DAILY DIGEST, 11/17: Californians are ‘backsliding’ in water conservation efforts; Proposed ballot measure would fast-track water projects; ‘Good news’ for Lake Tahoe’s clarity after destruction of Caldor Fire; California, Arizona and Nevada in talks on new plan to save Colorado River water; and more …
FREE WEBINAR SERIES: Climate Resilience and Integrated Regional Water Management: Building successful partnerships from 8:30am to 11:00am. Day 3: Working Together for Regional Resilience Click here to register.
PUBLIC MEETING: Water Use Efficiency Standards Final Draft Recommendations, Guidance, and Methodologies from 9am to 5pm. California’s comprehensive 2018 Water Conservation Legislation (AB 1668 and SB 606) requires the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) to adopt long-term standards for efficient water use by June 30, 2022 in coordination with the Department of Water Resources (DWR). DWR will provide final draft recommendations on guidance, methodologies and variances, CII water use classification systems, and bonus incentives. Click here to register.
MEETING: The California Water Commission will meet beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include Water Storage Investment Program Continuing Eligibility and Feasibility Determination for the Chino Basin Conjunctive Use Environmental Water Storage/Exchange Program; Groundwater Trading: Workshop Results; State Water Project Briefing: Construction Update; and the State Water Project Flexible Resources Study. Click here for more information.
WEBINAR: Getting to the Heart of Science Communication from 10am to 11am. From droughts to floods, many water issues that scientists and science communicators work on are highly emotional, often contentious, and sometimes traumatizing, with high stakes for practitioners — who are often in precarious positions — and communities alike. Relating, listening, working with conflict, and understanding trauma, all with an eye toward justice, are key tools in the 21st century science communication toolkit. Using examples from her own and other’s work, Dr. Kearns will also share tips on navigating sometimes difficult discussions. The session will close with her views on the future of the field. Click here to register.
PPIC Virtual Conference: Seizing the Drought: Water Priorities for Our Changing Climate from 11am to 12pm. Day 3: Embracing Transformative Change Click here to register.
SoCAL WATER DIALOG: Drought Emergency Declared for Portions of Southern California from 12pm to 1:30pm. Join the Southern California Water Dialog for an update on current water supply conditions, risks to local water deliveries, and learn about the actions impacted agencies are undertaking to maintain reliability in their service areas. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: Preparing for the Next Big Flood: Past, Present and Future Investments in Flood Risk Reduction from 12pm to 1pm. Join Yuba Water Agency for an overview of our efforts to reduce flood risk in our region. During this one-hour virtual lunch and learn, we’ll discuss the history and maintenance of New Bullards Bar Dam, the fifth tallest dam in the U.S., and share updates on regional levee improvements. We’ll also highlight partnerships that are improving how we forecast and plan for flood-causing storms like atmospheric rivers, which are expected to become more common in the future. Finally, tune in to learn more about public safety infrastructure investments planned for the future. This is a virtual event that will take place via Zoom and Facebook Live. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: The End of a Water Conflict from 12:00pm to 12:30pm: This webinar will tell story of the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton and the City of Fallbrook, a clash between the peoples’ government and the people, a story that includes a cast of thousands (over 7,000 defendants at its height), along with some well-known names from yesteryear. It is also a tale of engineering creativity, as existing systems of recharge and recovery were upgraded, diversion and percolation facilities improved, and pump stations, a pipeline, new wells, and an advanced potable water treatment plant were all brought online. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: Transforming a Former Wastewater Pond into a Thriving Wetland from 12pm to 1pm: In their first attempt to remove waste in the former wastewater treatment pond, known locally as Shell pond, resulted in overwhelming excessive odors; the project was abandoned. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) redesigned the cleanup plan utilizing sustainable, environmentally friendly remediation methods that will ultimately bring the area back to a thriving wetland. PG&E worked with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) wetlands experts, and the community to find an innovative solution to address historical waste and sustainably begin restoring wetlands in Bay Point, California. Click here to register.
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Microplastics in drinking water beginning at 1pm.The State Water Resources Control Board will receive public comments on standardized analytical methods for monitoring microplastics in Drinking Waterand four–yearplan for testing andreporting microplastics in drinking water. Written comments must be received by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.TheState Water Board will hold a workshop on November 17th at 1pmto receive information and solicit public input regarding the draft Methods and Plan. Click here for the workshop notice.
GRA BRANCH MEETING (Sacramento): Rapid-High Resolution Zone-Testing For Groundwater Pilot Holes and Test Wells: Essential Data for Design of GW Production Wells from 5pm to 6pm. After performing zonal flow and chemistry profiles on more than 800 supply wells, we ask why do production wells fail on the basis of water quality when the zone test data from the pilot hole indicates that the well should have compliant water quality? The presentation will delve into data deficiencies arising from conventional zone testing in pilot holes and then show a new rapid, high-resolution testing approach to avoid or minimize the ensuing cost impacts from conventional testing methods. Click here to register.
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Delta Conveyance Project Community Benefits Program Case Study from 6pm to 8pm. As part of ongoing development of the Community Benefits Program for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is holding a virtual workshop to hear and learn from representatives of several different example community benefits programs around the country. Members of the local Delta community are encouraged to attend this event and hear firsthand experiences about the development and implementation of these programs, including different organizational structures, development timing, important milestones and lessons learned. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
As drought persists, Californians are ‘backsliding’ in effort to conserve water
“State water regulators urged Californians to do more to save water after the latest monthly data showed conservation lagging in September, with statewide water use in cities and towns decreasing 3.9% compared with the same month a year ago. The reduction in water use was smaller than in August, when Californians used 5% less. Gov. Gavin Newsom in July called for Californians to voluntarily cut water use 15%, but the latest figures, which were released Tuesday, show much of the state remains far from that goal. “The backsliding isn’t welcome. But it is what it is,” said Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “We need to continue to focus on conserving in this critical time during drought.” ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: As drought persists, Californians are ‘backsliding’ in effort to conserve water
Californians backslide on water conservation amid drought
“New data released Tuesday shows few Californians have voluntarily reduced water usage amid a severe statewide drought that prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom over the summer to ask the state’s nearly 40 million residents to conserve water by 15% this year. Californians reduced their water use by a measly 3.9% in September, down from 5.1% in August. Overall, California has reduced its water consumption by just 3.6% since July, when Newsom made the request. “It’s not the news we want to see, for sure,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. ... ” Read more from Good Day Sacramento here: Californians backslide on water conservation amid drought
California drought: Proposed ballot measure would fast-track construction of dams, desalination plants and other water projects
“California has not built enough new reservoirs, desalination plants and other water projects because there are too many delays, too many lawsuits and too much red tape. That’s the message from a growing coalition of Central Valley farmers and Southern California desalination supporters who have begun collecting signatures for a statewide ballot measure that would fast-track big water projects and provide billions of dollars to fund them — potentially setting up a major political showdown with environmentalists next year shaped by the state’s ongoing drought. The measure, known as the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022,” needs 997,132 signatures of registered voters by April 29 to qualify for the November 2022 statewide ballot. … ” Read more from the East Bay Times here: California drought: Proposed ballot measure would fast-track construction of dams, desalination plants and other water projects
Rooted in exclusion, California towns fight for safe drinking water
“Lanare is one of the many unincorporated communities in rural California that lack the most basic infrastructure. According to PolicyLink, a foundation promoting economic and social equity, there are thousands of unincorporated communities throughout the U.S., mostly Black and Latino, and frequently poor, excluded from city maps—and services. PolicyLink’s 2013 study “California Unincorporated: Mapping Disadvantaged Communities in the San Joaquin Valley” found that 310,000 people live in these communities scattered across the valley. They are home to some of the valley’s poorest residents in one of the richest, most productive agricultural areas in the world. Today, their history of being excluded from incorporated cities affects their survival around the most critical issue facing them: access to water. … ” Read more from The American Prospect here: Rooted in exclusion, California towns fight for safe drinking water
Tracking water in the face of drought
“Farmers, ranchers, and community resource managers know all too well that climate change can contribute to increased drought in the western United States. A new web-based platform called OpenET puts NASA data on water in 17 western states into the hands of users, helping them better calculate crop water requirements, use water more efficiently, and better plan irrigation. The “ET” in OpenET stands for evapotranspiration, which is the process through which water leaves plants, soils, and other surfaces and returns to the atmosphere. Warmer temperatures from climate change can even increase the rate at which water evaporates from plants, meaning many farms in the region need to increase irrigation to protect their crops. … ” Read more from NASA here: Tracking water in the face of drought
Farmers propose solutions to drought conditions in the Western United States
“The Family Farm Alliance aims to protect water for Western agriculture and describes itself as a powerful advocate before the government for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in 17 Western states. The drought-stricken Klamath Basin is one area that they’ve identified as needing legislative change. The alliance says it has this goal to ensure the availability of reliable and affordable irrigation water needed to produce the world’s food, fiber, and fuel. “We developed some written testimony,” said Daniel Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance. “We asked Senator Barrasso and Senator Kelly to include it in the hearing record, which they did, and they actually discussed our testimony at the hearing.” ... ” Read more from Channel 12 here: Farmers propose solutions to drought conditions in the Western United States
UC Merced, UC Davis are ground zero for saving farms and environment
“Valley researchers are about to play an even bigger role in helping farmers in California and the rest of the nation tackle the challenges brought by drought and the need to reduce groundwater pumping. UC Merced and UC Davis, which are already deep into research on the effects of climate change, each landed $10 million grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with new ideas to keep water flowing to farms and the environment in the southwest United States. Those grants were among a total of $146 million in funding awarded to 10 universities. ... ” Read more from GV Wire here: UC Merced, UC Davis are ground zero for saving farms and environment
Citrus prices anticipated to rise, water concerns continue
“As agricultural industry prices rise due to the pandemic, California is seeing especially high costs when it comes to labor, water and fertilizer. “Growers’ costs are up about $1,000 per acre and on top of that we are looking at a very significant drought so the cost of water, if we can even get it, has skyrocketed,” Alyssa Houtby, Senior Director of Federal Affairs at California Citrus Mutual told FreshFruitPortal. … Houtby said that for the current season the impacts of a low rain year and limited surface water supplies aren’t going to be felt too significantly. “I think if we look at next season it does get a bit questionable, especially if we don’t have rain this year,” she said. … ” Read more from the Fresh Fruit Portal here: Citrus prices anticipated to rise, water concerns continue
How no-till farming has seen major benefits during drought conditions
“Local grower Fritz Durst is a sixth generation farmer out of Capay Valley. Over the last 30 years, Durst says he and his family have taken a no-till approach to farming. The practice of tilling land has been around since the beginning of farming. Later European settlers to North America and Native Americans used iron, and steel mechanisms along with horses to till the land. Tilling the land rids it of weeds, pests, and prepares the soil for planting seeds. In the process, it also emits carbon dioxide, and causes soil to erode. Erosion of top soil happens much faster through tillage because the natural elements of rain and wind remove nutrients from the earth. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: How no-till farming has seen major benefits during drought conditions
Comprehensive California groundwater update released to provide better understanding of groundwater basins
“With California facing a severe drought and an increased reliance on the State’s groundwater basins, today the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the final version of California’s Groundwater – Update 2020. The report, also known as Bulletin 118, contains critical information about the condition and use of the state’s groundwater, which is especially important as California faces the real-time impacts of climate change and drought. “Groundwater plays a central role in sustaining our state’s ecosystems, businesses, agriculture, and people, with some Californians relying solely on groundwater for drinking water,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “The updated California’s Groundwater provides key information for the state and locals to better understand and manage groundwater as we adapt to variations in climate and navigate a historic drought.” … ” Read more from DWR here: Comprehensive California groundwater update released to provide better understanding of groundwater basins
Research brief: Optimizing decentralized water recycling systems
“Evaluating the cost and energy tradeoffs of new water supply sources in water-stressed regions, whether seawater desalination plants, long-distance water transfer, or wastewater reuse facilities, requires a robust understanding of the full lifecycle costs of water supply from source acquisition through treatment and distribution for a specific location. The reliability of the urban wastewater stream has made recycling and reusing wastewater an attractive strategy for enhancing water supply resiliency, offering suppliers the ability to quickly recover from disruptions and withstand persistent or severe drought while also reducing costs in water-stressed regions. … ” Read more from Stanford here: Research brief: Optimizing decentralized water recycling systems
Here’s how the bones in salmon ears reveal clues to the fish’s survival tactics
“To scientists studying fish, the bones in salmon ears are like a “travel journal.” Yes, fish have ear bones, and yes, people study them. And what researchers have discovered from decoding the messages in those little bones has led them to the North State, where chinook salmon have adapted to survive droughts like the one that has gripped California for the past two years. The story of what scientists learned from the bones of spring-run chinook salmon begins and ends in Mill and Deer creeks in eastern Tehama County. Both streams flow down out of the mountains south of Lassen Peak and into the Sacramento River. ... ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Here’s how the bones in salmon ears reveal clues to the fish’s survival tactics
“The California Lawn Diet” book offers simple solutions for water conservation
“When the California federal government imposed water reduction in cities and towns in the area in 2015, landscape designer Jonathan Sidy was quick to come up with gardening tips and tricks. Instead of complaining, he wrote a book that provides a different perspective on the situation. This enabled him and his clients to maintain their garden designs despite the water crisis. Today, the situation is no different but Jonathan’s book remains relevant to millennial and generation Z readers who want to find ways to keep their gardens nice and neat. … On the book’s website, Jonathan dissects each part and gives his readers a glimpse of some chapters. In the chapter titled “The California Water Diet,” Jonathan gives people real-world suggestions on how to create a well-designed and water-efficient landscape. … ” Read more at the Digital Journal here: “The California Lawn Diet” book offers simple solutions for water conservation
Saving Diablo Canyon was once a non-starter. Study says plant is key to reaching Calif. climate goals.
“A recent study opposes Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to close Diablo Canyon Power Plant, revealing that keeping California’s last remaining nuclear power plant open would help the state’s clean energy and climate efforts. The report, authored by a joint team from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also found that keeping the plant open would save the state billions of dollars in electricity costs. Although Diablo Canyon generates up to 9 percent of California’s in-state electric generation, PG&E announced in 2016 that it reached an agreement with environmental groups to start closing the plant in 2024, with the final shutdown scheduled the following year. ... ” Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Saving Diablo Canyon was once a non-starter. Study says plant is key to reaching Calif. climate goals.
$1 trillion bill brings billions to the Valley. What are the projects?
“Two Fresno area Democrats who attended the signing of President Joe Biden’s $1 billion infrastructure bill into law on Monday say the package will improve the lives of Valley residents and strengthen the local economy. “Today marks a new beginning for our nation. This transformative bill secures millions for San Joaquin Valley water systems, roads, ports, broadband, public transit, and high-speed rail — critical investments that will improve our quality of life and safeguard our economy,” said Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno in a news release. “We no longer have to live off the investments of our grandparents. These investments will make a difference in every community in the Valley.” … ” Read more from GV Wire here: $1 trillion bill brings billions to the Valley. What are the projects?
Infrastructure law creates ‘once-in-a-generation’ spending on Western water projects
“President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was signed into law this week will fund lots of projects in Oregon. Those include historic investments in Western water infrastructure. Along with funding for broadband internet, bridge repairs and public transit, $8.3 billion dollars from the infrastructure bill will be spent over the next decade on improving aging water infrastructure like projects in the Klamath Basin. … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Infrastructure law creates ‘once-in-a-generation’ spending on Western water projects
Monumental $1.2 trillion bill passed to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure
“President Biden has signed into law a historic $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill contains significant federal investments for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, water infrastructure and internet connections, and $550 billion in new federal spending over a five-year period, in addition to routine funding for transportation programs. The programs within the infrastructure bill will be administered by the designated federal agency, with the first round of funding from the package to be made available in 2022. … ” Read more from Best Best & Krieger here: Monumental $1.2 trillion bill passed to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure
California has to do more to keep poisonous lead from contaminating our drinking water
Jenn Engstrom, the director of California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), Susan Little is senior advocate for the California Government Affairs Environmental Working Group write, “Benton Harbor, Mich., recently became the latest community where persistent lead contamination in drinking water drew national attention. Media attention to this problem is good, but when it’s in another community or neighborhood, too many of us simply shrug. The truth, however, is that such contamination is much more widespread than the few pockets the public hears about. It’s a serious problem here in California. For decades, water utilities installed service lines — the pipes that bring water from mains under the streets into our homes — made entirely of lead. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: California has to do more to keep poisonous lead from contaminating our drinking water
CA WATER COMMISSION: State Water Project drought operations
At the September 2021 meeting, John Yarbrough, Assistant Deputy Director of the SWP, briefed the Commission on the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Project is addressing the ongoing drought conditions and preparing for the possibility of another dry year.
Volunteers, firefighters repair Siskiyou County water guzzlers
“Man-made water sources critical to the survival of Siskiyou County wildlife are being repaired by volunteers and state agencies. Goals are to repair and refill wildlife guzzlers now and into next summer, throughout Siskiyou County in the Klamath National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest. His organization received a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the North State (CFNS) to help pay for some of the repairs, Ore-Cal Resource Conservation and Development executive director George Jennings said. Many of the more than 230 guzzlers in Siskiyou County are not working, he said. … ” Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News here: Volunteers, firefighters repair Siskiyou County water guzzlers
‘A spectacular landscape.’ California ranch of late finance giant Dean Witter to become park
“Three years ago, a 26,600-acre ranch in remote Northern California, with a 10-bedroom lodge, 16 miles of riverfront and two herds of Roosevelt elk was drawing attention in the nation’s luxury real estate market. The family of the late investment giant and onetime ranch owner Dean Witter was ready to unload their unusually large property and seeking a wealthy buyer for the one-of-a-kind site. As it turns out, the $25 million plot on the Eel River, which spans both Mendocino and Trinity counties, will go to a conservation group. The Wildlands Conservancy closed escrow on the tract Tuesday and plans to turn this mostly untamed stretch of mountains and valleys into a preserve open to the public. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: ‘A spectacular landscape.’ California ranch of late finance giant Dean Witter to become park
‘Good news’ for Lake Tahoe’s clarity after destruction of Caldor Fire, new report finds
“Lake Tahoe’s water quality and clarity are in good condition following this summer’s devastating Caldor Fire, new research showed. According to the League to Save Lake Tahoe, citizen volunteers from its Pipe Keepers program collected stormwater samples during an atmospheric river storm on Oct. 24. The samples came from 25 sites on Tahoe’s south shore, including 16 storm water pipes and eight stream sites that drain the areas burned by the Caldor Fire. The results of the water samples showed that overall turbidity — a measure of particles suspended in water — ”was not out of the ordinary for an intense storm,” the league said. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: ‘Good news’ for Lake Tahoe’s clarity after destruction of Caldor Fire, new report finds
New film on Sharing Butte Creek
“As organizations that care deeply about the environment, economy, and way of life in the Sacramento Valley, we are excited about a collaborative and science-led approach to land and water management that is yielding benefits for fish, birds, and people across California. Informed by research from leading experts with the University of California at Davis and spurred by a need to restore habitats for native species, including the threatened spring-run Chinook salmon, our organizations are working together to find a way for wildlife and farming to thrive together without choosing one over the other. Our work has modernized infrastructure, restored 90 miles of Butte Creek, and led local farmers to allow their rice fields to be flooded each summer after harvest. By slowing down the river system and spreading the water across a portion of the historic floodplain, these local farmers are enabling habitat restoration for fish and birds while also recharging precious groundwater resources and maintaining flood protection downstream. … ” Read more from NorCal Water here: New film on Sharing Butte Creek
Each winter, 100,000 Tundra Swans descend on Northern California. Here’s how to see them
“This holiday season, you can see a great deal more than “seven swans a swimming” in Northern California. Each year, more than 100,000 Tundra Swans migrate from the Arctic to overwinter in the flooded rice fields of Northern California. And through January, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is leading weekly tours highlighting the visiting swans. “This is the largest concentration of swans on the West Coast in the winter,” according to Brian Gilmore, a scientific aid with CDFW who helped start the tours about a decade ago. “You don’t find swans anywhere else around this area.” … ” Read more from the Reno Gazette Journal here: Each winter, 100,000 Tundra Swans descend on Northern California. Here’s how to see them
Sonoma County backs well water regulations, favoring new era of groundwater oversight
“Hailed as a complex and historic step, Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed plans to guide use and governance of groundwater relied on by rural residents, farmers and cities. The plans, required by a 2014 state law crafted amid California’s past drought, will eventually include well water use fees in three basins underlying the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma and Petaluma valleys. The plans, four years in the works and due for submission to the state Department of Water Resources in January, are “extraordinarily complex, politically charged and technically nuanced,” board Chair Lynda Hopkins said. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Sonoma County backs well water regulations, favoring new era of groundwater oversight
Sonoma Valley advocates push for reintroduction of beavers
“On the southwest side of the City of Sonoma, a small stream named Fryer Creek cuts through a quiet neighborhood. In late October, the creek was, like most waterways in the Bay Area, inundated with water during the “bomb cyclone” storm. However, as the rains pounded Sonoma with seven and a half inches of rain, Fryer Creek stayed fairly tame for the beginning of the storm, according to nearby residents Barabara and Larry Audiss. “The water was really low [during the storm], even with the heavy rain, and then all at once the water was extremely high,” Larry Audiss said. “We went up and you could see where the dam had been breached.” … ” Read more from the North Bay Bohemian here: Sonoma Valley advocates push for reintroduction of beavers
Light rain on the forecast for the end of this week
“After two dry winters in a row, the Bay Area could see some much-needed rain on Thursday night, though there may not be much of it. A cold front is moving into the region from the Northwest and Alaskan Basin on Thursday night and carry into Friday morning but it won’t be a “particularly strong system,” according to National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock. Most locations could receive less than one tenth of an inch of rain while coastal areas could see “heavier amounts,” Murdock said. The showers are expected to fizzle out by early Friday morning and conditions are expected to be dry afterwards. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Light rain on the forecast for the end of this week
Monarch butterflies return to California after record low numbers last year
“There is a ray of hope for the vanishing orange-and-black Western monarch butterflies. The number wintering along California’s central coast is bouncing back after the population, whose presence is often a good indicator of ecosystem health, reached an all-time low last year. Experts pin their decline on climate change, habitat destruction and lack of food due to drought. … ” Read more from KBTX here: Monarch butterflies return to California after record low numbers last year
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Fresno County farmed record-breaking $7.9 billion in crops in 2020. This topped the list
“Fresno County broke its own record for agricultural and livestock production in 2020, according to officials, but some took the Tuesday report with a somber tone as the outlook for the drought is dim. The total gross production value of the plants and livestock raised in the county was up by 2.86% from last year and peaked at more than $7.98 billion, according to the crop report from county Agricultural Commissioner Melissa Cregan. The last record was set in 2018, which was topped in 2020 by 1.7%. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Fresno County farmed record-breaking $7.9 billion in crops in 2020. This topped the list
Lower Owens River Project 2021 Draft Annual Report Public Meeting
“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the County of Inyo have released the Lower Owens River Project 2021 Draft Annual Report. The draft report is available on the internet at https://www.ladwp.com/LORP. The report represents the completion of the fifteenth year of monitoring for the project. A virtual public meeting will be held to discuss the draft report on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 3:00pm via WebEx. This meeting is to provide the public and MOU Parties the opportunity to offer comments on the draft report and any other LORP‑related issues they would like to discuss with staff from LADWP and the County of Inyo. … ” Read more from LA DWP here: Lower Owens River Project 2021 Draft Annual Report Public Meeting
The Indian Wells Valley may contain the highest concentration of toxic PFAS-polluted groundwater in the U.S.
“The Senate is about to pass the fiscal year 2022 NDAA which will require the Secretary of Defense to conduct testing, removal, and remediation of a toxic groundwater pollutant named PFAS. It’s found at 700 military installations, formerly used defense sites, and State-owned facilities of the National Guard in the United States. The toxic chemical has come to be known as “the forever chemical” because it doesn’t break down and isn’t easily removed from water. As reported by defensenews.com, On 14 installations, PFAS levels measured 1 million parts-per-trillion in the ground water, while the Environmental Protection Agency sets 70 parts-per-trillion as the maximum safe level. Some places topped even that number. Naval Weapons Station China Lake, California, reported 8 million parts-per-trillion in its ground water. … ” Read more from Roadrunner 395 here: The Indian Wells Valley may contain the highest concentration of toxic PFAS-polluted groundwater in the U.S.
Santa Margarita: City, water district celebrate utility annexation
“The City of San Juan Capistrano is officially out the water business—a milestone recognized with a celebration at city hall on Monday, Nov. 15. The city’s water utilities have now been annexed into Santa Margarita Water District, a process in the works since 2015. The city council and SMWD have separately approved the agreement, which was additionally given the thumbs up by the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission in August—one of the last steps towards solidifying the annexation. Mayor John Taylor thanked representatives from the city, SMWD, and LAFCO for their guidance, expertise, and support involved with the transfer. … ” Read more from the Capistrano Dispatch here: Santa Margarita: City, water district celebrate utility annexation
California, Arizona and Nevada in talks on new plan to save Colorado River water
“Two and a half years after signing a deal aimed at averting a damaging crisis along the Colorado River, water officials from California, Arizona and Nevada are discussing plans to take even less water from the shrinking river and leave it in Lake Mead in an effort to prevent the reservoir from falling to dangerously low levels. Representatives of water agencies from the three states said they are firming up the details of a deal that would leave an additional 500,000 acre-feet of water in the reservoir next year, and the same amount again in 2023 — about double the quantity of water used annually by Las Vegas and the rest of southern Nevada. For California, the deal would mean participating in water reductions prior to Lake Mead reaching levels that would otherwise trigger mandatory cuts. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: California, Arizona and Nevada in talks on new plan to save Colorado River water
As climate change parches the Southwest, here’s a better way to share water from the shrinking Colorado River
Daniel Craig McCool, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at University of Utah, writes, “Southwestern states, tribes and Mexico share the Colorado’s water under the century-old 1922 Colorado Compact and updates to it. But today, because of climate change and rapid development, there is an enormous gap between the amount of water the compact allocates to parties and the amount that is actually in the river. With users facing unprecedented water shortages, the compact is hopelessly inadequate to deal with current and future realities. I have studied water resource development for 35 years and written extensively about Native American water rights and the future of America’s rivers. As I see it, the compact rests on three fundamental errors that now plague efforts to develop a new vision for the region. I believe the most productive way forward is for states and tribes to negotiate a new agreement that reflects 21st-century realities. … ” Read more from The Conversation here: As climate change parches the Southwest, here’s a better way to share water from the shrinking Colorado River
A Water Crisis: Colorado State University accelerates projects in response to dwindling river
“Cities across Colorado and throughout the western half of the country are scrambling to secure enough water for their future growth. The Colorado River currently serves 40 million people, but less rain, less snow, and warmer temperatures have combined to create an unbalanced equation, with demand now far exceeding supply. At a home near the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Top Notch Turf was hired to xeriscape the outdoor space, replacing the traditional sod with rocks and artificial grass. … ” Read more from Channel 13 here: A Water Crisis: CSU accelerates projects in response to dwindling river
It’s no surprise our water infrastructure is so bad
“Think of it this way: What we don’t know will hurt us. And water—yes, water—is an example of just that. Even at a time of such angry political disputes, you might imagine that, in a wealthy country like the United States, it would still be possible to agree that clean water should be not just a right, but a given. Well, welcome to America 2021. … 2 million Americans still have no running water and indoor plumbing. Native Americans are 19 times more likely to lack this rudimentary amenity than Whites; Latinos and African Americans, twice as likely. On average, Americans use 82 gallons of water daily; Navajos, seven—or the equivalent of about five flushes of a toilet. Moreover, many Native Americans must drive miles to fetch fresh water, making regular handwashing, a basic precaution during the Covid-19 pandemic, just one more hardship. … ” Read the full story at the Nation here: It’s no surprise our water infrastructure is so bad
Assessing water markets around the world
“Sarah Ann Wheeler, University of Adelaide, Australia: Around the world there is growing interest in establishing water markets as a mechanism to share water and to help meet the challenge of water scarcity. But when and where is a region ready to implement a water market? These questions are answered in Water Markets – A Global Assessment, a new book edited by Sarah Ann Wheeler. It brings together an up-to-date overview of water market development around the world and assesses the conditions under which successful markets can emerge. Here Sarah shares some of the book’s key findings.” Read the article from the Global Water Forum here: Assessing water markets around the world
Managing wetlands to improve carbon sequestration
“Wetlands are vital natural assets, capable of taking up atmospheric carbon and restricting subsequent carbon loss to facilitate long-term storage. They can be deliberately managed to provide a natural solution to mitigate climate change, as well as to help offset direct losses of wetlands from various land-use changes and natural drivers. A new book in AGU’s Geophysical Monograph Series, Wetland Carbon and Environmental Management, presents wetland research studies from around the world to demonstrate how environmental management can improve carbon sequestration while enhancing wetland health and function. … ” Read more from EOS here: Managing wetlands to improve carbon sequestration
States press EPA for environmental justice guidance
“Michigan regulators want EPA to hold a national summit and provide guidance to help them grapple with public fury and environmental justice concerns that are bubbling over in response to their permitting decisions. The Great Lakes State isn’t alone in asking for clarity in meeting one of President Biden’s signature policy goals. States like Alabama have complained of receiving little to no guidance or “real rules” from EPA on how to incorporate the concept of environmental justice into daily permitting decisions and warned they could land in legal trouble (Greenwire, July 22). EPA, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, has insisted it’s laser-focused on incorporating equity into permitting decisions. This week, EPA Administrator Michael Regan is traveling across the Southeast on a “Journey to Justice” to highlight environmental justice challenges plaguing the region. … ” Read more from E&E News here: States press EPA for environmental justice guidance
EPA eyes health advisory revamp for key ‘forever chemicals’
“EPA has asked agency advisers to reassess the health effects of the two most notorious “forever chemicals,” a move that could translate into stronger regulations. The agency has tasked its Science Advisory Board with reviewing draft scientific documents pertaining to two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFOA and PFOS, both of which are linked to widespread drinking water contamination. That peer-review process will allow the agency to quickly update its drinking water health advisories as EPA moves to regulate the two chemicals. Administrator Michael Regan touted the announcement as another significant step by an agency that has repeatedly cited PFAS as a “top priority.” He pointed to EPA’s recently released PFAS road map, noting that blueprint laid out a number of “science-based actions” intended to protect vulnerable communities from legacy PFOA and PFOS contamination. … ” Read more from E&E News here: EPA eyes health advisory revamp for key ‘forever chemicals’
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.