potential nesting habitat to benefit the tricolored blackbird. As part of the Proposed Action, the Air Force is considering a No Action Alternative, Alternative 1 (replacement of the dam and spillway and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement), and Alternative 2 (replacement of the dam and spillway at an upstream location and tricolored blackbird habitat enhancement). … ”  Read more from YubaNet here: Public notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for Dam Replacement and Tricolored Blackbird Habitat Enhancement at Frisky Lake, Yuba County, California

Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocation for Friant Division:  “Today, the Bureau of Reclamation updated the water supply allocation for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts for the 2020 contract year. … Friant Division contractors’ water supply develops in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin Watershed and is delivered from Millerton Lake through Friant Dam to the Madera Canal and Friant-Kern Canal. Friant Division water supply is divided into two classifications: Class 1 and Class 2. The first 800,000 acre-feet of available water supply is considered Class 1. Class 2 is considered the next amount of available water supply up to 1.4 million acre-feet. Given the current hydrologic conditions, Reclamation is increasing the Class 1 allocation from 20% to 40%; Class 2 remains at 0%. ... ”  Read the full press release here: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocation for Friant Division

Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin:  “The Colorado River Basin is the lifeblood of the West, providing water to more than 40 million people in seven U.S. states and two states in Mexico. Irrigation using Colorado River water generates an estimated $8 billion annually in agricultural products like winter vegetables, cotton, and cattle and dairy. In addition, recreation along the river and its tributary streams (boating, swimming, hiking, camping, etc.) contributes $17 billion per year to local economies. All in all, the Colorado River supports $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity and 16 million jobs across the western U.S., according to a recent study done by The Nature Conservancy.  Yet, the Colorado River Basin faces many water challenges that threaten its economic—and social and ecological—vitality. … ”  Read more from the Pacific Institute here:  Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin

Return to top

Precipitation watch ...

Snow Water Equivalent Report, April 1st: From Noah Molotch, Leanne Lestak, Keith Musselman, and Kehan Yang at University of Colorado/INSTAAR & CWEST, and NASA:  “The April 1, 2020  Real time SWE Report (in PDF format) for the Sierra Nevada Mountains is now available. The regional summary map (first figure in the report) shows the mean SWE above 5000′ elevation for three major regions of the Sierra Nevada. As of April 1, regional average SWE are below average across the Sierra, with percent of average SWE increasing substantially since the last report and ranging from 87% in the north, 72% in the central and 54% in the southern Sierra.”

20200401_RT_SWE_Report

 

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

BLOG ROUND-UP: The lawlessness of the Trump Admin hits #CaWater; Backfire! Newsom hoped the state contractors and Met would side with him but they didn’t; Delta Smelt recovery strategies update; Day Zero for the Colorado River; and more …

Return to top

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: