DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Optimism wanes, uncertainty increases in forecast; Climate change intensifying competition for water in the West; Should state earmark billions for water projects every year?; Despite a punishing drought, San Diego has water; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

It’s unclear what a ‘moisture-rich cold front’ expected to reach the SF Bay Area will do

Uncertainty is the primary theme in next week’s weather forecast bringing a chance of rain to the San Francisco Bay Area Oct. 20 to 24, the National Weather Service said.  While long-term weather models earlier in the week suggested a promising chance for widespread rain beginning Wednesday, the latest models show rain may not come until next Friday, and rainfall totals remain unclear. “Rain chances are pretty uncertain at this point,” Jeff Lorber, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Bay Area office, said. “We were a little more optimistic in previous days. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: It’s unclear what a ‘moisture-rich cold front’ expected to reach the SF Bay Area will do

Substantial, fire season-mitigating late-October precipitation in NorCal? Plus: present drought breaks new records in CA

Daniel Swain writes, “The weather has actually been rather active across much of California over the past week or so, but exactly what kind of active weather depends very much on where you were. Bands of heavy lake-effect snowfall blanketed parts of the Lake Tahoe basin with a few inches of powder while, simultaneously, very strong winds fueled massive dust storms in the San Joaquin Valley and SE deserts as well as new wildfires throughout the state. Fortunately, all but one of those new fires were contained rather quickly–the singular exception being the now ~17,000 acre Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County. Additionally, the searing record heat of recent months (and years) has disappeared, at least for now: conditions have been near (or even slightly below) average across much of CA over the past couple of weeks. These relatively benign weather conditions, minus the occasional offshore winds, have allowed the state and region-wide fire situation to de-escalate substantially. ... ”  Continue reading at Weather West here:  Substantial, fire season-mitigating late-October precipitation in NorCal? Plus: present drought breaks new records in CA

Snow and rain in today’s forecast …

The National Weather Service forecast for the Sacramento Valley and Sierra:  Cooler weather along with a chance of precipitation returns this afternoon and overnight. Mountain snow will bring travel impacts this evening into tomorrow morning. More unsettled weather mid to late week into next weekend.

Climate change intensifying competition for water in the West

States in the Colorado River Basin are adjusting to the reality that a changed climate means their rights will outstrip the available water by nearly one-third, state and tribal leaders told a congressional panel Friday.  The situation is not expected to get any better, leaving states and tribes in competition for their most vital resource.  Representatives from the seven Western states — Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Utah and Wyoming — that depend on the river for drinking water and irrigation said at a U.S. House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing that they are preparing for a future where the river and their entitlements do not match. … ”  Read more from the Nevada Current here:  Climate change intensifying competition for water in the West

SEE ALSOCongress hears from water experts as drought continues to imperil West, from KUNC

Should state earmark billions for water projects every year? Voters could decide in 2022

A proposed ballot measure aims to increase spending for California’s storage and supply of clean, safe drinking water.  The proposed Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 would allocate 2% of the state’s general fund every year to invest in California’s sustainable water supply without increasing state taxes.  California voters could see the proposed measure on the ballot as soon as the November elections in 2022.  California’s general fund for 2021-22 totals $196 billion. Thus, if the act were in place, it would set aside about $4 billion annually for sustainable water supply efforts. And that funding could be leveraged to attract dollars from the federal government or be combined with state water proposition funds that are unappropriated. … ”  Read more from GV Wire here: Should state earmark billions for water projects every year? Voters could decide in 2022

What does the winter hold for a drought-stricken California?

The Climate Prediction Center, an arm of the National Weather Service, announced Thursday that La Niña conditions have developed and are expected to extend through winter, influencing weather worldwide.  In a drought-plagued California that’s desperate for a champagne-popping forecast loaded with rain, this news begs the question, what does this mean for the winter? Meteorologists agree, especially amid a changing climate, that there’s no clear answer to this question and a number of scenarios could unfold, ranging from a dry to a wet winter. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: What does the winter hold for a drought-stricken California?

SEE ALSO: La Niña is coming. Here’s what that means for winter weather in the U.S., from NPR

How La Niña could affect Northern California’s drought

For the second straight year, the world is heading into a La Niña weather event, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Thursday.  La Niña, along with its well-known brother El Niño, can have an impact on Northern California weather but the specifics of that are hard to predict, Meteorologist Dirk Verdoorn said.  What the terms represent is a shifting of the jet stream which could bring an abundance of rain and snow or meager amounts of much-needed precipitation to the state. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: How La Niña could affect Northern California’s drought

La Niña is back. What does that mean for a parched Southern California?

La Niña is back for an encore — but few Californians are likely to applaud this chilly diva.  Since La Niña typically results in a drier-than-average winter in drought-afflicted Southern California, this isn’t exactly welcome news. The condition, which influences weather across the United States, has been developing since summer and has already played a part in an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: La Niña is back. What does that mean for a parched Southern California?

Silicon Valley’s investor-driven vision to remake the agriculture industry does not look like farming as we know it.

Sam Mogannam owns Bi-Rite, a small chain of gourmet stores in San Francisco. Everything Bi-Rite sells is precious – almost too good to eat. Those products include greens from Plenty, tagline “Indoor. Nurtured. Controlled.”  “I like the products. I actually think they’re tasty,” Mogannam texted me when I asked him what he thought of the greens he sells from Plenty. “I’m not a huge fan of the amount of energy it takes to run the grow facility, and I have some concerns about the nutritional inputs used, but the water reduction, flavor and quality are great. I do see a greater need for tech in areas where access to fertile land to grow greens is not available.” … ”  Read more from Monterey County Weekly here: Silicon Valley’s investor-driven vision to remake the agriculture industry does not look like farming as we know it.

ACWA’s Fall Conference & Exhibition offers best of both worlds

You will not want to miss the 2021 ACWA Fall Conference & Exhibition in Pasadena Nov.30-Dec. 2 as an exciting breakthrough in our association’s ability to deliver a valuable, enjoyable experience in both the virtual and in-person space.  We will once again have an opportunity to gather at conference in-person. At the same time, a virtual component will provide convenience and access to anyone joining us remotely at their home or office. ACWA staff has learned a lot about mastering the production of virtual conferences, and you will see the result of that hard work if you are unable to join us at the Pasadena Convention Center. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: ACWA’s Fall Conference & Exhibition offers best of both worlds

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In commentary this weekend …

Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction

Doug Obegi, Director, California River Restoration with the NRDC, writes, “On October 1, the Bureau of Reclamation formally began the multi-year process to replace the Trump Administration’s blatantly unlawful biological opinions for the operation of the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project in California’s Bay-Delta watershed by requesting what is known as “reinitiation of consultation.”  This is an important first step –  after all, recognizing and admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery.  But reinitiation of consultation does not immediately change how these unsustainable water projects operate, and while the Biden Administration has recognized they need to change these operations they still have not yet admitted that these biological opinions are unlawful. … ”  Read more from the NRDC here: Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction

Of rising oceans, 200-year floods & the California double standard

Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin, writes, “The California Natural Resources Agency in 2009 and again in 2013 issued reports on existing and anticipated climate change impacts based on peer reviewed science.  Assessments from those reports have become part of the foundation as to why the California Legislature has established policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore the projected impacts of climate change.  Those two reports note 85 percent of the state’s population resides in coastal counties. Of those 500,000 existing residents are in danger of being flooded by 2100. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here:  Of rising oceans, 200-year floods & the California double standard

In people news this weekend …

Carrie Oliphant:  As the Coachella Valley Water District’s first female director of engineering, Oliphant leads the public agency in covering more than 1,000 square miles

Carrie Oliphant, a 20-year veteran of the Coachella Valley Water District, is the agency’s first female director of engineering, and working her way up, she says, has been “a really good experience” in a “very supportive environment.”  Her job is a huge undertaking, as the century-old public agency covers more than 1,000 square miles and services 110,000 homes and businesses. In addition, Oliphant explains, CVWD provides sewer and wastewater treatment services, recycled and nonpotable water, regional stormwater protection and flood control, agriculture water and drainage services, groundwater management, and water conservation.  A native of Northern California, Oliphant moved to the desert 25 years ago after completing degrees in engineering and literature. … ”  Read more from Palm Springs Life here: Carrie Oliphant:  As the Coachella Valley Water District’s first female director of engineering, Oliphant leads the public agency in covering more than 1,000 square miles

Sweetwater Authority hires new general manager after monthlong vacancy

Sweetwater Authority has selected its new general manager to manage the water agency responsible for about 200,000 customers in the South Bay.  Following a months-long vacancy, Carlos Quintero started his role on Sept. 27 following the Sweetwater governing board’s approval last month of a three-year employment contract with him. He has worked in the water industry for the past 24 years.  “I look forward to working closely with our board of directors and staff to continue implementing the board’s priorities and further the Authority’s mission of providing a safe and reliable water supply to its current and future residents and businesses,” he said in a statement. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Sweetwater Authority hires new general manager after monthlong vacancy

Paloma Aguirre: State Coastal Commission’s newest member joins with focus on environmental justice

Imperial Beach Councilmember Paloma Aguirre was sworn in last week to join the California Coastal Commission.  She was appointed by state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve as an alternate to Steve Padilla, who is the board’s chairman and a Chula Vista council member.  “Having gone for many years to give comment and testify before the commission and now to actually have a seat on the other side, if you will, means everything to someone like me. So, it’s a huge honor,” she said. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Paloma Aguirre: State Coastal Commission’s newest member joins with focus on environmental justice

Spotlight Oct 2021: Agencies innovate ways to connect with youth and cultivate curiosity in water careers

A career in water seemed like a remote possibility for David Tapia after graduating from high school in 2015. He wasn’t alone.  “Public utilities — such as gas, electric, water —that wasn’t something you heard people talk about in high school,” Tapia said. “You think about being an engineer or a doctor. But then, you’ve got all these people who want to get into those careers, yet nobody’s getting any jobs.”  For Tapia, that changed while attending community college. Through word of mouth, he learned about a program focused on water utility work. The subject matter was a great fit with his gift for mathematics and led to a six-month internship at Rowland Water District in Los Angeles County. The district offered him a full-time position on the last day of his internship. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Spotlight Oct 2021: Agencies innovate ways to connect with youth and cultivate curiosity in water careers

Appointments

From the Office of the Governor:

E. Joaquin Esquivel, 39, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the Western States Water Council.  Esquivel has been a member of the State Water Resources Control Board since 2017 and Chair since 2019.   He was Assistant Secretary for Federal Water Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2015 to 2017, Research Assistant, Legislative Aide, and Legislative Assistant for Native American, Water and Agriculture Issues and Director of Information and Technology in the Office of United States Senator Barbara Boxer from 2007 to 2015.  This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation.  Esquivel is a Democrat.

E. Joaquin Esquivel, 39, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Advisory Council and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum.  Esquivel has been a member of the State Water Resources Control Board since 2017 and Chair since 2019.   He was Assistant Secretary for Federal Water Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2015 to 2017, Research Assistant, Legislative Aide, and Legislative Assistant for Native American, Water and Agriculture Issues and Director of Information and Technology in the Office of United States Senator Barbara Boxer from 2007 to 2015.  This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation.  Esquivel is a Democrat.

Karla Nemeth, 51, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the Western States Water Council.  Nemeth has been director at the Department of Water Resources since 2018. She was deputy secretary for water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2014 to 2018, Bay Delta Conservation Plan program manager at the Natural Resources Agency from 2009 to 2014, and Environmental and Public Affairs Director for Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Zone 7 from 2005 to 2009.  Nemeth was the Community Affairs Manager at Jones & Stokes from 2003 to 2005. Legislative Assistant at AESOP Enterprise from 2001 to 2003 and Legislative Assistant and Program Manager at Kings County from 1998 to 2000. Nemeth earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Nemeth is a Democrat.

Jessica Neuwerth, 31, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Advisory Council and the Salinity Control Forum.  Neuwerth has been the Deputy Director at the Colorado River Board of California since 2020. She was an Environmental Scientist with the Colorado River Board of California from 2014 to 2020, a Lab Technician at the Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company from 2013 to 2014, Forest Ecology Field Technician at the Forest and Fire Ecology Lab at the University of Wyoming and Sagebrush Research Assistant in the Botany Lab at the University of Wyoming in 2013, and Stream Ecology Research Assistant in the Stream Ecology Lab at the University of Wyoming from 2012 to 2013.  This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Neuwerth is a Democrat.

Bianca Sievers, 31, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director for Special Initiatives at the Department of Water Resources. Sievers has been Policy Advisor to the Director of the Department of Water Resources since 2018. She held multiple positions at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development from 2014 to 2018, including Senior Business Development Specialist and California Competes Tax Credit Specialist. Sievers was Legislative Assistant for the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown from 2012 to 2014. She earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $129,600. Sievers is registered without party preference.

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Podcasts …

WEST COAST WATER JUSTICE PODCAST: Envisioning Justice on the Klamath River

In this episode, we interview Dr. Cutcha Rising Baldy (Hupa, Karuk, Yurok, enrolled Hoopa Valley Tribe) Department Chair and Associate Professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. Cutcha shares her unique perspective growing up in the Trinity and Klamath River Basin. Her personal stories inspire us to follow the example of the Hupa, Karuk, and Yurok Tribes and remind us that despite the colonizing forces of the United States and Gold Rush era, these tribes are still here protecting their home and rivers for more than 12,000 years.”


CALIFORNIA SUN PODCAST: Doug Thompson and Robin Kobaly on the thirsty golf courses of the Coachella Valley

The Palm Spring region has over 120 golf courses, all of which require irrigation, some as much as 1.2 million gallons of water each night. That’s even as residential water rationing begins in response to worsening drought conditions, driven by climate change. Doug Thompson and Robin Kobaly, are long-time environmentalists who have, in a recent column by the L.A. Times’s Steve Lopez, sounded the alarm about the water usage and the lack of any long or short-term plans to mitigate it.


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST:  It Can Happen to You

You may have thought that there will never be a day that you would be asked to curtail your water supply because of drought, especially a whole town. Well, guess, what?  Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.  Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co


WATER LOOP PODCAST: The playbook for proactive comms with Mike McGill

Historically the water industry preferred to be reactive in communications, especially in dealing with the media. That approach left utilities to play defense and often end up on the losing side of public relations. Now the winning strategy is to embrace proactive communications, build productive relationships with the media, and connect with customers, as discussed in this episode with Mike McGill, President of WaterPIO. Mike talks about positive opportunities the water industry has for storytelling, some examples of utilities he sees as comms leaders, and how an organization should conduct a SWOT analysis.


WATER TALK PODCAST: Climate Change Hope with Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe’s new book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, is a practical and compassionate guide for talking about climate change across differences.  Combining her research with thousands of conversations with everyday people, Hayhoe shows us how shared values can activate ordinary citizens to become climate change champions.  Hayhoe joins us for our first episode of the third season to discuss reframing the climate conversation and the foundation for real climate hope: action.”

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In regional water news this weekend …

NORTH COAST

Bitter Harvest: Klamath Basin farmers take stock of their losses

After an unprecedented shut-off of irrigation water in the Klamath Project, ag producers had to scramble to find water for their crops. While many used groundwater wells to make up at least some of the loss, the limits of that resource became clear.  Tensions rose close to the boiling point early this summer amid a historic water shutoff in the Klamath Basin. Since then, irrigators in the Klamath Project have spent the growing season trying to make the most of a summer with no surface water from Upper Klamath Lake. Jefferson Public Radio spoke with farmers leading up to the Klamath Water Users Association’s annual harvest tour last month. As the town of Merrill hosts the 84th annual Klamath Basin Potato Festival this weekend, JPR looks at the harvest for the Project’s driest year on record. … ”  Read more from Jefferson Pubic Radio here: Bitter Harvest: Klamath Basin farmers take stock of their losses

MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

Harmful algal blooms detected at Lake Tahoe beach

If you’re visiting South Lake Tahoe, there’s two beaches you might want to avoid.  City officials announced on Saturday they’ve detected harmful algal blooms at El Dorado Beach. This comes after blooms had also been detected at Regan Beach the previous week, forcing its closure.   Signs dot these beaches at South Lake Tahoe, warning people that algae may be present in the water, potentially posing a hazard to both people and pets. … ”  Read more from Channel 40 here: Harmful algal blooms detected at Lake Tahoe beach

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

County of Sacramento sued in polluted discharge litigation

On Thursday in the Eastern District of California, plaintiff California Coastkeeper Alliance filed suit against three defendants, the County of Sacramento, the Sacramento Area Sewer District, and the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources. The Alliance is accusing the defendants of knowingly letting point source discharges into the waters of the United States absent the required permits.  The discharges are allegedly in violation of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the NPDES Permit for Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. … ”  Read more from Law Street here: County of Sacramento sued in polluted discharge litigation

SEE ALSONonprofit sues Sacramento County over alleged dumping of sewage into waterways, from KTXL

Sacramento’s McKinley Park opens with new amenities

Visitors to Sacramento’s McKinley Park will find some new amenities now that the water vault project is complete.  City officials cut the ribbon on the new park Friday morning opening a new multi-use field, new jogging paths, restrooms, picnic areas, barbecue pits, benches and shade structures.  Sacramento Councilman Jeff Harris said the new additions are a nice upgrade to the city’s most popular park. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here: Sacramento’s McKinley Park opens with new amenities

BAY AREA

Marin editorial: Build the pipeline, but keep other water ideas top of mind

The Marin Independent Journal editorial board writes, “The Marin Municipal Water District is moving ahead with designing and gaining the necessary approvals to build a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to pipe in water to its drought-parched customers.  While conservation has in recent years helped Marin endure shorter droughts, it has proved unable to match a drought of historic proportions that we are facing today.  Even with the additional water promised by the estimated $90 million, 8-mile long pipeline, conservation will continue to be the front-line strategy. MMWD officials hope to have the pipeline delivering water to Marin by next summer.  It can’t be too soon. ... ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin editorial: Build the pipeline, but keep other water ideas top of mind

Marin column: Creating redundancy crucial for future of Marin water supply

In engineering, “redundancy” is defined as “the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system usually in the form of a back up or fail-safe alternative.”  Redundancy appears to be a concept unknown to the Marin Municipal Water District’s elected Board of Directors.  Water supply for the district depends on its existing rain-fed reservoirs and a Marin-Sonoma pipeline to import water to meet its needs. Their plan for dry years is limited to “conservation” which means drastically cutting demand for residential, landscaping, industrial and agricultural water. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin column: Creating redundancy crucial for future of Marin water supply

The majesty of catching king salmon at dawn on the bay, a photo essay.

For most San Franciscans, Fisherman’s Wharf is seen as not much more than a tourist strip of chain restaurants, souvenir stores and a sea lion hang-out. But the historic piers are still an active commercial fishing hub today, as they’ve been since the Gold Rush. And anglers like Captain Virginia Salvador and Captain Zack Medinas of Gatecrashers Fishing Adventures, are the real deal. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: The majesty of catching king salmon at dawn on the bay, a photo essay.

Bay Area Editorial: Cut water use before state’s supply runs out

The San Jose Mercury News and the East Bay Times editorial boards write, “Bay Area residents need to get serious about meeting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request in July for Californians to voluntarily cut their water usage by 15%.  The alternative won’t be pretty.  It seems we forgot what the failure to conserve supplies can lead to during a prolonged drought. In 2015, then-Gov. Jerry Brown mandated that urban users across California cut use by 25%, the first in state history. That came a year after the state largely ignored Brown’s request for a 20% voluntary cut in water use.  Now 90% of the state is gripped by extreme or exceptional drought. But residents throughout the state — including Bay Area counties — are largely failing to meet Newsom’s request. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Editorial: Cut water use before state’s supply runs out

First big city in California faces mandatory water cuts as rationing hits San Jose

San Jose is about to become the biggest city in California with mandatory water reductions.  In response to the state’s deepening drought, the San Jose Water Co., which serves more than 1 million people in San Jose and surrounding communities, notified the state on Friday that it plans to impose 15% cuts on all households, compared to their 2019 water use. Surcharges would be levied on those who don’t comply. Because the water supplier is a private company, it needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission before moving forward, which it’s almost certain to get. Officials with the San Jose Water Co. said they expect the mandates to take effect in mid-November. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: First big city in California faces mandatory water cuts as rationing hits San Jose

SEE ALSO: Utility Set To Impose Steep Penalty For Residential Water Overuse, from CBS San Francisco

CENTRAL COAST

California Court of Appeal strikes down Monterey County’s ban on new oil wells

A state appellate court has ruled against a Monterey County ban on new oil and gas wells, possibly paving the way for Chevron and a bevy of smaller oil companies to begin drilling new wells and using extraction techniques that environmental groups say are potentially damaging to localized water supplies.  The Tuesday ruling by a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District effectively stripped the power of Monterey County to regulate certain oil and gas exploration and operations in the unincorporated areas of the county, stating that a county cannot usurp the regulatory authority of the state. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: California Court of Appeal strikes down Monterey County’s ban on new oil wells

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Commentary:  Madera County’s groundwater situation is dire. New efforts are underway to address it

Rob Poythress, chair of the Madera County Board of Supervisors, writes, “The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) made the County of Madera responsible for groundwater management for the more than 200,000 acres that are not part of an irrigation or water district (the “white areas”) in Madera County. Like many regions in the Central Valley, Madera County is heavily groundwater dependent. The average annual shortage in the Madera subbasin alone is approximately 165,000 acre-feet per year, a number calculated over a 50-year period to account for both wet and dry periods. With that shortage in mind, the Madera County Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) has been implementing a range of aggressive management actions to reduce water use, implement projects to increase supply, and take additional measures to track groundwater use and levels and mitigate impacts to domestic wells, as set forth in the Joint Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Commentary:  Madera County’s groundwater situation is dire. New efforts are underway to address it

Boxing match raises awareness for Central Valley farmers struggling during drought

Chukchansi Park was filled with boxing fans Saturday night, ready to watch Valley native Marc Castro enter the ring – but the event was about more than boxing.  Local farmers have partnered with several boxers and organizers of this event to bring attention to the drought that has plagued California, specifically in the Central Valley.  Mario Santoyo is on the board of the California Latino Water Coalition, and he saw Saturday night’s boxing event as an opportunity to connect with boxers from the valley and bring attention to the issues it faces. … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley here: Boxing match raises awareness for Central Valley farmers struggling during drought

Virginia investor spends big on Kern farmland with access to banked water

In a sizable series of transactions that speaks to looming uncertainties in local ag, a Wasco farming family recently sold 2,400 acres in west Bakersfield — and with them, options to buy 45,000 acre-feet of water banked by the Semitropic Water Storage District — to a Virginia-based investment company drawn to California farmland.  Publicly traded Gladstone Land Corp. this week reported paying the Gardiner family a total of $84.2 million for the real estate and water options, at least some of which have already been exercised. The Gardiners also signed 10-year leases with Gladstone to continue farming pistachios and almonds on the properties. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Virginia investor spends big on Kern farmland with access to banked water

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Hyperion begins planned maintenance; flames, smoke are possible, but no cause to worry, officials say

El Segundo residents may be startled by smoke and flames periodically coming from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant the rest of the month — but there’s no need for concern, officials say.  It’s all part of scheduled maintenance work that begins Sunday, Oct. 17, according to an alert from El Segundo this week.  The plant’s Bioenergy Facility will undergo maintenance to preserve critical equipment such as pumps, breakers and compressors, the alert said. … ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: Hyperion begins planned maintenance; flames, smoke are possible, but no cause to worry, officials say

Crews working to neutralize putrid odor coming from Dominguez Channel in Carson

Residents in Carson who have been dealing with a putrid odor that has lingered for the last two weeks may finally get some relief.  The smell along the Dominguez Channel in Carson is enough to make residents gag.  “Last night it was really awful. We couldn’t breathe,” said one Carson resident. … ”  Read more from CBS LA here: Crews working to neutralize putrid odor coming from Dominguez Channel in Carson

After 11 days of foul smell, Carson residents begin seeing brown water

After 11 days of dealing with an overwhelming stench, Carson residents are also struggling with discolored, foul-smelling water coming out of their drains.  “It’s just like bloop, bloop, nasty big brown bubbles,” Carson resident Sharronn Thompson said Thursday.  City Councilman Jawane Hilton says the odor — like hydrogen sulfide or rotten eggs — has been traced to the Dominguez Channel near the 405 Freeway and Avalon Boulevard. … ”  Read more from KTLA here: After 11 days of foul smell, Carson residents begin seeing brown water

SEE ALSO: ‘Stinky City’ Anger grows in Carson as noxious smell sickens residents, eludes solution, from the LA Times

San Bernardino:  Local 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 on Oct. 1.  Totals for the 2020-21 water year, running from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, reflect a 66 percent 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 2007-08; 6,097 acre-feet in 2013-14; 2,625 acre-feet in 2014-15; 4,277 acre-feet in 2015-16 and 4,617 acre feet in 2017-18. … ”  Read more from the Highland Community News here: San Bernardino:  Local water storage totals are excellent for a drought year

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District to purchase Harmony property

On Oct. 5, the Orange County Board of Supervisors accepted a bid from the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District for the purchase of 1,657-acres of property in the Santa Ana River Wash, formerly designated for the Harmony housing development, for $31,815,000.  Orange County’s acceptance of the bid was reported to the SBVMWD Board of Directors during its Oct. 5 meeting. The land is owned by Orange County Flood Control and was originally purchased for use in the construction of Seven Oaks Dam. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District to purchase Harmony property

Oil wells in Bolsa Chica reserve could jeopardize wetlands

A steward of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, Kim Kolpin describes her panic earlier this month when she heard that oil was spilling off the shore of the habitat-rich park she has worked at since 1996.  The 1,400-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach is home to 23 species that are endangered, threatened or of special concern. It’s treasured by birdwatchers for the nearly 300 feathered resident and migratory species, many of which lay their eggs there. All told, there are an estimated 900 species of critters, including turtles, rays and octopuses. … ”  Read more from the Pasadena Star-News here: Oil wells in Bolsa Chica reserve could jeopardize wetlands

Orange County: After oil spill, advocates call for new Calif. marine sanctuary

Ocean conservation advocates are seizing on the recent oil spill off California’s coast to pressure the Biden administration to finalize a new 10,000-square-mile marine sanctuary.  A coalition led by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) — including environmentalists, aquariums and community organizations — is urging the administration to designate the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.  The proposed sanctuary, first nominated in 2015, would protect a stretch of California coastline from Gaviota to Cambria, between the existing Monterey Bay and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Orange County: After oil spill, advocates call for new Calif. marine sanctuary

SAN DIEGO

Despite a punishing drought, San Diego has water. It wasn’t easy.

In many parts of California, reminders abound that the American West is running out of water. “Bathtub rings” mark the shrinking of the state’s biggest reservoirs to some of their lowest recorded levels. Fields lie fallow, as farmers grapple with an uncertain future. A bed-and-breakfast owner spends $5 whenever a tourist showers.  But not in San Diego County.  In this coastal desert metropolis, life has stayed mostly the same for residents already accustomed to conserving what they have long treated as a precious resource. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: Despite a punishing drought, San Diego has water. It wasn’t easy.

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona: Unique water plant enabling Intel’s massive expansion

Intel’s Sept. 24 groundbreaking ceremony for the $20 billion expansion of the Ocotillo campus in Chandler brought out all the top officials.  Chandler’s mayor and most of the city council were there. So were Gov. Doug Ducey and U.S. Rep Greg Stanton’s staff. Intel CEO, Patrick Gelsinger was the star attraction.  But it’s unlikely any of them would have been there until Intel overcame one key issue to doing business in the desert: Water. … W.A.T.R. (Wastewater and Treatment Recovery) is Intel’s water treatment and recycling facility and company officials say it’s truly groundbreaking. Knudson said without it, the expansion and all those thousands of jobs would likely not be coming to Chandler. … ”  Read the full story at San Tan News here:  Unique water plant enabling Intel’s massive expansion

Humpback chub reclassified from endangered to threatened: Collaboration by partners has improved conservation status

Thanks to the hard work of state, regional, Tribal and federal agencies, as well as private partners, significant progress has been made conserving and recovering the humpback chub. Following a review of the best available science, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing that it has reclassified the humpback chub from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Today’s announcement follows the publication of the proposed rule in January 2020 and subsequent public comment period.  “Today’s action is the result of the collaborative conservation that is needed to ensure the recovery of listed species,” said Matt Hogan, Acting Regional Director for the Service. “Reclassifying this distinctive fish from endangered to threatened is the result of many years of cooperative work by conservation partners in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program. We thank everyone involved for their efforts as we look toward addressing the remaining challenges in the Colorado River Basin.” … ”  Read more from the US Fish & Wildlife Service here: Humpback chub reclassified from endangered to threatened: Collaboration by partners has improved conservation status

Climate change makes projecting Lake Mead and Colorado River levels tricky

There’s a white line that’s known as the bathtub ring around Lake Mead.It’s a constant reminder for Boating Lake Mead’s Director of Operations, Bruce Nelson.  The lake is at a historically low 1,067-feet above sea level, affecting boat launch ramps and customers.  “Now, they’re down to one or two lanes and you might have to wait awhile, and that’s problematic for boaters trying to get out and enjoy themselves or get off the lake and go home,” Nelson said. … ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 here:  Climate change makes projecting Lake Mead and Colorado River levels tricky

Streamflows in southern half of upper Colorado River basin declining faster

New climate data that shows a north/south split in streamflow declines in the Colorado River basin could have implications for water managers as they navigate how to address water shortages.  This month, Brad Udall, senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University, presented data that shows when comparing records from the past 20 years to those from most of the 20th century, rivers in the southern half of the upper Colorado River basin have lost a larger percentage of flows than rivers in the northern part of the basin.  For example, flows on the San Juan River near Bluff, Utah, have declined by 30% and flows on the Dolores River near Cisco, Utah, have declined by 21%. Flows on the Yampa River near Maybell and the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs have each lost just 6% of flows. ... ”  Read more from the Glenwood Post Independent here: Streamflows in southern half of upper Colorado River basin declining faster

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NOTICE: Curtailment of Diversions in Mill Creek and Deer Creek: Effective Today, October 15, 2021

ANNOUNCEMENT: 2022 CWEMF Annual Meeting: Call for Sessions, Oral Presentations, Posters & Pop-Up Talks

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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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