DAILY DIGEST, 5/26: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time; Putah Creek Accord turns 20; An Introduction to State Water Project deliveries; and more …

On the calendar today …

  • FREE WEBINAR: Tribal Regional Water Management from 9am to 12pm.  First hour is tribal representatives only.  Formal convening at 10am.  Hosted by DWR’s Office of Tribal Policy Advisor and Division of Regional Assistance.  For more information, click here. 
  • FREE WEBINAR: California-Nevada Drought & Climate Outlook from 11am to 12pm.  Click here to register.
  • LEG HEARING: The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water will meet at 1:30pm.  Agenda items include bills relating to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, coastal erosion, San Diego River Conservancy, and the California Climate Change Assessment.  Click here for the agendaClick here to watch on livestream.

In California water news and commentary today …

When life dries up: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time:  “Nowhere has California’s dry winter hit harder than the state’s far north.  In a handful of counties along the rural Oregon border, where late-season rains have done little to sate the parched forests and dusty plains, hundreds of farmers are at risk of having their irrigation water shut off — and watching their crops wither in the field.  The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000 acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The local water agencies served by the project say they may not have water to send to farms beyond next month. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  When life dries up: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time

Klamath: Convoy to rally community support for ag May 29:  “Shut down and fed up.  That’s the slogan advertising a “Call to Unity” tractor convoy planned for Friday, May 29 starting in Merrill that is aimed at drawing local support from businesses and national attention to the impending water shutoff in the Klamath Project that could occur by or before July.  Ben DuVal, who serves as vice president of Klamath Water Users Association, is part of a team of organizers and expects upwards of 1,000 or more people at the grass-roots event. ... ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Convoy to rally community support for ag May 29

Putah Creek Accord, now 20, remains key to habitat restoration, water flows:  “Near the Lake-Sonoma counties border – not far from Mount Saint Helena and Snow Mountain – Southwest Peak of Cobb Mountain stands higher than all else in the Mayacamas Mountains.  On the east side of Cobb Mountain flows the headwaters of Putah Creek.  The downstream landscape of the creek changed dramatically with the construction of the 304-foot Monticello Dam between 1953 and 1957.  Another historical landmark was constructed 20 years ago. The Putah Creek Accord was signed May 23, 2000, during a ceremony at the Putah Diversion Dam. … ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Putah Creek Accord, now 20, remains key to habitat restoration, water flows

Suisun’s RPM receives oil spill response trailer:  “There’s a new watercraft in town. And it’s a first for the city.  The city’s Recreation, Parks and Marina Department has received an oil spill response trailer.  Janet Hull, recreation manager, applied for and was awarded a 100% reimbursable grant from the state. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Republic here: Suisun’s RPM receives oil spill response trailer

Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years:  “For the first time in five years, Seville residents can safely drink and cook with the water that flows from their taps.  The small agricultural community of about 500 nestled at the scenic base of the Sierra Nevada has been ground zero for Tulare County's water crisis for more than a decade.  “Communities like Seville and Yettem represent the hardships we still face as a county,” Supervisor Eddie Valero said. “It's something I'm kind of astounded by, knowing that we’re in 2020 and we still have to meet those communities' basic water needs.” ... ”  Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here:  Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years

City attorney blasts SDSU sale plan; says ambitious wastewater plans in danger:  “Friday, the San Diego City Council is set to review and give final approval to the historic deal to transfer the city’s Mission Valley land to San Diego State University. But late Friday, City Attorney Mara Elliott sent around another list of concerns this time focused on the city’s long-term plans to recycle wastewater. Elliott’s deputies wrote that city would face “dire consequences in the future” if the deal goes forward as SDSU has sketched out in its final purchase and sales agreement. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: City attorney blasts SDSU sale plan; says ambitious wastewater plans in danger

State Water Project allocation increases to 20%:  “The State Water Project (SWP) now expects to deliver 20 percent of requested supplies in 2020 thanks to above-average precipitation in May, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today. An initial allocation of 10 percent was announced in December and increased to 15 percent in January. Today’s announcement will likely be the final allocation update of 2020. … ”  Read more at Maven's Notebook here: State Water Project allocation increases to 20%

An Introduction to State Water Project Deliveries:  “Most people in California receive some of their drinking water supply from the State Water Project (SWP). The SWP also supplies water to over 10% of California’s irrigated agriculture.  The SWP and its service area span much of California, delivering water to 29 wholesale contractors shown in Figure 1.  Each year, the Department of Water Resources announces SWP Table A allocations which inform water contractors’ SWP deliveries: “Table A”, “Carryover”, and “Article 21.”  What are these different SWP delivery categories and how do they work? … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: An Introduction to State Water Project Deliveries

Commentary: Tools available to make water supply more reliable as well as protect environment, says Mike Wade:  He writes, “Re “State water board must act to protect the Bay-Delta and California’s fishing industry”; Reader Reaction, May 20, 2020.  In his response, Rick Frank states that, “A scientifically credible, negotiated agreement involving flow standards and habitat restoration would be desirable.” As the alternative is more one-size-fits-all government regulation that hasn’t worked in a decade, we agree.  Frank goes on to say what’s needed is, “for water users to commit additional water, funding and habitat restoration.” That, and much more, has already been done. … ”  Continue reading at CalMatters here: Commentary: Tools available to make water supply more reliable as well as protect environment

Heat returns to the West; Rain to end the month in the Northwest? After a mid-month cooldown, heat is going to be the story again across California and the Southwest this week.  A ridge nosing into the Southwest this week will bring a push of hot air into the area. … The most interesting feature on the weather map this week, though, is the potential for a potent upper-level low to slide up the West Coast late in the week. … ”  Read more from Accu-Weather here: Heat returns to the West; Rain to end the month in the Northwest? 

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In national/world news today …

Trump anti-reg push likely to end up in court:  “An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to slash regulations in order to boost the economy is likely to lead to a number of court challenges.  The Tuesday order directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” highlighting that regulations could be permanently or temporarily lifted in order to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus.  But experts say speeding up the regulatory process or nixing public comment periods would likely be slammed in court unless the Trump administration can demonstrate their actions were necessary due to the pandemic. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Trump anti-reg push likely to end up in court

Wait, so how much of the ocean is actually fished? One prominent study said 55%, critics say 4%, and they both used the same data:  “How much of the world’s oceans are affected by fishing? In February 2018, a team of scientists led by David Kroodsma from the Global Fishing Watch published a paper that put the figure at 55 percent—an area four times larger than that covered by land-based agriculture. The paper was widely covered, with several outlets leading with the eye-popping stat that “half the world’s oceans [are] now fished industrially.”  Ricardo Amoroso from the University of Washington had also been trying to track global fishing activity and when he saw the headlines, he felt that the 55 percent figure was wildly off. He and his colleagues re-analyzed the data that the Global Fishing Watch had made freely available. And in their own paper, published in September 2018, they claim that industrial fishing occurs over just 4 percent of the ocean.  How could two groups have produced such wildly different answers using the same set of data? ... ”  Read more from Pocket here: Wait, so how much of the ocean is actually fished?

This week in water: “Dam failures in Michigan point to a larger problem with aging infrastructure and climate change.  Urban street trees are declining and one reason might be leaky natural gas pipelines.  Bumblebees have a hack to get plants to bloom.  People with hay fever might hope that rainstorms will wash away pollen, but that's not what happens.  A restaurant in Italy may soon be in Switzerland—without budging an inch.” Listen to podcast/read stories here: This week in water

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In the Daily Digest, weekend/holiday edition …

In California water news this weekend ….

  • Judge refuses to divert water for endangered salmon on Klamath River;
  • Orange County water districts consider massive lawsuit over PFAS contamination;
  • Unusually intense and prolonged early-season heatwave developing across California;
  • Spiking temperatures likely to melt remaining sierra snowpack;
  • State Water Board adopts regulations for Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program;
  • Food banks benefit from loss of commercial markets;
  • Raining Rice in the Sacramento Valley;
  • Microplastics in drinking water;
  • and more …

Click here to read the weekend Daily Digest.

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Today's featured articles …

NOTICE OF PREPARATION: Delta Plan Ecosystem Amendment

Aerial view looking east at the S Bacon Island road bridge connecting the Northern end of Bacon Island (Left) and Southern end of Mandeville Island (right).  Photo by Ken James / DWR

 
On May 11, the Delta Stewardship Council issued a Notice of Preparation of a Program Environmental Impact Report for the proposed ecosystem amendment to the Chapter 4 of the Delta Plan.

The Delta Reform Act of 2009 defined the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem as overarching state policy; the legislation also specified that the coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the Delta as an evolving place. In addition, the Act set a state policy of requiring reduced reliance on the Delta through a statewide strategy of improved regional supplies, conservation, and water use efficiency.

In order to facilitate coordination across multiple entities with responsibilities in the Delta, the Delta Reform Act created the Delta Stewardship Council as an independent state agency and directed it to develop, adopt and implement a Delta Plan that furthers the coequal goals. The first iteration of the Delta Plan was adopted in May of 2013, and since adoption, the Delta Plan has been amended several times. The proposed ecosystem amendment would be the sixth amendment to the Delta Plan.

Click here to read this article.


Fountain in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Photo by Robert Pastryk.

BLOG ROUND-UP: Why farmers are fighting, Voluntary Agreement limericks, Controlling ag pollution, and more …

Click here to read the Blog Round Up.

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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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