DAILY DIGEST, 12/2: State Water Project will deliver no water to most communities next year; Water Board to vote on mandatory statewide water restrictions; Tribal communities organize to stop Sites Reservoir; Marin water managers near deal for Yuba County supply; and more …
EVENT: PFAS Solutions Workshop from 8:30am to 4:00pm in Lakewood, CA. The workshop will discuss PFAS impacts on water resources; reducing the impacts of “downstream” PFAS treatment of drinking water by treatment and management of PFAS at “upstream” sources; capital investment and O & M costs for “traditional” PFAS treatment options; design options for PFAS treatment systems and California installation examples; and more. Click here to register.
SSV WET Talk 6: From Water 101 to Water 911 with Chris “The Maven” Austin from 10am to 11:30am. Click here to register.
CLEE Berkeley: Infrastructure Week, Climate Century from 11:30am to 12:30pm. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden just signed into law will facilitate historic investments in our nation’s basic infrastructure, including roads, trains, bridges, and ports. But what about the new law’s impact on California’s climate program? What are some of the most impactful provisions in terms of bolstering the state’s effort to adapt to a changing climate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Join our CLEE lunch & learn to hear our experts weigh in. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: Partnerships to Support FHAB Monitoring and Notification in California from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Over the past two years, the Internet of Water and The Commons have been collaborating with Native American tribal governments, leading community science NGOs, California’s Water Control Boards, members of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard and Assessment, and the Water Data Collaborative to enable state agencies to leverage monitoring data to better inform the public about local freshwater algal blooms. Hear from a panel of project leaders about implementing all aspects of the project – tiered data management, database alignment, API development, software training, stakeholder engagement, and more. Click here to register.
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Water Use Efficiency Standards Wastewater Management from 1pm to 3pm. The State Water Board will hold a public workshop to receive early input for the development of urban water use efficiency standards. The purpose of these workshops is to provide a detailed overview of the methods being used to evaluate potential impacts of water use efficiency standards on local wastewater management, developed and natural parklands, and urban tree health. The meeting will also give the public, urban retail water suppliers, and other interested parties the opportunity to ask questions about the Board’s analysis. No registration necessary. Click here to enter workshop
WORKSHOP: Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program Stakeholder Workshop #2 from 5pm to 7pm. The Department of Conservation is excited to hold two workshops to hear what stakeholders would like to see in our upcoming Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program. These workshops are designed to give stakeholders the opportunity to provide input into the Department of Conservation’s proposed Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program before program guidelines are developed. Click here to register.
EVENT: Yolo Flyway Nights: Salmon on Putah Creek (Virtual) from 7pm to 8:30pm. Historically, salmon spawned intermittently in Lower Putah Creek but following the construction of multiple dams on the creek in the mid-1900s and the occurrence of severe drought conditions, salmon were extirpated for several decades. However, in recent years, after the implementation of a natural flow regime and strategic flow management practices, salmon have been observed spawning in the upper reaches of Lower Putah Creek and juvenile salmon have been captured on their way. Mackenzie’s research seeks to characterize the process of salmon reestablishment in newly rehabilitated habitats, furthering our understanding of reconciliation ecology and her interests focus on identifying ways to encourage biodiversity in urban ecosystems. Click here to register.
State Water Project will deliver no water to most communities next year
“In a stark indicator of California’s worsening drought, the Newsom administration announced Wednesday that cities and farms should expect to receive virtually no water next year from the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, pipes and canals that typically provides water to 27 million people from Silicon Valley to San Diego. The unprecedented announcement — with only small amounts of emergency supplies possible for some urban areas — means that unless this winter brings significant rainfall, more stringent conservation measures are likely in San Jose, parts of the East Bay and other communities across the state in 2022, including strict limits on landscape watering. “We’re coming off an historic set of conditions,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the state Department of Water Resources. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: State Water Project will deliver no water to most communities next year
California drought: State anticipates virtually no water deliveries to cities, farms next year
“California water officials acknowledged Wednesday that another painful year of drought is likely, and warned the many communities receiving water from the State Water Project that they may get no water at all next year, except in cases of emergency. The record low 0% water allocation would leave parts of the state, including San Jose, much of the East Bay and Napa County, with significant dents in their water supplies. Local water agencies would have little choice but to seek out additional sources of water, which are certain to be sparse, as well as lean heavily on customers to make cuts — even more so than they’re already doing. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California drought: State anticipates virtually no water deliveries to cities, farms next year
No state water for California farms
“For the first time in its history, California’s State Water Project is forecasting that it will deliver no agricultural water to its 29 contracting agencies in 2022. Blaming a severe drought that has entered its third year, state officials announced Dec. 1 they were putting irrigation water fourth in line behind water for minimum urban health and safety needs and salinity control in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, water for endangered species and water for reserve in storage. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: No state water for California farms
As drought worsens, officials say mandatory water cuts likely coming for urban Californians
“With the drought showing no signs of abating, California officials announced Wednesday they plan to deliver almost no water from the State Water Project to begin next year — and suggested that mandatory cutbacks in urban usage could come if conditions stay dry. Karla Nemeth, director of the Department of Water Resources, said the various cities and farm-irrigation districts that belong to the State Water Project — the elaborate state-run network of reservoirs and canals — are getting “essentially a zero allocation” to start 2022. While conditions could improve if the winter turns wet, it marks the first time that the project has announced a zero allocation initially for the upcoming year. The project delivered a 5% allocation in 2021. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: As drought worsens, officials say mandatory water cuts likely coming for urban Californians
California water districts will get no requested supplies from the state
“California water agencies that serve 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland won’t get any of the water they’ve requested from the state heading into 2022 other than what’s needed for critical health and safety, state officials announced Wednesday. It’s the earliest date the Department of Water Resources has issued a 0% water allocation, a milestone that reflects the dire conditions in California as drought continues to grip the nation’s most populous state and reservoirs sit at historically low levels. State water officials said mandatory water restrictions could be coming. “If conditions continue to be this dry, we will see mandatory cutbacks,” Karla Nemeth, director of DWR, told reporters. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: California water districts will get no requested supplies from the state
Calif. zeroes out water allocation for Valley farmers, will only deliver minimum supplies to cities
“California water regulators will be delivering the bare minimum of water supplies to the state’s municipalities via the State Water Project, the Department of Water Resources announced to water users on Wednesday. For Valley farmers, who hoped for an ounce of good news related to water supplies heading into 2022, they will see a zero-percent water allocation from state water agencies to start the year. It’s the first time in the history of the State Water Project for officials to kick off a water year with a zero initial allocation. The shift for agricultural water users is a jarring sign of drought-era policymaking. ... ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Calif. zeroes out water allocation for Valley farmers, will only deliver minimum supplies to cities
Commentary: Will California sink the West over water?
Todd Fitchette writes, “California’s Department of Water Resources just told its 29 State Water Project contractors to expect no state water in 2022. If conditions hold, this means many agencies will be left high and dry, while others like the large Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will simply exacerbate water woes in the Colorado River basin. … The suffering won’t be limited to California. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) said in response to the state’s announcement that it will seek supplies elsewhere, meaning pumping from the Colorado River will continue. As this happens, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nev. will surely decline further as California continues to take its full allotment from the Colorado River. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Commentary: Will California sink the West over water?
Reactions from water agencies and stakeholders …
Presented in alphabetical order
Food and Water Watch
“The Newsom administration’s announcement serves as a potent reminder of how dire this drought is and the need for immediate action to preserve the water we have for the people who need it most,” said Food & Water Watch California Director Alexandra Nagy in response to the announcement. “Conservation measures are necessary, but so is a reevaluation of our water allocation system. Instead of mining our already scarce groundwater, we must accelerate groundwater sustainability plans and cut off water supplies to chronic corporate abusers like fossil fuel interests, industrial agriculture and bottled water companies. The freshwater used by the oil and gas industry alone could provide billions of gallons of water to homes in need. Water is a human right. It’s time California acted like it.”
Click here to continue reading this statement from Food & Water Watch.
New research compiled by Food & Water Watch around the state’s biggest water abusers reveals the oil and gas industry used more than 3 billion gallons of freshwater between January 2018 and March 2021 that could otherwise have supplied domestic systems. Likewise, 80 percent of the state’s water goes to agriculture, including heavy water users like almonds. In 2019, more than 60 percent of almonds produced in California were exported, rerouting 910 billion gallons of water out of the state for corporate profit. Additionally, alfalfa uses a huge share of California’s agricultural water at 16 percent and occupies 1 million irrigated acres in the state. More than 1.5 trillion gallons of water are needed for alfalfa irrigation or more than enough water to provide the daily recommended water needs (55 gallons per person per day) for every Californian for over a year.
Kern County Water Agency
The Kern County Water Agency (Agency) contracts with DWR for approximately one million acre-feet of SWP water and despite receiving a zero percent allocation of SWP water supplies, the Agency and its participant local water districts are still contractually obligated to make a full operations and maintenance payment. “A zero allocation is catastrophic and tragically inadequate for Kern County residents, farms and businesses, and it provides no hope for replenishment of groundwater banking reserves that have been tapped to provide agricultural and urban water during previous dry years,” said Kern County Water Agency Board of Directors President Royce Fast.
Click here to continue reading this statement from Kern County Water Agency.
Agency staff is working with local water districts to find ways to minimize the impacts of a potential third consecutive dry year, but those possibilities are stretched thin. Stewardship and conservation are always important, especially when water supplies are critically low. Agricultural water-use efficiency has been a high priority for many years. However, conservation alone cannot solve California’s long-term water supply issues. The current crisis underscores the importance of addressing California’s chronic water supply reliability issues through new water supply infrastructure, including conveyance and storage.
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
“In response to the State’s announcement of an initial 0% allocation of water from the State Water Project (SWP), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is alerting customers to the severity of the water shortage that the state and the region are facing and urging them to take immediate steps to reduce their water use. “We want to stress to our residents, businesses large and small, and industrial customers, the dire situation we are now facing as a result of two consecutive dry years, and that by further conserving water now, they can make a big difference,” said Anselmo Collins, the head of LADWP’s Water System. “For those who are already vigilant in conserving water, we thank you and ask that you look around your home and place of work to see if you can cut back your use even further. For those who have not yet reduced their use and aren’t following the City’s mandatory water conservation ordinance, now is the time to comply. We need every single LADWP customer to step up and take action as we face a third dry year and serious drought.” … ” Read the full statement at LADWP here: LADWP Shares Urgent Message of Water Conservation as the State Announces a “0% Initial Allocation” of Water from the State Water Project
Metropolitan Water District
Adel Hagekhalil, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, issues the following statement: “The conditions on the State Water Project are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. While we certainly hope they improve, we must be prepared for the reality that the state project may not have any water to allocate in 2022. Parts of Southern California depend on this supply almost exclusively for their water. We are working with our member agencies serving those communities – in parts of Ventura and northern Los Angeles counties as well as the Inland Empire – to make sure residents and businesses understand the severity and complexity of the situation and are responding by reducing their water use as much as necessary. At the same time, Metropolitan will continue doing everything we can to get water from other sources to these communities. …
Click here to continue reading this statement from Metropolitan Water District.
“Metropolitan’s board last month declared a drought emergency in anticipation of the zero percent allocation. While Southern California’s diverse supply portfolio means other parts of our region can turn to water from the Colorado River and local sources during this time, the dramatic reduction of our Northern California supplies means we all must step up our conservation efforts. Earlier this year, Gov. Newsom asked all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent. We all need to keep working toward this goal. Reduce the amount you are watering outside by a day, or two. Take shorter showers. Fix leaks. If we all do our part, we’ll get through this together.”
“Climate change is creating a new normal. Looking ahead, we need to increase our investments in water efficiency, recycling and storage. Southern California has done a lot, but we need to do more. And we can’t do it alone. We need our state and federal partners to help accelerate these investments through a coordinated strategy for resilient, integrated and balanced water management. We are one.”
State Water Contractors
“Today’s allocation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The impact of extended drought and climate change limit opportunities for the delivery of SWP water to support the millions of Californians who rely on it. The State has made clear that the severity of the drought and prioritization of water supplies for the environment have reduced California’s ability to provide water for municipal and industrial uses that fuel our economy and provide good paying jobs throughout the state,” said Jennifer Pierre, General Manager of the State Water Contractors. “Despite a water allocation of zero percent, our public water agencies and the families, farms and businesses they serve will continue to fund 100 percent of the operation and maintenance costs of the SWP – California’s most important infrastructure that provides an irreplaceable volume of water we will need to adapt to the ever-increasing impacts of drought and climate change. Drought doesn’t come in cycles anymore; it is simply our new normal. Adapting to that new normal will require us to continue investing in the SWP, develop local water supplies and make conservation a way of life. It also compels us to re-examine how we prioritize our state’s limited water supplies to their highest and best use for the people of California.”
In other California water news today …
State Water Board to vote on mandatory statewide water restrictions
“California water regulators have proposed new emergency drought regulations that would prohibit a wide range of wasteful water behaviors for the entire state. On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft of the regulations that would prohibit “excessive” irrigation, ban the use of potable water for street cleaning and forbid landscape irrigation within 48 hours of a rain storm, among other things. The new mandatory rules would be enforced by local water agencies and people found to be wasting water could face fines, according to a statement from the Water Board, which will vote on the proposal sometime in January. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: State Water Board to vote on mandatory statewide water restrictions
Tribal communities organize to stop Sites Reservoir, provide clean water to salmon and the Delta
Dan Bacher writes, “Tribal activists, drinking water advocates and commercial and subsistence fishers are asking the public to stand with them in the fight for both the Trinity and Sacramento River salmon by supporting a California state process to restore flows in California’s largest rivers, and by fighting a proposal for a twenty square mile reservoir, the Sites Reservoir, according to a press release from Save California Salmon. … “Up to 98% of the Sacramento River winter run salmon died this summer due to climate related drought and over-allocation of water to industrial farmers,” stated Sheridan Enomoto from Save California Salmon. “Despite this, the State is considering letting California’s largest water users build a 15 million acre foot reservoir that would divert much more water from the Sacramento River, and possibly the Trinity River also. They are also considering continuing to put off a plan to restore flows to the Sacramento River and Bay Delta in favor of voluntary regulation even though lack of river and carry over storage protection has gotten us into this crisis.” … ” Continue reading at the Daily Kos here: Tribal communities organize to stop Sites Reservoir, provide clean water to salmon and the Delta
How California hydropower plants navigate intense drought
“Despite widespread, intense drought conditions, hydroelectric power plants in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the grid operator for most of the state, provided a significant amount of generation from April to September 2021. Although drought conditions reduced the water supply in California, hydroelectric generation during this period still increased in response to the higher average hourly electricity prices in the late afternoon. … ” Read more from Clean Technica here: How California hydropower plants navigate intense drought
Cutting the green tape and CEQA statutory exemption for restoration projects
“On Nov. 18, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) held a public meeting to provide updates on the CDFW’s new Cutting the Green Tape Program. The meeting specifically discussed the overview of CDFW’s role in the new California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Statutory Exemption for Fish and Wildlife Restoration Projects. CDFW discussed its role in this new process, which will be administered through its Cutting the Green Tape program, a program that falls under the larger Cutting the Green Tape initiative. … ” Read more from The Log here: Cutting the green tape and CEQA statutory exemption for restoration projects
Researchers investigate the combined effect of drought and fire on stream communities, highlighting the importance of headwaters
“Life is water, and water is life. This truism certainly applies to the Pacific coast, where streams and rivers function as the region’s arteries. The water they carry fosters plant life and wildlife in Southern California’s Mediterranean climate. They provide sanctuary during droughts and often serve as the nexus for recovery after fires. Despite the importance of these waterways, scientists still don’t fully understand how they respond to fires. That’s why a team at UC Santa Barbara and the National Forest Service have studied wildfire impacts on streams over the past five years in parts of the Los Padres National Forest. The scientists’ new findings appear as the cover story in the December issue of Freshwater Science. … ” Read more from UCSB here: Researchers investigate the combined effect of drought and fire on stream communities, highlighting the importance of headwaters
‘We’re one cigarette away’: Illegal marijuana farms pose wildfire risk in California’s parched national forests
“After a two-and-a-half-mile trek through thick brush, Mourad Gabriel stepped into a small clearing. A month earlier, this half-acre swath of the Cleveland National Forest, nearly invisible from the air, had been an illegal marijuana grow worth more than an estimated $1.2 million. The Forest Service’s law enforcement officers had hacked down the plants, but Gabriel and his team were there to cart out nearly 3,000 pounds of trash, and to clean up something else the drug traffickers left behind: poison. Gabriel, a regional wildlife ecologist for the Forest Service, spooned swabs of pesticide into a military-grade testing device to identify chemicals used by illicit farmers, which kill the forest’s wildlife. “We had a dead bear,” he said, recalling a past bust, “a turkey vulture that was dead consuming that bear, and then another turkey vulture that was dead consuming that turkey vulture and that bear.” … ” Continue reading at NBC Los Angeles here: ‘We’re one cigarette away’: Illegal marijuana farms pose wildfire risk in California’s parched national forests
Wildfires are erasing Western forests. Climate change is making it permanent
“The trees were not coming back. In the years following the 2000 Walker Ranch Fire, Tom Veblen, a forest ecologist at the nearby University of Colorado, Boulder, saw that grass and shrubs were regrowing in the charred foothills, but he had to search to find the rare baby version of the tall ponderosa pines that had dominated the area before the fire. “I kept watching and I was barely seeing any seedlings at all,” Veblen said. One of his graduate students at the time, Monica Rother, who now leads her own lab at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, took a closer look, formally sectioning off research plots and returning year after year to count little trees. More than a decade after the Walker Ranch Fire most of her plots had zero tree seedlings. … ” Read more from Salon here: Wildfires are erasing Western forests. Climate change is making it permanent
The U.S. government is wasting billions on wildfire policy that doesn’t work
” … More than 6.5 million acres in the U.S. have been affected by fire so far this year. The Dixie Fire, at nearly 1 million acres burned, was the second-largest fire in California’s history. Faced with such catastrophic wildfires, it seems only natural for fire services to respond with every resource available. But according to many of the country’s most respected fire experts, there is little evidence that most of these fire suppression campaigns are effective. These critics say that the current practice of trying to suppress every big wildfire is foolhardy, especially given the huge, climate-driven fires more and more common in the West. Some blame this policy on what they call the fire-industrial complex: a collection of the major governmental fire agencies and hundreds of private contractors, who are motivated by a mixture of institutional inertia, profiteering, and desperation. … ” Read more from Slate Magazine here: The U.S. government is wasting billions on wildfire policy that doesn’t work
California moves toward launching nation’s first heat wave ranking system
“The narrative is becoming all too familiar: A severe heat wave builds and, days later, people die. Now, legislators, scientists and a think tank are convening to better adapt to the most lethal weather phenomenon — by categorizing and naming it in major U.S. cities. In January, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and other delegates will formally introduce legislation to rate and name heat waves in Los Angeles — potentially establishing the nation’s first ranking system for such occurrences. The categorization would help communities take measures to reduce the number of heat-related fatalities. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: California moves toward launching nation’s first heat wave ranking system
Column: This proposed ballot measure would make you pay for the ag industry’s water wastefulness
Michael Hiltzik writes, “Whoever coined the phrase “Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting” didn’t have things quite right. In California, water is for scamming. The newest example is a majestically cynical ploy being foisted on taxpayers by some of the state’s premier water hogs, in the guise of a proposed ballot measure titled the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022” — or, as its promoters call it, the More Water Now initiative. The measure’s backers need to gather nearly 1 million signatures to place the measure on the November 2022 ballot. That process has just begun, and its outcome is uncertain. … ” Read more from Yahoo News here: Column: This proposed ballot measure would make you pay for the ag industry’s water wastefulness
It’s been over a month since the last AR storms rolled through California. Since then, the State has seen scattered precipitation. During November, Folsom Reservoir received about 0.91 inches of precipitation, Trinity Reservoir received 2.3 inches, New Melones received 0.82 inches, Millerton 0.48 inches, and Shasta Reservoir, some 5.43 inches.
BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Survival thresholds for Chinook salmon smolts in the Sacramento River
In California’s Central Valley, studies have found that increased streamflow can improve the survival of imperiled juvenile salmon populations during their oceanward migration. However, these studies have not explored the potential nonlinearities between flow and survival, giving resource managers the difficult task of designing flows intended to help salmon without clear guidance on flow targets. A recent study analyzed salmon migration survival data from over 2400 acoustic-tagged juvenile Chinook salmon spanning differing water years and year types to extract actionable information on the flow-survival relationship in the Sacramento River.
At the 2022 Bay-Delta Science Conference, Cyril Michel, Assistant Project Scientist with National Marine Fishery Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of California Santa Cruz, presented the study results.
Listen: Plan to preserve key section of Eel River still flowing
“A deadline came and went, but the plan to preserve the “Grand Canyon” of the Eel River in Humboldt County is still on track. A combination of financial and legislative maneuvers kept the project alive despite the October expiration of an option to buy a key piece of land. The Eel is a short river, but an important one to California for many reasons. The Wildlands Conservancy plays a major part in the preservation effort; we are joined by TWC Executive Director Frazier Harney and Communications Director Sara Seeburn.” Listen at Jefferson Public Radio here: Listen: Plan to preserve key section of Eel River still flowing
‘This is a game changer’: Mike McGuire announces new funding for Great Redwood Trail
“The proposed Great Redwood Trail is one step closer to becoming a reality. During a virtual town hall discussion Tuesday evening, North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) announced new funding to move the Great Redwood Trail forward. “The Budget Act that was passed this year included two significant groundbreaking items related to the Great Redwood Trail,” McGuire said. “No. 1, it appropriated the last bit of funding needed to pay off the remaining debt from the North Coast Railroad Authority and it also added $10.5 million to pay for stepping up the master planning process of the Great Redwood Trail. The second piece that this budget paid for was it allocated $500 million for projects that will help us fight our climate crisis and advance non-motorized trails of statewide significance. This is a game-changer.” … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: ‘This is a game changer’: Mike McGuire announces new funding for Great Redwood Trail
‘It’s barren’: Tahoe hasn’t seen significant snow in over a month
“It has been three weeks since the Tahoe Basin has seen snow, and the region is expected to see dry conditions and hotter-than-normal temperatures through the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Weather models show a shift in the weather next week and a signal for snow on Monday and Tuesday, but weather service forecaster Chris Hintz said the developing system looks weak. “If they get anything it’s going to be a couple inches at the highest elevations,” said Hintz, who works in the weather service’s Reno office. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: ‘It’s barren’: Tahoe hasn’t seen significant snow in over a month
Recent ‘atmospheric river’ proved catastrophic for fall salmon run in the Mokelumne River
Dan Bacher writes, “The Mokelumne River was seeing an outstanding run of fall chinook salmon at the fish hatchery when the atmospheric river hit between Oct. 24 and 25. “We lost a lot of our fish,” said William Smith, manager of the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery. “The Cosumnes River went up to 14,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) and every creek in the region came up with the storm. As a result, the salmon scattered throughout the Valley. Meanwhile, the releases from Camanche Dam were still 250 cfs.” He added, “The rain was a blessing for some, but not for us.” … ” Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: Recent ‘atmospheric river’ proved catastrophic for fall salmon run in the Mokelumne River
DWR drums up interest in Orland water lines
“The rural communities surrounding Orland are in a water crisis in dealing with the drought and drying wells. Over the course of the past year, the California Department of Water Resources, the North Valley Community Foundation and Glenn County have been working together with $8 million in funding to come up with solutions for the residents facing the crisis. Meetings were held in October and November for residents in the problem area who were dealing with water insecurity and dry wells. The first placed a heavy focus temporary large water tanks for non-potable water as well as deliveries for bottled drinking water. The second focused on an ambitious project to extend Orland’s water lines out into the county to hook up homes where wells have gone dry. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: DWR drums up interest in Orland water lines
Commentary: Napa’s water: a dangerously flawed plan
Eve Kahn, Co-President of Napa Vision 2050, writes, “”When the State of California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014 “to protect groundwater over the long-term,” the impetus and framework for the law was the result of the over-pumping of the wells in the Central Valley. Farms were planted in deserts, irrigated from stolen rivers and deep wells. So much water was pumped that the land has dropped (subsidence) as much as 30 feet in places, making it impossible for aquifers to recharge. In areas, saltwater has replaced fresh water. One of Napa Vision 2050’s greatest concerns is that our county leaders who have authored the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) have not considered the geology of the Napa subbasin, which is very different from that of the Central Valley. … ” Read more from the Napa Register here: Commentary: Napa’s water: a dangerously flawed plan
Marin water managers near deal for Yuba County supply
“The Yuba County Water Agency might sell billions of gallons of water to Marin County through a proposed pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Under the proposed agreement, the agency would be able to sell Marin and the East Bay Municipal Utility District at least 10,000 acre-feet of water from its New Bullards Bar Reservoir at an estimated cost of more than $10 million. Both the Marin and East Bay water districts want the water to alleviate supply shortages that could continue into next year in the event of another dry winter. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin water managers near deal for Yuba County supply
New drastic restrictions in Marin mark seriousness of the drought
“Marin Municipal Water District announced Wednesday that its customers can no longer turn on their sprinklers or drip irrigation to water outdoor landscaping, beginning Thursday. The restrictions do not apply to recycled water. Those who don’t comply with the ban, which will be in effect until May 31, 2022, face fines up to $250 and other penalties, the district said. Spot watering is exempt. In other words, you can water your flower beds with a watering can. The district also banned the refilling of a completely drained swimming pool and the initial filling of any swimming pool for which application for a building permit was made after December 1, 2021. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: New drastic restrictions in Marin mark seriousness of the drought
Stinson home strains coastal regulations
“When Brian Johnson began planning to sell the vacant lot he owns in Stinson Beach, he knew a septic upgrade was the first order of business. The property at 21 Calle del Onda had been in the family since the 1930s, but a fire destroyed the beachfront house in 1983 and the septic system hadn’t been used since. In 2016, the Stinson Beach County Water District denied his application for a new wastewater system, arguing that it would pose a public health risk in the event of a flood. Mr. Johnson sued and won. After his settlement and another water district vote last year, he received a green light, and a mitigated negative declaration under the California Environmental Quality Act. Now, Mr. Johnson is seeking a coastal permit to build a two-story house and garage on the lot, and he is running into environmental roadblocks again. … ” Read more from the Point Reyes Light here: Stinson home strains coastal regulations
Golden Gate NRA seeks input on goals of Stinson Beach parking lot rehabilitation
“Heavy rainfall flooded the Stinson Beach parking lots in October, highlighting the need for rehabilitation by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The agency says frequent submersion of the lots is guiding a new project whose goals and objectives are open for public comment through Dec. 10, the first of three opportunities for public input. The recreation area hopes to maintain visitor amenities, improve traffic circulation, add a bus turnaround and prepare for the increasing intensity and frequency of flooding events. … ” Read more from the Point Reyes Light here: Golden Gate NRA seeks input on goals of Stinson Beach parking lot rehabilitation
These S.F. Bay Area cities saw their warmest start to December
“A handful of Bay Area temperature records fell Wednesday, the product of a stubborn and warm high-pressure system hovering over Northern California to start December. According to data compiled by the National Weather Service, downtown San Francisco hit 73 degrees, besting the old mark of 71 from Dec. 1, 1959. San Francisco International Airport tied its record of 70 degrees, also from 1959. … ” Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle here: These S.F. Bay Area cities saw their warmest start to December
Half Moon Bay: Water managers ask for 10 percent voluntary reductions
“The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which relegates most of the available water to the Coastside, declared a water shortage emergency last week and urged its 2.7 million customers to voluntarily reduce water usage by 10 percent compared to 2019-2020 levels. The new policy is effective immediately and is meant to curtail retail customer water by 5 percent and wholesale water use by nearly 14 percent. In addition to allowing the SFPUC more water reserves and resources, the declaration also includes a temporary 5 percent drought surcharge for San Francisco users that will go into effect on April 1. … ” Read more from the Half Moon Bay Review here: Water managers ask for 10 percent voluntary reductions
Commentary: Who’s blocking the Cal Am buyout?
Melodie Chrislock, director of Public Water Now, writes, “It’s been three years since Measure J was passed by 56% of the vote mandating that the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) buy out Cal Am if feasible. For many months now, MPWMD has been ready to make Cal Am an initial offer. However, they need another local agency, LAFCO, to activate MPWMD’s latent power to provide water service. But LAFCO has been stalling on their approval. If you’ve never heard of LAFCO, you’re not alone. LAFCO stands for Local Agency Formation Commission. Its job is to oversee changes in the services of public agencies or boundary changes. This LAFCO approval process should have been simple. … ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Commentary: Who’s blocking the Cal Am buyout?
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Fresno eyes to recoup cash for $4mil in unpaid water bills
“With Fresnans in arrears more than $4 million for utility bills racked up during the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers are set to take action Thursday to recoup that money while instituting a new water shutoff policy for delinquent residents. Thanks to Senate Bill 998, which became effective in February 2020, water shutoffs in California are prohibited for people who have not paid their bills for fewer than 60 days. The law also prohibits all water shutoffs for residents that can meet the following criteria … ” Continue reading at the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Fresno eyes to recoup cash for $4mil in unpaid water bills
Bakersfield commentary: A river without water?
Harry Love, president of the Kern Audubon Society, writes, “I first arrived in Bakersfield in 1967, from Los Angeles, hired to teach social studies at a local high school. Growing up in Los Angeles, my earliest recollection of the city was seeing, from the back of our family 1955 Ford station wagon, the Bakersfield sign stretching over Union Avenue, next to the Bakersfield Inn. Upon arriving in 1967, I crossed over the Chester Avenue Bridge and noticed a sign that read “No jumping from the bridge.” Looking down, all I saw was a riverbed, no water. I then asked my students if the sign was a joke. Did they have to be reminded that water was missing? They then laughed (sadly) at the idea that a river without water was all that they remembered. Fast-forward to 2021, 54 years later. The sign is still there and, alas, neither is the water. … ” Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Bakersfield commentary: A river without water?
State Water Project allocation drops to 0; LADWP urges more water conservation immediately
“After California announced that there would be a 0% initial allocation of water from the State Water Project in 2022, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Wednesday called on customers to reduce their water usage immediately. “We want to stress to our residents, businesses large and small, and industrial customers, the dire situation we are now facing as a result of two consecutive dry years, and that by further conserving water now, they can make a big difference,” said Anselmo Collins, the head of the LADWP’s Water System. … ” Read more from Fox 11 here: State Water Project allocation drops to 0; LADWP urges more water conservation immediately
Whistleblowers say a Santa Ana sheet metal factory is unsafe, polluting water
“Santa Ana’s industrial water pollution issue is once again spilling into the spotlight, as sheet metal workers take action against their factory over safety complaints and water contamination that’s exceeded allowable levels under the Clean Water Act for years. Pollution levels in stormwater discharged by the Kingspan Light + Air factory in Santa Ana’s Delhi Neighborhood have gone beyond permitted amounts every year since 2018, according to documents the company filed with regulators in May. Yet employee whistleblowers say Kingspan has not taken certain actions to fix the problem and hasn’t followed its own stormwater pollution prevention plan, which was required of the company as a condition for obtaining its state permit. … ” Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Whistleblowers say a Santa Ana sheet metal factory is unsafe, polluting water
Yucaipa Valley Water to save millions through partnership
“The Yucaipa Valley Water District (YVWD) board of directors approved a contract with ENGIE North America for a customized solar, storage and microgram project. The approved contract was announced in a publication by CISION PR Newswire Nov. 2. With widespread upgrades, this will ensure standalone power during outages as part of a larger, clean energy upgrade and also improves water energy. YVWD will prioritize the adoption of clean-powered energy to improve its water energy nexus at two of its most critical locations, the Yucaipa Valley Regional Water Filtration Facility and the Wochholz Regional Water Recycling Facility. … ” Read more from the News Mirror here: Yucaipa Valley Water to save millions through partnership
November was the hottest, driest ever in the Coachella Valley
“This November was the warmest on record for Palm Springs and broad swaths of the desert and Inland Empire. That’s the word from the National Weather Service, which on Wednesday also said average temperature records were set in Anza Borrego State Park, Riverside, Elsinore and San Jacinto. The average temperature in Palm Springs for the month was 72.7 degrees. The previous warmest November on record, averaging 70.9 degrees, was in 2017. … ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: November was the hottest, driest ever in the Coachella Valley
Cash payouts offered to catch brown trout in Colorado River
“National Park Service officials are offering anglers cash bonuses for catching brown trout in the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and the Paria River as part of the Brown Trout Winter Bonanza program. The invasive fish’s population has increased in recent years near Lees Ferry threatening downstream native fish species, which they feed on. … ” Read more from KNAU here: Cash payouts offered to catch brown trout in Colorado River
CRS Report: Contaminants of Emerging Concern under the Clean Water Act
“Recent decades have seen increased national attention to the presence of emerging contaminants Analyst in Environmental or contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in surface water and groundwater. Although there is no federal statutory or regulatory definition of CECs, the term generally refers to unregulated substances detected in the environment that may present a risk to human health, aquatic life, or the environment, and for which scientific understanding of potential risks is evolving. … ” Read the report from the Congressional Research Service here: CRS Report: Contaminants of Emerging Concern under the Clean Water Act
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.