On the calendar today …
- FREE WEBINAR: Managing California’s Groundwater: Drinking Water Needs & Disadvantaged Community Engagement from 12pm to 1pm. This webinar discussion will focus on drinking water needs and disadvantaged community engagement. Brief presentations will be followed by participant Q&A. Our expert presenters include: Ngodoo Atume, Water Analyst, Clean Water Action; Angela Islas, Community Development Specialist, Self-Help Enterprises; and Amanda Monaco, Policy Coordinator, Leadership Council for Justice Accountability. Click here to register.
- WORKSHOP: California State Adaptation Strategy 2021 Update Regional Workshops- Central Coast from 4pm to 6pm. The Newsom Administration is updating California’s State Adaptation Strategy (Strategy) this year with the goal being 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. Help the Administration map the next statewide roadmap to a climate-resilient California for all. Please join us virtually for a regional workshop. Click here to register.
- EVENT: Paya: The Water Story of the Paiute Film Screening & Panel Discussion 4pm to 5:30pm. Paya: The Water Story of the Paiute tells the untold story of America’s longest lived water war between the Owens Valley Paiute and the city of Los Angeles. Using in-depth interviews, 2-d animation, archival footage and photography, Paya documents the history of the Owens Valley Paiute who constructed and managed sixty square miles of intricate irrigation systems for millennia, long before Los Angeles diverted the Owens River through the Los Angeles Aqueduct, 220 miles across the Mojave Desert. After the Indian War of 1863, surviving Paiute returned to the valley from the Eastern Sierra and White Mountains to find their ancient waterworks taken over by white settlers. Over 150-years later, the Paiute continue the fight to save their waterworks, which are remnant in the Owens Valley landscape. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
Drought woes in dry West raise July 4 fireworks fears
“Many Americans aching for normalcy as pandemic restrictions end are looking forward to traditional Fourth of July fireworks. But with a historic drought in the U.S. West and fears of another devastating wildfire season, officials are canceling displays, passing bans on setting off fireworks or begging for caution. Fireworks already have caused a few small wildfires, including one started by a child in northern Utah and another in central California. Last year, a pyrotechnic device designed for a baby’s gender reveal celebration sparked a California blaze that killed a firefighter during a U.S. wildfire season that scorched the second-highest amount of land in nearly 40 years. … ” Read more from US News & World Report here: Drought woes in dry West raise July 4 fireworks fears
An entire California town is without running water — in a heat wave
“This is how California’s water crisis is going these days: The only functioning well in the rural community of Teviston broke in early June, leaving more than 700 residents without running water as temperatures in the Central Valley soared to triple-digits in a drought. “It’s day to day” for the people of Teviston, said Frank Galaviz, a board member of the Teviston Community Services District, in an interview with The Fresno Bee. Teviston residents are relying on limited bottled water for necessities such as staying hydrated, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Some residents, like Galaviz, are traveling to neighboring towns to stay with family or friends to shower and wash clothes. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: An entire California town is without running water — in a heat wave
Drought makes conditions worse for California’s declining native fishes
“California is home to 131 kinds of native fishes that require freshwater for some or all of their life-cycle. Most of these fishes are found only in California and most (81%) are in decline (Moyle et al. 2015, 2020). Thirty-two (24%) are already listed as threatened or endangered by state and/or federal governments. Declines are usually the result of fishes losing the competition with humans for California’s water and habitat (Leidy and Moyle 2021). This competition is heightened by the ongoing severe drought. Thus, there is a petition circulating to declare the delta smelt extinct to make supposedly large amounts of water available to farmers, even though the smelt is not extinct and the amount of water devoted to delta smelt is small (Börk et al. 2020). … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Drought Makes Conditions Worse for California’s Declining Native Fishes
How much water goes into oil fracking in drought-stricken California?
“When California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to ban hydraulic fracturing, a highly controversial method of oil and gas production more widely known as fracking, he focused primarily on climate change impacts. He may have a water conservation argument to make as well. “Fracking uses a lot of water,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmentalist group. “But if you talk to the oil industry, they’ll say, ‘It’s not that big a chunk of water, look at what agriculture uses.’ But when we’re talking about water issues and the drought, it’s a very localized issue.” ... ” Read more from SF Gate here: How much water goes into oil fracking in drought-stricken California?
The western drought is bad. Here’s what you should know about it.
“Much of the Western half of the United States is in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions. Conditions are especially bad in California and the Southwest, but the drought extends into the Pacific Northwest, much of the Intermountain West, and even the Northern Plains. Drought emergencies have been declared. Farmers and ranchers are suffering. States are facing water cutbacks. Large wildfires burned earlier than usual with more major fires burning in Arizona, New Mexico and other states. There appears to be little relief in sight. … ” Read more from the New York Times here: The western drought is bad. Here’s what you should know about it.
In pictures: The West’s historic drought
“Much of the Western United States has been experiencing a historic and unrelenting drought, the worst in the region in at least 20 years. The most severe drought is centered in the Southwest in California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. But areas of extreme and exceptional drought extend into the Pacific Northwest as well. During the drought, many areas have also had to cope with extreme heat. The heat and the drought are part of a damaging feedback loop enhanced by climate change, experts say: The hotter it gets, the drier it gets. And the drier it gets, the hotter it gets. The conditions are also fueling wildfires and exacerbating water demands. … ” Read more and view photos at CNN here: In pictures: The West’s historic drought
Portland hits 112 degrees: Severe Western US drought and heat wave, explained
“The megadrought in the western United States, including Arizona, Utah and California — the country’s most populous state and a major source of produce — is getting biblical. Record-toppling, early-season heat waves well into the triple digits — Portland hit an all-time high of 112 degrees Sunday — has some beginning to seriously consider the prospect that ratcheting temperatures and severe lack of rainfall could even be permanent. It’s a worrying sign for a region already in the grips of a historic drought and recovering from last year’s destructive wildfires. Now, as wildfire season ramps up again, unprecedented water shortages are also in the mix, raising anxieties among farmers and municipal water managers facing reductions or even being completely cut off from all water. Here’s everything you need to know about the ongoing drought in the US West as it reaches epic proportions. ... ” Read more from MSN here: Portland hits 112 degrees: Severe Western US drought and heat wave, explained
California water risk finds a new market. Will it help?
“California water is very much a “market,” valued at $1.1 billion according WestWater Research, and it’s a market that has evolved to the point where, some argue, it’s ready for an exchange-traded financial vehicle, like a futures contract, to help farmers and other stakeholders gain greater visibility into market conditions and better manage risks. In December, CME Group launched a futures contract based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (ticker symbol H2O). The index tracks the price of water rights leases and sales transactions across the five largest and most actively traded regions in California. … ” Read more from Seeking Alpha here: California water risk finds a new market. Will it help?
Carbon markets in ‘Wild West’ phase
“One opportunity inherent in the emphasis on sustainability is the ability for growers to sell carbon credits from carbon sequestered by adopting conservation practices such as no-till, strip till, cover crops and precision farming. But don’t expect instant riches or a ride without a few potholes. “It’s the wild, Wild West,” says Betsy Bower, agronomist for Ceres Solutions. “For farmers, this is the first time they’ve ever considered a carbon market, and they really don’t know much about them.” … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Carbon markets in ‘Wild West’ phase
In commentary today …
New water wars are coming to the American West
Amanda Little, professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University, writes, “Water has been generating conflicts and controversies in the U.S. for centuries, but the American West could be heading toward the most severe water shortages and skirmishes in the nation’s history. The latest clash broke out this month along California’s border with Oregon in the Klamath River basin, where drought is decimating wild salmon populations. …The Klamath rebellion is the worst case for now — most Western water resources are peacefully managed during drought years, and many become more efficient and innovative. But it represents the kind of resource wars that could ripple throughout the West in the coming decades — perhaps even the coming months — if the Biden administration and Congress don’t chart a path forward on U.S. water security that helps ensure cooperation, conservation and ingenuity among state and regional water managers. Without swift national leadership, America faces rising water conflicts between regional haves and have-nots. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Quint here: New water wars are coming to the American West
In regional water news and commentary today …
Summer dreams dry up on the Russian River, a paradise whipsawed by drought, flood and fire
“If there was any respite to be found, it was here on the Russian River. A river otter popped up next to Larry Laba’s inflatable canoe, then dived down with a plop. A yellow swallowtail butterfly, big as a hand, fluttered past. Yet everywhere were signs of the West’s ever-intensifying drought, with the Russian River taking the early hit. Laba, the owner of Russian River Adventures, who had paddled this river hundreds of times over 20 years, made note of unfamiliar things that made him uneasy. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Summer dreams dry up on the Russian River, a paradise whipsawed by drought, flood and fire
Drought is pummeling the Russian River. Here’s what you need to know
“The Russian River serves as a main source of drinking water for more than 600,000 people in Sonoma, Mendocino and northern Marin counties. It is a refuge for endangered salmon runs and supports a thriving recreational economy. Much of the region’s $12-plus billion wine industry wouldn’t be here without it. It is also under extraordinary strain amid the ongoing drought. Here is a snapshot of how the crisis is playing out in a watershed vital to our lives and local economy ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Drought is pummeling the Russian River. Here’s what you need to know
Seasonal dam replacement closes Russian River near Forestville
“Closure of the Russian River near Forestville until October, prompted by the replacement of a seasonal dam, throws a kink into recreation on the waterway that offers a respite from summer heat, attracting people from near and far. The replacement project, however, will not diminish the dam’s role as a key element in delivering water to more than 600,000 North Bay residents, officials said. Anyone who floats past Riverfront Regional Park west of Windsor will come to a dead end at Wohler Bridge near Forestville, where the portage around the dam site is closed and the gate to the parking lot for a boat ramp and fishing access is locked. … ” Read more from the Press Democrat here: Seasonal dam replacement closes Russian River near Forestville
Answering your questions about Marin Municipal Water District supply
Cynthia Koehler writes, “Summer is here and, as most everyone knows, we are in a severe and historic drought. Rainfall levels for the last 18 months have been the lowest on record in more than 140 years. The Marin Municipal Water District board of directors called for voluntary water conservation, then adopted mandatory water-use restrictions months ago, well before the state and most other water agencies took action. We are fortunate to live in a community that is active, engaged and willing to take action to ensure that we weather this crisis with sufficient water to meet everyone’s basic needs. We know these are complex issues. People have questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Answering your questions about Marin Municipal Water District supply
‘They are threatened’: Protests continue in Pt. Reyes as tule elk controversy heads to federal court
“The National Park Service has been ordered to an emergency meeting in federal court Monday morning, to defend its handling of tule elk at the Point Reyes National Seashore. Dozens upon dozens have died from thirst and malnutrition, and the elk are supposed to be federally protected. About 100 people turned out at Point Reyes Station to protest the deaths of 152 tule elk last year (more than a third of the herd) from lack of water and malnutrition. The activists are worried about the impact of this year’s drought. … ” Read more from ABC 7 San Francisco here: ‘They are threatened’: Protests continue in Pt. Reyes as tule elk controversy heads to federal court
Proposed wetlands park along San Francisco Bay gets a setback
“The effort to change a former military aircraft taxiway along San Francisco Bay into wetlands has gotten a setback after the City Council balked at setting aside money to create a master plan for the $14 million project. Known as “DePave,” the park is proposed for the former Alameda Naval Air Station. It’s expected to feature walking paths and overlooks, where people can watch birds and harbor seals resting on floating platforms. Last year, the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission unanimously endorsed a draft “vision plan” for the future 16-acre park. The council also has broadly supported it, at least vocally. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Proposed wetlands park along San Francisco Bay gets a setback
Public comments sought for Inyo National Forest River Management Plan
“The Inyo National Forest is proposing a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for two Wild and Scenic Rivers, Owens River Headwaters and Cottonwood Creek. Members of the public are invited to submit scoping comments on the draft CRMPs for these rivers between now and July 23, 2021. … ” Read more from Sierra Wave here: Public comments sought for Inyo National Forest River Management Plan
San Diego is relatively drought-proof – and has prices to prove it
“The 2021 California drought is as bad if not worse as the one in 2014, which endured for five long, dry years. As of Friday, 33 percent is in a state of “exceptional drought,” the most severe drought category given by the federal U.S. Drought Monitor. Farmers in the Central Valley are ripping up almond trees, according to Bloomberg. Those living along the headwaters of the Russian River in Mendicino County have been told to use no more than 55 gallons per day – enough to flush a toilet six times, according to CalMatters. Santa Clara Water District voted this month to place 15 percent water reduction targets on residents countywide, according to San Jose Inside. Yet San Diego officials aren’t just calm in the face of these troubling conditions, they’re downright celebratory. … ” Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: San Diego is relatively drought-proof – and has prices to prove it
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Along the Colorado River …
Monsoon to ramp up across the southwestern United States
“The North American monsoon is set to bring much-needed rainfall across the Desert Southwest this week amid a relatively late start to the monsoonal season in many locations across the region. “Enhanced shower and thunderstorm activity across the Southwest is expected this week as moisture is drawn into the region from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California,” AccuWeather Senior meteorologist Adam Douty explained. As the Northwest continues to bake under a record-shattering heat wave, the Southwest could see some heat and drought relief through this coming week. … ” Read more from the New York Times here: Monsoon to ramp up across the southwestern United States
Dispossessed, again: climate change hits Native Americans especially hard
“From Alaska to Florida, Native Americans are facing severe climate challenges, the newest threat in a history marked by centuries of distress and dislocation. While other communities struggle on a warming planet, Native tribes are experiencing an environmental peril exacerbated by policies — first imposed by white settlers and later the United States government — that forced them onto the country’s least desirable lands. And now, climate change is quickly making that marginal land uninhabitable. The first Americans face the loss of home once again. ... ” Read more from the New York Times here: Dispossessed, again: climate change hits Native Americans especially hard
In national water news today …
Severe heat, drought pack dual threat to power plants
“Record-setting heat and drought gripping the western United States are exposing a potentially severe risk to the nation’s long-term power supply, and experts warn that grid operators lack sufficient tools to plan and carry out a defense. A future of worsening water scarcity in heat-blistered parts of the United States could imperil fossil fuel power plants and nuclear reactors that depend on enormous quantities of fresh water in their operations, according to a report by a group of analysts from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other researchers. The report, published in May, describes one threat scenario in which extreme drought draws down water levels in 30 reservoirs in Texas, disrupting operations of one-fifth of the state’s water-dependent power plants. Such extreme conditions, the report said, could lead to “significant capacity disruptions.” ... ” Read more from E&E News here: Severe heat, drought pack dual threat to power plants
More news and commentary in the weekend edition …
In California water news this weekend …
- California’s drought and wildfire dangers rising at stunning pace
- Growers, experts say conventional wisdom around drought is flawed
- Halting the megadrought: The Bureau of Reclamation explained
- California dodges worst of historic Pacific Northwest heatwave, but long-duration heatwave still likely inland. Plus: significant monsoonal surge next week?
- Rattlesnakes everywhere: the odd consequences of California’s drought
- Forget cicadas. Drought-stricken West is getting plagued by voracious grasshoppers
- WATER TALK PODCAST: Water diplomacy and dialogue with Felicia Marcus
- Corning to share water after wells go dry in unincorporated areas
- Depleted reservoirs, water restrictions worry Sacramento area farmers
- Russian River on the brink: Lifeblood of North Coast imperiled by deepening drought
- Receding Sonoma Valley aquifers could prompt big changes in how wells are used
- As climate change turns up the heat in Las Vegas, water managers try to wring new savings to stretch supply
- What you need to know about Lake Mead’s falling water levels
- And more …
Click here to read the weekend Daily Digest.
Reservoir conditions …
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
THIS WEEK: The Sixth Annual California Water Boards Water Data Science Symposium
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Groundwater Grant Program Round 3 Implementation Solicitation