Wildflowers cover a hillside at North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve located in Oroville, California. Photo by Florence Low / DWR

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Valley lawmakers ramp up drought pressure on Newsom; Pandemic lockdown exposes vulnerability of some to pay water bills; Report provides new tools for abandoned mines; Podcast: The Human Right to Drinking Water & SGMA; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

Will Gavin Newsom make emergency drought declaration statewide? Valley lawmakers say it’s a must

More than a dozen Central Valley lawmakers and elected officials met on Friday to declare a regional drought emergency and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide.  Three state senators and three Assembly members joined the chairs of the boards of supervisors from Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties in a bipartisan news conference at Harlan Ranch in Clovis to call for action that the group said is necessary to divert a crisis.  “This is about mankind and surviving,” said Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, who represents the state’s 14th district. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Will Gavin Newsom make emergency drought declaration statewide? Valley lawmakers say it’s a must

In rare showing, Valley lawmakers ramp up drought pressure on Newsom

The campaign to convince Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide drought emergency gained considerable ground on Friday as county supervisors from five Valley counties joined a bipartisan cadre of state legislators to rally the cause in Clovis on Friday.  Standing in Harlan Ranch, State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) led the booming, bipartisan coalition of elected officials at the state and local level hoping to capture the initiative and serve as a tipping point to convince push Newsom to change course amid the state’s ever-worsening drought.  “While the Governor stated that he is disinclined – so far – to issue a statewide emergency the prevailing science and data demonstrate the urgency of this very moment,” Borgeas said.  “Respectfully, Mr. Governor, we need your help and we need your help now.” … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:  In rare showing, Valley lawmakers ramp up drought pressure on Newsom

Marin drought brings echoes of 1976-77 water crisis

Swap this year and the period of Marin County’s worst-ever drought in 1976-77 and it might be hard to tell the difference.  Water suppliers restricting use to conserve reservoirs. Ranchers preparing to truck in water as creeks and wells dry up. Talks of a potential water pipeline. And questions about the resiliency of the county’s water supply.  During the 1976-77 drought, the Marin Municipal Water District was within 120 days of running out of water. The county’s savior was a 6-mile pipeline over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to pump in water from the East Bay. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin drought brings echoes of 1976-77 water crisis

Letters to the editor: Massive water pipelines, veganism and other reader ideas for fighting the drought

Paul Thornton, Letters Editor for the LA Times writes, “Stop eating meat. Build interstate pipelines. Turn sea water into drinking water. When our letter writers start making these suggestions in earnest, that’s how I know we’re beginning to feel the effects of another drought in California.  I’ve written about our readers’ ambitious ideas to combat drought and wildfires before, and how they betray an abiding optimism in California’s ability to engineer our way out of discomfort. And we have tried … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Massive water pipelines, veganism and other reader ideas for fighting the drought

Pandemic lockdown exposes the vulnerability some Californians face keeping up with water bills

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. Concerns about water affordability, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. The crisis heightened the financial vulnerability many ratepayers face and spotlighted the larger issue of affordability. Some water agencies have devised workarounds to help customers, but so far more lasting solutions remain out of reach.”  Read the article at Western Water here:  Pandemic lockdown exposes the vulnerability some Californians face keeping up with water bills

Sen. Dodd’s water access & equity bills advance

Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help ensure low-income and pandemic-strapped Californians struggling to make water bill payments do not lose access to water service cleared a key committee hurdle today.  “Rising water rates coupled with pandemic-related financial setbacks have left people in many communities at risk of being denied this essential service,” Sen. Dodd said. “My legislation will ensure low-income customers aren’t cut off and get the financial help they need to keep the water turned on for their families. All Californians must have access to water, regardless of their income level or economic status.” ... ”  Continue reading at Senator Dodd’s website here:  Sen. Dodd’s water access & equity bills advance

Report: “Due Diligence in the Sierra Nevada Gold Country: New Tools to Remediate California’s Abandoned Mine Lands (AMLs)

National and state leaders have called for increasing the pace and scale of abandoned mine remediation, but precisely how to do this has been unclear until now. Improved due diligence protocols as part of projects on abandoned mine lands will build market and public confidence to invest in these landscapes and therefore increase public and private investment in cleaning up legacy mines. We can increase the pace and scale of mine remediation and transform the legacy of the Gold Rush from widespread pollution into economic innovation and restoration of the landscapes and communities of the Sierra Nevada and the rest of the state. This report outlines practical steps that can be taken immediately to protect public health and restore significant lands, forests, and rivers by stimulating the cleanup of abandoned mine lands (AMLs), a legacy of California’s 19thcentury gold rush. A project of The Sierra Fund’s (TSF) Environmentally Healthy Communities and Ecosystem Resiliency Programs, its purpose is to remediate mining hazards so that communities both in the Sierra headwaters and downstream have clean water, soil and air and are healthy places to live, work, and prosper. … ”  Read the report from The Sierra Fund here:  Executive Summary and Full Report.

RELATED EVENT: The report is the subject of a new workshop series being held during the first four Mondays in May, beginning May 3, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.

DAN WALTERS:  Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

British journalist James Bartholomew is widely credited with creating the phrase “virtue signaling” to describe positioning oneself on the popular side of an issue without actually doing anything about it.  Politicians are particularly prone to uttering words or making token efforts on difficult issues to stave off criticism about their failure to act meaningfully.  Gov. Gavin Newsom is California’s champion virtue-signaler as he faces a recall election later this year. He knows that to beat the recall, he merely has to solidify support among his fellow Democrats, so he’s clearly trying to placate various party factions at minimal financial and political cost.  There’s no better example than Newsom’s ever-shifting attitude toward hydraulic fracturing to increase petroleum production. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here:  DAN WALTERS:  Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

California lawmakers seek cleanup of old dumped DDT barrels

California lawmakers are urging federal officials and Congress to act after researchers mapped what appeared to be more than 25,000 barrels dumped in an area off the coast of Los Angeles known for DDT contamination.  The Environmental Protection Agency is also working with state and federal agencies to investigate historical dumping of acid waste containing the pesticide dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in a nearby area northeast of Santa Catalina Island, Mike Alpern, EPA’s director of public affairs for the agency’s Pacific Southwest region, said in an email. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here:  California lawmakers seek cleanup of old dumped DDT barrels

Newsom’s $1-billion wildfire plan favors logging over homeowners, critics say

” … With a tinder-dry summer on the horizon, Gov. Gavin Newsom has released an unprecedented $1-billion blueprint for wildfire prevention, making a deal with legislators in early April to fast-track more than half of the money.  The governor’s plan calls for clearing vegetation on half a million acres a year, up from the current annual pace of about 80,000 acres. The approach stems largely from anxiety over drought and invasive beetles, which killed nearly 150 million trees last decade in the Sierra Nevada.  However, a growing chorus of wildfire experts and environmental groups say Newsom’s plan shortchanges homeowners like the Garants — prioritizing logging and other projects ill-suited to stop the type of wind-driven blazes that have repeatedly devastated communities across the state. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Newsom’s $1-billion wildfire plan favors logging over homeowners, critics say

‘Firefighters out there in the snow’: Wildfires rage early in parched west

New Mexico’s first major wildfire of the year ignited this week near a campground where visitors can hike to view hundreds of prehistoric petroglyphs. After scorching nearly 6,000 acres in a matter of days, the blaze remains only 13 percent contained.  In the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona, officials ordered the evacuation this week of 200 homes as screeching winds propelled flames through forests of brittle-dry pines. And in California, a fire threatened a Los Angeles County sheriff’s facility storing weapons and ammunition, in a region where the winter snowpack has been reduced to a tiny fraction of its usual size.  “Another fire, so early in the spring, spreading so fast — it’s hard to fathom,” said Pamela Witte, who nervously watched this week as smoke filled the skies near her home in the mountain town of Ruidoso, N.M. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: ‘Firefighters out there in the snow’: Wildfires rage early in parched west

Return to top

In people news this weekend …

California organic farmer Jenny Moffitt nominated as USDA undersecretary

“President Joe Biden nominated Jenny Lester Moffitt to serve as undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs under Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  Moffit currently serves as undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where she previously served as deputy secretary from 2015-18. Prior, Moffitt spent 10 years as managing director at Dixon Ridge Farms, her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation.  In an announcement from Biden, the release notes growing up and working on the farm, Moffitt learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it. Additionally, she served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2012-15 and worked for American Farmland Trust from 2002-05. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  California organic farmer Jenny Moffitt nominated as USDA undersecretary

Nevada Irrigation District Board Takes Historic Action – Appoints New General Manager Jennifer Hanson to Head the District Beginning June 1

The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board of Directors is pleased to announce it has unanimously appointed Jennifer Hanson as its new General Manager during today’s Board of Directors’ meeting.  “We had many qualified candidates to consider during this process and Ms. Hanson was our unanimous choice. Her qualifications, energy and experience really stood out as we made our final selection,” said Board President Chris Bierwagen. “We are very pleased and proud that she will be joining the team and building upon the strong foundation and community commitment we have at NID.” ... ”  Continue reading at the Nevada Irrigation District website here: NID Board Takes Historic Action – Appoints New General Manager Jennifer Hanson to Head the District Beginning June 1

Kaveh Madani: He returned home to Iran to help its environment – then fled after falling afoul of hard-liners

Iranian scientist Kaveh Madani’s career was in full bloom as he settled into his seat in early 2018 for a flight home from Bangkok to Tehran.  Though raised in the Iranian capital, the civil engineer had left the country at 22 to continue his studies abroad, earning renown for his research into how climate change affects water supplies. About six months earlier, however, the Iranian government had wooed the 36-year-old away from a prestigious professorship in London to a cabinet-level post as deputy environment minister.  On this day, he was finishing up a four-country trip representing Tehran at meetings on water resources and other environmental issues. After takeoff, he connected to the Wi-Fi and checked his Twitter feed.  Several Twitter accounts had posted old pictures of him at a party dancing with women – considered a grave breach of decorum by ultra-conservatives in Iran’s cleric-dominated government. The more he scrolled, the more alarmed he grew. … ” Continue reading at Reuters here:  Kaveh Madani: He returned home to Iran to help its environment – then fled after falling afoul of hard-liners

Water wonk with Hill, Interior chops to lead Army Corps

President Biden’s pick this week to oversee the Army’s vast natural resources operation would bring to the job decades of water experience at the Interior Department and on Capitol Hill.  The president tapped Michael Connor to be the Department of Defense’s assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, which oversees the Army Corps of Engineers and its huge network of dams and other projects.  Connor would play a major role in some of the most controversial projects facing the Biden administration in the environmental arena, including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, as well as Clean Water Act permitting.  Those who know him said Connor is highly qualified for the post.  During the Obama administration, Connor was Interior’s deputy secretary and, before that, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. He was floated as a potential Interior secretary pick for Biden, a post that went to Deb Haaland. ... ”  Read more from E&E News here: Water wonk with Hill, Interior chops to lead Army Corps

Return to top

Podcasts …

WATER TALK PODCAST: The Human Right to Drinking Water & SGMA

A conversation with researchers Darcy Bostic (Pacific Institute) and Kristin Dobbin (UC Davis) about the legislated human right to drinking water, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, sustainability, and participation in California.


INGRAINED PODCAST: Dry year plans take shape

Farmers are no stranger to challenges, and this year is no different. Below-par rain and snowfall have led to water cutbacks of at least 25 percent valley wide, which will lead to an as yet undetermined drop in rice plantings.  Less rice planted has repercussions beyond farms and mills.  Jim Morris talks with Sean Doherty, Meghan Hertel, Jacob Katz, and Thad Bettner about how the Sacramento Valley is preparing for the dry months ahead.


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: Vineyards Are Not Landscapes

Steve Baker writes, “Vineyard landscapes are quite attractive. Paul Hoover of Stillwater Vineyards and Bob Brown, local home vineyard, feel that a vineyard is not just a landscape. Bob feels it is a passion and they both have to make a living off of the fruits of their labor. Vineyards are a high revenue producing agricultural activity that can compete in a worldwide market. Is this a good choice of farming in Paso Robles?”  Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co


WATER LOOP PODCAST: California’s Drive for Water Data with Tara Moran

During last decade’s severe drought the State of California passed the Open and Transparent Water Data Act in recognition of the critical role of data in water management. That led to the formation of the California Water Data Consortium, a nonprofit that works with the state, local water agencies, farmers, NGOs, and others to improve organization, access, and use of data. In this episode Tara Moran, President and CEO of the California Water Data Consortium, discusses the progress and pilot projects involving lidar, groundwater, urban water, and agriculture.


WATER TALK PODCAST: California Urban Water 101

A conversation with Dr. Erik Porse (Sacramento State University & UCLA Institute of the Environment) about urban water resources, energy, conservation, and engineering economics in California.


SCIENCE IN SHORT: Drift, Drop or Floc? Tailing Sediment as it Moves Through Marsh Margins

This June two USGS scientists will be trying to get as close as they can to the edge of the South Bay’s Whale’s Tail Marsh to lay out their tools: tiles, filter paper, current profilers, and other sediment accretion measuring instruments. Estuary Reporter Ariel Rubissow Okamoto interviews reseachers Jessie Lacy and Karen Thorne about what they’re looking for at the marsh edge, and how it may help us answer burning questions about the future of the region’s wetlands. Is there enough sediment in the system for marshes keep pace with sea level rise by building up their elevations naturally, or do humans need to sprinkle some sediment love around? What exactly does happen when sediment arrives on the marsh surface? What are the micro-changes in elevation, vegetation, and resuspension that happen with tides, waves, and seasonal shifts? Lacy and Thorne have it covered.

Return to top

In regional water news this weekend …

Groundwater monitoring station planned for Tehama County

Water talk will be a big part of Tuesday’s Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting as plans for a new groundwater monitoring site in Corning are coming to fruition.  Tehama County Public Works plans to sign a Permit to Use Land Agreement for a groundwater station in the Corning Public Works yard on Gallagher Avenue, should the board approve the request.  Creating and maintaining the station will be a combined effort of Tehama County Public Works, the Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the California Department of Water Resources. According to the related agenda report, the station is expected to be in use for a minimum of 20 years. … ”  Read more from the Tehama Daily News here:  Groundwater monitoring station planned for Tehama County

Commentary: Lake Pillsbury, there is no water to waste

Frank Lynch & Carol Cinquini, Directors, Lake Pillsbury Alliance write “Little is said about the role of Lake Pillsbury in our regional water system or the critical water it provides to fill Lake Mendocino. If anything, its importance to understated or not referenced at all in most media articles. Without Lake Pillsbury at the Eel River headwaters to control downstream flows, both the Eel and Russian Rivers and surrounding aquifers will intermittently dry up. Lake Pillsbury is a critical component of our water system and currently provides year-round water storage that benefits fish and hundreds of thousands of downstream domestic and agricultural users in both the Eel River and Russian River basins.  A strong movement is afoot to remove Scott Dam and eliminate Lake Pillsbury, targeted by those who believe the dam is the key reason for declining fisheries in the North Coast. ... ”  Continue reading at the Ukiah Daily Journal here:  Commentary: Lake Pillsbury, there is no water to waste

Roseville: Federal funding bolsters water reliability efforts

Roseville is the recipient of $33 million in low-interest financing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. This funding will accelerate water supply planning and implementation under Roseville’s Water Future Initiative.  “EPA is excited to announce its fiftieth WIFIA loan, which provides a great opportunity to appreciate the successes we’ve had while redoubling our efforts to better communities through water infrastructure improvements,” said EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “We’ve seen time and again that collaborating with local partners and investing in water infrastructure can improve public health, protect the environment, create jobs, and support economic growth while addressing key challenges facing the country.” … ”  Read more from the City of Roseville here: Federal funding bolsters water reliability efforts

Drought forces Sonoma County farmers to make adjustments to crop plans

Lake Mendocino, April 21, 2021. Photo: Andrew Innerarity/DWR

While Sonoma County supervisors declared a drought emergency on Tuesday, local farmers already had been taking action as they grapple in an era with much less water for their crops than in previous years.  The results can be seen from the vineyards of the Alexander Valley to the pastureland of west county. There will be fewer grapes harvested than in a typical year, as vineyard managers have pruned vines and some acreage is likely to go unused.  Dairy ranchers are expecting plots of grassland will go brown earlier than usual, while others are selling a portion of their herd to better manage revenue. Vegetable growers are focusing on crops such as peppers that can be grown quickly for more profit. ... ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here:  Drought forces Sonoma County farmers to make adjustments to crop plans

Marin: ‘Beyond depressing’: What happened to Phoenix Lake? A favorite Bay Area spot is barely there

Tucked among the trees at the foot of Mount Tamalpais, Phoenix Lake is among the smallest but perhaps prettiest jewels in a strand of reservoirs spread across Marin County.  In recent weeks, the reservoir has lost some of its beauty with the water dropping to a historically low level. The site of the dwindling lake — with its edges dry, crack and exposed — is alarming many residents and visitors.  “I have never seen it this low,” said Laura Ackley, a Marin resident and author of the book Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition. “It wasn’t like this in the 2015 drought at all.” ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Marin: ‘Beyond depressing’: What happened to Phoenix Lake? A favorite Bay Area spot is barely there

Editorial: Marin water shortage demands wiser choices from all

The Marin Independent Journal editorial board writes, “If this road looks familiar, you’ve been living and working in Marin for awhile.  The lack of rain has put the county back on the road of emergency conservation measures caused by drought, including restrictions on water use.  Marin Municipal Water District General Manager Ben Horenstein says the district is facing the ramifications of a dry “rainy” season that mirrors that of the 1976-77 drought. Old-timers around the county can remember those days of tough per-person water-use limits, turning off sprinklers, saving “grey” water from washing machines to use for irrigation, not flushing toilets after every use and buckets sharing space in the shower.  Every drop counted. … ”  Read more from the Main Independent Journal here: Editorial: Marin water shortage demands wiser choices from all

Despite drought, Alameda County Water District not asking customers to further cut water use

While some larger Bay Area water agencies are urging customers to cut back water use amid the state’s worsening drought, Alameda County Water District officials contend their current supply is enough to keep up with demand, and aren’t seeking any voluntary or mandatory water reductions.  “Keep calm, and conserve on, that’s the theme this year,” general manager Robert Shaver said at a recent board meeting.  While 2021’s water year was another “critically dry” one, district officials said planning ahead for less rainfall combined with low water usage demands will allow the district to meet the needs of its roughly 350,000 customers without additional restrictions. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Despite drought, Alameda County Water District not asking customers to further cut water use

Santa Clara Valley reservoirs fall to 16% full

The next time you drive by a reservoir, you might want to take a good long look because they are disappearing fast as the latest drought tightens its grip on the Bay Area and beyond.  Lexington and other reservoirs around the Santa Clara Valley are mostly dependent on runoff from rainfall.  But rainfall was well below normal last winter, so there wasn’t all that much runoff. Lexington is about 28% full right now.  Together, the 10 Santa Clara valley reservoirs are just 16% full, well below their 20-year historical average of 26%. … ”  Read more from KRON here: Santa Clara Valley reservoirs fall to 16% full

Where’s the sand? Coastal cities hope delivery to local beaches will come

Sea-level rise is often pointed to as the unbeatable culprit chomping away at Southern California’s most popular asset. But rising seas aren’t the only reason the coastline is disappearing.  Decades of development along the coast blocked sand flow to beaches. Local shores historically have had a helping hand from the federal government in staying wide and sandy, but that assistance, like the sand itself, has dwindled in recent years.  City officials in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach are concerned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to funded the major sand replenishment project that for decades kept the northern section of Orange County’s coastline flush with sand, providing a buffer between the ocean and communities and protecting a major economic driver for tourism to the region. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Where’s the sand? Coastal cities hope delivery to local beaches will come

Salton Sea: California’s ‘white gold’ rush: lithium in demand amid surge in electric vehicles

As demand for electric vehicles heats up, there’s concern about a shortage of the key minerals needed to make them. The Biden administration has called for boosting domestic production of such minerals, including lithium for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. And that has many hoping for big business in a desolate spot of California’s Imperial Valley.  A few miles from the shores of California’s Salton Sea, a construction crew is at work on the future site of Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power. It’s a geothermal facility, meaning it uses Earth’s natural heat to create electricity. That alone has fueled investment here for years. This facility, run by the Australian company Controlled Thermal Resources, will someday produce enough geothermal energy to power 1.1 million homes. And once it’s fully operational, it will also be able to extract lithium from the geothermal brine under the ground. ... ”  Read more from NPR here:  California’s ‘white gold’ rush: lithium in demand amid surge in electric vehicles

Along the Colorado River …

Facing a Colorado River shortage, Arizona prepares for the pain of water cutbacks

With the Colorado River’s largest reservoir just 38% full and declining toward the threshold of a first-ever shortage, Arizona water officials convened an online meeting this week to outline how the state will deal with water cutbacks, saying the reductions will be “painful” but plans are in place to lessen the blow for affected farmers next year.  Lake Mead’s decline is expected to trigger substantial reductions in water deliveries in 2022 for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. The largest of those cuts will affect Arizona, slashing its Colorado River supplies by 512,000 acre-feet, about a fifth of its total entitlement. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here:  Facing a Colorado River shortage, Arizona prepares for the pain of water cutbacks

Experimental high spring flows in the Grand Canyon demonstrated potential for creativity in future Colorado River operations

Julia Morton, Colorado River Program Manager for Audubon writes, “Ever since I started working on Colorado River issues, I have wanted to travel through the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon by boat. I was skeptical of my chances given the highly coveted and limited number of permits, but this spring I was lucky enough to be invited on a private trip. For 21 days, we traveled through this remote stretch where the canyon walls tower up to 4,000 feet above the river in some places. We celebrated on the downstream side of big rapids and scrambled up forgotten side canyons. We spied great blue herons and merganser ducks on the river’s edge. We saw very few other people.  Any river runner will tell you that the prime time of year for boating in the west is late spring, when rivers swell with runoff from melting snowpack. … ”  Continue reading at Audubon here: Experimental high spring flows in the Grand Canyon demonstrated potential for creativity in future Colorado River operations

New report looks into water insecurity in tribal lands across Colorado River Basin

A recent report looked into why Indigenous communities within the Colorado River Basin are struggling to get clean, reliable running water.  A household in tribal lands is 19 times more likely than a white household to not have indoor plumbing, and during the pandemic this had catastrophic effects on some Indigenous communities. According a 2019 report outlining the action plan for closing the water access gap throughout the United States, “race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access,” and it’s Indigenous people who face this problem most. This report published out of the independent Water & Tribes Initiative Wednesday looks into what’s causing the deficiency, the federal government’s responsibility to provide clean water to tribes, and how some federal agencies are trying to fix the problem. It also explains the barriers currently in place and suggests ways to get water to tribes. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: New report looks into water insecurity in tribal lands across Colorado River Basin

In national water news this weekend …

Streams and lakes have rights, a US county decided. Now they’re suing Florida

A network of streams, lakes and marshes in Florida is suing a developer and the state to try to stop a housing development from destroying them.  The novel lawsuit was filed on Monday in Orange county on behalf of the waterways under a “rights of nature” law passed in November. It is the largest US municipality to adopt such a law to date. The listed plaintiffs are Wilde Cypress Branch, Boggy Branch, Crosby Island Marsh, Lake Hart and Lake Mary Jane.  Laws protecting the rights of nature are growing throughout the world, from Ecuador to Uganda, and have been upheld in courts in India, Colombia and Bangladesh. But this is the first time anyone has tried to enforce them in the US. ... ”  Read more from The Guardian here: Streams and lakes have rights, a US county decided. Now they’re suing Florida

Water bill may open spigot for Biden infrastructure plan

Rarely has a routine water resources bill generated so much political buzz, but as senators hoisted the measure to passage Thursday the bipartisan infrastructure legislation served as a potential template for building consensus around President Joe Biden’s ambitious American Jobs Plan.  The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes about $35 billion over five years to improve leaky pipes and upgrade facilities, and is widely supported by lawmakers and their states back home. This time, though, it could be so much more — a building block in Biden’s broader $2.3 trillion proposal to invest in roads, bridges and other infrastructure. ... ”  Read more from the Associated Press here:  Water bill may open spigot for Biden infrastructure plan

And lastly …

Photo Gallery: The masquerading cell towers of the American West

A single pine in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  Palm trees adorned with strange red beacons.  A trio of cacti with green hues that seem just a little bit off.  Since the 1990s, disguised cell phone towers have become a staple of America’s urban environment. … Between 2015 and 2020, the Bay Area photographer Annette LeMay Burke set out across the American West in search of those landscapes where something seems amiss. The result is presented in her beautiful new book, “Fauxliage.”  … ”  Check out a selection of the photos at the California Sun here: Photo Gallery: The masquerading cell towers of the American West

Catch up on last week’s news in the Weekly Digest …

WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for April 25-30: Update on the Water Board’s Oil and Gas Monitoring Program; Delta Conveyance Project update; plus all the top news stories and more …

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

WORKSHOP NOTICE/PUBLIC COMMENT: 2021 Triennial Review Of The Water Quality Control Plan For The San Francisco Bay Basin

NOW AVAILABLE: Video Recording for April 22 Public Workshop on Addendum to Proposed Framework for Regulating Direct Potable Reuse in California

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: