DAILY DIGEST, 10/28: Valadao leads request for oversight hearing on SWP/CVP interim operations plan; McCarthy, Valadao press for emergency provisions for more water for Valley farmers; Why is Millerton at 134% of historic average?; Ransomware attacks on utilities increasing; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • MEETING:  The Delta Stewardship Council will meet beginning at 9am. Agenda items include Delta Lead Scientist Report, DWR 2021 Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier in the Delta, 2021 Van Sickle flooding event, and an update on the 2022 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Update. Click here for the full agenda and remote access information.
  • FUNDING FAIR: California Financing Coordinating Committee Funding Fair will be held from 9am to 2pm.  The funding fair will provide the opportunity to learn more about available grant, loan, and bond financing options for infrastructure projects from federal, state, and local agencies. Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Case Study: Hyperion Advanced Water Purification Proof of Concept Facility from 10:30am to 11:30am.  The Hyperion Advanced Water Purification Facility is a proof-of-concept treatment process that will provide highly treated water for multiple non-potable uses at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.  A highly variable influent quality and a need for a pure, non-corrosive product water presented some unique challenges for the process design team. This presentation will cover the major challenges, creative solutions and lessons learned from this unique project.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Water data series: Bioassessment of California’s rivers and streams from 12pm to 1:30pm. For the last 20 years, California’s bioassessment program has focused on measuring the ecological condition of perennial wadeable streams and rivers throughout the state. An overview of the technical elements of the State’s bioassessment program is presented, with an emphasis on development of the California Stream Condition Index (CSCI), an interpretive tool that scores stream condition based on aquatic insects and other invertebrates living on the stream bottom. Examples of how the CSCI can be used to assess stream condition at both statewide and regional scales are presented, with the goal that measures of ecological condition will be prioritized to protect and restore California streams and watersheds. Click here to register.
  • WATER SUMMIT 2021: Pivoting Today’s Pain into Tomorrow’s Gain from 12:45 to 4:30pm. The 2021 Water Summit, our annual premier event, will be hosted as an engaging virtual experience on the afternoon of Oct. 28, 2021, followed by an optional in-person reception cruise in Sacramento aboard an open-air yacht on the Sacramento River.  Click here for more information and to register.
  • PUBLIC WORKSHOP: California Water Commission Groundwater Trading Safeguards for Vulnerable Water Users Workshop from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.  You are invited to a California Water Commission workshop to explore ways that the State can support in-basin, locally led groundwater trading programs that ensure protections for communities, small- and medium-size farms, and the environment. At the workshops, the Commission will gather information and test assumptions regarding opportunities and concerns around groundwater trading; potential impacts to ecosystems, farms, and communities; and an appropriate state role in groundwater trading.  Click here to register.
  • FREE WEBINAR: Zombie Salmon and Ghost Moose: The Spooky Implications of Climate Change from 7pm to 8pm. The National Climate Adaptation Science center works on research to help avoid some scary scenarios for fish and wildlife.  Learn how warming weather and shorter winters trap moose in a never-ending creepy crawly season.  For fish, higher water temperatures can make long-distance migrations even more of a haunted maze.  While there is no magic spell, the more we understand these frightening impacts, the better we can prepare and adapt to avoid a grim future for fish and wildlife.  Click here to watch the livestream.

In California water news today …

Congressman David G. Valadao leads request for oversight hearing on Biden administration’s interim operation plan for SWP/CVP

Today, Congressman David G. Valadao and the entire California Republican Delegation sent a formal request to the House Natural Resources Committee and the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee for an oversight hearing on the Biden administration’s decision to override career Bureau of Reclamation employees and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists to replace the operations plan that delivers water to the Central Valley.  “The House Natural Resources Committee has a responsibility to conduct oversight on what appears to be an anti-science, politically-motivated move by the Biden administration to discount years of peer-reviewed work done by career scientists and civil servants,” said Congressman Valadao. “I implore Chairman Raul Grijalva and Chairman Jared Huffman to conduct as thorough oversight on this administration’s actions at the Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce as they did in the previous administration – anything else would be short of our duty as Members of Congress.” … ”  Continue reading from Congressman David Valadao’s office here: Congressman David G. Valadao leads request for oversight hearing on Biden administration’s anti-science water grab

Click here to read the letter.

McCarthy, Valadao press for emergency provisions allowing stormwater to flow to Valley farmers

Reps. Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao joined eight other Republican members of Congress this week in calling on President Joe Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare emergencies that would allow the maximum amount of water from this week’s storms to be diverted south to Central Valley farmers.  A letter the lawmakers sent Tuesday asserted government has a moral obligation to provide relief to California families and farms suffering because of this year’s “catastrophic manmade drought.”  Government regulations should not and must not deny our constituents critical water from these storms,” the letter stated. “While we cannot make it rain, we must take advantage of opportunities to store water when it does.” It added that time is of the essence. ... ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: McCarthy, Valadao press for emergency provisions allowing stormwater to flow to Valley farmers

SEE ALSO: David Valadao, Kevin McCarthy seek more water for Central Valley farmers, from Channel 23

Precipitation in Central Sierra is 378% of average for now, but rest of water year remains unknown

Rodney O’Neal, 54, of Crystal Falls, and Frank Enos, 66, of Sonora, looked over the low waters in New Melones Reservoir on Tuesday morning and marveled at how little visual evidence there appeared to be of the record-breaking blockbuster storm that soaked the Central Sierra Nevada and most of Northern California on Sunday.  New Melones, the fourth-largest capacity reservoir in the Golden State, was still just 34% full on Tuesday, the exact same as it was three-and-a-half weeks ago, according to California Data Exchange Center numbers kept by the state Department of Water Resources. “It came up a foot,” O’Neal said optimistically. “I saw it on my phone. You can see the difference at the boat ramp, the third ramp at Tuttletown. We’ll take it. We need more.” … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here: Precipitation in Central Sierra is 378% of average for now, but rest of water year remains unknown

Historic rain and snow begin to refresh California lakes and mountains

Between historic drought and a lively fire season, California has experienced a troublesome year. Now, the state may have received the first sign of major relief: 8 trillion gallons of rain.  Like an epic fire hose, a long, narrow band of water vapor located in the lower atmosphere — known as an atmospheric river — doused California with record-setting rains Sunday and Monday. The event unloaded upward of 12 inches of rain on the northern Sierras, almost a quarter of the annual average precipitation for the region. The deluge comes only days after a record-breaking dry spell — what some scientists call precipitation whiplash. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: Historic rain and snow begin to refresh California lakes and mountains

Bomb cylone? Thanks….what else ya got?

The west coast was slammed Oct. 24-25 by a bomb cyclone, a historic storm that dumped record breaking levels of precipitation on much of California. The rain came from long streams of moisture called atmospheric rivers. San Francisco recorded more than four inches of rain on October 24, the most for a single October day in recorded history. Sacramento saw 5.44 inches of rain over the course of the storm, breaking a record from 1880.  The storm has effectively ended the wildfire season. But water managers and others from across the state say it only made a small dent in the ongoing drought.  What the experts are saying ... ”  Continue reading from SJV Water here: Bomb cylone? Thanks….what else ya got?

With other reservoirs low, why is Millerton at 134% of historic average?

” … Millerton Lake in Friant is an outlier among the state’s reservoirs. It is at 59% of capacity and 134% of its historic average for this time of year.  Knecht explained that Millerton is filling with water releases from power company dams higher up on the San Joaquin River. The reservoir, she said, “has ample room to accommodate additional upstream inflows due to power production and/or future storm events.”  And, she added, “The current storage at Millerton does not represent the conditions of the entire basin or the Central Valley Project, which continues to be impacted by two years of historically dry conditions.” ... ”  Read more from GV Wire here: With other reservoirs low, why is Millerton at 134% of historic average?

Images taken from space show dramatic change in California’s Sierra snowpack

Striking photos taken from a NASA satellite show how a moisture-rich atmospheric river transformed the Sierra Nevada mountain range straddling California and Nevada from dry fall conditions to snow-covered peaks.  In a photo from NASA’s Worldview tool on Oct. 16, the Sierra is a stretch of brown straddling California and Nevada. On Oct. 26, the mountains are blanketed in snow.  Winter arrived early in California’s mount  ains when a potent storm barreled across the region Sunday into Monday, delivering significant snow fall — nearly three feet to higher elevations above 7,000 feet above sea level — across portions of the northern and central Sierra. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Images taken from space show dramatic change in California’s Sierra snowpack

SEE ALSO: Powder aplenty: See how Sierra mountains looked before and after California’s storm, from the Sacramento Bee

The atmospheric river delivered record rains to Northern California. Was it enough to end wildfire season?

The storm that drenched the Bay Area and set a record for the wettest October day in San Francisco did not provide enough rain to completely end California’s fire season, officials said Wednesday.  “Fire season is not officially over,” said Christine McMorrow, a spokesperson with Cal Fire.  “While we did get quite a bit of rain, especially here in Northern California, that’s not enough to completely end fire season.”  McMorrow said fire danger remained relatively high throughout the drought-stricken state, especially in Southern California. … ”  Read more from SF Chronicle here: The atmospheric river delivered record rains to Northern California. Was it enough to end wildfire season?

Climate change magnified recent California deluge

A record-breaking storm that swept through California in recent days was made worse by climate change, experts say.  And not just because of additional rainfall that’s a symptom of a warmer climate. Adding to the misery was what preceded the deluge: months of dry conditions and devastating wildfires.  That seesaw in weather conditions—from bone dry to sopping wet—is a taste of what’s to come as the Earth heats up, scientists say. … ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Climate change magnified recent California deluge

SEE ALSO: Atmospheric river storms can drive costly flooding — and climate change is making them stronger, from UC California

Column: Climate change is distressingly real. But it’s not behind all major weather events

George Skelton writes, “It rained so hard in California in 1862 that a 300-mile-long lake was created in the Central Valley, stretching from Bakersfield to Red Bluff.  Yes, literally.  Leland Stanford needed a rowboat to carry him over Sacramento’s flooded streets to be sworn in as the new governor.  … A few years earlier, in 1846, a rare late October monster snowstorm socked the region around what later was named Lake Tahoe, leading to one of the ugliest chapters in California history. … OK, so what do these two disasters have to do with anything today? There’s one common thread between them that’s relevant: No one blamed the freak storms on climate change. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Climate change is distressingly real. But it’s not behind all major weather events

NASA visits JPL to discuss climate change

The NASA administrator joined members of the federal government at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to examine the progress of two new satellites that will observe the Earth and collect data that has never been recorded before.  “We are trying to harness all of the expertise that is offered here at JPL, bring that all together, and then share it with everybody,” said Bill Nelson, administrator of NASA. “It’s our responsibility as the government to assist JPL in providing that information. We want the states and localities to be partners.”  It is this desired partnership that brought members of Congress, NASA, JPL and secretaries of state together under a shared roof to discuss potential solutions to the evolving climate crisis. … ”  Read more from Pasadena Weekly here: NASA visits JPL to discuss climate change

Less rice, more nuts: These charts show how California’s top crops are changing

California’s top crops have changed as drought strains the state’s water resources and farmers’ ability to access them. But that does not necessarily mean farmers are choosing crops that consume less water.  Drought pushes farmers to shift their scarce water resources to crops with higher payoffs, such as nuts and vegetables, said Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economics professor at the UC Agricultural Issues Center — a trend particularly noticeable this year with its uniquely severe drought. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Less rice, more nuts: These charts show how California’s top crops are changing

Marijuana,the drought boogeyman

If you are reading this, it is likely that you have also read a recent rash of Oregon and national media outlets bemoaning the criminal marijuana conspiracy that is consuming Southern and Central Oregon’s water.  “‘Blatant theft’: Illegal pot farms in Oregon taking drought-stricken state’s scarce water,” screamed Eugene’s The Register-Guard on Sept. 17 above an Associated Press story by Andrew Selsky. Less than a month later, on Oct. 13, Selsky wrote a follow-up of sorts, which made its way to The Washington Post: “Overwhelmed by Illegal Pot, Oregon County Declares Emergency.” ... ”  Read more from Source Weekly here: Marijuana,the drought boogeyman

Commentary: California should create more water – much more

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, writes, ” … the atmospheric river that recently pummeled Northern California and other parts of the state doesn’t even begin to make a dent in our drought.  And it highlights the urgency for California to create more water. Much more.  California currently manufactures far less drought-resilient freshwater than other similarly arid regions. Australia desalinates 10 times as much water as California despite having roughly half the population. Half of Israel’s water comes from desalinated ocean water compared with less than 1% in California. Israel also recycles 90% of its wastewater; California recycles just 10%. … ”  Continue reading at Cal Matters here: Commentary: California should create more water – much more

RELATED: STATE WATER BOARD: Summary of results from the 2020 Volumetric Annual Report of Wastewater and Recycled Water in California

Column: Water bonds failed bone-dry California. A 2022 initiative offers a different path.

Don Wright with Water Wrights writes, “The California ballot initiative celebrated its 110th birthday on October 10.  Dr. John Haynes moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia in 1887 and started a successful medical practice.  He invested in real estate and made millions back when that was a lot of money. Haynes helped found the Direct Legislation League.  According to Ballotpedia and other sources – the Southern Pacific Railroad had a tight grip on Sacramento – a special interest, if you will although, I don’t think it was called High Speed Rail in those days.  Bribery and corruption was rampant. ... ”  Continue reading at the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Column: Water bonds failed bone-dry California. A 2022 initiative offers a different path.

Federal funding bills include $62 million in Feinstein requests for Central Valley, Northern California

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the Senate versions of the fiscal year 2022 government funding bills include nearly $62 million in direct funding for Central Valley and Northern California projects that the senator requested from the Appropriations Committee.  “The government funding bills recently released by the Senate invest heavily in California,” said Senator Feinstein. “The bills include nearly $62 million in direct funding for the Central Valley and Northern California.  “From modernizing our water infrastructure to fighting wildfire to creating more opportunities for education, these projects would address many of the challenges facing our state. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure they’re included in the final package so that California gets its fair share.” … ”  Read more from Senator Feinstein’s office here: Federal funding bills include $62 million in Feinstein requests for Central Valley, Northern California 

Federal funding bills include $18 million in Feinstein requests for Bay Area

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the Senate versions of the fiscal year 2022 government funding bills include more than $18 million in direct funding for Bay Area projects that the senator requested from the Appropriations Committee.  “Fighting to ensure California gets the funding it deserves is one of my top priorities,” said Senator Feinstein. “The government funding bills recently released by the Senate include more than $18 million in investments for the Bay Area and Northern California.  “I’m proud we were able to get this critical funding included in the Senate bills and will work with colleagues to ensure that California receives its fair share in the final package negotiated with the House.” … ”  Read more from Senator Feinstein’s office here: Federal funding bills include $18 million in Feinstein requests for Bay Area

Federal funding bills include $180 million in Feinstein requests for Southern California

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the Senate versions of the fiscal year 2022 government funding bills include nearly $180 million in direct funding for Southern California projects that the senator requested from the Appropriations Committee.  “California deserves its fair share of federal funding since we pay more than any other state,” said Senator Feinstein. “That’s why I’m glad nearly $180 million was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for direct funding to Southern California.  “The bills include funding for projects to improve our water infrastructure, address homelessness, provide more education opportunities, reduce the threat of wildfires and expand mass transportation.” ... ”  Read more from Senator Feinstein here:  Federal funding bills include $180 million in Feinstein requests for Southern California

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Today’s featured articles …

BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: The Science of Non-native Species in a Dynamic Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is one of the most invaded estuaries in the world, with non-native species now a large part of the Delta’s ecosystem. The invasion of new non-native species threatens the achievement of the coequal goal of “protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.”

Reducing the impact of non-native species is one of the core strategies called for in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan. As part of its legislative mandate to provide scientific oversight of programs that support adaptive management, the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) undertook a review to understand better the scientific needs related to this complex issue.

At the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference, Dr. Stephen Brandt, chair of the Delta Independent Science Board, presented the findings and recommendations from the Delta ISB review.

Click here to read this article.

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In regional water news and commentary today …

MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

Northern California communities feel disaster whiplash after wildfires, threat of mudslides

The radio’s smooth jazz playing inside the Silver Fork gas station on Highway 50 belied the inclement weather outside. “You just look at the river and it’s ashy, black water, but surging,” said Amy Cutrer, who works at the station in the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Kyburz. The area saw nearly 10 inches of rain between the weekend and into Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Not far up the road, the rain turned to heavy snow. … ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here: Northern California communities feel disaster whiplash after wildfires, threat of mudslides

El Dorado County: Rainfall enhances district reservoirs

More than 8 inches of rainfall measured just west of Placerville over two days has enhanced reservoir storage for the El Dorado Irrigation District.   Along with a report of conditions, EID Operations Director Dan Corcoran provided some overnight information at Monday’s meeting of the EID Board of Directors.  Additional water has flowed into Caples Lake in Alpine County, Silver Lake in Amador County and Echo Lake in El Dorado County. Jenkinson Lake received 800 feet overnight and Weber Reservoir had increased 20%. … ”  Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: El Dorado County: Rainfall enhances district reservoirs

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

A strong salmon run in the Sacramento Valley: What we are seeing in the rivers in 2021 during a very dry and hot year?

As we head into the fall, the three major runs of salmon in the Sacramento Valley have so far been strong this year, even though the conditions were very dry and hot until the recent October storms. We anticipate the recent storms and others on the horizon will provide good turbidity and conditions to further assist the remaining out-migrating salmon as they head to the ocean. In sum … There was a large adult salmon run (more than 9,500) that returned up the Sacramento River to spawn earlier this year and there are already more than 434,000 young salmon migrating downstream and many more still rearing. This is the largest return in the last 15 years and follows similar returns of 8,128 in 2019 and 7,428 in 2020. ... ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: A strong salmon run in the Sacramento Valley: What we are seeing in the rivers in 2021 during a very dry and hot year?

Butte County Supervisors discuss Miocene Canal repairs, feasability

As part of an ongoing discussion, the Butte County Board of Supervisors received new information on the potential acquisition of the Miocene Canal and water rights.  In its last discussion related to the canal, the board asked three central questions of the staff to attain more information on options for getting the waterway flowing again to some capacity.  The questions came down to repair cost, time for repairs and whether the county could legally acquire and operate a hydroelectric power plant.  Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Brian Ring returned Tuesday to answer those questions. … ”  Read more from the Oroville Mercury-Register here: Supervisors discuss Miocene Canal repairs, feasability

Sutter County flooding getting progressively worse as some streets remain underwater

Three days after a record-breaking rainstorm parts of Sutter County area are still underwater.  Nine streets remained flooded on Wednesday. The Sutter County Office of Emergency Management says it’s their neighboring county causing the floods. “It’s our own personal lake. I’m going to put my bathing suit on and come on down and take a swim,” said Julie Mendonca, who lives on Sycamore street.  But it’s not a body of water Julie Mendonca would be diving into, it’s Sycamore Street and it’s flooded. ... ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Sutter County flooding getting progressively worse as some streets remain underwater

How did Natomas’ flood prevention measures hold up to the weekend’s historic rain?

The Natomas Basin has flood prevention measures in place but some risked failure Sunday.  “It was an intense 12 hours,” said Gabe Holleman, the operations manager for Reclamation District 1000. “We had crews on site, we had an intense abundance of material come down on these trash tracks, which caused them to trip offline.”  “Potential flooding, it increases exponentially,” Holleman continued. ... ”  Read more from Fox 40 here: How did Natomas’ flood prevention measures hold up to the weekend’s historic rain?

NAPA/SONOMA

Fast-acting county workers scramble to keep toxic debris from wildfires out of Russian River during rainstorm

The 257-acre Hopkins Fire burned dozens of structures along the Russian River last month, but cleanup efforts move slower than rain. So when the National Weather Service (NWS) in Eureka forecast four to six inches of precipitation in seven days for the Ukiah valley, county personnel recognized the Hopkins burn scar as an impending environmental crisis.  Travis Killmer, with Mendocino County’s Prevention, Recovery, Resilience and Mitigation Division addressed the Board of Supervisors first thing last week during their regularly scheduled meeting — First District Supervisor Glenn McGourty called it an “all hands on deck emergency” — and by the end of the day Killmer had returned to the board with a plan to install 1,500 linear feet of straw wattles and 965 feet of silt socks by Friday for just under $50,000. The county couldn’t do it alone, though. They enlisted the assistance of the California Conservation Corps (CCC).  … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Voice here: Fast-acting county workers scramble to keep toxic debris from wildfires out of Russian River during rainstorm

Atmospheric river brings wastewater overflow in Sonoma

Sonoma Water has sent crews to respond to wastewater overflows at the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District system and Penngrove Sanitation Zone after the heavy rain this weekend caused flooding.  Heavy rain this weekend dumped as much as 7.5 inches in parts of Sonoma Valley and almost 9 inches on Sonoma Mountain, causing the wastewater collections systems to overflow, according to Sonoma Water.  The overflows occurred on Highway 12 at Agua Caliente Creek, and all along Sonoma Creek at Burbank Drive in Glen Ellen; and on Rancho Drive, Cedar Avenue, and Casabella Drive at Valetti Drive in Sonoma. It was also detected at the Penngrove Lift Station in Penngrove. … ”  Read more from the Sonoma Index-Tribune here: Atmospheric river brings wastewater overflow in Sonoma

BAY AREA

Big storm leaves San Francisco bay waters strewn with debris

The big storm brought a lot of much-needed moisture to the Bay Area, but it also brought a lot of stuff into the San Francisco Bay that doesn’t belong in the bay.  “Basically, anything that’s in the city on the street is coming into the storm drain with the rain and getting washed out into the bay and into our local creeks,” said Sajel Choksi-Chugh, the executive director for San Francisco Baykeeper. “We’re looking at stormwater runoff that has pollutants from every single paved area around the bay, we’re looking at industrial pollution, we’re also looking at wastewater overflows.” … ”  Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Big storm leaves San Francisco bay waters strewn with debris

Bay Area: Fog cool for oysters

“On bright hot days, standing in the shade can feel a lot better than standing in the sun. The same goes for oysters living in the inter-tidal shallows of San Francisco Bay. When the tide is low, the oysters bake in the sun. During extreme heat events they can even die. But in this coastal region there is one factor that could help mediate the heat: fog. Indeed, over the past year, San Francisco State graduate student Alexandra (Allie) Margulies has been examining fog data and monitoring oyster density at five sites around the Bay, and recruitment at 10 sites, building on a long-term monitoring dataset collected by the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  “Fog can help scatter solar radiation,” Margulies says. “So the prevalence of fog at some sites versus others may be something we should consider in siting new oyster reefs.” … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Bay Area: Fog cool for oysters

Bay Area: DFW 150 years on patrol, and work still dangerous

Lieutenant James Ober worked as a fish biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for a year before joining its Law Enforcement Division in 2009. “I enjoy interacting with hunters and fishers. Most of them have a great appreciation for the resources and want to protect them,” says Ober about being on patrol.  Ober belongs to the tradition of wildlife officers, both personally and professionally. His fifth great grandfather, Edwin H. Ober, was an officer and biologist during the early 20th century, making James the second wildlife officer in his family. Ober is also one of the tens of thousands of officers who have worked to protect the natural resources of the San Francisco Bay since 1871. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Bay Area: DFW 150 years on patrol, and work still dangerous

Zone 7 Water Agency conservation mandates remain for the Tri-Valley despite heavy rains

Despite the recent downpour last weekend, the 15% water conservation mandate and drought-emergency status remain in effect for the Tri-Valley.  On Tuesday this week, a release from Zone 7 — a wholesale water supplier to Tri-Valley water retailers, including the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin, and the California Water Service Company — stated that the storms provided a boost of water supplies, but “California’s weather is predictably unpredictable.” “While this storm brought significant precipitation in a month that isn’t typically very wet, this isn’t the time to break those water-saving habits and lose sight of the existing drought,” said Valerie Pryor, Zone 7 general manager. ... ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Zone 7 Water Agency conservation mandates remain for the Tri-Valley despite heavy rains

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Storms bring pause for state drought orders in Modesto and beyond. They could return

The recent storms allowed California to suspend the drought curtailment orders that had been imposed during the summer. Cities and irrigation districts now are free to capture river runoff that had been unavailable because of the orders. Officials warned that they could fall back into place if the state gets another stretch of dry weather. “We are still in drought and no precipitation is expected over the next 10-12 days,” an email Tuesday from spokeswoman Ailene Voisin at the State Water Resources Control Board read in part. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Storms bring pause for state drought orders in Modesto and beyond. They could return

Lakes, reservoirs see little improvement from Monday’s record-breaking storm

On Monday, Bakersfield received 0.91 inches of rain. Experts say this is the coldest and wettest weather Kern County has seen since April 2020.  “The rain and snow we received Monday was definitely a welcomed sight, but we have to remember that a single storm does not alleviate multiple years of drought,” said Yvonne Kingman with the California Water Service. … ”  Read more from Bakersfield Now here: Lakes, reservoirs see little improvement from Monday’s record-breaking storm

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Antelope Valley: Water levels plentiful — for now

Based on current projections for the next 25 years, water suppliers in the Antelope Valley who depend on State Water Project water flowing through the California Aqueduct will have enough to meet demand, provided they continue to enhance storage and other capabilities to ensure adequate supplies during those inevitable drought years.  Representatives of the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and the Palmdale Water District — two of the primary State Water Project contractors in the area — presented an overview of water availability to the Antelope Valley Watermaster, on Wednesday. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Antelope Valley: Water levels plentiful — for now

Carpinteria looks to living shoreline to protect residents from sea level rise

Last week, the city held its fourth public workshop for the dune and shoreline management plan, allowing the community’s feedback for a project that aims to mitigate sea level rise in Carpinteria.  The goal of the dune and shoreline management project is to identify possible long-term funding sources for maintenance of a living shoreline. Living shorelines create a stabile coastline composed of natural materials, such as sand, rocks or plants. Through the workshops, city officials said they’re trying to provide resources and make residents aware of the impacts of sea level rise as well as implementing the dune and shoreline management project. … ”  Read more from Coastal View here: Carpinteria looks to living shoreline to protect residents from sea level rise

Burbank places restrictions on landscape water use as drought worsens

In the seven years Simon Hammel has lived in his Burbank home, he says he’s replaced at least 60% of the grass that used to be there.  It’s now primarily mulch, drought-tolerant plants and fruit and veggie trees. Hammel is trying his best to do as much as he can to conserve water and live eco-friendly.  “The [fruit and vegetables] trees take a lot of water, but we don’t have to drive anywhere to get our food,” he said. ... ”  Read more from Spectrum 1 News here: Burbank places restrictions on landscape water use as drought worsens

Long Beach: Assemblyman wants state to do more to help Long Beach cap oil wells

Though his bill has been languishing in committee for eight months, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell says his attempt to get the state to start setting aside money again to pay for the eventual abandonment of Long Beach oil wells will soon see new life.  “I think the topic will receive a lot more attention next year because we had an oil spill,” O’Donnell said in an interview this week. … But ending oil production in the city will be expensive. … ”  Read more from the Long Beach Post here: Long Beach: Assemblyman wants state to do more to help Long Beach cap oil wells

Eastern Municipal Water District receives fed grant for drought relief

The Perris-based Eastern Municipal Water District received a six-figure federal allotment to bolster conservation efforts involving farmers and ranchers amid the worsening drought in California, it was announced Wednesday.  “The consequences of drought have continued to impact farms, ranches and communities across much of the West and other parts of the country,” National Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby said. “Drought is a complex challenge, and our collaboration on WaterSMART is part of our approach to help producers conserve water and build resilience while also bringing important partners to the table.” … ”  Read more from My News LA here:  Eastern Municipal Water District receives fed grant for drought relief

SAN DIEGO

Oceanside proposes rock groins for sand retention, mayor against it

The city of Oceanside has a multi-million dollar plan to try to protect its beaches for years to come.  “We want to make sure that whatever solution we move forward with is science-based,” Jonathan Borrego, the Deputy City Manager, said.  Currently, Oceanside replenishes its beaches by dredging the opening of the city’s harbor, but Borrego said they need a better method.  “Over the course of time that process has become more challenging and the amount of beach erosion has become more significant,” he said. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Oceanside proposes rock groins for sand retention, mayor against it

Video: San Diego County Water Authority to implement water shortage contingency plan

The San Diego County Water Authority is working in support of state efforts to conserve water after two record-dry years in California.  Senior Water Resources Specialist Goldy Herbon discussed the water shortage contingency plan with KUSI’s Paul Rudy.”  Watch video at KUSI here: Video: San Diego County Water Authority to implement water shortage contingency plan

San Diego commentary: More water cut-backs will kill my fruit trees while new housing developments are allowed to grow

Judi Curry writes, “Here we go again. Another drought. Another curtailment of the use of water. The Governor is asking people to cutback on water usage 15% over last year.  My question is what about those of us that cut back 15% last year and are still cutting back? How much are we supposed to cut back before we will all be lined up at the trucks to fill buckets of water to cook, bathe, wash clothes and dishes with?  In actuality, just how much can we cutback and survive? And, while I am at it – I noticed that even though I cut back enormously, my water bill kept going up, and up, and up. I am using less water and paying more for it. … ”  Read more from the OB Rag here:  More water cut-backs will kill my fruit trees while new housing developments are allowed to grow

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Along the Colorado River …

People in Arizona are about to face the West’s first major water crisis

Farmers in Pinal County, Arizona, knew they were taking a risk nearly two decades ago when they agreed to be among the first people to lose water from the Colorado River if there were a shortage.  “They were talking about charging us full cost for water, and farmers just couldn’t afford that,” Arnold Burruel said, looking at the concrete canal slicing a blue ribbon through the dusty landscape. To get a cheaper supply, farmers signed a shorter-term agreement, knowing they were betting on how long water would last. The canal near Burruel’s farm in Eloy, Arizona, is a tiny piece of the Central Arizona Project, a vast 336-mile network of pumps, tunnels, and pipelines that transports close to 500 billion gallons of water each year from the Colorado River. CAP moves this immense amount of water across the desert and 3,000 feet uphill to Arizona’s densely populated central corridor, where 80% of the state’s residents live. Transporting so much water makes CAP the largest power user in the state.  … ”  Read more from Buzz Feed News here: People in Arizona are about to face the West’s first major water crisis

New system in place to help solve Arizona water problem

The Colorado River drought has brought bad news to farmers across the southwest. Some Arizona farmers have already faced drastic shortages, and more water cuts are expected, as we enter 2022.  However, one new tool can bring some much needed relief.  The Central Arizona Project is partnering with an Israeli company, “N-Drip,” which created a system that converts flood irrigated fields into a drip system that uses gravity, with no external form of energy. ... ”  Read more from Channel 4 here: New system in place to help solve Arizona water problem

Commentary: The Colorado River is more than just a pipeline

Alicyn Gitlin, with the Restore & Protect the Greater Grand Canyon Campaign and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, writes, “At a recent meeting, the Bureau of Reclamation explained why there would be no High Flow Experiment (HFE) on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon this fall. An HFE would move sand from the bottom of the river in Marble Canyon to the tops of beaches along the length of Grand Canyon. The sediment load in Marble Canyon is the best it’s been since monitoring began, and a model shows sandbars throughout the Canyon are at their lowest volume in more than a decade. River runners note that several beaches were severely eroded after this year’s intense monsoon rains.  So, with optimal conditions for an HFE and a great need for one, why won’t it occur? … ”  Continue reading at the Arizona Sun here: Commentary: The Colorado River is more than just a pipeline

St. George: Fall among worst times of year for water waste, officials say

While summer is often associated with high-water use, the beginning of fall is actually among the worst times for wasteful water use, according to county water mangers. Zach Renstrom, Washington County Water Conservancy District general manager, said that in the spring it can be easy to spot signs that a plant is water-stressed and not getting enough water to survive, so people will turn up their irrigation in the spring time.  It’s not so easy to tell when the same plants are being overwatered later on, he said. ... ” Read more from St. George News here: St. George: Fall among worst times of year for water waste, officials say

Cloud seeding in Colorado could make waves in the West

At nearly two miles above sea level, Lake Irwin lies in the heart of Colorado’s Elk Mountains. The ghostly remnants of a late-1800s silver mining camp can be found nearby. During a winter storm, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone but the hardiest backcountry skier or snowmobiler in the area.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s “quiet” per se. On a ridge overlooking the lake, a lone, cylindrical contraption — perched atop a steel tower — periodically belches out flames.  The device is a remotely operated cloud seeding generator. When the conditions are right, it shoots a vaporized chemical solution into the atmosphere, catalyzing ice crystal formation and, subsequently, snowfall. The generator at Lake Irwin, along with its 15 counterparts around Gunnison County, together contributed an estimated 19 billion gallons of water into the Colorado River watershed last season. … ”  Read more from Discover Magazine here: Cloud seeding in Colorado could make waves in the West

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In national water news today …

Ransomware attacks on drinking water, wastewater utilities are increasing

A slew of recent attacks makes it clear that critical infrastructure like drinking water and wastewater utilities are under increasing threats from cybercriminals and bad actors. And recent revelations from authorities are demonstrating that the problem may be even worse than previously known.  “U.S. authorities said … that four ransomware attacks had penetrated water and wastewater facilities in the past year, and they wanted similar plants to check for signs of intrusions and take other precautions,” Reuters reported, citing an alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “CISA said that it was seeing increasing attacks on many forms of critical infrastructure, in line with those on the water plants.” … ”  Read more from Water Online here: Ransomware attacks on drinking water, wastewater utilities are increasing

Microsoft ramps up plans to make its data centers less thirsty

Microsoft ramped up its commitments today to conserve water and energy in its data centers, laying out new cooling tech and strategies that could push notoriously thirsty and energy hungry servers past their current limits. The company’s latest environmental pledge comes as it plans to dramatically expand the number of data centers it operates around the world, a move that could put more stress on drought-stricken communities unless the company finds ways to use less water.  Microsoft plans to slash the amount of water its data centers use by 95 percent by 2024, with the goal of “eventually” eliminating water use. … ”  Read more from The Verge here: Microsoft ramps up plans to make its data centers less thirsty

Coastal states seek to limit seawall construction

When coastal homeowners install seawalls to protect their houses from rising waters, they’re solving one problem by creating another.  Protective structures such as seawalls and bulkheads can help save properties from erosion. But such structures, known collectively as shoreline armoring, can block the natural flow of sand and sediment down the coast and multiply the force of waves onto nearby shoreline—accelerating erosion elsewhere.  “Building seawalls just pushes the problem to someone else,” said California state Sen. Ben Allen, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. … ”  Continue reading from the Pew Charitable Trust here: Coastal states seek to limit seawall construction

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

VELES WEEKLY REPORT: After a big storm California is still dry. But more storms on the way!

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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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