WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST: Complaint alleging unlawful diversion in the Delta triggers investigation; A profile on ecologist Letitia Grenier; Salmon predation in the Delta, plus all the top water news of the week

A wrap-up of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …

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This week’s featured articles …

DELTA WATERMASTER: Complaint alleging unlawful diversion in the Delta triggers investigation; Drought emergency regulation; Voluntary dry-year response program; and Open ET

At the September meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Watermaster Michael George updated the council members on the activities of his office.  In his update, he discussed the drought, an investigation into a complaint alleging unlawful water diversion within the Delta, efforts to develop a predictable dry year response to water shortages in the Delta, the risk of the drought continuing into the new water year, and the imminent rollout of Open ET.

Click here to read this article.


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.


DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: Salmon predation in the Delta; Fact sheets on steelhead trout and chinook salmon; and the activities of the Delta Science Program

At the September meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Lead Scientist Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted an article on salmon predation, highlighted two new fact sheets on salmonids now available, and gave an update on the activities of the Delta Science Program.

Click here to read this article.

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In California water news this week …

Another bomb cyclone brewing as part of West Coast storm train

A powerful bomb cyclone that reached maximum intensity over the northern Pacific Thursday afternoon marked the beginning of an intense and stormy stretch for the West Coast. That storm will continue to send additional storms into the region through next Tuesday, unleashing nearly 2 feet of rain in some areas and up to 8 feet of snow over the mountains.  … On Friday, a wide satellite view provided a stark visual of what’s in store for the West Coast over the next several days. Three storms lined up over the northern Pacific Ocean are headed for the western U.S. and will each bring varying degrees of intensity and impacts, but the cumulative effects of all three storms will be dramatic. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather here:  Another bomb cyclone brewing as part of West Coast storm train

Burned by wildfire, Northern California towns now fear flooding and toxic runoff from storm

In the burned-out town of Greenville, deep on a Plumas County mountainside, the storms now battering Northern California are another trauma in a year of heartbreak.  “Be careful what you wish for,” Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss said Thursday, just off a briefing with state emergency response officials. Torrential rainfall is expected to soften the state’s drought this weekend, but the rain also brings the risk of debris flows and floods in places hit by wildfires.  “We are going to have some problems,” Goss said. “It was inevitable for this to happen this way. But we will deal with it. We are strong and resilient.” ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Burned by wildfire, Northern California towns now fear flooding and toxic runoff from storm

Top expert on California’s atmospheric rivers: ‘It can break the drought’

A moisture-rich atmospheric river is forecast to hit California on Sunday and Monday, delivering a much needed drenching of rain to a drought-plagued state at a time of year when big storms are unusual.  It’s unclear at this point where the bull’s-eye of the storm will dump the most rain, but forecasters agree it will likely be anywhere from far Northern California to Central California, with the San Francisco Bay Area being impacted. The wettest spots could see up to a foot of rain. To answer questions about what an atmospheric river is and how this storm event might unfold, we checked in with Marty Ralph, the director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego who is recognized as the pioneer of research on atmospheric rivers impacting the Western United States. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Top expert on California’s atmospheric rivers: ‘It can break the drought’

It will take more than rain to end drought in Western US

Californians rejoiced this week when big drops of water started falling from the sky for the first time in any measurable way since the spring, an annual soaking that heralds the start of the rainy season following some of the hottest and driest months on record.  But as the rain was beginning to fall on Tuesday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom did a curious thing: He issued a statewide drought emergency and gave regulators permission to enact mandatory statewide water restrictions if they choose.  Newsom’s order might seem jarring, especially as forecasters predict up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain could fall on parts of the Northern California mountains and Central Valley this week. But experts say it makes sense if you think of drought as something caused not by the weather, but by climate change. … ”  Read more from NBC 4 here: It will take more than rain to end drought in Western US

California misses water conservation mark for 2nd month as state records driest year since 1924

Slogging through one of the hottest and driest stretches in state history, Californian cities and water districts combined to slash water usage by 5% in August compared to August 2020.  Though the reduction falls well short of Governor Gavin Newsom’s target of 15%, regulators on Tuesday said the severity of the drought and the need for water conservation are beginning to stick with residents as wells and reservoirs dry up across the state.  “We are trending in the right direction with August savings more than twice of what we saw in July,” said Marielle Pinheiro, data specialist at the State Water Resources Control Board. “This is especially significant considering that August 2021 was so dry.” … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: California misses water conservation mark for 2nd month as state records driest year since 1924

Newsom declares drought emergency across California

Gov. Gavin Newsom today declared a drought emergency for the entire state of California, as conservation efforts continue to fall far short of state targets.  Newsom also authorized California’s water regulators to ban wasteful water use, such as spraying down public sidewalks, and directed his Office of Emergency Services to fund drinking water as needed. But he stopped short of issuing any statewide conservation mandates.   “As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it’s critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible,” Newsom said in a statement. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Newsom declares drought emergency across California

California just declared a drought emergency. What does that mean and how will it affect your life?

As the state experiences its second-driest year on record and Gov. Gavin Newsom declares a statewide drought emergency, some Californians may be wondering: How will this shortage impact the Sacramento region and what does it mean for our everyday lives and water supply?  The declaration comes after a summer of record-high temperatures alongside plummeting water levels in reservoirs. With his announcement, Newsom cited these factors as more reason to “redouble our efforts” toward water conservation.  Experts agree. “It sounds a little bit odd at first to have a drought declaration declared at the beginning of the rainy season,” said Jay Lund, co-director of UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences. “But given the state of the reservoirs and the likelihood of the drought continuing next year, I think it’s prudent to help people get prepared.”  … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California just declared a drought emergency. What does that mean and how will it affect your life?

Delta salinity barrier to stay in 2022

In response to continuing drought conditions, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that it will keep the West False River salinity barrier in place until November 2022.  Construction of the rock barrier was completed in June, and the emergency permit issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) originally required its removal by Nov. 30, 2021. “Once the Delta gets salty, it renders it not useful for all beneficial uses,” said Jacob McQuirk, operations and maintenance manager for DWR. “That’s interior agriculture. That’s folks like the Contra Costa Water District that rely on it to fill Los Vaqueros. Everybody that relies on that fresh Delta water will have to wait for a real winter precipitation event to clear it out. That becomes the issue. Once you lose it, the only way to get it back is Mother Nature divvying up some precipitation. We can’t make it any better, mind you. We can only protect what we’ve got.” … ”  Read more from The Press here: Delta salinity barrier to stay in 2022

In this California county, one town has no water. Another has enough to share.

This town took a big step toward making fresh water along the rocky, wild North Coast of California.  As its wells ran dry this month, town officials looked to technology as an emergency measure, hoping to keep both residents and a lifeblood tourism industry with running faucets. The town spent $335,000 on a desalination plant, a small machine of tubes and pumps that officials christened earlier this month. Turning brackish water into useful water, the plant now provides a quarter of the local supply. Just a few miles down Highway 1, desperate residents of another town have been urged to buy thousand-gallon storage tanks to catch any water that may fall from the sky. And over the coastal range to the east, Ukiah is awash in water and has begun sending tankers full to its dry neighbors near the sea. … ”  Continue reading at Washington Post here: In this California county, one town has no water. Another has enough to share.

One of California’s wealthiest counties could run out of water next summer

Welcome to the future in Marin County, one where a $2 million house with an ocean view doesn’t necessarily come with a reliable water supply.  Water managers are taking extraordinary measures to keep faucets flowing should the state enter a third year of a punishing drought this winter. That this affluent redwood-studded ecotopia faces such a possibility, though, is a harbinger of a climate-constrained destiny that is fast arriving.  “These droughts are now on a new timeline,” says Newsha Ajami, a hydrologist and director of urban water policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West program. “There used to be at least 10 years in between droughts in California, which was time enough for water ecosystems to recover.” … ”  Continue reading at Yahoo News here: One of California’s wealthiest counties could run out of water next summer

Winter weather outlook: California drought could worsen, what else to expect

The devastating drought in Southern California is expected to continue or worsen this winter, with drier-than-average conditions forecast for the hard-hit Southwest, including Southern California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday in its winter weather outlook.  NOAA predicts drought conditions to continue in the Southwest, Plains and Missouri River Basin. But drought improvement is possible in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest and Hawaii, NOAA said. … ”  Read more from ABC News here: Winter weather outlook: California drought could worsen, what else to expect

California lawmakers call for delay to start of interim water plan

On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. John Garamendi, and Rep. Josh Harder called on state and federal officials to delay implementation of the interim operating plan for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.  “We appreciate your extensive efforts to collaborate with each other on the proposed interim operating plan for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project recently filed in the PCFFA v. Raimondo consolidated litigation,” the members wrote in a letter to Governor Newsom, Interior Secretary Haaland and Commerce Secretary Raimondo. … ”  Read more from Fox News here: California lawmakers call for delay to start of interim water plan

Biden vs. Feinstein, Costa, Harder & Calif. GOP: Temporary Calif. water plan gets pushback on Capitol Hill

California Democrats and Republicans are pushing back against a temporary plan to manage the state’s primary water projects as the Biden administration aims to dismantle Trump-era environmental rules which increased water delivery throughout the Central Valley.  Last week, a federal judge reviewed an interim operations plan for the Central Valley Project (CVP) which was submitted by the California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Newsom administration and environmental interest groups brought lawsuits forward against the Trump-era 2019 biological opinions which govern the CVP. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Biden vs. Feinstein, Costa, Harder & Calif. GOP: Temporary Calif. water plan gets pushback on Capitol Hill

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

NASA launches tool that measures Western water loss

NASA on Thursday launched an online platform with information on how much water evaporates into the atmosphere from plants, soils and other surfaces in the U.S. West, data it says could help water managers, farmers and state officials better manage resources in the parched region.  The platform, OpenET, uses satellite imagery from the Landsat program, a decades-long project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that records human and natural impacts on Earth’s surface.  Specifically, it provides data for 17 Western states — down to the quarter-acre — on how much evapotranspiration has taken place. That’s the process by which moisture in leaves, soil and other surfaces evaporates into the air. … ”  Read more from the AP here: NASA launches tool that measures Western water loss

Are drinking water providers liable under RCRA for contaminants they didn’t introduce?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently vacated a summary judgment previously granted to the city of Vacaville, California, in a citizen suit brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). California River Watch v. City of Vacaville questioned whether a drinking water provider could have RCRA liability as a transporter of waste due to the presence of a contaminant in the drinking water which was not introduced by the provider and which did not cause the drinking water to fail applicable federal and state drinking water standards. ... ”  Continue reading at the National Law Review here: Are drinking water providers liable under RCRA for contaminants they didn’t introduce?

Sheriff says family on California hike died of extreme heat

A Northern California sheriff says a family and their dog died of extreme heat exhaustion and dehydration while hiking in a remote area in August.  Mariposa County Sheriff Jeremy Briese said Thursday that John Gerrish, his wife, Ellen Chung, their 1-year-old daughter, Miju, and their dog were walking in extreme heat before they died. Briese says their water container was empty. … ”  Read more from KPMH here: Sheriff says family on California hike died of extreme heat

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In commentary this week …

Column: California state government is admirably trying to address drought. It’s a tough nut to crack

Columnist George Skelton writes, “We just finished the second-driest water season on record in California. Worse, it was the driest two-year period.  Only 1924 was drier, according to the state Department of Water Resources. And back then, California had a population of just 4.5 million. Now we have 39.5 million people gulping water — plus a lot of overplanted thirsty nut orchards in the arid San Joaquin Valley.  The two dry years “surpass ‘the great drought’ of ’76-’77,” says DWR Director Karla Nemeth. And the most recent drought years in the middle of the last decade “are way back in the rearview mirror now.”  We’ll really be up a dry creek if this winter produces less-than-normal precipitation — whatever normal has become as the planet warms. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Column: California state government is admirably trying to address drought. It’s a tough nut to crack

Why San Diego County should be spared mandatory California water cutbacks

The San Diego Union Tribune editorial board writes, ” … Californians are used to this cycle of drought, and San Diego water regulators and residents alike have done their part for decades to prepare, diversifying our water resources to reduce our reliance on Colorado River water by adding desalination and water purification to our mix as shorter showers, browner lawns and dirtier cars became the norm. But even that didn’t stop Gov. Gavin Newsom from adding San Diego County to a drought emergency declaration list that has now cut environmental regulations, streamlined multijurisdictional cooperation and paved the way for mandates in all 58 counties. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Why San Diego County should be spared mandatory California water cutbacks

San Joaquin County deserves a fair chance to develop its American River water right application

San Joaquin County Supervisors Chuck Winn and Kathy Miller write, “Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board (SCWRB) held a public hearing on the pending water-right application of San Joaquin County for a permit to appropriate water from the South Fork American River at the Freeport Regional Water Authority Facility on the Sacramento River. The hearing spawned a lot of misinformed conjecture, especially among Sacramento County water interests, as to why San Joaquin County should receive priority water rights to the American River superseding other Sacramento-area water providers.  It cannot be emphasized enough that San Joaquin County never intended to rely on the American River. … ”  Continue reading at Maven’s Notebook here: San Joaquin County deserves a fair chance to develop its American River water right application

SoCal’s water planning offers lesson for state

The Southern California News Group editorial board writes, “Another historic drought has gripped the West and California, with the entire state facing abnormally dry conditions and 87% of it facing an extreme drought, according to the latest federal data. Yet Southern Californians are in far better shape to handle the situation than Northern Californians thanks to policies that southern water agencies have adopted.  Two-thirds of the state’s rain falls in Northern California, which has one-third of the state’s population — and vice versa. Yet many northern cities are running out of water, with several San Francisco Bay Area communities already adopting water rationing and water-use restrictions. This isn’t happenstance, but the result of planning — or lack thereof. … ”  Read more from the Daily Breeze here: SoCal’s water planning offers lesson for state

For our water future, let’s fix Central Valley canals

California state senator Melissa Hurtado writes, “Water is life for us here in the Central Valley. It impacts every facet of our day-to-day lives, from our jobs to sustaining our daily needs. This summer, a few communities in my district ran dry. One town —Teviston—was without running water for a full month. The families there were unable to turn their taps on to cook, bathe their children or even flush the toilet.  Drought and water conservation is becoming a way of life for us across the state, but especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Fortunately, farmers and farmworkers are resilient and have found ways to cope. Unfortunately, some of those ways have led to fallowed farms and decreased crop yields. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: For our water future, let’s fix Central Valley canals

Rogue environmentalists put Californians in harm’s way by blocking forest thinning projects

The Sacramento Bee editorial board writes, “In the scramble to evacuate all of South Lake Tahoe in late August, there was a palpable fear among fleeing residents that the destructive Caldor Fire could raze one of the largest communities in the Tahoe basin. Thankfully, after firefighters mounted a massive defense, South Lake Tahoe was spared. Cal Fire officials and forest managers credited previous forest treatment projects that had helped slow the fire’s spread and gave crews precious time to strengthen their lines and protect thousands of threatened properties. California desperately needs to thin more of its forestland and reduce fire risks so there are more success stories like Tahoe and fewer like Paradise or Greenville. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Rogue environmentalists put Californians in harm’s way by blocking forest thinning projects

Our military shouldn’t be held hostage to ‘water politics’

Former Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth writes, “Former Navy pilot and astronaut and now freshman Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) is working to build his on-the-job experience before a re-election challenge next year. That’s likely one reason that he chaired a Senate subcommittee hearing this month about drought in the West. His opening remarks included a shout-out to constituents: “We’ve got this old saying in Arizona that ‘whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.’”  But that fight for water goes well beyond the Colorado River and a shrinking Lake Mead to “tributaries” that run through environmental pressure groups, the Pentagon, and the “other chamber” on Capitol Hill. … ”  Continue reading at The Hill here: Our military shouldn’t be held hostage to ‘water politics’

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

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 regional water news this week …

Powerhouse down at Potter Valley Project, creating more uncertainty about its future

Efforts to secure the Russian River water supply have stalled over the past month. A powerhouse that allows for larger diversions of water from the Eel River to the Russian River went down over the summer and it’s unclear whether it will be repaired. Pacific Gas & Electric says the Potter Valley Project (PVP), a hydroelectric power project that diverts the water from one river to the other, will continue providing enough water to meet its contractual obligations to Potter Valley residents and the Russian River watershed. What remains to be seen is whether a regional partnership will be able to take over the project and secure that supply for the long term. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Voice here: Powerhouse down at Potter Valley Project, creating more uncertainty about its future

The Caldor Fire is 100% contained, but that doesn’t mean the danger is over

After burning for 67 days and coming dangerously close to South Lake Tahoe, the Caldor Fire has been 100% contained.  But that doesn’t mean the fire is extinguished, said Evan Guzik, public information officer for the incident management team assigned to the fire based at Heavenly Ski Resort.  “Containment is a measure of the amount of line around the wildfire and as of today, with the weather and fire behavior we are seeing, we do not expect the fire to move beyond the line where it is right now,” said Guzik.  “There is still plenty of heat left that we have not addressed,” said Guzik, “and that will continue to burn well into the winter.” … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: The Caldor Fire is 100% contained, but that doesn’t mean the danger is over

Photo story: Berkeley Lab mobilizes to predict how Caldor Fire may lead to floods and land movement

The Cosumnes River watershed is representative of many in California in that it extends from the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the Central Valley, providing water and recharging aquifers for municipal and agricultural regions, but unique in that it’s one of the last major rivers without a large-scale dam, enabling the study of natural rivers flows. In 2017 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Erica Siirila-Woodburn, a hydrologist by training, decided it would be an excellent place to study how climate extremes affect mountain water cycles. Working with colleagues, she built an advanced hydrologic model to investigate how events such as drought and wildfire would affect things like groundwater levels and streamflow.Fast forward four years, and the Caldor Fire erupted in the headwater forests of the Cosumnes River basin, growing to become the 16th largest fire in California state history. Berkeley Lab scientists mobilized quickly to collect data from the burned area. … ”  Read more from Berkeley Labs here: Berkeley Lab mobilizes to predict how Caldor Fire may lead to floods and land movement 

A $564 million water project was completed in Sacramento. What this means for you

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, also known as Regional San, completed a $564 million wastewater treatment project this summer that uses bacteria to remove more than 99% of ammonia from sewer water. The operation, which is called the Biological Nutrient Removal project, is a part of a larger undertaking called the EchoWater project. The EchoWater project was established by Regional San to comply with regulations and to ensure clean water quality. The effort also allows for the potential reuse of water for landscape and agricultural irrigation. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: A $564 million water project was completed in Sacramento. What this means for you

Dredge Lake Mendocino? Experts say it’s ‘not worth the bang for the buck’

Now that Lake Mendocino holds only a fraction of what it should, there’s a whole lot of lake bed exposed to the sky, and folks are wondering why the government doesn’t exploit the opportunity to dredge the lake and increase its capacity for the future.  It’s an increasingly common question as the lake has receded from the shoreline over months of severe drought, and the prospect of increasing extremes in rainfall going forward accentuates the need for expanded water storage.  But it’s not as obvious a solution as it may seem, officials say. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Dredge Lake Mendocino? Experts say it’s ‘not worth the bang for the buck’

Marin Municipal Water District allots $23.2M for pipeline

The Marin Municipal Water District has allocated up to $23.2 million to buy equipment for a proposed emergency supply pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  The investment, approved by the district board on Tuesday, is the largest the agency has made since proposing the idea earlier this year.  The 8-mile pipeline, estimated to cost up to $90 million, is the district’s main backup plan should it deplete its main reservoir supplies next summer in the event of another dry winter.  “We are doing this project because this drought has shown us we are vulnerable — our district, our customers,” board member Monty Schmitt said on Tuesday. “We are vulnerable to years of extreme dry conditions, the kinds of conditions that we know are going to become more of the norm.” … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin Municipal Water District allots $23.2M for pipeline

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

Poseidon makes controversial demand of CA regulators before their vote on proposed Huntington Beach desal plant

One water company, its supporters and a host of environmental activists have traded fire for two decades over seemingly every aspect of a seawater desalination plant proposed to go on the Huntington Beach coastline.  That fight could soon see some type of conclusion when the Poseidon Water Co.’s proposed desalting facility goes before California Coastal Commissioners either later this year or in 2022, for a decisive vote on whether to grant the project its needed permit. … Poseidon has raised another issue to fight regulators on as the company’s proposal enters what may be the last lap.  In late September, the company said in writing that it won’t pay state regulators the required $326,623 fee as part of Poseidon’s application to the Coastal Commission for its needed project permit. … ”  Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Poseidon makes controversial demand of CA regulators before their vote on proposed Huntington Beach desal plant 

Cadiz shares plunge as company reconfigures water transfer plan

It’s been a rough and perplexing six weeks for shareholders of downtown-based water infrastructure development company Cadiz Inc.  Shares have plunged nearly 50% since Labor Day weekend from a trading range of about $13 to a new, lower range of about $7. And while that’s been jolting for investors, it has also been a bit of a mystery.  Cadiz executives had been busy reconfiguring the company’s decades-old plan to transfer water from its Mojave Desert aquifer to water agencies throughout Southern California. They had begun to focus on converting a pipeline the company recently purchased rather than building a new pipeline to connect with the Colorado River Aqueduct. … ”  Read more from the LA Business Journal here: Cadiz shares plunge as company reconfigures water transfer plan

Reclamation releases updated projections of Colorado River system conditions

The Bureau of Reclamation has released its October 24-Month Study and 2-year projections of major reservoir levels within the Colorado River system. These projections detail hydrologic conditions and projected operations for Colorado River system reservoirs and are used by Reclamation and water users in the basin for future water management planning.  The October projections are the first to include inflow forecasts developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Colorado Basin River Forecast Center (CBRFC) that incorporate updated climate conditions and data sets known as the “U.S. Climate Normals.” … As a result of this update, the median water year 2022 inflow forecast into Lake Powell decreased by 800,000 acre-feet and Reclamation’s October projections show lower Lake Powell elevations compared to the September projections. … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Reclamation releases updated projections of Colorado River system conditions

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In national water news today …

U.S. Winter Outlook: Drier, warmer South, wetter North with return of La Nina

Above-average temperatures are favored across the South and most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second winter in a row according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service. In NOAA’s 2021 Winter Outlook — which extends from December 2021 through February 2022 — wetter-than-average conditions are anticipated across portions of the Northern U.S., primarily in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and western Alaska. … ” Read more NOAA here:  U.S. Winter Outlook: Drier, warmer South, wetter North with return of La Nina

Weekly features …

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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Announcements, notices, and funding opportunities …

NOTICES

NOTICE: State Water Board to hold public workshops to support the development of water use efficiency standards

NOTICE: Temporary Suspension of Certain Curtailments in the Russian River Watershed

NOTICE: New Legislation Consolidates All Water Use Reporting Periods and Due Dates

NOTICE: Temporary Suspension Of Curtailments In The Sacramento-san Joaquin Delta (Delta) Watershed

NOTICE: Forecasted Storms in Scott and Shasta Watersheds and Potential Temporary Curtailment Suspension

NOW AVAILABLE: Draft Channel Capacity Report for the 2022 Restoration Year Available for Review

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

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS

ANNOUNCEMENT: Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Public Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement Activities

ANNOUNCEMENT: Water Systems can now apply for funding to cover customers’ unpaid water bill

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

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

PUBLICATIONS

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ BirdReturns Program~ Emergency Grants~ DSC Meeting~ Groundwater Workshop~ Invasive Species~~

VELES WEEKLY REPORT: Rain is coming to California. NQH2O down a further $22.95 or 2.82% to $790.65

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~ SGMA Implementation~ Disadvantaged Communities~ Adaptation Strategy~ Regional Resilience~ Water Summit~ Ag Tech~~

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