DAILY DIGEST, 7/1: Temperance Flat Dam on indefinite hold; Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2B in ag losses thus far; Budget includes funds for Salton Sea, Paradise Irrigation District; Report: Healthy rivers key to nation’s economic recovery; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Temperance Flat Dam on indefinite hold after report shows it doesn’t pencil out for water users:  “An investment analysis that looked at how much it would cost water users to build and operate the proposed Temperance Flat Dam northeast of Fresno without government funding was finished earlier this year and quietly passed among water districts, which just as quietly asked the federal government to shelve work on the project.  A small group, made up of agricultural water districts and some cities, was assembled by the Temperance Flat Authority to participate in the investment analysis done by Stantec. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Temperance Flat Dam on indefinite hold after report shows it doesn’t pencil out for water users

Making Sense of the 20 percent Water Allocation for farms south of the Delta:  “Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States. Westlands has federal contracts to provide water to 700 family owned farms that average 875 acres in size. Many of those families produce almonds and pistachios.  Tom Birmingham is the general manager of the Westlands water district. He comments on that 20% allocation. “The dry hydrology in 2020 has reduced our water supply as have the application of federal laws to the operations of the Federal Central Valley Project,” noted Birmingham. … ” Read more from Ag Info here: Making Sense of the 20 percent Water Allocation for farms south of the Delta

Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2 billion in ag losses thus far:  “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on California agriculture was severe, unprecedented, and will continue to affect the industry in the coming months and years.   That’s the sobering news from an economic study released last week by Davis-based ERA Economics.  The pandemic’s direct negative economic impact on California ag is predicted to be between $5.9 and $8.6 billion in 2020. The estimated year-to-date losses are more than $2 billion. ... ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2 billion in ag losses thus far

RELATED: Economic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on California Agriculture, report from ERA Economics

More funds may flow to Friant-Kern Canal fix:  “More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal.  On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal Capacity Correction project. ... ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: More funds may flow to Friant-Kern Canal fix

Bacterial outbreak at CDFW hatcheries temporarily halts fish stocking in Southern California:  “Several California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish hatchery facilities in the eastern Sierra and Southern California are battling a bacterial outbreak that has the potential to cause significant losses to both hatchery and wild fish populations. The outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, has sickened fish at the Mojave River Hatchery and has been detected at both the Black Rock and Fish Springs hatcheries. A fourth CDFW hatchery, Hot Creek Hatchery, was originally quarantined out of caution but after testing that quarantine has been lifted. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  Bacterial outbreak at CDFW hatcheries temporarily halts fish stocking in Southern California

Wildfire season is coming. Is the new PG&E ready? California’s coming wildfire season is poised to determine whether the largest utility in the nation continues to exist — at least under its current ownership.  San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co., with 5.4 million electricity customers, says it expects to formally exit a 16-month bankruptcy reorganization today. But staying alive as an investor-owned company hinges on it avoiding negligence that causes future wildfires.  If it fails, state officials could force the company to sell its assets. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Wildfire season is coming. Is the new PG&E ready? 

BUDGET

Governor signs 2020 Budget, securing major victory for New River and Salton Sea:  “Governor Newsom signed the California 2020-21 State budget Monday, June 29. Despite pandemic-related fiscal challenges, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) is proud to have secured funding for 56th Assembly District priorities, including over $47 million for New River and Salton Sea mitigation projects, according to the release. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Review here:  Governor signs 2020 Budget, securing major victory for New River and Salton Sea

Paradise Irrigation District will receive promised $7.3 million funding:  “The $7.3 million that had been promised to the Paradise Irrigation District for the new fiscal year is officially safe.  Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state’s $202 billion budget Monday evening, and it includes the money that had been promised to PID by the state a year ago.  The governor took the money out of his May revise budget proposal, but the funding was affirmed by the final budget. ... ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Paradise Irrigation District will receive promised $7.3 million funding

California Budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District:  “The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise Irrigation District to help sustain it following the devastating Camp Fire.  The funding is considered critical to providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here: California Budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District

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In national/world news today …

Report: Healthy rivers key to nation’s economic recovery:  “An answer to our nation’s current economic downturn is flowing through cities, towns, fields and forests across the nation. A new report, “Rivers as Economic Engines: Investing in rivers, clean water, communities and our future” presents a vision for positive, transformational change.  The report by American Rivers makes the case for boosting federal water infrastructure and river restoration spending and suggests a framework for equitable investment that will strengthen communities nationwide. American Rivers called on Congress to invest $500 billion over ten years in water infrastructure and river restoration. … ”  Read more from American Rivers here: Report: Healthy rivers key to nation’s economic recovery

McConnell: House infrastructure bill going nowhere in Senate:  “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that an infrastructure bill set to get a vote in the House will not be taken up in the Senate.  “So naturally this nonsense is not going anywhere in the Senate. It will just join the list of absurd House proposals that were only drawn up to show fealty to the radical left,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here: McConnell: House infrastructure bill going nowhere in Senate

New report underscores funding needs for U.S. stormwater sector:  “As heavy storm events become more frequent and impervious coverage spreads, the gap between current U.S. investment in stormwater management and the level necessary to satisfy Clean Water Act requirements continues to widen.  According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bolstering stormwater infrastructure to effective levels will require nearly $70 billion during the next 20 years. However, EPA reports that only about 1,600 out of more than 7,500 U.S. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permittees have a dedicated stormwater funding source in place, such as a stormwater tax or stormwater utility fee. … ”  Read more from the Stormwater Report here: New report underscores funding needs for U.S. stormwater sector

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In regional news and commentary today …

Willits city officials assure public there is no coronavirus in drinking water:  “During the June 24 City Council meeting, City manager Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra announced the results of a test to determine whether the COVID-19 virus was present in the City of Willits’ and Brooktrails Township wastewater (aka sewage or in-fluent water). The test, which was performed June 16, detected a small amount of COVID-19 present in Willits’ wastewater, however the Brooktrails test revealed none. The test was paid for by an anonymous donor. ... ” Read more from Willits News here: Willits city officials assure public there is no coronavirus in drinking water

Draft Tenmile Creek Watershed Conservation and Restoration Action Plan released to public:  “The Eel River Recovery Project released the public draft of the Tenmile Creek Watershed Conservation and Restoration Action Plan, which is the culminating product of a two year pilot project.  The document is available at www.eelriverrecovery.org. and the public is invited to comment.  The California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) awarded ERRP Prop 1 funds to work on water conservation, riparian restoration and erosion control.  The Action Plan reports on Tenmile Creek riparian conditions and restoration opportunities, erosion sources and proposed fixes for some, and community water conservation initiatives that would allow native fish to flourish and provide water security for domestic and agricultural water users. ... ”  Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here:  Draft Tenmile Creek Watershed Conservation and Restoration Action Plan released to public

Pacifica, Half Moon Bay beaches declared ‘Beach Bummers’ by Heal the Bay for poor water quality:  “Two popular surfing spots, a marine wildlife reserve, and a harbor are among the 10 biggest “Beach Bummers” this year for having poor water quality during the summer, according to Heal the Bay.  The Los Angeles-based environmental nonprofit issued its 30th-annual “Beach Bummers” List Tuesday afternoon, naming 10 beaches with the worst water quality in California according to its water samples. Heal the Bay tested bacteria levels at more than 500 beaches up and down California’s coastline, and assigned A-to-F letter grades for each one in its report. … ”  Read more from KRON here: Pacifica, Half Moon Bay beaches declared ‘Beach Bummers’ by Heal the Bay for poor water quality

Paso Robles gets OK to clear brush in riverbed after ugly public smackdown of water board, says the San Luis Tribune Editorial Board:  They write,  “It appears the city of Paso Robles will soon will be allowed to do some emergency brush clearing in the Salinas River riverbed; the head of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board said as much on Monday.  That’s the right decision. The riverbed is an area of high fire danger. One major blaze on June 22 destroyed two homes, threatened 60 others, and forced a major evacuation.  Yet the water board is absolutely justified in calling for the city to submit a long-term plan for brush clearance, rather than going into emergency mode when fire season rolls around, as Paso Robles did last year and is repeating again this year. ... ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Paso Robles gets OK to clear brush in riverbed after ugly public smackdown of water board

Water prices rise, so do tempers in Goleta:  ““We are extremely alarmed by this proposal, especially during this period of economic crisis,” wrote Carolyn Larson in a letter to the Goleta Water District, protesting the rate hikes voted in on June 23. Public outcry against the water rate increase proposed by the district reached a fever pitch, but ultimately too few protested to rescind the proposal successfully.  The Goleta Water District passed a measure last Tuesday in favor of a five-year plan that will increase water rates by anywhere from 58 percent to 74 percent, depending on water usage. … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here:  Water prices rise, so do tempers in Goleta

AVEK awarded $1.23M for water quality projects:  “Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency (AVEK) received notice from the California Department of Water Resources, that AVEK was awarded $1,231,208 in Proposition 1 grant funding for two of the Agency’s proposed projects.  An award in the amount of $881,208 was received for AVEK’s South North Intertie Pipeline Phase II Project (SNIP PH II) from a proposal submitted by Antelope Valley State Water Contractors Association (AVSWCA) on behalf of the Antelope Valley Regional Water Management (IRWM) group. AVSWCA is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) which includes AVEK, Palmdale Water District (PWD), and Littlerock Creek Irrigation District (LCID). ... ”  Read more from the Mojave Desert News here:  AVEK awarded $1.23M for water quality projects

SoCal: See how your favorite beach ranks in the latest pollution report card:  “As coronavirus beach restrictions continue to complicate summer plans, Californians have at least one thing to look forward to: Most of the coast is much cleaner than in years past.  In an annual survey of more than 500 beaches, Heal the Bay reported Tuesday that 92% of the state’s beaches had logged good water-quality marks between April and October of 2019 — a notable improvement from prior years, when heavy winter rains washed trash, pesticides, dog poop, bacteria and automotive fluids, as well as microplastics, into storm drains and out to the ocean. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: See how your favorite beach ranks in the latest pollution report card

Orange County beaches lauded in Heal the Bay water quality report:  “Orange County’s celebrated beaches just got a little more celebrated.  The county is host to nearly half of the state’s 42 “Honor Roll” beaches in Heal the Bay’s 2019-2020 Beach Report Card, the environmental group’s 30th annual rating of water quality up and down the coast.  The 20 county beaches on the list is double the number in last year’s report. ... ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Orange County beaches lauded in Heal the Bay water quality report

Orange County awarded grant to increase drinking water supply:  “The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) grant program for use toward the construction of its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion project. Operational since 2008, the GWRS is undergoing its second and final expansion.  This expansion will increase treatment capacity from 100 million gallons per day (MGD) to 130 MGD; enough water to meet the daily needs of 1 million people. Construction began in 2019 and will be complete in 2023. ... ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Orange County awarded grant to increase drinking water supply

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Along the Colorado River …

Caretakers of the Colorado back in action:  “A statewide steering committee is back in action 10 months after it helped pass a monumental seven-state deal to protect the most valuable water resource in the Southwest, the Colorado River.  Because of that agreement, called the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), Arizona’s water supplies are less likely to dip dangerously low over the next several years.  But the DCP was just a temporary fix. The longest drought in Arizona’s recorded history continues to place stress on “America’s Nile.” … ”  Read more from Chamber Business News here: Caretakers of the Colorado back in action

A win for collaboration in the Upper Colorado:  “Historically, Colorado has had a love-hate relationship with the 1968 Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. While we have unarguably some of the wildest and most scenic rivers in America, Colorado has only one such designated section – the Cache la Poudre River above the city of Ft. Collins. New Jersey, a much smaller state with many fewer river miles, has five designated Wild & Scenic Rivers. So why? The reason lies in the both real and perceived limitations such designation would place on how water is “developed,” and its various uses, across the state, including potential limitations on longstanding diversions for municipal and agricultural water needs.  ... ”  Read more from American Rivers here: A win for collaboration in the Upper Colorado

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Today’s featured article

FEATURE: The state of California’s environment

Friends of the River co-founder Mark Dubois and current Executive Director Eric Wesselman discuss the protections for California rivers and why they are optimistic for the future

April 22 is Earth Day, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement that began in 1970 and would soon evolve to provide a voice to the world’s emerging environmental consciousness and elevate environmental concerns in the public dialog.  2020 marked fifty years since the first Earth Day, and to commemorate the occasion, a webinar hosted by the California Lawyers Association brought together long-time environmentalist and co-founder of Friends of the River Mark Dubois with the current organization’s current Executive Director Eric Wesselman to reflect on progress over the past 50 years, look at the laws that protect our rivers and speak of their optimism for the future.

Click here to read this article.

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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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