DAILY DIGEST, 3/31: Summer-like heat to challenge record highs; How drought and climate change threaten CA water; Allenwood taps water from the sky; Abatti files petition with U.S. Supreme Court over IID scrap; and more …


In California water news today …

Summerlike heat to challenge record highs across Southwest

Some residents of the West may wonder if the calendar flipped to August as opposed to April, with temperatures expected to soar to record-high levels into Easter weekend.  The jet stream has taken on a seesaw orientation across the United States, with a southward plunge in the East leading to cold, snowy weather reminiscent of February, and a northward bulge in the West bringing an early taste of summer — and for some, an unwelcome hit to the budget with higher-than-normal early season cooling costs likely. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Summerlike heat to challenge record highs across Southwest

California drought worsens in winter

Now late in the fourth quarter of our rain season, any improvement in current drought conditions is looking unlikely for the region ahead of the transition to summer and the traditional start to fire season.  But, as recent years have shown, as drought becomes more frequent, fire seasons are being more of a year-round issue for California, which is navigating through warming temperatures and decreasing sustained rain seasons. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: California drought worsens in winter

UCI Podcast: How drought and climate change threaten California’s water

In this episode of the UCI Podcast, Nicola Ulibarri, an assistant professor of urban planning and public policy who is an expert on water resource management, discusses how droughts and floods have shaped California’s approach to water, what policy changes resulted from the record-breaking drought of 2011-16, and how better groundwater management might offer a solution for the future.”  Listen to the podcast or read the transcript from UC Irvine here:  UCI Podcast: How drought and climate change threaten California’s water

Rural, disadvantaged California community solves century-old water quality issue by tapping the sky

For over 100 years, the people of Allensworth, California, have been looking for safe, reliable sources of drinking water. Now, after decades of investigating and implementing various technologies, the community is evaluating an innovation that makes quality drinking water from resources in the sky. … To tackle those challenges in Allensworth, the community is collaborating with SOURCE to outfit their local community center with two Hydropanels to sustainably generate drinking water. … ”  Continue reading this press release at Business Wire here:  Rural, disadvantaged California community solves century-old water quality issue by tapping the sky

California alfalfa may get thirsty in 2021

The fields are already dry, and the mountain snowpack is far below normal. It’s not a scenario that bodes well for alfalfa fields in California where water is divvied up between millions of people living on the coast and vast acres of agricultural crops, which comprise most of the state’s landmass.  Current predictions for water allocations in parts of central and northern California are a fraction of what might normally be available.  Although alfalfa is more capable of surviving drought than many other crops, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a strategy for maximizing production when the spigot only drips. … ”  Continue reading at Hay and Forage Grower here: California alfalfa may get thirsty in 2021

Now, California waits for the fires

It is green in the Mayacamas Mountains this spring, says Lisa Micheli, the president and CEO of the 3,200-acre nonprofit research reserve Pepperwood, but it is not the kind of lush green she would like to see in March. The North Bay landscape reflects an exceptionally dry winter. It remembers the wildfires that have burned through Pepperwood twice in the last four years.  Like people living and working everywhere in California’s fire zones, Micheli looks out the window at the beginning of a subdued spring bloom and wonders: in another six months or so, when the Bay Area reaches the dry peak of its long, rainless summer and fall, what is that landscape going to remember of water? … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Now, California waits for the fires

March environmental action news

Abbott & Kindermann, Inc.’s March Environmental Action News provides brief updates on recent environmental cases, legislation, and administrative actions in 2021, including  County of Butte v. Department of Water Resources, City of Duarte v. State of Water Resources Control Board, and other water-related cases.  Read the article at Abbot & Kindermann here: March environmental action news

California takes steps to incorporate environmental justice into permitting decisions

Late last year, New Jersey became the first state to require via legislation that its environmental state agency evaluate the contributions of certain facilities to existing environmental and public health stressors in overburdened communities when reviewing certain permit applications. California, never to be outdone, has begun its own legislative process to further incorporate environmental justice into state decision-making. … ”  Read more from the National Law Review here:  California takes steps to incorporate environmental justice into permitting decisions

Return to top

In commentary today …

Bay-Delta Plan: With San Francisco Bay on life support, Newsom withholds the cure

Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist with San Francisco Baykeeper, writes, “San Francisco Bay’s life support systems are unravelling quickly, and a wealth of science indicates that unsustainable water diversions are driving this estuary’s demise.   Yet, with another drought looming, federal and state water managers still plan to divert large amounts of water to their contractors and drain upstream reservoirs this summer. Meanwhile, the state’s most powerful water districts are preparing yet another proposal to maintain excessive water diversions for the long-term. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Bay-Delta Plan: With San Francisco Bay on life support, Newsom withholds the cure

In regional water news and commentary today …

Northern California:  In hotter climate, ‘zombie’ urchins are winning and kelp forests are losing

They’re purple, spiky and voracious, and just off the West Coast, there are more of them than you can count.  Purple sea urchins have exploded in recent years off California, covering the ocean floor in what divers describe as a “purple carpet.” And they devour kelp: the once-lush forests of seaweed that hugged the coastline are disappearing. Since 2014, 95 percent of the kelp have vanished across a large part of Northern California, most of it bull kelp. ... ”  Read more from NPR here: In hotter climate, ‘zombie’ urchins are winning and kelp forests are losing

Mendocino County CSD officially declares Stage 3 drought

The Mendocino City Community Services District board declared a Stage 3 drought at its latest meeting, March 29. The district has recorded approximately 20.5 inches of rain for the year to date; this is the second-lowest recorded total in the past 100 years. … ”  Read more from The Mendocino Beacon here:  Mendocino County CSD officially declares Stage 3 drought

Lake Tahoe aquatic invasive species action agenda – emerging technologies to play pivotal role

Emerging technologies will be at the forefront of this summer’s launch of the ten-year, multi-agency effort to address aquatic invasive species (AIS) as laid out in The Lake Tahoe Region Invasive Species Action Agenda.   Published in late 2019, Phase I of the Action Agenda aims to aggressively treat and control-test mitigation measures of AIS in the Tahoe Keys from 2021-2025. The environmental assessment and control-testing outcomes from Phase I will then guide the implementation of Phase II’s reduction and eradication measures from 2026-2030. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here: Lake Tahoe aquatic invasive species action agenda – emerging technologies to play pivotal role

Bay Area climate focus: Rising waters

Rising sea levels aren’t an entirely new concept for California as it has been part of an ongoing process for many years. However, the rate by which sea levels could rise in the future should be a concern, especially in California where at least 200,000 residents may be impacted by a near 3-foot sea level rise by 2100.  From 1854 to 2016, water levels rose about 9 inches near the Golden Gate Bridge and by 9.5 inches near San Diego, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  Bay Area climate focus: Rising waters

Half Moon Bay: Water agencies don’t anticipate drought-related cutbacks

Two water districts on the Coastside say there is no reason for residents to fret about a drought this year. The Coastside County and North Coast water districts, which cover much of the area from the northern Pacifica city line south to Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, acknowledge that while this year appears to be drier than average, there is not yet cause for concern, despite early warnings from the California State Water Resources Control Board. … ”  Read more from the Half Moon Bay Review here: Water agencies don’t anticipate drought-related cutbacks

Imperial Valley: Grower Mike Abatti files petition with U.S. Supreme Court over IID scrap

Imperial Valley grower, landowner, and former elected official Michael Abatti has filed a petition for “writ of certiorari” with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District’s decision in Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District, according to a press release from Abatti and his legal team.  Abatti is seeking to overturn a previous appellate court ruling that asserts Imperial Irrigation District is the “sole owner” of water rights in the Valley, and farmers do “not (have) an appurtenant water right” but rather are entitled merely to “water service” that is subject to modification by the district at its discretion, the press release states. ... ”  Read more from the Holtville Tribune here:  Imperial Valley: Grower Mike Abatti files petition with U.S. Supreme Court over IID scrap

San Diego: Vallecitos Water District recognized for innovative technology at Mahr Reservoir

The Vallecitos Water District received two awards for its innovative use of technology to reduce algae blooms at the Stanley A. Mahr Reservoir in San Marcos.  The district received the “Excellence in Action” award from the national WateReuse Association, and the “Innovation and Resiliency” award from the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, or CASA. … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here:  San Diego: Vallecitos Water District recognized for innovative technology at Mahr Reservoir 

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona: No movement on groundwater protection bills

Arizona’s 1980 Groundwater Management Act established pumping regulations in the state’s most populous areas but set no such limits on rural parts of the state. In recent years, some rural areas have come under increased pressure from agricultural pumping that has dropped groundwater levels dramatically. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here:  Arizona: No movement on groundwater protection bills

Colorado mountain snowpack still lags slightly below norm — and recent storms won’t offset drought

The snowpack in Colorado’s mountains has reached 93% of normal, federal survey data showed Tuesday — lagging slightly at the moment when cities and food growers decide whether water supplies will be sufficient for crops, cattle and a growing population.  While recent heavy snow bodes well, measured in relation to the norm between 1981 and 2010, federal forecasters on Tuesday also warned they’re expecting “below normal” water flows in streams and rivers once snow melts due to decades of mostly increasing aridity. … ”  Read more from the Denver Post here: Colorado mountain snowpack still lags slightly below norm — and recent storms won’t offset drought

Return to top

In national water news today …

How safe is our drinking water?

In Connecticut, a condo had lead in its drinking water at levels more than double what the federal government deems acceptable. At a church in North Carolina, the water was contaminated with extremely high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals. The water flowing into a Texas home had both—and concerning amounts of arsenic, too.  All three were among locations that had water tested as part of a nine-month investigation by Consumer Reports and the Guardian US news organization into the nation’s drinking water.  … CR and the Guardian selected 120 people from around the U.S., out of a pool of more than 6,000 volunteers, to test for arsenic, lead, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), and other contaminants. The samples came from water systems that together service more than 19 million people. … ”  Read more from Consumer Reports here: How safe is our drinking water?

Federal water bill would allocate $50 million to Tribal drinking water projects

A bipartisan bill under consideration in the U.S. Senate would invest billions of dollars in updating the nation’s water infrastructure. Among its many provisions, the package would direct funds to Southwestern tribes. The legislation would reauthorize the Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program. It allocates $50 million a year to 10 tribal drinking water projects through the Environmental Protection Agency. … ”  Read the full story at KNAU here:  Federal water bill would allocate $50 million to Tribal drinking water projects

Here’s what’s in Biden’s infrastructure proposal

Now that his massive coronavirus relief package is law, President Joe Biden is laying out his next big proposal: A roughly $2 trillion plan for improving the nation’s infrastructure and shifting to greener energy over the next 8 years. … The nation’s infrastructure is sorely in need of repair. It recently earned a C- score from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which said an additional $2.6 trillion in funding is required over the next decade. But Biden is also pitching his plan as an investment to benefit communities of color, rural Americans and others burdened by decay or lagging modernization. … ”  Read more from CNN here:  Here’s what’s in Biden’s infrastructure proposal

How to make sure Biden’s infrastructure plan can hold up to climate change – and save money

The Biden administration is proposing a massive infrastructure plan to replace the nation’s crumbling bridges, roads and other critical structures. But to make those investments pay off, the U.S. will need designs that can endure the changing climate.  Most U.S. infrastructure is designed to stand for decades, including through what engineers expect to be rare storms and floods.  However, extreme storms that were considered rare a few decades years ago are already becoming more common. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was the Houston area’s third “500-year flood” in three years, and it was followed by two more major flooding events. … ”  Read more from Governing here:  How to make sure Biden’s infrastructure plan can hold up to climate change – and save money

New report shows need for agricultural research investment

A new report details the critical importance of investing in agricultural research. The “Benefits of Increased U.S. Public Investment in Agricultural Research” report shows that public spending has been relatively flat over the last decade. By comparison, competing countries such as China, India, and Brazil have been steadily increasing investment in ag research and development.  “The importance of robust funding for agricultural research cannot be overstated,” American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said during a media briefing. “The research conducted in this nation at public land grant universities and elsewhere is imperative to the health and sustainability of American agriculture and its future as being the breadbasket of the world.” … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  New report shows need for agricultural research investment

Return to top

And lastly …

Google is putting money into that fast undersea internet cable between Eureka and Singapore, and they think it’ll be done by 2023

You’ve heard about that big, new, fat fiber optic pipe they’re going to lay down between Singapore and Eureka?  The plan is that it’ll descend down into the deep from one of the world’s major financial capitals and make its way eastward, with stopovers in Indonesia and Guam, before crawling up to shore via the old Samoa pulp mill’s outfall pipe, which extends about a mile out to sea. … ”  Yeah, I had to double-check the date.  April 1st is tomorrow … Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here:  Google is putting money into that fast undersea internet cable between Eureka and Singapore, and they think it’ll be done by 2023

Return to top

By the numbers report …

By the Numbers March

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Drought Contingency~ Landscape Measurement~ ~ Flood-MAR Network~ Fisheries Grants~ Conserving Biodiversity~ WaterNow Summit~ Water Justice ~~

Return to top

 

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.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: