DAILY DIGEST, 4/30: Sierra snow survey canceled due to impacts of dry weather; CA Senate proposes to spend $3.4B on drought; Poseidon wins key permit for desal plant in Huntington Beach; Senate approves $35B to repair US water infrastructure; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • TEK Science & Management Webinar Series: Estuaries and the Delta from 11am to 11:40am with Malissa Tabaya, Councilwoman/Shingle Spring Band of Miwok Tribe.  Register at: http://tinyurl.com/scsTEKseries.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Lower Eel River Parkway from 5pm to 6pm.  Learn about how we could fix the lower Eel River habitat and also get an awesome trail to connect people to the river and improve community health and quality of life.  The Lower Eel River Salmon Parkway concept includes processed based restoration that helps the river heal itself and Pat Higgins will talk about how cottonwood gallery forests could rejuvenate salmon habitat.  A trail along the lower Eel River could be one of the first priority segments of Senator McGuire’s Great Redwood Trail, if the community organizes.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Sierra snow survey canceled due to impacts of dry weather

There is dry dirt where water should be at Folsom Lake. A lack of wet weather is taking a toll on the state’s water supply.  Chris Orrock is a spokesperson for the California Department of Water Resources. He said while drought-like conditions are very common for the state, this year is worse than normal, especially considering back-to-back dry winters with little snow and rain.  “In fact, this year is a critically dry year,” Orrock said.  It is so dry, in fact, that DWR canceled Thursday’s snow survey at Phillips Station because there was not enough snow on the ground. ... ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  Sierra snow survey canceled due to impacts of dry weather

Dramatic photos of Lake Oroville depict California’s worsening drought

New drone photos of Lake Oroville, California’s second-largest reservoir, bring home the stark reality of the state’s worsening drought.  The images, taken by photographer Justin Sullivan on Tuesday, show the massive lake in Butte County just 42% full. That’s only half of its historic average for this date.  Built in the 1960s by former Gov. Edmund “Pat” Brown, Jerry Brown’s father, the reservoir holds 3.5 million acre feet when full — enough water for about 18 million people a year. The massive reservoir captures water from the Feather River watershed, and its dam is the tallest in the United States, at 770 feet tall. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:  Dramatic photos of Lake Oroville depict California’s worsening drought

California Senate proposes to spend $3.4 billion on drought

Mired in yet another drought that threatens drinking water, endangered species of fish and the state’s massive agriculture industry, Democrats in the California Senate on Thursday detailed a $3.4 billion proposal designed to gird the state for a new crisis on the heels of a deadly and disruptive pandemic.  The proposal would equal all of the state’s combined spending during the previous drought, which lasted from 2012 to 2016, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. That drought occurred after the Great Recession, when California routinely battled multibillion-dollar budget deficits and struggled to pay for state services. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here:  California Senate proposes to spend $3.4 billion on drought

FOR MORE INFO:

What to know about the scary-looking drought map putting California in the red

The latest version of the federal United States Drought Monitor map shows increasingly dire drought conditions throughout California and “extreme drought” spreading across nearly the entire San Francisco Bay Area region.  “The presence of drought on the map is no surprise — especially in Northern California,” wrote Richard Heim, a meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was one of the authors of this week’s map. California has seen consecutive dry winters and last winter was the third driest on record. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: What to know about the scary-looking drought map putting California in the red

California trucks salmon to Pacific Ocean; low river levels to blame

California officials will again truck millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the state’s Central Valley agricultural region to the Pacific Ocean because projected river conditions show that the waterways the fish use to travel downstream will be historically low and warm due to increasing drought.  Officials announced the massive trucking operation on Wednesday, saying the effort is aimed at ensuring “the highest level of survival for the young salmon on their hazardous journey to the Pacific Ocean.” … ”  Read more from CBS 13 here:  California trucks salmon to Pacific Ocean; low river levels to blame

I regret to inform you that the Golden State’s next big disaster is already upon us. … Yes, I’m referring to the drought gripping much of the state.  It’s a problem that scientists are expecting to get worse this year, particularly because tinder-dry conditions are likely to lead to another devastating — not to mention long — wildfire season. But experts say the outlook isn’t all bad.  Nevertheless, California’s drought situation is something we’ll probably be talking about a lot in coming months. Here’s what you need to know … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: What to know about California’s drought

In other California water news …

Poseidon wins key permit for desalination plant in Huntington Beach

Poseidon Water’s controversial proposal for a desalination plant in Huntington Beach won a key permit Thursday, April 29, when the Santa Ana Regional Water Board cast a split vote approving a compromise less stringent than the environmental terms proposed at board’s April 23 hearing.  Poseidon, which has been working on the project for 22 years, now needs a permit from the state Coastal Commission before it can negotiate a final contract with the Orange County Water District to buy the water. And, in the wake of the regional board’s decision, there’s likely an additional obstacle, as opponents of the project said they plan to appeal. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Poseidon wins key permit for desalination plant in Huntington Beach

Poseidon wins key seawater desalination permit

Poseidon Water won a key approval Thursday in its long quest to build a seawater desalination plant on the Orange County coastline.  But the permit from the Santa Ana Regional Quality Control Board does not ensure that the $1-billion ocean desalter will rise on the grounds of an old power plant in Huntington Beach.  Poseidon still needs a construction permit from the California Coastal Commission and, most critically, a binding deal with a public agency to buy 50 million gallons a day of purified seawater. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Poseidon wins key seawater desalination permit

Hurtado bill to bring transparency to the state’s orphan and abandoned gas and oil well program approved by the senate

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) today issued the following statement after her legislation, Senate Bill 84 –the Orphan Wells Equity and Remediation Act – was approved by the Senate by a 31-3 vote:  “Communities in the south Central Valley continue to be neglected when it comes to environmental protection, jobs, but most of all public health,” said Senator Hurtado. “There are an estimated 100,000 active and idle gas wells in California—5,540 wells that may have no viable operator are at risk of becoming abandoned in the near future. Idle well and orphaned wells can release toxic emissions that can create health concerns in surrounding communities. SB 84 provides much needed transparency around orphan well remediation, and will give us a better picture of what equity in well remediation should look like.” … ”  Read more from Senator Hurtado’s office here: Hurtado bill to bring transparency to the state’s orphan and abandoned gas and oil well program approved by the senate

Flume releases inaugural household water use index

Flume, the company that brings connectivity and intelligence to household water usage, today released the inaugural results for the Flume Household Water Use Index, the leading measure of U.S. household water use. The Flume Index shows that indoor household water use continues to decline after peaking during the pandemic in Q2 2020.  The Flume Household Water Use Index is based on data from tens of thousands of Flume devices that are installed on household water meters across the nation. Moving forward, Flume water use data summaries will be reported quarterly. ... ”  Read more from KPVI here:  Flume releases inaugural household water use index

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In commentary today …

Trump-era water rules should be reversed

Caty Wagner and Brandon Dawson with the Sierra Club write, “On the way out the door, the Trump administration committed many environmental and financial scandals. One can cost low-income water users while lining the pockets of one of California’s largest and most powerful water districts.  The focus of one scandal was the failure of the Trump administration to collect required fish and wildlife mitigation costs set out in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Passed by Congress in 1992, it established new financing rules. …  Significantly, the law specified that water contractors, not taxpayers, would pay for restoration and maintenance of the fishery and wildlife refuge damages. After a very long fight leading up to 1992, the Hoopa, fishing groups and conservationists thought we had won.  Then President Donald Trump entered the picture. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Trump-era water rules should be reversed

Where water flows, life grows, especially in the OC

Al Nederhood, Director of Division One. Municipal Water District of Orange County writes, “How can a brand new article be ready for the dustbin of history?  In his community editorial from April 23, 2021 “Kokal: Why We Must Kill Zombie Poseidon”, Kokal’s facts are missing and the opinions are way past their expiration date and should be flushed away.  Here’s the updated and missing information on Kokal’s fishy information on Poseidon, the proposed desal plant for Huntington Beach. ... ”  Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Where water flows, life grows, especially in the OC

In regional water news and commentary today …

Klamath water illegally diverted to farming during severe drought

The federal government is strictly curtailing irrigation this year in an attempt to protect endangered fish important to Indigenous tribes. Farmers say this will make it all but impossible to farm, while tribal nations say the plan doesn’t go far enough to save their fisheries.  In mid-April, a farming region in southern Oregon began to release water from the Klamath River into its irrigation canals. According to the local water authority, this was a standard move to jumpstart the farming season during one of the driest seasons in recent memory. But according to the federal government, it was an illegal maneuver that could further jeopardize the survival of multiple endangered species and food sources important to Indigenous tribes and fisheries in the region. ... ”  Read more from the High Country News here: Klamath water illegally diverted to farming during severe drought

‘We need water in our rivers’: Tribes call for action as salmon numbers dwindle

As the state prepares for another year of drought, California tribes, environmental advocacy groups and fishermen are calling upon Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Biden administration to direct state resources to provide water to protect California’s dwindling salmon populations.  During a virtual State of the Salmon address on Wednesday evening, Save California Salmon tribal water organizer Morning Star Gali criticized the state’s decision to prioritize farmers over salmon.  “During the last drought, California prioritized almond and alfalfa producers over salmon and killed over 90% of winter-run salmon within the Sacramento River and over 90% of juvenile salmon also died in the Klamath River,” Gali said. “We are at a time again where we are facing impending fish kills. Emergency flows from the Trinity River did not stop an adult fish kill in the Klamath during the last drought. … We cannot let the salmon die again.” … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: ‘We need water in our rivers’: Tribes call for action as salmon numbers dwindle

Drought causing water competition in the Klamath basin

In the Klamath Basin, farmers, indigenous tribes, and endangered species are competing for water in a situation nobody ever wanted. The Klamath Basin has faced drought conditions almost every year this past decade, and 2021 is on track to becoming the worst water year in at least four decades.  In this joint letter to President Biden, California Trout, alongside Tribes and other conservation groups – Karuk Tribe, Klamath Tribal, Yurok Tribe, American Rivers, California Waterfowl, Fly Fishers International, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Sustainable Northwest, and Trout Unlimited – are calling on President Joe Biden and the administration to provide immediate disaster relief for the Klamath Basin. ... ”  Read more from Cal Trout here:  Drought causing water competition in the Klamath basin

Legal brief: Klamath Tribes sue over endangered species

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

‘They’re taking advantage of us:’ Del Oro Water customers say bills are too high

People living in Magalia are outraged as they say their Del Oro Water bills are too high.  One of those people includes Randy Ahr, who lives off social security. He feels like his money is going down the drain.  “And after I pay for my medical insurance I live off $740 a month,” Ahr said.  He said the issue is an increase in his “readiness to serve” charge.  … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  ‘They’re taking advantage of us:’ Del Oro Water customers say bills are too high

Overtourism takes a toll on Lake Tahoe’s recreational resources

Lake Tahoe’s recreational resources have been popular for generations, but last year when the pandemic descended upon us the number of people heading for the beaches, the hiking trails, and sledding hills reached new heights.   Unfortunately, many of those enjoying Tahoe’s natural splendor left piles of litter and dog poop bags, defaced natural landmarks with graffiti, left unattended campfires in the woods, and consistently parked illegally and dangerously on narrow Tahoe basin roads. Equally disturbing for many local residents, all those visitors clogged the forests, the places of refuge from the world, at the time when everyone was trying to stay six feet apart. ... ”  Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here:  Overtourism takes a toll on Lake Tahoe’s recreational resources

Placer County approves French Meadows forest thinning

Prioritizing forest health heading into fire season, the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted to execute forest thinning for an additional 3,000 acres of the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project this year.  The French Meadows Forest Restoration Project is a collaborative forest health project intended to reduce wildfire risk and protect the county’s water supply. ... ”  Read more from Roseville Today here: Placer County approves French Meadows forest thinning

Most of the Bay Area is now in an ‘extreme’ drought. Here’s what you need to know

Much of the Bay Area is now enduring “extreme” drought weather, according to recent meteorological data.  And with little chance of any substantial rainfall in the coming months, conditions are unlikely to improve anytime soon.  The U.S. Drought Monitor this week showed that the Bay Area had slipped into the “extreme drought” category following two consecutive dry winters. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here:  Most of the Bay Area is now in an ‘extreme’ drought. Here’s what you need to know

Are Chinook salmon native to the Guadalupe river? Ancient DNA might give us a clue

For nearly 250 years, tiny fish bones were buried under the campus of Santa Clara University. Likely the refuse from a long-ago Mission resident’s lunch or dinner, archaeologists dug them up between 2012 and 2016 along with brightly colored glass beads, shells, abalone pendants, bone tools, grinding stones, spindle whorls, and bits of pottery originating locally and from Mexico.  These fish bones are the first evidence that the iconic Chinook, or king salmon, are historically native to the Guadalupe River in San Jose. While Chinook are occasionally spotted today in the Guadalupe watershed, it’s not clear if the fish seen in the river now populated the area before human and industrial impacts disrupted the ecosystem. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Are Chinook salmon native to the Guadalupe river? Ancient DNA might give us a clue

South Bay water officials draw on distant reserves, weigh options as drought deepens

While drought conditions are upon the Bay Area, water officials in Santa Clara County plan to draw from distant reserves for now and seek to increase storage and expand water recycling in the future.  Half of the water in Santa Clara County comes from somewhere else, sometimes hundreds of miles away.   Much of it gets stored in the San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos and it doesn’t take an expert to see that this year supplies are running low.  “The water line is usually up here. But that’s a pretty nice long walk to go fishing now,” said Roy, who stopped to take pictures of the reservoir’s low water levels. … ”  Read more from KPIX Channel 5 here:  South Bay water officials draw on distant reserves, weigh options as drought deepens

Coho salmon will soon swim free again thanks to dam-removal agreement

A dam that for decades prohibited coho salmon from reaching its spawning habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be taken down starting this summer after building materials company Cemex and the Sempervirens Fund reached an agreement, the environmental group announced Wednesday.  The dam, which is located on Mill Creek, is on the 8,532-acre San Vicente Redwoods property, which was formerly owned by Cemex. The company sold the property to conservation organizations Sempervirens Fund, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League and Land Trust of Santa Cruz County in 2011. Cemex has retained water and infrastructure rights on the property. … ”  Read more from the Mountain View Voice here: Coho salmon will soon swim free again thanks to dam-removal agreement

Radio show: Central Coast Voices: Combating the climate crisis and pursuing environmental justice

Scientists around the world agree that pollution, habitat destruction, and over-exploitation of natural resources have created a climate emergency that threatens great harm to human health, wellbeing, and livelihoods. Here at home in California and on the Central Coast, we are experiencing those effects first hand. The U.S. drought monitor reports approximately more than half of California is already experiencing a severe drought, and that we are primed for a severe 2021 fire season. And while climate change is a threat to everyone’s health and well-being, some groups—socially and economically disadvantaged ones—face the greatest risks. So, what can we do?  Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with an array of Central Coast organizations working on ways to protect and restore the environment, combat the climate crisis, and pursue environmental justice for communities that are most vulnerable.  … ”  Read more from KCBX here: Radio show: Central Coast Voices: Combating the climate crisis and pursuing environmental justice

Commentary: Paso Robles Waterspiracy

“The Shredder” writes, “Call me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs™ but the little water banking conspiracy theory that’s been hanging over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin for years suddenly sounds plausible.  Here’s the gist of it: Big landowners on the east side (cough, cough, Harvard Investment Group) of the Paso basin want to essentially bank water for themselves and then sell it to the highest bidder, profiting off a public resource contained in one of the most severely depleted water basins in California. These shenanigans would come at the expense of others who overlie the water basin and depend on it, because groundwater in a basin isn’t separated by property lines. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Commentary: Paso Robles Waterspiracy 

Inyo County wants LADWP to pump 8% less than planned

The Inyo County Water Department drafted its recommendation on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pumping plan for the 2021-22 water year, asking the department to pump 8-percent less than its minimum of 64,600 acre-feet. Citing areas in the Owens Valley that have yet to recover from the 2012-16 drought, plus the strong possibility the drought patterns of the past 35 years will continue into the future, Water Department Director Aaron Steinwand recommended a maximum pumping volume of 59,377 a-f, based on the water required for in-valley uses in addition to exports. ... ”  Continue reading at the Sierra Wave here:  Inyo County wants LADWP to pump 8% less than planned

Most of LA, Ventura, San Bernardino Counties are now in ‘severe drought’: report

A new report by U.S. Drought Monitor says that most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as half of Riverside County, are now in ‘severe drought.’  According to a map from the agency released Thursday, much of San Bernardino County is also in ‘severe drought’, with some of the area classified as ‘exceptional drought’ while Orange County is in ‘severe drought.’  “Precipitation amounts from the Pacific weather systems that moved across the West this week were patchy and not enough to erase months of deficits,” the report said. … ”  Read more from CBS LA here: Most of LA, Ventura, San Bernardino Counties are now in ‘severe drought’: report

San Bernardino Valley District wants to increase water storage behind Seven Oaks Dam

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District supported construction of Seven Oaks Dam because the district believed it would not only provide flood control, but would 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.” ... ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here: San Bernardino Valley District wants to increase water storage behind Seven Oaks Dam

How a shocking environmental disaster was uncovered off the California coast after 70 years

“Just 10 miles off the coast of Los Angeles lurks an environmental disaster over 70 years in the making, which few have ever heard about. That is, until now, thanks to the research of a University of California marine scientist named David Valentine.  Working with little more than rumors and a hunch, curiosity guided him 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. A few hours of research time and an autonomous robotic submersible unearthed what had been hidden since the 1940s: countless barrels of toxic waste, laced with DDT, littering the ocean floor in between Long Beach and Catalina Island. … ”  Continue reading at CBS News here:  How a shocking environmental disaster was uncovered off the California coast after 70 years

Invasive algae found in Newport Harbor needs to be quickly contained, removed

Green, bushy algae that are invasive and threatening to Southern California’s coastal marine environment have been discovered in shallow water near the mouth of Newport Harbor, forcing changes to a dredging project.  The plant – which grows in clusters and is typically found in the Atlantic Ocean – was discovered by a diver while filming underwater off parts of Newport Beach’s shoreline in March. Familiar with the ocean environment and noticing the unusual plant, the diver contacted OC Parks with photos and a specimen of the plant taken from the water. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Invasive algae found in Newport Harbor needs to be quickly contained, removed

Salton Sea: Lithium gold mine?

Deep beneath The Salton Sea lies geothermal activity, and nearby geothermal plants turn that heat into energy.  Now the state of California, Lawmakers, and investors think there’s a way those geothermal plants can produce something even more valuable, lithium.  “We have the largest deposit on the continent of lithium minerals to be able to supply the world and its demands and needs,” explained Assemblymember Eduardo Garica, 56th District Representative.  “We have reserves for over 35% of the worldwide lithium,” added Frank Ruiz, Salto Sea Director with Audubon California. … ”  Read more from NBC Palm Springs here:  Salton Sea: Lithium gold mine?

Imperial Irrigation District responds to false claims of private property right ownership of Imperial Valley’s water

In what amounted to a routine request for more information, the clerk of the United States Supreme Court requested the Imperial Irrigation District to file a response to Michael Abatti’s petition for certiorari on Monday, April 26, according to a press release.  The following day, the Imperial County Farm Bureau issued a press release incorrectly suggesting that the US Supreme Court is concerned that the California Appellate Court’s ruling on the Abatti case would deprive Imperial Valley residents of water.  Among other things, the Farm Bureau’s statement and brief filed with the court suggested that Imperial Valley’s water rights are property rights enjoyed by those who own agricultural land and described doomsday scenario consequences if the Supreme Court does not intervene to create private property rights to water where none exist, according to the release. ... ”  Read more from the Desert Review here:  Imperial Irrigation District responds to false claims of private property right ownership of Imperial Valley’s water

San Diego: Colorado River water use not price-moderated, despite drought

San Diego area water prices and regulations don’t relate directly to the growing scarcity of water in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin, from which the region imports about half its supply.  As The Coast News reported earlier in April, the San Diego County Water Authority is developing a water shortage contingency plan, though not implementing it, despite drought and low levels in major reservoirs along the Colorado’s path.  “There is no plan or expectation that the (contingency plan) will be implemented this year,” the Water Authority’s Jeff Stephenson said Monday. ... ”  Read more from Coast News here:  San Diego: Colorado River water use not price-moderated, despite drought

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Along the Colorado River …

Cuts to CAP water called “planned pain”

In a note of consolation for the pain some Arizona water users will feel if Central Arizona Project supplies are cut next year, state water leaders said Thursday: It will be planned pain.  Federal officials have said it’s likely Lake Mead at the Nevada border will be low enough at the end of 2021 to trigger the first major cutback in CAP deliveries to the Arizona’s parched midsection. Arizona will lose 512,000 acre-feet of its CAP supply — almost one-third of the $4 billion project’s total supply, according to a 2019 drought contingency plan. ... ”  Read more from Tuscon.com here:  Cuts to CAP water called “planned pain”

Arizona readies for cuts in Colorado River water allocation

Arizona farmers are bracing for a reduced share of Colorado River water next year as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to declare a shortage on the iconic lifeline for more than 40 million people in the bone-dry Southwest.  …  A declared shortage, which the bureau is expected to announce in August, would trigger a cascade of actions from Utah to California and squeeze who gets water and how it is distributed among farms, mines, factories, and homes.  But the news is no surprise, said ADWR director Thomas Buschatzke.  “This is a day we knew would come at some point, and we have been preparing for this moment for at least a couple decades,” Buschatzke said. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Arizona readies for cuts in Colorado River water allocation

7 facts to know about Arizona’s proactive approach to water management

Water is an essential resource no matter where you live. Leadership in Arizona has been at the forefront of conservation and strategic planning efforts while receiving national recognition for the state’s proactive approach, according to the Return to Watering the Sun Corridor report by Grady Gammage Jr. Here are some interesting facts that showcase Arizona’s current water supply position and the state’s proactive approach to water management … ”  Read more from Arizona Big Media here: 7 facts to know about Arizona’s proactive approach to water management

Navajo Nation wins court victory over access to Colorado River water

In 2003, the Navajo Nation sued the U.S. Interior Department. It claimed the agency was in breach of the federal government’s trust obligation to secure and protect Colorado River water needed by the tribe.  The U.S. District Court in Arizona, however, dismissed the case, saying the U.S. hadn’t waived its sovereign immunity – a doctrine that says the federal government can’t be sued without its consent.  But the Navajo Nation appealed and this week the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that past treaties obligated the U.S. to protect the tribe’s water resources. The decision sends the lawsuit back to the district court. … ”  Read more from KNAU here:  Navajo Nation wins court victory over access to Colorado River water 

The pandemic exposed the severe water insecurity faced by Southwestern Tribes

While the world watched in horror as refrigerator trailers collected the bodies of COVID-19 victims in New York City, the suffering of Native American people was almost invisible.  The Navajo Nation was enduring an infection rate 21% higher than New York during the same time period. And the White Mountain Apache tribe on the New Mexico-Arizona border was grappling with infection rates almost twice as high as the national average.  A key factor driving these staggering infection numbers, according to a new report, was the limited access to water that as many as half of the Native Americans on reservations face. As hard as people across the country found it to practice rigorous hand-washing and social distancing, it was even tougher for many members of the 30 tribes in the Colorado River Basin. Many lacked the clean water essential for sanitizing their homes and bodies to stop the spread of the coronavirus. ... ”  Read more from KUNC here:  The pandemic exposed the severe water insecurity faced by Southwestern Tribes

Dust beneath snow: As Colorado reservoirs drop, farmers fear the worst

Colorado’s water storage reservoirs, struggling after two years of severe drought, are holding just 86 percent of their average supplies for this time of year, down dramatically from last year’s 107-percent-of-average mark.  The South Platte Basin, home to the metro Denver area, has been blessed with heavy spring snows and its reservoirs are the fullest in the state, measuring 99 percent of average at the end of March, the latest data available from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.  But the rest of the state’s storage pools are dangerously low. … ”  Read more from Water Education Colorado here: Dust beneath snow: As Colorado reservoirs drop, farmers fear the worst

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In national water news today …

Senate approves $35B to repair US water infrastructure

The cup runneth over on Capitol Hill Thursday as the U.S. Senate approved, 89-2, $35 billion for upgrades to the nation’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure in addition to funding for grants servicing water lines in low-income communities.  The hefty investment built into the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act will go to the Environmental Protection Agency and will be parceled out over the next five years. Over 40% of the bill’s funds are specifically tailored to overhaul the water systems in low-income, rural and tribal lands as well as those in communities predominantly of color. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here:  Senate approves $35B to repair US water infrastructure

‘Unnecessary loss’: Wildfire survivors, experts urge congressional action ahead of fire season

As a potentially historic fire season threatens the West, wildfire survivors and experts urged Congress on Thursday to act quickly to prevent more devastation amid a worsening drought and rising temperatures.  Members of the House Natural Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands heard sometimes emotional testimony about how to better manage forests, fight climate change and equip federal firefighters for what is likely to be another record wildfire season. ... ”  Read more from NBC News here:  ‘Unnecessary loss’: Wildfire survivors, experts urge congressional action ahead of fire season

Why is it raining so hard? Global warming is delivering heavier downpours

When it rains, it pours.  Today’s rainstorms give new meaning to this age-old expression.  Extreme precipitation has increased in nearly every region of the mainland United States since the start of the 20th century, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive scientific report about climate change in the U.S.  The Southwest is the only region experiencing a decrease in heavy precipitation events. But even there, the intensity of rainfall during the region’s monsoon season has increased since the 1960s, according to a study in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters. ... ” Read more from Yale Climate Connections here: Why is it raining so hard? Global warming is delivering heavier downpours

Bidens 30×30 plan raising concern for ag industry

Agricultural groups are becoming more concerned about President Joe Biden’s executive order pertaining to conservation. The order signed back in January is commonly being referred to as the ‘30×30 plan.’ Biden has proposed the conservation of 30 percent of U.S. land and waterways by 2030. The issue for many ag organizations is that very few details have been provided as to how the plan would be implemented. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) sent a letter to the Biden Administration seeking clarity and cooperation on the ambitious conservation plan. ... ”  Read more from Ag Net West here:  Bidens 30×30 plan raising concern for ag industry

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NASA Snow Water Equivalent Report …

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

dmrpt-20210429

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE of immediate curtailment for water right holders in Central Valley and the Delta with Term 91 as a condition of their permit or license

NOTICE: Participate in Administering O&M Funding to Eligible Drinking Water Systems

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ DPAC Meeting~ Grant Workshop~ ISB Meeting~ Heritage Meeting~ Progress Summary ~~

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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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