DAILY DIGEST, 8/19: Valley water districts told they’ll have to pay $25M more for water next year; CA faces unprecedented dangers as record heat, dryness combine with fierce winds; Hurtado not satisfied with money allotted for canal restoration projects; Assemblymember Frazier anchors effort to remove abandoned boats from the Delta; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • THURSDAY: CONFERENCE: Sixth Annual California Water Data Summit from 9am to 4pm. Bringing together individuals from water agencies, research teams, and other areas of the water sector, this year’s CA Water Data Summit will focus on applications of water data, collaboration, and new technology for planning and response to unforeseen events.  The CA Water Data Summit aims to encourage collaboration and provide opportunities for members of different organizations to interact and engage with new ideas and approaches to water data.  Click here to register.
  • THURSDAY: PUBLIC WEBINAR: California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program Survey from 10am to 11:30am. The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a public webinar training session on how to complete the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program Survey which will collect information on drinking water residential and commercial arrearages, as well as revenue loss during the COVID–19 pandemic. This survey will help the State Water Board determine Program eligibilities, application requirement, and the allocation of funds for community water systems.  For full meeting notice and remote access instructions, click here.
  • THURSDAY: California State Adaptation Strategy Extreme Heat Workshop from 4pm to 6pm. As a part of the 2021 update to the State Adaptation Strategy (Strategy), California is developing an Extreme Heat Framework that will identify a strategic and comprehensive set of state actions to adapt and build resilience to this climate risk. To inform this effort, the State is hosting an Extreme Heat Workshop to solicit your input on actions to consider for inclusion in this framework. This Workshop will center on permeable infrastructure and shading, urban design, air conditioning, and more.   Click here to register.

In California water news today …

San Joaquin Valley water districts told they’ll have to pay $25 million more for water next year

It’s bad enough there’s little water to go around.  But now, some local water districts are being told they’ll have to pay a lot more for the little they’ll eventually get next year.  And now, they’re calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to intervene, as they’re being asked to pay an additional $25 million for water from the State Water Project.  The Department of Water Resources has told water districts in the San Joaquin Valley Region, including Tulare Lake Water Basin Storage District, Empire West Side Irrigation District, Kings County and some districts in Kern County, that their cost of water will increase between 13 and 18 percent in 2022. … ”  Read more from KMPH here: San Joaquin Valley water districts told they’ll have to pay $25 million more for water next year

South Valley communities on verge of running out of water press Newsom to halt 18% rate hike

As if California’s drought situation could get no worse, water agencies and poor communities in the southern San Joaquin Valley are confronting a new reality.  While they receive no water from the State Water Project, they’re being hit with rate hikes of up to 18 percent from last year by California water officials.  In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, state water users in the old Tulare Lake bed – including water agencies that serve some of the state’s poorest communities – called for the Department of Water Resources to halt its planned hike on water rates. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: South Valley communities on verge of running out of water press Newsom to halt 18% rate hike

Dropping daily: Four of California’s five largest reservoirs below 50% of normal mid-August capacity

California’s fifth largest reservoir — San Luis — is now at 16 percent of capacity.  The nation’s largest off-stream reservoir with the ability to hold 2,041,000 million acre feet exists to divert excess winter and spring river flows headed for the Pacific Ocean. As such it underscores the fact the entire Central Valley, the southern Sierra, the North Bay, and the East Bay are in exceptional drought — the worst designation of the United States Department of Agriculture drought monitor.  Historically on Aug. 16 San Luis would be at 36 percent of capacity. ... ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Dropping daily: Four of California’s five largest reservoirs below 50% of normal mid-August capacity

California faces unprecedented dangers as record heat, dryness combine with fierce winds

With more than a million acres burned fairly early in the fire season, California is entering uncharted territory as the record dry conditions that have fueled so much destruction will soon combine with seasonal winds that fire officials fear will bring unprecedented dangers.  Officials have attributed warming temperatures and worsening drought to the explosive growth of fires, mostly in the mountains of Northern California, this summer.  And while the fire-prone state has seen gusty winds this season, many experts fear that the impending arrival of strong Santa Anas and Diablos — which typically move in around mid-September — could mark even more misery for weary residents and beleaguered fire crews. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California faces unprecedented dangers as record heat, dryness combine with fierce winds

With drought worsening, how close is Southern California to strict water restrictions?

Unlike other parts of the state, Southern California has avoided the worst of the drought-inspired water restrictions because of ample supplies.  But that could be changing.  The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday issued a supply alert, calling on the region to conserve vital resources and prepare for continued drought. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: With drought worsening, how close is Southern California to strict water restrictions?

In drought-ravaged California, could desalination be the answer to our water problems?

If you haven’t noticed yet, we are in the middle of a mega-drought in California.  It’s becoming more and more obvious that water is really our most precious resource. And most of it is shipped in from elsewhere.  But speaking of shipping, there’s also the other stuff that ships are actually floating in. So why can’t we just drink that? … ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 here: In drought-ravaged California, could desalination be the answer to our water problems?

Senator Hurtado not satisfied with money allotted for canal restoration projects

California’s water infrastructure is decades old and drastically needs to be fixed.  Valley Senator Melissa Hurtado just got water repair money from the Governor but it’s far less than what she wanted.  Senator Hurtado got $100-million from Governor Newsom in her water bill. But it’s $685-million short of what she was seeking.  The money will go to four water projects, the San Joaquin and San Luis Divisions of the California Aqueduct, Delta-Mendota Canal and the Friant-Kern Canal. … ”  Read more from Fox 26 News here: Senator Hurtado not satisfied with money allotted for canal restoration projects

SEE ALSOAt San Luis Reservoir, Hurtado Calls for Increased Investment in Water Infrastructure in the Face of Worsening Drought, press release from Senator Melissa Hurtado

Assemblymember Jim Frazier anchors effort to remove abandoned boats from the Delta

Efforts to rid the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta of abandoned boats received a boost when Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-11, secured a $12 million allocation for that purpose in the state’s budget for fiscal year 2021 – 2022.  The allocation is specifically earmarked for the removal of abandoned and derelict commercial vessels that litter the Delta. These vessels have the potential to leak any number of dangerous pollutants into the Delta, which is also the heart of the water supply for two-thirds of all Californians. ... ”  Read more from The Press here: Assemblymember Jim Frazier anchors effort to remove abandoned boats from the Delta

Dirty water: Toxic “forever” PFAS chemicals are prevalent in the drinking water of environmental justice communities (w/interactive map)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are toxic chemicals that have been linked to multiple serious health harms, such as cancer and developmental and reproductive harm. Unfortunately, PFAS are widely used in everyday products such as nonstick cookware, water-resistant clothing, and food packaging. Even worse, PFAS are very resistant to break down—and can accumulate to dangerously high levels in the human body. Monitoring shows that virtually all people residing in the United States have some level of PFAS in their bodies. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Dirty water: Toxic “forever” PFAS chemicals are prevalent in the drinking water of environmental justice communities

California drought dims one family’s Eden: ‘Without water, you’re nothing’

Fourteen years ago, Heriberto Sevilla came across a ranch on the outskirts of Madera set among fields of stalk grass and bright wildflowers. Pepper trees dotted the meadow, and children played in the natural lakes created by heavy rains.  It was the perfect place to raise a big family. So the 51-year-old native of Chilapa, Mexico, bought it and made sure the property included a functioning well. … But then a darkness came over the little Eden the Sevillas had created.  … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California drought dims one family’s Eden: ‘Without water, you’re nothing’

Voluntary drought initiative designed to protect fish

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries announced a Voluntary Drought Initiative recently designed to protect populations of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon from the effects of the current unprecedented drought.  The initiative provides a framework for water users to enter into individual agreements with the two agencies to maintain enough water for fish spawning and survival, and implement other collaborative actions like fish rescue, relocation, monitoring, and habitat restoration. In return, landowners and water users will benefit from a simplified permitting process under the federal and state endangered species laws and may receive incidental take authorizations for California Endangered Species Act (CESA)-listed fish in case a participant unintentionally takes a listed fish species. While individual agreements under this initiative expire Dec. 31, 2021 and may be renewed on an annual basis, prospective participants may enroll at any time. … ”  Read more from the Escalon Times here: Voluntary drought initiative designed to protect fish

‘No smoking gun.’ Algae blooms considered in mysterious death of family near Yosemite

Toxic algae blooms are among hazards being considered by investigators working to determine how a healthy Mariposa couple, their 1-year-old daughter, and dog mysteriously died along a Sierra National Forest trail.  Emergency responders this week initially treated it like a hazmat situation because of the strange circumstances – no visible body trauma – and concerns about potentially toxic gases from old mines in the area northeast of Mariposa and southwest of Yosemite National Park. The hazmat declaration was lifted Wednesday, Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: ‘No smoking gun.’ Algae blooms considered in mysterious death of family near Yosemite

Drought said exacerbating already tight power market conditions across west

The shutdown of California’s 644 MW Edward Hyatt hydroelectric power plant because of insufficient water levels at the Oroville Dam reservoir is squeezing an already tight power market in the western United States, according to Moody’s Investors Services.  On Aug. 5, the California Department of Water Resources took the plant offline. This has contributed to higher power prices in the region and is fueling concerns about electricity reliability, Moody’s analysts said in a report. … ”  Read more from Natural Gas Intelligence here: Drought said exacerbating already tight power market conditions across west

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In commentary today …

Newsom says mandatory California water restrictions can wait six weeks. Gee, wonder why?

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board writes, “Surveying the recently scorched earth of Big Basin Redwoods State Park with the nation’s top environmental official this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged that it might be time for mandatory statewide water restrictions — in six weeks or so.  What is he waiting for? It’s certainly not evidence of extraordinarily dry conditions that has yet to materialize. California is in its worst drought in about half a century, with 88% of the state experiencing at least extreme drought, the second-driest classification on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s scale. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Newsom says mandatory California water restrictions can wait six weeks. Gee, wonder why?

It’s time again for water officials to sound the alarm

The Ventura County Star editorial board writes, “California’s five-year drought that ended in 2016 was brutal, one of the most severe in history. It unfolded during historic statewide high temperatures and included the driest four-year period on record and the lowest Sierra Nevada snowpack ever recorded.  It took sacrifice and resolve, but the state made it through that challenge, thanks in part to a 25 percent reduction in urban water use mandated by former Gov. Jerry Brown.  Now drought conditions have returned — and arguably the underlying conditions are worse than those experienced five years ago. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: It’s time again for water officials to sound the alarm

Infrastructure bill gives state opportunity to fix water supply issue

Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, writes, “Once again, Californians are suffering through drought and wildfires. The climate change report recently issued by a United Nations committee of international scientists makes it clear the problem is getting worse and we must act now.  There is something we can do right now. The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate and awaiting action by the House gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help promote drought resiliency, adjust to climate change, protect the environment, mitigate wildfires, maintain a safe, healthy, local food supply and ensure communities have the water they need to run their homes and power their businesses. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Infrastructure bill gives state opportunity to fix water supply issue

What to do about the Colorado River’s megadrought ‘code red’

Dave D. White, deputy director in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University and lead author for the Southwest Chapter of the forthcoming Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), writes, ” … Beginning next January, the shortage will reduce deliveries of Colorado River water to Arizona by about 20 percent. Although water managers and farmers have been planning for this development, following the passage of state drought contingency plans in 2019, the cuts will cause some farmers to leave fields fallow, while others will rely on unsustainable groundwater pumping. The shortage also raises public alarms about the region’s long-term water security. Addressing the complex water issues facing the Southwest will require bold solutions that match the scale of the challenges — nothing less than a water “moonshot.” … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: What to do about the Colorado River’s megadrought ‘code red’

Column: The drought is drying up California’s economy: who’s responsible for opening the floodgates?

David Lynch, Co-Founder & CEO of Klir (an operating system for utilities), writes, “Cropless fields, fishless rivers, burning forests, empty reservoirs and powerless dams — either you’ve seen the headlines, or you’re living it. America’s West has run out of water.  For most of us, this is a reckoning moment. Water exists in abundance. It’s cheap, free-flowing and limitless. We’re quite literally swimming in the stuff.  But suddenly, that’s no longer true. California’s surging population and farming-dependent economy, coupled with sustained drought, means that demand has completely drowned out supply.  And this isn’t just a problem for this summer. This is the future of America’s West as we know it. … ”  Continue reading from Forbes here: Column: The drought is drying up California’s economy: who’s responsible for opening the floodgates?

In regional water news and commentary today …

Fish struggle to survive as water issues worsen in Klamath Basin

Another dry year is the last thing the suckers need. Two species of the bottom-feeding sucker fish that inhabit the Upper Klamath Lake and nearby rivers are struggling to survive after a century of water management in the Klamath Basin has all but drained the wetlands ecosystem where these fish once thrived.  “Historically, these fish were really incredibly abundant — we’re talking tens of millions of individuals,” said Alex Gonyaw, senior fisheries biologist of the Klamath Tribes. The tribes once relied heavily on the fish for subsistence and income. ... ”  Read more from Crosscut here: Fish struggle to survive as water issues worsen in Klamath Basin

Rejuvenating our lands: Healthy soils in the Sacramento Valley

With an increasing focus on the multiple benefits of healthy soils, the Budget Act of 2021 recently appropriated $50 million in one-time funding from the General Fund to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for implementation of the Healthy Soils Program and $40 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) to reduce greenhouse gases and save water. The CDFA’s Healthy Soils Initiative promotes the development of innovative farm and land management practices that increase water retention and infiltration, make a more effective filter that improves water quality, and sequesters carbon and reduce greenhouse gases, especially when cover crops are planted. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Rejuvenating our lands: Healthy soils in the Sacramento Valley

Utility district prevents sewage spill into Lake Tahoe

A sewage spill into Lake Tahoe was prevented this past weekend.  South Tahoe Public Utility District received a call regarding a foul odor coming from the beach by Valhalla boat house.  Upon arriving on scene, crews discovered that the sewer main had backed up causing a manhole 35 feet from the edge of Lake Tahoe to fill with sewage, the district said in a press release. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Utility district prevents sewage spill into Lake Tahoe

American River Parkway suffers more fire damage than ever before

Sacramento’s American River Parkway gets more than five million visits a year—that’s even more than Yosemite—but this year, the nature area has suffered more destructive brush fires than ever before.  Parkway advocates came face to face with politicians, firefighters and those who manage the area to demand more protection.  It has already been an unprecedented fire season along the parkway. … ”  Read more from Good Day Sacramento here: American River Parkway suffers more fire damage than ever before

North Bay Q&A: Is it sustainable for Sonoma County to build new homes during an ongoing water crisis?

Starting in 2023, the state wants Sonoma County to approve over 14,500 new homes for residents of all income levels over the following eight years.  Though no final target has been approved, officials in some of the county’s largest cities have made ramping up home construction a priority with the goal of alleviating the region’s shortage of affordable housing.  At the same time, though, the state is also mandating water cutbacks across the region during what is shaping up to be the worst local drought in more than four decades.  The two seemingly competing mandates have some questioning the wisdom of continuing to push growth in the face of a water crisis. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: North Bay Q&A: Is it sustainable for Sonoma County to build new homes during an ongoing water crisis?

Berryessa Estates faces major drought woes

Here’s another sign of drought — only an acre-and-a-half, mossy-looking pool of water remains at the Putah Creek intake pump that serves the remote, rural community of Berryessa Estates.  Low water conditions caused mechanical failures at the intake facility. That prompted the deployment of a temporary floating pump to keep water flowing to about 165 homes.  The county is monitoring the pool volume, said Christopher Silke, engineer for the Berryessa Estates water district. … ”  Read more from the Napa Valley Register here: Berryessa Estates faces major drought woes

Point Reyes: Coho surprise scientists in Pine Gulch Creek

“Juvenile coho salmon have been spotted in Pine Gulch Creek for the first time in more than a decade. A team of monitors conducting a snorkel survey of the Bolinas stream found about 80 specimens of the endangered fish last month, the National Park Service said.  For Michael Reichmuth, a fisheries biologist with the park service, it’s gratifying to see the salmon return to Pine Gulch. The salmon population in the creek crashed soon after he started his job in 2004, and the species was extirpated from the creek by 2010. “It’s nice to see them come back,” he said.  “In the salmon world, there’s lots of things to get you down,” Mr. Reichmuth added. “When you get these slivers of light, it helps the morale a little bit.” … ”  Read more from Point Reyes Light here: Point Reyes: Coho surprise scientists in Pine Gulch Creek

Scientists resurface a one-of-a-kind, 50-year-old record of San Francisco Bay life

In 1970, Jacques Cousteau’s Undersea World and reruns of Sea Hunt were at the height of their popularity, and Lynn Kimsey, a high school junior growing up in Richmond, wanted to be a marine biologist “in the worst possible way.” Kimsey spent much of her childhood outside, and when the weekends came around her mom would drive her to the San Francisco Bay shoreline, where young Lynn would wade into the mud and explore. A biology teacher at John F Kennedy High School encouraged her to collect what she found, and so Kimsey started to keep a personal record of San Francisco Bay invertebrates.  The Bay was different back then. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: Scientists resurface a one-of-a-kind, 50-year-old record of San Francisco Bay life

Danville sues Contra Costa County for approving 125 new homes in protected open space

Contra Costa County’s approval last month of 125 new homes in a wide valley of protected open space has drawn a third lawsuit, this one by the city of Danville, which lies directly east of the proposed development.  The lawsuit alleges that because Danville opposes the residential project, Contra Costa unfairly prevented it from participating in negotiations that ultimately resulted in a joint agreement allowing the county to expand its urban limit outward into the vast Tassajara Valley to encompass the 30-acre housing site. … ”  Read more from the East Bay Times here: Danville sues Contra Costa County for approving 125 new homes in protected open space

Monterey: Water board rejects terms with California American Water, throwing water crisis solution into question.

After months of disagreement over two specific terms in a contract to purchase recycled water, buyer California American Water and negotiators from the two public agencies selling the water finally came to an agreement. The agreement presented a crucial step in financing an expanded recycled water project seen by many to be the answer to the Monterey Peninsula’s water shortage.  However, when one of the agencies, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, which oversees water rights and distribution for the region, presented the finalized contract to its board of directors on Aug. 16, the board rejected the terms and sent the sides back to the table. The issue? The two specific terms that took months for negotiators to figure out. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Water board rejects terms with California American Water, throwing water crisis solution into question.

Fresno, Clovis battle drought with ‘purple pipe’ water. Toilet-to-tap next?

As the drought crisis worsens throughout California, Fresno and Clovis leaders, as well as residents, are answering the challenge.  Both cities are recycling water through “purple pipe” systems to offset non-potable usages like landscape irrigation, cooling towers, and agricultural irrigation.  In addition, they are beginning to investigate “toilet to tap” systems already in use in Orange and San Diego counties. However, local officials emphasize that using toilet-to-tap technology is at least a decade away. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Fresno, Clovis battle drought with ‘purple pipe’ water. Toilet-to-tap next?

Searles Valley Minerals asks court to adjudicate groundwater rights in Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin

“Searles Valley Minerals (Searles) filed a cross-complaint in Orange County Superior Court today that seeks a comprehensive adjudication of all groundwater rights in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin.  The purpose of the adjudication is to protect Searles’ historic, prior and paramount groundwater rights, which are necessary for its continued business operations and the continued provision of domestic water to Trona. The move is also to ensure that Searles has a decision-making role in the adjudication. 

Click here to continue reading this press release from Save Searles.

Groundwater adjudications allow groundwater pumpers to ask the court to quantify the amount of groundwater that each pumper has the right to pump from the basin. Through this process, the court defines each pumper’s groundwater right and has continuing jurisdiction to ensure compliance and adequate management of the basin.

This follows a recent decision by an Orange County judge that found Searles’ claims about its prior and paramount groundwater rights, asserted by Searles against the Authority, can move forward in court for a determination on the merits.

“Searles has proudly operated here for more than 140 years. We employ hundreds of local residents and we’ve withstood the Great Depression, two world wars and a global pandemic,” said Burnell Blanchard, Vice President of Operations for Searles. “The Authority’s actions since becoming the designated GSA for the basin, including the adoption of an exorbitant $2,130 per acre foot replenishment fee, ignore our groundwater rights, which are the most senior in the region. We owe it to our employees and Trona residents to protect those rights.”

A ‘Save Searles’ campaign has been in place for several months, representing a coalition of Searles’ employees and their families as well as local residents and businesses from the City of Ridgecrest and the town of Trona– many of whom live in what the federal and state governments have classified as underserved and severely disadvantaged communities already suffering from economic burdens. As people have learned more about the Authority’s proposed actions, the ‘Save Searles’ campaign has grown.

Metropolitan warns serious drought conditions in California counties is ‘wakeup call for what lies ahead’

When you consider all that water we use … Metropolitan Water District wants us to use less. Its General Manager Adel Hagekhalil says MWD’s Board Tuesday approved “a water supply alert over our 5200 square miles of our service area.”  This is the second year of our latest drought. It started in 2020. While 50 of California’s 58 counties are dealing with serious drought conditions, MWD officials say their banking of water the last few years has kept us afloat, but that may not be the case for long.  … ”  Read more from Fox News 11 here: Metropolitan warns serious drought conditions in California counties is ‘wakeup call for what lies ahead’

San Diego prepping long-term water solutions as state requests cuts

As California Governor Gavin Newsom asks residents of the state to cut water usage by 15%, the San Diego County Water Authority is supporting that request while simultaneously working on long-term solutions to combat water shortages.  Goldy Herbon, Senior Water Resources Specialist for the Water Resources Department at San Diego County Water Authority, said there is no imminent concern over water shortages in San Diego County, however, it is important for locals to cut back now to set the area up for success in the future. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: San Diego prepping long-term water solutions as state requests cuts

How much carbon is buried under Mission Bay? Scientists seek to know

Looking for new ways to cope with climate change, local scientists are launching an effort to determine how much buried carbon is under Mission Bay and the possible impact of proposals to restore many acres of marshland there.  Organizers of the project say preliminary estimates suggest the buried carbon could be worth millions of dollars to the city if there is widespread restoration of marshes across northern Mission Bay. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: How much carbon is buried under Mission Bay? Scientists seek to know

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Along the Colorado River …

Kelly calls for Senate hearing on Colorado River shortage declaration

Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is calling for a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on this week’s first-ever Colorado River shortage declaration. It comes as region-wide drought has heightened stress on western water resources.  Kelly wants the Senate to examine how the decision could impact Arizona cities, tribal communities and farmers. … ”  Read more from KNAU here: Kelly calls for Senate hearing on Colorado River shortage declaration

Water shortages loom over future semiconductor fabs in Arizona

Major semiconductor manufacturers looking to expand in Arizona will likely be spared from water cuts induced by an unprecedented water shortage in the Southwest, at least for now. As part of the scramble to end a shortage of another kind — the global dearth in semiconductor chips — both Intel and TSMC plan to open new facilities in Arizona. But they’re setting up shop just as one of the worst droughts in decades grows worse across the Western US. … ”  Read more from The Verge here: Water shortages loom over future semiconductor fabs in Arizona

Amid ongoing drought, water catchments across Arizona help keep wildlife alive

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the 1940s, sportsmen built water catchments in the desert in an effort to stabilize wildlife populations for hunting and fishing.  More than 80 years later, the department now maintains hundreds of these catchments, filling them with millions of gallons of water every year, but they are doing so with a different purpose in mind: to keep wildlife in Arizona alive through the drought and dry monsoons. … ”  Read more from Fox 10 Phoenix here: Amid ongoing drought, water catchments across Arizona help keep wildlife alive

Booming Colo. town asks, ‘Where will water come from?’

“”Go West, young man,” Horace Greeley famously urged.  By the tens of thousands newcomers have been streaming into Greeley — so much so that the city and surrounding Weld County grew by more than 30% from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, making it one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. And it’s not just Greeley. … ”  Continue reading at the US News and World Report here: Booming Colo. town asks, ‘Where will water come from?’

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In national water news today …

Tracking water storage shows options for improving water management during floods and droughts

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a balance sheet for water across the United States – tracking total water storage in 14 of the country’s major aquifers over 15 years.  The results were published in Environmental Research Letters on Aug. 17, 2021, with the research examining the interplay between irrigation habits and climate on water.  The study found that irrigation can be managed more effectively in humid regions of the eastern half of the United States where surface water is more readily available, a finding that could have implications for where the United States can grow food, according to the researchers. With longer-term droughts and intermittent intense flooding expected in the future, particularly in the arid western U.S., there is rising concern about overtaxing water resources in the region, especially for irrigated agriculture. … ”  Continue reading more from the University of Texas here: Tracking water storage shows options for improving water management during floods and droughts

Communication and accessibility: Analyzing water quality reports (CCRs) to improve public trust in utilities

Do you trust your water service? If they gave you regular updates on water quality and testing it’d probably help. In the United States this is legally required but a recent analysis of how this requirement is being delivered suggests there’s a lot that could be done to improve the reporting. Communicating the information in the same language as the person reading the report would be a great start. Here, William Nicholas and Sridhar Vedachalam explain why accessibility of water quality reports is so important and how it can be improved in the United States.” Read more from the Global Water Forum here: Communication and accessibility: Analyzing water quality reports (CCRs) to improve public trust in utilities

How infrastructure can prevent another water crisis

It’s no secret that we need clean, potable water in our communities. Quality water management is crucial to the foundation of society and remains a top priority for governments across the world.  When people think of the word “infrastructure,” they think of bridges, highways, and power supplies. However, often forgotten are the pipes that run underground and provide us with access to clean water and carry away runoff and waste. More organizations, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are pushing for green infrastructure to prevent future water crises from occurring. Resources need to be allocated to building more sustainable water systems.  Let’s discuss the emergence of green infrastructure and how it’s being used to lessen the risk of facing a water crisis in the future. … ”  Continue reading at the Environmental Magazine here: How infrastructure can prevent another water crisis

Facebook pledges to restore more water than it uses by 2030 as part of effort to combat climate change

“Facebook announced plans Thursday to restore more water than it consumes by the year 2030, the company’s latest initiative targeting climate change.  The company mostly uses water for cooling the banks of computers that run in its data centers. In 2020, Facebook withdrew 3.7 million cubic meters of water for a total consumption of 2.2 million cubic meters.  Facebook intends to focus its efforts in regions where it uses local water resources, but it will also look at high-risk areas that face the most challenges in terms of their water supply, said Sylvia Lee, sustainability water lead at Facebook. … ”  Read more from CNBC here: Facebook pledges to restore more water than it uses by 2030 as part of effort to combat climate change

Uncertainty dominates new NEPA approach

The Biden White House recently acted to defang one of President Trump’s signature environmental actions, but the former president’s legacy may endure in what some activists call “an era of confusion” on environmental reviews.  This month, the Council on Environmental Quality advanced what will become a three-step plan to revamp the 2020 changes to National Environmental Policy Act rules. CEQ rarely conducts environmental reviews itself; rather, the council coordinates action across dozens federal agencies.  “We are moving ahead to restore certainty to the environmental review process, and to help make sure that things get built right the first time,” a CEQ spokesperson said in an email. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Uncertainty dominates new NEPA approach

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

VELES WEEKLY WATER REPORT: NQH2O at another new all time high of $923.54 up 84.77% Year to Date. Impact Finance in water about to get big.

NOTICE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permits

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

 

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