DAILY DIGEST, 12/3: What the Biden Administration might mean for water; Will water unite us?; What does conserving 30% of land and water really mean?; LADWP replacing 7,000 miles of water pipeline with earthquake-resilient ones; OC water districts file massive lawsuit over PFAS contaminants; and more …



On the calendar today …

  • 2020 UWMP Training Webinar – Demonstrating Reduced Delta Reliance – Appendix C from 10am to 12:30pm.  A training webinar by DWR for Urban Water Management Plans on demonstrating Reduced Delta Reliance (Appendix C).  Click here to register: https://csus.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Vltw-Xa9Q-OdQS_yC5E8Nw
  • Identifying Adaptation Approaches with Living Shorelines in the San Francisco Bay: Part One from 10am to 11:30pm.  During this webinar, learn to familiarize landowning entities with the tools currently available to assist in execution of living shoreline projects in the San Francisco Bay; using Point Blue’s Adaptation Framework and Operational Land Units (OLUs) we will follow the step by step guide to explore nature based measures used to mitigate sea level rise; and following the Adaptation Framework we will take a deep-dive into Step 2 by identifying adaptation approaches with a focus on natural and nature-based measures suitable to the place.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Tribal Lands: Treaties, Federal Trust Obligation, & Opportunities for Cross-Boundary Collaboration from 10am to 11:30am.  This is the second webinar in a six-part series that informs forestry and natural resource professionals of the full scope of land management approaches used by Native Americans across the country.  Presented by the NCRS.  Click here for information on how to join the webinar.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Flood or Drought? A Discussion of the Election’s Potential Legislative Impacts on the Water Sector from 11am to 12:15pm.  President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump could mean big changes for federal treatment of issues affecting water service providers, as well as how such issues are addressed in California, where Governor Newsom will presumably now have an ally in the White House.  Click here to register.
  • WORKSHOP: Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program Applicant Assistance from 2pm to 4pm.  On Oct. 30, 2020, DWR released the Final Implementation PSP for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. On Nov. 9 2020, DWR will begin the acceptance of grant applications for Round 1. This solicitation will close on Jan. 8, 2021.  An application assistance workshop will be held Dec. 3, 2020 at 2 p.m. to review the application process and answer applicant’s questions. Click here to register.
  • PUBLIC LISTENING SESSION: Racial Equity Listening Session 4 from 6pm to 8pm. The State and Regional Water Boards will hold public listening sessions to hear public input on how best to ensure the Water Boards’ programs and policies preserve, protect and restore California’s drinking water and water resources equitably for people of all races.  This input will be used to guide the development of racial equity resolutions and action plans.  This is the last of four sessions. Register online at https://bit.ly/32tpnl3For more information, click here.
  • DELTA CONVEYANCE UPDATE from 7pm to 8pm: Big Break Regional Shoreline (BBRS) is hosting a Zoom program to give residents an opportunity to learn about the Delta Conveyance ProjectClick here to register.

In California water news today …

Radio show: What the Biden Administration might mean for water

When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, the change in U.S. leadership will signal a clear break with the previous four years of the Trump administration, especially for environmental policy. How big will the break be? And what will be the priorities for water? Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton hosted a roundtable discussion with three experts about what a Biden administration might mean for federal water policy.”  Listen at Circle of Blue here: What the Biden Administration Might Mean For Water

Will water unite us?

Shortly after the networks called the 2020 presidential race for Joe Biden, a list of four priorities appeared on the president-elect’s transition website.  Until that point, the Biden campaign’s Build Back Better platform was anchored by a placeholder message, one that urged patience from the American people and noted that votes were still being counted.  On November 8, a day after the victory announcement, the four priorities appeared, simple and direct, a distillation of the Biden team’s main concerns as it prepares to take the reins of American government. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here: Will water unite us?

California commits to conserving 30 percent of its land and water by 2030. What does that mean?

On October 7 California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state to create a new California Biodiversity Collaborative and conserve 30 percent of its land and coastal waters by 2030.  Conservationists have celebrated the enshrinement of biodiversity preservation among the state’s priorities, as well as the state aligning with an international “30 by 30” goal shared by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and many of the world’s most prominent conservation scientists.  Now comes the hard part: figuring out which 30 percent of California, and making it clear what it means to truly “conserve” it. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: California commits to conserving 30 percent of its land and water by 2030. What does that mean?

California’s oil and gas regulator approved hundreds of new wells without required oversight

The agency responsible for regulating California’s oil and natural gas industry violated state rules by approving hundreds of new wells in 2019 without proper review, according to a recent audit.  The state Department of Finance’s review of California’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) found numerous violations, including inadequate environmental and safety reviews and a failure to follow current guidelines. … “They’ve been injecting this toxic wastewater into what are supposed to be protected aquifers,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Groundwater that could be used for agriculture or municipal use now has oil industry waste in it.” … ”  Read more from KQED here: California’s oil and gas regulator approved hundreds of new wells without required oversight

November environmental action news

The Abbot & Kindermann law firm runs down the latest in California cases regarding water rights and supply, water quality, wetlands, endangered species and others.  Read it here:  November environmental action news

Weekend forecast brings potential fire risk for Northern California — in December

A potentially dangerous mix of arid conditions and the threat of gusty offshore winds in the coming days has meteorologists contemplating the extraordinary step of issuing a red flag warning — signaling a critical fire threat — in December for parts of Northern California.  Wildfire fuel in grassland and forest areas is approaching near-record levels of dryness for early December thanks to a prolonged dry spell that shows no signs of abating for weeks, according to the National Weather Service. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Weekend forecast brings potential fire risk for Northern California — in December

String of marine heatwaves continues to dominate Northeast Pacific

During the summer of 2020, an area of unusually warm ocean water—a marine heatwave—grew off the West Coast of the United States. It became the second most expansive Northeast Pacific heatwave since monitoring began in 1982. The heatwave eventually encompassed about 9.1 million square kilometers, almost six times the size of Alaska, towards the end of September.  In 2019 a similar heatwave developed slightly earlier in the year. While it was not as extensive as this year’s heatwave, its surface expression was warmer. It lasted 239 days, finally dying out way offshore in January 2020. ... ”  Read more from NOAA here: String of marine heatwaves continues to dominate Northeast Pacific

Investors, water experts launch Water Finance Exchange

Millions of people across the U.S. lack access to safe, reliable, and affordable drinking and wastewater services. To address this challenge, a new non-profit platform, the Water Finance Exchange (WFX), is launching to increase investment in the nation’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure and to help meet the growing needs and funding gaps of small and mid-sized utilities across the U.S. Seed funding for WFX is being provided by leading impact investors, the Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the Water Funder Initiative. … ”  Read more from Water World here: Investors, water experts launch Water Finance Exchange

Common pipe alloy can form cancer-causing chemical in drinking water

Rusted iron pipes can react with residual disinfectants in drinking water distribution systems to produce carcinogenic hexavalent chromium in drinking water, reports a study by engineers at UC Riverside.  Chromium is a metal that occurs naturally in the soil and groundwater. Trace amounts of trivalent chromium eventually appear in the drinking water and food supply and are thought to have neutral effects on health. Chromium is often added to iron to make it more resistant to corrosion. … ”  Read more from UC Riverside here: Common pipe alloy can form cancer-causing chemical in drinking water

Severe wildfires burning 8 times more area in western U.S., study finds

As we move into winter and what is typically the wet season for the western U.S., the 2020 fire season is finally winding down. But the damage is done: nearly 14 million acres have burned across the nation, about double the 10-year average and the most acres burned since reliable record-keeping began in 1983.  Five of the six largest fires in California history and three of the four largest in Colorado history all burned this year. This dramatic increase in the acres burned by immense wildfires is being driven by fires which are burning hotter and more intensely than they used to. … ”  Read more from CBS News here: Severe wildfires burning 8 times more area in western U.S., study finds

Substituting groundwater for surface water – what could go wrong? A case study in Victoria, Australia.

In many places there is evidence that some water users will sell off the surface water they are entitled to, but then make greater use of groundwater to satisfy their water needs. And, because surface water and groundwater are interconnected, but groundwater extraction poorly measured and monitored, it’s a form of substitution that could hurt others. It can also undermine water markets and affect water conservation efforts by governments. Sarah Ann Wheeler and colleagues have just analysed the interdependence between surface and groundwater extractions in an irrigation district in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. Here she explains what they did, and what it reveals. … ”  Read more from the Global Water Forum here: Substituting groundwater for surface water – what could go wrong? A case study in Victoria, Australia.

How climate change could spark the next home mortgage disaster

With its lively parks and colorful bungalows, Hialeah, Fla., has been the gateway to the American middle class for thousands of Cuban immigrants.  Hialeah was the place where homeownership, an unattainable goal under the Communist regime of their homeland, became a reality. And as in many American communities — rich and poor, of every ethnic makeup — the American dream for families in Hialeah was helped along by the taxpayer-funded mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Their willingness to purchase the loans on homes in the area provides local lenders with a steady flow of cash to invest in the community.  But behind the vibrant life in Hialeah is a troubling reality: flooding.  … ”  Read more from Politico here:  How climate change could spark the next home mortgage disaster

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In commentary today …

California must bypass water politics and work toward solutions for our thirsty state

Robbie Hunter, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California writes, “California’s water wars are epic. They’ve inspired Hollywood productions and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. Water has been the source of both great wealth and great poverty in California. A fellow Irishman, James Mulholland, who was born around the corner from where I was and even baptized in the same church, delivered water to the City of Los Angeles with what was described as “chicanery, subterfuge … and a strategy of lies.”  In California, water is political, but it’s time that we work together to remove the politics from the delivery of clean and reliable water for working Californians. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California must bypass water politics and work toward solutions for our thirsty state

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Radio show: New Momentum (And Some Big Players) In Klamath Dam Removal

The states of Oregon and California recently put some skin in the game of Klamath River dam removal. The proposal to take out four hydroelectric dams, one in Oregon and three in California, had taken a hit with a ruling from a federal regulator.  So the states agreed to step in to bear some of the cost and responsibility for the project. Many players are now involved in the ambitious plan, and we invited a table full to join us.  We bring in reps from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, Pacificorp, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.”  Listen to the radio show from Jefferson Public Media here:  Radio show: New Momentum (And Some Big Players) In Klamath Dam Removal

Clear Lake: Trump Administration denies protection to imperiled Northern California fish

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Endangered Species Act protections for the Clear Lake hitch, a large minnow found only in Northern California’s Clear Lake and its tributaries, are not warranted.  The determination is based on misinformation and contradicts the conclusions of native fish experts and findings by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Fish and Game Commission, which designated the hitch as a threatened species under California’s state Endangered Species Act in 2014. … ”  Read more from the Center for Biological Diversity here: Clear Lake: Trump Administration denies protection to imperiled Northern California fish

Sonoma County beginning outreach to well owners

Approximately 9,500 rural well owners in Sonoma County will soon be receiving a survey designed to elicit their concerns and ideas about local groundwater conditions. This joint project of the county’s three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) is the first step in an engagement project designed to educate and receive feedback from well owners in the Petaluma Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley groundwater basins. … ”  Read more from KSRO here:  Sonoma County beginning outreach to well owners

Glenn/Colusa County: Public meetings scheduled on sustainable groundwater regulation

The Glenn and Colusa Groundwater authorities will host meetings that aim to engage and inform people about local groundwater regulation as an outcome of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and the development of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Colusa Subbasin, according to a press release.  The agencies are launching a “SGMA Series” of public events, starting with these December meetings and extending to August 2021. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Glenn/Colusa County: Public meetings scheduled on sustainable groundwater regulation

Butte County: After brutal fire season, Fire Safe Council works to restore lands

Two years since the Camp Fire, what faces the ridge in winter after a year of devastating drought, unseasonable warmth and another destructive fire that threatened vulnerable survivors again?  The Butte County Fire Safe Council is hoping collaboration, home hardening and more fire prevention education will help with early preparations for 2021 in high risk areas. … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Butte County: After brutal fire season, Fire Safe Council works to restore lands

State advises of mercury-contaminated fish in Santa Clara county waterways

A state agency is advising the public not to eat fish from several lakes and waterways in Santa Clara County due to high levels of mercury.  The recommendation from the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment says that no fish should be consumed from Alamitos Creek, Almaden Lake, Almaden Reservoir, Calero Creek, Calero Reservoir, Guadalupe Creek, Guadalupe Reservoir, Guadalupe River, and associated percolation ponds. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: State advises of mercury-contaminated fish in Santa Clara county waterways

Upland OKs new $15.4 million reservoir to replace one that could fail

After four years of planning, the city of Upland soon will begin construction on a $15.4 million concrete reservoir to replace an old one in danger of failing.  The new above-ground, 7.5 million-gallon reservoir will be built adjacent to the old one on the northwest corner of 17th Street and Benson Avenue that was said to be similar to one in Westminster that failed in 1989. Construction will start in the first quarter of 2021 and take 12 months to 18 months to complete, city officials reported. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: Upland OKs new $15.4 million reservoir to replace one that could fail

LADWP replacing critical areas along its 7,000 miles of water pipeline with earthquake-resilient ones

Local utilities are looking for new ways to make Southern California earthquake safe, and one way is by replacing aging water pipes.  The new pipes could help keep the water flowing after a big one hits.  LADWP is replacing critical areas along its 7,000 miles of water pipes in Los Angeles with earthquake resilient pipes to ensure water is still flowing after the shaking stops. … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 7 here:  LADWP replacing critical areas along its 7,000 miles of water pipeline with earthquake-resilient ones

Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority postpones EIR approval again

In an email at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority canceled its Dec. 3 board meeting, where the Environmental Impact Report for restoration plans was set to be certified.  This is the second postponement. The November meeting was canceled due to technical difficulties with the computer connections for a remote meeting. … ”  Read more from the Grunion Gazette here: Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority postpones EIR approval again

Orange County water districts file massive lawsuit over PFAS contaminants

Eleven Orange County water agencies have joined in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from DuPont, 3M and others whose carcinogenic chemicals have leached into groundwater aquifers and forced the closure of more than three dozen wells in the central and northern parts of the county.  The money would compensate the water districts — and the hundreds of thousands of residents they serve — for costs associated with the contamination, including the treatment plants being designed to remove the PFAS contaminants targeted in the lawsuit. Those chemicals were long used in Scotchguard, Teflon, and other waterproofing and stain-proofing products. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Orange County water districts file massive lawsuit over PFAS contaminants

Laguna Beach environmentalists ask Coastal Commission for enforcement to protect Aliso Beach berm

Local environmentalists have lodged complaints with the California Coastal Commission and a regional water board over ongoing breaches of the berm at Aliso Beach, asking the agencies to stop the destruction by enforcing penalties.  The berm separates outflow discharge from Aliso Creek and the ocean. By digging out the small strip of sand a standing wave is created that can be surfed. It is very popular with skimboarders. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Laguna Beach environmentalists ask Coastal Commission for enforcement to protect Aliso Beach berm

Santa Barbara: ‘Drought and Flood’

Mike Hoover, a Santa Barbara geologist, wants to remind us of the Medieval Drought, the epic dry period that held California and the West in its grip for 400 years, beginning in 950 CE.  “That thing was really bad,” said Hoover, who mentioned the mega-disaster in his new book, Drought & Flood: The History of Water in Santa Barbara and Montecito. It was so bad, he said, that it may have led to malnutrition and warfare among the prehistoric Chumash.  “I keep telling people, ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,’” Hoover said. “We’ve been in an abnormally wet cycle in the last three or four hundred years, and that’s changing now. Climate change will amplify the ongoing trend to dryness.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Santa Barbara: ‘Drought and Flood’

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Today’s featured articles …

WATER COMMISSION: Conveyance projects panel discusses Imperial Valley to San Diego pipeline, “fish-friendly” Delta diversions, and more …

Presentations highlight San Diego CWA’s Regional Water Conveyance System Study, addressing California Aqueduct subsidence, and the San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint

The Water Resilience Portfolio directs the Water Commission to assess the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet the needs in changing climate, a task that the Commission has taken on wholeheartedly in recent months. (Here is coverage from the September meeting.)

At their November meeting, the Commission heard from two panels: the first panel was from project proponents who discussed conveyance projects being proposed by their organizations.  The second panel, which discussed the human right to water within the context of conveyance projects, will be posted next week.

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING: for Kings River with Semitropic Water Rights Complaint

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: CDFW Proposition 1 Funding Opportunity

UPDATED Public Notice and availability of the revised draft Winery Order and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Flood-MAR Network~ PACE Program~ Climate Paper~ EPA Webcast~ Water Platform~ P3 Conference~ Almond Conference~~

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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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