On the calendar today …
- MEETING: The California Water Commission meets beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include Water Storage Investment Program early funding request, preliminary findings and conclusions for the assessment of the state’s role in funding conveyance projects; and a briefing on the State Water Project, focusing on climate change and the Delta. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
- WEBINAR: FIRO: The Value of Long-term Streamflow Forecasts in Adaptive Reservoir Operation from 10am to 11am. The fifth and last in the Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) webinars, this webinar will focus on transboundary river basins that are experiencing extensive dam development that imposes challenges to future water management, especially for downstream nations. Click here to register.
- FREE EVENT: Preparing for the Next Wildfire Season from 11am to 12:15pm. After unprecedented losses last year, Californians are bracing for another difficult wildfire season. Lower-than-normal winter rainfall has created dry conditions across the state, putting many areas at risk. Join us for a conversation with insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara and other state leaders about the steps California is taking to prepare for wildfire season—this year and beyond. Click here to register.
- FREE WEBINAR: Water and Almonds: Market Insights on California’s Agricultural Power Duo from 12pm to 1:30pm. Join WestWater Research for a conversation with some of the state’s foremost almond and water supply experts as they discuss the influence of commodity and hydrologic conditions on pricing trends and market demand for California’s agricultural power duo – Almonds and Water. Click here to register.
- WEBINAR: Metropolitan Water District’s Regional Water Recycling Program from 12:30pm to 1:00pm. Presented by: John Bednarski, Chief Engineer/Group Manager, Engineering Services Group, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Click here to register.
- VIRTUAL TOUR: Grasslands Regional Park Vernal Pool from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. Yolo Basin Foundation is now offering virtual Vernal Pool Tours of the restored vernal pool habitats onsite of Grasslands Regional Park. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
San Francisco sues state board over proposed Tuolumne flows. MID and TID join in
“San Francisco has sued a state agency over proposed Tuolumne River flows that it claims would be “devastating” to Bay Area water users. The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts joined in the lawsuit as “real parties in interest,” due to similar concerns about their customers not getting enough water. The suit is one more twist in the decades-long battle over how much water to provide for salmon and other fish downstream from Don Pedro Reservoir. The lawsuit seeks to overturn a Jan. 19 action by the State Water Resources Control Board that could lead to much higher releases. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: San Francisco sues state board over proposed Tuolumne flows. MID and TID join in
AEM surveys will assist groundwater management in California
“Groundwater is a critical source of water for both California farms and communities. The State of California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act which requires local agencies in high- and medium-priority groundwater basins to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans. To assist local agencies as they develop these plans, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will conduct airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. The project will generate coarse-grid subsurface maps that provide framework information about large-scale aquifer structure. The AEM data supports the development or refinement of hydrogeologic conceptual models as well as helps to identify possible areas for recharging groundwater. “Statewide AEM surveys will further DWR’s technical assistance services supporting local communities as they work to manage their groundwater supply to ensure its reliability,” said Steven Springhorn, acting DWR deputy director of statewide groundwater management. … ” Read more from Environmental Expert here: AEM surveys will assist groundwater management in California
MORE INFO: Airborne Electromagnetic (AEM) Surveys, webpage at DWR
Late season storm to bring snow to the Sierra
“Travelers, tourists and locals should plan ahead for snow moving in later this week. Starting Thursday, to at least Friday, significant snow is coming that may impact outdoor plans in the Sierra. Snow levels will be low for May and drop to the 4,500-foot elevation level late Thursday to Friday morning. This should bring snow to Truckee, Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood, Pinecrest and Blue Canyon among other locations. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Late season storm to bring snow to the Sierra
State proposes to add funding for water goals
“As more of California sinks into extreme drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the Legislature to appropriate billions of dollars to address critical water needs. In the “May revise”—an update to the budget proposal he initially submitted to the Legislature in January—Newsom proposes to spend nearly $3.5 billion on water supply and resilience projects, with total investment reaching $5.1 billion over multiple years. The revised budget lays out a number of water-related priorities: providing access to safe drinking water; building water-supply reliability and improving flood protection; immediate drought support; enabling improved data collection and monitoring; and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, reconnecting wildlife corridors and removing barriers to fish passage. Notably missing from that list is agriculture, according to Danny Merkley, California Farm Bureau director of water resources. ... ” Read more from Ag Alert here: State proposes to add funding for water goals
Winter flooding of farm fields could ease drought impacts
“When droughts strike, people who rely on shallow domestic wells for their drinking, cooking and washing water are among the first to feel the pain. Aquifers have become depleted from decades of overuse. Drilling deeper is an option for farmers, but prohibitively expensive for low-income residents in disadvantaged communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley. A University of California scientist believes managed aquifer recharge on agricultural lands close to populations with parched wells is a hopeful solution. Helen Dahlke, professor in integrated hydrologic sciences at UC Davis, has been evaluating scenarios for flooding agricultural land when excess water is available during the winter in order to recharge groundwater. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Winter flooding of farm fields could ease drought impacts
FOR MORE INFORMATION: New Modeling Framework Guides Managed Aquifer Recharge Under Climate Change, Research brief from Water in the West
Testing and treating microplastics in water face challenges
“The deadline is looming: According to a state law adopted in 2018, the California State Water Resources Control Board has until July 1 to adopt a standard methodology for testing drinking water for the presence of microplastics; adopt requirements for four years of testing and reporting of microplastics in drinking water, including public disclosure of the results; and accredit qualified laboratories in California to analyze microplastics. The problem? Testing for microplastics — which are defined as any plastic material less than 5 mm in length — is not quite ready for prime time. It is not yet precisely clear what effects microplastics have on animals, including humans, and at what levels they may be harmful. And it’s not entirely clear how microplastics get into our bodies — through water, air, food, or other sources, if not all of the above. ... ” Read more from the Civil Engineering Source here: Testing and treating microplastics in water face challenges
Central Valley water districts get OK to sue Dow, Shell over groundwater pollution
“A state appeals court has upheld California’s cleanup standards for a cancer-causing chemical that was added to pesticides and has polluted groundwater in the Central Valley, rejecting challenges by manufacturers that may have to pay the costs. The State Water Resources Control Board’s 2017 mandate for removing nearly all TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) from drinking water was contested by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, representing Dow Chemical Co. and Shell Oil, which included the chemical in worm-killing fumigants widely used by farmers through the 1980s. They argued that the board’s criteria were not “economically feasible,” as required by state law. ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Central Valley water districts get OK to sue Dow, Shell over groundwater pollution
Video: This California winery isn’t watering their vines, see how they do it
“California Governor Gavin Newsom recently declared a drought emergency for 41 of the state’s 58 counties. That also includes the Napa Valley region, which produces the country’s most valuable wine. CGTN’s Mark Niu visits the president of Honig Vineyard & Winery to see how grape growers are dealing with the drought.” View video from CGTN here: Video: This California winery isn’t watering their vines, see how they do it
USDA approves drought counties for emergency loans
“In a two-day burst, the USDA designated 372 counties, roughly one of every seven counties in the country, from Texas and Kansas to California and Hawaii, as natural disaster areas due to persistent drought. At the same time, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded California’s drought emergency to 41 counties, including parts of the agricultural Central Valley. More than 46% of the country, mostly in the West, is in drought – an unusually large portion, according to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey. “There have been only four times in the history of the Drought Monitor that we have seen more than 40% U.S. drought coverage as we come into early May,” Rippey told Iowa radio station KMA. … ” Read more from Successful Farming here: USDA approves drought counties for emergency loans
Study: Wildfires threaten river networks in the western U.S.
“A new study conducted by researchers from The University of New Mexico has found that wildfires — which have been increasing in frequency, severity and extent around the globe — are one of the largest drivers of aquatic impairment in the western United States, threatening our water supply. … The study found that about 6 percent of the length of all the streams and rivers in the western U.S. were directly affected by wildfire disturbances (defined by being located in burned areas) between 1984 and 2014, and that every year there are about 342 new kilometers of them directly affected. When the researchers accounted for the longitudinal propagation of water quality disturbances within and across watersheds, it was estimated that wildfires affect about 11 percent of the total stream and river length. … ” Read more from the University of New Mexico here: Study: Wildfires threaten river networks in the western U.S.
California wildfires triple amid drought after record 2020 fire season
“The flames that burned more than 1,300 acres in Los Angeles County over the weekend served as a reminder to California residents that wildfires have become a constant threat rather than a concern relegated to the officially recognized wildfire season of the late summer and fall months. By early May, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported at least 9,392 acres burned since the start of the year—more than three times the five-year average Cal Fire reported over the same time period in previous years. The number of acres burned so far this year exceeded 13,900 when combined with the number of burned acres reported by Cal Fire’s partner agencies. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: California wildfires triple amid drought after record 2020 fire season
Analysis: California leads nation in tree loss, but worse may lie ahead
“A new analysis shows that California leads the nation in loss of tree cover in 2020 thanks to wildfires, drought, and disease. But that’s not all. According to Global Forest Watch data, California lost the most tree canopy of any state in the U.S. — not just over the last year, but over the last five and 10 years, as well. Ancient redwoods, sequoias, and Joshua trees were lost in wildfires, drought and disease. … ” Read more from the Salinas Californian here: Analysis: California leads nation in tree loss, but worse may lie ahead
In California drought news today …
Irrigation districts look to transfers as water dwindles
“With very little water to spare this drought year, water districts struggling with limited or no supplies look to their counterparts in other districts to negotiate water transfers to add whatever flexibility they can. Districts on the west side of the Central Valley, both north and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, face the prospect of receiving no water from the Central Valley Project. “Water transfers are absolutely critical to preventing a disaster on the west side of the Sacramento Valley this year. Other than groundwater, it’s the only water many of our folks have,” said Jeffrey Sutton, general manager of the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority; the TCCA, a joint powers authority, serves 17 water districts in Tehama, Glenn, Colusa and Yolo counties. “We’re probably purchasing somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 acre-feet of water collectively, just to prevent a disaster,” Sutton said. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Irrigation districts look to transfers as water dwindles
Lake Shasta is facing its worst season in 44 years. Here’s what that means for those who rely on it.
“Lake Shasta this summer is facing possibly its lowest level in at least 44 years, and that could be bad news for the people who rely on it for drinking and irrigation water, as well as endangered salmon that depend on it to survive.Dam operators have to go all the way back to 1977 to compare how bad this year’s water situation is shaping up to be, said Don Bader, area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the dam. “It’s dry. It’s second worst, so far. It’s probably going to exceed ’77. But the kicker is in ’77 we didn’t have all the requirements that we have now,” Bader said. ... ” Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Lake Shasta is facing its worst season in 44 years. Here’s what that means for those who rely on it.
Video: See how drought is spreading across California and the West
“The pandemic is winding down. Get ready for California’s next crisis: A new drought. California is in the middle of its driest two-year period since 1976-77. The state’s newly emerging drought, which is already increasing the risk of wildfires this summer and beginning to strain water supplies, is part of a wider drought unfolding across the American West. After three wet or normal years in 2017, 2018 and 2019, conditions became dry last winter and worsened this winter. Large storms that the state counts to sweep across the Pacific Ocean and fill reservoirs didn’t arrive. They were mostly diverted north to Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon by high-pressure ridges. The result has been dramatic. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Video: See how drought is spreading across California and the West
In regional water news and commentary today …
Klamath Tribes want beavers back in the Beaver State
“C’waam and Koptu were once a staple meal for the Klamath Tribes. They’re a rarity now — members are allowed to catch only two of the suckerfish a year. The ray-finned C’waam, with its long snout and the smaller white-bellied Koptu, with a large head and lower notched lip, are only found in the Upper Klamath basin. Once fished in their thousands as one of the tribes’ important First Foods, the fish populations were decimated when the health of their spawning grounds declined from a spate of dam building in the Upper Klamath Lake during the 1900s. The tribal government has tried various tactics to restore fish populations: raising young fish to older ages before releasing them in the lakes, monitoring water quality, working with landowners to restore riparian habitat, and bringing a lawsuit, which was eventually dropped, against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to save the C’waam and Koptu. Now the tribes are turning to an unlikely hopeful savior: the beaver. ... ” Continue reading at High Country News here: Klamath Tribes want beavers back in the Beaver State
Zero water allocation pushes Klamath Project farms to the brink
“What was already forecasted to be a historically bleak water year in the Klamath Project has quickly become a living nightmare for farms and ranches fighting for survival in the drought-stricken basin. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation shut down the Project’s A Canal for the entire irrigation season May 12 in response to worsening conditions — allotting zero surface water from Upper Klamath Lake for thirsty crops and livestock. It is the first time in more than a century the A Canal will deliver no water. Meanwhile, irrigators are left to wonder how they will pay the bills as fields turn to dust. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here: Zero water allocation pushes Klamath Project farms to the brink
Reps. LaMalfa, Bentz announce Klamath Basin disaster aid proposal
“Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) announced a $57 million dollar aid and relief proposal to assist the Klamath Basin. Last week, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) updated their water projections and declared that no water will be delivered to farmers, towns, or wildlife in the Klamath Project. LaMalfa and Bentz have called for immediate action from the Biden Administration to bring additional aid to the area. … LaMalfa said: “Last week’s decision by the Bureau of Reclamation to eliminate water deliveries to farmers and wildlife is absolutely crippling to the Klamath Basin. The federal government has failed to properly manage the water in the Basin, and Congress must take action to help prevent further damage to the area’s residents, crops, and wildlife. Congressman Bentz and I are committed to offer solutions and will work with any partner to help deliver needed aid and get the region through this crisis.” ... ” Read the full statement at Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s website here: Reps. LaMalfa, Bentz announce Klamath Basin disaster aid proposal
CalTrout: The importance of partnerships
“The Shasta-Klamath Region organizes work around protecting CA source water and volcanic aquifers, working with family farms to improve water management, and protecting legacy fly-fishing waters like the McCloud River, Hat Creek, and Fall River. In 2021, we are heavily invested in conservation projects in the Shasta and Scott Watersheds because these key Klamath tributaries are critical for recovering salmon populations in the Mid-Klamath Basin after dam removal. Regionally, Caltrout partners with state-federal agencies, conservation NGOs like The Nature Conservancy and Scott River Watershed Council, and key tribes like the Pit River Tribe, Karuk, and Yurok. Caltrout also builds long-term relationships with private landowners like the Hart and Cardoza families, where we partner to find on-farm water solutions that work for both fish and agriculture. … ” Read more from Cal Trout here: CalTrout: The importance of partnerships
After years of protests, Crystal Geyser abandons bottling facility plans in Siskiyou County
“Fierce and persistent local opposition was at least one factor in the company’s decision to back away from plans to bottle and sell Mt. Shasta’s famously clean water. The announcement came during a Mt. Shasta city council meeting last week. Crystal Geyser bought the nearly 145,000 square foot bottling plant in 2013. Since then, it’s been the target of protests by local activists and members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Opponents say if it ever started operating, it would draw down too much water, and cause air and noise pollution. “It’s what we’ve been working for diligently for seven-and-a-half years, and we’re happy to see them go,” says Raven Stevens with the group W.A.T.E.R. or We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review. … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: After years of protests, Crystal Geyser abandons bottling facility plans in Siskiyou County
Commentary: Tehama County: Ag well moratorium needed
Robin Huffman of Corning writes, “On Mother’s Day I wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors expressing my concern about groundwater management, especially in the west side of Tehama County where I live. In the last two years I have seen a transformation of many large parcels in the west side go from traditional range lands to huge irrigated orchards. New agricultural wells are popping up all around us. The right to farm does not come with a right to deplete groundwater unsustainably. According to the expert for the Groundwater Sustainability Plans — in Tehama County there are four subbasins, each requiring a GSP — there are approximately 6,000 acres of land, mainly rangeland around seasonal creeks, that may yet be converted to crops. Tehama County is developing GSPs because our groundwater has been depleting in an unsustainable way for at least a decade. ... ” Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News here: Commentary: Tehama County: Ag well moratorium needed
Yuba Water Agency provides $2 million loan for Goldfields flood risk reduction work
“Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors yesterday approved a $2 million loan to the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority to complete the construction of a new levee near the Yuba Goldfields that will bring a 200-year level of urban flood protection to southern Yuba County. The 2.5-mile-long levee, which will be fully complete in June, runs parallel to Hammonton-Smartsville Road and extends to high ground near Beale Air Force Base. The 200-year level of protection means there is a 1-in-200 chance in any given year that a storm could come along that is bigger than the levee is designed to handle. … ” Read more from Yuba Net here: Yuba Water Agency provides $2 million loan for Goldfields flood risk reduction work
Here’s what’s going on with Folsom Lake’s low levels
“Folsom Lake isn’t the biggest reservoir in the state. In fact, there are nine others that hold more water. But in a dry year like this one Folsom Lake becomes the poster child of drought. Many wonder why the lake is so low. After all, we haven’t seen the lake this low at this time of year since the 1970s. The common complaint we hear is that there’s too much water going out. But actually this year, there’s not enough water coming in. … ” Read more from KCRA here: Here’s what’s going on with Folsom Lake’s low levels
State Sen. Mike McGuire to host drought town hall meeting on Thursday
“State Sen. Mike McGuire is hosting a virtual town hall Thursday to keep constituents in the loop about government plans to combat the drought emergency. The Healdsburg lawmaker said in a Facebook post that the online event will cover what steps officials are taking in the coming weeks to respond to the emergency. A panel of local experts and leaders will join McGuire for the 6:30 p.m. event. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: State Sen. Mike McGuire to host drought town hall meeting on Thursday
Napa County’s 2020 wine grape production only half of previous year’s
“The 2020 crop report found that the value of agricultural production in Napa County was only about half the previous year’s total, officials said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Agricultural Commissioner Tracy Cleveland said Tuesday that the overall value of wine grape crops, a product that overshadows other agricultural production in Napa County, dropped from $937 million in 2019 to $461 million in 2020. The overall production of the crop also decreased by 60,000 tons compared to the year before. … ” Read more from Channel 5 here: Napa County’s 2020 wine grape production only half of previous year’s
Family preserves 758-acre ranch just east of Healdsburg, blocks future development
“Christine Foppiano-Haun stood in a meadow of wild oat and foxtails on her ranch high above the Russian River, pointing at a ridgeline to the northwest. “You can see where there’s a housing development creeping over the hill,” she said. Those houses, in northern Healdsburg, were only two miles distant. But the remoteness of the ranch, the birdsong and rustle of a recent afternoon breeze in the boughs of giant oaks, made the city seem much farther away. And Haun hopes to keep it that way. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Family preserves 758-acre ranch just east of Healdsburg, blocks future development
Santa Rosa officials make 20 percent cut in water usage voluntary for now
“In the grip of an extreme drought, the Santa Rosa City Council has asked residents to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. The request comes weeks after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors declared the region under a drought emergency. In doing so, county officials pointed out that Lake Mendocino was currently 43% of target capacity and Lake Sonoma was at 62% — both the lowest they have ever been this early in the year. The low levels came as the area has endured dry conditions the past two years. … ” Read more from CBS Bay Area here: Santa Rosa officials make 20 percent cut in water usage voluntary for now
Pepperwood Preserve officials consider drought’s effect on fire risk
Cole Hersey writes, “When I arrived, in mid April, at Pepperwood Preserve just northeast of Santa Rosa, I saw countless California poppies lining the edges of a long meadow. Michael Gillogly, the preserve manager since 2005 and a worker at the preserve since 1994, greeted me and asked if I wanted to take a closer look. As we walked into the field of short, green grasses, Gillogly explained that nine native species of grass grow here. But, because of the extremely low amount of rain, the plants were not as lively as they usually are during spring. “Things are usually a lot taller and more robust [right now]. In April, for it to be dry,” Gillogly said as he kicked a clump of grass, revealing soil already dry to the point of cracking, “that’s almost unheard of.” ... ” Read more from the North Bay Boehmian here: Pepperwood Preserve officials consider drought’s effect on fire risk
Marin County declares drought emergency; ‘worst we have seen in over 140 years’
“The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to declare a local drought emergency amid what the board’s president called the worst drought conditions in more than 140 years. The declaration by the board acknowledges an imminent threat of disaster from the extent and impacts of the drought which is already affecting dairies and ranchers in West Marin. It also makes Marin County eligible for California Disaster Assistance and other forms of state funding and resources. … ” Read more from CBS Bay Area here: Marin County declares drought emergency; ‘worst we have seen in over 140 years’
Monterey Peninsula water officials encourage increased conservation
“While Monterey Peninsula water officials say the area is not technically in a drought, they are still moving forward with plans to ask the public to start conserving water now to stave off rationing. During a meeting of the board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Monday, General Manager David Stoldt said while the district is not using the word “drought” he understands that others are. For the district to call the weather conditions a drought there needs to be at least two consecutive years of dry or critically dry rain seasons, Stoldt said. The district is always in stage 1 rationing, which is voluntary water conservation. … ” Read more from the Monterey County Herald here: Monterey Peninsula water officials encourage increased conservation
Tooleville water board can’t tap answers with drought looming
“Maria Olivera is worried about the drought. As the secretary of the Tooleville Nonprofit Mutual Water Association, Olivera usually hosts the group’s meetings in her backyard, where board members govern over the unincorporated area of under 400 people’s water system, rendered non-potable from pesticides and contaminants. Olivera and the board are in a worrisome situation after not meeting for over a year while hunkered down due to COVID-19, with their water still undrinkable and a historic drought at their doorstep. “I’m afraid to run out of water,” Olivera said, who’s lived in the small, rural town east of Exeter since 1974, recalling years past seeing her water meter at just about zero. “This is really going to be a bad year again.” … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Tooleville water board can’t tap answers with drought looming
Paso Robles: Water district funding 30 new groundwater level monitoring wells
“The Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District (EPCWD) has announced that it has begun creating a groundwater level monitoring network. Initially, the district has begun work to add 30 new groundwater level monitoring sites, using existing wells, throughout the 37,000-acre district. The campaign marks a significant effort in the basin to move toward groundwater sustainability in the Paso Robles Subbasin, according to the EPCWD. ... ” Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here: Paso Robles: Water district funding 30 new groundwater level monitoring wells
Santa Maria residents invited to public hearing regarding annual water report
“Twitchell Management Authority is inviting Santa Maria residents to a public hearing on June 3 to provide feedback on an annual water conservation report. The hearing regarding the 2020 Annual Report of Hydrogeologic Conditions, Water Requirements, Supplies and Disposition for the Santa Maria Valley Management Area will be held at 10 a.m. via Zoom. The report presents annual data regarding groundwater conditions as well as water demand and supply in the Santa Maria Valley Management Area. … ” Read more from the Santa Maria Times here: Santa Maria residents invited to public hearing regarding annual water report
San Diego County mitigation efforts aid in California drought battle
“As the drought deepens throughout California, San Diego County has postured itself to make it through dry spell conditions as a result of planning and mitigation efforts. After experiencing a severe drought in the early 1990s, San Diego County officials went to work on diversifying its water supply. At the time, the region was hit with 50 percent supply reductions because it relied almost entirely on a single source. Since then, however, the San Diego County Water Authority has taken a varied approach. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: San Diego County mitigation efforts aid in California drought battle
Along the Colorado River …
Arizona Legislature proposes pumping Mississippi River water to help with drought
“Arizona’s drought has lawmakers looking into drawing water from the Mississippi River to be used here in the desert. “This kind of project would be looking 20 years down the road,” said Republican Rep. Tim Dunn from Yuma. Dunn sponsored House Concurrent Memorial 2004, which got bipartisan support in the Arizona legislature, and urges Congress to study a plan for a pipeline that would take water out of the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa. … ” Read more from Arizona Family here: Arizona Legislature proposes pumping Mississippi River water to help with drought
Lake Powell approaching historic low levels
“The Colorado River system — and the tens of millions of people relying on it in America’s southwest — faces a crisis of drought and consumption that is most easily seen by looking at the condition of its reservoirs. In southeastern Utah, Lake Powell is a shadow of itself. In the chart below, we looked at how much water the lake has held for the last five years. … ” Read more from Fox 13 here: Lake Powell approaching historic low levels
In national water news today …
PFAS Action Act would reinforce, accelerate current priorities
“The PFAS Action Act, introduced April 13 by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is a bipartisan bill that directs the Environmental Protection Agency to enact multiple significant regulations related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The bill largely mirrors legislation approved by the House in the last session of Congress in a 247-159 vote. Proponents are optimistic that the new Congress may be able to advance it into law this session. ... ” Read more from Bloomberg Law here: PFAS Action Act would reinforce, accelerate current priorities
In commentary today …
The future of water is recycled sewage, and we’ll all be drinking it
Amanda Little, professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University, writes, “More than a few dystopian fantasies depict a future in which humanity’s water supply derives from recycled human waste. As Frank Herbert imagined it in his 1965 novel “Dune” — now a much-anticipated fall 2021 blockbuster — the humans inhabiting a dessicated, rainless planet must wear “stillsuits”— a rubbery second skin that captures sweat, urine and feces and recycles them into drinking water. Today, elements of this vision are becoming a reality. While no climate models predict a future without rain on Earth, all show severe disturbances in hydrology: increasingly excessive rain and flooding in some regions, and intensifying drought in others. California has now become a leading example of the latter. Suffering through a prolonged dry period, utilities are increasingly relying on sewage to generate the state’s water needs. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Opinion here: The future of water is recycled sewage, and we’ll all be drinking it
Interstate water wars are heating up along with the climate
Robert Glennon writes, “Interstate water disputes are as American as apple pie. States often think a neighboring state is using more than its fair share from a river, lake or aquifer that crosses borders. Currently the U.S. Supreme Court has on its docket a case among Texas, New Mexico and Colorado and another between Mississippi and Tennessee. The court already has ruled this term on cases pitting Texas against New Mexico and Florida against Georgia. Climate stresses are raising the stakes. Rising temperatures require farmers to use more water to grow the same amount of crops. Prolonged and severe droughts decrease available supplies. Wildfires are burning hotter and lasting longer. Fires bake the soil, reducing forests’ ability to hold water, increasing evaporation from barren land and compromising water supplies. ... ” Read more from Green Biz here: Interstate water wars are heating up along with the climate
Forests need swift, decisive, strategic intervention
Excerpted from testimony before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands by Dave Daley, Butte County cattle rancher, chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands Committee and former California Cattlemen’s Association president: “My family has spent five generations living, working and caring for the lands, waters and wildlife that inhabit our area—while also ensuring our communities have access to high-quality protein. From the beginning, stewardship of the land and active engagement with the natural resources around me was a necessary and inevitable outcome of our cattle operation. On private land, resource stewardship is expected: You take care of the ground you own, not only because of pride in ownership, but also because your inputs determine your output. The same is true for public lands grazing allotments. Across the West, federal agencies manage more than 250 million acres for livestock grazing, with various levels authorized. These authorizations are based on robust environmental analysis and are adapted to ecosystem conditions. ... ” Continue reading at Ag Alert here: Forests need swift, decisive, strategic intervention
Today’s featured article …
ACWA CONFERENCE: The decade of water resilience: Developing solutions for our water future
Secretary of Natural Resouces Wade Crowfoot and DWR Director Karla Nemeth address the ACWA Spring Conference
Last week, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) held their spring conference virtually. Keynote speakers included Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Natural Resources, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources.
Secretary Crowfoot was the Friday afternoon keynote speaker. In his speech, he discussed the Newsom Administration’s priorities, calling this the ‘decade of resilience’, and giving three principles for going forward. He also discussed the Voluntary Agreements. Director Karla Nemeth gave the Thursday morning keynote speech, touching on the Department’s response to drought, SGMA implementation, the Delta Conveyance Project, and the water use efficiency regulations.
Click here to read this article.
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
NOTICE: Submission of a Temporary Urgency Change Petition by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation
NOTICE: Delta Mercury Control Program Control Study Workshop (Sept 2020) Document Availability
WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Drinking Water~ Drought Response~ SAFER Program~ Residential Water~ Conveyance Funding~ Adaptation Strategy ~~