DAILY DIGEST, 5/1: Thin Sierra snowpack heralds expanding drought; Dry year, not politics, behind 15% water allocation; Can CA’s kelp forests be saved?; Which type of billion-dollar weather disaster has occurred most frequently in each state since 1980; and more …
Thin Sierra snowpack heralds expanding drought in California: “California received some much-needed precipitation in March and April, a reprieve from a winter of clear skies, but it was not enough. In its final snow survey of the season, the California Department of Water Resources reported the Sierra snowpack is only 37% of the average for this date, meaning the prospect of drought continues to loom over the state. “March and April storms brought needed snow to the Sierras, with the snowpack reaching its peak on April 9, however, those gains were not nearly enough to offset a very dry January and February,” said Sean de Guzman, who runs the survey for Department of Water Resources. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Thin Sierra snowpack heralds expanding drought in California
Dry year, not politics, behind 15-percent water allocation: “Water may be highly political but dry is dry. And California is exceedingly dry this year, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth told SJV Water in explaining the state’s low 15-percent allocation for farms and cities that rely on water from the State Water Project. Given the results of Thursday’s final snow survey in northern California, the state will most likely stick with that 15 percent allocation, Nemeth said. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Dry year, not politics, behind 15-percent water allocation
Calif. agencies sue state as irrigation war escalates: “California water agencies yesterday sued the state over endangered species protections they claim threaten their ability to provide water to more than 25 million residents and thousands of acres of farmland. The lawsuit is an extraordinary step, underscoring that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) now has multiple crises on his plate: the coronavirus pandemic and a rapidly devolving water war. At issue is water shipped from California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta east of San Francisco, south via the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, canals and aqueducts. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Calif. agencies sue state as irrigation war escalates
FERC issues declaratory order finding waiver of State Section 401 authority: “On April 16, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued yet another order finding that the California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) waived its authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to issue a water quality certification (WQC) in the ongoing relicensing of Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) Yuba-Bear Hydroelectric Project. NID filed its petition in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s (D.C. Circuit) decision in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC and FERC’s subsequent declaratory order in Placer County Water Agency. … ” Read more from the National Law Review here: Hydro Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 5
Delta Stewardship Council appoints new lead scientist: “Dr. Laurel Larsen,an expert in hydroecology, landscape dynamics, complex environmental systems, and environmental restoration,was unanimouslyappointed by the Delta Stewardship Council on Thursday (April 30) as lead scientist. Most recently, Dr. Larsen has served as an associate professor of the Department of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. ... ” Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here: Delta Stewardship Council appoints new lead scientist
California’s critical kelp forests are disappearing in a warming world. Can they be saved? “Kelp need our help. Which is why an unprecedented alliance of scientists, fishers, surfers, entrepreneurs, and experts is coming together to revive California’s vital kelp ecosystem, decimated by a warming ocean. “The California coast without kelp is like the Amazon without trees,” says Tom Ford, executive director of the Bay Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Santa Monica Bay and its coastal waters. … ” Read more from National Geographic here: California’s critical kelp forests are disappearing in a warming world. Can they be saved?
Here’s which type of billion-dollar weather disaster has occurred most frequently in each state since 1980: “Billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, such as those from severe thunderstorms, wildfires and tropical cyclones, have affected every U.S. state since 1980, and a new tool developed by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) shows us how often each type of disaster has occurred in each state over the last 40 years. In the map above, each color represents the disaster that occurred most frequently in a given state between 1980 and March 2020, and the numbers denote how many times that particular disaster occurred in the last 40 years. ... ” Read more from The Weather Channel here: Here’s which type of billion-dollar weather disaster has occurred most frequently in each state since 1980
Uniting to combat water shortages across the country: “A clean and reliable water supply is critical to our nation’s future, but freshwater is a finite resource. Through innovation, science and proven conservation practices, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working to develop new tools and technologies to help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners conserve and protect our natural resources, like our freshwater supply. ... ” Read more from the USDA here: Uniting to combat water shortages across the country
Pandemic & the future: from darkness to the light in the water sector: “Throughout history, great challenges often reveal the best in human spirit and ingenuity. At Moonshot Missions, we believe the impact of the coronavirus pandemic upon on the water industry will be matched by the indomitable spirit and creativity of water leaders. Solutions adopted by necessity now will lead to remarkable results: permanent and extraordinary changes in how we protect our water workforce and infrastructure, even during a crisis like the current one, to preserve and deliver our precious water resources. Challenges from this pandemic are not new in and of themselves, but they have manifested to an unprecedented degree and projected duration. The purpose of this article is to present the good and hopeful news that solutions we are implementing by necessity today can help achieve permanent improvements for the future. … ” Continue reading at Water Finance & Management here: Pandemic & the future: from darkness to the light in the water sector
Why State Water Contractors sued California over restrictions on water deliveries: Jennifer Pierre writes, “For more than a decade, the State Water Contractors have heavily invested in scientific research to learn more about the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the endangered species that call it home. Much of this investment worked to resolve lingering questions surrounding permits issued in 2008 and 2009 for the long-term operation of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project. Having spent $50 million annually this past decade, we now better understand how water operations affect the Delta ecosystem. And with that understanding we can operate the statewide water system to achieve the co-equal goals of providing safe and reliable water supplies while protecting and restoring the environment. For us, better science is the only path that can achieve those two important goals. ... ” Read more from CalMatters here: Why State Water Contractors sued California over restrictions on water deliveries
Tahoe Conservancy launches restoration of Lake Tahoe’s largest wetland: “The California Tahoe Conservancy announced Tuesday that construction has begun on restoring the Upper Truckee River Marsh, the largest wetland restoration project in the history of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The marsh is a popular recreation area and home to more than 600 acres of wetlands that serve as a natural filter for pollutants that damage the lake’s famed clarity. “This project has been a basin priority for decades,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, in a press release. “It also demonstrates how much we’ve learned during that time about the importance of rivers and their floodplains to the health of the lake and the Basin’s ecotourism-based economy.” … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Tahoe Conservancy launches restoration of Lake Tahoe’s largest wetland
Montecito Water District poised to be drought proof: “The Montecito Water District is set to be drought-proof by the summer, the district announced Monday. The progress is due to desalination and new rates, which the district’s board of directors received a status report on as well as a water supply agreement with the city of Santa Barbara during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday. “These projects remain on schedule to be completed and ready for Board consideration in June,” said General Manager Nick Turner. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara News-Press here: Montecito Water District poised to be drought proof
Fullerton enters into agreement with water district for PFAS treatment: “Council voted 5-0 to approve a 30-year agreement with Orange County Water District (OCWD) which will provide funding for construction of PFAS (groundwater contaminant) treatment plants and a portion of ongoing operational and maintenance costs for impacted Fullerton water wells, at their April 21 meeting. The City of Fullerton has up to nine wells (with one of the wells slated to be re-drilled) impacted by PFAS. There is currently one major production well, located at the City’s Main Plant in the City of Anaheim, which is off-line due to detections of PFAS. … ” Read more from the Fullerton Observer here: Fullerton enters into agreement with water district for PFAS treatment
Consumers in areas of Western Riverside County asked to immediately stop outdoor watering during emergency pipeline repair: “More than 250,000 consumers in Moreno Valley and nearby Riverside County communities are being called on to immediately stop outdoor water use – including landscape irrigation, washing cars and filling pools – while a state-operated pipeline undergoes emergency repairs. Essential indoor water service for drinking, bathing, and washing is not affected. Officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Eastern Municipal Water District and Western Municipal Water District made the water-saving plea tonight as officials from the California Department of Water Resources prepared to repair a leak in the Santa Ana Valley Pipeline, which delivers Northern California water from the State Water Project to the region. ... ” Read more from the AP here: Consumers in areas of Western Riverside County asked to immediately stop outdoor watering during emergency pipeline repair
Much warmer weather is likely in the Los Angeles region next week: “In a pattern similar to last week’s heatwave, a ridge developing over the region could bring near triple-digit temperatures to the warmest Southern California valleys again next Wednesday and Thursday, the National Weather Service said. Outlook maps produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show a strong likelihood of above-normal temperatures for Southern California and most of the Southwest in the six- to 10-day forecast. Models show a ridge of high pressure expanding across Southern California from the south, commencing a warming trend about midweek, the weather service said. The models disagree about the strength of the high-pressure ridge, however. A weak north to northeast flow at lower levels could bring additional heating west of the mountains. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Much warmer weather is likely in the Los Angeles region next week
Water experiment to be conducted along the Colorado River while maintaining hydropower production this summer: “From May 1 through August 31, the Department of the Interior will conduct a Macroinvertebrate Production Flow at Glen Canyon Dam. This experiment, also known as a Bug Flow, aims to improve egg-laying conditions for aquatic insects, which are the primary food source for endangered and native fish in the Colorado River. This is the third consecutive year for the Bug Flow under the Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan. During the Bug Flow experiment, the Bureau of Reclamation will make targeted adjustments to water releases from Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. That adjusted release schedule will include low and steady flows during weekends, while weekday operations will maintain normal flows to meet hydropower demands. Weekday release rate hourly changes will remain unchanged. … ” Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Water experiment to be conducted along the Colorado River while maintaining hydropower production this summer
River releases don’t seem to be bothering the fish: “There’s less traffic and more water in the Colorado River. The first is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought a significant reduction in the number of boats, kayaks and personal watercrafts on the river. Watercraft rental operations have been closed for the time being. People who own their own boats or other watercraft still can launch and many are doing just that. ... ” Read more from the Mohave Valley News here: River releases don’t seem to be bothering the fish
Funds for climate-tied Colorado water plan drying up due to virus: “Plummeting oil and gas tax revenues and a state budget thrashed by the coronavirus pandemic means water projects in Colorado are facing a financial double-whammy. And the odds are long that sports gambling—which launches in the state Friday and was supposed to provide supplemental funding for water priorities—will provide any short-term rescue, state water and gaming officials say. The projected funding shortfalls are forcing state officials to “get creative” as they seek to shore up the state’s water supplies and protect the environment in the face of longer-term problems that stretch beyond the pandemic: drought, climate change, and burgeoning municipal water demand. … ” Read more from Bloomberg here: Funds for climate-tied Colorado water plan drying up due to virus
The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.
12 stunning photos of strange neon waves off California’s coast: “The Southern California coast is putting on one of nature’s most dazzling nighttime shows right now. Known as bioluminescence, the phenomenon of glowing aqua-colored waves is caused by microscopic phytoplankton that emit light when agitated to scare off predators. The events are unpredictable, but occur every so often all along the Pacific coast, peaking usually in summer. ... ” Read more and check out the pictures from the California Sun here: 12 stunning photos of strange neon waves off California’s coast
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.