On the calendar today …
- WEBINAR: What are the Ramifications of Current PFAS Regulatory Trends? from 9am to 10:30am. PFAS regulations are developing quickly throughout the United States. The result? Associated regulatory limits for water keep decreasing. How broad an impact will these parts-per-trillion-clean-up levels have? Our expert panel will discuss this and more. Click here to register.
- WEBINAR: EPA Grant Award Process from 10am to 11:30am. EPA invites all grant applicants and grant recipients to attend a Grants Award Process Webinar. Hosted by EPA’s Office of Grants and Debarment, this high-level webinar will cover topics related to finding and applying for grants as well as the basics of managing a grant award. Click here to register.
- FREE WEBINAR: The Future of California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus from 11am to 12pm. Join the Pacific Institute for a briefing for both policymakers and journalists on our new report, “The Future of California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus.” Report authors Julia Szinai, Heather Cooley, and Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute will discuss the key findings and implications for water, energy, and climate policy. The briefing is open to all policymakers, NGOs, community leaders, journalists, and other stakeholders involved or interested in the future of the water-energy-climate nexus. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
NASA: Drought makes its home on the range
“As Tracy Schohr goes about her day, water is always on her mind. She’s thinking of it as she rides an all-terrain vehicle around the pasture, looks up hay prices and weather forecasts, and collects data on grazing and invasive weeds for a scientific study. Schohr is a rancher and farmer in Gridley, California, where her family has raised beef cattle and grown rice for six generations. She also aids in scientific research to study drought and other agricultural issues with the University of California Cooperative Extension. … “NASA is well-positioned to assess droughts because we have Earth-observing satellites that provide frequent observations,” said John Bolten, associate program manager of water resources for the NASA Applied Sciences Program. We’re not just interested in our backyard; we’re interested in what’s happening regionally and globally.” … ” Read more from NASA here: NASA: Drought makes its home on the range
Could LA water recycling be a miracle for parched West?
“With severe drought strangling the West, the country’s largest water provider has embarked on a multibillion-dollar project that could help them cope with increasingly frequent shortages exacerbated by climate change. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wants to recycle Los Angeles’ wastewater, creating a new supply stream that would significantly reduce the city’s reliance on imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River. It would mark a new paradigm in Western water infrastructure. Instead of the dam-building and constructing massive pipelines and aqueducts to connect far-flung rivers to cities, Metropolitan’s proposal focuses on producing “new” water locally. And it seeks to utilize what has historically been wasted; Los Angeles’ wastewater is currently treated and discharged into the Pacific Ocean. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Could LA water recycling be a miracle for parched West?
Almost half a million US households lack indoor plumbing: ‘The conditions are inhumane’
“Yan Yu Lin and her seven-year-old daughter live in a tight studio in San Francisco’s Chinatown, in a century-old building where 60 or so residents on each floor share a bathroom. Along the back wall of the room is a plastic potty – the kind designed for toilet training toddlers. The shared bathrooms are out of order so often, so rank and unhygienic, that Lin has her daughter use the plastic potty instead. “It’s safer,” she said. This Dickensian-sounding living situation is more common in the US than most would think. … ” Continue reading at the Guardian here: Almost half a million US households lack indoor plumbing: ‘The conditions are inhumane’
A Culture of Innovation: Moulton Niguel
“Moulton Niguel Water District is an award-winning water utility that serves over 170,000 customers in South Orange County and is known for its innovative conservation efforts. We spoke with the district’s general manager Joone Lopez and board president Brian Probolsky, who is also CEO of the Orange County Po wer Authority, a brand-new power choice aggregator that’s bringing renewable energy to Orange County. Q:Moulton Niguel is known for pioneering innovative water conservation programs. What’s working best, and why? Brian Probolsky: Outdoors is where we’re using—and wasting—most of our water. We focus on an all-of-the above approach and let our customers find their own path to resiliency. … ” Read more from the PPIC here: A Culture of Innovation: Moulton Niguel
Bill to restore compensation for Delta Independent Science Board languishes on Governor Newsom’s desk
“Two decades ago, California agencies joined federal agencies in signing the Record of Decision for the collaborative CALFED program, which committed to world class Delta science. A key part of that commitment was to establish an Independent Science Board to provide oversight and peer review of the overall program. In 2009, the legislature established the Delta Independent Science Board as a replacement for the CALFED Independent Science Board. In June of 2020, contracts to compensate continuing Delta Independent Science Board members were abruptly withdrawn from approval. … ” Read more from the California Water Research blog here: Bill to restore compensation for Delta Independent Science Board languishes on Governor Newsom’s desk
Column: You do know that, in most cases, bottled water is just tap water?
Business columnist David Lazarus writes, “Since the start of the pandemic, thirsty Americans have drowned their sorrow in bottled water. Even before the coronavirus blew into all our lives, bottled water was, and has been for years, the No. 1 beverage in the United States, surpassing soft drinks as the choice of increasingly health-conscious consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated things. … Call this a triumph of perception over reality. … ” Continue reading at the LA Times here: Column: You do know that, in most cases, bottled water is just tap water?
Eerie abandoned waterpark nestled in heart of California desert lists for $11 million
“The last time it was a running water park that echoed with the laughter of families enjoying the summer heat, it was 2004. Since then, the place formerly known as Lake Dolores Waterpark has morphed into 250 acres of a post-apocalyptic-looking wasteland that is festering on the California market for $11 million. The park opened its gates in 1962 to the public in the Mojave Desert and was named after the wife of businessman Bob Byers, who originally designed it as a private playground for his extended family, Business Insider reported. Since then, the park had been riddled with bad luck, arson, bankruptcy and an employee accident and waddled through three attempts to re-brand and reopen, only to have the park decay into a strange ghost town with the sound of haunting wind rustling through abandoned attractions replacing the sound of families enjoying the day. … ” Read more from The State here: Eerie abandoned waterpark nestled in heart of California desert lists for $11 million
How climate change helped fires cross the Sierra Nevada for the first time
“Californians have long thought of the Sierra Nevada mountains as a “granite wall” that wildfires couldn’t breach. But this summer’s searing heat and dry conditions, exacerbated by climate change, finally let two blazes scale and cross the jagged, rocky peaks for the first time in the state’s recorded history. This grim milestone underscores just how much the climate has shifted over the past century as humans have extracted and burned fossil fuels—and how wildfires will pose new challenges to firefighters and communities struggling to adapt. “In many ways, it becomes yet another sign of how climate change is fundamentally altering our ecosystems and wildfire activity,” says Crystal Kolden, a pyrogeographer at the University of California, Merced. … ” Continue reading at Scientific American here: How climate change helped fires cross the Sierra Nevada for the first time
Why everything we know about wildfires may be wrong
“As Northern California continues to burn and Southern California’s traditional peak wildfire season prepares to blow in on the Santa Ana winds, the state’s taxpayers face a climate-change-driven reckoning. Local, state, and federal agencies nationwide are sinking massive amounts of money into wildfire prevention and suppression. … But even as California’s wildfire industrial complex blossoms, philosophical antagonisms are flaring over virtually every aspect of what to do about this force of nature, including which fires should be fought, when and where fire can be prevented, and the most effective ways to protect people and property when flames are headed their way. … ” Read more from LA Magazine here: Why everything we know about wildfires may be wrong
Earth-monitoring Landsat 9 satellite launches in California
“The latest in a series of U.S. satellites that has recorded human and natural impacts on Earth’s surface for decades was launched into orbit from California on Monday to ensure continued observations in the era of climate change. Landsat 9 was carried into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that lifted off from foggy Vandenberg Space Force Base at 11:12 a.m. The satellite successfully separated from the rocket’s upper stage more than an hour later. A project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, Landsat 9 will work in tandem with a predecessor, Landsat 8, to extend a nearly 50-year record of land and coastal region observations that began with the launch of the first Landsat in 1972. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Earth-monitoring Landsat 9 satellite launches in California
In commentary today …
California faces its new climate normal
Jason Lowe writes, “California’s Mediterranean climate has gives it the most variable weather of any U.S. state, so it’s no stranger to catastrophic droughts and disastrous floods. Still, even in a drought-prone region, recent years have been exceptional – the result of natural climate cycles colliding with a warming planet. From fires in the Sierra to clouds of windblown dust at the Salton Sea, the effects of drought driven by climate change are impossible to ignore. The latest science confirms that climate change has arrived and that we are in the middle of a megadrought. … ” Read more from Audubon here: California faces its new climate normal
In regional water news and commentary today …
On the Klamath, dam removal may come too late to save the salmon
“The removal of four obsolescent hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, expected in 2023 or 2024, should have been an occasion for celebration, recognizing an underdog campaign that managed to set in motion the biggest dam removal project in American history. But that was before the basin’s troubles turned biblical. The main reason for removing the dams is that they have played a major role in decimating the basin’s salmon population, to the point that some runs have gone extinct and all others are in severe decline — and the basin’s four Indigenous tribal groups, whose cultures and diets all revolve around fish, have suffered as the fish have dwindled. But this year the basin has experienced so many kinds of climate-change-linked plagues — a paradigm-shattering drought, the worst grasshopper infestation in a generation, and a monster fire — that it’s uncertain whether the remaining salmon will survive long enough to benefit from the dams’ dismantling. … ” Read more from Yale E360 here: On the Klamath, dam removal may come too late to save the salmon
Postcards from the Drought: Clear Lake’s edges still retreating
“The water alongside the Clearlake Keys home of Michelle Figuera and her family normally would be above her head — she thinks about 10 feet deep. Instead, the canal is dry, clogged with invasive plants that lie in a vast, tangled mass — their tendrils reaching up and over the edge of the wooden dock, which now rests on land. During two years of drought, the water level in Clear Lake has fallen dramatically, retreating from the shoreline and rendering boat docks useless around the lake, including many public launches. The shrinking water supply has warmed up in the summer heat, promoting toxic blue-green algae blooms that added risk to swimming and boating. ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Postcards from the Drought: Clear Lake’s edges still retreating
Marin Voice: Desalination is not the answer to district water shortage
Laura Effel, an arbitrator, and Robert Miltner, a food scientist and engineer, write, “Many of our county’s residents claim the Marin Municipal Water District can solve our drought problem with desalination. These people believe in the process, but we don’t think they understand what is involved. Desalination is no magic bullet. Even if MMWD pursued desalination, it would be years before we would see any benefit. The San Diego County plant in Carlsbad is often cited as an example of how it can work here. Its planning began in 1993 but was delayed due to environmental objections and at least five lawsuits based on energy consumption, brine discharge, fish killed in the system and operating costs. ... ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin Voice: Desalination is not the answer to district water shortage
San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?
“City sidewalks have started to buckle, crack and slope in one of San Francisco’s newest neighborhoods, causing tripping hazards for pedestrians and frustrating residents forced to navigate the city’s uneven pavement. Sidewalks on some blocks of the Mission Bay neighborhood have sunk four to six inches, and even as much as a foot in some places, KPIX first reported. But the neighborhood’s sunken sidewalks are not the only thing shifting in this densely developed area. Nearly two miles away in SOMA, the ever-tilting Millennium Tower has also struggled to keep its balance on the sinking ground that bears the building’s multi-story weight. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here: San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?
Santa Cruz: Dam demolition benefits endangered salmon
“The removal of a century-old dam in Santa Cruz County will now benefit endangered fish by supplying a habitat for them to spawn. The demolition of the Mill Creek Dam opens a door that’s been closed for more than 100 years to endangered fish, like Coho Salmon to spawn upstream. Heavy equipment was brought in this week to remove the Mill Creek Dam. … ” Read more from KEYT here: Santa Cruz: Dam demolition benefits endangered salmon
State amps up funding commitment to rebuild Pajaro River levees
“The State Department of Water Resources will bolster funding the long-anticipated Pajaro River levee system rebuild after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 496 on Friday — a move critical in protecting residents from frequent floods, officials say. The levees — built in 1949 — haven’t stacked up to heavy rainfall events. For Pajaro Valley residents and farmers it’s been a decades-long saga of evacuations, property damage, and safety risks. In 1995 the river flooded, killing two people, and leaving more than $95 million in damages in its wake. “Right now the Army Corps of Engineers estimates that there’s just five-year flood protection on the Pajrao River, and this project would bring 100 year flood protection, so it is major,” said Senator John Laird, who authored the bill. … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: State amps up funding commitment to rebuild Pajaro River levees
SEE ALSO: Newsom signs legislation by Senator John Laird to strengthen Pajaro River flood protection, from the Paso Robles Daily News
Monterey commentary: Celebrate recycled water agreement, but don’t forget desal
Rich Svindland, president of California American Water, writes, “The Monterey Peninsula’s water supply challenges require partnership and collaboration to solve. After months of negotiation, California American Water, Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District have agreed to terms that enable California American Water to purchase recycled water from the Pure Water Monterey Expansion project. This represents a critical step toward the development of a reliable, long-term water supply for the local community. While additional water needs remain, the expansion of Pure Water Monterey will help avoid water rationing in the short term and make up an important portion of our overall water supply portfolio going forward. ... ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Commentary: Celebrate recycled water agreement, but don’t forget desal
State looks to consolidate small drinking water systems in Fresno
“State drinking water officials have quietly targeted a dozen small, disadvantaged water systems in Fresno for possible state aid. But it could still take up to three years to get through the paperwork and start putting pipes in the ground. “It takes a long time, years, to go from concept to actual construction starting,” acknowledged Sue Ruiz, senior community development specialist with nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises. The State Water Resources Control Board commissioned a feasibility study through Fresno State University’s California Water Institute to get a first glimpse of what it would take to have the small systems folded into the City of Fresno’s much larger drinking water system. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: State looks to consolidate small drinking water systems in Fresno
Long Valley exploration project drilling project approved
“The Acting District Ranger of the Mammoth Ranger District has approved the categorical exclusion (CE) for the Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project. The project is approved based upon the proposed Plan of Operations submitted by the proponent, KORE Mining, that is for mineral exploration only. An application has not been submitted or proposed for mineral extraction (mining). If that were to occur, that application would be processed as a separate project and have a separate National Environmental Policy Act analysis. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Long Valley exploration project drilling project approved
Owens Valley Groundwater Authority requests public input
“The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 empowers local agencies to ensure groundwater resources are managed sustainably. The Owens Valley Groundwater Authority (OVGA) was created to develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) for the Owens Valley Groundwater Basin which includes the Owens, Round, Chalfant, Hammil, and Benton Valleys as well as Fish Slough and the area around Owens Lake. The OVGA is a joint powers authority composed of Inyo County, Mono County, City of Bishop, Indian CreekWestridge Community Service District (CSD), and Big Pine CSD as well as two interested parties, the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe and the Owens Valley Committee. Even though the Basin is not in a critically over-drafted condition and was ranked by the California Department of Water Resources as a low priority basin, the OVGA elected to develop a GSP voluntarily over the last year. … ” Continue reading from the Sierra Wave here: Owens Valley Groundwater Authority requests public input
Letters to the Editor: Of course there’s a water crisis for farmers near Trona. They’re in a desert
“To the editor: The idea pushed by farmers near the Mojave Desert town of Trona that there is much more groundwater underneath the Indian Wells Valley is nonsense, plain and simple. There is indeed plenty of water, but it is unfit for drinking, watering lawns, growing crops or even filling swimming pools. With continued business as usual, nearly all wells will be unable to produce potable water. Furthermore, commercial agriculture brings in far less money to the Indian Wells Valley and creates far fewer jobs than the nearby Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the Trona chemical plants. … ” Continue reading at the LA Times here: Letters to the Editor: Of course there’s a water crisis for farmers near Trona. They’re in a desert
Major energy storage project proposed near Lebec along California Aqueduct
“California’s energy future keeps pointing to Kern. The latest 10-figure energy storage proposal in the county is a damlike “pumped hydro” project connected to the California Aqueduct that would store and release 3,500 gigawatt-hours of power per year on or near Tejon Ranch. There’s no money yet for it or a similar proposal the same Los Angeles County engineering and development group disclosed in December that would be located next to Isabella Lake. But the latter has attracted interest from one of the world’s largest oil producers, the developer’s managing director said. … ” Read more from Bakersfield Now here: Major energy storage project proposed near Lebec along California Aqueduct
Tehachapi: Water district asks court to halt Sage Ranch development
“Challenging the city of Tehachapi’s Sept. 7 approval of the Sage Ranch project, the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has filed a petition in Kern County Superior Court, claiming that the city violated multiple state laws in its approval of the planned development. “The District’s accusations are both unfortunate and unfounded,” a spokesperson for the city said Monday. “Due to pending litigation, we have no comment at this time.” … ” Read more from the Tehachapi News here: Water district asks court to halt Sage Ranch development
New inspections in place after invasive mussels found in Castaic Lake
“With a name like Trevor Waters, it seems like this valley resident was destined to spend time out on a lake. “You know what they say. A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work,” he said, with a smile to prove it. Waters’ boat is one of the up to 50 thousand to launch on Castaic Lake every year and while he doesn’t mind sharing the facility, he also makes sure to do his part to protect it and that starts with his vessel. “Whenever I go home I always rinse it with fresh water,” he explained. He does this to remove any remnants of potentially infected lake water from his engine, “because if you transport it to somewhere that’s clean, it’s no longer clean.” … ” Read more from Spectrum 1 here: New inspections in place after invasive mussels found in Castaic Lake
Unprecedented drought, heat mark start of fire season for Southern California
“So far this year, Southern California has been spared the massive wildfires devastating swaths of Northern California, but the region’s days of reckoning are approaching. “The wildfire season really comes to a head in Southern California in October,” said Dan Cayan, a climate researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “A lot of other areas in California are more summer-centric.” The severity of the region’s drought, Santa Ana winds, and the likelihood of a La Nina system that could limit fall and winter rain, are conspiring to heighten the risk of Southern California wildfires next month, said Cayan during a drought webinar Monday, Sept. 27. The online gathering was hosted by the National Integrate Drought Information System, which is led by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. … ” Read more from the Daily Bulletin here: Unprecedented drought, heat mark start of fire season for Southern California
Pasadena Water and Power wants to participate in 2 assistance programs that will help PWP customers delinquent with utility bills
“Here’s another piece of good news for Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) customers who may be falling behind on their water and electric bill payments due to COVID-19: PWP is seeking a resolution from the City Council to participate in two new utility assistance programs specifically aimed at customers who have been delinquent with their bills. These programs – the California Arrearage Payment Program and the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program – provide federal funds, administered through state agencies, to help customers, both residential and commercial, who have fallen into delinquent status on their electricity and water bills between March 4, 2020 and June 15, 2021. … ” Continue reading from Pasadena Now here: Pasadena Water and Power wants to participate in 2 assistance programs that will help PWP customers delinquent with utility bills
Mayor Garcetti participates in a hands-on turf replacement workshop to promote water conservation
“Mayor Eric Garcetti today participated in a turf replacement workshop hosted by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in partnership with California Volunteers and the California Natural Resources Agency to promote water conservation. In the past decade, this rebate program has helped replace over 51.1 million square feet of turf in Los Angeles with drought-tolerant landscaping, saving enough water to supply 27,500 homes per year. “Water is our most precious resource — we must take the necessary steps now to conserve, and create a sustainable supply for our children and grandchildren,” said Mayor Garcetti. “When I took office, drought conditions were dire across the state, and I called on Angelenos to reduce our water consumption by 20 percent. We rose to that challenge, and I know we can step up to conserve more as drought grips California again.” ... ” Read more from the LA DWP here: Mayor Garcetti participates in a hands-on turf replacement workshop to promote water conservation
The future of water/wastewater in the Inland Empire
Gracie Torres, Vice President, Western Municipal Water District, Division 2; and Channing Hawkins, President, West Valley Water District, Founders, IEWorks, write, “As California expects more devastating droughts, Southern California experiences additional strains, whereas the Inland Empire is severely under-resourced. … Help is within the horizon as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will invest around $550 billion in new federal investment in our nation’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more. This plan asks Congress to deliver clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, a renewed electric grid, reliable high-speed internet, and clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure. As leaders of local water districts, with almost 10% of the Act earmarked for water infrastructure alone, we understand the importance and gravity of utilizing taxpayers’ dollars to maintain efficiencies while modernizing our operations. As we look at the prospects of the investments in infrastructure, we must be strategic and mindful of the families who experienced the most impact from the pandemic. … ” Read more from the Inland Empire Community News here: The future of water/wastewater in the Inland Empire
Indio Subbasin Water Management Plan Update is available for public review and comment
“The draft 2021 Indio Subbasin Water Management Plan Update is now available for public review and comment. The Indio Subbasin, which is where most local drinking water comes from, is part of the Coachella Valley Groundwater Basin. The update outlines how local water managers plan to meet future water demands, maintain stable groundwater levels, manage and protect water quality, collaborate with tribes and state and federal agencies on shared objectives, manage future costs, minimize adverse environmental impacts, and reduce vulnerability to climate change and drought impacts. ... ” Continue reading from the Coachella Valley Water District here: Indio Subbasin Water Management Plan Update is available for public review and comment
San Diego’s water recyclers and high bill payers draw pool noodles
MacKenzie Elmer writes, “The cost of getting water from the drought-stressed Colorado River is spiraling and parts of San Diego County with some of the highest bills and big water recycling projects on the horizon seem to be drawing pool noodles together. That is, in any case, the rough sense that stuck out to me as I re-shuffled through my notes from last week’s story about huge, forecasted increases in the price of Colorado River water, which is controlled by San Diego County Water Authority. It’s part of this “double whammy” effect, as Matt Vespi, the city of San Diego’s chief financial officer put it so aptly, that is starting to unfold as water districts get creative about recycling their own water instead of relying on the river as the only source. Trick is, you gotta pay for both. … ” Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: San Diego’s water recyclers and high bill payers draw pool noodles
Along the Colorado River …
Even small additional increases in greenhouse gases will make decades-long “megadroughts” in the Southwest more common
“At the dawn of the 21st century, drought descended on southwestern North America. Two decades later, the drought continues. Recent NOAA-funded research found that even small additional increases in greenhouse gas emissions will make such decades-long “megadroughts” more common. But limiting greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the intensity of megadrought by reducing the risk of the most intense single-year droughts that occur within the longer period. These maps show projected changes soil moisture—one way to measure drought—across the Southwest by the late 21st century (2071–2100) depending on how many greenhouse gases people produce in coming decades. In these maps, wetter conditions are blue-green; drier conditions are brown. Summer soil moisture is likely to decline in the future, even in a world where greenhouse gas emissions are kept fairly low (left). But the drying impact is far less severe than in a future in which greenhouse gas emissions are much higher (right). ... ” Continue reading from Climate.gov here: Even small additional increases in greenhouse gases will make decades-long “megadroughts” in the Southwest more common
The bad news keeps flowing for the Colorado River
“Federal officials project more bad news for the drought-stressed Colorado River, which provides water to Las Vegas and much of the Southwest. The Bureau of Reclamation issued a report last week saying there is a high likelihood over the next few years that California, the river’s largest water user, will join Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico in seeing cuts to its allocation. “This is not breaking in the way that something just changed to make it happen,” said Alex Hager, who covers the river for KUNC, “but it is incredibly serious news.” … ” Read more from Nevada Public Radio here: The bad news keeps flowing for the Colorado River
A bitter dispute ends as California water agencies pledge cooperation on Colorado River
“Two years ago, a pact to safeguard the West’s shrinking water supplies took effect at a ceremony high above the Colorado River. … Managers of the agricultural irrigation district in the Imperial Valley had been locked in a heated dispute with the state’s other water behemoth, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and were suing to challenge the deal. Now, more than two years later, conditions have grown increasingly dire. As the Colorado River’s largest reservoirs sit at their lowest levels on record, and as an unrelenting drought intensified by climate change continues to ravage the West, water managers across the region have acknowledged that greater cooperation and larger steps are needed to prevent the reservoirs from bottoming out. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: A bitter dispute ends as California water agencies pledge cooperation on Colorado River
Arizona monsoon leaves behind full rain gauges and flood damage. Is a dry winter on tap?
“Arizona’s 2021 monsoon will end this week as one for the record books, but which records and which books could vary depending on where you live. “This particular monsoon hit Tucson and Phoenix really hard, which is where most of the people live in the state,” said Michael Crimmins, a climate science researcher and extension specialist at the University of Arizona. “And so I think there’s an awareness of it that is, per capita, bigger than a lot of other monsoons.” By the end of August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranked this monsoon as the seventh-wettest season in the state since 1901. Since June 15, the official start of the monsoon season, 4.2 inches of rain have fallen at Sky Harbor International Airport. The season ends Thursday. … ” Read more from the Arizona Sun here: Arizona monsoon leaves behind full rain gauges and flood damage. Is a dry winter on tap?
New Utah program aims to conserve thousands of gallons of water
“Saving thousands of gallons of water, that’s the goal. 2News got a peek at a new water conservation program that lines up with the governor’s water-saving strategy. State agencies like the Division of Water Resources and Department of Natural Resources, along with volunteers, are demonstrating this through the State’s very first “Flip Blitz” event. They have four homes throughout the Salt Lake Valley, including the iconic ‘Up’ house in Herriman, participating. … ” Read more from KUTV here: New Utah program aims to conserve thousands of gallons of water
Plan to expand recreational water rights in Colorado faces stiff opposition
“American Whitewater floated a plan last year to expand protections for recreational river flows in Colorado. Maybe, the nonprofit protector of rivers thought, communities should not need to build whitewater parks to secure rights for recreational flows. “It definitely, you know, got some ears perked,” said Hattie Johnson, American Whitewater’s southern Rockies stewardship director. Colorado officially recognized recreation in a river as a beneficial use of water in 2001, enabling riverside communities to file for water rights to support whitewater parks. Those recreational in-channel diversion water rights, or RICDs, set a minimal stream flow between structures to support “a reasonable recreation experience.” ... ” Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Plan to expand recreational water rights in Colorado faces stiff opposition
Commentary: Lake Mead and Lake Powell are in serious trouble. Can we bail them out for good?
Opinion columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “Lake Mead and Lake Powell are in trouble. It’s hard to view the latest five-year projections released from the federal Bureau of Reclamation any other way. At Lake Mead – the reservoir Arizona depends on for about 40% of its water supply – there is now a 66% chance of falling below 1,025 feet of elevation in 2025. And a 41% chance of enacting a Tier 3 shortage that year, the worst for which we have planned and one that would begin cutting into the supplies that feed metro Phoenix’s major cities. … ” Continue reading from the Arizona Sun here: Lake Mead and Lake Powell are in serious trouble. Can we bail them out for good?
In national water news today …
Commentary: Supreme Court should revisit its 2006 navigable waters decision
Damien Schiff, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, writes, “Nearly 15 years ago, the efforts of Chantell and Mike Sackett to build their family home in a residential neighborhood of Priest Lake, Idaho, were put on indefinite hold. That is because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanded, on pain of immense monetary penalties, that the Sacketts first obtain a time-consuming and costly Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before building their home. That arduous course of action was required because, in EPA’s view, the Sacketts’ lot contained wetlands that qualify as “navigable waters” subject to Clean Water Act regulation. The Sacketts’ ordeal is representative of all that has gone wrong with the implementation of the Clean Water Act since the Supreme Court attempted, in its fractured 2006 ruling in Rapanos v. United States, to rein in the agencies’ expansive interpretation of the act’s scope. ... ” Continue reading from The Hill here: Commentary: Supreme Court should revisit its 2006 navigable waters decision
New estimate makes groundwater – not ice sheets – earth’s largest water reservoir on land
“New research more than doubles the estimated volume of ancient, salty groundwater stored deep within Earth’s crust. Around 24 million cubic kilometers (5.8 cubic miles) of groundwater reside within the top two kilometers (1.2 miles) of Earth’s crust. This shallow groundwater is what we use for drinking and irrigation, and it’s mostly freshwater. But below that are vast reservoirs of brine, some of it hundreds of millions to more than a billion years old, locked away in the rocks. The question was: How much is there? … ” Read more from Sci Tech here: New estimate makes groundwater – not ice sheets – earth’s largest water reservoir on land
22-year-old drinking water operator recognized for averting deadly disaster
“While drinking water treatment operators regularly oversee critical operations to ensure the safety and availability of our most vital resource, it’s not often that they’re given special recognition for their work. But after going above and beyond to protect consumers, one such operator in Michigan has been honored. “A New Baltimore Water Department employee has been recognized by Macomb County officials for his ‘incredible actions’ that averted a ‘potential catastrophic disaster’ by stopping a dangerous chemical from entering the city’s drinking water system,” Macomb Daily reported. “The proclamation … was approved unanimously by the 13-member Government Oversight Committee.” ... ” Read more from Water Online here: 22-year-old drinking water operator recognized for averting deadly disaster
New report shows infrastructure & budget reconciliation bills worsen climate crisis
“A new report by the John Muir Project & Center for Sustainable Economy, which details the dramatic increase in carbon emissions that would result from the logging provisions in both the Infrastructure Bill and Budget Reconciliation as they are currently written. These increases in emissions would worsen the public health crisis and once again heap the burden of climate change on communities which our political and economic systems have ensured have the least ability to respond. The report also recommends a path forward to reach our 2030 emission reduction goals.” Read the report here: Running backwards: Logging provisions in infrastructure & budget reconciliation packages would worsen the climate crisis and threaten public health
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Today’s featured article …
BLOG ROUND-UP: Why Californians are not conserving water this drought; A possible chance to save some Sacramento River salmon in 2021; Of course San Diego water use is up – local water authority leaders told us we had enough water till 2045; and more …
Click here to read the blog round-up.
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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
NOTICE: Updates To Resources Related To The Water Unavailability Methodology For The Delta Watershed
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Solicitation Period Opens for DWR’s Floodplain Management, Protection, and Risk Awareness Grant Program
NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY: Draft PEIR for Proposed Delta Plan Ecosystem Amendment