DAILY DIGEST, 5/6: Drought conditions have farmers considering all options as Reclamation halts deliveries to NorCal ag; Common pitfalls when large water systems help small water systems; Is growing weed sustainable?; EPA may craft groundwater rule to pass Supreme Court test; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • WORKSHOP: Prop. 1 IRWM Implementation Grant Workshop: Round 1 Survey Results and Round 2 Concepts from 9:30am to 11:30am.  Join us for a virtual workshop, co-hosted by the IRWM Roundtable of Regions and the CA Department of Water Resources. Learn about the Round 1 survey results and proposed concepts for the Round 2 grant solicitation process, which will begin this summer, making over $190 million (in remaining Prop 1 funds) available for the implementation of IRWM projects.  Click here to register.
  • MEETING: The California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout will meet beginning at 10am.  Agenda items include PRC and Steelhead Committee Updates; 6ppd Issues and Water Contaminant Research/Monitoring for Coho Populations; Updates and Considerations for 2021 Drought Planning and Responses; PreliminarySalmon Ocean Harvest; and Southern California Steelhead CESA Listing Petition.  Click here for full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • FREE EVENT: Is California Ready for Drought? from 11am to 12pm.  Drought isn’t an equal opportunity crisis—some sectors and communities are more affected than others. Join the PPIC Water Policy Center and state and local experts for a panel discussion about how to reduce its impacts to the most vulnerable sectors.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Water-Wise Development for the Bay Area from 12:30pm to 1:30pm.   SPUR’s forthcoming report, Water for a Growing Bay Area, spotlights best practices in water use from across the region. From Google’s reuse of water on its corporate campus to the planning of water-neutral developments in Santa Cruz County, each case study provides responsible and sustainable solutions that should be adopted across the Bay Area.  Come learn more.  Click here for more information and to register.
  • PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Inland Deserts Regional Workshop on Expanding Nature-Based Solutions and Advancing 30×30 from 4pm to 6pm. Join the California Natural Resources Agency and our partners for an Inland Deserts regional workshop to provide input on meeting the State’s commitment to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 and accelerate nature-based solutions to address climate change.  The May 6th Inland Deserts regional workshop encompasses Imperial and the easter parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. All meetings are open to the public, regardless of you or your organization’s geographic location.  Click here to register.
  • PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Delta Conveyance Project Community Benefits Program Workshop 2 of 3 from 6pm to 8pm.  If you live, work or recreate in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Department of Water Resources wants to hear from you about developing a Community Benefits Program for the Delta Conveyance Project. Please join a virtual workshop to share your thoughts about the concept, goals, objectives and types of projects that could be beneficial to the Delta community. Participation in developing a community benefits program does not in any way indicate your support for the Delta Conveyance Project itself.  For additional information about the Delta Conveyance Project Community Benefits Program, click hereClick here to register.

In California drought news today …

Drought conditions have California farmers considering all options

Another year of drought conditions continues across California. For farmers, this means even more planning and tough decisions when it comes to what to plant, how many acres to cover, and which crops will be a priority for irrigating.  As of January 2021, 95% of the state was in a moderate drought. Of that, nearly 40% was in an extreme drought. The California Department of Water Resources typically conducts their snow surveys at the beginning of each month. That was canceled at Phillips Station due to the lack of snow by the start of May 2021. … ”  Read more from ABC Channel 10 here:  Drought conditions have California farmers considering all options

Out of water, out of time: valley farmers forced to [fallow] land

A severe, extreme, and exceptionally dry California has farmers fearing their livelihood will wither along with it.  “We know things have been bad for quite a few years–a couple of decades– and this year accelerated it more than we anticipated,” said farmer Jay Kroeker, partner of Starrh Family Farms in Kern County.  Kroeker says he’s going to have to dry out more than half of his almond farm in Kern County this year, cutting back from 4,000 to just 1,500 acres. … ”  Read more from Fox 26 here: Out of water, out of time: valley farmers forced to give up land

Reclamation halts water deliveries to northern Calif. farmers

More than a month after announcing it was suspending water deliveries to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the Bureau of Reclamation delivered equally bad news to farmers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Their water supplies, tabbed at 5 percent of their contracted amount, were not available for delivery via the Central Valley Project due to limited supply.   “Northern California has about 48% of average precipitation for this time of year; statewide average snowpack levels are at 24% of average,” the Federal water agency said Wednesday. “With a dry forecast and warm temperatures, much of the remaining snowpack is expected to melt over the next few weeks; however, the dry preexisting conditions will limit snowmelt-driven reservoir inflow.” ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:  Reclamation halts water deliveries to northern Calif. farmers

Central Valley leaders call for proactive drought action

A bipartisan group of Central Valley lawmakers and elected officials are calling for more drought action from Governor Gavin Newsom. During a news conference in Fresno County, the group of lawmakers from Fresno, Madera, Kings, and Tulare counties declared a regional drought emergency. The action corresponds with other recent efforts encouraging Governor Newsom to announce a statewide drought declaration. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen participated in the event and told AgNet West that conditions in the Central Valley absolutely warrant action from the governor.  “This group is trying to highlight the reasons why we should be more proactive in trying to prepare for what’s coming this summer versus being reactive and waiting until the worst of it hits us,” Jacobsen noted. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Central Valley leaders call for proactive drought action

Radio: The fight over California’s water intensifies as summer quickly approaches

The water wars are heating up as drought conditions intensify in the state. A group of politicians and farming interests from the Central Valley held a media event in Fresno last week asking Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a drought emergency for the entire state. The pressure campaign is typical of the water battles that plague California when facing drought conditions. An emergency declaration would allow Newsom to sidestep some environmental laws and allow a greater allocation of water to farms. The governor already declared a drought emergency for the Russian River and Klamath Basin.  KFBK’s Aubrey Aquino has more on the local impact that could be coming soon... ”  Listen to radio spot here: Radio: The fight over California’s water intensifies as summer quickly approaches

Video: Drought renews battle between farmers, environmentalists over California water rights

Juliette Goodrich reports on the pressure for Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue a formal drought declaration, and those who say that a declaration would hurt the environment. ”  Watch the news segment from KPIX here: Video: Drought renews battle between farmers, environmentalists over California water rights

There is no drought, says the LA Times

The LA Times editorial board writes, “Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency last month in Sonoma and Mendocino counties because of severe drop-offs in the winter rains that once had been counted on to fill reservoirs in the Russian River watershed, north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Like most other California reservoirs, those human-made lakes were built in the 20th century, an unusually wet period when compared with more than a thousand years of climate records reconstructed from studies of ancient tree rings and geological evidence. … Average out the sporadic flood years with the succession of dry ones and the numbers will tell you that California is getting as much precipitation as ever. There is no drought — not if drought means a decrease in total rainfall. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  There is no drought, says the LA Times

Deepening drought holds ‘ominous’ signs for wildfire threat in the West

After one of the most destructive and extreme wildfire seasons in modern history last year, a widening drought across California and much of the West has many residents bracing for the possibility this season could be worse.  Anemic winter rain and snowfall has left reservoirs and river flows down significantly, even as the state experiences its driest water year in more than four decades. Today, wildfire fuels in some parts of California are at or near record levels of dryness.  Fuel moisture — the amount of water inside a living plant — “is the lowest that we’ve recorded at these sites since 2013,” says Craig Clements, director of the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center at San Jose State University. “It’s indicative of very dangerous conditions coming into this summer.” … ”  Read more from NPR here:  Deepening drought holds ‘ominous’ signs for wildfire threat in the West

In other California water news today …

ICYMI: Fishing industry group asks for investigation into CVPIA

On Monday May 3rd, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), the West Coast’s largest trade organization of small-scale commercial fishermen and women, signed on to a letter asking Representative Katie Porter (D – Ca 45th) in her capacity as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations and Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to open an investigation into Reclamation’s manipulation of government cost accounting standards and its own longstanding criteria for allocating costs owed by Central Valley Project water and power contractors (Contractors).  … ”  Continue reading this press release from the PCFFA here: Fishing industry group asks for investigation into CVPIA

Community Water Systems Alliance review identifies common pitfalls when large water systems help small water systems

The Community Water Systems Alliance (‘CWSA’) has completed a white paper after reviewing projects by three Southern California water systems that are helping small community water systems, including those serving disadvantaged communities.  A common theme found among the helpful water agencies is that state grant funding challenges hamper the speed in assisting struggling water systems consolidate or attain operational standards.  Water system officials from the Mojave Water Agency (‘MWA’), Coachella Valley Water District (‘CVWD’), and South Mesa Water Company (‘SWMC’) discussed details of their water system consolidations or assistance projects that included project funding, time management and resource allocation. CWSA’s white paper found that the state grant funding process can be difficult for some California water suppliers to successfully navigate due to regional differences and financial and administrative constraints. The State Water Resources Control Board (‘SWRCB’) should consider providing further support for regional solutions involving larger, more capable water systems that are able to help smaller, struggling water systems. … ”

Click here for more information and link to the white paper.

CWSA found that the time needed to complete the state grant process often prevents small water systems from attempting to apply for assistance on their own, creating the need to partner with larger systems that can help bridge costs. The review found that the grant process can take about eighteen months before actual funding is realized. This lengthy process has several negative impacts because small water systems must use their limited revenues for daily operations.  Diverting operational funds to pay for capital improvements to bridge delays in grant funding results in trade-offs such as the further deferment of maintenance, declining customer service when employees are laid-off, and vulnerability to emergencies as reserves are drawn-down. 

Findings and recommendations include:

    1. The State Water Resource Control Board’s (‘SWRCB’) focus on consolidation creates obstacles for struggling rural or isolated small systems where there is no other water system adjacent to absorb them.
    2. A mechanism for early review and pre-approval of potential grant applications when a large water system is helping a struggling small system can help ease the burden of finding bridge funding through loans. 
    3. Regional efforts to support small water systems could also be encouraged by an expanded allocation of federal Environmental Protection Agency capacity building funds to larger regional water systems and other NGOs.

To read more about the research you can read the white paper here.

Can hydropower help solve the climate crisis? This $63-billion plan is banking on it

Conservationists in California and across the West are deeply skeptical of hydropower, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s a long history of government agencies damming spectacular canyons, choking off rivers, obliterating fish populations and cutting off access to Indigenous peoples. … But despite the environmental damage they’ve done, many dams also generate electricity that is free of planet-warming carbon emissions. …  So it was a big deal when several major environmental groups announced last year that they were working with the hydropower industry to find common ground after decades of fierce conflict.  Now conservationists and the industry have some specific recommendations for the Biden administration. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Can hydropower help solve the climate crisis? This $63-billion plan is banking on it

Higher levels of nitrate in drinking water linked to preterm birth, Stanford study finds

Pregnant women exposed to too much nitrate in their drinking water are at greater risk of giving birth prematurely, according to a Stanford University study of more than 1.4 million California births.  Agricultural runoff containing fertilizer and animal waste can greatly increase the nitrate level in groundwater, which naturally contains a low level of the chemical.  “We found that higher concentrations of nitrate in drinking water during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth, even at nitrate concentrations below the federal regulatory limit,” said Allison Sherris, a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford. “That was surprising.” … ”  Read more from Stanford News here:  Higher levels of nitrate in drinking water linked to preterm birth, Stanford study finds

Monitoring stations in the Feather River watershed inform statewide water supply

Every year, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) relies on data from monitoring stations strategically located across California to provide information that will aid the decision-making process regarding the flood control and water supply operations of California’s State Water Project (SWP).  The Feather River watershed, located in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains south of Mt. Lassen, is a key location for collecting data. It is the largest watershed in the Sierra Nevada, covering 2.3 million acres or 3,200 square miles.  The water within the watershed drains into Lake Oroville, the reservoir behind Oroville Dam. Capable of holding about 3.5 million-acre-feet of water, Lake Oroville is the largest water storage facility for the SWP, which provides water to 27 million Californians and irrigation to over 750,000 acres of  farmland. ... ”  Read more from DWR News here: Monitoring stations in the Feather River watershed inform statewide water supply

How California is making rice farming sustainable

California’s Sacramento River Delta is among the most fertile agricultural regions in the world. The delta’s rich soil, optimal growing temperatures, and pristine water from the Northern California mountains make it an ideal rice-growing location, even given the environmental challenge.  Rice growers in California innovate with programmes that decrease the concentration of select pesticides in the surface water of their rice-growing regions. The registration, use and maintenance of pesticides is a matter that California approaches proactively.  To ensure better water quality, growers use the ‘four Rs’ of nutrient stewardship, applying fertiliser at the right source, right rate, right time, and right place1. Even the flooding of fields for seeding allows for cleaner water.  “Rice fields are natural filtration systems, and [the] water leaving fields is cleaner and clearer than when it went in the field,” says USA Rice’s director of sustainability Lydia Holmes2. These same winter-flooded fields lead to cleaner air by greatly reducing open-field burning of rice straw. … ”  Read more from The Grocer here: How California is making rice farming sustainable

Is growing weed sustainable? The answer is complicated.

In March, New York legalized cannabis, making it one of a handful of states that have decided to legalize recreational marijuana just this year. Cannabis, including medicinal and recreational, is legal in more states than illegal now, which means more state-regulated grow operations are popping up around the country.   Researchers across the country, including at the University of California Berkeley’s Cannabis Research Center, are interested in examining how cannabis cultivation impacts the land and environment. Ariani Wartenberg, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, is an author of a recent article that reviewed all studies that have looked at the environmental impacts of cannabis. “I was surprised, actually, at how few I found. I expected there would be more,” Wartenberg says of the studies they were able to include in the review paper. … ”  Read more from Popular Science here:  Is growing weed sustainable? The answer is complicated.

The next big business in a warming world? Mud

In a hotter climate, dirt is a hot commodity.  With sea levels expected to rise three to six feet by the end of the century, coastal communities are moving fast to construct major shoreline projects to protect themselves. As the size of these projects expands, the primary building materials — dirt and mud —are getting scarce.  Dirt (what you dig up on land) and mud or sediment (the wetter variety already in rivers and bays) are the raw materials of climate change adaptation. They’re used to build levees, the massive earthen barriers that hold back waves, and to raise elevation so buildings can sit higher than the floodplain.  Mud is also a crucial component of restoring wetlands and marshes, which act as natural barriers against storm surges while providing valuable habitat for sensitive species. In the right conditions, marshes can gain elevation over time from sediment, potentially keeping pace with sea level rise in a way that human-built infrastructure can’t.  Until now, mud and dirt have mostly been treated as waste products. … ”  Read more from KQED here: The next big business in a warming world? Mud

Videos from the 2021 Virtual Salmonid Restoration Conference

Established as a scientific leader on fish and water issues in the state, CalTrout roots its projects in research to drive innovative, science-based solutions to the state’s resource issues.  In April 2021, CalTrout sponsored and presented at the 2021 Virtual Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) Conference. The annual Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference offers an unparalleled opportunity for professionals, academics, and scientists to present their research to a large audience of fisheries restoration enthusiasts.  The SOS II: Fish in Hot Water Report was a staple reference during the conference. Researchers continue to look to this publication as the pinnacle, in-depth report detailing the status of California’s 32 native salmon, steelhead and trout. This report also guides our 5 Key Initiatives, strategies that guide our on-the ground-restoration including: Protect The Best, Reconnect Habitat, Integrate Wild Fish and Working Landscapes, Steward Source Water Areas, and Restore Estuaries.   Several CalTrout researchers presented at the 2021 SRF conference speaking on topics from dam removal to fish food webs. Check out the recordings and description of the talks below.”  View the videos from CalTrout here:  Videos from the 2021 Virtual Salmonid Restoration Conference

Return to top

In regional water news and commentary today …

Crisis on the Klamath

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 groups 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 North Coast Journal here:  Crisis on the Klamath

North Coast: Court orders Glendale-based Kernen Construction Co. to pay $2M penalty for toxic stormwater runoff

A U.S. District Court judge on Sunday ordered a Humboldt County construction company to pay more than $2 million in civil penalties for violating the federal Clean Water Act by allowing toxic pollutants to discharge into a tributary of the Mad River.  Kernen Construction Co., whose services include excavating, paving, concrete and metal fabrication and more, was ordered to pay $2,087,750 as a result of a civil enforcement action brought by Arcata nonprofit Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs). … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Court orders Glendale-based Kernen Construction Co. to pay $2M penalty for toxic stormwater runoff

‘Extreme wildfire threat’ forecast for Northern California this summer

Historically dry conditions and temperatures forecast to be above normal this summer mean Northern California residents once again face the threat of extreme wildfires like those that have occurred with increasing regularity over the past several years, according to AccuWeather, a leading U.S. meteorological service.  The grim prediction, though not surprising, brings into sharper view what historic drought and climate change have clarified for residents in recent weeks: catastrophic wildfires, already a regular part of life now for denizens of the west amid extremes in weather, are likely to return in the coming months.  The danger is exacerbated this year by two successive years of rainfall so low in Northern California they combined barely to total a normal year, leaving forests and brush tinder dry, said David Samuhel, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. … ”  Read more from the North Bay Journal here: ‘Extreme wildfire threat’ forecast for Northern California this summer

Redding:  Long-term Clear Creek restoration project completed

Phase 3C of the Lower Clear Creek Floodway Rehabilitation Project has been completed, attracting fish and wildlife to new habitats and people to new recreation opportunities.  This phase concludes the extensive and decades-long effort to restore more than 2 miles of stream channel on Bureau of Land Management property below Whiskeytown Dam. It was led by the Clear Creek Technical Team, which includes BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yurok Tribe and other federal, tribal, state, local agencies and stakeholders.  “Through river restoration actions, Clear Creek has become one of the most valuable, highly productive habitats for naturally produced salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley,” said Charlie Chamberlain, a fish biologist for the Service. “Salmon and steelhead deposit millions of eggs into Clear Creek’s gravel beds each year upstream of the Phase 3C restoration area, and the habitats created here will improve the juveniles’ survival and their chances to return as adults.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here:  Redding:  Long-term Clear Creek restoration project completed

Tehama County Supervisors approve groundwater monitoring station in Corning

A new groundwater monitoring station is coming to Corning’s public works yard on Gallagher Avenue just across from a warehouse that stores various road signs and equipment.  Public Works Flood Control Manager Ryan Teubert presented the project Tuesday to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors. It consists of construction at the yard, which will be funded and performed by the California Department of Water Resources.   Teubert said this would save Tehama County Public Works “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on the project. … ”  Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News here: Tehama County Supervisors approve groundwater monitoring station in Corning

Garden Highway Mutual Water Company completes fish screen project

In our latest effort to ensure that our water management and farming practices both protect and enhance environmental benefits in our area, Garden Highway Mutual Water Company (Garden Highway) recently completed a project to screen its diversion on the Feather River. This project allows us to protect Chinook salmon and other fish species from entrainment while diverting water year-round to irrigate crops and to provide Pacific Flyway habitat during the fall and winter months. The project was a cooperative effort between Garden Highway, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Reclamation U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Family Water Alliance. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here:  Garden Highway Mutual Water Company completes fish screen project

City of Ukiah may spend $175,720 on algae control for recycled water system

At its next meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah City Council will consider a recommendation to spend more than $175,000 on a system to help control algae in its recycled water system, also called the Purple Pipe.  According to the staff report prepared for the May 5 meeting, “due to high nutrient content and local climate, the water quality of recycled water within the storage reservoirs can become negatively impacted by algal blooms. Algae can become problematic once it is in the distribution system and lead to clogging of filters or irrigation equipment.” ... ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: City of Ukiah may spend $175,720 on algae control for recycled water system

Marin County is first in region to limit outdoor watering with mandatory rules

The Marin Municipal Water District is imposing more mandatory water restrictions on residents, with the goal of reducing overall water use in the district by 40%.  The water district’s board voted Tuesday night to limit spray irrigation to two days per week and drip irrigation to three days per week. All swimming pools and spas must be covered to limit evaporation.  These restrictions come after the district was the first water agency in the Bay Area last month to declare a water shortage emergency amid a looming drought. The board voted on April 20 to introduce several restrictions, including bans on car washing, power washing of houses and flooding gutters. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here:  Marin County is first in region to limit outdoor watering with mandatory rules

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board finalizes water rate increases

Water customers with the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency can expect rate increases to kick in over the next five years, after board members voted in late April to approve the fees.  The PVWMA serves coastal growers and farmers in south Santa Cruz and north Monterey counties through 21 miles of water pipelines running near Highway 1. The water, which is a blend of recycled water, groundwater and Harkins Slough Recovery well water, supplements farmer’s on-site agricultural wells.  Agricultural customers living in that delivered water zone, will pay around $150 more per acre-foot of water by 2025-26. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board finalizes water rate increases

Costa pushes for Valley infrastructure upgrades, career training

Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) is pushing for several local projects – including water and sewer improvements – to receive funding from the Federal government.  Congressional representatives submitted their Community Project Funding requests on Tuesday to the House Appropriations Committee.  “They all have merit,” Costa told The Sun. “There were a lot of others that had merit – didn’t fit, but we’re going to work on other sources of funding. I think members of Congress know their Congressional districts better than anybody in Washington does, so to have an opportunity to provide community block grants for areas where you can make a difference that have what you believe is so important and that possibly match local or Federal or state funding.” ... ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here:  Costa pushes for Valley infrastructure upgrades, career training

Oakdale: Habitat restoration project draws crowd

Community members showed up in droves Monday night, at the regularly scheduled Oakdale City Council meeting, necessitating a different venue from City Hall to the Bianchi Community Center to accommodate COVID-19 safety protocols.  Discussion regarding the Stanislaus River Salmonid Habitat Restoration Project drew a vocal crowd as community members voiced their support and opposition for the project at the May 3 session. ... ”  Continue reading at the Oakdale Leader here:  Habitat restoration project draws crowd

Paso Robles:  Supervisors oppose water district applications

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the California Water Resources Control Board on May 4 formally opposing the Shandon-San Juan Water District’s (SSJWD) two recent applications for water from Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita Lake—a move that puts two partners on the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin at odds with one another.  In January, the SSJWD, which represents about 135,000 acres of irrigated agriculture east of Paso Robles, applied to the state for up to 28,000 acre-feet per year of mostly overspill flood water from the two reservoirs, which it proposes to pipe into the Shandon area for groundwater recharge. It filed the applications without collaborating with other agencies in the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee—a body tasked with balancing the overpumped aquifer—including SLO County. ... ”  Read more from New Times SLO here:  Paso Robles:  Supervisors oppose water district applications

Long Beach: Board member being sued by her own water district asks the district to cover her legal bills

A board member of a local water district is defending herself against allegations in a lawsuit that she posted online videos and sent letters invoking the district’s name without the consent of its general manager or the entire board. She’s calling the action “an effort to chill free speech.” Friday’s Los Angeles Superior Court filing against Leticia Vasquez-Wilson asks a judge to issue an injunction preventing her from taking such unilateral actions in the future. But in a letter to her fellow board members Tuesday, Vasquez-Wilson stood by her actions and asked that the district compensate her in defending herself against the legal action.  “These are false claims and I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing,” Vasquez-Wilson wrote, noting that the conduct referred to in the suit came during the “course and scope” of her duties as an elected official and board member. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here:  Long Beach: Board member being sued by her own water district asks the district to cover her legal bills

Orange County Water District partnership with Army Corps Of Engineers brings increased water supply and ecosystem restoration to Southern California

“More than a decade of collaboration between public agencies yields tremendous benefit to Orange County’s water supply following approvals by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) associated with the Chief of Engineer’s Report for the Prado Basin Ecosystem Restoration and Water Conservation Feasibility Study (Study). For the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District), this critical action increases water storage and habitat restoration behind Prado Dam. Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen.) Scott A. Spellmonsigned the final of the two approvals for the Study on Earth Day (April 22, 2021)which will ultimately go before Congress for consideration of ecosystem restoration authorization. The approval of water conservation was signed earlier in April by Brigadier General Paul E. Owen, Commander and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division of the Corps. ... ”  Continue reading at the Orange County Water District here:  Orange County Water District partnership with Army Corps Of Engineers brings increased water supply and ecosystem restoration to Southern California

Troubled Waters: The Salton Sea Project Part 1- Paradise Lost

The Salton Sea wasn’t always California’s forgotten lake. If you travel along the increasingly shrinking shorelines these days, you’ll see abandoned homes, silent streets, and a past life left for dead.  But in the 1960s, people could not get enough of the pleasures at the Salton Sea. A short drive from Palm Springs you would find a true desert oasis.  “We can pack a lunch we could fish. And then when you know when it got too warm with dad say okay kids it’s you know it’s getting warm. Let’s jump out and we’ll go waterskiing,” said Linda Beal of the Salton Sea History Museum. … ”  Read more from KESQ here:  Troubled Waters: The Salton Sea Project Part 1- Paradise Lost

Column: Drought-tolerant San Diego won’t go thirsty in the dry stretch ahead

Columnist Michael Smolens writes, “San Diego takes droughts very seriously. That’s why the region is well-positioned to weather an extended dry spell with enough water.  Local officials don’t shrug at the drought conditions across the state that have triggered emergencies in a couple of northern counties. For one thing, the wildfire threat can be as dangerous here as anywhere.  San Diego may be more drought-tolerant than in the past when it comes to water, but it may never be fire-resistant. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Column: Drought-tolerant San Diego won’t go thirsty in the dry stretch ahead

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

Here’s how Arizona is preparing for 1st cuts to Colorado River allocation

Arizona is gearing up for the first-ever “Tier 1” shortage on the Colorado River in 2022, which will trigger significant cuts to the state’s annual allocation from its most important water resource.  As daunting as it sounds, the vast majority of citizens and businesses will not be affected, state water leaders said during a Colorado River Preparedness briefing last week.  Arizona is also well prepared to weather expected shortages the next few years, and is in the process of developing the next steps to protect and augment the river’s supplies as the drought persists, said the state’s top two water leaders. … ”  Read more from Arizona Big Media here: Here’s how Arizona is preparing for 1st cuts to Colorado River allocation

Return to top

In national water news today …

EPA may craft groundwater rule to pass Supreme Court test

EPA may consider crafting a new rule fleshing out the Supreme Court’s test for determining if groundwater pollution is subject to federal permitting requirements, a transition official for the Biden administration told an audience of environmental lawyers last week.  The agency is facing calls from states, green groups and regulated entities to put more meat on the bones of the high court’s ruling in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, which said contamination that moves through groundwater on its way to federally regulated waters could be subject to Clean Water Act requirements under certain circumstances.  The Trump administration attempted to put some guardrails on the Supreme Court’s newly established “functional equivalent” test, but state regulators said they are still scratching their heads on how to apply the standard in permitting decisions. … ”  Read more from E&E News here:  EPA may craft groundwater rule to pass Supreme Court test

How do voters feel about water infrastructure?

The Value of Water Campaign has released the results of its sixth annual poll aimed at understanding voters’ views on water issues, including water infrastructure, support for investment and confidence and support for water systems.  According to the results, across all demographics, Americans strongly support water infrastructure investment and 78 percent of voters support (with 48 percent strongly supporting) a proposal to reinvest in the nation’s water infrastructure.  The study polled more than 1,000 U.S. voters and was conducted from March 15-21, 2021, by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates (D) and New Bridge Strategy (R). … ”  Read more from Water Finance & Management here:  How do voters feel about water infrastructure?

Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback to bird protections

The Biden administration is proposing a revocation of its predecessor’s rule that removed industry penalties for accidental or incidental bird deaths, taking the first step to repeal the rule.  The department announced the proposed revocation in a statement on Thursday, citing “significant concerns” from the public and international partners, as well as court challenges.   The Trump administration’s actions were a significant rollback to the implementation of a more than 100-year-old law called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). It acknowledged at the time that its actions may result in companies deciding not to carry out best practices to limit incidental bird deaths. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback to bird protections

Biden administration looks to triple amount of protected land in the U.S.

Faced with the possible extinction of tens of thousands of species and the growing threat of climate change, the Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to protect 30% of the nation’s land and ocean territory by the end of the decade.  The administration’s proposal comes as California and several other states are already moving ahead with their own plans to protect 30% of their land and coastal waters. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order last year directing state agencies to develop a proposal for achieving this goal. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Biden administration looks to triple amount of protected land in the U.S.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Request for LOIs for local or regional programs to support O&M for Disadvantaged Community drinking water systems

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Drought Facts~ Disadvantaged Communities~ Potable Reuse~ Forest Health~ Water Technology~ Navigate the Flood ~~

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: