DAILY DIGEST, 5/5: Delta Blues; Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say; Including water investments in infrastructure package challenging; May temp and precip outlook; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • The State Water Resources Control Board meets beginning at 9:30am.  Agenda items include consideration of an MOU with CalTrans for expedited permitting, consideration of a proposed Resolution to adopt the Policy for Developing the Fund Expenditure Plan for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, a Public Workshop on the Draft Fund Expenditure Plan for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and consideration of a proposed Resolution to adopt proposed Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program regulations.  Click here for the full agenda.

 

In California water news today …

Delta Blues:  “The state had been wrestling with the problem for 15 years, and there were hopes it was about to get pinned to the mat. A decade and a half of meetings, lawyerly and political negotiations, and massive public input had led the State Water Resources Control Board to the brink of a momentous decision: California must leave a lot more water in its rivers and streams in order to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay.  Steve Rothert, California director of the nonprofit American Rivers, has spent the past five years working on the issue and says board action was urgent. “Most scientists would agree that nearly all the key indices of ecosystem and native fishery health are in decline — in many cases, at catastrophic levels,” he says. “And there are 8,000 water-rights holders, a $47 billion per year agricultural industry, and 25 million people who rely on water that flows into and through the Delta.” … ”  Read more from Comstock's Magazine here: Delta Blues

Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say:  “When a fire started on the property next door to Ray Cano’s home, the neighbors used Cano’s hose and well to fight the flames. Running the pump at full throttle, they managed to control the blaze until the fire department arrived. Then, the well’s pump sputtered to a stop.  Cano later called a well inspector, who did some basic probing and discovered the problem: The well had run dry, causing the pump’s motor to overheat. Cano had the man install a new pump and run the line about 40 feet deeper.  “He said that would last me another three or four years,” said Cano, a mailman who lives with his wife in Tombstone Territory, a cluster of homes in central Fresno County surrounded by orchards.  That was in May 2015 ... ”  Read more from KCET here:  Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say

Including water investments in infrastructure package challenging:  “Agricultural groups have been working for years to get federal support for important water investments in California. Several California lawmakers have also made the point for federal funding to support water infrastructure in national infrastructure packages but have not been successful as of yet.  “We’ve done a lot of work over the last few years to make sure that water infrastructure is part of any discussion that occurs across infrastructure generally,” said Dave Puglia, President and CEO of Western Growers. “With the crisis hitting with COVID there has been renewed interest by the Trump Administration and on Capitol Hill in reenergizing a focus on an infrastructure package that would provide funding to critical projects.” … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  Including water investments in infrastructure package challenging

$5 million allocated for lead testing in California Child Care Centers (press release)“The State Water Resources Control Board has executed an agreement to provide approximately $5 million in grant funds for testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at licensed Child Care Centers. The passage of Assembly Bill 2370in 2018 requires that all licensed child care centers constructed before January 1, 2010 test their drinking water for lead and do so within a three-year window. Subsequent testing every five years after the date of the first testis also required. The testing requirement does not apply when services are provided in the home of the caregiver. … ”  Read more at the State Water Board here: $5 million Allocated for lead testing in California Child Care Centers

Plumbers warn small business owners to run water before reopening:  “When small businesses are closed it means appliances haven't been running inside; a problem that could be putting customer's health at risk but also damaging the plumbing.  Plumbers are encouraging business owners to prepare for their stores to open up by running water through the pipes. … ”  Read more from Channel 26 here: Plumbers warn small business owners to run water before reopening

Record heat returns to Southwest, Southern California midweek, then will spread northward:  “Following a brief respite from the blistering heat wave last week that smashed records from California to Texas, record heat will return to the Southwest and Southern California midweek. Hot temperatures will then shift toward the Northwest by the end of the week.  Once again, the jet stream will bulge northward – known as an upper-level ridge of high pressure – over the western United States. At the surface, high pressure will park itself over the Southwest, causing a dome of hot air to build in the coming days. ... ”  Read more from the Weather Channel here: Record heat returns to Southwest, Southern California midweek, then will spread northward

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In national/world news today …

Water infrastructure bills move ahead in Senate:  “Both chambers of Congress are moving ahead on water infrastructure legislation.  The bills reauthorize legislation on water resource development and the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to the Bloomberg Environment.  The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is also introducing a big water bill, according to a committee aide. These bills, which create funding for flood control and drinking water grants, are updated every two years by Congress. … ”  Read more from Stormwater Solutions here: Water infrastructure bills move ahead in Senate

Water utilities want a bailout. Will Congress listen?Water and wastewater utilities and their customers were ignored in Congress’s three coronavirus relief bills.  The first two bills provided support to health and medical services through the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis. The CARES Act, the monumental third piece of legislation that was signed into law on March 27, unloaded more than $2.2 trillion in federal aid on individuals, businesses, and large cities — but still none for the utilities that deliver drinking water and purify sewage. (A fourth action last week replenished a worker assistance fund.) ... ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  Water utilities want a bailout. Will Congress listen?

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In regional news and commentary today …

Federal judge hears Klamath Basin tribes, irrigators arguments on dam water releases:  “A federal judge heard arguments from attorneys representing Klamath Basin tribes, irrigators and government agencies on Wednesday in a case that is challenging the need for dam water releases meant to protect threatened fish species on the Klamath River from deadly parasitic outbreaks like those that occurred in 2014 and 2015.  The same judge that ordered two federal agencies to make the yearly dam water releases in 2017 — Judge William H. Orrick — also presided over Wednesday afternoon’s hearing at the U.S. District Court of Northern California. ... ”  Read more from the Eureka Times Standard here: Federal judge hears Klamath Basin tribes, irrigators arguments on dam water releases

Social distancing complicates Valley Water’s CEO search:  “Valley Water CEO Norma Camacho is set to retire July 10, but with the coronavirus outbreak forcing so many aspects of society online, the district’s board members have had to get a little creative in conducting their search for a successor.  The first round of interviews for Camacho’s replacement commenced last week via the videoconferencing platform Zoom. But while going virtual keeps things in line with social distancing guidelines, some Valley Water board members say it also presents challenges. … ”  Read more from Inside San Jose here: Social distancing complicates Valley Water’s CEO search

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District calls for revisiting Pure Water Monterey expansion report:  “Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have requested the Monterey One Water board certify the Pure Water Monterey expansion project supplemental environmental impact report within 30 days and is withholding more than $600,000 representing part of its share of the environmental review.  In a May 1 letter to the Monterey One Water board, the water management district board questioned its project partner agency’s “good faith efforts to facilitate readiness of this needed back-up water supply,” pointing to “significant ambiguity, lacking clarification, and in light of comments on the (supplemental EIR) by some on your board,” and adding that the water district board “believes a good faith effort requires the (supplemental EIR) be certified if it meets the rigors of the (California Environmental Quality Act) process, which we believe it has.” … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey Peninsula Water Management District calls for revisiting Pure Water Monterey expansion report

Water restrictions to be lifted Tuesday while pipeline repairs in Moreno Valley continue:  “Work to restore a damaged 9-foot diameter water pipeline in Moreno Valley continued Monday, May 4, and outdoor watering restrictions will be lifted for Western Municipal Water District customers starting Tuesday.  The utility urged them to continue using water efficiently. The other affected water supplier, Eastern Municipal Water District took restrictions off activities such as sprinkler watering of lawns and washing cars on Monday. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press-Enterprise here: Water restrictions to be lifted Tuesday while pipeline repairs in Moreno Valley continue 

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Today's featured article …

CENTRAL VALLEY FLOOD PROTECTION BOARD: Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project

Two centuries ago, the floor of the Central Valley was largely a marshy wetland. In the springtime, the snowpack would melt, swelling the rivers beyond their banks and casting young fish out onto the floodplains where they would stay for months, fattening up on the abundant zooplankton and invertebrates until the floodplains drained, signaling the time to migrate to the ocean. However, the construction of levees – needed to control flooding of homes and farmland – also separated the rivers from their floodplains, denying access to native fish who have evolved to take advantage of floodplain habitat.

Click here to read this article.

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May Temperature and Precipitation Outlook

The days are getting longer, the trees are getting greener, and severe weather is popping up across the Plains and Southeast. It must be spring. What’s on the horizon during May as we move into late spring? Let’s take a look at NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s monthly outlook for temperature and precipitation for May 2020. … ”  Click here to continue reading at Climate.gov.

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Also on Maven's Notebook today …

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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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