On the calendar today …
- EVENT: The Water Board’s Water Data Symposium begins at 9am. Today’s presentations include Bay-Delta data sandbox: aweb-based analytics and visualization environment for accessing and experimenting with integrated Bay-Delta data; Untangling the multi-variable microplastics toxicity issue with an interactive data exploration application; Advancing sustainable groundwater management with open-source technology: from vision to reality; Unnatural water balance and biological beneficial uses: a data driven framework to support flow management decisions; and Water budget development: putting data to work. Click here for the agenda. Click here to register.
- LEG HEARING: The Senate Commitee on Natural Resources and Water will meet at 9am. Bills to be heard include Marine Managed Areas Improvement Act: restoration activities; Timber harvesting plans: defensible space: exemptions; Wildfires; Free hunting days, and Dams and reservoirs: exclusions. Click here for more information and remote access information.
- FREE WEBINAR: Advancing Water Reuse in Small and Disadvantaged Communities from 10am to 11am. Many water recycling success stories are in larger cities. These outreach and listening webcasts will introduce water recycling opportunities that make sense for smaller communities. Equally important, we want to learn from you about your communities’ interests in water recycling and your needs for support to enable you to pursue recycling projects. We will follow up these webcasts with online training tailored for small and disadvantaged communities and set up pilot projects to assist individual communities with recycling project development. Whether you are reusing water now or just thinking about it, this webcast is designed for you. Presented by the EPA. Click here to register.
- FREE WEBINAR: Visualization of Complex Geologic and Numerical Model Data for Water Resources Decision-Making from 10am to 11am. In this webinar we will discuss the Los Angeles Coastal Plain Sequence stratigraphy model, the Leapfrog Geologic Visualization , the MODFLOW-USG Model , and Water Resources Modeling case study. Presented by Intera. Click here to register.
- FREE WEBINAR: Stacked Incentives: Co-Funding Water Customers Incentive Programs from 11am to 12pm. This webinar will explore the Pacific Institute’s new report, “Stacked Incentives: Co-Funding Water Customer Incentive Programs.” We will highlight opportunities and best practices for water utilities and other organizations throughout the US to develop and co-fund stacked incentive programs that support water conservation and efficiency, stormwater management, water reuse, and more. Click here to register.
- PUBLIC MEETING: Listening Session to Develop Principles and Strategies Related to Groundwater Management and Drinking Water Wells from 12pm to 1:3opm. The State is hosting Listening Sessions to gather public input for the development of principles and strategies related to groundwater management and drinking water wells, as identified in the April 21, 2021 Executive Drought Proclamation. All perspectives are welcome and interested parties are encouraged to attend and provide input. Click here to register.
- PUBLIC MEETING: Listening Session to Develop Principles and Strategies Related to Groundwater Management and Drinking Water Wells from 5pm to 6:15pm. The State is hosting Listening Sessions to gather public input for the development of principles and strategies related to groundwater management and drinking water wells, as identified in the April 21, 2021 Executive Drought Proclamation. All perspectives are welcome and interested parties are encouraged to attend and provide input. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
California lawmakers send Gavin Newsom budget flush with surplus, $600 stimulus checks
“California lawmakers on Monday passed a 2021 state budget that reflects a partial deal with Gov. Gavin Newsom on most key issues, including $8 billion in stimulus checks for middle-income Californians and expanded funding for homeless aid. Newsom and lawmakers have not yet announced a final deal on all aspects of the spending plan, but lawmakers say they’ve reached agreement on most areas, including on expanding health coverage to more undocumented immigrants. Lawmakers and Newsom will continue to negotiate some details of the $262.6 billion budget, such as some provisions related to child care, but the partial deal indicates that the governor and Legislature have agreed to an overall framework. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California lawmakers send Gavin Newsom budget flush with surplus, $600 stimulus checks
SEE ALSO: Five things to know about Newsom’s budget deal with Legislature, from Cal Matters
Budget negotiators, enviros undercut Hurtado’s water fix bill
“In domino-like fashion, environmentalists rendered their verdict on a key water bill hoping to improve water deliveries to the poorest communities in the San Joaquin Valley along with help boost food production. The verdict? Improving clean drinking water access for the poor residents of the San Joaquin Valley just isn’t worth fixing broken canals to deliver water to farmers. The bill, Senate Bill 559, led by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger) is part of a multi-pronged effort to fund fixes for California’s south-of-the-Delta water arteries – the California Aqueduct, Friant-Kern Canal, and Delta-Mendota Canal – that have suffered years of declining capacity due to subsidence. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Budget negotiators, enviros undercut Hurtado’s water fix bill
Hurtado secures $145.64 million for southern Central Valley, more funding needed
“Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement today, regarding this year’s budget: “This budget has provided the Valley with the largest investment in a long time—$100 million to fund water conveyance projects,” said Senator Hurtado. “While I am grateful, and there are other great things in the budget that will help the Central Valley tremendously, it is difficult to celebrate knowing that this investment is a drop in the ocean. There are families in my district who do not have running water in their homes. These families are unable to cook, bathe their children, and use the restroom. Several communities will benefit from this budget, but until all of the communities receive adequate funding—Senate District 14 is not whole.” … ” Continue reading from Senator Hurtado’s website here: Hurtado secures $145.64 million for southern Central Valley, more funding needed
Australia’s water tragedy has urgent lessons for America
” … in Australia rights to irrigation water can now be traded as a market commodity like energy or soybeans. Annual trading of irrigation water rights is worth $A1.8 billion directly. The total market value of water rights is estimated at $A26.3 billion, and the true value of trading and rights is much larger than these figures suggest. Apart from an overall ‘cap’ on the volume of water that can be used for irrigation, there are few limits on the market, including where water can be traded, how it is used, and who can participate in the market. As a result, professional traders and brokers and hedge funds have established strong positions in the Australian water market, actively trading different types of rights in pursuit of arbitrage profits – buying and selling water to profit from price differences. The federal and state governments and others have welcomed these traders as a source of market ‘liquidity’ and as a driver of correct pricing of water rights. … The US can take a lot of lessons from Australia – about market design, and about the risks and pitfalls that no design can address ... ” Read more from Pursuit here: Australia’s water tragedy has urgent lessons for America
Water futures market fails to make a splash with California farmers
“Former bond trader Alan Boyce is just the type of California farmer expected to dive into the world’s first water futures contract. Boyce is comfortable navigating financial tools, and he grows irrigated pistachios, tomatoes, alfalfa and other crops in California’s drought-prone Central Valley. But he says the water contract is still too illiquid to benefit him. Financial exchange operator CME Group (CME.O) launched the contract late last year to help big California water users such as farmers and utilities hedge rising drought risk and give investors a sense of how scarce water is at any given time. The exchange and a United Nations report said this is the first water futures contract in the world. ... ” Read more from Reuters News here: Water futures market fails to make a splash with California farmers
Water and housing needs collide in California’s severe drought
“Housing advocates and developers are warily watching California’s intensifying drought and what it may mean in a state that needs millions of new homes to house its residents. Eighty-five percent of the state is in extreme drought. And in coastal Marin County, north of San Francisco, rainfall is at its lowest levels since records began 140 years ago. It’s here where the state’s twin issues of housing stock and water availability are colliding. But it could be a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the state. ... ” Read more from Bloomberg Law here: Water and housing needs collide in California’s severe drought
Coalition opposes Temporary Urgency Changes for CVP and SWP
“A coalition of Delta-based groups has sent a formal Petition for Reconsideration to the State Water Board opposing the Board’s June 1 order to relax water quality standards for Delta operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. The Temporary Urgency Change Order (TUCO) was issued by the Water Board on June 1, 2021. “The State Water Board issued its order before receiving all public input, including from our coalition,” said Tim Stroshane, policy analyst with Restore the Delta. (RTD was joined in the reconsideration request by Little Manila Rising and Save California Salmon. “We insist they reconsider their order to take account of deliveries they made to northern California senior water right holders instead of holding water back for young salmon and to protect against Delta harmful algal blooms this summer. The only thing they seemed to feel was urgent was making sure rice and almond growers got their irrigation water this spring and summer.” … ” Read more from Restore the Delta here: Coalition opposes Temporary Urgency Changes for CVP and SWP
Report: groundwater overhaul could threaten drinking water of more than a million Valley residents
“As drought settles over the San Joaquin Valley, a new report warns of other circumstances that could result in entire communities losing drinking water. More than a million Valley residents could lose their public water in coming decades under the sweeping groundwater legislation known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), according to the paper published earlier this month by the non-profit Pacific Institute. Signed into law in 2014, SGMA aims over the next two decades to reduce California’s groundwater deficit by balancing water pumped out of the ground with the amount replenished. The groundwater overhaul called for the state’s groundwater basins to be divided into hundreds of local governing boards known as groundwater sustainability agencies (GSA), each of which has created its own sustainability plan to ostensibly meet the needs of all of its water users. The report argues, however, that many of these plans will leave more vulnerable communities behind … ” Read more from Valley Public Radio here: Report: groundwater overhaul could threaten drinking water of more than a million Valley residents
How does cannabis cultivation affect California’s water?
“The rise in legal cannabis cultivation in California has brought a once-clandestine industry out of the shadows. Legalization has begun to illuminate the industry’s impacts on ecosystems and water—a particularly fraught issue as the state confronts a new drought. We spoke with Van Butsic and Ted Grantham, co-directors of UC Berkeley’s Cannabis Research Center and adjunct fellows at the PPIC Water Policy Center, to better understand how cannabis cultivation affects the state’s water. What is the extent of cannabis cultivation in California? Van Butsic: We’re approaching 8,000 legal cannabis farms in the state, including permitted indoor and outdoor growing facilities. But most farms statewide are not permitted. ... ” Read more from the PPIC here: How does cannabis cultivation affect California’s water?
Report: Dispute resolution clauses in interorganizational coordination agreements: A comparative analysis
“California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a landmark piece of legislation in the quest for comprehensive management of California’s groundwater, required the creation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), and authorized local governments either to form GSAs separately or join with other local governments in the same groundwater basin. This was the genesis of 74 interorganizational agreements now examined in a new report, which focuses on whether, given the high stakes and history of conflict in water resources management in California, participants were prepared for disagreements with dispute resolution clauses in their planning. This report, Dispute Resolution Clauses in Interorganizational Coordination Agreements: A Comparative Analysis, takes advantage of the unique circumstance of so many interorganizational agreements with the same origin being formed at the same time and finds considerable room for further education and advocacy regarding the importance of providing for conflict and its resolution in interorganizational coordination in order to resolve disputes and avoid litigation. This comparative analysis shows the benefits of proactive management of conflict to reduce costs and increase efficiency in interorganizational relationships.” Download the report here: Report: Dispute resolution clauses in interorganizational coordination agreements: A comparative analysis
Report: Delta Adapts: Creating a climate resilient future
“The time to act is now. Climate change is already altering the physical environment of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Delta), and we will continue to experience its effects through hotter temperatures, more severe wildfires, and prolonged droughts. Over the long term, climate change in the Delta is expected to harm human health and safety, disrupt the economy, diminish water supply availability and usability, shift ecosystem function, compromise sensitive habitats, and increase the challenges of providing basic services. Many of these impacts will disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. Although the exact extent and timing of these impacts is uncertain, this climate change vulnerability assessment phase of Delta Adapts will help the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) understand specific regional climate risks and vulnerabilities. … ” Read or download report at the Delta Stewardship Council here: Report: Delta Adapts: Creating a climate resilient future
It’s some of America’s richest farmland. But what is it without water?
“In America’s fruit and nut basket, water is now the most precious crop of all. It explains why, amid a historic drought parching much of the American West, a grower of premium sushi rice has concluded that it makes better business sense to sell the water he would have used to grow rice than to actually grow rice. Or why a melon farmer has left a third of his fields fallow. Or why a large landholder farther south is thinking of planting a solar array on his fields rather than the thirsty almonds that delivered steady profit for years. “You want to sit there and say, ‘We want to monetize the water?’ No, we don’t,” said Seth Fiack, a rice grower here in Ordbend, on the banks of the Sacramento River, who this year sowed virtually no rice and instead sold his unused water for desperate farmers farther south. “It’s not what we prefer to do, but it’s what we kind of need to, have to.” … ” Read more from the New York Times here: It’s some of America’s richest farmland. But what is it without water?
Radio show: How is California preparing for a future with less water?
“On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’re discussing California’s ongoing drought. The lack of rain and dwindling snow packs have led to critically low water levels in California’s reservoirs and severe drought conditions in much of the state. In May, California Governor Gavin Newsom placed 41 of the state’s 58 counties under a drought emergency. With California in the midst of another drought, how is the state preparing for a possible water shortage? What will it take to truly address this crisis?” Guests: Mark Arax, award-winning journalist and author of The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California’ Julie Cart, environment reporter for CalMatters Listen to radio show from KALW here: Radio show: How is California preparing for a future with less water?
Extreme heat challenging West Coast crops
“The extreme heat wave that has ushered in the summer of ’21 is causing headaches for growers throughout the West Coast, as temperatures have soared as high as 115 degrees in Red Bluff, Calif., and flirted with a record 115 in normally misty Portland, Ore. A string of afternoons with highs well into the 110s have dried out numerous crops in California’s Central Valley, while elevated humidity has hurt hay quality in the Imperial Valley, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Extreme heat challenging West Coast crops
Rattlesnakes, bears are everywhere in California now because of epic drought
“Widespread droughts throughout the West Coast are leading to a surge in wildlife sightings in urban areas in California, specifically sightings involving rattlesnakes and bears. “I am busier than I have ever been,” Len Ramirez, owner of Ramirez Rattlesnake Removal company, told The Guardian. “Complaints are coming in from all over the state.” As Changing America previously reported, 72 percent of Western U.S. states are experiencing a “severe” drought, with 26 percent experiencing an “exceptional drought” — the region’s worst drought in 1,200 years. The severity of such a hot and dry climate not only results in the prime conditions for more wildfires, but it is causing wildlife to wander into urban and developed areas in search of water and a reprieve from the hostile conditions. … ” Read more from The Hill here: Rattlesnakes, bears are everywhere in California now because of epic drought
California’s native blue oak faces destruction due to worsening drought
“A new study released Monday found that recent years of drought in California devastated the state’s blue oak woodlands, destroying more than 460 square miles of blue oak, a tree only found in the Golden State. Named for the color of its leaves, the blue oak woodlands date back to pre-European settlement and are considered “one of the most biologically diverse” ecosystems in the state, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Climate. “Our findings indicate that droughts that last several years, and which occur along with warmer than historically normal temperatures, pose serious threats to the blue oak woodlands,” said first author Francis Dwomoh of ASRC Federal Data Solutions in a statement. ... ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: California’s native blue oak faces destruction due to worsening drought
Forest health project pipelines can deliver regional resilience
“There has been a lot of emphasis lately in forest management on building “project pipelines.” But what does this mean and why is it important? In most cases a project will take five to seven years to progress from a concept to completion. The project proponents have to design the project, obtain environmental clearance (CEQA and NEPA), secure funding, put together an implementation team, and finally complete the work. If a project team waited until one project was complete before starting this process for the next project, there would be a multi-year gap when no work was getting done. To increase the pace and scale of forest restoration, this cycle must be shortened. Ideally, as soon as one project is completed (or even before), there is another project queued up, already funded and ready to go. This also benefits the organization by providing stable funding for staff and overhead. As an organization builds capacity, it can increase the number of projects so that the flow of work continues to increase, which in turn continues to build and support organizational capacity. ... ” Read more from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy here: Forest health project pipelines can deliver regional resilience
Loss of CA eelgrass leads to coastal erosion, hurts marine life
“An important part of California’s coastal ecosystem, eelgrass, is disappearing, with 90% gone since the 1950s. A report commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts found 50% to 65% of the eelgrass restoration efforts are successful. The study showed the choice of where to replant is the most important factor. Melissa Ward, post-doctoral researcher at San Diego State University and co-author of the report, said eelgrass has many benefits. “It can improve water quality. It stabilizes the sediment. It also acts as a nursery habitat for a lot of baby animals, like Dungeness crab, California spiny lobster, halibut and Pacific herring,” Ward outlined. … ” Read more from the Public News Service here: Loss of CA eelgrass leads to coastal erosion, hurts marine life
In commentary today …
Proposed budget doesn’t do justice to water storage
Assemblymember Vince Fong writes, “Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative Democrats had the opportunity to alleviate the state’s twin crises of drought and wildfire by including resources for ongoing funding, prescribed burning and water storage in this year’s budget. These solutions are not new, but they require political will. In light of the haunting memories of past catastrophic wildfires, this year’s budget will miss an opportunity. Sacramento failed to learn from its past mistakes. The proposed budget provides $258 million – a reduction from a proposed $1 billion – for wildfire prevention and response efforts and $3 billion for drought, but lacks any water storage commitment. Critical details are lacking, with discussions ongoing. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Proposed budget doesn’t do justice to water storage
In regional water news and commentary today …
Commentary: How Klamath dam removal benefits the region
Glen Spain, the northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, writes, “A June 16 opinion piece by Charles Ehlers outlined what the author perceived as lost benefits if the four lower Klamath dams are removed. Any real or imagined “benefits” fade quickly when contrasted with what these aging dams are costing, every year they remain. … The need for augmented river flows remains, so long as the four Klamath dams remain in place. While severe drought conditions prompted Reclamation to suspend additional flows this year, upper basin agriculture had better brace itself for future flows targeting disease every year the dams remain. Is that a wise use of water when numerous studies have concluded that dams are a primary reason creating the need for seasonal “flushing flows” because the dams foster the very disease hotspots those flows are targeting? … ” Read more from the Herald & News here: Commentary: How Klamath dam removal benefits the region
C’waam and Koptu: The fish at the center of the Klamath Basin’s water crisis
“At almost 30 miles long, Upper Klamath Lake is the home to several types of fish that live only here. Two of them are called C’waam and Koptu in the Klamath Tribes’ traditional language or, in English, the Lost River and shortnose sucker. They have a stubby face and wide lips, and can live to be 50-years-old. “They’re an endemic species,” he says. “It’s only found here, nowhere else in the universe. And due to their sort of near-extinction-level status they are becoming something of a figurehead in the water crisis here.” … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: C’waam and Koptu: The fish at the center of the Klamath Basin’s water crisis
Despite wildfire risk in the region, fireworks are (mostly) still allowed
“As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, many areas in Southern Oregon and Northern California are facing record-breaking temperatures and extreme drought. Despite the risk of wildfire, many towns and counties in the region are permitting the use of fireworks this Fourth of July. Tom Fields works with the Oregon Department of Forestry as a Fire Prevention Coordinator. He says the use of fireworks is a huge fire risk, and he advises people to be extremely cautious. “We’re just asking everyone to raise their fire prevention awareness,” said Fields. “Put their Smokey Bear hat on, and think about the activities that they’re conducting and whether or not that activity is prone to start a fire.” … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Despite wildfire risk in the region, fireworks are (mostly) still allowed
Low water levels at Shasta Lake are causing hazards for boaters
“If you’re boating on Shasta Lake, watch for sand bars, new islands, and snags as the water level drops. KRCR Reporter Alexandria Williams joined the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Boating Safety Unit out on Shasta Lake Thursday to see the hazards popping up out on the water. Deputy Cary Erickson said the water level is becoming increasingly dangerous because not all trees and islands below the water may be visible yet and boats could potentially hit them out on the water. … ” Read more from KRCR TV here: Low water levels at Shasta Lake are causing hazards for boaters
Protecting fish and wildlife in a world of fire: the Sims Fire footprint
“The 2004 Sims Fire and its aftermath represent an ecological recurring nightmare. The same acres on Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Six Rivers National Forest are burning again and again. The same thing is happening across the West. Old forests are losing ground, more and more acres are set back to ecological ground zero, and the fish and wildlife that depend on them are in danger. In the wake of last summer’s million-acre August complex wildfire which burned onto these same national forests, the 4,030-acre Sims Fire sounds small by comparison. But parts of the Sims Fire footprint have burned two more times since 2004. Much of it burned with such intensity that it resulted in severe fire effects, killing large patches of old growth forest. … ” Continue reading at the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Protecting fish and wildlife in a world of fire: the Sims Fire footprint
Willits water reservoirs at “normal” capacity
“Both reservoirs that supply the City of Willits with water are currently at normal capacity for this time of year, according to City of Willits Public Works Director Scott Herman. Herman said, “We are at 83 percent in both reservoirs, it’s an average year.” The Centennial and Morris reservoirs supply water to residents and businesses within the city limits. The reservoirs also supply water to some outside of city limits. To keep the water supply pristine, there are no recreational activities allowed at either reservoir. The scenic lakes sit just south of town and are part of the Eel River Watershed, California’s third largest watershed with headwaters in Lake County, forks of the river that flow through Mendocino and Trinity counties before the river meets the ocean in Humboldt County. … ” Read more from the Willits News here: Willits water reservoirs at “normal” capacity
Russian River water sustains more than 600,000 North Bay residents
“Water drawn from the Russian River by six wells near Forestville serves more than 600,000 residents from Windsor to San Rafael. And it will not run out this year or next, officials say — though stored supplies are lower now at this time of year than they’ve ever been. Sonoma Water, the county agency the operates the regional water system, maintains 88 miles of pipelines transporting water to Santa Rosa, Windsor, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma and Sonoma, two water districts in Marin County and one in Sonoma Valley. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Russian River water sustains more than 600,000 North Bay residents
Russian River drought: Sonoma and Mendocino residents save the little water they have
“The genesis of the Russian River estuary begins in two coastal range mountain valleys, the heart of Mendocino County. Both basins are known for what they produce — Redwood Valley for its smooth, full-bodied wine and Potter Valley for the sweetness of its pears and round, plump melons. But the current drought, exacerbated by human-caused climate change, is showcasing the region’s precarious water situation. The river, flowing downhill for 110 miles to the ocean, is the lifeblood of farms, and the main source of drinking water for 600,000 people across three counties. But without two reservoirs — Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma — and hundreds of water diversions during wet times, the river would be dry. … ” Read more from KQED here: Russian River drought: Sonoma and Mendocino residents save the little water they have
Russian River dam replacement causing partial closure of the river (radio show)
“More troubles for the Russian River this summer. The Russian River will be closed near Forestville until October due to the need to replace the seasonal rubber dam. The dam just downstream from the Woehler Bridge is “past its useful life expectancy” – it was installed in 1995. Fortunately, officials say the replacement project will not affect delivering water to North Bay residents. The Upper river down to Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach and Riverfront Park remain open though drought conditions are noticeable. Sonoma County Water Agency General Manager Grant Davis spoke with KSRO’s Michelle Marques about this and other issues facing the Russian River.” Listen at KSRO here: Russian River dam replacement causing partial closure of the river (radio show)
New rain season starts this week. Where do San Luis Obispo County rainfall totals, lake levels stand?
“This Thursday, July 1, is the start of the 2021 rainfall year season. So, what were the rainfall totals throughout the Central Coast for the last rainfall year season, which will end on Wednesday, June 30, before possible thunderstorms produce rain on Thursday, the start of the 2021 rain season? Cal Poly recorded 13.34 inches of rain, or about 60% of average precipitation. If not for the late January atmospheric river event that stalled over Cambria and retrograded northward toward Big Sur before moving southward into southern San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties, this would have been the driest year on record since 1869 at Cal Poly. … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: New rain season starts this week. Where do San Luis Obispo County rainfall totals, lake levels stand?
Watershed Improvement Program builds capacity in eastern Sierra
“The east side of the Sierra Nevada is remote and sparsely populated. Like many rural places, it has struggled with a lack of local resources to plan and implement large complex projects. That is about to change. In 2019, the SNC invested in the Eastern Sierra Climate & Communities Resilience Project (ESCCRP) to engage stakeholders, create a partnership, and collaboratively develop a needs assessment, project goals, and proposed actions. Over the past 1.5 years, the project has done just that with the help of another SNC grant recipient, the Eastern California Water Association (ECWA). ECWA is assisting with planning and funding by facilitating meetings and participating in developing grant proposals focused on forest and wildfire resilience. And it’s working. … ” Read more from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy here: Watershed Improvement Program builds capacity in eastern Sierra
Lemoore council ratifies emergency, gets update on water tank explosion
“The Lemoore City Council ratified an emergency declaration and got an update on an explosion which killed one and destroyed a water tank last week during a special session Monday. The June 21 explosion dumped 1.5 million gallons of water, threw a water tank 70 feet in the air, and caused a wave which took out solar panels, communication with the pump station and killed contractor Dion Jones, a 41-year-old father of three. ... ” Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here: Lemoore council ratifies emergency, gets update on water tank explosion
Presentation to discuss Santa Ynez Valley groundwater
“Santa Ynez Valley residents are invited to a discussion on the region’s groundwater. WE Watch and the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society are hosting a presentation by Bill Buelow of the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The speaker will discuss the three Groundwater Sustainability Plans that are currently being developed for the Santa Ynez River Basin and will be submitted to the state in January. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara News Press here: Presentation to discuss Santa Ynez Valley groundwater
Port Hueneme: South coast port channel deepening project talked about for more than a quarter of a century complete
“A tugboat is slowly moving through the Port of Hueneme, past a huge ship being unloaded by longshoremen. The tug has more than a dozen community leaders onboard, as the Port showcases its latest major improvement project. But, you can’t actually see it. A more than ten million dollar project to make the port more accessible by deepening the channel is complete, increasing it from 35 to 40 feet. … ” Read more from KCLU here: Port Hueneme: South coast port channel deepening project talked about for more than a quarter of a century complete
Southern California to see elevated fire weather, possible monsoon storms this week
“Monsoonal thunderstorms loom this week, bringing the potential for dangerous lightning strikes and elevated fire conditions, forecasters said. The high temperatures of the past several days were expected to peak Monday before tapering off later in the week, meteorologists with the National Weather Service said. Much of the region was under excessive heat warnings until 9 p.m. Monday. Temperatures climbed into the triple digits Monday in several cities, including Palm Springs (117) and Indio (113). Forecasters warn that monsoonal thunderstorms could follow the feverish temperatures between Tuesday and Thursday, with the worst expected Wednesday. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Southern California to see elevated fire weather, possible monsoon storms this week
Commentary: San Diego County must not suffer if Fallbrook and Rainbow leave Water Authority
Keith Lewinger and Mel Katz, members of the San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors, writes, “With nearly 100 years of combined experience working on important regional issues across San Diego County, we wanted to share some observations about a proposal currently pending among our region’s water providers. The Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District have filed applications to leave the San Diego County Water Authority and instead get their water from an agency in Riverside County. First and foremost, this is a regional decision that has regional implications. Rainbow and Fallbrook’s plan for leaving for Riverside will raise water bills on every family and business in San Diego County, all while our economy is trying to recover from a recession caused by the pandemic. … ” Read more from the Times of San Diego here: San Diego County must not suffer if Fallbrook and Rainbow leave Water Authority
Santee Lakes celebrates 60th anniversary
“Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve has been celebrating its 60th anniversary during the month of June. The 190‐acre park surrounding seven lakes has been around since it received San Diego County Health Department approval in 1961. The site has five miles of walking and biking trails, a campground with 300 full hook-up sites, seven lakefront cabins and three floating rental cabins on Lake 7. The lake allows for fishing with a permit and there are more than 200 species of birds that have been documented at the park. The preserve also has seven playgrounds, a brand new administrative building and a revamped general store that rents out pedal boats. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Santee Lakes celebrates 60th anniversary
Port of San Diego to replenish sand at Kellogg Beach to protect from erosion
“The Port of San Diego announced Monday that sand replenishing at Kellogg Beach will begin next week to help protect it from natural erosion. Around 2,200 cubic yards of natural sand will be placed on the beach between Kellogg and McCall streets beginning on or shortly after July 6. The project is anticipated to be completed in two to three weeks, said Port of San Diego spokeswoman Brianne Mundy Page. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Port of San Diego to replenish sand at Kellogg Beach to protect from erosion
U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear Michael Abatti’s Colorado River water case challenging IID
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously declined a petition by Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti claiming he and a handful of other agricultural landowners, not the Imperial Irrigation District, held senior rights to Colorado River water that nearly 40 million people across the West depend on. The decision likely is the last stop for a torturous legal battle that dates back to 2013. As the law stands, farmers have a guaranteed right to water delivery but not a special claim above other users like homes and geothermal plants. … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear Michael Abatti’s Colorado River water case challenging IID
U.S. Supreme Court denies Abatti’s ‘certiorari’ petition
“Imperial Valley grower and landowner Michael Abatti’s petition for a “writ of certiorari” with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District’s decision in Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District was denied on Monday morning, June 28. The denial came with no explanation and was part of a 41-page summary of all writ of certiorari petition approvals, pending decisions, and blanket denials. The reference to Abatti’s denial is on page 4 of the document. … ” Read more from the Holtville Tribune here: U.S. Supreme Court denies Abatti’s ‘certiorari’ petition
Along the Colorado River …
Is it time to start thinking about the worst-case scenario on Lake Mead?
Joanna Allhands, opinion columnist, writes, “It seemed like Colorado River basin states were ahead of the curve in 2007 when we enacted a 20-year set of guidelines that spelled out what would happen if Lake Mead were to ever fall into a shortage. But a decade later, as water levels at the lake plummeted, it was clear that we hadn’t planned nearly enough for shortage. A “stress test” that better accounted for more recent drought conditions revealed that if we didn’t do more to prop up water levels, there was an unacceptably high chance of the lake tanking within a few years. That hydrology helped solidify support for even more stringent cuts in the Drought Contingency Plan that overlaid the 2007 guidelines. But now, just two years in, we’re facing roughly the same chances of falling back into danger territory again. … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: Is it time to start thinking about the worst-case scenario on Lake Mead?
Colorado River research sheds light on Grand Canyon’s future
“Researchers from Oregon State University say ecological data gathered during a recent low-flow experiment in the Grand Canyon is a key step toward understanding Colorado River ecosystems as the amount of water in the river continues to decline. Dave Lytle, professor of integrative biology, and Ph.D. students Angelika Kurthen and Jared Freedman teamed with scientists from the United States Geological Survey during the March 2021 project to examine the quantity and diversity of invertebrates in the river. Monitoring aquatic invertebrates is an important tool for keeping track of stream health. ... ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Colorado River research sheds light on Grand Canyon’s future
‘Soupy mixture of blackness’ from mudslides forces Glenwood Springs to alter how residents get water
“It looks like travelers can expect a mixed bag of Interstate 70 openings and closings as rain hits Glenwood Canyon this week. But there’s some good news. People who live in Glenwood Springs can go back to regular water restrictions already in place before the slides Tuesday morning, as the city says it is now drawing enough water from the Roaring Fork River to allow more water use. City officials had asked people to suspend lawn watering altogether after the water it draws from the No Name drainage in Glenwood Canyon became fouled with mud, ash and debris. “We knew last year when the Grizzly Creek Fire was hitting that it was hitting our watershed, that this is going to be a problem,” said Glenwood Springs mayor Jonathan Godes. … ” Read more from CBS Denver here: ‘Soupy mixture of blackness’ from mudslides forces Glenwood Springs to alter how residents get water
In national water news today …
Explosive growth of toxic algae threatens water supplies across US
“With a vast portion of the United States coping with exceptional drought this summer, conditions are ripe in many places for harmful algal blooms, bringing additional threats to already-stressed water systems and increased health risks for communities. The blooms are in large part fueled by phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from industrial agricultural operations, which provide a feast of nutrients for cyanobacteria — a group of aquatic, photosynthetic bacteria that grow out of control and overwhelm their ecosystems in the presence of excess nutrients. … ” Read more from TruthOut here: Explosive growth of toxic algae threatens water supplies across US
CRS Report: Controlling lead in public drinking water supplies
“Communities may face a range of issues associated with aging water infrastructure, including elevated lead levels in tap water. Because of lead’s toxicity, even at low levels, reducing lead exposures from drinking water and other sources remains a public health priority. Other sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and contaminated soil and dust from deteriorated lead-based paint. Nationally, the phaseouts of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint, along with regulatory controls and technical changes, have reduced lead exposures. Since the late 1970s, overall blood lead levels in children (ages one to five) have declined an estimated 94%. ... ” Read more from the Congressional Research Service here: CRS Report: Controlling lead in public drinking water supplies
Reps. DeFazio, Pallone announce details of $715B Surface Transportation and Water Infrastructure bill
“U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced Thursday new details of the $715 billion INVEST in America Act, which is scheduled to be sent to the House floor this week. The bill, the congressmen said, will create jobs, rebuild and reimagine the country’s roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater infrastructure, as well as the drinking water infrastructure. ... ” Read more from Transportation Today here: Reps. DeFazio, Pallone announce details of $715B Surface Transportation and Water Infrastructure bill
White House delays agency changes to environmental law procedures under Trump rule by two years
“Government departments will get two extra years to update their procedures to accommodate Trump-era changes that weakened the implementation of a bedrock environmental law. The White House Council on Environmental Quality on Monday announced an interim final rule giving departments two extra years to propose updates to their procedures under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They were originally required to propose changes to how they would carry out the Trump-era NEPA rollback by September but will now be able to wait until September 2023. … ” Read more from The Hill here: White House delays agency changes to environmental law procedures under Trump rule by two years
Why some of the world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about water scarcity
“Major companies from across a range of sectors are increasingly concerned about the cost and availability of the world’s ultimate renewable resource: water. The availability and relatively low cost of water does not tend to capture much attention until it effectively runs out. Yet, with the climate crisis seen as a “risk multiplier” to water scarcity, analysts warn that even companies with relatively limited financial exposure to water risk should brace for disruption. It comes at a time when water prices are rising around the world. … ” Read more from CNBC here: Why some of the world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about water scarcity
Today’s featured articles …
DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: Primary production in the Delta
At the June meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Lead Scientist Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted recent research on the Delta’s food web, noted a paper on preparing for rapid changes expected from climate change, and updated the Council on the Delta Lead Scientist Office Hours and the upcoming Science Action Agenda workshop.
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BLOG ROUND-UP: Shasta operations that sacrifice endangered winter-run chinook salmon; Legislation to save the Delta Independent Science Board under negotiation; The solution to California’s water crisis lies off its coast; and more …
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