DAILY DIGEST, 10/26: Power shutoffs in Bay Area underway as CA preps for dangerous fire weather; California’s complex water market faces new challenges; What has the Trump administration meant for water?; and more …



On the calendar today …

MEETING: Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee from 1pm to 2:30pm.

Agenda items include the recent Delta science needs assessment workshop and a panel discussion on creating a climate resilient future.  Click here for the full agenda.

BOARD MEETING: Delta Conveyance Authority Board of Directors at 3pm.

The Board of Directors will meet to consider passing a resolution to appoint a new public member to the DCA Delta Stakeholder Engagement Committee.  Click here for the agenda and remote access instructions.

In California water news today …

Power shutoffs in Bay Area underway as California preps for dangerous fire weather

California, which has endured its worst wildfire season in history, is bracing for the most dangerous winds of the year, a forecast that prompted the largest utility to announce plans to cut power Sunday to nearly 1 million people to guard against its equipment sparking new blazes. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Power shutoffs in Bay Area underway as California preps for dangerous fire weather 

SEE ALSO: The most dangerous fire conditions yet, from Cal Matters

Bulldozers were ready to fight California fires. Why did Forest Service turn them away?

The Loyalton Fire was two days old and starting to pick up momentum in a heavily forested area 50 miles north of Lake Tahoe. That’s when Jeff Holland offered to help.  Holland’s logging company, CTL Forest Management Inc., happened to have an array of firefighting equipment — bulldozers, water trucks, a wood-chipping machine called a masticator — parked on a property he owns in Loyalton, just west of where the fire started in mid-August. He proposed hiring out the equipment to the U.S. Forest Service, which was in charge of fighting the fire.  He was turned down. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Bulldozers were ready to fight California fires. Why did Forest Service turn them away?

Why California’s 4 million scorched acres is not all bad news

There’s no denying the tragedy.  Thirty-one people have died in California wildfires this year. As many as 3,000 more may have perished from breathing wood smoke-contaminated air.  Flames destroyed more than 9,000 buildings, many of them homes, but also restaurants, businesses and wineries. Countless wild animals were burned alive after being smoked out of their burrows. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Why California’s 4 million scorched acres is not all bad news

California’s complex water market faces new challenges

California has an intricate and multifaceted system of water management. The state’s $1.1 billion water market allocates a concentrated supply to the areas that need it most. From farming to landscaping and personal consumption, there is a constant tension in the state’s supply and demand of this life-sustaining resource. … ”  Read more from Institutional Investor here: California’s complex water market faces new challenges

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

In the closing minutes of the first presidential debate of this election cycle, the line of questioning turned, surprisingly, to climate change.  The moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, had not listed climate as one of the topics he planned to bring up. But then, nearly seventy-five minutes into the event, he did.  The fires burning in the American West were the prompt. Turning to the president, Wallace asked Trump what he believed about climate science and what he would do in the next four years to confront carbon pollution. Trump, at first, demurred.  “I want crystal clean water and air,” Trump responded. Then he pivoted to a familiar talking point: railing against cluttered forests as the cause of wildfires in California and other western states. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  What has the Trump administration meant for water?

Republicans ready to restart critical infrastructure initiative in 2021, says Rep. Sam Graves

He writes, “When I became the Republican leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the beginning of the 116th Congress, one of my top priorities was working to pass a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill — commonly known as the “highway bill.”  This is one of the most important responsibilities of our committee. Successful reauthorizations are bipartisan and typically last five or six years, providing the certainty states need to plan and undertake large, multi-year projects.  Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass a new reauthorization, settling instead for a shorter extension of the law that expired in September (the FAST Act). As a result, Congress missed a golden opportunity to authorize hundreds of billions of dollars in needed road, bridge, transit and other surface transportation infrastructure improvements. … ”  Read more from The Hill here:  Republicans ready to restart critical infrastructure initiative in 2021, says Rep. Sam Graves

Nearly half of the continental United States is gripped by drought, government forecasters said Thursday, and conditions are expected to worsen this winter across much of the Southwest and South.  Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said a lack of late-summer rain in the Southwest had expanded “extreme and exceptional” dry conditions from West Texas into Colorado and Utah, “with significant drought also prevailing westward through Nevada, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.” ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here: Nearly half of the U.S. Is in drought. It may get worse.

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Desal, public buyout at center of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board race

It’s little surprise California American Water’s proposed desalination project and the fate of a public buyout effort aimed at acquiring the company’s local water system are at the core of the contests for two seats on the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board of directors, given the way those two issues have dominated water politics over the past several years. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here:  Desal, public buyout at center of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board race

Kern County:  Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture

Conceptually it makes a lot of sense to farmers and oil producers alike: Use the latest filtration technology to turn one of Kern’s most troublesome waste streams — oilfield produced water — into a safe irrigation source.  For decades it’s been done on a relatively small scale near Bakersfield, and recent studies confirm it doesn’t threaten crop safety. So why aren’t more local oil producers giving farmers the briny water that comes up from the ground along with oil? In a word, money. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Kern County:  Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture

How the waters off Catalina became a DDT dumping ground

Not far from Santa Catalina Island, in an ocean shared by divers and fishermen, kelp forests and whales, David Valentine decoded unusual signals underwater that gave him chills.  The UC Santa Barbara scientist was supposed to be studying methane seeps that day, but with a deep-sea robot on loan and a few hours to spare, now was the chance to confirm an environmental abuse that others in the past could not. He was chasing a hunch, and sure enough, initial sonar scans pinged back a pattern of dots that popped up on the map like a trail of breadcrumbs. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: How the waters off Catalina became a DDT dumping ground

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Weekend Daily Digest …

This weekend in California water news,

  • Is ecosystem change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta outpacing the ability of science to keep up?
  • Here’s the challenge of implementing historic groundwater law, says Burnell Blanchard, vice president of operations at Searles Valley Minerals
  • Q&A: In Modesto, organizing for community-driven land and water decisions
  • Satellite data helping to make more informed water decisions
  • Water agencies call for support in developing voluntary agreements
  • Behind the battle for the future of California’s oil
  • Diablo Winds kick off Sunday evening, pose increased fire danger
  • More than 1 million Californians could lose power Sunday amid the windiest, driest conditions of the year
  • Temperatures near Lake Tahoe are about to plunge into the single digits
  • Along California’s ring of fire, residents face decades of danger, destruction
  • Mule Creek contamination may land CDCR in Federal Court
  • Ridgecrest: Could recycled water help balance the basin?
  • Damaging Santa Ana winds are on tap for Monday in the Los Angeles region, forecasters say
  • And more …

Click here for the Daily Digest, weekend edition.

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Today’s featured article …

WATER STORAGE INVESTMENT PROGRAM: Temperance Flat Reservoir Project Status Update

Project unlikely to meet program deadlines, putting $171.3 million in Prop 1 storage funds back on the table

In 2018, the Temperance Flat Reservoir Project received a Maximum Conditional Eligibility Determination (MCED) of $171,330,000 through the Water Storage Investment Program.  In order to receive the funding, there are several additional requirements which include a January 1, 2022 deadline to have completed feasibility studies, a draft version of the environmental documents released for public review, and commitments for at least 75% of non-program funding.

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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