DAILY DIGEST, 11/29: State’s action to improve groundwater affects San Joaquin River; Biden, Newsom admin. press judge to adopt water restrictions; Marin water officials debate pipeline use standards; ‘Soap opera’: How the never-ending fight over wetlands began; Current reservoir conditions; and more …
PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING: Hexavalent Chromium MCL Regulation from 3pm to 4:30pm. The State Water Board is adopting and implementing a regulation that establishes the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for hexavalent chromium (aka chromium-6) in drinking water provided by public water systems (PWS) in California. The State Water Board will hold a scoping meeting to provide information on the Hexavalent Chromium MCL Regulation and potential implementation methods, and to receive written or oral comments from agency personnel and other interested persons concerning the range of alternatives, potential significant effects, and mitigation measures that should be analyzed in the EIR. Click here for the full meeting notice and remote access instructions.
In California water news today …
State plans action to improve groundwater supply: Move affects San Joaquin River
“Advocates for the environment hailed the state’s recent decision to implement updated water-flow standards in the San Joaquin River, but what the move will mean for Sacramento River flows remains to be seen. The action taken by the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA) ended the voluntary agreement process for the San Joaquin River watershed. A letter dated Oct. 20 and jointly signed by CNRA Secretary Wade Crowfoot and CNRPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld advised water contractors in the watershed of the state’s decision. “Keeping healthy, unimpaired flows is about protecting groundwater supplies,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “It’s about protecting public trust resources, food supplies and wildlife networks. Everything is linked to the health of California rivers, including our drinking water supplies.” … ” Read more from The Press here: State plans action to improve groundwater supply: Move affects San Joaquin River
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Biden, Newsom admin. press judge to adopt Calif. water restrictions
“A coordinated effort between the Biden and Newsom administrations to drop two-year-old environmental rules governing water deliveries to the Central Valley and Southern California reached a new benchmark two days before Thanksgiving. In a flurry of pre-holiday filings, Federal officials, in consultation with Newsom administration officials, requested that a Fresno-based Federal judge adopt a hastily-arranged plan to govern water pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. At the center of the legal controversy are 2019 biological opinions – environmental rules developed by the U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce – that govern the operation of the Central Valley and State Water projects within the Delta. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Ahead of Thanksgiving, Biden, Newsom admin. press judge to adopt Calif. water restrictions
Statement from Friant Water Authority regarding interim operations plan for state and federal water projects
“Late yesterday the Biden Administration, in consultation with the Newsom Administration, submitted a draft plan to a Federal judge for how the Federal government will operate the Central Valley Project in 2022 (2022 Interim Operations Plan, or IOP). Unfortunately, the proposed plan risks reducing California’s water supply, if the drought continues into next year, by adopting requirements that Federal scientists in 2019 said are not necessary for the recovery of listed species. The current biological opinions that the IOP seeks to replace in 2022 were the product of more than three years of extensive stakeholder engagement, underwent significant scientific scrutiny, and was subject to a full environmental review. By comparison, the IOP has not been subjected to extensive stakeholder engagement, has not undergone any scientific scrutiny, and there has been no environmental analysis or public review, which has denied the public the right to know how these plans will impact their water supply. … ” Read the full statement from Friant Water Authority here: Statement from Friant Water Authority related to recent action by the state and federal governments
How dry will 2022 be?
“Last year, Northern California had very little precipitation in October and November, and we wondered if California was entering into a multi-year drought. Today, we know – last year became the 3rd driest year on record for northern California, in terms of precipitation. This year, Northern California had one of its wettest Octobers (in one two-day storm!), followed by a dry November. This year’s October + November precipitation has been about 16 inches so far. This is eight times what it was last year at this time and twice historical average precipitation for these months. So should we anticipate a dry or a wet year overall for water year 2022 (October 2021- September 2022)? Below are some informative historical data. (Even in unprecedented times, there is much to learn from the past.) … ” Continue reading at the California Water Blog here: How dry will 2022 be?
‘It doesn’t look good’: No rain in sight for San Francisco Bay Area
“There’s no rain in sight for the San Francisco Bay Area in the next 10 days, a concerning dry weather spell for a region plagued by drought. While there are hints of a shift to wetter and cooler conditions toward mid-December, some experts say the forecast for rain doesn’t look convincing. “We look out 10 to 14 days and even beyond that, there doesn’t look like there’s any substantial rain on the horizon,” said Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “This is just me, I really don’t think we’re going to get any substantial rain the rest of this calendar year.” … ” Read more from SF Gate here: ‘It doesn’t look good’: No rain in sight for San Francisco Bay Area
What weather should we expect this winter?
“With the winter weather season upon us, farmers, water managers and ordinary citizens are fervently hoping for relief from moderate to severe drought conditions afflicting more than 25 percent of the North American continent. That percentage represents a slight improvement from July, when more than 28 percent of the continent was in drought — the highest since these analyses began in 2002. Will we see continued improvement, and where might that be likeliest to happen? What about temperature — which in the parched Western United States, is particularly tied to drought? What should we expect?… ” Read more from Discover Magazine here: What weather should we expect this winter?
Why can’t we just move water to solve a drought?
“Have you seen the U.S. Drought Monitor’s map lately? It’s not good. Especially for one half of the country. More than 98% of the Western United States is experiencing drought. In the Northeast, it’s only about 15% of the land under a drought. In the Southeast it’s even lower, at 8%. So if there’s plenty of water in reservoirs to the East, why not just move around resources and share the goods as one big happy country? A candidate in California’s gubernatorial recall election recently suggested building a pipeline from the Mississippi River to the Golden State. We asked two drought experts. It turns out it would be stupidly complicated. … ” Read more from KTLA here: Why can’t we just move water to solve a drought?
Farmers adapt to climate uncertainty
“Scientists have been warning for years about the impacts of climate change on agriculture, and many believe 2021 weather struggles are a sign of things to come. How will farmers adapt to unprecedented weather changes? California-based crop consultant John Silvera is not waiting to find out. He is working with farmers to ask questions about what crops should really be planted and where. … ” Read more at Ag Info here: Farmers adapt to climate uncertainty
Aubrey Bettencourt takes over as Almond Alliance of California President
“As of December 1, Aubrey Bettencourt will take over as the new President and CEO of the Almond Alliance of California. Bettencourt succeeds Elaine Trevino in the position, after Trevino’s nomination to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative. Bettencourt has an extensive background in agriculture and currently serves as Director for Sustainability for the California Cattle Council and Western United Dairies. “We are extremely excited to have Aubrey Bettencourt as the Almond Alliance’s new President and CEO. Aubrey comes to us with a wealth of diverse knowledge and innovative advocacy work on behalf of farmers and ranchers,” Almond Alliance Chairman Mike Curry said in a press release. … ” Read more from Ag Net West here: Aubrey Bettencourt takes over as Almond Alliance of California President
Snow cover critical for revegetation after fires
“How much and how long a severely burned Pacific Northwest mountain landscape stays blanketed in winter snow is a key factor in the return of vegetation, research by Oregon State University and the University of Nevada, Reno shows. Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, the findings are important because the severity and frequency of wildfires in the Northwest are increasing, the blazes carry many short- and long-term impacts, and the length of those impacts is linked with vegetation’s re-establishment and recovery. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Snow cover critical for revegetation after fires
California wildfire fallout: Timber industry confronted by too many dead trees, warns of damaged forests
“This year’s mega-fires may be contained, the fire fronts extinguished and late flareups tamed by early season rain. But a secondary disaster has only just begun among the acres and acres of dead trees left behind. While the giant firestorms of 2017 and 2018 destroyed more homes and killed more people, the wildfires in 2020 and 2021 killed more trees. And those losses pose an existential threat to 32 million acres of territory blanketed by forests and the people who live and work there. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California wildfire fallout: Timber industry confronted by too many dead trees, warns of damaged forests
California proposes first of its kind heat ranking system
“After experiencing the hottest summer on record this past summer in California, lawmakers in the state have proposed a new ranking system for heat waves. The proposed ranking system, which would include three levels ranging from least to most dangerous, would be the first of its kind for heat waves, but similar to the ranking system that already exists for hurricanes. It will be formally introduced to the legislature in January 2022. A heat wave, as defined by the National Weather Service, is a period of abnormally hot temperatures that lasts for at least two days. They can occur with or without high levels of humidity and can lead to dangerous heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. … ” Read more from AccuWeather here: California proposes first of its kind heat ranking system
WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: The collection of water data
Trying to understand the movement of water spatially across our watersheds and then extending this understanding to include water’s movement as time ticks away can be as challenging as picking the right investment that reaps the greatest profit. There is an entire industry out there that focuses on one thing; data collection. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life. Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co
THIS WEEK IN WATER PODCAST: Will We Lose Our History to Climate Change?
Sandbags and garbage cans are protecting Smithsonian treasures from climate change. An isolated tree on a street or in a park is a surprising tool in managing stormwater runoff. Beetle populations that are killing pine trees in the West are getting supercharged from global warming. Is a new bill in the UK meant to protect marine invertebrates…spineless?
Plan to protect land, water presents opportunity for Native Californians
Juan Dominguez, a community organizer, writes, “I grew up on a small tribal reservation in coastal Mendocino County, the rancheria of the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians. Life “on the rez” is disconnected from our traditional land. For example, our river, known as p’da:haw in Pomo language and the Garcia River in English, is very important to our culture. But until recently, our tribal members needed a special permit to fish in p’da:haw or to gather traditional plants there to make woven baskets. The rancheria also is cut off from the p’da:haw floodplain and from the Pacific Ocean, so we’ve never been able to harvest abalone, mussels and seaweed, or to conduct spiritual ceremonies on the beach. … Today, we have an opportunity to turn things around. California is implementing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “30by30” mandate, a policy to protect 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030. Newsom’s executive order is an opportunity to recognize the Native American people who have cared for and belonged to California’s special wild places for thousands of years. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Plan to protect land, water presents opportunity for Native Californians
California is going back to nature to confront climate change
State Senator Bob Wieckowski writes, “California’s bold leadership policies, from its trailblazing vehicle-emission limits to its expansion of solar energy and national-leading electric vehicle programs, are why so many nations and subnational governments at the recent United Nations climate change conference (COP 26) in Glasgow wanted to hear what we are doing next to address our warming climate. One approach might not be as exciting as the latest sleek electric vehicle, but it is just as critical to reducing adverse effects on our population, wildlife and environment: We are going back to nature. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: California is going back to nature to confront climate change
Canada will never export bulk water to the U.S. — and journalists should stop writing about it
Jonathan Got writes, “This summer, environmental groups and First Nations in Clinton, B.C., a rural village of about 650, opposed a bottling company’s application to take 500,000 litres of water a day from the local aquifer. It was far from the first time that the proposed sale of water has created controversy in Canada. But it’s usually massive schemes for bulk water exports — which aren’t allowed in Canada — rather than bottled-water businesses like the one in B.C. that grab headlines. … Canada’s news media likes to raise alarms about this perennial issue. But while Clinton’s residents have a legitimate concern about their well water being bottled, Canada’s vast freshwater supplies will not be exported to the U.S. through massive pipes or in mammoth tankers. It’s been a few years since the issue popped up on the political radar, but the conditions are ripe for the media to dive in to the water-export issue again. They should resist the urge. … ” Read more from Capital Current here: Canada will never export bulk water to the U.S. — and journalists should stop writing about it
Small fortune coming to Klamath Basin for ecosystem restoration
“More than $160 million will be headed to the Klamath Basin over the next five years, thanks to the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by Congress. It is likely the largest singular federal investment in the basin to date, and it could help watershed restoration efforts take a big step forward. Signed into law by President Biden on November 15, the funding package will allocate $162 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for “Klamath Basin restoration activities,” according to the text of the bill. That includes planning and designing projects, applying for permits, paying contractors and maintaining projects after they’re completed, among other purposes. … ” Read more from the Herald & News here: Small fortune coming to Klamath Basin for ecosystem restoration
THE ECONEWS REPORT: Restoring Blue Lake’s Powers Creek, one of the county’s most significant urban streams
“The Mad River is isn’t one of the county’s largest, but it’s the source of water for more than half of the county’s population. One of its tributaries, Powers Creek, runs smack through the town Blue Lake — and through Blue Lake’s industrial outskirts — and it’s been much impacted by development over the years. But recently, people have started to do something about that. In this episode, we’re joined by representatives of the Mad River Alliance and the Blue Lake Rancheria, who tell us about a recent restoration project aimed at bringing back the natural systems supported by the creek.” Listen at the Lost Coast Outpost here: THE ECONEWS REPORT: Restoring Blue Lake’s Powers Creek, one of the county’s most significant urban streams
Toxic cables to be pulled from Tahoe under settlement
“AT&T’s Pac Bell subsidiary has settled a lawsuit conservationists filed under a U.S. law more typically cited in Superfund cases, agreeing to spend up to $1.5 million to remove 8 miles of toxic telephone cables that were abandoned on the bottom of Lake Tahoe decades ago. A U.S. judge in Sacramento recently signed the consent decree in the suit the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed in January. The abandoned cables — replaced with fiber optic ones in the 1980s — contain more than 65 tons of toxic lead that is polluting the lake, the lawsuit said. … ” Read more from the Nevada Appeal here: Toxic cables to be pulled from Tahoe under settlement
Hamilton City levee project complete
“After 22 years of planning, lobbying, designing, securing funding, constructing and overall management, the 6.8-mile new Hamilton City Set-Back Levee is complete, according to a release issued by Reclamation District 2140. The new levee is part of the multi-benefit Hamilton City Flood Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project and offers Hamilton City and the surrounding area protection from floods. “The set-back levee is at grade level meaning the back-fill work to form the levee is complete,” states Lee Ann Grigsby-Puente, Board President of Reclamation District 2140. “It’s a key milestone for this project, especially as we head into the rainy season.” … ” Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Hamilton City levee project complete
Winter is coming, and so is the rain: Erosion control during vineyards’ off-season
“The winter season is officially upon us, and the rainy weather has prompted Napa Valley’s vineyard crews to reinforce their properties’ anti-erosion measures. While keeping your vineyard from washing out is important for obvious practical reasons, rain carrying sediment to the valley floor and into the waterways negatively impacts the terroir as well. County regulations require most vineyards to work with a civil engineer and establish an Erosion Control Plan before obtaining necessary construction permits, and various restoration projects and certification programs have emerged over time to keep Napa’s soil intact and waters clean. … ” Read more from the Napa Register here: Winter is coming, and so is the rain: Erosion control during vineyards’ off-season
Drought curbs spread of sudden oak death in California
“Overall cases of sudden oak death, the scourge of California woodlands for a quarter-century, were cut in half this year by the ongoing two-year drought. The latest annual survey by volunteers covered 14,804 acres and collected leaves from more than 2,000 trees, mostly bay laurels, in Central and Northern California. Their work revealed an estimated infection rate of 3.3%, half the rate in 2020 and comparable to the 3.5% rate in 2018. Sonoma East, which starts just west of Highway 101 at Santa Rosa, recorded a rate of 18.6% — highest by far out of 20 survey areas from Del Norte to San Luis Obispo counties. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Drought curbs spread of sudden oak death in California
Guerneville sewage pipe leak temporarily repaired
“Sonoma Water crews on Saturday have temporarily repaired a leaky sewage pipeline on Highway 116. Crews found the cause and contained spillage that was caused by a foot-long tear in the pipeline on Highway 116, or River Road, at Brookside Lane, west of Safeway. But they couldn’t cut and weld on a new piece of pipe as they’d hoped “because there was too much liquid,” said Ann DuBay, community and government affairs manager for Sonoma Water. Instead they sealed off the leak with clamps, and two workers will be on-site monitoring the pipe “until Monday when all the vendors we need are available and we can work out a permanent repair plan,” DuBay said. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Guerneville sewage pipe leak temporarily repaired
Marin water officials debate pipeline use standards
“As Marin County water managers consider building a permanent $100 million water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, a debate has arisen on how often it should actually be used. The Marin Municipal Water District is leaning toward only using the 8-mile pipeline if it faces a water shortage emergency and only using the water for indoor health and safety purposes, such as cooking and sanitation. Cynthia Koehler, president of the district board, said there is a “danger” to connecting to the larger state water supply network. She said there is the potential for the county to abandon its commitments to using water efficiently and sustainably in favor of continuing the status quo. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin water officials debate pipeline use standards
Dust from refuge restoration work wreaks havoc on East Bay neighbors’ homes
“The real estate agent had told Roland and Lois Wade the open fields opposite the Oakley home they were eyeing would be a wildlife refuge and that no homes would be built on that side of the street. “(That’s) one of the reasons we bought the house,” Lois Wade said, noting that fewer houses along Monet Drive means less traffic. “It’s a very quiet street.” But what she and her husband didn’t realize when they signed the papers in 2009 was that transforming the open space into marshlands was a major project. It would involve moving a lot of soil around, sending clouds of grit toward their home and other houses up and down the street. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Dust from refuge restoration work wreaks havoc on East Bay neighbors’ homes
Here’s what brought king salmon back to Bay Area rivers
“Autumnal rain has sent a surge of Chinook salmon swimming up Bay Area creeks, a sharp reversal in fortune for an iconic species that has struggled after years of drought. A living link between our mountains and coast, the fish responded to late October’s fierce atmospheric river by rushing up the region’s once-parched rivers, say biologists, frequenting spots where they’ve never been seen. “It’s remarkable,” said Joe Sullivan, fishery manager with the East Bay Regional Park District. The storm “triggered them to go to the first slug of fresh water they could find,” as they returned from their epic ocean migration to spawn. … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Here’s what brought king salmon back to Bay Area rivers
Why buying a Christmas tree in the Bay Area is more expensive this year
“Prepare to open your wallet a little wider this year if you want a Christmas tree. From supply chain problems to the effects of climate change and hiring challenges, it’s gotten harder and more costly for Christmas tree sellers to find product — and that means more sticker shock for buyers, too. Oh, and here’s another warning: Don’t wait too long to bring yours home. “The economic instability caused by COVID-19 and the impacts of extreme weather have affected all parts of the global and U.S. supply chain, and Christmas trees are no exception,” the American Christmas Tree Association warned recently. “These challenges mean that there will be fewer live and artificial Christmas trees available this year, and those that are available will cost more than before.” … ” Read more from the Mercury News here: Why buying a Christmas tree in the Bay Area is more expensive this year
Jeffrey Young: Impressive king tides also herald ominous coastal conditions from climate change
“Mark your calendars for next weekend. On Saturday, Dec. 4, and again on Sunday, Dec. 5, we will have front row seats to one of Earth’s amazing natural phenomena: the king tides. These dates begin a series of extreme high and low tides on the Central Coast. Tides, by their very nature, reveal how strongly the moon’s and sun’s gravity affects the Earth. Through a combination of the Earth turning on its axis (rotation) and the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on our planet, the surface of the ocean rises and falls like a pendulum swings from side to side. … ” Read more from Noozhawk here: Jeffrey Young: Impressive king tides also herald ominous coastal conditions from climate change
Stanislaus County experiencing exceptional drought
“Despite some rainy weather to start the fall season, a lack of recent precipitation coupled with pre-existing drought conditions means the need for water conservation in California is far from over. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest California map released on Wednesday shows that about 80% of the state is currently experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, with 28% classified as experiencing exceptional drought. The latter percentage is an improvement upon the week prior, when nearly 38% of the state was in exceptional drought. Despite experiencing the second-wettest October on record last month, nearly 95% of Stanislaus County is currently considered to be in exceptional drought — the most extreme drought category on the monitor. … ” Read more from the Turlock Journal here: Stanislaus County experiencing exceptional drought
Merced County ag industry reports $240M rise in crop values. Here are the top commodities
“The Merced County Farm Bureau in 2020 reported an increase of more than $240 million gross production value in crops and livestock over the prior year, according to a report released last month. The Merced County Department of Agriculture’s report is released annually in accordance with state law, summarizing the acreage, production and total gross value of the region’s commodities. The total value of agricultural commodities, according to the report, is more than $3.4 billion, up 7% from the 2019 report. … ” Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here: Merced County ag industry reports $240M rise in crop values. Here are the top commodities
Commentary: Making the most of the Kern River: A river hard at work for the hard-working people of Kern County
Edwin Camp, local farmer and business owner, writes, “The Kern River is the lifeblood of Kern County — supporting families, farmers, small businesses and disadvantaged communities according to the law of the river. The river is governed by more than a century of well-established water rights laws and court decisions that protect the river’s highly variable and limited water supplies for beneficial uses like irrigation, water for homes and business, groundwater recharge and recreation. For residents and businesses in Bakersfield, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Kern River running through town is dry most of the time. As environmentalists and community groups increase their calls for a free-flowing river through the city, the people of Kern County deserve to have this justified ambition placed into context, because Kern River water isn’t infinite and sending more water through the river will require some difficult trade-offs. … ” Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Commentary: Making the most of the Kern River: A river hard at work for the hard-working people of Kern County
“Damage from summer’s hotter-than-normal weather appears to be showing up in this year’s citrus crop. Local growers say some oranges have been coming in noticeably smaller in size and volume, enough to cut into sales for both reasons. But with the harvest expected to continue through early next year, it’s hard to know how the market will react and what the net financial impact will be locally. “Our yields look to be a little bit down but they’re not done yet,” said Brian Grant, executive vice president at Rio Bravo Ranch at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon. ... ” Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Kern citrus growers blame smaller fruit, lower volume on summer heat
Metropolitan Water District will tell Rotarians about a “new source of water for Southern California”
“Rupam Soni, Community Relations Team Manager at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, will be guest speaker at the Pasadena Rotary Club’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, December 1. She will talk on the topic, “Regional Recycled Water Program: A New Source of Water for Southern California.” Members of the community may attend the meeting in person or listen in via Zoom. ... ” Read more from Pasadena Now here: Metropolitan Water District will tell Rotarians about a “new source of water for Southern California”
Fall heat wave broils Los Angeles, interior Southwest
“Residents in the Southwest may be preparing to flip the calendars to the typically cooler month of December, but a building dome of high pressure has had different ideas – an autumn heat wave. The blast of record-challenging warmth began over the weekend, and experts say upcoming seasonal winds will only enhance the sweltering conditions. The stretch of record-challenging warmth officially became a heat wave after the high temperatures remained abnormally high for more than two days. The enhanced heat this week will be bolstered by the seasonal Santa Ana winds that gust through the region, pushing many areas into the territory of record-breaking temperatures. ... ” Read more from AccuWeather here: Fall heat wave broils Los Angeles, interior Southwest
Can lithium cure what ails the Salton Sea?
“Studying the complexity of mud on the ocean floor is a life’s work for Timothy Lyons, so when the tall and lean biogeochemist asks you to join an expedition in search of chemical mysteries buried deep beneath the waves, be prepared to get wet and dirty. On a recent foray onto California’s largest and most troubled lake, Lyons rode a Zodiac skiff with a 15-horsepower engine across the Salton Sea against a backdrop of desolate mountains, dunes and miles of shoreline bristling with the bones of thousands of dead fish and birds. As he approached the center of the lake with a clutch of passengers including two members of his laboratory at UC Riverside, Lyons said, “Cut the engine. Let’s grab some mud.” … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Can lithium cure what ails the Salton Sea?
Despite drought, New Mexico project to seed clouds scrapped
“A plan to seed the clouds over the mountains of New Mexico to increase snowfall during a historic drought was pulled this week after accusations it could poison people and the environment. Western Weather Consultants (WWC) of Durango, Colorado proposed siting machines near five ski resorts in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to pump silver iodide vapor into the atmosphere and increase ice crystals and snow. A state agency said WWC this week withdrew its application to deploy the 75-year-old technology that is being widely used to fight extreme drought affecting half the western United States. … ” Read more from US News & World Report here: Despite drought, New Mexico project to seed clouds scrapped
Scientists working to understand record of mine-related contamination in sediment below Lake Powell
“The Durango Herald’s 2015 photograph was instantly recognized the scene of environmental disaster: three kayakers paddling down the Animas River in southwest Colorado, the water below them as orange and radiant as a Creamsicle. A containment pond near Silverton, Colo., had been accidentally breached at the Gold King Mine and 3 million gallons of metal-laden sludge were released into the Animas, flowing downstream into the San Juan River. The river ran clear again within a couple of days, but much of the heavy metals and other pollutants released in the spill worked their way downriver until they hit Lake Powell, along with all the other sediment that had been carried downstream by the Colorado River and its tributaries since the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963. … ” Read more from the Salt Lake Tribune here: Scientists working to understand record of mine-related contamination in sediment below Lake Powell
He spent almost 50 years alone at 10,000 feet. His hobby helped shape climate research in the Rockies.
“As world leaders gathered across the globe this month to discuss a climate crisis that is rapidly heating the Earth, Billy Barr, 71, paused outside his mountainside cabin to measure snow. His tools were simple, the same he’d used since the 1970s. A wooden ruler plunged into white flakes accumulating on his snow board — an old freezer door affixed to legs of plastic piping and wood — showed two inches. A section of snow that he slid into a metal bucket and hung from a scale a few paces away told him it was about 10 percent water, which did not surprise him. For years, that number hovered around 6 percent, but snow here has gotten wetter. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: He spent almost 50 years alone at 10,000 feet. His hobby helped shape climate research in the Rockies.
Denver still without snow but climatologists say they’re more concerned by snowpack levels out west
“With each passing, snowless day, Denver extends its new record of the latest date at which the first measurable snow falls, busting through the old record of Nov. 21, set in 1934. Climatologists are watching as the record climbs, estimating Denver’s dry spell could last until early December. But that’s not nearly as worrisome as the lagging snowpack levels in southwest Colorado, they say, specifically in the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan and San Miguel mountains. Colorado needs an above-average snowpack year to start recovering from a dry summer this year and last year, Climatologist Becky Bolinger of Colorado State University said. Without that snowpack, water levels along the parched Colorado River will likely remain low. … ” Read more from the Denver Post here: Denver still without snow but climatologists say they’re more concerned by snowpack levels out west
Millions of Americans struggle to pay their water bills – here’s how a national water aid program could work
“Running water and indoor plumbing are so central to modern life that most Americans take them from granted. But these services aren’t free, and millions struggle to afford them. A 2019 survey found that U.S. households in the bottom fifth of the economy spent 12.4% of their disposable income on water and sewer services. News reports suggest that for low-income households, this burden has increased during the pandemic. Since 1981, the federal government has helped low-income households with their energy costs through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. But there had not been a national water aid program until Congress created a temporary Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program as part of the COVID-19 response. Now the House-passed Build Back Better Act includes US$225 million for grants to states and tribes to help reduce the cost of water services for low-income households. ... ” Read more from The Conversation here: Millions of Americans struggle to pay their water bills – here’s how a national water aid program could work
Managing the water and energy nexus – What’s needed in a water utility for the future
“Water utilities provide access to safe drinking water, a complex challenge in an increasingly thirsty world. Here, Hassan Aboelnga (Middle East Water Forum) and Dragan Savić (KWR Water Research Institute, Netherlands) discuss the multifaceted nature of this challenge, the deeply interconnected problem of energy, and the principles that water utilities will need to follow if they are to deliver their core function in an uncertain future.” Read the article at the Global Water Forum here: Managing the Water and Energy Nexus – What’s needed in a water utility for the future
Commentary: Give me water pressure or give me death
Jack Holmes, Politics Editor at Esquire, writes, “Donald Trump was right about the showerheads. Well, in one respect, anyway. There is something singularly demoralizing about bad water pressure, and one of the purest joys in this world is having a rinse under a powerful spigot. But this minor creature comfort in the vast sea of life’s indignities requires water, which the human race is consuming an awful lot of these days, so we citizens must do our part to conserve what remains. That’s why, in 1992, the Department of Energy limited how much water American showerheads can splash out to 2.5 gallons a minute. In 2013, amid a proliferation of multiple-showerhead fixtures, the Obama administration updated the rule: The limit would now apply to the total output of all nozzles combined. A few years later, though, Trump sensed a culture-war opportunity. His folks at the Department of Energy rolled back the standard while the big man ranted from the presidential podium about the consequences of low water pressure for his big, beautiful hair. … ” Read more from Esquire here: Give me water pressure or give me death
‘Soap opera’: How the never-ending fight over wetlands began
“The longest-running U.S. environmental regulatory conundrum can be summed up in a question: What wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act? The government has yet to come up with a definition that will hold up in court. And now, it’s President Biden’s turn to try. Expectations and stakes are high. Conservationists expect a rule that extends protections to at least as many waterways and wetlands as one offered by the Obama administration. On the side are developers, energy companies and agribusiness groups that want a rule as narrow as — or narrower than — one from former President Trump. One thing’s certain: lawsuits. … ” Read more from E&E News here: ‘Soap opera’: How the never-ending fight over wetlands began
Don’t call it climate change. Red states prepare for ‘extreme weather’
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants half a billion dollars to protect his state from the ravages of “extreme weather events.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott devoted $1.6 billion toward preparing communities for increasingly devastating hurricanes. But they still won’t say if they believe in climate change. Even if conservative politicians can’t stomach the words, they’re spending money to combat the fallout hammering their states and cities. Bracing for global warming is the rare climate issue that appeals to both Republicans and Democrats, and 34 states have done some sort of climate-adaptation planning, according to Georgetown University’s state policy tracker. … ” Read more from Politico here: Don’t call it climate change. Red states prepare for ‘extreme weather’
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.