DAILY DIGEST, 10/6: Rep. Harder, Agriculture Sec’ty Vilsack on solutions to CA drought; Biden action puts a hold on Trump admin biops; LADWP has saved enough water that it will start sharing with neighbors; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • FREE WEBINAR: Veterans in water from 11am to 12pm. California’s water utilities now hiring and veterans have the skills utilities need. How do veterans transition into water careers?  Our panel of Federal representatives and veterans who lead in the California water sector will share their stories, offer advice and answer your questions.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

Q&A: Rep. Josh Harder, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on solutions to CA drought

It’s no secret that farmers and ranchers have been hit hard by California’s severe drought. Rep. Josh Harder hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at a virtual event on Tuesday to discuss the state of agriculture in the Central Valley and what is being done to offer farmers and ranchers support. … Following the discussion, KCRA 3’s Brittany Johnson spoke with Harder and Vilsack about possible solutions to California’s drought. … ”  Read more from KCRA here: Q&A: Rep. Josh Harder, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on solutions to CA drought

Rice growers look for rain, but not before harvest ends

Favorable weather conditions and fewer acres of planted rice this year should allow California farmers to remove their crop without worries of autumn rainfall complicating their harvest.  All eyes are now on how much precipitation the coming season will bring, which will affect not only farmer prospects for growing rice next year but also their ability to supply key markets.  “Every rice farmer I talk to, it’s all about how much rain are we going to get this winter,” said Yuba County grower Charley Mathews Jr. “We are going to talk about that and worry about that for the next four months.” … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Rice growers look for rain, but not before harvest ends

State and federal experts call for water conservation as ‘exceptional’ drought continues

San Joaquin County communities are having their woes compounded as they struggle with the effects of one historic drought while still struggling with the effects of another.  With constituents concerned about the ongoing drought and resources available, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, hosted a panel of state and federal experts to discuss the critical situation, its statewide effects and best water practices.  “Drought is a catalyst for other disasters such as the terrible wildfires we’ve experienced this summer,” McNerney said. “It also puts the health of our own Delta at risk of saltwater intrusion from the ocean and a buildup of the toxins when freshwater flow from the Sacramento River gets too low.” … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: State and federal experts call for water conservation as ‘exceptional’ drought continues

California’s “water year” among the driest ever

Water years begin every October 1st. And the last one was one of California’s driest water years ever, with the continuing drought affecting most of the state.  The state’s Department of Water Resources ranked the 2020-21 water year as California’s fourth-driest on record.  In San Francisco, about nine inches of rain fell between October 1st, 2020 and September 30 of this year, compared to about 24 inches in a normal year. According to the National Weather Service, that’s the second-driest total in more than 170 years.  In San Jose, they’ve received about five inches of precipitation — about a third of what they normally get in a water year. … ”  Read more from KALW here:  California’s “water year” among the driest ever

Biden action puts a hold on Trump administration biological opinions

The water wars continue.  Not surprisingly on Friday President Joe Biden’s administration took action to essentially place on hold an action taken by former President Donald Trump in early 2020 designed to ensure more water would be delivered to the Central Valley.  The issue involved is biological opinions issued in 2019 by the Trump administration to be used when it comes to how water is managed. But a letter issued by the Bureau of Reclamation stated new biological opinions were anticipated. So not surprisingly California Republicans in Congress criticized Biden’s action. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Biden action puts a hold on Trump administration biological opinions

UC Merced leads innovative effort to secure water for agriculture and ecosystems

UC Merced’s largest research grant in its 16-year history aims to improve agricultural and environmental water resilience. The new $10 million collaborative focuses on water banking, trading and improvements in data-driven management practices to arrive at a climate-resilient future in water-scarce regions of the United States.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding the the wide-ranging effort from multiple institutions across three states through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative on Sustainable Agricultural Systems. The coalition of researchers is led by UC Merced, joined by experts from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Utah State University, the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute at New Mexico State University, the Public Policy Institute of California, Environmental Defense Fund, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwestern Climate Hub. … ”  Read more from UC Merced here: UC Merced leads innovative effort to secure water for agriculture and ecosystems

Water is scarce in California. But farmers have found ways to store it underground

Aaron Fukuda admits that the 15-acre sunken field behind his office doesn’t look like much.  It’s basically a big, wide hole in the ground behind the headquarters of the Tulare Irrigation District, in the southern part of California’s fertile Central Valley. But “for a water resources nerd like myself, it’s a sexy, sexy piece of infrastructure,” says Fukuda, the district’s general manager.  This earthen basin could be the key to survival for an agricultural community that delivers huge quantities of vegetables, fruit and nuts to the rest of the country — but is running short of water. The basin just needs California’s rivers to rise and flood it. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Public Radio here: Water is scarce in California. But farmers have found ways to store it underground

Climate anxiety takes a growing toll on farmers

Nikiko Masumoto grew up revering the peach trees and grape vines on her family’s farm in California’s Central Valley. The orchard and vineyard have been passed down through her Japanese American family for generations and their fruits were the juicy economic engines that fed her community and assured the farm’s survival. But this year, there’s anguish in the peaceful groves as record-breaking heat waves, air-polluting wildfires, and droughts repeatedly pummel California. … ”  Read more from Civil Eats here: Climate anxiety takes a growing toll on farmers

Stratford: Drought wants to knock out this small California town. The people who love it are trying to save it

Ramon Chavez was a 7-year-old in Culiacán, Mexico, when his parents told him that they were traveling to the United States. He thought he was going to Disneyland.  They ended up in Stratford.  Chavez spent his childhood and teenage years running around the small farming town in the Central Valley and swimming with his friends in the nearby canals. Everybody, as the saying goes, knew everybody. Small businesses, like gas stations and mercaditos, spoke to a self-sustaining life far from the conveniences of the big city.  “I fell in love with it ever since,” said Chavez, now 39. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Drought wants to knock out this small California town. The people who love it are trying to save it

In California, some buy machines that make water out of air

The machine Ted Bowman helped design can make water out of the air, and in parched California, some homeowners are already buying the pricey devices.  The air-to-water systems work like air conditioners by using coils to chill air, then collect water drops in a basin.  “Our motto is, water from air isn’t magic, it’s science, and that’s really what we’re doing with these machines,” said Ted Bowman, design engineer at Washington state-based Tsunami Products. … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here: In California, some buy machines that make water out of air

SEE ALSO: California Residents Turn To Tech To Get Some Water Amidst Continuing Drought, from Tech Times

Congress approves $80 million for Sites Reservoir

Congress approved a government funding bill last week that threw $80 million at the Sites Reservoir in California in order to keep the project on track.  The project is meant to hold 1.5 million acre-feet of water for the state to be used during droughts for agriculture, community usage and environmental need, said a press release issued Tuesday by the organization behind the Sites Reservoir.  “We thank our federal representatives and project partners, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, for their continued support of Sites Reservoir, especially as the drought situation in California becomes more severe,” said Fritz Durst, chair of the Sites Project Authority. “This critical funding helps us to continue advancing Sites Reservoir as a drought resilient water storage solution for the people of California.” … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Congress approves $80 million for Sites Reservoir

Video: Groundwater and Urban Growth in the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley is home to some 4 million residents and growing rapidly: another 1 million residents are expected by 2040. Groundwater is the primary water source for these communities, yet decades of overpumping have stressed the region’s groundwater basins, resulting in land subsidence, dry wells, and falling groundwater reserves. The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) seeks to solve this issue by mandating that water users bring their groundwater basins back into balance by the 2040s.  “Much of the discussion around implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in the valley focuses on agriculture,” said PPIC research fellow Andrew Ayres at a virtual event last week. “That makes sense, because agriculture is a key player in SGMA implementation in the valley. Urban areas, though they use much less water, oftentimes are highly reliant on groundwater, so SGMA implementation is very important for them as well.” … ”  Read more from the PPIC here: Video: Groundwater and Urban Growth in the San Joaquin Valley

Dinner table lessons launch water industry careers

Jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide stable employment in meaningful careers, delivering a vital resource families and businesses depend on. With half of all current employees expected to retire in the next 15 years, recruitment efforts hope to fill many of these essential positions.  Family ties provide a positive influence in filling these roles with the next generation of water professionals in several water agencies in San Diego County.  In many professions, exposure to career choices at the dinner table has a statistically significant influence. For more than four decades, the University of Chicago has tracked family and career trends in its General Social Survey. The survey found that younger generations often pursue careers due to early exposure to career paths, how they value certain skills, and even inherited aptitudes for building things or language. … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here: Dinner table lessons launch water industry careers

Wildfire torched the Sierra all summer, evading containment. Here’s how Tahoe protected itself

Susie Kocher watched with increasing dread as the Caldor Fire roared across the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, churning toward her home near the base of Echo Summit.  From high along the granite ridge nearby, the view of Lake Tahoe is normally pristine — a cerulean ocean in the sky, dotted with boats and casinos lining the pine forest along the South Shore. But for two weeks at the end of August, smoke as brown as car exhaust clouded the basin’s air.  As Kocher well knows, having worked tirelessly for more than a decade to prepare this community for a wildfire as a UC Cooperative Extension forestry adviser, under almost every tree near South Lake Tahoe is a house.  She feared the fast approaching edge of the fire, with its flames licking beyond 100 feet in the air. But she worried most about showers of red hot embers, carried over a mile beyond the fire’s edge by wind gusts, stealing entrance into these homes through open vents or siding gaps, burning them from the inside out. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Wildfire torched the Sierra all summer, evading containment. Here’s how Tahoe protected itself

California faces its new climate normal

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. In August, 2021, a report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that climate change is quickening and intensifying.  Even in a best-case scenario, global temperatures will likely rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040. ... ”  Read more from Audubon here: California faces its new climate normal

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In commentary today …

State must take control of its water future

The Southern California News Group editorial board writes, “We knew it was coming, but California officials now are talking openly about imposing statewide water restrictions if the state faces another unusually dry winter. Some local water districts, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, have started limiting water given that they are receiving a pittance of their usual allotments from the State Water Project.  The situation is severe and water districts have no choice but to limit water usage when they fall short. One need only look at the perilously low reservoirs. The state’s water shortages, however, don’t stem from inadequate conservation, but from inadequate preparation.  “We’re going to be watching very closely here in the coming couple few months how that voluntary water conservation goes,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot in recent reports. Californians have reduced their water usage by 16% since the last drought ended four years ago, he noted, but “mandatory restrictions … need to be on the table.” … ”  Read more from the OC Register here: State must take control of its water future

New approaches needed to fight wildfires

Dana Hessheimer, a retired Brigadier General and National Guard dual-status commander for the Camp Fire, writes, “Three years ago, the town of Paradise was destroyed by the Camp Fire, which was later designated the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.  I saw the devastation first-hand because I served as the National Guard dual-status commander at the Camp Fire and was responsible for coordinating the military’s involvement during the crisis.  After the fire, leaders on the local, state and federal level were reassessing the historic wildfire and lessons learned for next time, promising to never let history repeat itself. The Legislature has approved funding for wildfire mitigation and prevention efforts and tried to hire additional staff, but as I look at the current state of our region on fire – has anything truly changed since then? … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Commentary: New approaches needed to fight wildfires

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KLAMATH BASIN

Klamath: Feds defend ag irrigation in drought-stricken wetland refuge

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, Tulelake, Calif. (USBR/Courtney Mathews)

The government’s continued prioritization of agriculture on four wildlife refuges straddling the Oregon-California border is making drought conditions there worse, attorneys told a Ninth Circuit panel Tuesday.  The Klamath Basin is in an unprecedented drought. This summer, the Klamath Tribes feared the imminent extinction of c’waam and koptu, prehistoric sucker fish they have eaten out of Upper Klamath Lake for millennia. In the Klamath River, fed by the lake, 70% of juvenile salmon died this year before they reached the ocean, killed by bacteria that thrives in the river’s artificially low water level. And a complex of wildlife refuges straddling the California-Oregon border didn’t get their usual water allocations from the lake, because the government is scrambling to prevent the extinction of the c’waam and koptu. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Feds defend ag irrigation in drought-stricken wetland refuge

Reclamation increases Klamath Project drought relief funding to $20 million

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded an additional $5 million in drought relief funds to the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency this month, adding to the $15 million previously awarded. KPDRA will distribute the $20 million from Reclamation this year to Klamath Project irrigators in Oregon and California.  “This devastatingly dry year has been difficult for everyone,” said Klamath Basin Area Office Acting Area Manager Jared Bottcher. “We are pleased to make additional funding available to KPDRA to provide immediate relief to communities hit hard by drought conditions. We will pursue additional drought support for Klamath Basin communities as we progress towards long-term solutions for the Klamath Basin.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Reclamation increases Klamath Project drought relief funding to $20 million

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Public meetings planned to discuss Colusa Subbasin

The Colusa Groundwater Authority (CGA) and the Glenn Groundwater Authority (GGA) will host two public meetings to discuss the Public Draft Colusa Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) next week.  “We’re at the culmination of a long process and on the cusp of implementing projects that will better monitor and enhance our groundwater,” said Denise Carter, GCA board chair and Colusa County Supervisor. “These meetings and the public comment period are a critical opportunity for stakeholders to give their input to the CGA and GGA before we approve the GSP and submit it to the State. I encourage every affected groundwater user in the subbasin to attend one of these meetings, review the plan and give us your feedback.” … ”  Read more from the Colusa Sun-Herald here: Public meetings planned to discuss Colusa Subbasin

Boat ramp extension in the works at Lake Oroville

 The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is working to bring the Loafer Point Stage II to launch ramp to the lower water level.  “This would be a recreation feature that would be in place for future droughts,” DWR senior engineer Andrew Bambauer said.  A recreation feature like this would allow boats to launch even when it is low. It could also help local businesses like Lakeside Market and Gas.  “By July we have seen a huge decline of boat goers and fisherman, anything you can think of,” Lakeside Market and Gas Manager Charles Luttrell. “It’s just not happening out there.” … ”  Read more from Action News Now here:  Boat ramp extension in the works at Lake Oroville

Oroville hatchery plans to increase fall salmon run to 7.5 million

“The record-breaking drought has impacted many aspects of life in California, including the Chinook salmon population. California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have teamed up at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville to try and counteract the effects of the drought.  The groups have a two-part plan of, first, returning healthy adults to the hatchery to increase the number of spring-run salmon. Second, they will increase the fall-run production of smolts, young salmon, from 6-million to 7.75-million. … ”  Read more from KRCR here: Oroville hatchery plans to increase fall salmon run to 7.5 million

Yolo County wells recovering during harvest season

About 53% of the wells in Yolo County are showing recovery in their numbers in comparison to the August numbers after new measurements were taken in mid-September.  Kristin Sicke, general manager of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, reported to the Board of Supervisors last week that the stabilization and increase in groundwater levels is expected to continue into October. ... ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here: Yolo County wells recovering during harvest season

Get an inside look at Sacramento’s newest museum before it opens

The finishing touches are being put on Sacramento’s newest museum, the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity.  The museum centers around all things science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  The museum is about 50,000 square feet, with 20,000 square feet for exhibit experiences that range from water to electricity and farming. The museum will even have a live beehive for kids to check out. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Get an inside look at Sacramento’s newest museum before it opens

NAPA-SONOMA

Residents of Sonoma, Marin counties to be offered water saving kits as drought worsens

Residents in Sonoma and Marin counties will have access to free water saving kits this weekend, as drought conditions worsen and water conservation is encouraged for those living in the Russian River watershed.  Sonoma Water and the Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership will provide the drought kits, limited to one per household, at multiple sites across the two counties from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. ... ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Residents of Sonoma, Marin counties to be offered water saving kits as drought worsens

BAY AREA

San Francisco: The plan to cure sickly Lake Merced: Here’s how it works

Mondy Lariz spent his boyhood years learning how to fish at Lake Merced through a program sponsored by the San Francisco Police Department. It was a way to connect with the natural world, he said, and it kept him out of trouble.  “I never forgot (how) that sort of helped me stay away from gang problems,” he said. “It was really formative.”  But as the surrounding golf courses and cemeteries began drawing from deep wells to irrigate their greens and urbanization crept into the area, water levels dropped dramatically. By the 1990s, many declared the lake dead. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Examiner here: San Francisco: The plan to cure sickly Lake Merced: Here’s how it works

East Bay Municipal Utility District taps Sacramento River as part of drought response

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), which supplies water to 1.4 million East Bay residents, has announced that, as part of its drought response, it’s started drawing supplemental water from the Sacramento River to bolster its Mokelumne River water supplies for its customer base.  Through February 2022, the agency said it will pump approximately 11 billion gallons of water via the Freeport Regional Water Facility on the Sacramento River, largely via its contract with the US Bureau of Reclamation, with the supplemental supplies representing about 20 percent of its annual customer water needs.  Purchasing and delivering this year’s supplemental water comes at a cost of about $15 million, which EBMUD said is funded by budgeted operations costs. … ”  Read more from the Richmond Standard here: EBMUD taps Sacramento River as part of drought response

Another Bay Area city is poised to declare a drought emergency and mandate water conservation

Amid California’s worsening drought, Pleasanton city officials on Tuesday are expected to declare a local drought and water shortage emergency, and require residents to reduce their water usage by 15%.  The Pleasanton City Council will vote at Tuesday’s meeting.  In a report accompanying the council’s agenda, staff urged council members to make such declarations after board members with the Zone 7 Water Agency voted to do the same in September. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Another Bay Area city is poised to declare a drought emergency and mandate water conservation

Artificial turf stolen from San Jose home as drought drives rising demand

As the ongoing drought prompts some to replace their lawns, thieves were caught on camera stealing an expensive roll of artificial turf from the front of a San Jose home.  Security cameras at a house on Eastridge Drive picked up a suspicious white SUV driving slowly by with its headlights off, around 1:20 in the morning on September 25th.  Two minutes later, two men are seeing walking up to the property from the left and they go straight for a big roll of artificial turf that’s laying in the front yard of Rick Telly’s home. … ”  Read more from CBS Bay Area here: Artificial turf stolen from San Jose home as drought drives rising demand

Valley Water tries to beat the drought with purification technology

The 2021 drought is one for the record books, with the U.S. West continuing to feel the heat. In California, nearly half the state falls under the U.S. Drought Monitor’s “exceptional drought” status, and many reservoirs are at record lows threatening water supplies and hydroelectric generation. The situation in Santa Clara County is especially troubling after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the Anderson Dam drained last fall due to seismic safety concerns.  In June, the Santa Clara Valley Water District instituted a 15% mandatory water use reduction for the county as an emergency measure. However, months later, as the reductions fell far short of the target, Valley Water is trying to stem the water supply deficit through a purification project while still encouraging conservation. … ”  Read more from Silicon Valley Voice here: Valley Water tries to beat the drought with purification technology

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Former Stockton biofuel official sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegal dumping

The former director of a Stockton biofuel company was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Monday for unlawful discharge of industrial wastewater, tampering with monitoring equipment and conspiracy.  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Christopher Young, director of operations at Community Fuels from 2011 to 2016, is charged with participating in the dumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of polluted wastewater into Stockton’s sewers after tampering with water sensors. … ”  Read more from the Stockton Record here: Former Stockton biofuel official sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegal dumping

Reclamation completes Goodwin Canyon spawning gravel placement project in the Stanislaus River

Goodwin Dam spawning gravel placement project in the Stanislaus River (USBR/John Hannon)

The Bureau of Reclamation has completed a spawning gravel placement project at Stanislaus River mile 58, about 30 miles northeast of Modesto in Tuolumne County. This project’s purpose is to improve Chinook salmon, steelhead, and rainbow trout spawning and rearing habitat below Goodwin Dam.  “Reclamation is pleased to announce this habitat improvement project’s addition of 7,200 tons of gravel in the Stanislaus River,” said Bay-Delta Office Manager David Mooney. “This important work of restoring riverine habitats compliments New Melones Dam operation for supporting Central Valley Project species. We look forward to continuing gravel placement in the coming years.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Reclamation completes Goodwin Canyon spawning gravel placement project in the Stanislaus River

Turlock Irrigation District records a historic dry year

The 2020-2021 water year came to an end on Sept. 30 as the sixth driest year for the Tuolumne River Watershed and the fourth driest two-year period dating back to 1897. Full natural flow for the water year was 619,099 acre-feet – only 32.4 percent of the more than 1.9 million acre-feet average for the watershed.  This is a stark contrast from just two years ago when the state declared California drought-free for the first time in nearly a decade, thanks to a surging snowpack that was 152 percent of its historical average at the time. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Turlock Irrigation District records a historic dry year

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

LADWP has saved enough water that it will start sharing with neighbors

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined local water officials on Tuesday, Oct. 5, to detail a new partnership that will shift water from the State Water Project to the Colorado River to ensure that Southland residents have continued water access amid a historic drought.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power receives imported water via the Metropolitan Water District from the State Water Project and the Colorado River. Under the new partnership, LADWP will give some of the water back to the MWD to be distributed to regions that don’t have access to the Colorado River. … ”  Continue reading at the LA Daily News here: LADWP has saved enough water that it will start sharing with neighbors

Los Angeles shifts water supplies as drought hammers State Water Project

Cities in Southern California rely largely on water flowing through aqueducts from the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada. But some parts of the region, such as Ventura County and northwestern L.A. County, don’t have access to Colorado River water and depend entirely on the water that comes from the Sierra through the State Water Project.  With the project’s supplies now severely limited due to the drought, Southern California’s water agencies have begun shifting these precious supplies to areas that need it most, while Los Angeles is taking less from the State Water Project and instead receiving Colorado River water to fill the gaps. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Los Angeles shifts water supplies as drought hammers State Water Project

SEE ALSOWater to be shifted from state project to assist SoCal access, from Spectrum 1

California drought: How SoCal fashion manufacturers are using new water-saving techniques

Over 87% of California is experiencing either extreme or exceptional drought conditions.  That’s not something you generally think of when you think of fashion, but the industry certainly has it on its mind.  According to Sean Zahedi, the president of Lafayette Textiles in Vernon, water plays a key role when making their products.  “A lot of people don’t realize how much water goes into just making a simple, plain T-shirt,” he said. … ”  Read more from ABC Los Angeles here: California drought: How SoCal fashion manufacturers are using new water-saving techniques

Companies to pay $78 million to clean contaminated groundwater at Torrance, Carson toxic waste sites

Four companies will pay nearly $78 million to clean up contaminated groundwater at two Los Angeles-area toxic waste sites, authorities announced Tuesday.  Settlements approved by a federal court on Sept. 30 will provide money to clean up two federal Superfund sites in Los Angeles County and resolve lawsuits that have been pending for more than 30 years, a U.S. Department of Justice statement said.  The Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo Superfund sites, located south of downtown Los Angeles near the communities of Torrance and Carson, once produced pesticides and rubber. They are among several former industrial areas in Southern California that are on the national Superfund priority list of sites requiring long-term hazardous waste cleanup. … ”  Read more from KTLA here: Companies to pay $78 million to clean contaminated groundwater at Torrance, Carson toxic waste sites

SEE ALSO: Companies to Pay for Cleanup of Groundwater at Montrose Superfund Site Following Settlement with Justice Department, EPA and California Department of Toxic Substances Control, from the Department of Justice

‘Vicious cycle’ fuels Southern California air pollution, the worst in the U.S.

A new air-quality report not only ranks Southern California as the worst in the country, but details the vicious cycle of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to warmer temperatures and drought, which in turn contribute to steadily worsening wildfires that release more harmful emissions into the air.  Combining smog and soot, San Diego had the nation’s worst air last year, followed by Los Angeles-Orange County and the Inland Empire, according to the Environment California-CALPIRG study, “Trouble in the Air,” released Tuesday, Oct. 5. … ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: ‘Vicious cycle’ fuels Southern California air pollution, the worst in the U.S.

Orange County: A rare ecological gem: Marshes slicked with spilled oil — again

Thirty-two years ago, in a triumph of ecological restoration, ocean water rushed into a small, newly restored marsh along the heavily developed coast of Huntington Beach.  That day was greeted with great fanfare, since it was a milestone: A new wetland, created out of degraded scrub, in Southern California, where most coastal marshes have been lost to development.  The little tract of habitat known as Talbert Marsh provides a rare refuge for at least 90 species of shorebirds that forage and rest there — all within sight of oil platforms, barges and tankers off the coast.  Now, for the second time in its short history, Talbert Marsh is slicked with oil. Completed in 1989, the 25-acre marsh is one of a string of rare pearls that make up the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy’s 127 acres, nestled along Pacific Coast Highway. ... ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: A rare ecological gem: Marshes slicked with spilled oil — again

Full environmental impacts of spill remain to be seen in local beach cities

Even as rescue workers rush to dab oil from the wings of compromised birds and execute carefully planned strategies for transporting species to and from care centers, environmentalists countywide are bracing for the full impact of an ecological disaster.  Local wildlife experts are reporting the initial tolls of an oil spill that broke out over the weekend near an offshore oil processing facility several miles at sea and began a slow but inevitable creep toward south Orange County coastlines, home to numerous protected areas and sensitive marshlands. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Full environmental impacts of spill remain to be seen in local beach cities

SEE ALSO:

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Along the Colorado River …

Great Basin Water Network showcase of a drought year water tour via photos, maps and graphs

“With Hoover Dam and Southern Nevada in the backdrop, the water-related headlines this summer are largely focusing on the Colorado River and cities like Las Vegas. However, the declines in flows and reservoir elevations are not just a trend in the southern regions of the Silver State. Western Nevada is in extreme drought conditions.  The diminishing flows on river systems and crashing levels at reservoirs are not endemic to the southwest. The waterways that serve the region –– The Truckee, Carson, and Walker Rivers –– are essential for urban and rural communities alike. And they are not in good shape this year.  Recently I hopped in a car with some friends and took a drive to document what’s happening on the ground. As the following photos and government data demonstrate, the impacts are salient. The juxtaposition of satellite imagery, flow data and photos help paint the picture that this year’s drought is not one that will be fixed with one big winter. Instead, we have to consider how we can conservatively move forward. If we think that we can continue to do business as usual, we are only fooling ourselves. … ”  Continue reading from the Sierra Nevada Ally here:  Great Basin Water Network showcase of a drought year water tour via photos, maps and graphs

Colorado heads into snowpack season with low reservoirs — but a twinge of hope

Drought conditions have eased up a bit from this time last year, but as the calendar turns on Colorado’s water year, worries about a dry winter still loom, the state’s assistant climatologist says.  That’s not to say Colorado isn’t parched. Most of the state remains in drought, including the Eastern Plains, which spent much of the summer drought-free.  Now, with a La Niña weather pattern shaping up, the southern part of the state in particular could see drought conditions worsen, said Becky Bolinger, the state’s assistant climatologist. … ”  Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Colorado heads into snowpack season with low reservoirs — but a twinge of hope

1st substantial snowfall of season on the way for Rockies

A significant change in the weather pattern will have some residents wondering if summer simply transitioned into winter across parts of the Northwest and Rockies.  Temperatures were well above normal in the northwestern United States through much of the summer, and that trend has continued into early fall. October began with temperatures more representative of July or August in the northern Rockies. Helena, Montana, soared to 84 degrees on Tuesday, easily surpassing the daily record high of 81 degrees set in 1958. A typical high for Oct. 5 there is 64 degrees. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here: 1st substantial snowfall of season on the way for Rockies

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In national water news today …

White House proposes reversing parts of Trump rewrite of bedrock environmental law implementation

The White House is looking to reverse some changes made under the Trump administration that eliminated certain environmental protections from the implementation of a bedrock law.  The White House said in a statement that it would propose reversing parts of the Trump administration’s rollback of the implementation of a law called the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). … The changes announced Wednesday by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) are considered to be “Phase 1” and will restore provisions that had been in place for decades. … ”  Read more from The Hill here: White House proposes reversing parts of Trump rewrite of bedrock environmental law implementation

Dems fear chopping block for EJ, lead pipes, climate corps

When congressional Democrats and the Biden administration launched their multitrillion-dollar infrastructure push earlier this year, support grew quickly on Capitol Hill for the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corps.  Modeled after the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the green jobs placement and training program was widely embraced on both sides of the Capitol by Democrats of all political stripes, as well as President Biden.  But despite its popularity, funding for the CCC and other programs remains an open question in the delicate reconciliation push. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Dems fear chopping block for EJ, lead pipes, climate corps

‘Digital farming’ aims to cut emissions, toxic runoff

A climate revolution is starting to take root in the agricultural industry.  And it’s all due to a growing interest in synthetic microbes.  Advocates say these custom-designed microbes — when applied to either seeds or fields — can help corn, wheat and rice draw more nitrogen from the air. That means farmers won’t have to use as much chemical fertilizer.  The climate potential is significant. If farmers start to broadly use these microbes, supporters say, it could cut the planet’s greenhouse gases by 3 percent. As a bonus, synthetic microbes can reduce farmland water pollution, too.  That’s a big deal for aquatic life. When nitrogen-based fertilizers wash into streams and rivers, they help create toxic “dead zones.” There is one the size of New Jersey that lingers in the Gulf of Mexico.  For now, these goals are largely aspirational. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: ‘Digital farming’ aims to cut emissions, toxic runoff

How to turn off the tap on plastic waste

Thousands of tons of plastic waste, dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, swirl in remote ocean waters. The gyre of refuse, which contains everything from fishing nets to shampoo bottles, was first documented in 1997, but it’s still drawing researchers hoping to better understand our proliferation of plastic and how it harms ocean life.  Five years ago science writer Erica Cirino joined one such expedition to document the work of the Dutch nonprofit Plastic Change. But her journey through the world’s largest floating dump spurred her to begin chronicling not only where plastic waste ends up, but how it’s made, transported and disposed of — and who’s harmed along the way. She documents what she found in her new book, Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis.  We spoke to Cirino — a frequent Revelator contributor — about plastic’s toxic life cycle, how the Black Lives Matter movement inspired environmental activists, and what still gives her anxiety about the future. ... ”  Read more from The Revelator here: How to turn off the tap on plastic waste

UN agency warns of looming global water crisis

Climate change is poised to result in a worldwide water crisis, and international institutions and governments have not done enough to prepare, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  The report determined that as of 2018, some 3.6 billion people did not have sufficient access to water at least one month every year. This number will surpass 5 billion by 2050, according to the report.  Much of the crisis can be attributed to the rapid reduction of terrestrial water, which includes ice and snowpack. Terrestrial storage has fallen at an annual rate of one centimeter, with much of the loss occurring in Antarctica and Greenland. ... ”  Read more from The Hill here: UN agency warns of looming global water crisis

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Today’s featured articles …

RISING VOICES: Rising Voices: Water Affordability and Shrinking Wells

Each month, the Water Hub is checking in with advocates & organizers in California to talk about water issues impacting local communities. In this October issue, we spoke to Clean Water Action’s Program Associate, Cristal Gonzalez & CA Director, Jennifer Clary, about how the state and it’s communities are responding to a shrinking water supply.

BLOG ROUND-UP: Another water year and another stupid drought resolution; New water source could solve drought crisis; DWR 2006 study: “too much risk” taken with reservoir operations; Testing for links between fall outflow and Delta Smelt; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

WORKSHOP NOTICE: Potential Changes To The Water Unavailability Methodology For The Delta Watershed

NOTICE: Notice of Proposed Emergency Rulemaking – Winery Process Water Fees

NOTICE: Emergency Regulation for Mill Creek and Deer Creek watersheds – Approved and Now in Effect

NOTICE of Temporary Water Right Permit Application T033231 to Appropriate Water from the James Bypass in Fresno County

DWR’S SGMO NEWSLETTER: AEM surveys, Draft Drinking Water Well Principles and Strategies Document, A week of webinars on SGMA efforts, and more …

WORKSHOP NOTICE: Cost of compliance workshop for dischargers

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ Flood-MAR Forum~ Summer Temperatures~ Drought Seminar~ Sea Rise~ Reservoir Projections~ Endangered List ~~

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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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