DAILY DIGEST, 10/1: CA to consider mandatory water restrictions if winter is dry; City of Fresno drops lawsuit against Friant Water Authority; Peter Gleick: CA has to face difficult wet season truths; States and Tribes urge judge to abolish Trump water rule; and more …


On the calendar today …

On the calendar tomorrow …

  • SOUTH BAY SALT PONDS: Least Tern and Snowy Plover Habitat Event from 8:45 to 1:00pm. Join the plucky group of volunteers who will meet at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward to improve the lot of least terns and western snowy plovers by spreading oyster shells, removing predator perches, and improving foraging habitat for the listed species. The 2nd annual event at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reserve is sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. Volunteers are asked to bring face mask, work gloves, muck boots, and tools such as a shovel, pick, and saw. And, of course, water and snacks. To RSVP or for more information, contact Ben Pearl, Plover and Tern Program Director, at bpearl@sfbbo.org.

In California water news today …

California will consider mandatory water restrictions if dryness continues this winter

With California’s extreme drought persisting and reservoirs declining to new lows, state officials said they will consider imposing mandatory water restrictions if dryness continues this winter.  Gov. Gavin Newsom called on Californians in July to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%, saying state water regulators would track progress toward that target and decide whether additional measures would be necessary.  Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said Thursday that bigger steps may be needed if the drought doesn’t ease this winter, and turning to statewide mandatory conservation measures will be an option. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California will consider mandatory water restrictions if dryness continues this winter

California water regulators prepare for another dry winter

California’s reservoirs are so low from a historic drought that regulators warned Thursday it’s possible the state’s water agencies could get nothing from them next year, a frightening possibility that could force mandatory restrictions for residents.  California has a system of giant lakes called reservoirs that store water during the state’s rainy and snowy winter months. Most of the water comes from snow that melts in the Sierra Nevada mountains and fills rivers and streams in the spring.  Regulators then release the water during the dry summer months for drinking, farming and environmental purposes — including keeping streams cold enough for endangered species of salmon to spawn. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California water regulators prepare for another dry winter

Record-breaking drought leads to multi-billion dollar statewide response

As the state’s capital is poised to break a 141-year record for lack of rain, California’s top water bosses gathered Thursday to explain why this year has been so bad and to call on residents to redouble conservation efforts.  By many measures, this year’s drought has etched itself into the record books and is poised to get significantly worse if rainfall and snowpack levels don’t rebound over the next several months.  The state’s largest reservoirs are at historic lows, partially the result of record-low snowpacks, and thousands of water rights holders have been ordered to stop drawing from the Russian River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watersheds. … ”  Continue reading from SF Gate here: Record-breaking drought leads to multi-billion dollar statewide response

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Heavy rains struggle to make a dent against a brutal summer’s drought

Monsoon rains in the Southwest and a recent train of storms rolling ashore in the Pacific Northwest began to chip away at the extensive drought that’s built across the western United States over the past year. Not everyone saw improvements, but the bountiful rains brought notable relief to some locations.  The long-term drought that’s plagued the western United States over the past few years got markedly worse this summer.  A historic stretch of heat across parts of the western United States shattered all-time record high temperatures across the Pacific Northwest and even brought some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded to desert locations like Death Valley, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. … ”  Continue reading from Forbes here: Heavy rains struggle to make a dent against a brutal summer’s drought

Fresno slips, slides to kill $2.5mil water suit against Friant as Feds side with water agency

The City of Fresno’s lawsuit against the Friant Water Authority over a $2.5 million payment for repairing a sinking 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal is officially dead in the water.  Hours after The San Joaquin Valley Sun reported on a ruling from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation with Federal officials finding that Fresno ratepayers would be required to cough up the repair payment, Fresno lawmakers voted to withdraw a suit for declaratory relief from the charge.  Five members of the Fresno City Council – President Luis Chavez, Miguel Arias, Esmeralda Soria, Nelson Esparza, and Tyler Maxwell – voted to withdraw. Council member Garry Bredefeld cast the lone dissent to withdraw the legal claim and Mike Karbassi was absent from the vote. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Fresno slips, slides to kill $2.5mil water suit against Friant as Feds side with water agency

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PFAS water regulations in California closer to becoming reality

On September 28, 2021, the state of California (through the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) held a virtual workshop for proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for two types of PFAS – PFOA and PFOS. The release of proposed PHGs is extremely significant for any company situated in California, as PHGs are used to create enforceable drinking water standards and limits for groundwater contamination. The enforceable PFAS water regulations would trigger significant enforcement liability and cost concerns for thousands of businesses in California – well beyond the historic manufacturers of PFOA and PFOS. Downstream commerce businesses situated in California absolutely must ensure that they have a full compliance program in place that is adequately identifying PFAS risks and determining appropriate steps for risk mitigation. Failing to do so could cost some companies millions of dollars in enforcement action expenses. ... ”  Continue reading from the National Law Review here: PFAS water regulations in California closer to becoming reality

More causes ruled out in case of California family found dead on hiking trail

Weeks after a family was found dead on a hiking trail in California, investigators are still working to determine the cause of their death.  On Thursday, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office released new information detailing possible death causes that detectives have ruled out.  Officials say the 45-year-old Jonathan Gerrish, 30-year-old Ellen Chung, one-year-old Aurelia Miju Chung-Gerrish and their dog did not die by a gun or other weapon, lightning strike, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, cyanide exposure, illegal drugs or alcohol or suicide.  Detectives are working with a toxicologist, an environmental specialist and the FBI to narrow down an official cause of death. … ”  Read more from KGO here: More causes ruled out in case of California family found dead on hiking trail

SEE ALSO: Mariposa County mystery: Investigators rule out possible causes in death of family on hike, from the San Francisco Chronicle

Warming to managed retreat

To own beachfront property was once a crown jewel of the California dream. Now, many homes at or near the water’s edge are doomed as sea level rises, and for residents, evacuations will be inevitable. In Pacifica, there is talk of moving an entire beachfront neighborhood, and near Bodega Bay, homes have already been abandoned, and roadway managers are breaking ground on rerouting a short but vulnerable stretch of the coastal highway. In at least two communities on San Francisco Bay, planning experts have pondered the feasibility of floating homes. Away from the coast, in populated river valleys, climate change is also forcing community restructuring in response to flooding.  Now, land use experts, stakeholders, and government agencies are thinking hard about how to guide forward these transformations as painlessly as possible. In a recent article published in the journal Science, professors Katharine J. Mach and A.R. Siders, respectively of the University of Miami and the University of Delaware, make a case for managed retreat. … ”  Continue reading from Knee Deep here: Warming to managed retreat

The complex challenge of climate change requires collaborative solutions

When the Dixie Fire began on July 13, 2021, environmental groups knew it would be a fast-growing blaze thanks to the combination of the megadrought, the buildup of forest debris (aka wildfire fuel) , and extreme heat. They couldn’t have predicted that it would be the first wildfire to span the Sierra Nevada mountain range, though, or that, at nearly 1 million acres burned, it will likely be the largest in California’s recorded history.  The fire’s impacts demonstrate that forest health is inextricable from water health. Since Southern California relies on the state’s northern watersheds, including the Feather River, where the Dixie Fire is burning, the state will likely face issues with “water quantity, water quality, water flow, water timing, [and] the ability of upper watershed soil to absorb water,” says Angela Avery, executive officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, which funds forest and watershed conservation projects across 25 million acres of the mountain range. … ”  Read more from Grist here: The complex challenge of climate change requires collaborative solutions

California to get billions in fire, drought relief after Congress passes funding

California is about to get billions of dollars in federal help to recover from and prevent wildfires and drought after Congress overcame partisan gamesmanship and passed a government funding bill Thursday.  The passage of the stopgap measure to keep the federal government open into December and avert a shutdown came just hours before the midnight deadline, with lawmakers attaching a nearly $30 billion relief package to support recovery from natural disasters like fires and hurricanes and more than $6 billion to support Afghan evacuees as they are resettled in the U.S. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California to get billions in fire, drought relief after Congress passes funding

SEE ALSO: California gets money for wildfire, drought as Congress temporarily funds government again, from McClatchy DC

LAO Report: Reducing the destructiveness of wildfires: Promoting defensible space in California

A key strategy for reducing home losses during wildfires is for homeowners to maintain an area free of excess or dead vegetation around their homes, known as defensible space. This report identifies the challenges to improving the number of homeowners in compliance with existing state and local defensible space requirements and provides recommendations to address these challenges in order to reduce the destructiveness of future wildfires.”

Click here to view/download report from the Legislative Analyst's Office.

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In commentary today …

Peter Gleick: Happy New Water Year — Californians have to face some difficult wet season truth

Peter Gleick, co-founder and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, writes, “Happy New Water Year. For those of us who work on California water challenges, the start of the new year isn’t Jan. 1; it’s Oct. 1, the official beginning of the state’s wet season. This is the time of year we start to look out over the Pacific for the storms we hope will bring life-giving precipitation, replenishing our rivers and streams, coating our mountains with snow, refilling our reservoirs and recharging our soils, forests, wetlands and groundwater.  And while we hope for a good water year, we also hope for moderation in the face of ever-worsening climate change, for storms that don’t overwhelm our levees, flood our cities and towns, or wash away our farms and homes.  We’re looking ahead with no small amount of worry. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Peter Gleick: Happy New Water Year — Californians have to face some difficult wet season truth

Column: Our fire and flood summer predicts a catastrophic future

Columnist Virginia Heffernan writes, “Journalist Ginia Bellafante hit the nail on the head Thursday when she tweeted that the overused phrase “historic weather event” must be retired.  “It gives the ongoing climate catastrophe the hint of something novel and fun.”  The destruction of two major office towers in New York City 20 years ago was never called a “historic airplane event”; the destruction of two major cities in Japan in 1945 was not a “historic atomic event.”  Instead, these “events” were immediately understood as parts of the larger global horrors of terrorism and war. The climate crisis, too, must be addressed not as a series of one-off inconveniences — the current fires in California and the floods in New York — but as a global convulsion that is already structuring our geopolitics, our everyday lives, our futures. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Times here: Column: Our fire and flood summer predicts a catastrophic future

Commentary: Las Vegas’ water situation shows why there’s no need to panic over global warming

Columnist Victor Joecks writes, “If you want to worry less about global warming, think about Las Vegas’ water situation.  That sounds counterintuitive. Two decades of drought have significantly reduced the water level at Lake Mead. The world’s biggest bathtub ring is there for all to see. Things aren’t any better up the Colorado River.  In August, federal officials issued Lake Mead’s first-ever water shortage declaration. That meant cuts in water allocation — and more cuts are likely in coming years.  Many people, including Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager John Entsminger, blame global warming for contributing to the failing water levels.  For the sake of argument, leave aside any doubts you may have about the connection between human activity and global warming. Decades of failed predictions and the demonization of those who dare to disagree tends to leave one skeptical. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review Journal here: Commentary: Las Vegas’ water situation shows why there’s no need to panic over global warming

Some sobering thoughts as we mark the start today of the new (water) year

Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin, writes, “Today is the start of the new year that means everything to California, And judging by the numbers we are starting with we could find ourselves in uncharted waters, assuming there is enough left to navigate.  This date, Oct. 1, marks the start of a new water year.  If you say ho-hum then you’ve never had a well run dry, watch an orchard in its prime production years wither into stick skeletons, or had the joy of saving washing machine and bath water to flush your toilet. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Some sobering thoughts as we mark the start today of the new (water) year

Letters to the Editor: A water pipeline from the Mississippi River doesn’t sound so crazy anymore

To the editor: With our continued dire drought and experts fearing even lower reservoir water levels in the key basins of Lake Powell and Lake Mead, maybe the proposal for a water pipeline system from the Mississippi River to those lakes isn’t so crazy after all. Such proposals have been made as far back as 1965, about the time California built its grand water distribution system called the California Aqueduct. That aqueduct is an expansive system of pipelines, canals and pumping stations, and it has served Southern California beautifully all these years. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Letters to the Editor: A water pipeline from the Mississippi River doesn’t sound so crazy anymore

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Land Tender app launched to help prevent wildfires in Tahoe, beyond

As millions of acres smolder and smoke billows across America, Vibrant Planet today launched its first application – called Land Tender – which catapults the country’s decades-old, paper-based land management system into the Cloud and provides land managers with the integrated, dynamic, high-resolution data and modeling they need to make more agile and informed decisions. With this new tool, land managers can plan, prioritize, and execute fire prevention and forest health projects in months rather than years, including thinning hazardous timber, clearing fuels from roadsides, and conducting prescribed burns.  “We are facing concurrent, intertwined climate, wildfire, biodiversity, water, and health crises that cross jurisdictions and affect each and every one of us. Our future depends on how quickly we adapt, cooperate, and take action. … ”  Read more from the Sierra Sun here:  Land Tender app launched to help prevent wildfires in Tahoe, beyond

How drought affects the American River’s salmon

Stop and ponder this for a moment: In the American River passing through the Sacramento metroplex, giant fish swim by after surviving three or more years in the wild Pacific Ocean. These are our native fall-run chinook salmon. For thousands of years — long before there was a Sacramento — they have migrated from the American River to the Pacific Ocean and back on a three- to four-year cycle.  These fish are the basis for commercial and recreational salmon fishing in California and all across the West Coast. … ”  Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here: How drought affects the American River’s salmon

Sacramento ends one of it’s driest years on record

The end of the 2020-21 water year is Thursday, Sept. 30, and the forecast is similar to what we have seen in Sacramento all year: dry conditions.  These conditions are normal for late September, but this year has been especially dry.  The Downtown Sacramento location has logged 7.87 inches of rain since Oct. 1, 2020. The Executive Airport in south Sacramento has logged even less at 6.61 inches of rain. Officially, this was the fourth driest water year for Sacramento. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Sacramento ends one of it’s driest years on record

Our brand is curiosity: Welcome to Sacramento’s new science museum on the waterfront

Sacramento is about to become nerdier — in a good way.  A decade in the planning, the region’s awaited SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity will open soon in a former steam-turbine powerhouse, offering visitors hands-on education in a new version of STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. The planned November unveiling of the $83 million riverfront center comes at a pivotal moment in Sacramento and California history, as the state and region struggle with climate change, water shortages, wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening could also provide a jolt to Sacramento’s long struggle to revitalize its riverfront and the formerly industrial landscape north of downtown. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Our brand is curiosity: Welcome to Sacramento’s new science museum on the waterfront

Russian River Watershed environment: The Bioretention Geek

Aew Stricklin, associate engineer, City of Ukiah Public Works, writes, “Ukiah, the city I work in, recently renovated the entire downtown area with new sidewalks, paved road, and all new trees with planter areas. In full transparency, I was involved in aspects of the planning of this project but not the design. When a co-worker of mine made a criticism regarding the new planters at all the street corners, I was excited to actually have some rare insight that I felt was useful in a nerdy sort of way. He complained that the contractor left the planter areas several inches too shallow and made an opening in the curb which will likely flood and dump garbage and dirty water around the new plants just put in. “Exactly the point!” was my response which only made him more confused, and as I presume, makes him not the only one. Let me geek out with you in a science meets nature sort of way. … ”  Continue reading from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: Russian River Watershed environment: The Bioretention Geek

Facing drought, wildfires, scorching heat, Bay Area wineries are changing how they grow grapes

On a foggy September morning farmworkers harvest plump, dark purple grapes at Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma County. But winemaker John Hamel II recognizes these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are very different from others grown in Sonoma and Napa counties. The green vines are flourishing mostly without direct watering.  “These vines haven’t received a drop of water since 2017,” he said.  Hamel stopped watering 80% of his vines after realizing that’s what some growers do in places like France. The method is called dry farming, and uses little to no water to irrigate vineyards. The result is grapes with thicker skins and tastier wine, says Hamel.  “This season will be slightly lower in yield, but we actually feel like this has potential to be a very good vintage,” he said of this year’s harvest. … ”  Read more from KQED here: Facing drought, wildfires, scorching heat, Bay Area wineries are changing how they grow grapes

Bay Area leads nation on floating solar

The stately Napa winery of Far Niente and the wastewater treatment plant for the small town of Healdsburg have more than winecountry surroundings in common. Each facility typically produces enough power on-site to run all their operations, and then some. Both hold national records. And the inviting irrigation pond tucked amidst the vineyards at Far Niente bears a striking resemblance to the ponds full of treated sewage-water in Healdsburg.  It’s all because of their floating solar panels.  “Floatavoltaics” (a portmanteau of floating photovoltaics, or solar panels) remain almost unheard of in the United States. But they’ve gained traction in other parts of the world, and could generate a staggering estimate of 10% of U.S. power needs if installed on even a quarter of our constructed water facilities (i.e. filled quarries, reservoirs, and aqueducts). … ”  Read more from Knee Deep here: Bay Area leads nation on floating solar

Dodging a bullet on the Highway 37 redesign

Like many of her fellow Solano County residents, Kendall Webster’s job is in another North Bay county that is wealthier and so less affordable. These days she works from her Vallejo home but, when pandemic restrictions lift, Webster will join the throng commuting to Marin and Sonoma counties along Highway 37. She’s dreading it already. This 21-mile waterfront road is among the Bay Area’s most vulnerable to sea level rise, and is already inundated during wet winters. When the record-breaking rains of 2019 hit, flooding shut down Highway 37 repeatedly. “I don’t know what I’d do,” Webster says.  To help keep Highway 37 open despite heavy storms and rising tides, planners are assessing a wide range of options from elevating the road to rerouting it. But zeroing in on the right redesign may be trickier than anticipated. … ”  Read more from Knee Deep here: Dodging a bullet on the Highway 37 redesign

Livermore mandates a 15% water reduction

The city council this week enacted the next stage of the water shortage contingency plan, bringing the city to a 15% mandatory conservation level.  The council’s unanimous vote on Sept. 27 declared a water shortage emergency; enacted Stage 2 of the water shortage contingency plan at a 15% mandatory level effective Oct. 1, 2021; implemented Stage 1 water conservation rates effective Oct. 1, 2021; and authorized the city manager to take whatever actions are necessary and appropriate to carry out the purpose and intent of the resolution. Vice Mayor Trish Munro was absent for the vote. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Livermore mandates a 15% water reduction

SEE ALSO: Livermore implements mandatory watering restrictions amid water shortage emergency, from Pleasanton Weekly

Wasted fresh water seen surging into San Jose storm drain

Despite the current severe drought conditions across California, a storm drain near U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose seems to be filling with thousands of gallons of fresh water that are simply going to waste.  There hasn’t been a storm in San Jose for many months. But even so, the storm drain is full of fresh, clear water where it mixes with street debris and flows in an unending stream down the drain. … ”  Read more from KPIX here: Wasted fresh water seen surging into San Jose storm

San Jose: Photo slideshow: Valley Water performs annual work in creeks for flood protection

Every year, Valley Water performs work in creeks across Santa Clara County to ensure that flood protection projects continue to provide their designed protection. This critical work is part of our Stream Maintenance Program, which also manages vegetation to reduce the intensity and harmful impacts of fires during the extreme drought conditions in Santa Clara County.  Valley Water owns and manages about 275 miles of streams. Each year, portions of these streams are inspected and prioritized for maintenance projects. ... ”  Read more from Valley Water News here:  Photo slideshow: Valley Water performs annual work in creeks for flood protection

Monterey commentary: Local water a dangerous political game

Rudy Fischer writes, “The board of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is playing a dangerous political game and one that could be costly for Peninsula water ratepayers.  Over a period of several months negotiators from Cal Am, the MPWMD, and Monterey One Water met nine times to work out an agreement that would allow expansion of the Pure Water Monterey pure water recycling plant. There were actually 14 exchanges of ideas and language changes. This is something the MPWMD board — at least in public – has long sought.  Everyone involved in the negotiations thought they had worked everything out and had a deal. In fact, the agenda recommendation from the MPWMD’s general manager was that the Board should consider approval of the attached draft Amended and Restated Water Purchase Agreement and authorize the general manager to sign it once CPUC approval is obtained and Monterey One Water’s Recycled Water Committee members recommended that their full Board approve the item also. ... ”  Continue reading at the Monterey Herald here: Monterey commentary: Local water a dangerous political game

San Luis Obispo: Drought affects crops, livestock as well as groundwater

Representatives from San Luis Obispo County told KSBY that this autumn and winter are going to be indicators of just how severe this drought will be. If we have another dry year like 2021, California will see the effects reverberate in the near future.  One of the most prominent industries on the Central Coast is agriculture. And the lack of rainfall not only affects crops, but livestock owners would also see major impacts. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: San Luis Obispo: Drought affects crops, livestock as well as groundwater

Precarious water year starts for SSJID & cities and farms they serve

Today could mark the beginning of the most challenging water year for the Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop area since the drought of 1924 forced the South Joaquin Irrigation District to make its last irrigation delivery to farmers on June 3 of that year.  The SSJID in recent months has cautiously expressed the belief between a third year of dry hydrology and water it has conserved that if the next 12 months are a repeat of the last two years or even slightly worse they could weather the new water year that ends Sept. 30, 2022 … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Precarious water year starts for SSJID & cities and farms they serve

All 10 Ventura County cities mark their driest year on record. See how your city fared

The 2020-21 water year ended Thursday with all 10 cities in Ventura County marking their lowest rainfall on record — and not just by a hair.  Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai and Ventura all shattered their previous record low by more than an inch, preliminary figures from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District show. Fillmore broke its record by nearly 3 inches.  In some spots, the previous record was set decades and even more than a century earlier. For Ventura, the previous all-time driest year was 1877, with 4.62 inches of rainfall, compared with 3.44 inches this past water year.  … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: All 10 Ventura County cities mark their driest year on record. See how your city fared

San Bernardino: Upper Santa Ana River Wash water storage totals are excellent for a drought year

Planning for that not-so-rainy day has helped replenish the Bunker Hill Basin with above-average levels of groundwater storage when compared to other recent periods of drought, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District announced today.  Totals for the 2020-2021 water year, running from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, reflect a 66% increase from the amount of native surface water stored in previous dry years. A total of 7,266 acre-feet of native surface water was stored in 2020-21 compared to 4.004 acre-feet in 2007-2008; 6,097 acre-feet in 2013-2014; 2.625 acre-feet in 2014-2015; 4,277 acre feet in 2015-2016 and 4,617 acre feet in 1017-2018.  This year’s water storage, achieved at a time when local precipitation was just 44% of normal, totals about 2.4 billion gallons, enough to serve nearly 22,000 families for a year. ... ”  Continue reading from Cision here: Upper Santa Ana River Wash water storage totals are excellent for a drought year

Coachella Valley: Giant CA desert surf park ‘irresponsible waste of water’: critics

“Every day I see articles about the increasing drought urgency. Here in the west, water has become a scarce resource that needs to be thoughtfully allocated. Now I read that La Quinta is considering a ‘wave basin’ project. What part of adding 600 residential units, 150 hotel units and a 16.6-acre wave pool in the desert during a mega-drought is responsible use? People argue ‘it’s good for the economy.’ There will be no economy if we run out of water. Water is a precious, shared resource. Who gives La Quinta the right to plan this development that will impact so many water users? It is reckless, irresponsible and imprudent. The precious water needed for this project belongs to everyone, not just the city of La Quinta.” — Laura Clarke, Rancho Mirage Clarke’s words were provided to the La Quinta City Council ahead of Tuesday night’s joint meeting of the council and the city’s planning commission to discuss the $1 billion proposed Coral Mountain Resort. … ”  Read more from The Patch here: Coachella Valley: Giant CA desert surf park ‘irresponsible waste of water’: critics

Metropolitan Water District pays San Diego $36 million for ‘illegal’ water charges

San Diego’s largest water wholesaler has notched another legal win against its Los Angeles parent company over the cost of delivering Colorado River water.  The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday that the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has agreed to pay about $36 million to reimburse the San Diego agency for what it has called “illegal water charges.”  The decision by Metropolitan’s board of directors follows a recent ruling by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco that found the L.A.-based water agency improperly added a “stewardship charge” onto the Colorado River water it delivers to San Diego. ... ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Metropolitan Water District pays San Diego $36 million for ‘illegal’ water charges

Higher water costs on the horizon for San Diego region

San Diego County residents should expect to pay a lot more for water in the near future.  The San Diego County Water Authority, which controls most of the region’s water resources from the drought-stressed Colorado River, is predicting anywhere from a 5.5 to 10 percent increase in the cost of water beginning in 2023, with hefty hikes continuing in the years thereafter.  The agency pointed to multiple drivers, chief among them an expected drop in demand as more cities build water recycling projects and the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water Authority, which controls San Diego’s access to the Colorado River, continues raising its rates. … ”  Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: Higher water costs on the horizon for San Diego region

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Along the Colorado River …

Southwest grapples with impacts from a megadrought that has no end in sight

The face of climate change here is visible in a big warning notice left on a front door by a water inspector making daily rounds.  “Most violations, we come back in two weeks to see if they’ve corrected the issue,” wastewater inspector Cameron Donnarumma told NBC’s “Meet the Press Reports.” “If not, that would be where a fine would come in.”  Broken sprinklers, unplugged leaks or watering the plants on days that’s not approved by the local authorities can leave residents with lighter wallets. Fines start at $80 and double for repeat offenses. Donnarumma, who works for the Las Vegas Valley Water District, said patrols run seven days a week. … ”  Read more from NBC News here: Southwest grapples with impacts from a megadrought that has no end in sight

Arizona stopped key groundwater monitoring, auditor general says

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has failed for years to monitor groundwater for pesticides and other contaminants, according to a new report by the state Auditor General.  The report said the agency has not conducted groundwater and soil monitoring of agricultural pesticides since 2013, despite a law requiring it to check for such pollution.  And the agency has not conducted other key groundwater monitoring since 2017, according to the report. … ”  Read more from Arizona Public Media here: Arizona stopped key groundwater monitoring, auditor general says

Sen. Mark Kelly to chair congressional hearing on drought in Arizona, Western states

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly announced he will chair a congressional hearing on the ongoing drought in western states, including Arizona.  Kelly will chair the Subcommittee on Water and Power, part of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on Oct. 6.  The senator requested the hearing in August, after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared a shortage of the Colorado River for the first time.  “Securing Arizona’s water future is an urgent priority. The Colorado River is the lifeblood of many Arizona cities, tribal communities, and generations of farmers,” Kelly said in a statement. “I look forward to chairing this hearing to ensure Washington understands how the drought is impacting Arizona and the west, and to discuss how we can increase resiliency and improve water management.” ... ”  Read more from KJZZ here: Sen. Mark Kelly to chair congressional hearing on drought in Arizona, Western states

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In national water news today …

States and Tribes urge judge to abolish Trump water rule

A plan to leave a contested Trump-era rule on the books for more than a year while the Biden administration reviews it will make it easier for industrial plants to pollute waterways and harm the environment, opponents of the rule argued in court Thursday. … During a telephonic hearing Thursday, the coalition urged the judge to deny the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s request to keep the contested rule in place while it spends the next 18 months or longer reviewing it. The EPA expects a final rule to be issued in the spring of 2023.  “The harms that will result from this rule and that EPA has acknowledged are extreme,” said Kelly Wood, assistant attorney general for the state of Washington. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: States and Tribes urge judge to abolish Trump water rule

NRCS joins in celebration of first annual Source Water Protection Week

In conjunction with the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is excited to announce its participation in the first annual Source Water Protection Week celebrated across the nation.  AWWA launched the new Source Water Protection Week starting this year on September 26. AWWA invites water utilities, AWWA sections, states, and other partners to join in on raising awareness about the importance of protecting drinking water sources during this week.  “NRCS will be taking the opportunity to educate our customers and communities throughout the week about our practices and programs that can help to protect source water quality,” said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. … ”  Read more from the NRCS here: NRCS joins in celebration of first annual Source Water Protection Week

The House missed its deadline to pass infrastructure. That doesn’t mean the bill has hit a dead end.

A five-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that would steer billions for roads, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations never got to the House floor Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the largest transportation funding bill in U.S. history has hit a dead end.  After a marathon negotiating session that involved two centrist Democratic senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – the infrastructure measure remains on hold until at least Friday as lawmakers try to strike a deal on a much larger spending bill aimed at expanding social safety net programs and addressing climate change. … ”  Read more from the USA Today via MSN here: The House missed its deadline to pass infrastructure. That doesn’t mean the bill has hit a dead end.

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National water and climate report …

The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.

dmrpt-20210930

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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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