DAILY DIGEST, 6/23: Where did Sierra snow go this spring?; Why some regions have water and others don’t; Better subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts for water management; Myths of prescribed fire: The watering can that pretends to be a river; and more …
WEBINAR: What Does Water Justice Require of You? from 11am to 12pm. What does water justice require of you? The demands of a shifted environmental paradigm. The Biden administration has shifted the focus of environmental and natural resources policy toward environmental justice in a startling and profound manner. The water sector will benefit from a substantial flow of new resources, but those resources will be conditioned on better serving marginalized communities and satisfying the demands of environmental justice. This webinar will explore the practical implications of this paradigmatic shift for water resources professionals. Click here to register.
FREE WEBINAR: Coastal Climate Change Adaptation from 11am to 1pm. Coastal places face a series of climate change threats from sea level rise, stronger storms, warmer temperatures and other stressors. Preparing for impacts such as coastal erosion and ecological change requires understanding climate change risks and selecting responses. Yet, planning and making important decisions when facing uncertainty about the future is one of the most difficult management responsibilities. Join this webinar to learn about methodologies and tools currently available and how they are being used to develop adaptation strategies. This webinar will feature presentations from scientists and managers whose organizations are making decisions and moving to action in the face of uncertainty. Click here to register.
FREE: Public Workshop: Water Accounting and Data for SGMA from 11am to 12:30pm. The California Water Data Consortium is a nonprofit organization that supports data-informed decision-making in California about water in the face of climate change and other pressures on water resources. We amplify efforts to improve water data infrastructure by creating a neutral organizational space to build trust and facilitate collaboration across sectors. Click here to register.
FREE WEBINAR: The Salton Sea: Turning Promises into Projects from 12pm to 1:30pm. While the Salton Sea’s challenges have long seemed overwhelming, new leadership at the Salton Sea Authority and additional financial commitments anticipated by the State are reviving hope that progress will replace past inertia. The Water Dialogue brings together several prominent panelists including Salton Sea Authority head, G. Patrick O’Dowd, to provide background on the history of the Sea, what went wrong with the QSA, and the Sea’s environmental challenges. They will evaluate complicated current issues such as the impact of Colorado River drought, the future for disadvantaged communities, lessons learned from the QSA that might inform future water transfers, and historical and current barriers to getting projects underway. Panelists will also critique new starts and planned projects such as the Species Conservation Habitat Project (part of the Salton Sea Management Program) and Audubon’s Bombay Beach Wetland Project. Click here to register.
Where did Sierra snow go this spring? Not into California rivers and water supplies
“California’s severe drought was made worse this year by a shocking surprise. Every year, much of the drinking water that flows through the taps of millions of Californians begins in the Sierra Nevada. Snow and rain fall on the vast mountain range during the winter months, and the water moves downhill into streams, rivers and reservoirs in the spring and summer. But this year, in a trend that startled water managers, much of that runoff simply vanished. State water planners say that 685,000 acre-feet of water that they had forecast as runoff in the Northern Sierra — or 40% more water than the city of Los Angeles uses in a year — failed to arrive. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Where did Sierra snow go this spring? Not into California rivers and water supplies
Water shortages: Why some Californians are running out in 2021 and others aren’t
” … When it comes to the impact of drought, location is key. Rain and snow vary greatly across California’s myriad microclimates, leaving some towns, mostly in the north, accustomed to yearly refills of their rivers, reservoirs and aquifers. Others farther south have fewer natural supplies of their own, and in parts of the Central Valley, the drought never really left. But drought resilience is manufactured, too. Decades of planning and extraordinary engineering and technology keep the water flowing to arid places. “There is, of course, no single Northern California or Southern California when it comes to water,” said Peter Gleick, founder of the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank. … ” Read the full article at Cal Matters here: Water shortages: Why some Californians are running out in 2021 and others aren’t
These parts of California are most vulnerable to drought
“As California’s drought continues to intensify, thousands of water agencies across the state are now facing restrictions. For many large water districts, like those serving San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, this isn’t a huge problem, as they have ample water reserves. But many rural areas of the state and smaller water systems are more vulnerable, and the drought could have devastating consequences. California’s last drought, which lasted from 2011 to 2017, was particularly hard on rural communities and small water suppliers, state officials say. In 2016, the California legislature passed a law tasking the state’s Department of Water Resources to identify the most vulnerable communities and make recommendations to help them plan for emergencies. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: These parts of California are most vulnerable to drought
Better subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts for water management
“California experiences the largest year-to-year swings in wintertime precipitation (relative to its average conditions) in the United States, along with considerable swings within a given water year (1 October to 30 September). For example, 1977 was one of the driest years on record, whereas 1978 was one of the wettest. In December 2012, California was on pace for its wettest year on record, but starting in January 2013, the next 14 months were drier than any period of the entire 100-year observational record. The considerable variability of precipitation within given water years and from year to year poses a major challenge to providing skillful long-range precipitation forecasts. This challenge, coupled with precipitation extremes at both ends of the spectrum—extremes that are projected to increase across the state through the 21st century as a result of climate change—greatly complicates smart management of water resources, upon which tens of millions of residents rely. … ” Read more from EOS here: Better subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasts for water management
Farmers face water rights curtailments
“The California priority water rights system is being put to the test, as state regulators impose emergency regulations and send notices of water unavailability to farmers who are trying to negotiate their crops through another drought year. Reacting to worsening dry conditions, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations last week to curtail water diversions in the Russian River watershed in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. The board also sent notices of water unavailability to junior water right holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed, warning that senior water right holders could be next. California Farm Bureau Senior Counsel Chris Scheuring said farmers are very aware of the state’s priority system of water rights. “The whole reason we have a priority system is to deal with scarcity,” Scheuring said. “In some years, we’re going to be reducing water to some with more junior water rights, and in the wet years, the priority system isn’t necessary.” … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Farmers face water rights curtailments
California’s drought is so bad that almond farmers are ripping out trees
“Christine Gemperle is about to do what almond farmers fear the most: rip out her trees early. Water is so scarce on her orchard in California’s Central Valley that she’s been forced to let a third of her acreage go dry. In the irrigated areas, the lush, supple trees are dewy in the early morning, providing some relief from the extreme heat. Walking over to the dry side, you can actually feel the temperature start to go up as you’re surrounded by the brittle, lifeless branches that look like they could crumble into dust. “Farming’s very risky,” said Gemperle, who will undertake the arduous process of pulling out all her trees on the orchard this fall, replacing them with younger ones that don’t need as much moisture. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Green here: California’s drought is so bad that almond farmers are ripping out trees
Crews build rock wall in Delta to help water supply in Contra Costa County
“Crews in Contra Costa County have been working around the clock for the past 20 days building a massive rock wall in the Delta all in the name of the drought. “We’re taking extreme measures under extreme circumstance,” said Jacob McQuirk from the Department of Water Resources. With too little natural flow coming in this year from the Sierra Snowpack, and the water in short supply in upstream reservoirs, saltwater from the ocean is at risk of pushing in — contaminating the freshwater Delta. “If there’s not enough fresh water the tide wins and salt migrates upstream,” said McQuirk. … ” Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Crews build rock wall in Delta to help water supply in Contra Costa County
Ensuring safe drinking water for California’s Native American communities
“California is home to 109 federally recognized tribes—more than any other state—and several more are petitioning for federal recognition. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is responsible for regulating water quality on tribal lands, while the State Water Board regulates water quality for other water systems. According to USEPA’s ECHO database, 88 tribal water systems in California serve more than 160,000 people. Unfortunately, some Native American communities lack access to safe drinking water. Federal agencies, not states, have traditionally been funding partners, but as part of its commitment to ensure safe drinking water for all Californians, the state is now poised to partner with tribes to address this important public health challenge. … ” Read more from the PPIC here: Ensuring safe drinking water for California’s Native American communities
Water education nonprofit will examine effect of end to reprieve from service shutoffs
“The California African American Water Education Foundation (CAAWEF) will discuss rising water bills and how the impending expiration of water moratorium shutoffs will impact the African American community. The conversation starts at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 24, and will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. Earlier this year, the state Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) released a survey stating that public water systems throughout the state are facing “heightened financial challenges” during the COVID-19 pandemic. … ” Read more from the Observer here: Water education nonprofit will examine effect of end to reprieve from service shutoffs
New fishing limits proposed for Pacific commercial chinook salmon
“The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted a proposed amendment – Amendment 21 – to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for review and approval. The Council manages salmon fisheries, including Chinook, in the EEZ off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council’s FMP sets forth the framework for how Council-area salmon fisheries are managed. The stated goal of Amendment 21 “is to limit ocean salmon fishery impacts on foraging opportunities for [Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW)] on Chinook salmon in years of low Chinook salmon abundance.” … ” Read more from the National Law Review here: New fishing limits proposed for Pacific commercial chinook salmon
Amid clamor to increase prescribed burns, obstacles await
“In the 1950s, when University of California forestry professor Harold Biswell experimented with prescribed burns in the state’s pine forests, many people thought he was nuts. “Harry the Torch,” “Burn-Em-Up Biswell” and “Doctor Burnwell” were some of his nicknames from critics, who included federal and state foresters and timber groups. Six decades after Biswell preached an unpopular message to those who advocated full-on fire suppression, he is seen not as crazy but someone whose ideas could save the U.S. West’s forests and ease wildfire dangers. Millions of acres have become overgrown, prone to wildfires that have devastated towns, triggered massive evacuations and blanketed the West Coast in thick smoke. … ” Read more from the AP here: Amid clamor to increase prescribed burns, obstacles await
Myths of prescribed fire: The watering can that pretends to be a river
“The use of prescribed fire—intentionally setting fires in forests and other ecosystems under planned circumstances—has received increased attention in California and elsewhere in recent years. On the one hand, it is good that there is growing recognition that fire is a natural and necessary part of forests and other ecosystems. On the other hand, current advocacy for large-scale prescribed fire across vast areas is often built on outdated assumptions and overstated claims, while downplaying problems stemming from how prescribed fire is actually being implemented. This factsheet identifies five key sets of myths regarding prescribed fire and shows how they can lead to misguided policies and missed opportunities to better accomplish public safety and ecological restoration goals in a more cost-effective manner. To create effective fire policies, we need to face these facts—Prescribed fire increases fire and smoke. Prescribed fire is inefficient for public safety compared to home retrofits. Prescribed fire is inefficient for ecological restoration compared to managed wildfire. Prescribed fire can be harmful. And prescribed fire and cultural burning are not the same. … ” Read more from Rewilding Earth here: Myths of prescribed fire: The watering can that pretends to be a river
How California’s failed public policy harms neighboring states
Todd Fitchette writes, “As Southern California water agencies brag on social media that their customers won’t face water cutbacks this summer and next year, residents in neighboring states aren’t so fortunate. When California said it would provide only 5% of its promised water from the State Water Project to water users throughout the state, southern California did what it does well – take water from other states. It’s that over-reliance upon Colorado River water that not only allows California lawmakers to “kick-the-can” of indecision, it also punishes residents in Arizona and Nevada for their failed public policy. Is this smart practice by a state that boasts water law to enforce the sustainable management of groundwater within its own boundaries? … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: How California’s failed public policy harms neighboring states
This is why proposed Stanislaus River water sale makes good sense
The Modesto Bee editorial board writes, “State water officials should approve a plan to sell up to 100,000 acre-feet of Stanislaus River water to thirsty buyers on the Valley’s west side and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The $40 million deal could fall apart if the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation succeeds in blocking it. The California State Water Resources Control Board should reject the Bureau’s interference for several solid reasons. First, this drought-relief proposal rightly would bring $20 million each to the Oakdale Irrigation District and the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. Proceeds would help the water agencies continue to upgrade canals and equipment, allowing them to conserve more water in the future. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: This is why proposed Stanislaus River water sale makes good sense
If droughts continue, California can’t rely on hydroelectricity. But there’s another solution
The Sacramento Bee editorial board writes, “California’s energy stock is in a uniquely California conundrum. Intense drought conditions are exhausting the state’s supply of hydroelectricity, which begs the question of whether we can rely on water-generated power long-term in a hotter and drier California. In 2019, during a non-drought year, water provided 17% of the state’s power, according to the California Energy Commission. In 2015, during the throes of the last drought, it generated 6%. This year’s outlook for hydroelectric power is already grim. … The answer to our problems is not in rivers or lakes but in the ocean. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: If droughts continue, California can’t rely on hydroelectricity. But there’s another solution
Time for California to ‘follow the science’ on pumped hydro energy storage
Jeff Harvey, a consultant with over 35 years experience in California and senior environmental scientist for developer NextEra Energy Resources, writes, “The phrase ‘follow the science’ is quite in vogue today as our society confronts challenges ranging from the pandemic to climate change. It’s the phrase we now use to say definitively that something is true because there is firm scientific evidence supporting it. As a scientist who has spent decades evaluating a range of environmental issues related to water, power and mining, I live by that principle. More than 12 years ago, as I and others began investigating the science behind the largest proposed clean energy project in the Western U.S., we naively thought science would carry the day. The project is surprisingly straightforward: transform a former iron-ore mine into a green energy generator capable of storing excess solar energy generation produced during the day, and providing that stored energy on-demand. … ” Continue reading at Energy Storage News here: Time for California to ‘follow the science’ on pumped hydro energy storage
Native Americans no longer silent as racial tensions build amid new Klamath water crisis
“The Native Americans who have lived here for thousands of years say that a giant serpent once menaced them from the high-desert hills that surround Upper Klamath Lake, a marshy expanse of water north of the Oregon-California border. It slithered down from remote crags to hunt people until the creator, G’mok’am’c, butchered it with an obsidian blade. He cast the pieces into the lake, where they became c’waam, a variety of suckerfish that can live up to 50 years and has become the ecological and religious heart for the tribes that call this place home. G’mok’am’c told the people that their fate was tied to the fish — if it perishes, so will they. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Native Americans no longer silent as racial tensions build amid new Klamath water crisis
Fort Bragg approves purchase of desalination unit
“The Fort Bragg City Council’s special meeting on Monday went fairly quickly — all of 10 minutes — and unanimously approved the purchase of a desalination and reverse osmosis machine for no more than $335,818.50. At the last city council meeting, city staff requested the council set aside $600,000 to pursue various options during this summer’s expected drought, including hurdles with sourcing and permitting. The flow in the Noyo River, which is the city’s primary water source in summer and fall months, is at levels below the worst drought year on record, 1977. Staff reported to the council that hiring trucks to transport water from Ukiah or Willits is not a feasible option, as it would require 57 loads per day to provide 200,000 gallons. … ” Read more from Fort Bragg Advocate-News here: City approves purchase of desalination unit
Glenn County supervisors unanimously pause drilling of new AG wells
“Today the Glenn County Board of Supervisors approved a moratorium that puts a pause on the drilling of new AG wells. Supervisor Grant Carmon said the vote was unanimous. Residents in the county limits cannot drill but are still allowed to repair, replace or destroy an existing well. … ” Read more from Action News Now here: Glenn County supervisors unanimously pause drilling of new AG wells
Nevada City implements mandatory water restrictions, stage 3 drought warning declared
“At a special meeting held by the Nevada City City Council on June 18, 2021 a declaration of a Drought Stage 3 Warning was declared. Implementation was effective immediately. With rainfall this season being at historic lows, the Council made the decision based on information from the California State Water Boards as well as information from the Nevada Irrigation District combined with input from city staff on the city’s system and water usage. The Stage 3 Warning carries mandatory water restrictions including reducing water usage by 20 percent of 2020 usage levels; limiting watering of outdoor plants to twice a week; washing vehicles with a bucket and shut-off nozzles; and shutting off all outdoor water features. … ” Read more from YubaNet here: Nevada City implements mandatory water restrictions, stage 3 drought warning declared
Sacramento: California’s historic drought is causing drinking water to taste like dirt. Just ‘add lemon,’ officials say
“Something is off about Sacramento’s water. It smells and tastes a little “earthy,” residents are saying — an effect of compounding climate change crises: extreme heat, little to no precipitation and a historic drought that has gripped the region for the better part of a decade. Up and down the state of California, rivers, streams and reservoirs are drying up. In Sacramento, that has led to an increase in the concentration of geosmin in its drinking water, one of two organic compounds that give soil its characteristic smell. It might not taste great, city officials say, but it’s still safe to drink. Sacramento utilities officials said they had to put out a statement after receiving calls from residents complaining about the taste. ... ” Read more from CNN here: Sacramento: California’s historic drought is causing drinking water to taste like dirt. Just ‘add lemon,’ officials say
Sacramento column: We’re averting our eyes from an environmental disaster in plain sight. Let’s give a damn
Marcos Bretón writes, “The American River Parkway once was a constant focus for me as The Bee’s columnist. I wrote a half dozen columns about it in 2015 alone. All were written with great urgency, and yet, all those words in all those columns published in the last 10 years solved absolutely nothing. The epidemic of constant fires and environmental devastation to the lower half of the American River Parkway has continued unabated, a disaster in plain sight. It’s been the proverbial slow-motion train wreck, except it’s so much more than an accident of circumstance. We’re driving Sacramento’s great urban forest off the rails. We’re methodically destroying our natural resource, one steeped in Sacramento history. And I think I stopped writing about the parkway with great frequency in recent years because Sacramento doesn’t seem to give a damn about the devastation. ... ” Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: Sacramento column: We’re averting our eyes from an environmental disaster in plain sight. Let’s give a damn
Chief’s Report signed for Lower Cache Creek flood risk management project
“A plan to improve levees near the City of Woodland and construct new levees north of the city to help prevent Lower Cache Creek from flooding into the developed portions of Woodland was signed June 21, 2021, by Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, commanding general for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lower Cache Creek has a history of flooding, experiencing 20 high-water events since the mid-20th Century. Now, USACE and the project’s non-Federal sponsors have developed a plan to help reduce the risk of future flooding for the area’s 6,000 residents, as well as critical infrastructure like Interstate 5, schools, and utilities. … ” Read more from the Army Corps of Engineers here: Chief’s Report signed for Lower Cache Creek flood risk management project
State, county officials issue harmful algae warning for Sonoma rivers
“Sonoma County health officials posted ‘Toxic Algae Alert’ signs along Salmon Creek Tuesday, warning swimmers and fishermen of the potential dangers hidden below the waterway. The State Water Resources Control Board said its staff responded to recent sightings of suspected harmful algal blooms in the Russian River, Salmon Creek and Gualala River. … ” Read more from CBS Bay Area here: State, county officials issue harmful algae warning for Sonoma rivers
Sonoma enacts mandatory 20% water use reduction, limits irrigation to 2 days a week
“The Sonoma City Council declared a Stage 2 water shortage Tuesday, requiring city residents to reduce their water usage by 20% and limiting residential and commercial watering to two days a week. The mandatory cutbacks are the result of the significant drought and reductions in water supply, and will apply to homes and businesses beginning on July 1. ... ” Read more from CBS Bay Area here: Sonoma enacts mandatory 20% water use reduction, limits irrigation to 2 days a week
Lawsuit: Point Reyes National Seashore negligent in tule elk die off
“A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday is alleging the Point Reyes National Seashore was negligent in its wildlife management and violated federal law after more than 150 tule elk died in a park preserve last year. The complaint filed by Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Clinic in the U.S. District Court of Northern California seeks a court order requiring the National Park Service and U.S. Interior Department to enact plans to ensure the remaining 300 elk in the enclosed Tomales Point Preserve have access to adequate food and water. The lawsuit marks an escalation in a months-long debate over how the park should manage the elk herd in the 2,200-acre, fenced preserve located at the tip of the peninsula along the western side of Tomales Bay. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Lawsuit: Point Reyes National Seashore negligent in tule elk die off
Marin nabs $380K for Tiburon beach sea-level rise project
“Marin County officials are set to begin designing a new sea-level rise defense project at a Tiburon beach that they say could be replicated at other San Francisco Bay shores as an alternative to concrete barriers and sea walls. The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority allocated a $380,000 grant to Marin County Department of Public Works to begin designing the project at the eroding Greenwood Beach, just south of Tiburon’s popular Blackie’s Pasture. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin nabs $380K for Tiburon beach sea-level rise project
Column: Don’t expect the speed of 1977 in latest plan for water across Richmond Bridge
Columnist Dick Spotswood writes, “Marin Municipal Water District will soon study the idea of returning the long-gone water pipeline to the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It’s a smart move if the district can locate another agency to sell them additional water. They also should understand times have changed in the past 55 years. Installing a new, hopefully permanent, pipeline won’t be the snap it was in 1977. MMWD’s general manager was then Dietrich “Diet” Stroeh, a “can do” civil engineer from the old school. Stroeh had a network of friends and professional colleagues who were crucial to his remarkable achievement. It’s all chronicled is the 2006 book authored by Michael McCarthy recounting the 1976-77 drought and Stroeh’s involvement. It is appropriately titled, “The Man Who Made It Rain.” … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Column: Don’t expect the speed of 1977 in latest plan for water across Richmond Bridge
Golden Gate Park uses 427 million gallons of drinkable water per year. That’s all about to change
“As I ease my body into child’s pose, my fingers stretch beyond the limits of my yoga mat, grazing the soft blades of grass of Hellman’s Hollow in Golden Gate Park. This sprawling meadow is one of my favorite expanses of green space in San Francisco’s largest park, but as I moved through a series of sun salutations at a recent outdoor yoga class, I couldn’t take my eyes off that bright green, perfectly manicured grass. Amid the year’s increasing drought, it must take a lot of water to keep that patch of land looking so pristine. Turns out, it takes approximately 1.2 million gallons of water a day to keep the entirety of Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle looking so good. ... ” Read more from SF Gate here: Golden Gate Park uses 427 million gallons of drinkable water per year. That’s all about to change
Alameda County: Mining halted At “Lake A” in the Chain Of Lakes
“The move to end mining in a Tri-Valley lake became official this week. Alameda County planning commissioners on Monday approved plans for restoring the Eliot Quarry, where more than a century of rock mining in the unincorporated area between Livermore and Pleasanton will eventually be turned into lakes surrounded by open fields and recreation trails. The panel’s two 7-0 votes certified an environmental impact report and approved updates of 1987 reclamation plans to 2021 standards. Work will focus initially on the quarry’s “Lake A” east of Isabel Avenue along Vineyard Avenue, where mining will no longer be allowed. Eventually, projects will begin to transfer Lake A and a second lake west of Isabel Avenue to the Zone 7 Water Agency, the Tri-Valley’s water provider. … ” Read more from Zone 7 here: Alameda County: Mining halted At “Lake A” in the Chain Of Lakes
Elkhorn Slough Foundation folds in 34 acres of Moro Cojo wetlands to conservation area
“The Elkhorn Slough Foundation announced it’s acquired 34 acres of Moro Cojo wetlands, a major tributary of the Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing, in effort to provide more continuous habitat benefits throughout watershed. “If you are interested in and concerned about protecting such a rich and vital waterway as the Elkhorn Slough, you cant stop at the waters edge, you have to look at the entire drainage, the watershed, and what’s influencing the aquatic environment,” Elkhorn Slough Foundation Executive Director Mark Silberstein said. This particular section of the Moro Cojo Slough was formerly farmed, diked and drained, but the area has sat largely unproductive in recent years. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Elkhorn Slough Foundation folds in 34 acres of Moro Cojo wetlands to conservation area
Three cities in Stanislaus recycle wastewater for farmland. Will Riverbank join them?
“Riverbank is looking at upgrading its sewage plant to produce water clean enough for crops. The city would join three others in Stanislaus County that recycle water from kitchen and bathroom drains for use on farms. Modesto, Ceres and Turlock send their highly treated effluent to the Del Puerto Water District on the West Side. Riverbank would sell its water to farmers just to the north, possibly including some in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District. It would not be a huge boost to the supply for SSJID, whose sources are much more abundant than Del Puerto’s. But it could help Riverbank pay for sewage treatment upgrades likely to be required by the state, with or without the irrigation element. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Three cities in Stanislaus recycle wastewater for farmland. Will Riverbank join them?
Tulare County takes over East Orosi water system
“Help may be on the horizon for the about 700 residents of East Orosi dependent on bottled water. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has directed county staff to begin negotiating the scope of work and a budget with the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water for the county to take control of the East Orosi Community Services District public water system. Of the thousands of water systems in the state, East Orosi CSD is one of just seven California water systems under a mandatory consolidation order by way of Senate Bill (SB) 88, which enables the state water board to order consolidations for water systems in disadvantaged communities that are consistently out of compliance. … ” Continue reading at the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Tulare County takes over East Orosi water system
Central Coast Water Agency alleges Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors ‘infringed on CCWA rights’
“The Central Coast Water Authority is suing Santa Barbara County over the management of the State Water Project. The organization filed the lawsuit in Santa Barbara County Superior Court and called the suit “significant and unprecedented” in its announcement Monday. The Water Authority alleged in a news release that the County Board of Supervisors inserted itself into decisions about how to manage State Water supplies. The CCWA manages, operates and finances the portion of the State Water Project in the county, and the organization contracts for the supply and pays 100% of the costs. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara News Press here: Central Coast Water Agency alleges Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors ‘infringed on CCWA rights’
Why filmmaker Emmett Brennan walked 200 miles to spotlight L.A.’s water crisis
“A few years ago, filmmaker Emmett Brennan discovered that the once-lush Owens Valley that sources water for Los Angeles is now mostly a stark desert, and he had to do something. The result is a meditative new feature-length documentary called “Reflection: A Walk with Water” that traces a 200-mile trek by foot along the entire length of the L.A. aqueduct to raise awareness about the way we use and misuse water. The film, with original music by Jacob Collier and Justin Kauflin, is streaming through June 23 as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. … ” Read more from Forbes Magazine here: Why filmmaker Emmett Brennan walked 200 miles to spotlight L.A.’s water crisis
Water Replenishment District Board of Directors appoints new GM
“The Water Replenishment District (WRD) Board of Directors appointed Stephan Tucker as the new General Manager of the district. With his expertise in managing large-scale water infrastructure projects, Mr. Tucker will help lead the District’s efforts to build a drought-resilient water supply in the region. In response to the Board’s unanimous vote, WRD Board Vice President Sergio Calderon shared “The challenges posed by California’s drought require innovative and steadfast leadership. Mr. Tucker has the skill and vision to build upon WRD’s successes in creating a resilient water future.” … ” Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Water Replenishment District Board of Directors appoints new GM
Conservationists edge closer to Banning Ranch acquisition with $8-million grant from state
“The dream of turning a 384-acre oil field at the mouth of the Santa Ana River into a public park and nature preserve grows closer to a reality by another $8 million, thanks to a grant from the state’s fish and wildlife department announced earlier this month. The $8-million grant for the purchase of Banning Ranch, given to the Trust for Public Land, is one of 28 projects — and one of three acquisition projects — selected to receive a grant this year. State officials say the total amount given across all projects was $39 million. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Conservationists edge closer to Banning Ranch acquisition with $8-million grant from state
Salton Sea aerosol exposure triggers unique and mysterious pulmonary response
“Communities surrounding the Salton Sea, the inland body of water straddling California’s Riverside and Imperial counties, show high rates of asthma due, possibly, to high aerosol dust levels resulting from the sea shrinking over time. Scientists suspect, however, the Salton Sea plays an additional role in pulmonary health. A University of California, Riverside study performed on mice has found Salton Sea aerosol turns on nonallergic inflammation genes and may also promote lung inflammation. For comparison, aerosolized fungal allergen (Alternaria) — a common household fungal allergen — produces an allergic inflammation in the lungs of mice. … ” Read more from UC Riverside here: Salton Sea aerosol exposure triggers unique and mysterious pulmonary response
Groups come together to fund Arizona water conservation program impacting Colorado River
“As the federal government prepares to declare a first-ever water shortage at Lake Mead, Arizona state leaders, Native American tribes, and philanthropic and corporate foundations are stepping up to help conserve water. This week, these entities committed to funding an $8 million gap to complete a landmark water conservation project with the Colorado River Indian Tribes and the state of Arizona. … ” Read more from Valley News here: Groups come together to fund Arizona water conservation program impacting Colorado River
Tucson: Groundwater supply in a warming climate
“The Colorado River is a lifeline for water in the southwest, but the importance of groundwater here and across the country shouldn’t be overlooked. “It’s actually our largest unfrozen freshwater resource, it’s much larger than our rivers and streams,” said University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Assistant Professor Laura Condon. A UArizona study published in February 2020 showed a modest climate warming of just a couple of degrees would lead to the loss of millions of cubic meters of groundwater in the United States. Roughly four times the water in Lake Powell. … ” Read more from KGUN here: Tucson: Groundwater supply in a warming climate
Valley golf courses resisting state’s water reduction plan
“Arizona water experts have known for a long time that an impasse was coming. Now the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWS) is involved in a lengthy back-and-forth with the state’s powerful golf industry about groundwater reductions for the next decade. In an effort to meet the reduction requirements agreed to in 1980, the water board is proposing that Phoenix-area golf courses that use groundwater reduce their use by 3.1%. … ” Read more from Valley News here: Valley golf courses resisting state’s water reduction plan
The biggest dams in the world — the definitive list
“Dams have gradually become an essential part of human infrastructure. Used for power generation, water storage, and flood control, these vast structures play a critical role in the lives of billions of people every day. Hydroelectric energy is the most commonly-used renewable source of electricity. It’s also considered the lowest-cost source of electricity in many parts of the world, and it’s clean energy that doesn’t pollute the air like fossil fuels. Still, sometimes it’s questioned due to displacing communities and affecting the surrounding environment. … ” Read more from ZME Science here: The biggest dams in the world — the definitive list
The answer to inflation woes could be under this dusty lake (and it’s not the Salton Sea)
Eric Fry writes, “On Wednesday, I used Northern California’s dusty Folsom Lake to demonstrate the decade-long drought that inflation was in before the post-pandemic recovery. I said that I’d show you how this parched lake is part of the reason why we’re seeing inflationary prices… and how, at least metaphorically, it also points out how we can protect ourselves – and potentially even profit – from the ravages of inflation. As I noted on Wednesday, the agricultural complex has joined in the larger commodity rally. The price of corn has doubled, as has the price of soybeans. During the last 60 days alone, agricultural commodities, as represented by the Bloomberg Agricultural Sub-Index, have rocketed 17%. Which brings us back to Folsom Lake: the formerly picturesque lake northeast of Sacramento that is becoming a dust bowl. … ” Read the full article at Nasdaq here: The answer to inflation woes could be under this dusty lake (and it’s not the Salton Sea)
Elevated salinity and nitrates in surface water and groundwater are increasing problems affecting much of California, other western states, and arid regions throughout the world. Rising salt levels in the Central Valley threaten agricultural productivity and impact drinking water supplies. Recycled water is an essential new water source for the Central Valley but cannot be fully implemented unless salts and nutrients are carefully managed.
In 2006, the Central Valley Water Board, the State Water Board, and stakeholders began a joint effort to address the issues called the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS), culminating in the adoption of a basin plan amendment in May of 2018 for the Nitrate Control Program and Salt Control Program developed through the CV-SALTS process.
The basin plan amendment was subsequently approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on October 16, 2019, becoming effective on January 17, 2020, and later approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in November of 2020. Notices to Comply for the Priority 1 areas in the Nitrate Control Program were sent to dischargers in May of 2020, with the Notices to Comply for the Salt Control Program following January 2021.
At the June 1 meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, staff from the Central Valley Water Board updated the state board members on the implementation of the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) program focusing on the early action plans and the public comments received.
WEBINAR: Collaborating Across IRWM and SGMA – Groundwater Recharge
This webinar featured a panel discussion to explore opportunities for collaboration on groundwater recharge across the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the Integrated Regional Water Management Program (IRWM). The panel was moderated by Kamyar Guivetchi, manager of DWR’s Division of Planning, and explore how we can leverage IRWMs and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to efficiently develop, fund, implement, and monitor recharge projects.
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.