DAILY DIGEST, 8/25: Meteorologists explain unusual lack of snow on Mt. Shasta; Water rights conversation heats up; With recall election, CA’s environmental future up for vote; How forest thinning is making wildfires worse; and more …
FREE WEBINAR: All about water quality from 10 am to 11am. Hear from the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water, Orange County Water District and the City of Fountain Valley who will discuss local and statewide water quality programs that are in place to ensure that the water that comes out of your tap is being carefully monitored and tested and continues to meet all federal and state drinking water standards. Click here for more information and to register.
WORKSHOP: Drought funding resources for counties from 10am to 11:30am. The workshop, hosted by DWR and the State Water Board, will provide an overview of funding programs, discuss the roles of counties and state agencies in drought response, and answer questions from county representatives and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) partners. The workshops are to the public but are focused on county representatives and NGO partners. Click here to register.
PUBLIC MEETING: Revising the Definition of “Waters of the United States” (small entities) from 12pm to 2pm. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) are hosting virtual public meetings on the agencies’ effort to revise the definition of “waters of the United States.” The meeting on August 25 is focused on hearing feedback from small entities. Click here to register.
GRA BRANCH MEETING: Statewide Application Of Airborne Electromagnetics (AEM) In California With A Focus On The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin from 5pm to 6pm. The California Department of Water Resources has begun the process of mapping Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) medium and high priority basins with state-of-the-art airborne electromagnetics (AEM). The technology offers the ability to collect data rapidly by being towed approximately 150 feet above the ground surface at a speed of 50 to 60 miles per hour. Results of the surveys will provide significant new spatial details of the underlying geology, aquifer system geometry and nature, and will help identify areas most suitable for recharge in the basins surveyed. Click here for more information and to register.
FREE WEBINAR: Delta Conveyance Project Informational Webinar: Climate Change from 6pm to 7:30pm. This webinar will focus on Climate Change, including: DWR’s overall climate change planning efforts, including the Department’s Climate Action Plan; Purpose of climate change analysis for the Delta Conveyance Project; Current climate change data; Approach to climate resiliency evaluation in the Draft EIR; and Climate change and other resource area analytical methods being used for evaluating potential impacts, including for air quality and traffic. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
Images show ‘unusual’ lack of snow on Mount Shasta – here’s what meteorologists say is going on
“The peaks of famously snowy Mount Shasta are looking very bare these days — and while meteorologists say the low snowpack is not unprecedented, it’s rare for this time of year. “It’s unusual,” said Ryan Sandler, a metereologist with the National Weather Service Medford, Ore., office, which covers the Central Siskiyou County area in California. “And having it so early in the season, it makes it even more unusual and that’s probably in part because temperatures have been warming and the summers have been getting hotter.” ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Images show ‘unusual’ lack of snow on Mount Shasta – here’s what meteorologists say is going on
Water rights conversation heats up
Juliet Christian Smith with the Water Foundation writes, “Are you hearing the whispers? The two words that were formerly a political third rail are now being spoken. No longer in hushed tones, but in bold print: “As drought becomes more frequent, California will — or should be — compelled to re-think its entire water system and the status of water rights will be a central and very volatile factor.” “Water rights” seem to be top of mind these days. It’s no wonder. This record-setting drought is laying bare the chaos and confusion inherent in California’s system of allocating scarce water. And the recent IPCC report makes clear that as the world continues to warm, conditions will only get hotter and drier, making water scarcity less the exception and more the rule. While there seems to be broad agreement that the current system, designed more than a century ago, is not meeting our needs today; there is much less clarity around how to fix it. Here, we provide a brief summary of some of the solutions that have been offered to-date. … ” Read more from the Water Foundation here: Water rights conversation heats up
With recall election, California’s environmental future up for vote
“California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall election in mid-September, should he lose, will very likely terminate the floundering politician’s career. A late-term gubernatorial replacement would also mean a potentially major shift in California environmental policies. If voters yank Newsom, a Democrat, from office, he is likely to be replaced by a Republican. The leading candidate, Larry Elder, is a far-right conservative and libertarian who calls climate change a “religion.” Newsom and his supporters warn that replacing him with Elder, best known as a talk show host, risks rollbacks of state fracking bans and executive orders targeting greenhouse gas emission reductions, fuel efficiency, and biodiversity conservation. The agenda of a new administration could, they say, be a disaster for California’s environmental policies and role as an international environmental leader – and would come on the heels of the United Nations’ report warning of cataclysmic and inevitable climate change and the need to curb emissions. … ” Read more from Bay Nature here: With recall election, California’s environmental future up for vote
Water funds attract $35 billion as drought drains reservoirs. A new report asks if they are worth it
“As extreme drought and water shortages plague the U.S. West and beyond, water funds have attracted about $35 billion of assets under management, according to a new Morningstar report. The trend comes as much of California faces voluntary water rationing this summer as drought parches the land, forces some farmers to destroy crops and drains reservoirs. This month, the U.S. also declared the first-ever water shortage for the Colorado River, a key supplier of water and hydropower to households and farms in seven U.S. states and Mexico. Morningstar examines whether the proliferation of water funds are worth it for investors. … ” Read more from Market Watch here: Water funds attract $35 billion as drought drains reservoirs. A new report asks if they are worth it
Legal alert: Delta curtailments update: California State Water Resources Control Board’s emergency regulations are adopted; curtailment orders issued to 4,500 Delta water users
“As discussed in our July 28, 2021 Policy Alert, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently adopted the Draft Emergency Reporting and Curtailment Regulation (Regulation), to authorize curtailments of water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The Regulation was approved by the Office of Administrative Law and became effective on August 19, 2021. While the Regulation automatically expires on August 18, 2022, one year after approval, the SWRCB is permitted to renew the Regulation if it determines that either (1) 2022 is a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years, or (2) the Governor has issued a proclamation of a State of Emergency based on drought conditions. It is likely that, if 2022 is declared a critically dry year, option (1) will be satisfied such that the SWRCB is authorized to renew the Regulation absent a new emergency proclamation. … ” Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: California State Water Resources Control Board’s emergency regulations are adopted; curtailment orders issued to 4,500 Delta water users
Legal alert: Curtailments ordered in the Delta watershed
“On August 20, 2021, the Deputy Director of the Division of Water Rights (Deputy Director) of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) issued water curtailment orders for the remainder of August and for all of September to approximately 4,500 water right holders in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed (Delta Watershed). These curtailment orders affect post-1914, pre-1914, and riparian rights, though in different ways, as described further below. The orders also include reporting requirements, with more extensive reporting required for those diverting 5,000 AFY or greater. The orders are called initial orders (Orders) and hard copies were sent to water right holders via snail mail. … ” Read more from Buchalter here: Legal alert: Curtailments ordered in the Delta watershed
A look at Lake Oroville from a birds eye view
“The reach of the drought emergency has a shocking look at as Lake Oroville drains to dirt. With a surface area of just over 15,000 acres – Lake Oroville provides water and electricity and impacts the local economy as recreation is big on this lake. California’s 14th largest lake and the second-largest reservoir is now facing the worst crisis in its 52-year history. … ” Read more and view pictures from Action News Now here: A look at Lake Oroville from a birds eye view
Scientists launch effort to collect water data in US West
“The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced a new kind of climate observatory near the headwaters of the Colorado River that will help scientists better predict rain and snowfall in the U.S. West and determine how much of it will flow through the region. The multimillion-dollar effort led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory launches next week. The team has set up radar systems, balloons, cameras and other equipment in an area of Colorado where much of the water in the river originates as snow. More than 40 million people depend on the Colorado River. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Scientists launch effort to collect water data in US West
What does never-ending drought mean for California agriculture?
“California farmers are living in the drought future they thought would take 20 more years to arrive. Last week, for the first time, federal officials declared a water shortage for the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million people in seven western states and turns dry desert into fertile farmland, including in California. … For California agriculture, which supplies one-third of the vegetables in the U.S. and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, drought is nothing new but this level is in some ways biblical. … ” Read more from Green Biz here: What does never-ending drought mean for California agriculture?
‘Gross negligence’: California county supervisor blasts U.S Forest Service over wildfires
“A damning letter drafted by the chairman of the Butte County Board of Supervisors accuses the United States Forest Service of “gross negligence” in their handling of two wildfires that have ravaged Northern California. The massive, and still-active, Dixie Fire and last year’s North Complex Fire are named in the letter, to be reviewed in a supervisor meeting on Tuesday. If supervisors vote to approve the letter it will be sent to federal authorities. “We are requesting that you investigate the PNF’s [Plumas National Forest] wildfire management decisions that were made during the North Complex Fire and portions of the Dixie Fire under the leadership of USFS,” the letter begins. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: ‘Gross negligence’: California county supervisor blasts U.S Forest Service over wildfires
Logging in disguise: How forest thinning is making wildfires worse
“Earlier this month, the Dixie Fire leveled most of the town of Greenville, California. I know the town well — I conducted fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation there. Thankfully, everyone survived. But the downtown is gone, along with 75 percent of the homes. It didn’t need to happen. Fire has always been a concern for communities like Greenville in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains. And, for decades, the U.S. Forest Service and the timber industry told the townspeople that logging tens of thousands of acres — under the guise of “thinning” — would create “fuel breaks” to slow or even stop wildfires and prevent flames from reaching Main Street. … ” Read more from The Grist here: Logging in disguise: How forest thinning is making wildfires worse
Why are fires in the West growing larger this year?
“There are a number of ways to analyze the behavior of wildland fires using data that is easily available. The amount of moisture in the live and dead vegetation is a critical factor in determining how readily it will burn, because it has to be cooked off before the grass, brush, or woody vegetation will vigorously combust. The amount of precipitation over days, weeks, months, and years affects how wildfires burn. The map above depicts precipitation during the 30-day period ending August 23, 2021. The Drought Monitor is one way of using an index to express how the precipitation compares to normal for an area. … ” Read more from Wildfire Today here: Why are fires in the West growing larger this year?
Recall candidates have shallow takes on California’s water problems
The LA Times editorial board writes, “California is suffering from extremely dry conditions, so it stands to reason that the candidates trying to oust and replace Gov. Gavin Newsom have latched onto persistent but extremely shallow and woefully outdated claims about the management of the state’s water supply. Their argument is that without Newsom (or indeed any Democrat) in the governor’s mansion, we’d have more dams, fewer wildfires, greener fields, longer showers, lusher lawns and as much pure, cool drinking water as we could possibly handle. The irony is that Newsom has actually been fairly strong in support of agriculture and fairly weak on the environment, resulting in a lot of grumbling among advocates for fish and others in the environmental community — so much so that many talk about sitting this election out, because after all, how much worse would a Larry Elder or a Kevin Faulconer be on water and the environment than Newsom? To which we say: Are you serious? ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: Recall candidates have shallow takes on California’s water problems
Drought? This is what climate change looks like in the West
Karyn Stockdale with Audubon writes, “Living back East for a few years, I missed the expansive bright blue skies of the Rockies. Now that I’ve returned to the West, I’m remembering the smoky haze that fills the sky. I’m remembering how the smell of summer has turned into the smell of smoke from wildfires. How the ash from fires hundreds of miles away sometimes coats your car and porch furniture. But it’s getting worse. I’m used to the seasonality of streams—the spring runoff that slows to a trickle with hot summer days. My kids would wait for the monsoon storms to bring back the water flowing to our arroyo. But it was shocking to see how low the rivers and streams got so early this year. … ” Read more from Audubon here: Drought? This is what climate change looks like in the West
Postcard from SoCal — What drought?
Terry McAteer writes, “We’ve all read recently about the north coast town of Mendocino going dry, but most have probably not read or heard that Southern California has no water restrictions in place. We’ve seen photos of Lake Oroville, Shasta and Folsom looking like moonscapes, while SoCal reservoirs in fact are brimming with water. You must be asking yourself: “How can Northern California be in a drought when Southern California is swimming with water?” Recently while on a four-day trip to SoCal visiting the Padres, Angels and Dodgers ballparks, I came to realize that the current California drought does not exist in the Southland. Irrigation sprinklers along the highway were chugging out water in mid-day. Nowhere did I see in any hotel rooms a notice of water restrictions. Water was provided at every meal. Worst of all, I quizzed scores of residents unaware of any drought conditions, who had not seen photos of a dry Lake Oroville, or had read about Mendocino’s plight. … ” Continue reading at The Union here: Postcard from SoCal — What drought?
Can California make do with the water it has?
Columnist Michael Smolens writes, “With the city’s sewage water recycling system moving forward and the desalination plant in Carlsbad already pumping out drinkable water, the San Diego region has some of the most ambitious water projects in the state. Those are part of a long-term strategy that San Diego water managers say will provide the region sufficient supplies through 2045. … Whatever happens in the immediate future, the long-range water prospects for San Diego and the state are a challenge. There’s a great deal of discussion among water officials and experts about whether California can make do with what it has as debate continues on developing new sources of water, particularly through desalination. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Can California make do with the water it has?
Dixie Fire isn’t just destroying towns. California’s water and power supply is under threat
Dr. Jonathan Kusel, executive director of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, writes, “The Dixie Fire has consumed over 730,000 acres and is now the second largest fire in California’s history. High winds coupled with low humidity, high temperatures and drought-parched vegetation make extinguishing it a devilish challenge in such difficult terrain. The fire destroyed much of the town of Greenville, the largest town in my valley. For weeks, I’ve gone to bed wondering if my home will still be there in the morning. But the Dixie Fire is a problem that extends well beyond the towns it continues to threaten. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Dixie Fire isn’t just destroying towns. California’s water and power supply is under threat
Monday night high school football is result of bad development patterns, not climate change
Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin, writes, “Lincoln High and Del Oro High in Placer County may have conducted a first for high school football in California. That possible first is a Monday night football game. The season opener for the two long-time rivals was supposed to have been Friday night. It was then moved to Saturday before being bumped to Monday night. The reason: Winds were bringing heavy ash to the community from 50 miles to the southeast where the Caldor Fire is basically burning out of control in El Dorado County. It is the same fire responsible for the ash Valley residents woke up to lightly coating vehicles and such on Thursday. If you haven’t noticed — and it’s bit hard not to — we’ve been going about our basic routines for more than a month while the gigantic bowl known as the Great Central Valley that we live in has been blanketed by smoke. … ” Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Monday night high school football is result of bad development patterns, not climate change
Colorado Basin shortages point to need for state action
Ed Osann with the Natural Resources Defense Council writes, “This year’s unprecedented shortage declaration for the Colorado River should galvanize all Colorado Basin states to redouble their efforts to curtail wasteful and unnecessary uses of water and build more resilient communities. The issue gains urgency with the realization that next year is unlikely to bring significant relief. Action now is needed to maintain the supply drinking water in 2022, 2023, and beyond. While agriculture uses the majority of Colorado River water, large metro areas in each of the Basin states all rely on water from the Colorado. And in six out of the seven states (all except Nevada), major cities taking river water are outside the basin, and send no return flows back. So most urban use of Colorado River water is entirely depletive, with no opportunity for reuse in the Basin. … ” Read more from the NRDC here: Colorado Basin shortages point to need for state action
Megafires: Where climate change and wildfire exclusion collide
Susan J. Prichard (University of Washington), Keala Hagmann (University of Washington), & Paul Hessburg (USFS) write, “After so many smoke-filled summers and record-setting burns, residents of Western North America are no strangers to wildfires. Still, many questions are circulating about why forest fires are becoming larger and more severe — and what can be done about it. Is climate change fueling these fires? Does the long history of fighting every fire play a role? Should we leave more fires to burn? What can be done about Western forests’ vulnerability to wildfires and climate change? We invited 40 fire and forest ecologists living across the Western U.S. and Canada to examine the latest research and answer these questions in a set of studies published Aug. 2, 2021. Collectively, we are deeply concerned about the future of Western forests and communities under climate change. So, why are wildfires getting worse? … ” Continue reading at Undark here: Megafires: Where climate change and wildfire exclusion collide
In regional water news and commentary today …
Klamath: State Water Board balances farmers, fish in watershed action
“A state drought curtailment regulation, adopted last week for the Klamath River watershed, calls for minimum instream flows but also incorporates potential voluntary actions to achieve water savings to help fish and keep farmers farming. Montague rancher Ryan Walker, president of the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau, said the State Water Resources Control Board took a balanced approach in making its decision. “One of the things that we asked for in the regs that we got was flexibility…to have some adaptive management and we got that,” Walker said. “To the board’s credit, they understood that they were doing this in a very short time frame and put in placeholders, even for the underlying flow requirements to be negotiated and certainly for the voluntary agreements to be negotiated on an ad hoc basis.” … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Klamath: State Water Board balances farmers, fish in watershed action
Supes approve trucking water from Ukiah to Mendocino
“The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution implementing a water hauling assistance program at a special meeting on Aug. 24, which will focus on trucking raw water from Ukiah to the Summer Lane reservoir in Fort Bragg to be treated — where it would then be trucked to Mendocino. The board discussed applying for a grant from the Department of Water Resources that would cover much of the cost for residential uses, though the logistics remain uncertain for business use. In the meantime, $1.5 million will be allocated for the trucking program. Water hauling sales have halted since earlier this week. … ” Read more from the Fort Bragg Advocate-News here: Supes approve trucking water from Ukiah to Mendocino
Sierra County mine agrees with U.S. EPA to install wastewater treatment, protecting local waterways
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Sixteen to One Mine, one of California’s oldest operational gold mines, has agreed to an Administrative Order on Consent requiring the mine to install a new treatment system that will remove pollutants from mine drainage before entering local waters. The mine was found to be in violation of its permit under the U.S. Clean Water Act after consistently discharging mine-influenced water that exceeded limits on pollutants. The Sixteen to One Mine, located in the Tahoe National Forest, discharges into Kanaka Creek, a tributary of the Yuba, Feather, and Sacramento Rivers. “Under the Clean Water Act, industrial wastewater must be treated before it can be discharged,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division Amy Miller. “These upgrades will be critical to protecting public health and water quality in Sierra County.” … ” Read more from the EPA here: Sierra County mine agrees with U.S. EPA to install wastewater treatment, protecting local waterways
Lake Tahoe: Environmentalists win court victory over ski resort expansion attempt
“Environmentalists won a major legal victory in their bid to stop a major redevelopment of Olympic Valley after a California appellate court found the decision-making body in charge of approving the project had misled the public. California’s Third Appellate District ruled that the Placer County Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act when it revised an agenda item related to the redevelopment of the ski resort formerly called Squaw Valley. Though the resort is referred to as Squaw Valley in the proceedings, it is undergoing a name change because “squaw” is “widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur,” per a statement from the resort’s president. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Environmentalists win court victory over ski resort expansion attempt
At annual Tahoe summit, lawmakers offer dire warning, hope about lake’s future
“The growing threat of catastrophic wildfires blazing across the West and the resulting detrimental effects, such as hazardous air quality, were top of mind for Nevada and California leaders gathered on a slightly hazy shore Thursday morning for the 25th annual Lake Tahoe Summit. Before speakers launched into remarks on climate change, wildfires, infrastructure and legislation aimed at preserving the popular year-round tourist destination, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California Chairman Serrell Smokey began with a prayer. “We’re in a changing world right now,” he said. “The waters are low. We pray for snow. We pray for better weather, we pray for better change to come … We have a lot of fires going on around right now, a lot of areas being wiped out. We pray for restoration, we pray for regrowth and new beginnings.” ... ” Read more from the Nevada Independent here: At annual Tahoe summit, lawmakers offer dire warning, hope about lake’s future
The Sacramento region’s small farmers are on the frontline of a water crisis
Judith Redmond writes, “Sometimes when I’m selling at the farmers market, people ask if our tomatoes are dry farmed. No, they aren’t. Dry farming is a method of growing crops so that they develop deep roots that can access subsurface water instead of relying on irrigation. This summer, temperatures well over 100º have been fairly common and nighttime temperatures have lingered on the hot side as well. Sometimes when it feels like an oven outside, I imagine that the plants are basically baking out in the field, a situation not conducive to dry farming techniques. I am an organic farmer in the Capay Valley, north of Sacramento. … ” Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: The Sacramento region’s small farmers are on the frontline of a water crisis
Draft horses pull homeless junk from Sacramento creek
“It’s a first-of-its-kind cleanup in a Sacramento creek overrun with homeless debris. This week, draft horses were working to haul the garbage out of Steelhead Creek. Draft horses were following every direction their owner Scott Morello sends them in, pulling massive tires, shopping carts, and overgrown vegetation from the waterway. “Star is the brains of the operation and Bell is kind of the brawn,” Morello said. … ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Draft horses pull homeless junk from Sacramento creek
Sacramento City Council declares Stage 2 ‘Water Alert’ amid ongoing drought
“The Sacramento City Council voted on Tuesday to declare a Stage 2 ‘Water Alert’ meant to help reduce the pressure on the Folsom Reservoir and Lower American River amid the state’s ongoing drought. During a meeting Tuesday evening, city council also voted to support the Regional Water Authority’s resolution calling for a 15% voluntary water conservation from residents. The decision is in alignment with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request in July for residents and businesses to voluntarily curb water use as the state’s drought conditions worsen. ... ” Read mroe from KCRA here: Sacramento City Council declares Stage 2 ‘Water Alert’ amid ongoing drought
Zone 7 Water Agency considers the impact of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s decision
“Some 5,700 farmers from Fresno north to the Oregon border have been jolted by a ruling from the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) that orders them to cease diverting water from nearby reservoirs. The SWRCB took the action Aug. 4, on the second day of a two-day meeting in Sacramento. Although farmers in some parts of the state will be impacted, the ban won’t affect the Tri-Valley because its water supplies, which come from Lake Oroville and San Luis, are already secured via pre-1914 appropriative water rights, according to Zone 7 general manager Valerie Pryor. … ” Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Zone 7 Water Agency considers the impact of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s decision
Major project underway to upgrade, protect Santa Cruz city’s 2.8 billion gallon water storage facility
“A massive renovation project is taking place at the Newell Creek Dam and Loch Lomond Reservoir just north of the City of Santa Cruz. The $103 million project plays a huge role in protecting the city’s only water storage facility with major improvements. The project will be able to intake water and export it out, but the construction involved poses some challenges. The city couldn’t drain the reservoir to make the improvements so divers are working underwater during construction. … ” Read more from KSBY here: Major project underway to upgrade, protect Santa Cruz city’s 2.8 billion gallon water storage facility
Monterey Peninsula water district appeals regulator’s decision
“Monterey Peninsula water officials filed an appeal Friday with the full Public Utilities Commission after a single PUC judge dismissed a complaint filed against California American Water Co. asking the regulator to force the water retailer to purchase water from the Pure Water Monterey Expansion project. The outcome is important because until there is an additional water supply, all development in that Cal Am coverage area has ground to a halt because the state has forbidden any new water hookups until an alternative water source besides the Carmel River goes online. … ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey Peninsula water district appeals regulator’s decision
San Joaquin Valley
Tooleville wells nearly run dry, state begins consolidation with Exeter
“Maria Olivera’s house sits on a dirt road that dead-ends at the Friant Kern Canal, the 152-mile aqueduct quenching the endless thirst of the San Joaquin Valley crops that feed the country. She’s called Tooleville home since 1974, where residents have been fighting to attain the basic human right to clean drinking water for the better part of two decades. “Our life is not normal,” said Olivera, who instead of turning on the faucet to fill her pots to cook dinner, she uses her drums of state-issued water. “Nobody helps.” Nitrates from farming fertilizers and old septic tanks and a cancerous heavy metal, hexavalent chromium (chrom-6), have rendered the water undrinkable in Tooleville, and the unincorporated community of under 400 is dependent on bi-weekly water deliveries. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Tooleville wells nearly run dry, state begins consolidation with Exeter
Three county water systems set to get state funding
“Three Tulare County water systems stand to get some much needed funding in light of the state’s Small Community Drought Relief Program. The state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced last Wednesday, Aug. 18, the they are dolling out the first $25 million out of a $200 million commitment to water systems. Among the first systems to get their state allotment was the Walker-Mangiaracina State Small Waster System near Visalia. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Three county water systems set to get state funding
As state water woes continue, Ventura County moves into worst drought category
“California’s drought has up to now been most severe in the state’s central and northern regions, but that may be changing. For the first time, a Southern California county has been moved into the worst drought category. Ventura County has now fallen into the “exceptional” drought category when it comes to its water supply. It’s in a stage 2 water shortage alert. “We are putting out the signal that conservation is very important right now in order to preserve our reserves for next year,” said Dan Drugan of the Calleguas Municipal Water District. … ” Continue reading from KABC here: As state water woes continue, Ventura County moves into worst drought category
Las Virgenes – Triunfo Joint Powers Authority earns CASA Excellence Award for Pure Water Project
“The JPA is the proud recipient of the 2021 CASA Award of Excellence in the category of Innovation and Resiliency for the Pure Water Project. The JPA was recognized last Thursday during the CASA Conference in San Diego. This award is the second the JPA has received for its most recent efforts to ensure long-term water reliability for the region and move closer to closing the sustainability loop by minimizing by-products of treatment processes. The JPA also received the 2021 WateReuse Award for Excellence in March for the Pure Water Project. The demonstration facility, which is housed in the former Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) headquarters building, takes recycled water from the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility and purifies it beyond drinking water standards through advanced purification processes including microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultra-violet light & advanced oxidation. … ” Read more from the Las Virgenes Water District here: Las Virgenes – Triunfo Joint Powers Authority earns CASA Excellence Award for Pure Water Project
Water supply reliability expected to improve at Southern California’s Prado Dam
“As drought persists in the state of California, the need to increase water supply reliability is an essential issue facing water managers. A new report evaluating a pilot program to use advanced weather and streamflow forecasts to enhance water storage capabilities at a Riverside County, California, dam found that enough water could be conserved to supply an additional 60,000 people per year. The pilot program, called Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), led by research meteorologists from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, found that 7,000 acre-feet per year of stormwater could potentially be added to groundwater recharge in Orange County. One acre-foot is equivalent to about 325,000 gallons. The program was supported by a combination of funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Orange County Water District, and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). … ” Read more from the Orange County Water District here: Water supply reliability expected to improve at Southern California’s Prado Dam
Audio: Environmental project could lead to restoration of Mission Bay marshland
“A project aimed at restoring the marshland habitat around Mission Bay could be a plus for the environment and be an economic windfall for San Diego. That’s because the carbon that may be trapped in the existing wetlands could be used to offset pollution goals for the city. However, the ReWild Mission Bay proposal competes with an alternative proposal to cut back on marshland and build more amenities around Mission Bay. A coalition of the Audubon Society, the Kumeyaay Nation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego are urging the city to study and adopt the marshland reclamation plan, ReWild Mission Bay. San Diego Union-Tribune reporter David Garrick joined Midday Edition on Tuesday with more.” Listen at KPBS here: Audio: Environmental project could lead to restoration of Mission Bay marshland
Three options to deal with border pollution presented at USMCA meeting
“In 2020 the U.S. government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed $300 million in The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement to identify infrastructure solutions to mitigate the transboundary pollution. Infrastructure solutions for transboundary flows from the Tijuana River have been studied for the past year. The Environmental Protection Agency, which has been tasked with creating solutions, originally proposed 10 possible projects. In time the projects have been narrowed down to three, which were presented during the last virtual public information meeting on Aug. 6. … ” Read more from the Eagle Times here: Three options to deal with border pollution presented at USMCA meeting
Water agencies across west partner to conserve Colorado River water, augment Lake Mead level through agricultural fallowing
“Seizing every opportunity to use Colorado River resources as efficiently and effectively as possible and to help slow Lake Mead’s declining levels, water agencies across the Southwest are partnering with the federal government to fund a short-term agricultural land fallowing program in California that will conserve water on a large scale. The partnership among the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Central Arizona Project, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and Palo Verde Irrigation District is expected to conserve up to 180,000 acre-feet of water over the next three years, amounting to about a 3-foot increase in Lake Mead’s water level. “Reclamation welcomes this collaborative effort to conserve water in Lake Mead,” said Bureau of Reclamation Lower Colorado Basin Regional Director Jacklynn Gould. “Working with our partners, we can reduce the risk of the reservoir declining to critical levels.” … ”
Click here to read the full press release from the Metropolitan Water District.
Forecasters couldn’t predict how quickly Colorado River reservoirs would dry up this year. Scientists are trying to improve their models.
“Water managers in the Colorado River basin knew that dry soil conditions and below-average snowpack last winter would lead to reduced runoff into streams, rivers and reservoirs this summer. But predicting just how much water would make its way into the Colorado watershed proved difficult. In April, the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees a vast network of water infrastructure in the United States, shared data with the National Park Service that projected a range of water levels in Lake Powell throughout 2021. The models showed the reservoir would likely remain above 3,554 feet in elevation — a level below which many of the boat ramps in Glen Canyon National Recreation area would become unusable — until as late as October. But those projections turned out to be overly optimistic and were repeatedly revised as the spring snowmelt failed to recharge reservoirs in the basin. … ” Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: Forecasters couldn’t predict how quickly Colorado River reservoirs would dry up this year. Scientists are trying to improve their models.
‘Clever’ water management has Goodyear set for future expansion
“Just off Exit 126 on westbound I-10 is a tan sign accented with hickory-colored steel welcoming you to one of America’s fastest growing cities. Goodyear was a small town with a population of under 20,000 when this century began. Now, it is projected to reach a population of almost 300,000 by the year 2050. For City Council member and Goodyear resident since the mid-1990s Sheri Lauritano, the expansion has been awe-inspiring. “I can just say everything’s changed. It’s been kind of miraculous to watch it grow like that,” Lauritano said. … ” Read more from KJZZ here: ‘Clever’ water management has Goodyear set for future expansion
Denver streams are glorified fountains, supplied mostly by your sprinkler heads
“Toss a Frisbee too far at the disc golf course in west Denver and you’ll hit water burbling at the bottom of Lakewood Gulch. Your errant Frisbee shouldn’t be underwater. Not this time of year. The other stream that runs into the confluence that makes up the disc golf park has a more historically accurate name: Dry Gulch. A new study from Colorado State University researchers shows that about 80% of the water running through Denver’s inviting stream parks late in the summer flows there from lawns drenched in Denver tap water and leaks from the agency’s intricate system, not from snow runoff or foothills rain. … ” Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Denver streams are glorified fountains, supplied mostly by your sprinkler heads
The Colorado River runs again
“In late spring, Antonia Torres González’ tears rolled freely at the rare sight before her: the Colorado River flowed again in what is usually a parched delta. Torres González, a member of the Cucapá tribe who grew up in the river delta, couldn’t help but relive memories of childhood romps in the once-lush waterway in northwestern Mexico. “It was like seeing the river come back to life,” she says. On May 1, 2021, the river once again flowed in its delta thanks to an agreement between the United States and Mexico dubbed Minute 323. Through Oct. 11, a total of 35,000 acre-feet of water (11.4 billion gallons) will be released downstream from Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border to quench the thirst of this long-withered ecosystem. … ” Read more from Yes! Magazine here: The Colorado River runs again
How do we make water infrastructure investments less risky in an uncertain future?
“Our changing world presents many challenges for our water planners. How will their investment choices cope with growing stresses and uncertainty surrounding water supply and demand? Water infrastructure is expensive and takes time to develop, mistakes in the planning phase come with huge costs down the line. Here, Anna Murgatroyd explains a decision-support framework for long-term water-resources planning that she developed with Jim Hall. She explains how it works and why an adaptive approach with triggers provides a better approach than traditional water management plans.” Read the article from the Global Water Forum here: How do we make water infrastructure investments less risky in an uncertain future?
Biden aims to remove all lead pipes. Will EPA follow suit?
“President Biden has made a push to remove the nation’s lead pipelines a cornerstone of his infrastructure agenda, but a requirement to make that happen is noticeably MIA in EPA’s current rule. Advocates hope that changes. “If EPA doesn’t require them to do it, our concern is that, frankly, utilities have had decades to replace their lead service lines or even to identify their lead services lines,” said Erik Olson, head of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health program. “The ball has been in their courts for decades, and they’ve not done what’s needed.” … ” Read more from E&E News here: Biden aims to remove all lead pipes. Will EPA follow suit?
Droughts push more people to migrate than floods
“After a year of extreme weather, people in the drylands of northern California and the hurricane-drenched bayous of southern Louisiana are brooding on the same question: should we leave? New global research suggests that one of these “water shock” scenarios is more likely to result in migration. World Bank researchers found that people are five times as likely to move following drought conditions as they are after floods or periods of excess water. The finding is part of a lengthy report on water and migration released on Monday during the opening day of World Water Week, an annual conference. The report details the nuanced relationship between changes in water availability and the movement of people. “Water has the power to shape these migration patterns, perhaps more than you think,” said the World Bank’s Esha Zaveri, the lead author on the report. People have always settled near rivers, lakes, oases, and coasts. It makes sense, she said, that lack of water in a place would drive people away. … ” Continue reading at the Circle of Blue here: Droughts Push More People to Migrate Than Floods
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.