DAILY DIGEST, 10/4: Why are lawns green in SoCal and going brown in the Bay Area?; CA regulators buckle up for the potential of 0% water allocation for 2022; Huge ecological losses feared as Orange County oil spill hits wetlands, marshes; and more …


In California water news today …

Why are lawns green in Southern California and going brown in the Bay Area?

It’s counterintuitive.  Northern California receives more annual rain and snow than Southern California, with 75% of the state’s precipitation falling in the watersheds north of Sacramento. Yet amid a drought, it seems people in the north are conserving water by letting their lawns turn brown and taking shorter showers as districts and municipalities impose mandatory water-use restrictions, while urban areas of the arid south are lush and green with well-watered gardens and lawns.  Why is Southern California facing less pain in the drought than Northern California? … ”  Continue reading from SF Gate here: Why are lawns green in Southern California and going brown in the Bay Area?

Calif. regulators buckle up for the potential of 0% water allocation for 2022

California’s reservoirs are so dry from a historic drought that regulators warned Thursday it’s possible the state’s water agencies won’t get anything from them next year, a frightening possibility that could force mandatory restrictions for residents.  This year, unusually hot, dry conditions caused nearly 80% of that water to either evaporate or be absorbed into the parched soil — part of a larger drought that has emptied reservoirs and led to cuts for farmers across the western United States. It caught sate officials by surprise as California now enters the rainy season with reservoirs at their lowest level ever. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Calif. regulators buckle up for the potential of 0% water allocation for 2022

The big California drought stories of 2021

Happy New Water Year!  October 1, 2021 is the beginning of the 2022 water year in California, the traditional beginning of California’s “wet season”, such as it will be.  Although there are many fine and interesting stories from California’s current drought, so far, a few stories seem more important and worth summarizing (even though many have been widely covered). … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  The Big California Drought Stories of 2021

Huge ecological losses feared as Orange County oil spill hits wetlands, marshes

There was growing alarm in Huntington Beach and beyond over the ecological toll of a 130,000-gallon oil spill that left local beaches and some wetlands soiled with crude.  The spill had reached the Talbert Marsh and some environmentally sensitive wetlands areas by Sunday morning. It will take time to know the extent of the damage but officials said some birds and fish have been found dead.  Huntington State Beach is home to a number of species of birds, including gulls, willet, long-billed dowitchers,  elegant terns and reddish egret, which are rare on the West Coast, according to Ben Smith, a biologist and environmental consultant for the county. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Huge ecological losses feared as Orange County oil spill hits wetlands, marshes

Massive oil spill batters California’s Orange County coast

California’s taking an environmental beating.  Orange County was hit with its largest oil spill in three decades when at least 126,000 gallons of crude oil spewed from a leaking pipeline connected to an offshore platform. The oil slick — which was first reported Saturday and grew large enough to cover the city of Santa Monica and then some — infiltrated Talbert Marsh, a critical stopover for migrating birds.  Onlookers reported oil-slicked fish and birds washing up dead on the shores of Huntington Beach, where millions of sightseers had gathered Friday and Saturday to watch the famed Pacific Airshow. Officials cancelled Sunday’s third and final show, likely costing the city millions. Beaches could be closed for weeks or even months, local officials said, and it could take months to understand the spill’s damage to wildlife. … ”  Continue reading from Cal Matters here: Massive oil spill batters California’s Orange County coast

SEE ALSO:

After one of the driest years on record, it will take multiple years for some states to recover

Record drought, wildfires, and water shortages have beleaguered the western US, and the forecast is not much brighter. A new water year began Friday, resetting the clock for many states who are hopeful to start anew and see better results.  The water year is defined as October 1 – September 30. The 12-month period was selected because it is an ideal reset period in terms of the US water cycle, and October 1 presented a good natural break for many regions of the US. It is after monsoon rains peak in the Southwest, before the bulk of snow begins for the Northeast and Midwest, and is when tropical cyclones wind down (traditionally) for the Southeast.  The end of the water year was quite good for some locations. … ”  Read more from CNN here: After one of the driest years on record, it will take multiple years for some states to recover

Using tech to transform vegetation management in the wake of the Dixie Fire

Wildfires have become an increasingly regular occurrence across the world, from Greece and Turkey to Australia and California.  There are various causes of these fires, from stray cigarettes and unextinguished campfires to lightning strikes and, as is especially prevalent in California, damaged power lines.  The Dixie Fire, which started on July 13 after a tree fell on Pacific Gas & Electric power lines, grew to become the single largest fire in California history. … As part of the bankruptcy’s plan of reorganization, the California Public Utilities Commission enacted measures to strengthen PG&E’s governance and operations. One of these measures includes the Enhanced Vegetation Management (EVM) program to reduce wildfire risks. … ”  Read more from Tech Crunch here: Using tech to transform vegetation management in the wake of the Dixie Fire

Return to top

In commentary today …

Salmon hatcheries need updated infrastructure and strategies

Tim Scully, a graduate student specializing in California salmon restoration policy at UC Santa Cruz, writes, “We can no longer ignore that Central Valley Chinook salmon are on the edge of collapse.  Habitat loss and degradation, primarily from low river levels, make it necessary for hatcheries to support the vulnerable Chinook salmon population. State and federal hatcheries supply millions of baby salmon for release into the Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to support commercial and recreational fisheries ranging from the Central Coast of California to the coast of Southern Oregon.  Restoration of in-river flows and salmon habitat is the long-term solution for returning salmon to their former glory. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Salmon hatcheries need updated infrastructure and strategies

Letters to the Editor: Really, Californians? Another call for a water pipeline?

To the editor: I’d like to ask if the reader from Chatsworth calling for the construction of a water pipeline from the Mississippi River to Colorado River reservoirs has ever been to Mono Lake, which was nearly destroyed because of an aqueduct to Los Angeles.  Has he seen and considered the pictures of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, along with the long history of California water infrastructure and the damage it has done across the West?  So the plan now is to drain the Midwest too? … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Letters to the Editor: Really, Californians? Another call for a water pipeline?

In regional water news and commentary today …

‘No fish means no food’: how Yurok women are fighting for their tribe’s nutritional health

Keeping salmon in her children’s diet is “an entire job”, says Georgiana Gensaw, a Yurok Tribe member and mother of four in Klamath Glen, California, a community whose only easily accessible food store is a fried chicken shop attached to a gas station a few miles away.  The nearest grocery store, Safeway in Crescent City, lies 24 miles away along a stretch of road frequently plagued by landslides and toppled redwoods – last summer it was closed for 20 hours a day after a washout – making queues to get through the roadworks up to five hours long.  As a lifelong reservation resident, Gensaw recalls when fresh food was abundant. “I grew up with fish patties, rice and fish, noodles and fish, salmon sandwiches, dried fish,” she remembers fondly. “We never understood how lucky we were, that it was going to go away.” … ”  Read more from The Guardian here: ‘No fish means no food’: how Yurok women are fighting for their tribe’s nutritional health

Lake County Supervisors to discuss updating water hauling urgency ordinance

The Board of Supervisors is set to discuss amending an urgency ordinance regarding water hauling to unpermitted cannabis grows, and get updates on COVID-19 and fire prevention efforts.  The‌ ‌board will meet beginning ‌at‌ ‌9‌ ‌a.m. ‌Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the board chambers on the first floor of the Lake County Courthouse, 255 N. Forbes St., Lakeport. …  In his report to his fellow supervisors, Board Chair Bruno Sabatier explained that on Aug. 24 the board approved an urgency ordinance prohibiting water hauling to unpermitted cannabis sites.  “After reviewing the changes that were made on the day it was approved, it became apparent that the changes made to the originally submitted ordinance prohibited the enforcement as it is not apparent as to what is a legal grow and what is an illegal grow for cannabis cultivation for water haulers,” Sabatier wrote. … ”  Read more from the Lake County News here: Lake County Supervisors to discuss updating water hauling urgency ordinance

Pleasanton: Castlewood in midst of serious water shortage with SFPUC well pump failures

The Castlewood community is facing a significant water supply breakdown that could extend into at least Monday amid pump failures within the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission-owned well system that serves the area in unincorporated Pleasanton.  Officials with the SFPUC and Castlewood Property Owners Association are asking Castlewood residents to limit use of their household water as crews work to temporarily supplement the water system’s tanks while troubleshooting of the underlying pump problem continues. The Club at Castlewood stopped water irrigation for the day. … ”  Read more from Pleasanton Weekly here: Castlewood in midst of serious water shortage with SFPUC well pump failures

Santa Cruz:  Mill Creek waters run free after dam removed in San Vicente Redwoods

Amidst fire-blackened redwoods, lush ferns and hazelnut bushes of the San Vicente Redwoods, Mill Creek waters are flowing freely again after a 110-year-old dam — that was never functional to begin with — was removed.  The dam, taken down last month, held back cobbles, pebbles and gravels that environmentalists say is critical to bolster dwindling populations of Central Coast coho and steelhead.  “This is one of the southernmost watersheds for coho and their entire population,” said Ian Rowbotham, land stewardship manager with conservation nonprofit Sempervirens Fund. “The hope is that through this work you can start to see those populations rebound dramatically with increased and improved habitat.” … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz:  Mill Creek waters run free after dam removed in San Vicente Redwoods

Santa Cruz: Boil Water Notice implemented for some Big Basin Water Company customers in Boulder Creek

Some Big Basin Water Company customers should not drink, cook, or brush their teeth with their tap water unless it is boiled, according to a Boil Water Notice that impacts dozens of households in Boulder Creek. … The order, implemented by the State Water Resources Control Board, the Santa Cruz County Health Department and the Big Basin Water Company, advises residents with questions regarding water safety to call the health department. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Santa Cruz: Boil Water Notice implemented for some Big Basin Water Company customers in Boulder Creek

Central Valley: Local pumpkin farmers feel the effects of California’s drought, water regulations

The hot and dry weather continues to impact farmers in the Central Valley, and as the fall season begins, pumpkin farmers are feeling the effects.  Bonnie Simonian has co-owned Simonian Farms for more than 50 years. Every October, she uses pumpkins from her own farm to open a pumpkin patch. While she says growing pumpkins in the Central Valley has always been difficult, this year’s drought made it even more challenging. … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here: Central Valley: Local pumpkin farmers feel the effects of California’s drought, water regulations

Ventura commentary: ‘Physical Solution’ is not a solution: Removing Matilija Dam is

Paul Jenkin, coordinator of the Matilija Coalition, writes, “Our water supply has reached a critical state, yet local agencies continue to evade the elephant in the room; unsustainable consumption threatens the future of our community.  If the past is any indication, the current drought may have only just begun. … Recognizing the need to adapt to a changing climate, state legislators passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to require local water agencies to develop sustainable management practices. Yet many agencies see this as a threat, rather than an opportunity to protect our community. Seeking to subvert oversight, local agencies are now proposing a “Physical Solution” to the adjudication lawsuit, which will do nothing to maintain a sustainable water supply. … ”  Continue reading at the Ojai Valley News here:  ‘Physical Solution’ is not a solution: Removing Matilija Dam is

California City might alter water buys

The City Council, on Tuesday, discussed the possible benefits and pitfalls of ending its practice of purchasing supplemental water from the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and relying solely on its own wells for water.  Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff requested the discussion, speaking in favor of ending the relationship with the agency which supplies water from the State Water Project. Kulikoff is opposed to AVEK’s requirement for new development to pay from about $5,000 to $500,000, depending on the size of the meter, in a one-time capacity charge for any new connection to support the AVEK service, with the City collecting the fees. He said it is a detriment to bringing in new business to the community. ... ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: California City might alter water buys

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

States jointly restoring wildlife habitat along Lower Colorado River

A cooperative effort to restore habitats along the Lower Colorado River Basin is seeing the re-emergence of several threatened and endangered species.  The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is part of a program, begun in 2005, that has reclaimed or restored more than 1,100 square miles of wetlands and woodlands along the river.  The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP) is designed to protect 27 species, including eight listed under the Endangered Species Act.  Chuck Cullom, Colorado River programs manager for the Central Arizona Project, said the 50-year project is a joint effort between Arizona, California and Nevada. … ”  Read more from the Public News Service here: States jointly restoring wildlife habitat along Lower Colorado River

Return to top

In national water news today …

Department of Energy announces $8.5 million to increase hydropower flexibility

“[Last week], the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $8.5 million funding opportunity to improve the operational flexibility of the U.S. hydropower fleet. Under this solicitation, DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) will fund up to six awards to advance  hydropower technologies to enhance grid reliability.  As the U.S. grid evolves and integrates more variable sources like wind and solar, hydropower will need to adapt to changing grid conditions and support the reliability and resiliency of the grid. By increasing hydropower’s ability to operate flexibly and support intermittent energy sources, solutions funded by this solicitation support the Biden Administration’s goal of a decarbonized power sector by 2035. … ”  Read more from the Department of Energy here: Department of Energy announces $8.5 million to increase hydropower flexibility 

Disappearing water in a warming climate: A story in four visuals

Water scarcity will be the biggest climate-related threat to corporate assets like factories within the next few decades, according to a recent report – but it seems to have barely registered on investors’ radar.  Of course, the human cost of worsening scarcity is already fully apparent; about one out of every four people in world don’t have access to safely managed drinking water at home, and in just a few years about two-thirds of the global population could face water shortages. …The climate crisis is often cited for these deficits, which are aggravated by demand that grows in tandem with an expanding global population. Water scarcity may therefore be a lively topic of discussion at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) slated to begin later this month. ... ”  Read more from the World Economic Forum here: Disappearing water in a warming climate: A story in four visuals

Return to top

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

In California water news this weekend …

  • Biden Administration requests reinitiation of consultation on the Long-Term Operation of the CVP and SWP
  • ‘Exciting stuff’: Forecast points to above-normal rain for Calif. in second week of October
  • DWR REPORT: Water Year 2021: An Extreme Year
  • Retired farmer warns of huge water problem
  • Dry wells, drastic cutbacks. For many Californians, drought hardships have already arrived
  • Setting sail on the winding waterways of California’s Delta
  • How Dixie Fire got so big — and what that means for future blazes
  • Washoe Tribe scientists discuss using traditional knowledge to mitigate wildfire risk and restore Tahoe’s Meeks Meadow
  • Lake Mendocino level now about 75% of what water managers had hoped
  • State Water Board launches new era of stream restoration at Mono Lake
  • Thrust into the record books by climate change, profound U.S. Southwest drought isn’t going away
  • Has the Walton family gained an outsized influence over a crucial environmental crisis?
  • And more …

Return to top

Today’s featured articles …

Lake Oroville, September 27, 2021

MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for October 1st, including current reservoir and water conditions

Written by Robert Shibatani

The 2020-21 Water Year is officially over… and not a moment too soon.  It’s a year that many of us would like to put behind us and not just because of water.

Click here to read this article.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

UPDATE: October 1 Update on Curtailment Status of Water Rights and Claims in the Delta watershed

UPDATE: Lower Russian River Curtailment Updates for October 2021

PRE-CONFERENCE ORDER: City of Stockton

PUBLICATION: Water Year 2021: An Extreme Year

NOTICE: Notice of Hearing Request Received for the Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act (PCPA) Review Process of Imidacloprid

Return to top

 

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.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
%d bloggers like this: