DAILY DIGEST, 6/2: Irrigators say they plan to force open Klamath headgates and release water; Fishing groups present alternative plan to save salmon; The numbers California’s drought manager wants you to see; Search for groundwater gets high-tech boost; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • WORKSHOP: Protocols for Water and Environmental Modeling from 9:30am to 11:30am.  California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum’s (CWEMF) Ad Hoc Modeling Protocols Committee requests your participation in a two-hour workshop to elicit your suggestions for revisions to the CWEMF document “Protocols for Water and Environmental Modeling.”  This document, originally published in 2000, has been completely revised at the direction of the Committee over 2020-2021.  Click here for the documentClick here for the workshop notice.
  • FREE WEBINAR: State Water Board Direct Potable Reuse Research Part 1: Pathogens from 10am to 12:30pm. This is the first event of a two-part webcast series that will showcase the research outcomes of WRF’s California State Water Board (SWB) Grant. The project team will share findings and demonstrate the risk assessment/plant performance tool (called DPRisk) which will allow utilities to assess risk based on treatment selection and performance. Attendees will also hear from the SWB Division of Drinking Water on the importance of this research and how it is contributing to their draft regulations.  Click here to register.
  • WORKSHOP: California State Adaptation Strategy 2021 Update Regional Workshops- Northern Sierra Nevada from 4pm to 6pm.  The Newsom Administration is updating California’s State Adaptation Strategy (Strategy) this year.  The Administration’s goal is to deliver a 2021 Strategy that outlines the state’s key climate resilience priorities, includes specific and measurable steps, and serves as a framework for action across sectors and regions in California.  The Administration wants your help to ensure the state’s Strategy reflects and reinforces regional priorities; draws connections among our collective efforts; and serves as a useful resource for all Californians. Please join us virtually for  a regional workshop of your choice. Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Irrigators say they plan to force open Klamath headgates and release water

Rising tensions in the Klamath Basin could come to a boil soon, as two Klamath Project farmers plan to breach the fenced headgates of the federal irrigation project’s main canal and try to release water, likely triggering a standoff with the federal government.  Farmers Grant Knoll and Dan Nielsen bought property next to the headgates in April for $30,000 and have set up camp on the site. …  Knoll and Nielsen say they plan to enter the fenced area surrounding the headgates, which is topped with barbed wire and posted with keep-out signs threatening criminal charges.  It wouldn’t be the first time for either of them. … ”  Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Irrigators say they plan to force open Klamath headgates and release water 

Karuk Tribe declares emergency in Klamath Basin amid catastrophic fish kill

The Karuk Tribe declared a state of emergency in the Klamath Basin on Tuesday in response to historic drought conditions and a devastating fish kill “that could result in losing an entire generation of salmon.”  “Our monitoring traps are full of dead juvenile salmon,” Toz Soto, fisheries manager for the Karuk Tribe, said in a statement. “The few fish still alive are infected with disease. It’s a catastrophic blow to the fishery and Karuk culture.” … To date, as many as 97% of sampled juvenile salmon captured between the Shasta River and Scott River stretch of the Klamath have tested positive for the disease. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Karuk Tribe declares emergency in Klamath Basin amid catastrophic fish kill

Faced with massive juvenile salmon infection and year after year of drought, Karuk tribe declares a climate change state of emergency

In response to record low precipitation in the Klamath Basin, the Karuk Tribe has declared a state of emergency. This emergency declaration acknowledges the reality that climate change is upon us, and the dangers that it poses to rivers, forests, wildlife and communities.  Hydrological conditions in the Klamath River Basin are the worst in modern history, although in recent years this has become an all-too-common refrain. Ecosystems and economies all along the California/Oregon border are strained to their breaking point. A massive fish kill is currently underway in the Klamath River that could result in losing an entire generation of salmon. ... ”  Continue reading at the Lost Coast Outpost here: Faced with massive juvenile salmon infection and year after year of drought, Karuk tribe declares a climate change state of emergency

5 things to know about the Klamath water crisis

Tensions have been building in Klamath Falls in recent weeks over a drought that is devastating farmland, fish deemed sacred to native tribes, and wildlife. The Klamath Basin, along the Oregon-California border, has a complex history. Drought and fights over water aren’t new. Here are five things to know about the unfolding Klamath water crisis … ”  Read more at Jefferson Public Radio here: 5 things to know about the Klamath water crisis

CSPA, C-WIN, and Save California submit emergency water plan to State Water Board to save California salmon from extinction

Keswick Dam, Photo by Bureau of Reclamation

The Sacramento River’s iconic salmon runs are in imminent danger of extinction due to drought and irrational water policy. To avert a catastrophe, fisheries advocates have submitted an emergency water management plan to the State Water Resources Control Board. Drafted by the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), the California Water Impact Network (CWIN), and Save California Salmon(SCS), the plan will significantly reduce salmonkilling high temperature water releases from Shasta and Trinity reservoirs. It will also protect carryover storage in the event of another dry year. The crisis, building for some time, has accelerated dramatically in recent days. On May 21, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that endangered winterrun Chinook salmon were dying below Keswick Dam near Redding from releases of warm water taken from the top of Shasta Reservoir. … ”

Click here to full press release and two-page fact sheet.

SEE ALSO: State Water Board must adopt emergency water plan to save California salmon, from Dan Bacher at the Daily Kos

Search for groundwater gets high-tech boost

Groundwater is one of the hottest ticket items in California’s water world these days.  But much about it is a mystery. Where is it? How does it move? Which are the best spots to percolate water into the ground for storage?  At least two technologies hope to answer some of those questions: airborne electromagnetic surveys and interferometric synthetic aperture radar. That’s AEM and InSAR for short.  AEM uses large hoop frames dangled from helicopters that bombard the earth with radio waves and measure the responses to determine what materials are underground down to 1,000 feet deep. InSAR uses satellite radar waves to measure how much the earth’s surface has sunk or bulged upward to determine how water moves underground. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Search for groundwater gets high-tech boost

New strategy applies local knowledge and science to salmon and steelhead recovery in Northern California

Salmon and steelhead in Northern California have been in trouble for more than 100 years, primarily because of habitat damage and loss resulting from human activities. Climate change has only worsened these habitat problems. For the last 50 years, communities have worked to restore this habitat in hopes of reversing the fortunes of these fish. Scientists and local restoration communities are seeking new ways to maximize the benefits of habitat restoration so that rivers and streams can support healthy fish populations again.  One new approach to maximize these benefits is the Salmonid Habitat Restoration Priorities (SHaRP) process. The process creates a strategy to rebuild salmon and steelhead within a watershed by focusing on restoring its healthier, less impaired areas. Scientists expect that improved fish survival and reproduction in these restored areas will enable faster recolonization of the more degraded areas. ... ”  Read more from NOAA here: New strategy applies local knowledge and science to salmon and steelhead recovery in Northern California

Laying the groundwork for long-term restoration: A look back at the Recovery Act—Part 3

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NOAA funded 125 habitat restoration projects in coastal areas throughout the country. Now, more than a decade later, we’re taking a look back at some of the projects we funded. … In California, one of the challenges facing endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout is low levels of water in coastal streams. In this Mediterranean climate, streams often get plenty of water during rainy winter months, but water levels can decrease dramatically or even dry up during the summer months. This lack of water threatens the juvenile salmon and steelhead that rely on these streams throughout the summer.  NOAA partnered with Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) to provide habitat for Central California Coast coho salmon and steelhead trout in Salmon Creek in coastal Sonoma County, California. … ”  Continue reading at NOAA here: Laying the groundwork for long-term restoration: A look back at the Recovery Act—Part 3

Salmon fishery plan change proposed to protect endangered orcas

Federal fisheries managers proposed an amendment to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan today to ensure critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales don’t starve. The proposal would limit non-tribal commercial Chinook salmon fishing in years where the estimated population falls below 966,000 salmon so that the orcas can still get enough to eat.  The amendment responds to a 2019 lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Fish Conservancy and a resulting federal biological opinion to revise the fishing plan to protect orcas. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council proposed “Amendment 21” to the National Marine Fisheries Service for its review and approval. … The amendment proposes new management measures when the Chinook salmon population drops below 966,000. Those include a limit on the annual fishing quota in non-tribal commercial fisheries north of Cape Falcon, Oregon. … ”  Read the full press release at the Center for Biological Diversity here: Salmon fishery plan change proposed to protect endangered orcas

Senate passes Senator Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bill

The state Senate today approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help hundreds of thousands of Californians who have fallen behind on their water bills and are at risk of being disconnected from water service.  “Rising water rates coupled with pandemic job losses threaten to cut off many California families from an essential service – water,” Sen. Dodd said. “No one should be denied access, regardless of their income level or economic status. Today’s vote is a step toward ensuring low-income customers get the help they need to keep the tap open. I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting this measure.” … ”  Continue reading from Senator Dodd’s office here: Senate passes Senator Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bill

California Senate passes second version of SB 559

Capacity on the Friant-Kern Canal could get a little more funding after Senate Bill 559 passed the California State Senate last week.  The bill was spearheaded by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) and could give $308 million to the Friant Water Authority. SB 559 has been handed over to the State Assembly for them to pick up the bill. And according to Hurtado, relief could not come soon enough with a drought bearing down on the world’s breadbasket.  “As California faces yet another drought limited water is forcing many farmers to make the hard decision to not plant crops this year,” Hurtado said. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: California Senate passes second version of SB 559

5 things you didn’t know about the St. Francis Dam failure

The remains of the St. Francis Dam. Photo courtesy Water Archives.

Since 1966, ASCE has designated over 280 projects as National or International Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks as part of its Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program. Some of these landmarks – the Brooklyn Bridge, Eiffel Tower, and Hoover Dam – are well-known, while others are less prominent.  The St. Francis Dam failure, which caused the deaths of at least 432 people, is not one of these designated projects but can be considered as instructive as many landmarks. Engineers frequently learn more from failures than from successes. So, with that concept in mind, here are five things you didn’t know about the St. Francis Dam Failure … ”  Continue reading at the Civil Engineering Source here: 5 things you didn’t know about the St. Francis Dam failure

In drought and wildfire news …

The numbers California’s drought manager wants you to see

With California’s rivers running low after two consecutive dry winters, state officials and local water agencies have pumped out a steady stream of drought declarations and calls for water conservation in recent weeks.  It’s clear the Golden State is in a drought and it could escalate to a crisis, but, you may be wondering, just how bad is it?  For an answer to that question, California’s drought manager Jeanine Jones (yes, the state has a drought czar) pointed to a series of bar graphs (see above) that she asked her web team at the Department of Water Resources to create earlier this year and post online. … ”  Read more at SF Gate here:  The numbers California’s drought manager wants you to see

California’s snowpack is 0% of June 1 average. Here’s what that means.

It’s another sign that California is in a drought with a historic crisis looming.  The state’s snowpack, a crucial source of water for the state, is at 0% of average for June 1 after a historically dry winter, according to the California Department of Water Resources.  This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any snow across the Sierra Nevada range. Rather it indicates that snow has entirely melted at the majority of the electronic survey stations used to monitor snow water equivalent. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: California’s snowpack is 0% of June 1 average. Here’s what that means.

Why didn’t the government build a giant reservoir to collect water? | Why Guy

Today’s Why Guy question comes from Adam Lwin on Facebook, who asks “why didn’t the government build a giant reservoir to collect water when it was good? Now we are in a drought again? Billions on high speed rail that’s not going anywhere.”  Adam, short answer, all the best dam sites in the state are taken. They were all built in the 1940s, 50s and 60s when we needed dams to prevent catastrophic local flooding. … ”  Read more from ABC 10 here: Why didn’t the government build a giant reservoir to collect water? | Why Guy

Senator’s online forum highlights California’s ongoing water crisis

Godzilla made a cameo appearance at California State Sen. Josh Becker’s forum on water resiliency last week. In a slide presented by panelist Felicia Marcus, the bipedal lizard lurked behind San Francisco skyscrapers swathed in the orange haze of Sept. 9, 2020, the day Bay Area wildfire smoke obscured the sun.  To Marcus, the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University, the monster represents both the abrupt “wake-up call” of the 2011-2014 California drought as well as the uncertainty of what the current fire season has in store for residents.  “The only question is which Godzilla of wildfires are we going to get?” she asked. “How big is it going to be?” ... ”  Read more from the Los Altos Courier here: Senator’s online forum highlights California’s ongoing water crisis

Farmers facing California drought impacts feel strain of low water supply

California farmers and ranchers are preparing for a difficult growing season as the state faces drought conditions.  The California Board of Food and Agriculture met on Tuesday to discuss ways to help farmers and ranchers, as well as to discuss the proposed $5.1 billion included in the governor’s budget to address drought challenges and water infrastructure.  After back-to-back dry years, the state’s water supply is strained, forcing farmers like Joe Martinez in Solano County to figure out ways to get the most out of their water. … ”  Read more from KCRA here: Farmers facing California drought impacts feel strain of low water supply

Livestock owners face tough choices amid water shortages

Whether they milk cows or raise livestock for meat, ongoing drought conditions in the state have forced ranchers and dairy farmers to downsize their herds as they face soaring costs to sustain their animals.  In regions such as Marin and Sonoma counties, where farmers and ranchers rely heavily on pasture and natural rainfall to grow feed crops and provide drinking water for their livestock, the duration of the current dry spell has been particularly hard.  The U.S. Drought Monitor has classified large swaths of the region as under “exceptional drought”—the highest level of drought intensity—following two years of paltry precipitation. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Livestock owners face tough choices amid water shortages

Will drought fan the flames this fire season?

Will the current drought increase the chances of another bad fire season this year? We talked to Scott Stephens―a fire ecologist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network―about the risks, and what can be done.  Q: How might drought conditions affect this fire season? A: With very low moisture levels in vegetation in landscapes across the state, I have no doubt we’re looking at very challenging conditions. Dry vegetation makes fire behavior more extreme. We’ll probably get to typical fire season moisture levels six weeks early this year because of the drought. Scientists at San Jose State and elsewhere have found record-low fuel moisture levels in vegetation in the South Bay, and we’re just in May. The good news is that the drought has kept the grasses low, which should reduce flame length. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  Will drought fan the flames this fire season?

Developing a water management strategy for drought and fire season

The year 2020 was truly devastating for wildfires. From California to Australia, the world got a firsthand glimpse into how warmer, drier conditions are enabling harsher periods of drought – resulting in longer fire seasons and greater water scarcity.  Significantly, more than 10.3 million acres were burned in 2020, compared to 4.7 million acres the previous year. These numbers, coupled with warnings of rising temperatures and increased droughts, present a harsh reality for utilities. The pressure is on to make every drop of water count. Preventing water loss before it reaches the end-user, also known is non-revenue water loss, is more critical now than ever. ... ”  Read more from Water World here: Developing a water management strategy for drought and fire season

Editorial: Drought crisis requires more long-term plans

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin editorial board writes, “There’s little debate about the dire drought conditions that are enveloping the entire West, including California. The latest federal data shows that 100 percent of our state is unusually dry, with 94 percent of it facing severe drought conditions. Last year at this time, only 58 percent was unusually dry and 21 percent was facing severe levels of drought.  As usual, however, California’s policy makers are in a reactive mode – i.e., planning for the resulting shortages after the reservoirs have dried up. “It’s time for Californians to pull together once again to save water,” California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot said after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 counties. ... ”  Continue reading at the Daily Bulletin here: Drought crisis requires more long-term plans

Judge rejects environmentalists attempt to halt Sierra wildfire prevention efforts

A U.S. District Court Judge in Fresno ruled against a trio of environmental advocate groups on Friday, denying a preliminary injunction seeking to stop the U.S. Forest Service from activating 31 different wildfire prevention operations in the Sierra and Sequoia National forests.  The suit, led by nonprofit Unite the Parks, argued that the activities to be undertaken by the U.S. Forest Service in the two forests violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act for its impact on the Pacific fisher, a species of weasel-like mammals known for residing along the Sierra Nevadas.  … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Judge rejects environmentalists attempt to halt Sierra wildfire prevention efforts

MORE INFOClick here for the court ruling via Courthouse News Service.

California wildfires have already burned 5x more land than last year — and drought conditions could make things worse

Wildfires have burned roughly 14,000 acres in California this year as a deepening drought grips the Southwest — more than five times the acreage charred by the same time last year.  It’s a worrying trend that has fire officials taking a proactive approach — from more funding to wildfire prevention to hiring additional crews — after the state saw its worst fire season ever in 2020.  Only five months into the year, a total of 2,340 fires have burned 14,340 acres, an increase of 1,284 fires and 11,793 acres over the same period in 2020, according to new data from Cal Fire. … ”  Read more from Channel 13 here: California wildfires have already burned 5x more land than last year — and drought conditions could make things worse

California drought could mean peak fire season months earlier than usual

The last 18 months have been among the driest and hottest on record in California, leading Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a drought emergency in over 40 counties. Moisture levels in fire fuels like grass and brush are below average across most of the state. Forests are filled with dead trees, which are prime for catching fire. And the meager snow pack has largely soaked into the ground instead of flowing into lakes and rivers.  Experts say this sets the stage for a dangerous wildfire season that could spark major fires weeks or months earlier than usual. … ”  Read more from KPBS here: California drought could mean peak fire season months earlier than usual

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Extremely dry conditions prompt restrictions for some water right holders on the Scott River

Withdroughtcausingcriticallylow flows and threatening the survival of coho salmon, an endangered species under both the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts, the State Water Resources Control Board today sent notices of water unavailability to102 water right holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging them to stop diverting amid worsening hydrologic conditions. The Scott River is an important Klamath River tributary for spawning and rearing coho and serves as critical habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. For a second consecutive year, dry conditions are endangering coho fry, or baby coho emerging from gravel, and juvenile coho that rely on robust seasonal flows to reach a suitable summer rearing habitat. Temporarily halting diversions also will leave more water instream and improve habitat and migratory conditions in the Scott River for salmon and steelheadboth currently protected as candidates under the state and federal endangered species actsand prevent current conditions from driving the endangered coho to extinction. ... ”  Continue reading at the State Water Board here:  Extremely dry conditions prompt restrictions for some water right holders on the Scott River

A Two-Basin Solution: Fishery restoration and water supply reliability – Part 2

As the process for licensing the Potter Valley Project (PVP) moves forward, a highly-controversial, present-day issue involves the possibility of demolishing Scott Dam. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the Two-Basin Solution Partnership’s proposed project plan to determine the impacts of removing the dam and funding for a study that will inform them as to how to proceed. … “Can we remove it and stabilize the sediments that have been building up behind it for 100 years and not impact the river below it? Will Cape Horn Dam be buried under 50-60 feet of sediment for an identified number of years?” asks Dr. Janet Pauli, Vice President of the Potter Valley Irrigation Board and Chairwoman of the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission. … ”  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: A Two-Basin Solution: Fishery restoration and water supply reliability – Part 2

Lake Tahoe: Large number of infected boats stopped

In May, Lake Tahoe watercraft inspectors have identified numerous boats carrying harmful aquatic invasive species and added them to the list of boats that had to be decontaminated before launching, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, which manage the inspection program.  As of press time, 14 of the more than 1,000 boats inspected were found to have aquatic invasive species in, on or attached to the boat, boat trailer, dock lines or on-board recreational equipment, according to a press release. … ”  Read more from Tahoe Weekly here: Lake Tahoe: Large number of infected boats stopped

Folsom Lake’s water levels surprise some Memorial Day Weekend visitors

The lack of Sierra snowmelt has significantly reduced the size of Folsom Lake. It’s 68 feet lower that it was last year, the equivalent of a five-story building.  Only one of the lake’s 13 boat ramps was open over Memorial Day Weekend.  Tomas Jimenez made the trek out, driving over two hours.  “This is my third or fourth time and it was never that low,” Jimenez, a Hayward resident. “No boats, no jet skis, no. It’s kind of weird.” … ”  Read more from Channel 7 here: Folsom Lake’s water levels surprise some Memorial Day Weekend visitors

Bay Area builds regional drought resilience

It feels like California’s 2011-2016 drought, our worst on record, had barely ended when the next one began. This is our second dry year in a row and, according to the state Department of Water Resources, the past winter tied for the third-driest on record. “Right now, California is dealing with a pretty severe and deepening drought,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. He calls this our second major drought within a decade and, if you’re like me, you’re wondering if we’ve done anything since the last one to help keep water flowing from our taps. The answer is yes.  Early during that record-breaking dry stretch, eight Bay Area water agencies that collectively serve six million people formed a partnership — called Bay Area Regional Reliability (BARR) — to bolster regional drought preparation. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here: Bay Area builds regional drought resilience

Letter to the Editor: Stop ‘Blatant’ Kings River Water Grab

Paul Dictos, CPA and Fresno County Assessor-Recorder, writes, “The Kings River is the primary surface water source to Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties – including numerous disadvantaged communities.  Semitropic Water Storage District is seeking to divert precious Kings River water toward Southern California.  If successful, this blatant water grab will devastate our agriculture industry … ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Letter to the Editor: Stop ‘Blatant’ Kings River Water Grab

RELATEDRULING: State Water Board issues ruling on Kings River FAS Hearing–Ruling on Motions to Exclude Evidence from Phase 1A Hearing

Tulare sees lowest ever groundwater level depth

Summer temps are already here, the governor has declared the state is in a drought and now water levels in parts of the county are hitting historic lows.  As early as April 27, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming the existence of a local emergency due to severe drought conditions in Tulare County. On May 10 Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Tulare County. Now, according to a staff report to the Tulare ‘s public utilities board, “The city’s water well levels support both declarations.” … ”  Continue reading from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here:  Tulare sees lowest ever water level depth

Biden proposes rest of money to fix flood-risky Whittier Narrows Dam

President Joe Biden has included more than $219 million in his budget proposal to make what the government has described as urgent repairs on the Whittier Narrows Dam, enough money to complete the project.  The appropriation still must be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Last year’s budget included about $192.5 million for the project. At that point, the total cost was expected to come in at about $385 million.  The new figures released in the budget appear to add some $26 million to the bottom line. Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lead agency overseeing the upgrades, could not be reached for comment. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: Biden proposes rest of money to fix flood-risky Whittier Narrows Dam

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Along the Colorado River …

Mega-dairies, disappearing wells, and Arizona’s deepening water crisis

The Sunizona community, in the south-western US state of Arizona, is just a speck on the map. A few hundred homes dot the landscape along dirt roads and for a few miles along a state highway that leads to the foot of the Chiricahua mountains near the New Mexico border.  Cynthia Beltran moved to Sunizona with her seven-year-old son last autumn even though the area lacks functional drinking water wells, because it was all she could afford. She cannot afford the $15,000 (£10,000) cost of deepening her well, which dried up last year, and had been paying for a local firm to deliver water in a tanker. But at $100 a week it became too expensive, so now she will be relying on a friend to help her fetch water from her mother’s well.  “I have no place to go. I don’t have a job. I can’t afford to pay rent,” she says. … ”  Read more from the Guardian here:  Mega-dairies, disappearing wells, and Arizona’s deepening water crisis

Rapid growth in Arizona’s suburbs bets against an uncertain water supply

” … Even though the effects of climate change are intensifying throughout the Southwest, people keep moving here — to the hottest, driest part of the country. Unlike wildfires or hurricanes, a diminishing water supply is a slow-moving, mostly invisible crisis. But if current growth rates continue, in roughly a decade it will be impossible to ignore. That raises questions about whether policies and attitudes that encourage maximum growth are sustainable. Many of the area’s rapidly expanding suburbs lack access to the water necessary for all the growth they are planning, said Mark Holmes, Goodyear’s water resources manager from 2012 to 2018. Unless they can develop significant new water supplies, he said, “the alternative is something they don’t want to think about.” … ”  Read the full story at High Country News here: Rapid growth in Arizona’s suburbs bets against an uncertain water supply

The West’s extreme drought: Colorado River plans explained

The West is locked in the grip of a 20-year megadrought, with the Colorado River approaching record-low flows.  The seven states in the Colorado River basin—Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming in the upper basin and Arizona, California and Nevada in the lower—established drought contingency plans in 2019 for managing and operating the river in the ongoing crisis. They’re the latest piece of the “Law of the River,” which allocates water to the seven states.  Here is some context for how those states address the situation. ... ”  Read more from Bloomberg Law here:  The West’s extreme drought: Colorado River plans explained

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Today’s featured articles …

KERN COUNTY WATER SUMMIT: Two perspectives on the State Water Board report, Recommendations for an Effective Water Rights Response to Climate Change

Dusk falls on the B.F. Sisk San Luis Dam and the San Luis Reservoir. The water level on 8/24/2016 was recorded at 13% of capacity.  Photo by DWR.

State Water Board’s Erik Ekdahl discusses the climate change report; Attorney Valerie Kincaid explains why existing water right holders are concerned

Earlier this year, the State Water Resources Control Board released a report, Recommendations for an Effective Water Rights Response to Climate Change, that considered how the State Wate Board could include climate change when considering new water right applications.  Since the report’s release, it has been the subject of much discussion and has sparked concerns amongst existing water right holders.

At the Kern County Water Summit, hosted by the Water Association of Kern County, a panel addressed the topic.  Erik Ekdahl with the State Water Board first gave an overview of the report and its recommendations.  Next, attorney Valerie Kincaid discussed the report from the perspective of existing water right holders.

Click here to read this article.


MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for June 1

Prepared Exclusively for Maven’s Notebook by Robert Shibatani

Summer is officially only 3 weeks away, but it looks like we are heading straight into another drought year.  Warnings and reports of another drought are being echoed across agency, media, and public circles. The pressing questions now are how damaging might this drought be, what are some its broader water resources and delivery implications and, how protracted could it become?

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: State Water Board issues order conditionally approving a Temporary Urgency Change Petition filed by the Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation

RULING: State Water Board issues ruling on Kings River FAS Hearing–Ruling on Motions to Exclude Evidence from Phase 1A Hearing

UPDATE: Bulletin 74, California Well Standards: TAC Meeting #2

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Task Force~ Proposed Changes~ AWRA Conference~ FMA Release~ P3 Conference~ FIRO Workshop ~~

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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