DAILY DIGEST, 8/13: Enviro groups say Newsom’s water plan will worsen toxic threat in the Delta; Evaluating the use of data platforms for water management decisions; Flexible groundwater recharge could be a SGMA answer; Can a shower save the president in November?; and more …


Good morning!

On the calendar today …

  • MEETING: Delta Independent Science Board from 9am to 2pm. Agenda items include an overview of the Delta Reform Act and the DISB, an update and discussion on current reviews, and an action item on the Delta Science Needs Assessment.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access options.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Funding Water Infrastructure for the San Joaquin Valley, Part 3 from 10am to 12pm.  Topics include recap of summit presentations and closing session panel discussion. Click here for more information on this event.  Click here to register.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Advancing Evidence-Based Green Stormwater Infrastructure Decision Making from 12pm to 1pm. Green infrastructure is gaining momentum as a stormwater management solution, and there is a growing body of evidence on how GSI can sustainably, affordably, and resiliently manage urban stormwater runoff. To make this information accessible to local water leaders, a primary effort for EPI Center is to build a compendium of evidence-based GSI information designed to inform local stormwater management decisions.  Click here to register.
  • MEETING: Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Day 1 meeting begins at 4pm.   The board will hear an update on the Allensworth farm field trials for electrochemical arsenic remediation; discussion on the board’s strategic plan public outreach, and an enforcement hearing regarding a pistachio processor in Tulare County.  Click here for the agenda and remote access instructions.

In California water news today …

Environmental groups say Newsom’s water plan will worsen toxic threat in the Delta

At the end of July, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his revised plan for bringing long-term water security to all Californians. But his announcement was overshadowed by San Joaquin County and several Delta communities scrambling to confront the worst cases of toxic algae blooms ever seen on local sloughs and rivers.  These green, floating slicks brought a new level of criticism to Newsom’s agribusiness-friendly water proposal. That’s because the governor’s strategy relies in large part on the controversial Sites Reservoir proposal and the even more contentious Delta tunnel proposal. Conservation groups say both projects—particularly the tunnel—could worsen the problem of dangerous algae contamination in regional waterways. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: Environmental groups say Newsom’s water plan will worsen toxic threat in the Delta

Report summary: Evaluating the use of data platforms for water management decisions

California has a fragmented water governance structure, hindering the state’s ability to make effective, timely water management decisions. While open water data and decision support tools have the potential to improve water management, little documented evidence to inform potential end users on whether, when and how open data can improve water management decisions exists.A new report published by researchers from Stanford University’s Water in the West Program tilted Evaluating the use of data platforms for water management decisions, analyzes multiple existing water management tools. … ”  Read the report summary here: Evaluating the use of data platforms for water management decisions

Radio show: Almond Update: Flexible Groundwater Recharge Could Be A SGMA Answer

At last year’s Almond Conference, local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies were being finalized, and the discussion around sustainable plans was looking at every possible idea. Grower and California State Board of Food and Agriculture President Don Cameron spoke to attendees in December about the importance of groundwater recharge in those plans. Cameron’s operation has been at the forefront of the recharge trials, and he said it’s a flexible answer that can only help water basin sustainability.”  Listen to the show at At Net West here:  Radio show: Almond Update: Flexible Groundwater Recharge Could Be A SGMA Answer

Google achieves Alliance for Water Stewardship certification at 3 campuses

Google has achieved the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certification at its Mountain View, Calif., Los Angeles, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland campuses under the AWS Standard. Earning AWS certification for commercial office space demonstrates a company’s commitment to understanding the complex issues and opportunities within the watersheds it operates and to work with local stakeholders to achieve the five outcomes of water stewardship to include: sustainable water balance, good water quality, good water governance, the healthy status of important water-related areas (rivers, marshes, etc.), and safe water access, sanitation and hygiene for everyone (WASH). … ”  Read more from Environment & Energy Leader here:  Google achieves Alliance for Water Stewardship certification at 3 campuses

Global methane emissions soaring, but how much was due to wetlands?

Last month, an international team of scientists, including Berkeley Lab’s William Riley and Qing Zhu, published an update on the global methane budget as part of the Global Carbon Project. They estimated annual global methane emissions at nearly 570 million tons for the 2008 to 2017 decade, which is 5% higher than emissions recorded for the early 2000s and the equivalent of 189 million more cars on the world’s roads.  Anthropogenic sources like agriculture, waste, and fossil fuels contributed to 60% of these emissions, while wetlands made up for the largest natural source of methane. Riley, a Berkeley Lab senior scientist, focuses on modelling how terrestrial ecosystems – such as wetlands – interact with climate. Working with Zhu, they built one of the computer models that allows scientists to quantify these methane emissions from wetlands at global scale. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Lab here:  Global methane emissions soaring, but how much was due to wetlands?

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Vessel equipped with ultraviolet light attacks invasive aquatic plants at Tahoe

A new control tool for aquatic invasive plants that clog waterways, reduce water clarity and provide cover for other invasive species at Lake Tahoe continues to show impressive results in its third year of testing. The tool is a light array mounted under a working barge, which trolls through the marina dousing the plants on the lake bottom with ultraviolet-C light.  The technology, using the UV-C wavelengths of light to kill the plants, in this case Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed, was developed by John J. Paoluccio, president of Inventive Resources, Inc. Aquatic invasive plants are one of the greatest threats to Tahoe’s clarity, ecology and recreation-based economy. The pilot project showed that applying the light treatment caused invasive plants to deteriorate or completely collapse within seven to 14 days of treatment. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here:  Vessel equipped with ultraviolet light attacks invasive aquatic plants at Tahoe

Marin Civic Center lagoon fish kill blamed on algae bloom

Algae bloom killed more than 100 fish in the Marin Civic Center lagoon, a state biologist said this week.  A California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientist met with Marin County Parks superintendents on Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin Civic Center lagoon fish kill blamed on algae bloom

Berkeley, Emeryville besieged by water main breaks

East Bay Municipal Utility District crews and first-responders were at the scenes of at least sixteen separate water main breaks in two cities Wednesday night, affecting several hundred customers, authorities said.  In a social-media post shortly after 8 p.m., Berkeley firefighters said they were responding to “several major water main breaks across the west side of the city.”  “Please be safe and drive slowly in the area west of Sacramento, from the south of the city to the north,” the post said. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here:  Berkeley, Emeryville besieged by water main breaks

Fish plants continue in Eastern Sierra waters

After a massive loss of fish at three hatchery facilities in the eastern Sierra and Southern California this summer, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has implemented an updated stocking plan to continue putting trout into waters that are popular with anglers. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Fish plants continue in Eastern Sierra waters

Groundwater in the IWV: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s proposed replenishment fee: what is it?  The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a composite per-acre-foot water extraction fee proposed by the IWVGA to raise funds to pay for the mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by the continuing overdraft as well as to begin the process of importing the water necessary to balance the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin. … ”  Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here:  Groundwater in the IWV: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

NASA wants nuclear-contaminated Santa Susana site to be made a historic landmark

The site of America’s first nuclear meltdown — and subsequent cover-up — in the picturesque hills of Ventura County may soon join Hearst Castle, the cable cars of San Francisco, and the Santa Barbara Mission as an official landmark in the National Register of Historic Places.  In what some have described as a cynical attempt by a U.S. government agency to avoid a long-promised cleanup of toxic and radioactive contaminants, NASA has nominated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for official listing as a traditional cultural property. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: NASA wants nuclear-contaminated Santa Susana site to be made a historic landmark

Santa Monica-based group wins historic wastewater recycling suit

Every day Hyperion Water Treatment Plant discharges enough treated wastewater into the ocean to fill the Rose Bowl 2.5 times over. Now a court has instructed state water officials to analyze whether it is “wasteful” and “unreasonable” to dump billions of gallons of wastewater into the sea.  According to Santa Monica-based advocacy group Los Angeles Waterkeeper, water treatment plants Hyperion, Tillman, Burbank and Los Angeles-Glendale dump an average of nearly 270 million gallons of treated water into the Los Angeles River and Pacific Ocean every day. Hyperion alone discharges enough treated wastewater into the ocean to fill the Rose Bowl 2.5 times over every day. … ”  Read more from the Santa Monica Mirror here:  Santa Monica-based group wins historic wastewater recycling suit

Pure Water San Diego Program achieves milestone

The City of San Diego’s $3 billion Pure Water San Diego Program has achieved a significant milestone on its path to providing one-third of San Diego’s water supply locally by the end of 2035. A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit has been granted to the city by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to add purified water to the Miramar Reservoir for Phase 1 of the Program.  The Pure Water San Diego Program is a phased, multi-year program that uses proven technology to produce a safe, reliable, and cost-effective water supply for the city. The program will help the city overcome its water challenges by transforming the city’s existing water system into a complete water cycle that maximizes the use and reuse of its water supply and reduces ocean discharges. … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here: Pure Water San Diego Program achieves milestone

No one is actually in charge of solving the border sewage crisis, says Dianne Feinstein

She writes, “For more than two decades, cleaning up the Tijuana River has been one of my top priorities. The wastewater, trash and sediment that continues to flow into San Diego County are a danger to public health and our economy and it must be addressed.  Over the past year we’ve made real strides to fix the problem of cross-border pollution. And last week’s introduction of the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act is another step toward achieving that goal. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  No one is actually in charge of solving the border sewage crisis, says Dianne Feinstein

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In national water news today …

Can a shower save the president in November?

“President Trump’s outreach to suburban voters in recent weeks has included warnings about low-income housing, the Green New Deal and efforts to defund the police.  Now add showers to the list, say political observers.  They said they see a political motive in the Trump administration’s recent effort to roll back water efficiency standards for showerheads.  The new proposal, announced Tuesday, comes a few months after Trump first tried to turn household items into a campaign issue. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  Can a shower save the president in November?

Will supply management be added to the list of challenges to water utility managers?

Water utilities were already facing a long list of challenges before COVID-19. Add to the list employee health protection, shutoff moratoriums, intensified affordability issues, unstable cash flow, the inability to foresee the “new normal” and matters become more complicated. It’s probable the list will continue to grow. Will supply management, defined as — identifying, acquiring and managing resources and supplier relationships that are essential to operations — be added to this list of challenges? … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  Will supply management be added to the list of challenges to water utility managers?

Judge overturns Trump administration’s rollback of bird protections

A federal judge in New York has struck down the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back protections for migratory birds, writing that its reinterpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is “contrary to law,” several news outlets reported.  For more than a century, the MBTA has issued penalties to companies that harmed the thousands of bird species protected under the act. But in 2017, now-Interior Department Solicitor Daniel Jorjani wrote a legal view that companies should only be held liable if it could be proven they had killed birds intentionally. … ”  Read more from Yale E360 here: Judge overturns Trump administration’s rollback of bird protections

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In commentary today …

CPUC ‘yes’ vote could cut water bill surcharges for millions, says Elizabeth Echols

She writes, “For over a decade, Californians have been dealing with unpredictable and confusing water surcharges. That could change if the state’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) votes to adopt a program recommended by the Public Advocates Office (Cal Advocates) as soon as Aug. 27.  If passed, the new program would promote water conservation and make water bills more affordable and transparent for millions of residents, benefitting both low-income customers and those who use less water. … ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here:  CPUC ‘yes’ vote could cut water bill surcharges for millions, says Elizabeth Echols

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Today’s featured articles …

DELTA STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL: Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and Central Valley Flood Protection Plan updates

At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, councilmembers heard briefings on the activities of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy, and an update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Click here to read this article.


SCIENCE NEWS: Scientists say expect more rainfall variability for California; Global methane emissions soaring, but how much was due to wetlands?; The ups and downs of tides; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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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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