DAILY DIGEST, 10/19: Parade of atmospheric rivers bears down on CA; Water district fights curtailment amid FERC relicensing; LAO analysis: Water funding ballot initiative; Source water, revenues drying up in California; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • MEETING: The State Water Resources Control Board will meet beginning at 9am. Agenda items include an update on the drought and current hydrologic conditions, update on monthly water production and conservation data, consideration of SAFER Funding Plan for FY 2021-22, and a summary of results from the 2020 Volumetric Annual Report of Wastewater and Recycled Waer in California. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • MEETING: The Delta Independent Science Board will meet from 9am to 1pm. Agenda items include an update on the Monitoring Enterprise Review and discussion and potential action on the Water Supply Reliability Review.  Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • WEBINAR: CA Water Data Consortium Data for Lunch w/SFEI from 12pm to 1:30pm.  The Delta Landscapes Scenario Planning Tool is a set of resources to assist users with developing, analyzing, and evaluating different land use scenarios in the Delta. The tool is designed to inform ongoing and future restoration planning efforts by assessing how proposed projects will affect a suite of landscape metrics relating to desired ecosystem functions. Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Good Fire? Managing Ecological Fire in the Age of Climate Change from 12:30pm to 2pm. Climate change is accelerating, worsening catastrophic wildfire across the American West. Yet wildfire has also sustained California’s landscapes for thousands of years and maintained ecological balance.  How do we limit dangerous wildfire threats while reintroducing good fire across California? What can we learn from tribal communities who have used this practice for thousands of years? Do some wildfires we now experience actually reduce catastrophic wildfire risks?  Join us to discuss how we can use “good” fire to protect our communities and restore the health of our environment.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

California, Northwest drought relief ahead from Pacific atmospheric river pattern, but also a debris flow threat

A parade of Pacific storm systems will bring soaking rain and some mountain snow to drought-stricken California and the West Coast this week, but could also trigger dangerous debris flows over recent areas burned by wildfires.  Last weekend, a weak Pacific frontal system ended a record-long dry streak in Sacramento, and shut down Interstate 80 for a time due to snow and wrecks in the Sierra.  It was a sample of what’s ahead.  A persistent southward plunge of the jet stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean will steer storm systems toward the West Coast into next week. … ”  Read more from The Weather Channel here: California, Northwest drought relief ahead from Pacific atmospheric river pattern, but also a debris flow threat

Atmospheric river update: Active weather is forecast to continue, bringing multiple landfalling ARs to the U.S. West Coast

The first AR is forecast to make landfall over Northern California on Tuesday evening, bringing moderate to strong AR conditions to the region.  The second AR is forecast to make landfall on Thursday and is forecast to be stronger and last longer than the first AR.  Current forecasts suggest the active pattern to continue with a third AR potentially making landfall between 23 and 25 October, but forecast uncertainty is high due to the long lead times.  The Weather Prediction Center is forecasting as much as 15 to 20 inches of precipitation over the higher elevations of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California due to these successive and potentially strong storms. … ”  Get the full update from the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes here: CW3E AR Update: 18 October 2021 Outlook

Here’s how much rain the ‘parade of precipitation’ could bring to San Francisco this week

The Bay Area got a taste of rain overnight Sunday, with a lot more expected to follow over the coming week — a “parade of precipitation” that meteorologists said could give San Francisco a chance to reach the normal October level for rainfall.  With the showers Sunday night the only precipitation so far this month for the city, and with extreme drought still gripping the region, the prospect of significant rain was tantalizing.  For comparison, the National Weather Service tweeted a list of San Francisco’s top 10 wettest Octobers showing that the rainiest on record from the downtown weather station was in 1889, with 7.28 inches. The most recent October in the top 10 was in 2009, in eighth place with 3.11 inches. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Here’s how much rain the ‘parade of precipitation’ could bring to San Francisco this week

SEE ALSO: Storm Systems Building In Pacific; Potent Atmospheric River Bearing Down On Bay Area, from CBS Sacramento

Intense rain storms could dampen fall fire risk in parts of California

After suffering through a devastating summer of wildfires, Californians may catch a break this month as a series of expected storms could effectively end the fire season in the northern and central parts of the state, experts say.  Although it’s not yet clear exactly how much precipitation will fall, weather models are showing a fairly high likelihood that a series of wet storms could drop multiple feet of snow at higher elevations up north through Halloween. Southern California, however, will see far less rainfall, and therefore remain at risk for wildfires.  For much of the state, though, the forecast for late October precipitation “is actually still relatively good news compared to recent years when the fire season statewide lasted well past October, November, December and even the middle of winter last year,” said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Intense rain storms could dampen fall fire risk in parts of California

Satellites reveal the secrets of water-guzzling farms in California

In a new push to stop further depletion of California’s shrinking aquifers, state regulators are turning to technology once used to count Soviet missile silos during the Cold War: satellites.  Historically, California’s farmers could pump as much as they wanted from their wells. But as a consequence of that unrestricted use, the underground water table has sunk by hundreds of feet in some areas, and the state is now trying to stabilize those aquifers.  Regulators need to calculate just how much water each farmer is using, across California’s vast agricultural lands, and scientists and private companies are now offering a technique that uses images from orbiting satellites. “The days of agricultural anonymity are over,” says Joel Kimmelshue, co-founder of the company Land IQ, which is helping to hone the technique. … ”  Read more from NPR here:  Satellites reveal the secrets of water-guzzling farms in California

Video: Managing water in a changing climate

Climate change is putting California’s water system to the test. Facing increasingly frequent and intense droughts, shorter wet seasons, and rising temperatures, Californians are struggling to maintain a stable water supply that can meet the needs of our population while keeping our ecosystems intact. The state’s aging, 20th-century water infrastructure—including dams and levees—urgently needs an upgrade to cope with a 21st-century climate. We need to increase groundwater storage and restore flows to suffering ecosystems and the wildlife that depends on them.  In this video, Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center, discusses how to meet the water management challenges we’re already facing. Watch the video to learn more about how to manage water in a changing climate.”  Watch video from the PPIC here: Video: Managing water in a changing climate 

Water district fights curtailment amid FERC relicensing

When Central California’s Turlock Irrigation District was formed in 1887, it already had rights to the Tuolumne River. Today this river sustains billions of dollars in agricultural output and the livelihoods of water attorneys in a region known for its food production and processing prowess.  The benefits of those appropriative water rights – a legal guarantee dating back to California’s Gold Rush and formalized in 1914 by the Water Commission Act – allows Turlock Irrigation District (TID) to divert river water for beneficial use. Today the benefactors of those rights include about 4,700 farmers, and numerous major food processors including Hilmar Cheese Company and Blue Diamond Growers. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Water district fights curtailment amid FERC relicensing

LAO analysis: Water funding ballot initiative

Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9005, we have reviewed the proposed constitutional initiative related to water supply (A.G. File 21-0014, Amendment #1). … This measure seeks to increase water supply in the state through the implementation of new water projects. Specifically, the measure (1) amends state law to dedicate existing state General Fund revenues for developing additional water supply, (2) authorizes the sale of bonds to fund water supply projects, and (3) makes some changes to existing environmental review requirements for water supply projects. … ”  Read the full analysis from the LAO here: LAO analysis: Water funding ballot initiative

Source water, revenues drying up in California

Serving in the epicenter of a drinking water crisis that has only grown worse in recent months, California’s drinking water utilities face an even more dire future. And according to recent estimates, their bottom lines will inevitably be impacted.  “The current drought in California could cut into water utility revenues and pressure financial margins,” Fitch Ratings reported. “Due to ongoing droughts, utilities generally have less rate flexibility and fewer tools available to mitigate potentially lower revenues/sales. Utilities’ ability to absorb lower revenues is highly dependent on an individual utility’s supply portfolio, its financial picture going into drought and rate affordability in the service area.” … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Source water, revenues drying up in California

California marijuana busts surge despite legalization as agencies target illicit growers

Four years after weed became legal in California for adult recreational use, state law enforcement officials have doubled the amount of illicit marijuana plants seized and eradicated in an annual campaign. California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Monday announced that the California Department of Justice’s annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program, also known as CAMP, had eradicated nearly 1.2 million illegally cultivated cannabis plants this year. That’s up from 614,267 plants seized in 2018, the first year that recreational marijuana was legal in California. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California marijuana busts surge despite legalization as agencies target illicit growers

SEE ALSOAttorney General Bonta Announces Eradication of More Than One Million Marijuana Plants as Part of Interagency Effort to Combat Illegal Grows, from the Office of the Attorney General

Court: Parts of pesticide program violate California law

A state-run pest prevention program partly violates California’s landmark environmental protection law with its approach to spraying pesticides, a state appeals court has ruled.The ruling centers on a pest prevention and management program run by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The court found the program violates the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to conduct site-specific environmental reviews and notify the public before sprays. The ruling also found the program doesn’t appropriately consider contamination to water bodies or mitigate harm on bees and that the department understated existing pesticide use. … ”  Read more from KTXL here: Court: Parts of pesticide program violate California law

UC Davis to lead groundwater and irrigated agriculture sustainability study

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find ways to sustain irrigated agriculture while improving groundwater quantity and quality in the Southwest under a changing climate.  Isaya Kisekka, associate professor of agrohydrology and irrigation at UC Davis, is leading a team of more than two dozen climate, plant and soil scientists; hydrologists; engineers; economists, educators and extension specialists from UC Davis and other institutions in California, Arizona and New Mexico. They will develop climate change adaptation management strategies that ensure sustainability of groundwater and irrigated agriculture. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here: UC Davis to lead groundwater and irrigated agriculture sustainability study

Achieving better balance in the water-energy-climate nexus

Trying to balance urban population growth against water scarcity, energy-consumption, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) can feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. A recent report — entitled The Future of California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus — is a thought-provoking look at the reality of current water-management practices and their energy-consumption impacts. It examines the delicate balance among the many facets of water use and maps out better ways to achieve that balance, offering new perspective on future alternatives for water policymakers and water- and wastewater-treatment professionals, based on science and statistical insights. … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Achieving better balance in the water-energy-climate nexus

LAO report: The 2021-22 spending plan: Natural resources and environmental protection

The 2021‑22 budget package provides a total of $21.7 billion from various fund sources—the General Fund, bond funds, and various special funds—for programs administered by the California Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agencies. This is a net increase of $4.8 billion (22 percent) compared to 2020‑21 estimated expenditures.”  Read the report from the LAO here: The 2021-22 spending plan: Natural resources and environmental protection

Ninth Circuit finds that distribution of drinking water containing MCL-compliant levels of hexavalent chromium gives rise to RCRA liability in decision that upends law of the circuit

The Ninth Circuit recently issued a decision in Cal. River Watch v. City of Vacaville (Case No. 20-16605) (“Vacaville”) regarding the breadth of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) liability for contributing to the transportation of a solid waste, which may present an “imminent and substantial endangerment” to health or the environment. (42 U.S.C. § 6972(a)(1)(B).)  Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit found that because the City of Vacaville (“City”) transported through its water distribution system drinking water that contained discarded hexavalent chromium from activity unassociated with the City, a triable issue existed regarding whether the City was liable under the “substantial endangerment” provision of RCRA, despite the City’s lack of involvement in generating the waste in question or in the waste disposal process.  The decision appears to significantly undercut Hinds Investments, L.P. v. Angioli, 654 F.3d 846 (9th Cir. 2011) (“Hinds”), which held that some involvement in the waste disposal process is necessary for liability to exist under RCRA’s imminent and substantial endangerment liability provision, and could have wide-raging implications for California municipalities and public water system operators. … ”  Read more from Downey-Brand here: Ninth Circuit finds that distribution of drinking water containing MCL-compliant levels of hexavalent chromium gives rise to RCRA liability in decision that upends law of the circuit

State releases draft California climate adaptation strategy

On the heels of Governor Newsom’s historic $15 billion climate investment, the state today released a draft of the 2021 California Climate Adaptation Strategy to continue the state’s work to confront the climate crisis head-on. The draft strategy is designed to accelerate climate adaptation action across regions and sectors in California; identify how key state agency actions fit together to achieve these priorities; and build on the successes and lessons learned since the first climate adaptation strategy in 2009. The final strategy will be released as a website that serves as a hub for state climate resilience action.  “Californians are experiencing what scientists have been explaining for decades: climate change is accelerating and threatening our communities and way of life,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “Catastrophic wildfires, worsening drought, and record-breaking heat now threaten our communities and natural places. This Adaptation Strategy directly responds to these threats. It links together several important efforts already underway to protect people and nature from climate change and prioritizes additional actions we must take. Simply put, there’s no time to waste.” … ”  Read more from the Natural Resources Agency here: State releases draft California climate adaptation strategy

CAL FIRE applies new predictive and tactical tools to fight ferocious fires

Already in 2021, California has experienced the second most destructive wildfire year in its history.  … California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) officials—who say they have never seen so many acres burn with such intensity—are trying to be ready for what the fires will do next. Firefighters are now using imagery, smart maps, and computer simulations to monitor and forecast fire behavior. “The technology helps us understand that without suppression, this is where the fire could go,” said Phillip SeLegue, CAL FIRE’s deputy chief of intelligence. … ”  Read more from the ESRI blog here: CAL FIRE applies new predictive and tactical tools to fight ferocious fires

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In commentary today …

What you can do — and what you can’t — to deal with California’s driest year

The LA Times editorial board writes, “It can’t be because everything else was going so well. It can’t be because the rain gods thought we had it too good, or that there were too few flames burning too few trees and homes, or that the summer wasn’t hot enough or there was too little violent crime or not enough deadly disease. We’ve had more than our fill of all that.  In fact, we may never know the reason why last year was not only dry, but was California’s second-driest year on record, according to the state Department of Water Resources. And the prospects for the current water year, which began on Oct. 1, aren’t any better.  What can California residents do, individually, to cope with the lack of rain and snow, and the shortness of our water supplies? … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: What you can do — and what you can’t — to deal with California’s driest year

Clean water in California is overdue

Sean Bothwell, the executive director of California Coastkeeper Alliance, writes, “Forty-nine years ago this week, Congress passed the federal Clean Water Act, with the goal of restoring America’s waters. Yet today, 95% of California’s rivers, lakes, bays and wetlands are plagued by pesticides, metals, pathogens, trash and sediment, making it unsafe to swim, fish or drink. As we approach the 50th anniversary of this landmark environmental legislation, it is time for the state to get on track toward ensuring swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters for all Californians.  Underserved communities of color shoulder far too much of the cost of unsafe water. But the state has increasingly treated these communities as water quality “sacrifice zones.” … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Clean water in California is overdue

Explaining the importance of Western irrigated agriculture

Dan Keppen, Keppen is executive director of Family Farm Alliance, writes, “In the past month, we’ve worked on testimony for three different Congressional hearings dealing with the Western drought. Each has provided an important opportunity to explain drought and Western agriculture to federal lawmakers. … Unfortunately, some Western producers are starting to feel that their way of life is being written off by a segment of the public that appears to believe that the tragedy occurring in many parts of the West is a comeuppance that ranchers somehow deserve.  It has been frustrating to our members across the West to see some of the media characterization of the tragedy that is being inflicted upon their fellow farmers and ranchers. ... ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Explaining the importance of Western irrigated agriculture

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Today’s featured articles …

Suisun Marsh with Mount Diablo in the background. Photo by Wayne Hsieh

FEATURE: Unifying Restoration Across the San Francisco Estuary: A Profile on Ecologist Letitia Grenier

Written by Robin Meadows

San Francisco Estuary Institute ecologist Letitia Grenier has already led projects on working with nature toward large-scale restoration in both the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Now, with a 2021 Delta Stewardship Council grant, she’s extending these efforts to the Suisun Marsh, a 115,000-acre brackish wetland that lies between the Bay and the Delta.  These three regions have ecological and social differences, not to mention distinct political boundaries — but they also have a lot in common. “It’s all one big, beautiful estuary,” Grenier says.

Click here to continue reading this article.


BLOG ROUND-UP: Misunderstanding the influence of dams and droughts on the availability of cold waters; Biden admin takes 1st step to undo Trump’s Delta destruction; Finding common ground in California on environmental regulations and infrastructure investment; and more …

Click here for the blog round-up.

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In regional water news and commentary today …

Algae closes South Lake Tahoe’s Regan Beach

The city of South Lake Tahoe has closed Regan Beach through winter. Regan Beach has historically been closed in October for the winter season but the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board detected harmful algal blooms with the presence of antatoxin-a (cyanobacteria) at the beach, according to a press release from the city. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: Algae closes South Lake Tahoe’s Regan Beach

MOU signing to support Central Valley water protection

Last Friday CalTrout and our partners at Ducks Unlimited, the California Rice Commission, and the Northern California Water Association gathered in the Central Valley to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaborative work that will strengthen protections to water ecology throughout the valley. The MOU formalizes our organizations’ relationships and reinforces CalTrout’s commitment to ecosystem-level solutions to salmon recovery.  This agreement serves as a template for Caltrout’s work with the waterfowl community and public and private landowners as we develop fish food production projects in the Suisun Marsh, the Delta, and the Grasslands region of the San Joaquin Valley. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout here: MOU signing to support Central Valley water protection

In Sonoma County, ‘regenerative agriculture’ is the next big thing

To Lauren and Alex Benward, sixth-generation owners of the Beltane Ranch vineyard in Glen Ellen, Calif., the word “sustainability” does not adequately convey the agricultural measures that they and many of their fellow vineyard owners have adopted in recent years. Steering clear of pesticides and industrial tillage is a no-brainer. They also use roving chickens to forage for pests, maximize soil fertility by planting cover crops like ryegrass and employ a herd of sheep — referred to as “woolly weeders” — to help fertilize the fields. Even the vineyard’s wine shipments reflect land stewardship: Bottles — recycled, with natural corks — are transported with carbon-neutral shipping.  This holistic approach to land management is called regenerative agriculture. … ”  Read more from the New York Times here: In Sonoma County, ‘regenerative agriculture’ is the next big thing

Napa Valley wineries use on-site wastewater treatment systems to irrigate vineyards

The process of making wine requires a lot of water — the rough estimate among industry players is about a 6:1 ratio — and thus results in a lot of wastewater. So in a place that seems to be in an eternal state of drought, winery owners and vineyard operators want to make the most out of their waste, turning the sludgy offshoot into clean water for irrigating the fields.  Many Napa Valley wineries, therefore, have adopted their own on-site wastewater treatment systems to turn production waste into means of irrigating their vines. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Napa Valley wineries use on-site wastewater treatment systems to irrigate vineyards

Why is the Napa River so dry, panel asks?

Napa River is bone-dry in stretches and some have voiced the controversial claim that groundwater pumping amid a deep, two-year drought is partly to blame. That’s the backdrop against which Napa County is crafting a state-required Napa Valley groundwater plan. Twenty-five people from the wine industry, environmental community and other sectors are on an advisory committee working on the first draft. One thorny issue is determining if and when too much groundwater pumping for agriculture dries up the river and streams. That conversation comes at a time when dry waterways have the environmental community worried about fish and wildlife. ... ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Why is the Napa River so dry, panel asks?

Richmond mayor sounds alarm on Marin plans for water line across bridge

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt says plans by the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) to construct a water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and related facilities in Richmond will have adverse impacts in his city. He feels Richmond’s concerns and proposals for alternatives and mitigation measures are being ignored in order to rush through the project, which aims to support MMWD’s roughly 190,000 customers amid drought conditions.  “Richmond is expected to suffer the consequences of poor planning and lack of water conservation by the 14th richest county in America,” Mayor Butt charged in his e-forum newsletter on Monday, the day before the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) Board of Directors will be asked to approve the pipeline project. ... ”  Read more from the Richmond Standard here: Richmond mayor sounds alarm on Marin plans for water line across bridge

Bay Area: Beveragemaker sued by environmental group for CWA violations

Shasta Beverages, the California beverage producer, was sued in the Northern District of California on Friday by an environmental group for discharge permit violations. EDEN Environmental Citizens Group sued nearly a year after providing notice of the defendant’s Clean Water Act violations to the relevant state and federal agencies. … The complaint alleged that Shasta discharges storm water into a municipal drain system as well as a drainage ditch, both of which drain to the San Francisco Bay by way of the Alameda River. EDEN’s claims center on allegations that Shasta stores certain materials outdoors, where they may be exposed to stormwater which then flows into protected waters. … ”  Read more from Law Street Media here: Beveragemaker sued by environmental group for CWA violations+

How a new $31 million radar system will prepare Bay Area for extreme weather

A new radar system coming to the Bay Area promises to radically improve weather predictions, providing additional warning time to prevent flooding damage and more accurate forecasts of where heavy rainfall will hit, down to a specific low-lying highway or neighborhood.  The new forecasting system was originally geared to give emergency planners more time to prepare before a sewage plant overflowed or a BART station flooded during an atmospheric river, the often dramatic weather events responsible for up to half of the region’s rainfall. Paid for in part with a $20 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources and implemented by local water districts, the $31 million system began rolling out in 2018 with the installation of a new weather radar in Sonoma County, followed by one in San Jose. By 2024, five more will come to the Bay Area, including one in the East Bay by Thanksgiving. An additional radar will also be stationed in Santa Cruz. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: How a new $31 million radar system will prepare Bay Area for extreme weather

Santa Cruz:  As droughts worsen, what will become of UCSC’s slimy icon?

““Welcome back slugs!” proclaim banners in downtown Santa Cruz as UCSC students return to in-person classes. But the slimy critters behind the school’s mascot are becoming a rare find on the dusty trails beneath the redwoods.  Even scientists are having trouble spotting banana slugs these days, according to Janet Leonard, a research associate and banana slug expert at UCSC. Last winter, Leonard tried to collect banana slug species in Big Sur, a typically reliable site.  “In three trips I found three slugs,” she says. … ”  Read more from Good Times Santa Cruz here:  As droughts worsen, what will become of UCSC’s slimy icon?

New Cal Am pipeline increasing capacity for Monterey Peninsula water

Construction is underway in Seaside on a major water pipeline that will help deliver recycled water to California American Water Co. customers along the Monterey Peninsula.  The $5.5 million pipeline will run parallel to an existing line that is carrying water north from the Carmel River as part of the Aquifer Storage and Recovery system, or ASR. The program sends water north from the river during peak winter flows that is then injected into the Seaside Basin as a type of savings account that can be used later. ... ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: New Cal Am pipeline increasing capacity for Monterey Peninsula water

Ranch owned by same family since late 1800s, near Merced, sells after listed for $22M

A 7,217-acre ranch north of Merced that has been owned by the same family since the late-1800s has sold after being listed for $22 million. A local dairy farmer bought the historic Kelsey Ranch in Snelling, California, and plans to continue running cattle on the land, according to listing agent Todd Renfrew of California Outdoor Properties. The ranch straddles both Mariposa and Merced counties. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Ranch owned by same family since late 1800s, near Merced, sells after listed for $22M

Fresno: Calling all community groups: Grants available for stormwater education projects

Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District is opening grant program applications for community groups’ environmental projects.  Community groups have a chance to receive up to $4,000 per project, with a total of $25,000 allotted for distribution to eligible applicants. The Flood Control District was established in 1956 to manage flood control facilities and provide urban storm water drainage services. It is a local government agency that services a 399-square-mile watershed between the Kings and San Joaquin Rivers. … ”  Continue reading at The Business Journal here:  Calling all community groups: Grants available for stormwater education projects

Tehachapi: Settlement meeting set for water district lawsuit challenging city approval of Sage Ranch

A settlement meeting required by the California Environmental Quality Act may give the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District and the city of Tehachapi a chance to resolve their water supply disagreement.  In a nutshell, the city has approved residential projects that could add 1,400 or more housing units over the next seven years — and the water district contends that the city violated CEQA and doesn’t have sufficient water to serve such development. The water district filed the action with the court on Sept. 16, challenging the city’s Sept. 7 approval of the Sage Ranch project and claiming that the city violated multiple state laws in its approval of the planned development. … ”  Read more from Tehachapi News here: Settlement meeting set for water district lawsuit challenging city approval of Sage Ranch

Santa Clarita: LARC pipeline moving forward

After years of trucking in water, LARC Ranch residents are finally set to get a permanent water supply via a pipeline being built with the help of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.  LARC and other Bouquet Canyon residents were left high and dry when water stopped being regularly released from the Bouquet Reservoir nearly a decade ago, reducing their supply to a trickle over concerns of road flooding.  “LARC has been around since 1959, and we had a wonderful reservoir working for us for years and years until it went dry,” said Kathleen Sturkey, executive director of LARC Ranch, a nonprofit that provides programs, services and residential facilities for developmentally disabled adults. … ”  Read more from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal here: Santa Clarita: LARC pipeline moving forward

Congresswoman calls for emergency declaration over foul odor in Carson

Calling it an “issue of health and environmental injustice,” Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro) on Monday asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency over an overpowering foul smell that has sickened residents of Carson and surrounding communities for more than two weeks.  The ongoing stench — which Los Angeles County officials say is caused by hydrogen sulfide coming from decaying vegetation in the Dominguez Channel — was first reported to the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Oct. 3.  It took 12 days for county crews to begin treating the flood control channel to mitigate the odor. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Congresswoman calls for emergency declaration over foul odor in Carson

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Along the Colorado River …

Vice president urges enactment of climate spending on visit to drought-stricken Lake Mead

The white “bathtub ring” the shrinking Colorado River has left behind on the beige rocks behind Hoover Dam shows the growing urgency of acting on climate change and drought, Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters on Monday.  In 20 years of drought that was supercharged by heat, water levels have dropped more than 140 feet, creating the white band Harris talked about as she touted the Biden administration’s spending priorities.  The low levels have forced Arizona and Nevada to reduce water use after the federal government declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River earlier this year. The seven states that use the river are working on plans to deal with continued drought.  Harris said a bipartisan trillion-dollar infrastructure deal and an even larger partisan budget reconciliation bill would help the Southwest retain water behind the dam and look for other new or recycled sources. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun here: Vice president urges enactment of climate spending on visit to drought-stricken Lake Mead

SEE ALSO: Kamala Harris visits Lake Mead to sell Biden’s climate agenda amid drought in West, from the LA Times

Radio show: Decision-makers say cooperation is the only way to make progress on Western drought

Water is something we all need, but don’t necessarily always think about. Yet as the West continues on in a drought, more minds are starting to look into the future, and how to ensure H2O is a part of it.  Late last week, decision-makers from seven states and two tribes within the Colorado River Basin were part of a virtual hearing put on by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife to share ideas.  To learn about the hearing, The Show spoke with KUNC’s Alex Hager.”  Listen at KJZZ here: Radio show: Decision-makers say cooperation is the only way to make progress on Western drought

Utah: Cities or farms: Who gets the water?

A University of Utah economist says the state, which is trying to recover from severe drought, has enough water to deal with a growing population, if we just make some changes — difficult changes that probably won’t be popular with farmers.  Associate Professor Gabriel Lozada’s idea is to reallocate some water now used for agriculture.  According to a 2015 report, Utah residents use about 12% of the state’s water supply — about a third of that for indoor use and two-thirds for outdoor irrigation.  Meanwhile, agriculture, which accounts for 2% of the state’s economy, uses about three-fourths of the water supply — most of it to grow alfalfa hay. … ”  Read more from KSL here: Utah: Cities or farms: Who gets the water?

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In national water news today …

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The EPA has a new plan to crack down.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a three-year initiative to regulate PFAS and restrict their use. U.S. manufacturers still use the chemicals, and public water systems are not required to monitor for any PFAS.  PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they never break down and remain present in the human body. The chemicals seeped into the groundwater around the Warminster naval base for decades, according to the EPA. “We are acting with a sense of urgency,” Michael Regan, the EPA administrator, said in an interview with NBC News. “I’ve seen firsthand the exposure from these chemical compounds and what it does to a family’s confidence, what it does to a mother who is concerned about the long-term impacts.” ... ”  Read more from NBC News here: Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The EPA has a new plan to crack down.

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Water infrastructure and resiliency: Industry report and investment case

Whether it’s used to manufacture pharmaceuticals or to brew your morning cup of coffee, water is a vital resource. … The OECD predicts that by 2050 freshwater use will rise 55%, leaving 40% of the global population in water-stressed regions. Industries and individuals alike must do more with less.  The global water market is attractive for two main reasons: reliability and opportunity. Due to its essential nature, the demand for water remains consistent despite fluctuations in the economy. Additionally, the rate base nature of utilities allows for a lower cost of capital, resulting in higher yields on investments. While providing reliable returns, the water industry is also poised for a revolution. Many clean technology companies are unveiling new solutions to conserve, treat, and capture water from unprecedented sources. These new technologies, coupled with the strong infrastructure market, will ensure stable market growth as this stressed resource continues to flow into every home and industry. … ”  Read more from NASDAQ here: Water infrastructure and resiliency: Industry report and investment case

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

DROUGHT ASSISTANCE for water systems available from U.S. EPA

NOTICE: Forecasted Storms in Russian River Watershed and Potential Temporary Curtailment Suspensions

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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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