DAILY DIGEST, 8/10: Scientists say: expect more rainfall variability for CA; Decline in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utility costs; SGMA and the Human Right to Water; and more …


Good morning!

In California water news today …

Scientists say: expect more rainfall variability for California

California’s winter precipitation is expected to become 50% more variable by century’s end, based on a Berkeley Lab-led study of the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions on the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a rainfall pattern that covers a quarter of the globe.  When active, the MJO influences whether precipitation occurs for 30 to 60 days, and is already known to affect North America’s weather when it moves eastward from the Indian Ocean (sometimes driving, for example, the Pineapple Express, which brings heavy rainfall to the Pacific coast). To see how much global emissions increase would influence the MJO, Berkeley Lab faculty scientist Da Yang and postdoctoral fellow Wenyu Zhou, and colleagues at UC San Diego and Nanjing University used the 10 computer models that best capture MJO behavior to study the emissions’ impact on it. … ”  Read more from the Berkeley Lab here:  Scientists say: expect more rainfall variability for California

Decline in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utility costs

Hydroelectric power from dams usually provides about 15% of California’s electricity needs. But in 2015, at the zenith of the worst drought in California’s recorded history, it supplied only 6%.  That loss in electricity generation during the 2012-16 drought cost PG&E and other California utilities about $5.5 billion, a new study says. As California’s climate becomes more prone to severe droughts, the findings point to future costs that utilities — and ultimately ratepayers — will likely be forced to bear. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Decline in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utility costs

SGMA and the Human Right to Water: How do submitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans address drinking water?

In 2012 California passed the Human Right to Water (AB 685) which declares all Californians have the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible drinking water. Two years later during a record-breaking drought, California passed another piece of historic legislation known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). To prevent undesirable results from groundwater overdraft, SGMA requires the development of regional Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) in high and medium priority groundwater basins.  Although only five of 41 GSPs submitted to the Department of Water Resources for review in January mention the human right to water, and only one of those affirmed it as a consideration in their plan, these two policies are closely related. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here: SGMA and the Human Right to Water: How do submitted Groundwater Sustainability Plans address drinking water?

California has spent $43 million suing the Trump administration. It’s paying off, officials say

California has spent $43 million suing President Donald Trump’s administration over the past four years in a legal campaign that the state’s Democratic attorney general says has saved billions of dollars in funding the state would have lost had the White House carried out its policies.   The lawsuits have prevented or stalled the Trump administration’s efforts to put a citizenship question on the census, weaken climate change policies, revoke California’s authority to set its own car pollution standards and rescind an Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that protects young immigrants from deportation. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California has spent $43 million suing the Trump administration. It’s paying off, officials say

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Status of Lake Oroville algal blooms

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is reporting that algal blooms continue to be present in the West Branch and the North Fork of Lake Oroville. Sampling continues weekly and if elevated levels of cyanobacteria or toxins are found, DWR will work with California’s Regional Water Quality Control Board and area recreation managers to notify the public and post advisory signs at the affected water body. … ”  Read more from Action News Now here: Status of Lake Oroville algal blooms

Monterey: Some losers in water project, says Ron Weitzman, president of the Water Ratepayers  Association of the Monterey Peninsula

In his Aug. 2 Herald commentary, Grant Leonard claimed that Cal Am’s proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project (MPWSP) would be a win-win for both Castroville, a disadvantaged community, and Carmel, which is on the other side of the economic spectrum. Some things challenge that claim.  The MPWSP also affects residents in cities other than these two. One of those is Marina, which is another disadvantaged city. Different from Castroville, Marina would enjoy no benefits from the MPWSP but would suffer all of its negative environmental impacts. ... ”  Continue reading at the Monterey Herald here: Some losers in water project

Central Coast is a transition zone from wet to arid conditions

During our wet season, the jet stream predominantly blows across the northern Pacific toward the east, helping to carve out storms and then pushes and drags them into the West Coast of the United States.  At our latitude, the jet stream, aka “the steering wind,” is typically a tubular ribbon of high-speed winds flowing in wavelike patterns for thousands of miles between 15,000 to 40,000 feet up. It is often about 300 miles wide at its core and averages about 100 mph in winter and 50 mph in summer.  During the late fall, winter and spring, the jet stream is more likely to be centered over Northern California and Oregon. For that reason, on average, Northern California receives between 2 and 7 times more precipitation than Southern California. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  Central Coast is a transition zone from wet to arid conditions

Lompoc: Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.  In the lawsuit, filed on July 16, the nonprofit Sunburst Farm and Sanctuary alleges Isabella Organic Farms is physically blocking a well with trash and other objects located on the nonprofit’s property. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times here:  Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

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In national water news today …

Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

A pair of water associations are teaming up to urge the EPA to use all its regulatory tools to safeguard drinking water as it decides whether to allow new chemicals into U.S. commerce.  The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), which represents state, tribal, and territorial water agency officials, recently joined the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, which represents publicly owned metropolitan drinking water suppliers, to routinely flag their concerns about new chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency. … ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here:  Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

An update on the WIFIA loan program

The U.S. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Loan Program (WIFIA) was enacted in 2014 and became operational in 2017. WIFIA has now completed three solicitation rounds over the period 2017-2019, generating 90 competitively selected applications totaling $13.6 billion of loan volume, of which more than $5 billion has been closed.  This volume in itself indicates that WIFIA has had excellent start. But beneath the surface, what’s actually happening? How is the program working as intended to improve U.S. water infrastructure? What do WIFIA results indicate about its future trajectory, and whether the initial success is substantive and sustainable? And — most immediately — should the program be considered in connection with federal policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis? … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here: An update on the WIFIA loan program

This week in water …

… “If you live in western Colorado or eastern Utah—it’s not your imagination—it’s getting hotter.  The last fully intact ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic has collapsed, losing more than 40 percent of its area in just two days.  Seabird guano could be “white gold.”  A major new development in Denver will use human sewage to heat and cool buildings.  Pro tip: How to survive being eaten by a frog.”  Read stories/listen to podcast here: This week in water

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Weekend Daily Digest …

This weekend in California water news

  • Predicting drought in the American West just got much more difficult
  • Drought continues to expand as the monsoon in the Southwest has been largely a no-show
  • Senator Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water
  • New winery wastewater regulations: ‘untenable for small wineries’
  • Reclamation modernizing Central Valley Project Improvement Act accounting procedures;
  • Dead lizards discovered in Garberville Sanitation District ‘very old’ water tank;
  • Ridgecrest: Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority prepares to decide on a ‘replenishment fee’;
  • Poseidon’s desalination plan for Huntington Beach delayed again;
  • And more …

Click here to read the Weekend Daily Digest.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: Deadline for comment on perchlorate rulemaking extended

HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM (FHAB) reports updated in last 7 days

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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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