DAILY DIGEST, 4/14: Met wants Sac Valley water and has $44M to spend; Newsom inks $536 million wildfire package; Creating a place for nature in the San Joaquin Valley; Sediment mismanagement puts reservoirs and ecosystems at risk; and more …


On the calendar today …

PUBLIC MEETING: Landscape Area Measurement Study Meeting from 9am to 12pm.  At this meeting DWR will briefly review the purpose and products of the study, discuss how water suppliers use the data, outline data review checklists for suppliers, and demonstrate how the data portal can be used for validation. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of the DWR technical team presenting the information. The meeting agenda will be sent to registrants separately prior to the meeting date.  Register for the meeting here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9032128895461156107

MEETING: Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Stakeholder Meeting from 10am to 12pm.  The next Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) stakeholder meeting will be held on-line on Wednesday, April 14th, from 10 AM to Noon.  The meeting will focus on CV-SALTS updates to the ILRP General Orders and implementation elements of CV-SALTS.  The meeting is open to the public and all interested stakeholders.  Click here for the agenda.

FREE WEBINAR: Panel Discussion: California’s Draft Direct Potable Reuse Regulations from 11am to 1pm.  Join WateReuse California (WRCA) for a brown bag lunch panel discussion of draft criteria for direct potable reuse (DPR) regulations.  Click here to register.

WEBINAR: Selective Extraction of Groundwater from Production Wells to Optimize Water Quality from 12pm to 1pm.   This webinar will first present a list of well modification methods, then an overview of basic engineering, sedimentological and mineralogical concepts that should be considered, followed by case histories for nitrate and perchlorate, hexavalent chromium, arsenic, manganese and iron, gross alpha, hydrogen sulfide, bacteria and chlorinated hydrocarbons.  Click here for more information and to register.

DWR’s WATER WEDNESDAY: Flood MAR from 1pm to 1:30pm.  Celebrate Earth Month with DWR by learning about FloodMAR. Join Kamyar Guivetchi, Manager of DWR’s Division of Planning, as he discusses this innovative approach to restoring groundwater basins that also reduces flood risk and provides habitat for fish and wildlife.  Join via Zoom to ask questions or watch on YouTube.

In drought and hydrology news …

Metropolitan explores water market during critically dry year

“To ensure Southern California has reliable water as the state faces a second consecutive year of drought, Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors voted today to explore purchasing supplies on the water market.  While Metropolitan has enough water from its diverse sources and in storage to serve the region’s needs, even during this critically dry year, purchasing transfer supplies will help the agency strategically manage future risk.  The purchases will particularly increase reliability in areas of Metropolitan’s service area that rely more heavily on water from the State Water Project“We need to be prepared if these dry conditions continue next year, or the year after that,” said board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray.  “If there is water available from our partners across the state that we can efficiently transfer, we should take advantage of those opportunities.”… ”  Read more from Metropolitan Water District here: Metropolitan explores water market during critically dry year 

Southern California water giant wants Sacramento Valley water — and has $44 million to spend

With California in the throes of a second year of drought conditions, the mega-water agency of Southern California served notice Tuesday that it’s prepared to spend up to $44 million to buy water from Northern California to shore up its supplies.  The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves 19 million urban residents, authorized its staff to begin negotiating deals with water agencies north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where supplies are generally more plentiful. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Southern California water giant wants Sacramento Valley water — and has $44 million to spend

Grape growers tackle fire recovery, drought

Too much fire and not enough water have made winegrape-growing efforts more challenging than usual for Dave Wilson and other North Coast farmers.  After losing crops to severe wildfires and accompanying smoke last year, farmers monitor bud break in their vineyards amid concerns about drought and the potential for more fires in 2021.  The LNU Complex wildfire last August affected nearly 90% of Wilson’s Napa County vineyards, creeping along the vineyard floor and forcing him to replace some 600 vines. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Grape growers tackle fire recovery, drought

Despite second dry year, Newsom resists declaring a drought emergency

Despite bipartisan calls to declare a state of emergency over California’s deepening drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom sidestepped questions Tuesday about when he may issue a proclamation.  The governor said his administration is talking with federal officials daily about the status of the state’s water supply after two years of minimal rainfall that have dried out much of California. Last week, he said he wasn’t ready to declare a drought emergency “at this moment.” And on Tuesday, Newsom gave few answers when reporters pressed him for more details. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Despite second dry year, Newsom resists declaring a drought emergency

PPIC FACT SHEET: Drought in California

California has the nation’s most variable climate, and droughts are a recurring feature. Very wet and very dry years are both common, while “normal” years—widely used to describe average precipitation—are rare. Yet one dry year does not constitute a drought. Water stored in the state’s reservoirs and groundwater basins protect against individual dry years. Droughts occur when two or more successive years are very dry, and reservoirs and groundwater reserves are depleted. Significant recent droughts occurred in 1976‒77, 1987‒92, 2007‒09, and 2012‒16. … ”  Continue reading this fact sheet from the PPIC here: PPIC FACT SHEET: Drought in California

Commentary: Failure to prepare deepens the pain from dry years

Danny Merkley and Chris Scheuring write, “It’s that time of year, when we find out it’s that kind of year.  We appear at the doorstep of a “critically dry year,” and most reservoir levels are significantly below average. Those conditions bring painfully to mind the awful drought years of 2014 and 2015, and threaten water supplies for California farms and cities, and for the protected fish species that must also get by in these lean years.  For direct diverters, the State Water Resources Control Board recently sent letters to 40,000 water right holders of record, asking them to start planning for potential water supply shortages later this year, and identifying actions water users can take to increase drought resilience. ... ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Commentary: Failure to prepare deepens the pain from dry years

Column: California finds itself rationing water – and reality. It’s time for a change.

Columnist Wayne Western writes, “Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent every year by agriculture interests in an attempt to educate people about the importance of the origins of the food on their table.  Hundreds of articles are written to do the same, while hundreds more are written to harm that effort and the industry itself.  With no regard for credibility or fear of marginalizing themselves, environmental groups issue dire warnings that the big, bad Central Valley farmers are set to drain the state’s reservoirs.  Meanwhile, those same farmers will receive a 0 percent allocation of surface water this year.  Yes, 0 percent – as in nothing. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Column: California finds itself rationing water – and reality. It’s time for a change.

In wildfire news …

Newsom inks $536 million wildfire package as drought explodes across California

Drought-riddled California will spend over $500 million in the coming months cutting fuel breaks, lighting prescribed burns and conducting other wildfire prevention tactics under legislation signed Tuesday by Governor Gavin Newsom.  The Democratic governor said the $536 million budget deal is the first of many preventative steps he will authorize with the Golden State careening toward another expected brutal wildfire season.  “This is just a down payment, this just gets the ball rolling,” Newsom said in a press conference. “This by no stretch of the imagination is the final word on the state of California’s efforts to lean into this wildfire season.” ... ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Newsom inks $536 million wildfire package as drought explodes across California

Gavin Newsom signs bill to rush spending on California wildfire prevention as drought sets in

California is adding more than half a billion dollars in wildfire prevention spending this year after Gov. Gavin Newsom formally approved the money Tuesday ahead of the state’s peak fire season. Under the legislation, the state will spend $536 million on preventing fires through forest and vegetation management, clearing fuel around rural homes and retrofitting buildings in high-risk areas to help them survive fires.  Newsom, a Democrat, has promised that this year his administration will focus on preventing fires with “a greater sense of urgency than ever in contemporary California history.” … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Gavin Newsom signs bill to rush spending on California wildfire prevention as drought sets in

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

In a new EOS Opinion Article, MAPP Drought Task Force leaders Rong Fu, Andrew Hoell, Justin Mankin, and Isla Simpson, working with NIDIS staff member Amanda Sheffield describe the disastrous impacts droughts, heat waves, and fires have in the United States and world, and new MAPP- and NIDIS-funded research that’s tackling the challenges of a drier, hotter, more fire-prone future.  With wildfires in the western United States burning nearly 3.56 million hectares (8.8 million acres) in 2020, or about 75% more area than expected in an average year, it’s important to know how droughts, wildfires, and heat waves interact. How do they shape each other’s likelihoods, magnitudes, and impacts?  Research shows that simultaneous droughts and heat waves can substantially increase fire risk and the scale of burned areas. However, the degree of their impacts varies between different fire regimes and histories. What’s less clear is how largely-burned landscapes will shape atmospheric conditions favorable to droughts and extreme heat in coming years. … ”  Read more from the Climate Program Office here:  Tackling the challenges of a drier, hotter, more fire-prone future

California is poised for a catastrophic fire season. Experts say its plan isn’t nearly enough

Bracing for another year of severe, destructive fires, California’s governor on Tuesday approved a half-a-billion dollar emergency funding plan to prepare for the looming wildfire season. The state, which saw its worst fire season on record last year, is descending deep into a drought that portends even more megablazes this year.  But experts say that while the huge spending plan is a start, it isn’t nearly enough to avert the crisis ahead.  “We are in a very deep hole that we’re gonna have to dig ourselves out of,” said Chris Field, climate scientist at Stanford University. ... ”  Read more from the Guardian here: California is poised for a catastrophic fire season. Experts say its plan isn’t nearly enough

In other California water news …

Creating a place for nature in the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley’s quest for groundwater sustainability will result in large amounts of irrigated agricultural lands being retired. A new book explores how some of these lands could be restored to natural areas that bring multiple benefits. We talked to Scott Butterfield, a senior scientist at The Nature Conservancy and one of the book’s editors, about this vision.  PPIC: The book describes a vision for “rewilding” retired agricultural land. How might this work in the San Joaquin Valley?  SCOTT BUTTERFIELD: “Rewilding” in the context of the San Joaquin Valley means creating functional ecosystems that support a suite of native plants and animals. We’re thinking about how to repurpose the agricultural lands that are most at threat of being retired under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) or for other reasons—lands where farming is likely no longer sustainable. … ”  Continue reading at the PPIC here: Creating a place for nature in the San Joaquin Valley

NEW BOOK: Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes

Rewilding Agricultural Landscapes: A California Study in Rebalancing the Needs of People and Nature (Publication Date: April 8, 2021), edited by H. Scott Butterfield, T. Rodd Kelsey, and Abigail K. Hart, uses the southern Central Valley of California, which is one of the most productive and important agricultural regions in the world, as a case study for returning a balance to agricultural lands and natural ecosystems. The accessibly written, groundbreaking contributed volume is the first to examine in detail what it would take to retire eligible farmland and restore functioning natural ecosystems. …

Click here to read the full press release.

California report tallies hundreds of failing water systems in the state

When California lawmakers were debating a funding package in 2018 for clean drinking water, one of the unknowns was how large the need really was.  Now, with the release of an in-depth report, state regulators have a detailed picture of how many small water systems are failing or at the brink of failure and what it would cost to bring them up to par.  The State Water Resources Control Board’s needs assessment found 326 public water systems that are consistently failing to provide drinking water that meets state and federal standards. ... ”  Read more from the Circle of Blue here: California report tallies hundreds of failing water systems in the state

Today in California, 331 drinking water systems fail health standards. More are at risk

A new state analysis estimates a $4.6 billion funding gap for water system infrastructure needed to ensure Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water.  The State Water Resources Control Board this month released the first-ever drinking water needs assessment, showing that approximately 620 public water systems and 80,000 domestic wells are at-risk of failing to provide a sufficient amount of drinking water that meets basic health standards.  The highest concentrations of at-risk systems are in schools and communities in the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles Basin and the Central Coast, according to the principal investigator on the project, Greg Pierce of UCLA. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Today in California, 331 drinking water systems fail health standards. More are at risk

Ambitious plan to ban California fracking falls short in Legislature

A far-reaching proposal to outlaw hydraulic fracturing and ban oil and gas wells from operating near homes, schools and healthcare facilities failed in the California Legislature on Tuesday, a major setback for progressive leaders who hail the state as the nation’s bellwether on environmental protection.  Gov. Gavin Newsom in September called on state lawmakers to ban fracking and voiced his support for safety buffer zones around wells, saying they posed a significant health threat to vulnerable Californians, primarily in predominantly Black and Latino communities near well fields and refineries. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Ambitious plan to ban California fracking falls short in Legislature

Legislature kills bill to ban Calif. fracking, oil production

A bill seeking to ban hydraulic fracturing along with more common methods of oil extraction within the state of California was killed in the state Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.  The result delivers considerable relief to the state’s still-sizable energy sector and its unionized workforce.  The deeply-Democratic legislature found itself in a bind over two sets of competing interests with deep favor: organized labor and environmentalists. ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:  Legislature kills bill to ban Calif. fracking, oil production

Ag community welcomes more environmentally friendly farming but says it’ll take money

California’s agricultural community made clear in a series of public meetings last month that growers, dairies and ranchers stand ready to expand forward-thinking environmental practices — but that such activities don’t necessarily make financial sense without some form of government support.  Their message of enthusiastic, if somewhat conditional, embrace of biodiversity and carbon sequestration efforts carried across a new, 39-page draft document that lists many ways ag producers say they can help California’s fight against climate change. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Ag community welcomes more environmentally friendly farming but says it’ll take money

Commentary: Innovation needed to solve state’s water challenges

Danielle Blacet, deputy executive director at the California Municipal Utilities Association, and Adrian Covert is senior vice president of public policy at the Bay Area Council, writes, “Earlier this month, camera crews once again gathered in the Sierra Nevada to watch a man plunge a pole through the snow. The pole was removed and, following a tense few moments, Californians learned we experienced another dry winter, and we are plunging further into drought.  These snowpack surveys are quaint rituals, but they’re also a jarring reminder of how little technological innovation has occurred in California’s water sector.  The case for action is clear.  … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  Commentary: Innovation needed to solve state’s water challenges

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

Klamath Basin farmers anticipate little to no water

With a water allocation announcement expected this week from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Basin irrigators say they expect to receive little to no water for farming crops this year.  In a letter to the basin community, the Klamath Water Users Association said there is extremely minimal to no water from Upper Klamath Lake for irrigation this year.  “Klamath Project irrigators find themselves in a situation that is eerily similar to 2001,” the KWUA said. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Klamath Basin farmers anticipate little to no water

Klamath Tribes file suit against the Bureau of Reclamation over Reclamation’s ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act

The Klamath Tribes today filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation in federal district court in Medford, Oregon, over Reclamation’s ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act in its operation of the Klamath Project. C’waam (Lost River sucker) and Koptu (shortnose sucker), two critically endangered fish of vital spiritual and cultural importance to the Tribes, are being pushed to the very brink of extinction by Reclamation’s violation of one of our country’s bedrock environmental laws. … ”  Read more from Klamath Falls News here: Klamath Tribes file suit against the Bureau of Reclamation over Reclamation’s ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act

SEE ALSO: The Klamath Tribes are suing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to keep enough water in the Upper Klamath Lake to protect two types of endangered sucker fish: the C’Waam and Koptu, also known as the Lost River sucker and the shortnose sucker, respectively.  Via Courthouse News Service.

April 1st snow survey results for the Scott River sub-basin

The Klamath National Forest has completed the April snow surveys. These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the state forecast the amount of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation and stream flow releases later in the year.  Although the snowpack is still lower than average, a series of small to moderate snow events this month have brought the monthly measurements for April closer to normal than in March. … ” Read more from the Del Norte Triplicate here: April 1st snow survey results for the Scott River sub-basin

Threatened by Shasta Dam raise, McCloud one of America’s most endangered rivers, conservation group says

While the federal government sees the prospect of raising the height of Shasta Dam as a way to increase water storage for a thirsty California, the Winnemem Wintu of Shasta County see it as a threat to their culture.  It was a theme picked up this week by American Rivers, a conservation group that named the McCloud River one of America’s 10 most endangered rivers because of the proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam.  “Raising the height of Shasta Dam would decimate more of the McCloud River,” Ron Stork, with Friends of the River, said in a news release. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Threatened by Shasta Dam raise, McCloud one of America’s most endangered rivers, conservation group says

California’s McCloud River among “most endangered” in U.S.

The 2021 top 10 list of America’s “Most Endangered Rivers” is out – and the McCloud River in Shasta County is number seven.   The report from the group American Rivers noted the McCloud is threatened by a 40-year-old plan that had been revived by the Trump administration to raise the Shasta Dam by more than 18 feet. Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, said that would flood 5,000 acres upstream on the McCloud and drown 39 sites sacred to her people.  “Winnemum Wintu people still go to the ceremonies, and go to the sacred places to pray and carry on the traditions,” she said. “We’ve lived there for thousands of years, and so we have very deep-rooted connections to the river.” … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here:  California’s McCloud River among “most endangered” in U.S.

Lower Putah Creek Salmon Study extended through SCWA approval

How many salmon populate the Lower Putah Creek? What are the demographics of these fish? In what ways can their habitat be preserved so the lower creek remains healthy?  Researchers at the University of California, Davis are researching these questions, and the Solano County Water Agency (SCWA) has given them another year of funding to continue their research as part of the Lower Putah Creek Salmon Study through the rest of the 2021-22 fiscal year.  “We are pleased to continue to fund a program that will give us a greater idea of how effective our restoration work is for Putah Creek’s environment,” SCWA General Manager Roland Sanford said in a statement. “It’s important that we continue to have this research-based feedback as we continue and refine our efforts to improve the creek’s flows and habitat.” … ”  Read more from The Reporter here: Lower Putah Creek Salmon Study extended through SCWA approval

Scores of tule elk died at Point Reyes seashore in 2020. Are their days numbered?

Tule elk are treasured creatures in California, and for years, animal rights groups have butted heads with the Point Reyes National Seashore over its practice of keeping elk fenced away from nearby cattle ranches.  Amid a dry 2020, the groups tried to bring water to the creatures but were rebuffed by the National Park Service. Now the federal agency has released a report indicating that more than one third of the 445 elk fenced in at Tomales Point died this past winter, bringing the population down to 293.  In response, activists are again demanding the park service remove an 8-foot-high fence that separates the elk from cattle, saying it is cruel and prevents the animals from reaching water outside of the 2,600-acre enclosure. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Scores of tule elk died at Point Reyes seashore in 2020. Are their days numbered?

Study: sediment, tidal marshes are key to protecting the Bay Area from rising sea levels

Scientists warn that sea level rise is a problem that cannot be ignored. But a new study says the secret to protecting the Bay Area may rest with something that is currently being thrown away.  San Francisco will spend billions of dollars over the next 30 years to build up a few miles of seawall along the Embarcadero to protect it from rising seas. But the rest of the Bay Area has something that may work even better: tidal marshes. … ”  Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Study: sediment, tidal marshes are key to protecting the Bay Area from rising sea levels

Commentary: Keeping Water Affordable

Michael Carlin, acting General Manager at the SFPUC, writes, “At the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, we have always viewed resiliency as one of the cornerstones of our agency.  The ability to prepare, plan, and adapt for an ever-changing future guides our decisions to invest strategically in seismic infrastructure and maintenance programs. It is the basis for our fiscal discipline and sustainable budget planning. It embodies the determination and adaptability of our 2,400 employees.  While resiliency underscores the entire mission of our agency, we had no idea just how much the past year would put that creed to the test not just for us, but for our customers. … ”  Continue reading at Water World here: Commentary: Keeping Water Affordable

Monterey: Judge rejects Cal Am, county bid to limit desal plant project re-do

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has affirmed her earlier ruling that the Monterey County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the California American Water desalination plant project must be rescinded in its entirety.  Last week, Judge Lydia Villarreal rejected a bid by Cal Am and the county to limit the court’s rescission order to only the county board’s statement of overriding considerations for the desal plant project, which would have allowed the supervisors to reconsider just that part of the project approval. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey: Judge rejects Cal Am, county bid to limit desal plant project re-do

Monterey County must rescind Cal-Am desal approvals: Court

The Superior Court of California, County of Monterey has told Monterey County it must rescind all approvals for the Cal-Am desalination project.  According to the court, the county violated the California Environmental Quality Act by approving the desal project with identifying a water source. The court ruling also means that the county can’t retroactively correct the issue. … ”  Read more from KSBW here: Monterey County must rescind Cal-Am desal approvals: Court

Morro Bay State Park seeking volunteers in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards

Morro Bay State Park is looking for volunteers who love to kayak and stand-up paddle (SUP) board. The SeaLife Stewards program is beginning this May 2021 and encouraging paddle recreating nature-lovers to fill out an application.  … On three Saturdays in May (1, 8, and 22) SeaLife Stewards will receive two four-hour synchronous virtual sessions, one 4.5 hour in-water training and evaluation, and three hours of asynchronous self-study. The training by subject matter experts includes how to prevent wildlife disturbance, recording community science data, boating safety, and how to identify wildlife and share relevant information with kayakers, surfers, boaters, and stand-up paddleboarders. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here: Morro Bay State Park seeking volunteers in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards

Allensworth finds a ‘Source’ for clean water

” … Arsenic has plagued Allensworth’s water wells since 1966, according to a 2013 engineering report of the Allensworth Community Services District (ACSD). The community water system currently serves 156 connections, according to the State Water Board. The community is served by two wells pumping groundwater which have both contained arsenic levels up to 60 percent higher than state defined safety levels for drinking water. … After 100 years of looking for solutions below their feet, Allensworth is now looking to the sky overhead. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  Allensworth finds a ‘Source’ for clean water

Antelope Valley: Rosamond customers stunned by rate hikes

Community members expressed frustration, surprise and opposition during a special meeting conducted by the Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors on Wednesday to discuss proposed water and sewer rate increases.  The Board of Directors voted to accept a rate study presented at the March 10 meeting. The study included proposed rate adjustments, including an overhaul of the tiered rate structure and the elimination of the three units of water included in the base service charge. ... ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Rosamond customers stunned by rate hikes

LA County now in severe drought category

Southern California appears to be in the grips of yet another period of serious drought conditions.  Both Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been placed in the severe drought category of the U.S. Drought Monitor. According to the latest map released April 8, both counties were upgraded from moderate to severe.  Downtown L.A. has received no rain so far this month. Since the rainy season started Oct. 1, L.A. has received just 5.8 inches of rain, according to CBSLA Meteorologist Amber Lee. … ” Read more from CBS LA here: LA County now in severe drought category

Appellate Courts to Malibu Homeowners: “Defy the Coastal Commission at Your Peril”

Three months ago, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a Coastal Commission fine of $1 million on homeowners who performed major reconstruction on their Malibu home without obtaining coastal permits and refused to halt construction after notification of the violation by Commission staff. (See our report: Coastal Commission Order to Homeowners to Remove Seawall and Pay $1 Million Fine Upheld). Now, the Second District Court of Appeal has upheld a Commission penalty of $4,185,000 on Malibu homeowners who refused to remove structures that blocked a public access easement granted to the Coastal Commission by a prior owner of the home. Lent v. California Coastal Commission, No. B292091 (2nd Dist., April 5, 2021). ... ”  Continue reading at the California Land Use & Development Law report here: Appellate Courts to Malibu Homeowners: “Defy the Coastal Commission at Your Peril”

Valley district seeking federal funding to study the feasibility of using Seven Oaks Dam for enhanced water supply

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District supported construction of Seven Oaks Dam because the district believed it would not only provide flood control, but capture precious drinking water for the benefit of Inland Empire water agencies.  But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which completed construction of the dam in 2000, has never been officially authorized to use the 550-foot-tall structure for anything other than flood control purposes. This project, which cost the tax payers $450 million in the late 1990s, has the capacity to hold at least 115,000 acre-feet in its reservoir, yet it is only authorized to provide “incidental water conservation.” “Everyone knows that it is a colossal challenge to construct a new above-ground reservoir these days in California, yet in the Santa Ana watershed we have an existing dam and reservoir that has already been built, to the tune of nearly $700 million in today’s dollars, that is only operated for a single purpose,” said Paul Kielhold, president of San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Board of Directors.

Click here to continue reading this press release from the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District.

San Diego: Drought: Why water supply diversity is critical

Drought is back in California. Federal and state agencies are warning of potential water shortages in the months ahead. Because of investments made by the San Diego County Water Authority, its member agencies and the region’s water ratepayers, San Diego County is safe from the threat of multiyear droughts. …  The San Diego region relies far less on supplies from Northern California than in previous decades. A severe drought in the early 1990s forced the region to confront the fact that continuing to provide safe and reliable water demanded a diverse portfolio of supplies instead of near-total reliance on a single source.  ... ”  Continue reading at the Water News Network here:  San Diego: Drought: Why water supply diversity is critical 

San Diego: Controversial pipeline project is fueling drama within the Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority is no stranger to conflict – virtually all of its dealings over the past decade have been shaped by its feud with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California .  Now that feud is fueling fights within the agency itself.  In the latest twist, some members called for an independent ethics officer during a full meeting of the Water Authority last month. “Different viewpoints need to be respected and protected by this board. If you’re unable to stop these attacks, I believe the Water Authority should establish an independent ethics office,” said Kim Thorner, general manager and voting member for Olivenhain Municipal Water District, which serves places like Encinitas, Carlsbad, Solana Beach.  ... ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here:  San Diego: Controversial pipeline project is fueling drama within the Water Authority

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Radio show: Arizona’s portion of Colorado River water expected to decrease in 2022

As the intense Southwest drought continues, there has been discussion for a number of years about when — not if — Arizona’s allocation of Colorado River water would be reduced. It sounds very much like that will happen in 2022.  Earlier this month, the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project issued a joint statement about the expected reductions and included a phrase that they will “fall largely to central Arizona agricultural users.”  To learn about the potential impact, The Show spoke with Stefanie Smallhouse, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau. … ”  Read ore from KJZZ here: Radio show: Arizona’s portion of Colorado River water expected to decrease in 2022

Return to top

In national water news today …

Sediment mismanagement puts reservoirs and ecosystems at risk

Dams store water flowing down rivers and streams in reservoirs, providing protection from floods. Dams also serve as sources of electrical power, and they provide water for domestic and irrigation uses and flat-water recreation. By design and default, most dams in the United States also store sediment, indefinitely.  Sediment accumulation behind U.S. dams has drastically reduced the total storage capacity of reservoirs. Sedimentation is estimated to have reduced the absolute water storage capacity of U.S. reservoirs by 10%–35%. Consequently, on a per capita basis, the water storage capacity of U.S. reservoirs today is about what it was in the 1940s–1950s, despite there being more dams [Randle et al., 2019]. This comes as no surprise: More than 40 years ago, D. C. Bondurant warned, “It must be recognized, that with few exceptions, ultimate filling of reservoirs is inevitable” [Vanoni, 1975]. … ”  Read more from AGU here:  Sediment mismanagement puts reservoirs and ecosystems at risk

A new bill wants the EPA to shield drinking water from “forever chemicals”

A new bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to do much more to regulate PFAs, a class of artificial chemicals that never fully break down and have made their way into waterways and food systems. The PFAs Action Act, introduced today by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), would, among other things, establish a national drinking water standard and require the EPA to set limits on the amount of PFAs factories can release into the environment. ... ”  Read more from Mother Jones here: A new bill wants the EPA to shield drinking water from “forever chemicals”

Return to top

NASA Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) Report …

20210412_RT_SWE_Report

Return to top

Today’s featured articles …

DELTA ISB: Harmful Algal Blooms in the Delta (and elsewhere)

Harmful algal blooms (or HABs) occur when colonies of algae, under the right conditions, grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds.

Every U.S. coastal and Great Lakes state experiences harmful algal blooms.  In California, reports of harmful algal blooms have increased from 91 in 2016 to 241 in 2019.  In 2020, Stockton experienced a severe harmful algal bloom; it marked the first year that algal blooms spread into the San Joaquin and Calaveras Rivers so early in the summer and fall months.  Drought and heat are factors that increase harmful algal blooms, so all indications are that harmful algal blooms will again make headlines this year.

The Delta Independent Science Board tackled the subject at their December 2020 meeting, which featured two experts on the topic …

Click here to read this article.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: $20 million available for shovel-ready forest and wildfire resilience projects in Sierra Nevada

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Needs Assessment~ Disadvantaged Communities~ EPA Webinars~ Conveyance Financing~ Water Conference~ Forest Stewardship~ Climate Goals ~~

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: