DAILY DIGEST, 10/21: Folsom’s high quality water found to contribute to copper pipe corrosion; New law lowers cost of clean water projects; Forest Service can’t afford fire prevention efforts; The legacy of nitrogen pollution; and more …

On the calendar today …

MEETING: California Water Commission meets at 9:30am.

The Commission will consider an early funding request under the Water Storage Investment Program for the Willow Springs Water Bank project,  discuss the state’s role in financing conveyance projects, and receive updates on the Temperance Flat project, Merced River Watershed Management program, and Delta restoration.  For agenda and webcast link, click here.

ONLINE EVENT: An informative discussion with Jeff Kightlinger from 9:30 to 11am

Urban Water Institute invites you to attend an informative Discussion with Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District.  Click here to register.

WEBINAR: Ready for Anything: Adaptive Capacity in Western Water Planning from 10am to 11am

Adaptive capacity is a critical factor for helping water systems meet challenges such as institutional fragmentation, conflicting management goals, and climate change. Integrated water resources management (IWRM) and polycentric governance arrangements may increase adaptive capacity, improving the ability of water systems to cope with changing conditions. This webinar will explore IWRM and polycentricity in state water planning and how it relates to determinants of adaptive capacity including integration, learning, resources, self-organizing authority, and participation.  Presented by the American Water Resources Association.  Click here to register.

WEBINAR: Potable Reuse Permitting to Startup: The Pure Water Monterey Journey from 11am to 12:30pm

This panel session will quickly move through the journey of California’s recently commissioned and first-of-its-kind potable reuse project – Pure Water Monterey (PWM).  Click here to register.

WEBINAR: Trampas Canyon Reservoir from 12:30 to 1pm

The Santa Margarita Water District currently imports 100% of its drinking water. But the District is ­committed to an ambitious plan to both locally generate 30% of its potable supply as well as recycle more of its wastewater. Central to these plans is the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir.  Click here for more information and to register.


In California water news today …

What caused pipes to leak under hundreds of Folsom homes? We may finally have an answer

For months, leaks have been springing in the pipes under homes in Folsom, causing costly repairs for hundreds of homeowners. City officials think they may have finally found a culprit: Folsom’s water is just so pure.  “The City has produced a high-quality potable water that under most circumstances provided the optimal corrosion control treatment as demonstrated by historical compliance with the (EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule),” a city report issued this week said. “However, the purity of this water source resulted in a rare set of conditions that can contribute to pitting conditions in copper pipe.” ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  What caused pipes to leak under hundreds of Folsom homes? We may finally have an answer

New law lowers cost of clean water projects

” … On Sept. 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 974 to streamline the permitting process for low-income communities to deliver clean drinking water for residents. Authored by state Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), the bill exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of CEQA. The exemption offers low-income communities relief for the expensive and exhaustive permit process for small, disadvantaged community water systems with water contaminants beyond the state standard or failing wells. … ”  Read more fr0m the Foothills Sun Gazette here:    New law lowers cost of clean water projects

How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.  PPIC: From the perspective of the communities you represent, how do you think groundwater planning is going? … ”  Read more from the PPIC here: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Public interest organizations submit comments to Army Corps regarding Delta Conveyance Project

Our public interest organizations joining this letter are AquAlliance, California Water Impact Network, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Water Caucus, Planning and Conservation League, Restore the Delta, and Sierra Club California.  The Project, a water tunnel, would divert enormous quantities of freshwater that presently flow through the Sacramento River, sloughs, and the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary before being diverted for export from the south Delta. Due to the new points of diversion north of the Delta, freshwater flows that presently contribute to water quality, water quantity, endangered and threatened fish species, fish habitat, Delta agriculture and public health by flowing through the already impaired Delta would instead flow through an underground tunnel no longer providing benefits within the Delta. One example of the environmental destruction that would be caused by the tunnel Project is worsening the harmful algal blooms threatening the public health of Delta residents and users. … ”

Click here to view/download comment letter.

As wildfires explode in the West, Forest Service can’t afford prevention efforts

Residents of the densely wooded hillsides near Bend, Ore., are serious about fire.  They gather up fallen branches, prune trees and clear their gutters of pine needles. Their leaders in Deschutes County have banned wood-shake roofs and are considering adopting tougher building codes to make homes more fire-resistant. Every square mile of this growing county has been declared a wildfire hazard zone. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  As wildfires explode in the West, Forest Service can’t afford prevention efforts

Biggest risk to surface water after a wildfire? It’s complicated

California’s CZU Lightning Complex Fire is 100% contained, but it’s still smoldering almost 2 months after it started and people were evacuated. For those residents of Santa Cruz County who returned to find their homes still standing, the sense of relief soon turned back to anxiety as they received mixed messages about how safe their water was.  Weeks after the fire was contained, some residents were still under “do not drink/do not boil” orders—unable to use their tap water to even bathe their children, said Hannah Hageman, a journalist living in Santa Cruz. Others for whom such orders have been lifted still don’t know whether to trust their water, Hageman said. “It’s been a traumatic couple of months for residents” of the coastal community. … ”  Read more from EOS here: Biggest risk to surface water after a wildfire? It’s complicated

SEE ALSOHow the West’s wildfires impact crops, from High Country News

Former DWR Director Ronald B. Robie awarded lifetime achievement award

Justice Ronald B. Robie, who served as the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) fifth director, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Lawyers Association’s Environmental Law Section for his 60 years of contributions to the environmental law field.  “I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Robie said. “But I share it with all my coworkers and those placing confidence in me over these many years.” … ”  Read more from DWR News here: Former DWR Director Ronald B. Robie awarded lifetime achievement award

Report gives California an ‘A’ grade for coastal protections

Most states are doing a mediocre job – and some even a poor one – of managing shorelines and preparing for sea-level rise, according to a new study by the Surfrider Foundation.  California, on the other hand, is a “shining example” and has excelled in responding to changes along the coast, earning the only “A” grade in the nation — but the report found there are still areas that need improvement to preserve the state’s beaches for future generations. … ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here:   Report gives California an ‘A’ grade for coastal protections

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Day of action planned for Klamath dam removal

Tribal members, fishermen and environmental justice organizations will be holding a day of action for dam removal on the Klamath River this Friday, demanding that Warren Buffet, billionaire owner of PacifiCorp and its parent company Berkshire Hathaway, allow the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement to move forward.  The dam removal effort has been in limbo since July, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said PacifiCorp must remain a co-licensee for four Klamath River dams along with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, which will carry out the actual removal. The KHSA had outlined a full transfer of the license from PacifiCorp to KRRC, causing the utility to reopen negotiations with the agreement’s other signatories. … ”  Read more from the Herald & News here:  Day of action planned for Klamath dam removal

Tule elk decision looms: Pt. Reyes could soon renew ranch leases and thin elk herds

“Known for its seaside bluffs and dense summer fog, Point Reyes National Seashore is a landscape of rolling coastal prairie blending into forests and marshlands, a sanctuary for hundreds of plants and animals and a destination for migrating birds and marine life.  Just a one-hour drive from San Francisco, the 71,000-acre peninsula serves as a haven for native California species like snowy plovers, red-legged frogs, coho salmon and tule elk.  The tule elk are one of the primary attractions of the park, which sees over 2 million visitors annually, and they can be easy to spot in the zones where they’re preserved. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Tule elk decision looms: Pt. Reyes could soon renew ranch leases and thin elk herds

Valley Water prepared for potential power outages

We are in wildfire season and this year’s adverse conditions continue to challenge us. But Valley Water remains committed to our preparedness. As we experienced last fall, during dry and windy weather PG&E may activate a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). PG&E does this to reduce the chance of electrical equipment starting a wildfire by pre-emptively shutting down portions of its system.  Valley Water is ready. We demonstrated last fall that we are prepared for potential power outages through successfully operating during two local PSPS events with no disruption of service to the community. … ”  Read more from Valley Water here:  Valley Water prepared for potential power outages

San Juan Bautista selects path to resolve water problems

Two days before the deadline to submit its “compliance project,” the San Juan Bautista City Council voted 4-1 on a regional approach to solving its water problems over an in-house option. The city will send its waste water to the Hollister Wastewater Treatment Plant and import water from the West Hills Water Treatment Plant. Councilman Dan De Vries was the lone “no” vote at the Oct. 13 meeting.  City Manager Don Reynolds said San Juan Bautista has a four-part system that includes water source, water distribution, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment. The city is required to fix two of the parts to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. ... ”  Read more from Benito Link here:  San Juan Bautista selects path to resolve water problems

Santa Cruz County property owners must clean up fire damaged properties

An emergency ordinance, unanimously passed by The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, will require homeowners to work with a private contractor, or the state government to clean up ash and debris left in the wake of the CZU August Lighting Complex fire.  The remnants of the fire “contain a lot of different types of material that end up being toxic for the environment, for ourselves, and for our watershed, our water and our drinking water quality,” said Marilyn Underwood, the county Director of Environmental Health, speaking during Tuesday’s meeting. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz County property owners must clean up fire damaged properties

Santa Barbara, Montecito set to make historic 50 year water deal official

A South Coast community is celebrating a historic deal this week which will help lock in a reliable, drought-proof water supply for the next half century.  The Montecito Water District is signing a 50 year water supply agreement with the City of Santa Barbara Wednesday. … ”  Read more from KCLU here: Santa Barbara, Montecito set to make historic 50 year water deal official

Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

As local groundwater agencies throughout California consider how to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights.  The cases involve the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, a groundwater sustainability agency overseeing a critically overdrafted aquifer that covers part of eastern Kern County and parts of Inyo and San Bernardino counties. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here:  Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

Love was overflowing for the Kern River Tuesday at the State Water Resources Control Board’s monthly meeting.  A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents.  Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.  The Kern River wasn’t on Tuesday’s agenda, but residents used the public statement portion of the meeting to grab the board’s collective ear. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

Mayor Garcetti tells MWD to focus on affordability, local water investment

Mayor Eric Garcetti has released to Southern California’s largest water wholesaler a list of water priorities for the City of Los Angeles that departs from the path the wholesaler has taken in recent years.  The list calls for the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) to focus its policies to “(1) invest in local water supply projects to protect the region from climate change impacts; (2) protect ratepayers, particularly low income ratepayers; and (3) empower leaders at MWD that embrace the vision of regional water resilience and transparent governance.” … ”  Read more from YubaNet here: Mayor Garcetti tells MWD to focus on affordability, local water investment

Endangered birds were dying where they shouldn’t. Now scientists know why.

Like many mysteries, it started with a death. In 2013 and 2014, employees of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recovered corpses of Yuma Ridgway’s Rails, a federally endangered subspecies native to specific marsh areas in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, from solar farms. This wouldn’t have been too unusual—birds sometimes die from the heat when they mistake reflective solar panels for bodies of water—except for one thing: The rails shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Yuma Ridgway’s Rails are known to be sedentary, non-migratory birds, but the carcasses had been found more than 30 miles from their nearest habitat. … ”  Read more from Audubon here: Endangered birds were dying where they shouldn’t. Now scientists know why.

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In national water news today …

The legacy of nitrogen pollution

Kim Van Meter jokes that she can trace her career back to a family road trip across the Midwest she took as a child, when an aunt promised a restless Van Meter a penny for each cow she counted along the way. Van Meter dutifully tallied up thousands of cows in pastures along the roadside, collecting all of her aunt’s poker money at the end of the trip.  More recently, as an assistant professor of ecohydrology at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Van Meter found herself counting cattle again, this time to help create an unprecedented database of nitrogen inputs and outputs across the United States dating back to the 1930s, which could help researchers and policymakers understand nitrogen pollution and how to address it. … ”  Read more from EOS here: The legacy of nitrogen pollution

Groundwater quality management for urban supply security

Climate change stress means better use of water reserves will be critical for urban water supply security. Aquifers, with their large natural groundwater storage, offer a cost-effective option to improve urban water supply resilience. For the most part, groundwater is naturally of excellent quality, requiring only precautionary disinfection before it is put into public supply. Two key exceptions are where groundwater quality is impacted or threatened by a pollution load generated by man-made activities on the land surface and where groundwater quality is affected by natural trace contaminants mobilised from soils and rocks.  Both cases mean that improved water quality management for groundwater is needed if aquifers are to contribute sustainably to resilience. … ”  Read more from Source Magazine here:  Groundwater quality management for urban supply security

Ocean climate bill is a grab bag for marine stakeholders, says Jessica Hathaway

She writes,”Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, today introduced the Oceans-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020.  We could start with the irony of a representative from Arizona introducing an oceans climate bill, hailing not only from a landlocked state, but one most known for its lack of water.  But let’s instead lead with the fact that the blueprint for this bill was introduced and failed to make it out of committee in California — one of the nation’s most progressive states. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom has made an end run around the legislative process by creating an executive order to effect the changes in the bill that could not pass with votes.  The federal bill is more than a mixed bag. Reading its 324 pages felt like swinging at a piñata packed with a mix of treats and lit fireworks. … ”  Read more from the National Fisherman here:  Ocean climate bill is a grab bag for marine stakeholders

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Today’s featured articles …

FEATURE: How dynamic are property rights in water?

Professor Holly Doremus is a leading scholar and teacher in the areas of environmental law, natural resources law, and law and science, bringing a strong background in life sciences and a commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship to her work at Berkeley Law.  In a webinar hosted by the University of California Ag and Natural Resources, Professor Doremus discusses water rights and how dynamic and adaptable they are to changing values and conditions.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: Draft Delta Science Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) Available for Public Review and Comment

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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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