DAILY DIGEST, 4/1: New report identifies major gaps in SGMA, provides recommendations; Groundwater markets: The importance of design; California’s latest drought is already here; Does the American Jobs Plan affect the water industry?; and more …


In California water news today …

New report identifies major gaps in SGMA, provides recommendations

In 2014, California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) promised comprehensive management of California’s groundwater. The report, based on joint analysis by Stanford University’s Water in the West and The Nature Conservancy, finds that SGMA actually suffers from several major gaps in its coverage. Indeed, SGMA currently protects less than two percent of California’s groundwater. While SGMA covers those groundwater basins where the vast majority of pumping today occurs, it does not protect many other important groundwater sources, leaving that groundwater at risk of over-pumping, now and in the future, with no state oversight to safeguard rural domestic wells, sensitive habitats, and other beneficial uses of water.  This report, Mind the Gaps: The Case for Truly Comprehensive Sustainable Groundwater Management, details SGMA’s gaps and their consequences and recommends several ways to remedy these gaps. The gaps largely stem from the ways in which the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) defines and prioritizes groundwater basins in Bulletin 118 (California’s Groundwater). … ”  Read the report here: Mind the Gaps: The Case for Truly Comprehensive Sustainable Groundwater Management

The first SGMA groundwater market is trading: The importance of good design and the risks of getting it wrong

Groundwater markets are a promising tool for basins implementing SGMA, but they are complex, and good design is essential.  A groundwater market, which caps total pumping within one or more basins, allocates portions of the total to individual users and allows users to buy and sell groundwater under the total cap, is a promising tool for basins implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). While the benefits of a cap-and-trade system for both groundwater users and regulators are potentially very large, so too are the risks. ... ”  Read more from California Agriculture here:  The first SGMA groundwater market is trading: The importance of good design and the risks of getting it wrong

Water futures market may not have the ag solutions proponents suggest

The California water futures market may not be the economic tool that supporters are suggesting. No actual water changes hands through the futures market, but it offers an economic opportunity similar to the stock market. Market participants enter into a contract for a certain price based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index hoping the price will rise. Advocates of the water futures market present it as an economic tool available to farmers to help offset the real costs of physical water transfers. However, the risks involved may outweigh the potential benefits for the agricultural community. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Water futures market may not have the ag solutions proponents suggest

Explaining California’s complex water system with emotion and storytelling

California has one of the most complex and complicated water systems in the nation.  There are hundreds of water districts, different reservoirs and rivers and canals controlled by different jurisdictions, and lots of politically charged legislation.  Understanding this system is a difficult undertaking, but those at the Modesto Irrigation District believe they’re up to the task.  Through emotional storytelling and strong characters, the MID set out to explain how the rivers in their district nourish communities by talking to the men and women who depend on them. The interviews and stories eventually turned into a feature-length documentary called Until the Last Drop. ... ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here: Explaining California’s complex water system with emotion and storytelling

Underwater meadows of California seagrass found to reverse symptom of climate change

Eelgrass, a plant that grows in “underwater meadows” along the California coast and emerges like a floating carpet at low tide, is already known to be an important habitat for fish, birds and baby Dungeness crabs. It turns out it can also reduce seawater’s acidity back to preindustrial levels, creating refuges for animals who can’t tolerate that byproduct of climate change.  That’s the conclusion of a six-year study published Wednesday by the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Underwater meadows of California seagrass found to reverse symptom of climate change

California municipal stormwater permits: recent court cases cities should consider

For the last 30 years, most California cities and counties have operated their municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued by a regional water quality control board under both the federal Clean Water Act1 and California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act2. One of the primary points of contention between cities and the water boards has been the cost of achieving water quality goals – the water boards have steadily imposed more restrictive requirements in municipal NPDES permits, while expecting cities and counties alone to bear the costs. … ”  Read more from Western City here: California municipal stormwater permits: recent court cases cities should consider

Cities of San José and Ukiah lead the way on critical water infrastructure projects

Much of the state’s water infrastructure was designed decades ago and was built to serve half the size of our current population. Faced with aging infrastructure, California cities have taken innovative approaches to modernizing water treatment and recycling systems to meet the needs of a growing population and a changing climate.  One infrastructure need that many residents take for granted is wastewater treatment. These systems are critical as they clean wastewater so that it can be discharged into clean water sources. This protects our lakes, rivers, and beaches from raw sewage, E. coli, and other toxins. … ”  Read more from Western City here: Cities of San José and Ukiah lead the way on critical water infrastructure projects

Suit challenging water district’s ad valorem property tax was time-barred under the validation statutes

A challenge to a water district’s increase in its ad valorem property tax was untimely under the 60-day statute of limitations in the validation statutes. Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts), No. E074010 (4th Dist., March 9, 2021).  Code of Civil Procedure sections 860-870 provide for accelerated procedures for determining the validity of certain bonds, assessments and agreements entered into by public agencies. Referred to as the validation statutes, they allow a public agency to file an action to promptly determine the validity of any of the agency’s acts that fall within the scope of their provisions. They also allow any “interested person” to bring an action challenging the validity of such acts (sometimes referred to as “reverse” validation actions) within 60 days of the challenged action. ... ”  Read more from the California Land & Development Report here:  Suit challenging water district’s ad valorem property tax was time-barred under the validation statutes

Latest California State Water Board investigative order for PFAS targets bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries

Last week, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) officially released an order (the Order) to investigate and sample for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at over 160 bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries throughout California. The State Water Board’s Order is the latest action in a series of investigative orders over the last two years to study and identify industrial and municipal sources of PFAS in California including at airports, landfills, manufacturing facilities, chrome platers, and wastewater treatment facilities. ... ”  Read more from Downey Brand here:  Latest California State Water Board investigative order for PFAS targets bulk fuel storage terminals and refineries

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In drought and hydrology news …

California’s latest drought is already here

As if the COVID-19 epidemic, economic malaise, disrupted schooling and wildfires weren’t enough, California now finds itself heading for a drought. A big drought.  In fact, the U.S. Drought Monitor says that 91 percent of the state is in a drought right now.   Reservoir and groundwater levels are significantly below average, and despite recent storms, the snowpack was only 63 percent of average as of March 10. The state’s next snow survey — the critical indicator of spring runoff — at Echo Summit in the Sierra Nevada is unlikely to show improvements. ... ”  Read more from Capitol Weekly here: California’s latest drought is already here

Little snow and rain mean drought – dry, difficult months lie ahead for California

California’s wet season is coming to a close without a much-sought “March miracle” storm, setting the stage for a painful escalation of drought in the coming months.  The April 1 snow survey, which measures the peak accumulation of snow in the Sierra and southern Cascades just before it melts, will show only about 60% of average snowpack. California relies on this snow to fill its rivers and streams, to help keep forests and grasslands from burning catastrophically, and to provide up to a third of the state’s water. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Little snow and rain mean drought – dry, difficult months lie ahead for California

On tap in California: Another drought or “megadrought”

California’s hopes for a wet “March miracle” did not materialize and a dousing of April showers may as well be a mirage at this point.  The state appears in the midst of another drought only a few years after a punishing 5-year dry spell dried up rural wells, killed endangered salmon, idled farm fields and helped fuel the most deadly and destructive wildfires in modern state history.   “We’re looking at the second dry year in a row. In California that pretty much means we have a drought,” said Jay Lund, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Davis. … ”  Read more from Fox 11 News here: On tap in California: Another drought or “megadrought”

Farmers brace for water shortages

Despite some recent rainfall, state officials issued bleak warnings to farmers last week which caution them to prepare for water shortages this summer. … Turlock Irrigation District Hydrologist Olivia Cramer stated during the board meeting on Tuesday that a total of 3.01 inches of rain had fallen in the Tuolumne River Watershed through March 21, or about 55 percent of the historical average of 5.47 inches for March. The water year, which began Sept. 1, 2020 and runs through the end of August 2021, has seen the watershed so far receive 17.2 inches of precipitation, or about 60 percent of the average of 30.55 inches. … ”  Read more from the Ceres Courier here:  Farmers brace for water shortages

Facing another dry year, California to hire 1,400 additional firefighters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said the state will hire nearly 1,400 additional firefighters as an unusually dry winter stokes fears of another devastating wildfire season. … Tuesday, Newsom said he was using his emergency authority to spend $80.74 million to hire 1,399 additional firefighters at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as Cal Fire. More than 19,000 firefighters battled blazes in California last year. … ”  Read the full story at CBS 13 here: Facing another dry year, California to hire 1,400 additional firefighters

Tackling challenges of a drier, hotter, more fire-prone future

Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires are among the costliest and most life-threatening disasters in the United States and worldwide. Wildfires in the western United States burned nearly 3.56 million hectares (8.8 million acres) in 2020, or about 75% more area than expected in an average year. With 37 people killed, tens of thousands more displaced, and millions having experienced impaired air quality, the total cost, including from health issues and indirect impacts such as disruptions of supply chains nationwide, is expected to be hundreds of billions of dollars [Wang et al., 2021]. This record wildfire season, like many seasons in the past 20 years (Figure 1), occurred concurrently with a once-in-a-millennium drought and record heat across much of the southwest United States (part of the Northern Hemisphere’s warmest summer on record). … ”  Read more from EOS here:  Tackling challenges of a drier, hotter, more fire-prone future

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Special April 1st news section …

Looking for a new challenge? – Retrain as a Delta Smelt

Help restore one of California’s most endangered species while supporting California’s water supplies in a time of drought.  The Federal government is beginning a program for the unemployed to retrain as much-needed Delta Smelt.  Following a two-day course, candidates will learn to: Seek out turbid waters, spawn in sand at secret locations, surf the tides, and make themselves present for counting in mid-water trawls … ”  Continue reading at the California Water Blog here: Looking for a new challenge? – Retrain as a Delta Smelt

Water Infrastructure Financing Initiative (WIFI) and Crater Lake Access Project (CLAP): Drain Lake, Bottle Water, Sell to Las Vegas

In an early-morning 1 April 2021 press conference the National Park Service (NPS) announced a novel plan to bottle Crater Lake water and also sell it in bulk to Las Vegas, a scheme that would finance the Canada-USA-Mexico border fence, fund the expenses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, fund Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare in perpetuity, and solve the NPS’s financial woes by endowing a national park trust fund. The plan, dubbed the Crater Lake Access Project (CLAP), will be implemented immediately by the Biden Administration as part of the President’s Water Infrastructure Financing Initiative (WIFI), announced yesterday. Former New York Governor Andrew ‘Many Hands’ Cuomo will manage the project, using the skills he demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic in his former home state. … ”  Read more from Water Wired here:  Water Infrastructure Financing Initiative (WIFI) and Crater Lake Access Project (CLAP): Drain Lake, Bottle Water, Sell to Las Vegas

The Green MAGA-Deal Goes Public!

There were gasps of astonishment when Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Bernie Sanders took the stage together. The gasps turned into stunned silence as Trump began to speak. The trio were there, Trump said, to announce something HUGE, something no one ever expected: the world’s biggest plan for climate action.  Trump began by denouncing the media for portraying him as weak on climate change, calling himself the “greatest climate president since Abraham Lincoln.” He turned the microphone over to Bernie Sanders to give the details of the $14 trillion plan. One key component was a “wall of sunshine from sea to shining sea” — a 3000 mile chain of solar panels and transmission lines. McConnell then promised unanimous Republican support in the Senate. ... ”  Read more from Legal Planet here: The Green MAGA-Deal Goes Public!

In regional water news and commentary today …

Oregon governor declares drought emergency in Klamath Basin

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday declared a drought emergency in Klamath County.  Much of the south-central Oregon county is experiencing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the area is entering the spring with mountain snowpack well below normal.  “The Klamath Basin faces one of the most difficult water years in recent memory,” Brown said in a press release. “Moving forward, we must look at long-term solutions to the underlying issue in Klamath and many other Oregon counties: there is too little water in the ground, and as the climate changes we are experiencing hotter, drier summers.” … ”  Read more from OPB here: Oregon governor declares drought emergency in Klamath Basin

Friends of the Eel River claims a win for eel river salmon and steelhead, and the Endangered Species Act

Friends of the Eel River (FOER) has claimed an obscure but important win in our fight to reverse the harms Pacific Gas & Electric’s two Potter Valley Project dams continue to cause critically imperiled Eel River salmon and steelhead. Though it took the threat of a lawsuit, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has conceded it improperly approved an operations plan for new doors on the fish ladder at Cape Horn dam. The Commission failed to take the basic steps required by the Endangered Species Act to ensure listed species won’t be pushed closer to extinction by federal actions. … ”  Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Friends of the Eel River claims a win for eel river salmon and steelhead, and the Endangered Species Act

Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino water levels at record low for this time of year

A second year of extremely low rainfall has left water storage in Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino at the lowest levels for this time of year since the reservoirs were filled decades ago, Sonoma County’s water agency said Tuesday.  Lake Sonoma had 154,729 acre-feet of water at last check, or about 63% of its storage capacity for this time of year, while Lake Mendocino, the smaller of the two, had about 45% of its targeted storage, or about 36,000 acre-feet. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino water levels at record low for this time of year

SEE ALSODreading another long drought, from the Sonoma Gazette

Point Reyes elk dying as dry period persists

The Point Reyes National Seashore’s largest tule elk herd declined by about a third in the past year, an event that park officials attributed to a combination of overpopulation and malnutrition resulting from two years of dismal rainfall.  The Tomales Point herd, which was the first to be reestablished in the park in 1978, dropped from 445 elk in the winter of 2019-2020 to 293 in the winter that recently ended, according to the latest survey.  The decline is the largest in the herd since the 2013-2015 drought, when 250 elk died under similar conditions, park officials said. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Point Reyes elk dying as dry period persists

Bay Area: Judge likely to advance PG&E suit over century-old pollution

Rejecting arguments that a utility can’t be sued over century-old pollution, a federal judge signaled Wednesday that he will likely advance a lawsuit seeking to hold Pacific Gas and Electric liable for contamination that occurred more than 100 years ago.  “I think at least for now, I’m going to allow the case to proceed and conclude that the case isn’t time-barred,” U.S. District Judge William Orrick III said during a virtual court hearing Wednesday. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Bay Area: Judge likely to advance PG&E suit over century-old pollution

Improving Natomas Basin area levees

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, is ramping up work on the Natomas Basin area levee improvements.  “This is the season for springing forward, and we’re fully embracing that concept by ramping up work on area levee improvements,” said USACE in their latest announcement. … ”  Read more from Dredging Today here: Improving Natomas Basin area levees

Cosumnes subbasin groundwater status, plan discussed at meeting

Seven agencies that have been working together to sustain the groundwater in the Cosumnes Subbasin, which includes the communities of Galt, Herald, Wilton and Rancho Murieta South, held a workshop March 24.  The presentation was intended to help residents understand how groundwater will be used in the next two decades in the Cosumnes Subbasin.  The group has until Jan. 31, 2022 to submit its plan to the state on how it intends to meet its target of replacing 20,000-acre feet per year (AFY) in underground basins called aquifers to sustain the groundwater. … ”  Read more from the Galt Herald here: Cosumnes basin groundwater status, plan discussed at meeting

Ventura County: Ormond Beach receives $1M for desperately needed restoration

The perpetual northwest winds were up, grooming the exposed fore-dunes of a windswept Ormond Beach in Southern Oxnard. The well-manicured dunes constantly shifted with the winds, buffering a sliver of coastal wetland still hanging on in Southern California.  The wetlands at Ormond Beach are one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in the entire state. Over 90 percent of all coastal wetlands have been lost to coastal development; harbors, homes, roads, and oil refineries replacing some of the richest, most biodiverse habitats in North America. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Reporter here: Ventura County: Ormond Beach receives $1M for desperately needed restoration

Southern California prepared for drought with Metropolitan investments in storage, conservation, diverse supplies

Despite critically dry conditions across the state, Southern California can count on a reliable water supply thanks to residents’ enduring conservation efforts and the Metropolitan Water District’s investments in storage and diverse supplies, agency officials announced today in advance of tomorrow’s state snow survey.  The state Department of Water Resources snow survey is expected to provide the latest evidence that precipitation totals this year in the Sierra Nevada are far below average. The survey comes on the heels of DWR last week dropping the State Water Project water supply allocation from 10 percent to just 5 percent of contracted amounts, matching the record-low allocation recorded just six years ago. … ”  Continue reading at Metropolitan Water District here: Southern California prepared for drought with Metropolitan investments in storage, conservation, diverse supplies

Construction begins on North Hollywood groundwater cleanup projects

Construction has begun on two San Fernando Valley water clean-up projects seeking to address groundwater contamination from post-World War II and Cold-War-era industry in the region, officials said.  The projects, developed by two firms, working as the Kiewit-Stantec design-build team — commissioned by the L.A. Department of Water and Power at a cost of $400 million — will provide groundwater remediation in the 226-square-mile San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basis for several years, according to the firm. … ”  Read more from the Daily News here: Construction begins on North Hollywood groundwater cleanup projects

Hazardous waste survey off Palos Verdes Peninsula concludes this month

Palos Verdes Beach; Photo by BLM

For decades, an unknown number of barrels of hazardous chemicals have sat on the ocean’s floor just miles off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, worrying scientists and environmentalists.  But now, a team of researchers — led by scientists from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — have concluded a nearly two-week study to determine the extent of environmental damage and, potentially, who might be to blame.  The study, which concluded Wednesday, March 24, included verifying how many barrels sit at the bottom of the ocean containing the toxic chemical DDT, said NOAA spokesman David Hall. … ”  Read more from The Beach Reporter here: Hazardous waste survey off Palos Verdes Peninsula concludes this month

OC & Serrano Water Districts recognized for PFAS water treatment plant

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) and Serrano Water District (SWD) were recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Orange County (ASCE-OC) for their work on the Serrano Water District PFAS Treatment Plant. Featured as an outstanding project during a virtual program on March 18, the award highlights the agencies’ proactive efforts to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from groundwater supplies. … ”  Read more from the Hews Media Group here: OC & Serrano Water Districts recognized for PFAS water treatment plant 

Oceanside officials counter lawn care firm’s claim on drinking water quality

City officials in Oceanside described their drinking water as consistently “high-quality, safe and reliable” Wednesday in the hope of reassuring residents after a lawn care company ranked Oceanside’s water at 198 out of 200 cities nationwide.  Rosemarie Chora, the city’s water utilities division manager, said a March 23 report from LawnStarter “hit big” as residents expressed alarm on social media. … “In every category, we disagreed with their findings,” Chora said. “We had a good dialogue with them. They actually agreed with our statements about what they published and they were going to go back and recalculate. … Even in their own criteria we would not have ranked that low had their data been accurate.” … ”  Read more from KPBS here: Oceanside officials counter lawn care firm’s claim on drinking water quality

Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti hoping to take IID to the U.S. Supreme Court

“The fight between Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti and the Imperial Irrigation District over control of the district’s massive allotment of Colorado River water could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court if Abatti gets his way.  He and his lawyers have announced that they have petitioned the nation’s highest court to take up the litigation that has dragged on since 2013.  The case’s legal questions deal with intricate nuances of water law, but the stakes are high. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here:  Michael Abatti asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case against IID

SEE ALSO: Abatti files Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the US Supreme Court regarding landowners’ water rights, from the Desert Review

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In national water news today …

Does the American jobs plan affect the water industry?

President Joe Biden is set to unveil a more than $2 trillion infrastructure package March 31, which includes $111 billion for drinking water infrastructure improvements. The primary goal is to replace 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.  The proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, is part of his administration’s shift of its focus to a post-pandemic economy. For the water industry in particular, the plan targets the need for upgrading and modernizing America’s drinking water, wastewater, and storm water systems as well as tackling new contaminants and supporting clean water infrastructure across rural America. … ”  Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here: Does the American jobs plan affect the water industry?

Biden takes moonshot approach to replacing lead water pipes

The Biden administration wants to take a huge swing at the problem of lead water pipes, proposing to replace 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.  The American Jobs Plan released Wednesday will reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and child care centers and 6 to 10 million homes, and create union and prevailing wage jobs, according to the administration. To fund the plan, Biden said he’ll ask Congress to invest $45 billion in the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) grants. … ”  Continue reading at Bloomberg Law here: Biden takes moonshot approach to replacing lead water pipes

In broad strokes, Biden infrastructure plan sketches a future for federal water spending

President Joe Biden unveiled a wide-ranging jobs and infrastructure plan on Wednesday, asking Congress to support a $2 trillion investment in the built and natural systems that sustain American life, from trips to the grocery store to a glass of water from the faucet.  The administration is calling the proposal the American Jobs Plan, and among its many parts it includes $111 billion for water systems. A month after winter storms crippled water and electric providers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the plan also calls for $50 billion to prepare the country’s infrastructure for an era of severe floods, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes. … ”  Read more from Circle of Blue here:  In broad strokes, Biden infrastructure plan sketches a future for federal water spending

National ag, water coalition highlights need for more water investments in Biden infrastructure proposal

Recognizing the constructive elements of conservation, efficiency, recycling and watershed management included in the Biden administration’s initial infrastructure proposal, a national coalition of over 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts said today it would urge the federal government to further bolster investment in the nation’s aging water facilities.  In January, the coalition called on the administration and congressional leaders to invest in a diversified water management portfolio that enhances water supply and quality for urban and environmental uses, while keeping water flowing to Western farms and rural communities. ... ”  Read more from the Family Farm Alliance here: National ag, water coalition highlights need for more water investments in Biden infrastructure proposal

Ag industry mixed on Biden’s infrastructure plan

President Joe Biden proposed on Wednesday his next major initiative – the American Jobs Plan – which would invest $2 trillion, about 1% of GDP per year over eight years, to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science and shore up supply chains. He pays for the investments by increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% but promised not to raise taxes on those who make less than $400,000.  “It is clear in the American Jobs Plan that USDA is central to the President’s strategy to build a strong economy for working people, restore the safety and integrity of our nation’s infrastructure from broadband to water to power and electricity, and to renew America’s leadership in science, research and development to give us the tools to make and create U.S. products to be sold around the world,” says Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Ag industry mixed on Biden’s infrastructure plan

Supreme Court rules for Georgia in water fight with Florida

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant Florida’s request for a decree limiting Georgia’s use of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, putting an end to a decades-long fight between the states over water centered on their respective fishing and agricultural industries.   In a 9-page opinion, Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied Florida’s request for a decree that would have capped Georgia’s water consumption and rejected arguments that the Peach State uses more than its fair share of water. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Supreme Court rules for Georgia in water fight with Florida

Landsat satellite data warns of harmful algal blooms

Come summer, Utahns will flock to the state’s lakes and reservoirs to boat, swim and picnic along the shore. And every week, if not every day, scientists like Kate Fickas of Utah State University in Logan will use satellite images and other data to monitor recreation sites to check for rapid growth of algae into a bloom, and make sure the water is safe for people and pets.  From the vantage point of space, satellites, including the NASA and U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8, can help scientists identify lakes where a bloom has formed. It’s a complicated data analysis process, but one that researchers are automating to assist resource managers in identifying potential problems. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Landsat satellite data warns of harmful algal blooms

Simple filters made from conifer trees could have a huge impact on the clean water crisis

Clean water might not grow on trees, but those trees might do the next best thing—provide a cheap and easy way of filtering it.  Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been able to use wood from tree branches to filter water both in the laboratory and in the field. This could provide an inexpensive, biodegradable, low-tech alternative to costly methods of getting clean water in places that need it the most. ... ”  Read more from Popular Science here: Simple filters made from conifer trees could have a huge impact on the clean water crisis

Climate change returns to EPA’s website: “It’s not optional, it’s essential”

Climate change once again has a dedicated page on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. The agency relaunched the page on Thursday after the Trump administration removed the page, and all other references to global warming and climate change, when he went into office four years ago. “Climate facts are back on the EPA’s website where they should be,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “Considering the urgency of this crisis, it’s critical that Americans have access to information and resources so that we can all play a role in protecting our environment, our health, and vulnerable communities. Trustworthy, science-based information is at the foundation of strong, achievable solutions.” ... ”  Read more from CBS News here: Climate change returns to EPA’s website: “It’s not optional, it’s essential”

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Today’s featured article …

DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: California’s rainy season is becoming shorter and sharper

At the March meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Dr. Laurel Larsen discussed a new research paper on the changing timing of precipitation during California’s wet season.  She also updated the Council on the Delta Science Program’s activities and announced a new outreach effort called “Office Hours.”

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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