DAILY DIGEST, 5/14: LAO Report: What can we learn from the last major drought?; La Nina gone, but may return next winter; Earthquake risk and the Delta; Hoopa Tribe: Biden Admin revives Trump assault on tribal water rights; and more …
FREE CONFERENCE: Localizing California Waters: Building Community Resilience Through Collaboration from 9am to 12:30pm. Join the conversation to help shape the agenda and focus for November’s Localizing California Waters conference. How can we create abundance in a time of oncoming severe drought and fire season? Join us for a Friday morning discussion, including several short presentations by guest speakers. Click here for more information and to register.
FREE EVENT: California Water Bootcamp: Day 1 from 10am to 12pm. Join the California Water Institute on May 14, 21, 28, 2021 to learn about various topics on California water. Fresno State University partnered with the World Ag Expo to bring this free virtual educational series to the public. Register through World Ag Expo’s website: https://bit.ly/WAEregister
PUBLIC MEETING: Perris Seepage Recovery Project DEIR from 11am to 12pm. On May 7, 2021, DWR opened the 45-day public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Perris Seepage Recovery Project. DWR will hold a public meeting for the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Perris Seepage Recovery Project. There will be a short presentation describing the project and opportunity to submit written comments. For remote access instructions, click here.
FREE WEBINAR: Eel River: Controlling the Invasive Pikeminnow from 5pm to 6pm. Anglers and many aware residents of the Eel River watershed do not like the introduced, predatory Sacramento pikeminnow and would like to see them controlled in order to allow native fish to recover. These fish shouldn’t be in the Eel River and it is our moral obligation that we do more to control them. Zoom-in and find out how. “Like it or not, we are in charge of evolution” – Julian Huxley. Click here to register.
In California drought news today …
LAO Report: What can we learn from how the state responded to the last major drought?
“For the second consecutive year, the state is experiencing extremely low rates of precipitation. As we prepare for what could be an extended period of dry conditions, it is helpful to review how the state responded to the last major drought. Such information can inform—and thereby potentially improve—the state’s current and ongoing response to developing conditions. In this report, we summarize the major activities, spending, and policy actions undertaken by the state to respond to the severe drought that occurred from 2012 through 2016. We also describe current conditions, and highlight some key lessons the Legislature can learn from previous efforts to help guide its response to the emerging drought.” Read the report here: What can we learn from how the state responded to the last major drought?
New report: Drought to hit rural Latino communities hardest
“Rural, low-income Latino communities across California were hardest hit by the last drought and could see drinking water shortages again this year as extreme drought spreads across the state, according to a report released today by non-partisan advisors to California’s lawmakers. The report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office warns state officials to prepare by ramping up monitoring of wells in vulnerable communities and lining up emergency drinking water supplies to send there. “The communities most impacted by drinking water challenges during the last drought were small and rural; many were farmworker communities located in California’s Central Valley. Moreover, many of the communities that lost — or remain vulnerable to losing — access to safe drinking water contain high proportions of both lower‑income and Latino residents,” the report says. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Report: Drought to hit rural Latino communities hardest
Lessons for California: Australian reservoirs took a long time to recover from megadrought
“Rain has long signaled the end of a drought, but a new analysis of Australia’s worst dry spell in a century reveals many water reservoirs remained low nearly a decade after the rain returned. Research published in the journal Science on Thursday studies 15 years of data collected before, during and after the Millennium Drought dried out Victoria, Australia, from 2001 to 2009 and reveals flaws in the long-held belief that reservoirs naturally replenish after drought ends. “Whether or not watersheds always recover from prolonged droughts has major implications for global long-term water resource planning and aquatic environments, especially under climate change,” study authors wrote. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Lessons for California: Australian reservoirs took a long time to recover from megadrought
California drought concerns heightened
“In the first of three drought-related announcements made earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded the state’s drought emergency declaration to an additional 39 counties including Contra Costa. Approximately 30% of the state’s population and 41 of 58 counties are now in a drought emergency. Newsom made the announcement from the San Luis Reservoir in the Central Valley on Monday, May 10. That reservoir is currently holding 57% of it’s seasonal average and less than half of its full capacity, conditions that are common in reservoirs across the state. The governor’s comments came three weeks after a state of emergency was declared in Sonoma and Mendocino counties due to drought conditions in the Russian River watershed. … ” Read more from The Press here: California drought concerns heightened
How a California olive grower is adapting to drought conditions
“California’s water supply is critical to the state’s agriculture industry. Up to 80% of table olives come from California, and while olive trees are more drought-tolerant than other crops, that isn’t stopping Northern California olive growers from making significant changes to conserve our most precious resource. Olives are a passion for Dennis Burreson, who says he’s held just about every job with Musco Family Olive Company since joining Musco 43 years ago. Burreson, who is now a vice president of field operations and industry affairs, helps growers understand and adapt to California’s changing weather climate. ... ” Read more from KCRA here: How a California olive grower is adapting to drought conditions
In other California water news today …
Adios La Niña: Key pattern relaxes and may shake up weather around the world
“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday that a key weather feature that affects global temperature and precipitation has shifted into a “neutral,” or average, state. La Niña, one of the factors behind last year’s extremely active Atlantic hurricane season and a contributor to below-average rainfall in the South and Southwest, has faded away. That means we’re currently in a middle ground between El Niño and La Niña. The former describes an anomalous warming of waters in the eastern tropical Pacific, while La Niña reflects a cooling of the waters there. The change in sea surface temperatures triggers a chain reaction of events that can affect weather both nearby and half a world away. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: Adios La Niña: Key pattern relaxes and may shake up weather around the world
La Nina gone, but may return next winter
“A La Nina that brought a healthy snowpack to Washington has ended, but may return later this year for a third straight winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center reported that Pacific Ocean temperatures have warmed to normal and likely will stay that way through the summer. The warming broke a link between the sea and atmosphere that had created a La Nina since last fall. La Nina winters are generally cool and wet in Washington, but are warm and dry farther south. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here: La Nina gone, but may return next winter
Q/A: What are the risks of a major earthquake in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?
“In the second of two Delta Conveyance Deep Dive episodes on seismic risks in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, we hear from two of California’s leading seismology experts about the vulnerability of the Delta to a major seismic event. Scott Brandenberg, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Dr. Norm Abrahamson, adjunct professor in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis, are consultants to the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority. The conversation was moderated by Patricia Clark, associate governmental program analyst in the Delta Conveyance Office. Q. Scott, shortly after the 2014 Napa quake, you wrote in the L.A. Times that we had dodged a bullet and that the catastrophic scenario of years of salty water in the Delta might have occurred had the earthquake struck near or beneath the Delta. Why do you think we didn’t see levee failure from that 2014 Napa earthquake? … ” Read the interview at DWR News here: Q/A: What are the risks of a major earthquake in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?
Beyond roads and bridges: Experts push for repairing nature’s own ‘infrastructure’
“Oxford defines infrastructure as “the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” But some Bay Area environmentalists and wildlife professionals hope the Biden Administration’s federal infrastructure proposal offers an opportunity to consider the infrastructure that came before the roads and bridges that the term evokes. Namely, the soil, water, air and all of the flora and fauna that sustained life in a cooperative balance before the disruption of the Anthropocene era. … ” Read more from 48 Hills here: Beyond roads and bridges: Experts push for repairing nature’s own ‘infrastructure’
FDA investigation of 2020 Salmonella outbreak linked to red onions points to irrigation water
““The FDA has been working with the CDC, state partners and Canadian officials to investigate the largest Salmonella Newport outbreak in over a decade, which was linked to red onions. The FDA, today, released a 2020 Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Red Onions Report that includes an overview of our investigation findings, including factors that potentially contributed to the Salmonella contamination of red onions. “Our investigation found the outbreak to be linked to whole red onions supplied by Thomson International, Inc., with farms in Bakersfield and Holtville, California. … ” Read more from Produce Blue Book here: FDA investigation of 2020 Salmonella outbreak linked to red onions points to irrigation water
New bill could make it easier for California tribes to reclaim ancestral lands
“A new bill working its way through the California assembly would make it easier for federally recognized tribes to purchase surplus land from nearby cities, a change that the local Tule River Indian Tribe is pushing for. The proposed legislation would put tribal governments on an even playing field with local governments when purchasing surplus land. Under current law, affordable housing projects get the first opportunity to buy land from government agencies before negotiations with other potential buyers may begin. An exemption exists for other government agencies but not for California’s hundred-plus federally recognized tribes. That would change under Assembly Bill 1180. … ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: New bill could make it easier for California tribes to reclaim ancestral lands
Drought reduces runoff from watersheds burned by wildfires
“Drought isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s turning out to be a dry blessing in disguise this year as the lack of snow means less runoff in areas burned by the massive Creek and Sequoia Complex wildfires in 2020. … Sooty, muddy, debris-laden runoff from those charred hillsides could have gunked up water delivery systems, even threatening drinking supplies. But so far, runoff and effects on water quality have been minimal, according to government agencies and water authorities. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Drought reduces runoff from watersheds burned by wildfires
Last year’s Santa Cruz lightning fires still causing trouble
“A small fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains started on May 2 because of a flare-up inside a tree that had burned in last year’s CZU Lightning Complex fires. Those fires raged for more than 40 days, consumed over 85,000 acres and destroyed about 7,000 buildings. Sunday’s Basin Fire ignited from embers that had smoldered for roughly eight months inside a 30-foot tree with a 6-foot diameter. The fire burned through about 7 acres and was quickly contained by Cal Fire. On Monday, the fire agency conducted an infrared-mapping flight that identified several similar hot spots within the CZU burn scar. “Our crews have been hiking into each identified location,” said Jonathan Cox, deputy chief of the agency’s San Mateo division, in an email. ... ” Read more from KQED here: Last year’s Santa Cruz lightning fires still causing trouble
California and the West are in for another tough fire year, federal officials forecast
“After a 2020 fire season that shattered records and killed 33 people in California, federal wildfire experts predict another tough one for the state due to widespread and worsening drought conditions. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters Thursday that they had been briefed by government wildfire experts at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, to expect another extremely active fire season complicated, for the second year, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With nearly half of the United States gripped by a severe drought, officials said that Americans living throughout much of the West should plan for a year of “above average wildfire potential.” … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Federal officials: California and West in for tough fire year
The entire state of California is now in drought, just kindling waiting for an ignition
“The title to the classic 1970s hit “It Never Rains in Southern California” has nothing to do with climate change or even precipitation for that matter, but it couldn’t be more appropriate for the massive drought hitting the entire state this spring. All of California is in drought, ranging from moderate (level D1) to exceptional (level D4). The last time this happened was in October 2014. The drought has intensified, with the worst level now covering 14% of the state, up from 5% last week. “Moving into dry season, California is expecting drought impacts to intensify during the summer months,” this week’s US Drought Monitor summaryexplains. … ” Read more from CNN here: California drought is now statewide, bringing major wildfire concerns
In the Klamath Basin, pretty much everybody’s feeling the pain
“It’s been an epically bad week for everyone who relies on water from the Klamath. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the 114-year-old Klamath water project, announced that for the first time ever, the “A” canal will be closed for the season – meaning no water will be drawn from Upper Klamath Lake for irrigators in the federally-managed Klamath Project. Reclamation’s initial operations plan allocation for the Klamath Project projected 33,000 acre-feet would be available for more than 150,000 acres of farmland, a fraction of what irrigators would use in a typical year. But Wednesday the Bureau announced that the deepening drought and worsening hydrologic conditions in the Basin would no longer allow diverting even that much water from the lake. ... ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: In the Klamath Basin, pretty much everybody’s feeling the pain
Farmers rally in Klamath Falls one day after Bureau of Reclamation announces ‘A’ Canal shut down
“NBC5 News first told you Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation has shut off the A Canal, the principal irrigation canal for the Klamath Project. It’s the first time, it’s converted no water, meaning thousands of farmers are without water for the irrigation season. Thursday, several dozen took to the streets of Klamath Falls, to peacefully protest. Around 50 people gathered Thursday in front of the Klamath Irrigation District office. They’re asking for more water to be released from Upper Klamath Lake. The group Thursday, made up of farmers, ranchers, and members of the Klamath Water Users Association, and the Klamath Irrigation District Board. ... ” Read more from NBC 5 here: Farmers rally in Klamath Falls one day after Bureau of Reclamation announces ‘A’ Canal shut down
No water: Farmers reel after announcement they’ll get zero allocation from Klamath Project
“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that more than 1,000 farmers in the Klamath Basin will not receive any reserved water from Upper Klamath Lake — a devastating prospect for farmers who have already planted fields, hired crews and made plans for the growing season ahead. “Growers and irrigation districts have spent the entire spring re-engineering and building systems to deliver meager surface and well water to their fields,” said the Shut Down & Fed Up organization — which advocates to sustain the future of agriculture in the Klamath Basin — in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “With a zero allocation, all of this work is for naught.” … ” Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Farmers will get zero allocation from Klamath Project in 2021
Catastrophic juvenile fish kill unfolds on the Klamath River
Dan Bacher writes, “Today, the Yurok Tribe reported that a “widespread” and “catastrophic” juvenile fish kill is currently taking place on the Klamath River, a day after the US Bureau of Reclamation announced that it would not release water to prevent a juvenile salmon kill on the river. “While historic drought is the primary cause of the lack of water, previous BOR water allocation decisions led to the widespread fish kill, which could have been prevented with a flow increase,” according to the Yurok Tribe, the largest Tribe in California with more than 6,300 members, in a news release. “Right now, the Klamath River is full of dead and dying fish on the Yurok Reservation,” said Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairman. “This disease will kill most of the baby salmon in the Klamath, which will impact fish runs for many years to come. For salmon people, a juvenile fish kill is an absolute worst-case scenario.” … ” Read more from the Daily Kos here: Catastrophic juvenile fish kill unfolds on the Klamath River
Hoopa Valley Tribe: Biden’s Justice Department revives Trump Administration assault on tribal water rights
“Subordinate officials in the Biden Administration’s Justice and Interior Departments announced today that they will defend the Trump administration’s water policies that imperil the rights of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California’s Trinity River basin and ignore overwhelming evidence of financial misconduct that will cost the Federal Taxpayers at least $400 million.“The cruel indifference of the Trump Administration’s corruption has reached our homeland,” said Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Byron Nelson, Jr. “Left unchecked, it will destroy the fishery on which our people have relied as the foundation of our culture, religion and economy since time immemorial. We are calling on Secretary Haaland to fulfill the federal trust responsibility to our people and rein in the reckless and destructive practices that still afflict the Department of the Interior,” said Hoopa Tribal Fisheries Director, Michael Orcutt. …
Click here to read the full press release from the Hoopa Valley Tribe.
Ask the Redding Record-Searchlight: Why’s Shasta Dam dumping water?
“Q: Why is Shasta Dam dumping so much water? They had five outlets dumping water down the spillway (last week). With the low lake and drought, what is going on? A: Lack of (cool) rain is the reason you’re seeing more water come out the spillways. Shasta Dam staff are releasing warming water out the spillway rather than run it through the power plant. Here is why. Right now, river waters are cool enough to protect the fish who live in them, Shasta Dam Area Manager Don Bader said, but those waters will start to warm up over the summer. ... ” Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Ask the R-S: Stopping Oasis Road blight; Shasta Dam dumping water
Nonprofit ready to dive into massive underwater cleanup of Lake Tahoe
“The nonprofit organization is embarking on a colossal Lake Tahoe cleanup effort, aiming to pull out plastic bottles, tires, fishing equipment and other pieces of trash they find in the water along the alpine lake’s entire 72-mile-long shoreline. It’s believed to be the largest ever underwater cleanup project at the treasured lake. “I want to do something that makes a difference,” said Colin West, Clean Up the Lake’s founder and executive director. … ” Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Nonprofit ready to dive into massive underwater cleanup of Lake Tahoe
Sacramento Regional Water Authority urges members to consider conservation, shifting to groundwater to help the Lower American River
“Today the Regional Water Authority (RWA) Board of Directors, which represents 20 water providers serving 2 million people in the Sacramento region, adopted a resolution urging their members to consider actions, such as asking customers to voluntary conserve and sustainably shifting to groundwater, in order to help the environment of the Lower American River. “While the Sacramento region is in a strong position to meet the water supply needs of people, the dry conditions are expected to stress the environment of the Lower American River, one of our region’s greatest treasures,” said RWA Executive Director Jim Peifer. Folsom Reservoir storage levels are lower than historic drought conditions in 2014 and 2015. Water flowing from Folsom Reservoir feeds the Lower American River and supports fish species that depend on both adequate flows and temperatures, including fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. RWA is continuing to work with the Sacramento Water Forum, and federal and state agencies, to monitor and address conditions. “We are calling on local water providers to consider reducing their reliance on Folsom Lake and the Lower American River for their water supplies as much as possible,” Peifer said ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Regional Water Authority here: Sacramento Regional Water Authority urges members to consider conservation, shifting to groundwater to help the Lower American River
2 million Sacramento-area residents may soon be asked to conserve water
“The Sacramento Regional Water Authority (RWA) urged its providers, Thursday, to consider asking customers to voluntarily conserve water due to troubling drought conditions shaping up all over California. The RWA’s board of directors adopted the resolution asking the 20 water providers with whom it represents to also consider actions such as sustainably shifting to groundwater. Those 20 water providers serve the approximately 2 million people who make up the Sacramento region. … ” Read more from ABC 10 here: Regional Water Authority urging providers to conserve water
Sonoma Water wants 20-percent reduction in Russian River water diversions
“The primary supplier of water to Sonoma Valley, The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water), today filed a petition with the state to reduce its Russian River draw-off by 20 percent. The move comes as the Russian River watershed is facing severe drought conditions. Both the Governor and County of Sonoma have declared a drought emergency for the area. Speaking for Sonoma Water, Sonoma County Supervisor said the move is an effort to help preserve water in the Russian River watershed. … ” Read more from the Sonoma Valley Sun here: Sonoma Water wants 20-percent reduction in Russian River water diversions
From electricity to water to trash — San Jose utility bills are climbing this summer
“For many San Jose residents, bad things might really come in threes. In the coming months, hundreds of thousands of residents will see their water, electricity and garbage bills start climbing. The San Jose City Council this week approved an 8% increase in electricity rates for San Jose Clean Energy customers, while Santa Clara Valley Water passed a 9.1% increase in water rates for consumers across the county. Those changes are slated to begin showing up on bills in June and July. On top of that, San Jose leaders also are considering raising garbage rates this summer by up to 17% for single-family homes and 7% for multi-unit properties. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: From electricity to water to trash — San Jose utility bills are climbing this summer
Santa Cruz: Big Basin Water Co. faces state ordered deadlines to bolster supplies
“When the CZU Lightning Complex fire ripped through the upper stretches of Boulder Creek, near Highway 236, water infrastructure melted and burned to the ground. For the Big Basin Water Co., that’s meant supplying roughly 500 remaining households with water from a singular well. … The water company, which also supplies to two neighboring systems, Bracken Brae and Forest Springs, lost the majority of its infrastructure in the fire. That includes its main water filter plant. Until January, residents were unable to use their drinking water due to fire-linked contamination. Now, the state water board alongside county and state officials, are taking action. Big Basin Water is faced with a schedule of regulatory deadlines it must meet to bolster drinking water supplies. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz: Big Basin Water Co. faces state ordered deadlines to bolster supplies
Bakersfield students win grand prize for grey water project
“Students at Bakersfield’s Munsey Elementary School took home the grand prize in a statewide contest to find new, innovative ways to conserve water. The contest, called the H2O Challenge, is put on by water purveyor Cal Water. Teacher Barbara Elrod encouraged the students in her combination 5th and 6th grade class to take up the challenge and they focused on how grey water, left over from dish and clothes washing, could be used to increase underground water recharge. They discovered when water has surfactants, or soap, in it, that increases the water’s absorption into soil, explained 11-year-old Kamyah Gaut. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Bakersfield students win grand prize for grey water project
Alamo River habitat project green lit
“A proposal to restore 60 acres of habitat along the Alamo River would supplement two ongoing projects in the area: a long-delayed wetlands initiative and the expansion of the Pete Mellinger trail. “I really think it’s going to be to spectacular be able to walk the whole length of the trail and see the (Alamo River’s) natural features,” said Holtville City Manager Nick Wells on Tuesday, May 11, of the potential for the area. The Holtville City Council voted to support a nonprofit’s proposed habitat restoration project for an estimated milelong segment of the river during its regular meeting on Monday, May 10. The support was just the preliminary step for the proposed initiative. … ” Read more from the Holtville Tribune here: Alamo River habitat project green lit
San Diego: Environmentalists win another battle over fate of Mission Bay Park’s northeast corner
“Environmentalists won a battle over recreational vehicle owners Wednesday regarding the future of Mission Bay Park’s northeast corner, which is slated to become a combination of marshland andadded park space. The ongoing battle over how the land will be divided among those two priorities took a potential turn toward marshland Wednesday, when opposition from the state Coastal Commission prompted a retreat by supporters of RV camping. … ” Continue reading at the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego: Environmentalists win another battle over fate of Mission Bay Park’s northeast corner
San Diego: Pond 20 wetland mitigation bank goes forward in approval process
“On April 13, the San Diego Port District board moved forward and approved the Pond 20 mitigation bank environmental impact report, an amendment to the Port Master Plan and the filing with the California Coastal Commission for certification. The approval includes a one-acre parcel for possible development. Imperial Beach Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm initiated the idea of the mitigation bank in 2015 and after many years, it is finally close to realization. … ” Read more from the Eagle & Times here: Pond 20 wetland mitigation bank goes forward in approval process
‘Our own survival is at stake’: Arizona is using up its groundwater, researchers warn
“In 1980, Arizona began regulating groundwater in the state’s largest cities and suburbs under a landmark law that called for most of these areas to achieve an overarching goal by 2025: a long-term balance between the amount of water pumped from the ground and the amount seeping back underground to replenish aquifers. Forty-one years later, the state’s latest data shows most of the areas where groundwater is managed remain far from achieving a long-term balance, a goal known as “safe yield.” Groundwater is still overpumped in most of the state’s “active-management areas,” or AMAs. And in many places, aquifer levels continue to decline. ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Arizona is depleting groundwater in many areas, researchers warn
Once more with feeling: Arizona drought panel recommends emergency declaration continue
“There’s just no camouflaging it. It’s dry out there. And hotter than what previously was considered “normal.” And the odds are almost even that it’s going to stay that way for a while. The Drought Interagency Coordinating Group, an advisory body to the Arizona Governor on drought issues, met Tuesday to weigh whether to recommend to Gov. Doug Ducey that Arizona continue with its long-standing drought-emergency declaration. There was high drama in the air… not. Occasionally over the years there has been some question over which way the panel would go. Not this time. … ” Continue reading at the Arizona Department of Water Resources here: Once more with feeling: Arizona drought panel recommends emergency declaration continue
Reconnecting the Colorado River to the sea
“The Colorado River is flowing again in its delta. This is a big deal for a river that has not flowed through its delta in most years since the 1960s, resulting in an ecosystem that is severely desiccated and devastated. Thanks to commitments from the United States and Mexico in the Colorado River binational agreement—Minute 323 – 35,000 acre-feet of water (11.4 billion gallons) dedicated to create environmental benefits will be delivered to the river from May 1 to October 11. The expectation is that this will create and support habitat for birds like the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yuma Ridgway’s Rail, and Vermilion Flycatcher, and give life to the many plants and animals in this ribbon oasis of green in the midst of the Sonoran Desert. … ,” Read more from Audubon here: Reconnecting the Colorado River to the Sea
Colorado conference to look at beavers for water conservation, drought mitigation
“Beavers, known for their work ethic, tenacity and sometimes destructive instincts, are making a comeback in the worlds of science and water as researchers look for natural ways to restore rivers and wetlands and improve the health of drought-stressed aquifers. “The concept of beavers and their ability to restore streams is not new,” said Sarah Marshall, an ecohydrologist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program who has been studying these semi-aquatic rodents for years. “Now we have a body of groundwater and sediment capture studies that have really resonated with folks who are managing water, especially with these nagging problems of drought and earlier snowmelt.” ... ” Read more from the Journal-Advocate here: Colorado conference to look at beavers for water conservation, drought mitigation
“Digital solutions are changing the way that clean, safe drinking water is delivered, infrastructure is maintained, and customers are served. As communities addressed COVID-19, digital investments that kept people connected and business operating were transformative. Forward-thinking utilities that proactively invested in smart solutions like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) were able to continue customer service and billing, while others have gained remote access to connected sensors transmitting data streams that were monitoring real-time conditions and alerting staff to potential vulnerabilities, despite quarantine mandates. Data is growing at its fastest rate ever. It is estimated that 2.65 quintillion bytes of data are created per day, empowering faster wireless networks and levels of data generation that had only before been imagined. This is just the beginning of the digital revolution. … ” Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here: Our water future is digital
The impacts of the pandemic remain for small water systems and customers in-debt
“In the U.S., the vital responsibility of continuing safe water supply during the pandemic is decentralized, spread among nearly 50,000 community water systems.More than 45,000 of these are small community water systems (SCWS), serving fewer than 10,000 people each. Together, SCWS provide water to more than 53 million people—18 percentof the national population—across urban and rural areas, on tribal reservations, in the midst of larger utilities in huge metropolises, and in growing communities. Before the pandemic, small systems already faced barriers accessing financing for maintenance and capital projects. The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges for SCWS and poorer communities faced with rapidly rising water bills, financial and cyber insecurity, and the rising costs of treating new contaminants in their water and wastewater. … ” Continue reading at the Pacific Institute here: The impacts of the pandemic remain for small water systems and customers in-debt
America is facing unprecedented utility debt. Here’s what might help.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged millions of families into poverty — and more than ever, Americans are having trouble paying their bills and meeting basic needs. A new report from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles measured the extent of the debt that has accumulated in unpaid bills for families in Los Angeles struggling to keep the lights, gas, and water on through the pandemic. The report, which used public data collected by the California State Water Resources Board about Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers in November 2020, found that one-quarter to one-third of households in Los Angeles have utility debt. … ” Read more from The Grist here: America is facing unprecedented utility debt. Here’s what might help.
Forever chemicals found in U.S. mothers’ breast milk
“Forever chemicals are everywhere, even in breast milk. A study published in Environmental Science and Technology Thursday tested the milk of 50 U.S. mothers and found that every sample was contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). What’s more, the chemicals were found at nearly 2,000 times the levels considered safe by environmental health groups, The Guardian reported. “The study shows that PFAS contamination of breast milk is likely universal in the U.S., and that these harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature’s perfect food,” study co-author and Toxic-Free Future science director Erika Schreder told The Guardian. … ” Read more from Eco Watch here: Forever chemicals found in U.S. mothers’ breast milk
What to expect for PFAS
“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are perhaps the most perplexing pollutants federal and state legislators and regulatory agencies have had to grapple with in decades. The U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan — confirmed on March 10 — is well prepared to tackle this issue with his experience dealing with notable PFAS pollution in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. As EPA’s new leadership settles in, expect federal PFAS regulatory initiatives to accelerate. For the water sector, it is critical to keep a close eye as developments progress. Monitoring requirements in municipal wastewater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are coming. … ” Read more from Water & Wastes Digest here: What to Expect For PFAS
“Thirteen talented student photographers creatively capured the importance of water in their homes and in the context of the coronavirus pandemic in Sweetwater Authority’s 2021 High School Photo Contest. Winners were selected from 50 students from South San Diego Bay high schools who submitted more than 100 entries in two categories: black and white, and color photography. In each photo, water plays a central part in favorite activities and quality of life. The water agency acknowleged it was an unusual year and thanked students for their contributions during an unusual school year. “This year’s contest was unique, in that we asked students to reflect on the meaning of water in their homes and in the context of the pandemic,” said Leslie Payne, Sweetwater Authority public affairs manager. “The entries we received and their accompanying essays reflected not only on the importance of water but also of the ability of art to uplift us all during difficult times.” … ” View pictures at the Water News Network here: Student photographers capture water
National water and climate update …
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.
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.