WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for Nov 28-Dec 3: Update on interim operations plan for SWP/CVP, voluntary agreements; Pesticides in the Delta; Thresholds for salmon survival; plus all the top water news of the week

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

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This week’s featured articles …

MET BAY DELTA COMMITTEE: Update on interim operations plan for SWP/CVP, voluntary agreements

At the November meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Committee, Bay-Delta Initiatives Manager Steven Arakawa briefed the committee members on recent communications from elected officials and others regarding the operations of the federal and state water projects and the voluntary agreements.

Click here to read this article.


MONTHLY RESERVOIR REPORT for December 1

Written by Robert Shibatani

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.

Click here to read this article.


DELTA LEAD SCIENTIST REPORT: Effects of pesticides on species in the Delta; plus activities of the Delta Science Program

At the November meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council during the Delta Lead Scientist report, Dr. Laurel Larsen spotlighted recent Council-funded research on the effects of pesticides on species in the Delta and provided an update on the activities of the Delta Science Program.

Click here to read this article.

 


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.

Click here to read this article.


RISING VOICES: LA Compost on healthy soil for healthy waters and community

Each month, the Water Hub is checking in with advocates and organizers in California to talk about water and other environmental justice issues impacting local communities. December 5 is #WorldSoilDay, so we spoke with LA Compost Founder and Executive Director, Michael Martinez, and Soil & Compost Specialist, Lynn Fang, about the benefits of composting, community connection and the relationship between healthy soils and waters in California.

Click here to read this article.

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In California water news this week …

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

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

DWR initiates $100 million funding program to rehabilitate four major water conveyance facilities

Today, the California Department of Water Resources initiated a $100 million funding program to restore capacity to portions of the California Aqueduct, San Luis Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal, and Friant-Kern Canal lost to land subsidence occurring during the last several decades.  “Fixing these canals is an important foundational piece to ensure a reliable and climate resilient water supply for California,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “It enables us to move water during very wet conditions, which will be essential to adapting to more extreme weather. Restoring capacity in our existing infrastructure provides a critical link in diversifying water supplies by supporting groundwater replenishment throughout the Central Valley and water recycling projects in Southern California. It’s a prudent investment in our water future.” … ”  Read more from DWR here: DWR initiates $100 million funding program to rehabilitate four major water conveyance facilities

Water agency amends plans for Delta Tunnel

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) amended a federal permit application last week to change to the preferred tunnel route for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project (DCP), a move that has Delta advocates questioning DWR’s long-term plans for the South Delta.  The agency said the move was necessary to align the federal permit application – known as a Section 404 and filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) – and a draft environmental impact report that is currently being prepared by DWR. The so-called Bethany Alternative will be the preferred project in both documents, though DWR stressed that the change does not indicate that a decision has been made with regard to the route the tunnel will take if the project is approved. … ”  Read more from The Press here: Water agency amends plans for Delta Tunnel

As drought continues, DWR announces plan to suspend Delta water quality standards

Dan Bacher writes, “As the three latest fish surveys on the Delta reveal that the Delta smelt is virtually extinct in the wild, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced an initial State Water Project (SWP) allocation of 0 percent for state water contractors in 2022, with the exception of certain health and safety needs.  DWR also announced several steps to “manage the state’s water supply” in anticipation of a third dry year with reservoirs at or near historic lows, including the submission by DWR and the Bureau of Reclamation of a new Temporary Urgency Change Petition (TUCP) to the State Water Resources Control Board that suspends Delta water quality standards and delaying the removal of the Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier in the Delta. … ”  Read more from the Daily Kos here:  As drought continues, DWR announces plan to suspend Delta water quality standards

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 interim operations plan

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

State Water Board releases draft emergency regulations prohibiting wasteful water use

As California continues to face severe drought conditions exacerbated by climate change, the State Water Resources Control Board today released a draft emergency regulation to prohibit water waste and bolster water conservation. The emergency regulation follows Governor Newsom’s October drought proclamation which directed the State Water Board to consider and adopt the prohibitions if necessary.  If passed, the regulation will make engaging in wasteful water practices such as excessive irrigation causing runoff, using potable water for street cleaning, or irrigating landscapes within 48 hours of measurable rainfall, a violation for all Californians as well as businesses and institutions. Local water districts would be expected to enforce the regulations, and violations could result in fines. In addition, the regulation would allow the State Water Board to prevent homeowners’ associations from restricting water conservation measures, like installing drought-tolerant landscaping.  Members of the public can comment on the draft before the State Water Board considers it for adoption early next year.

Spoiler title

How to submit written comments

Members of the public can provide feedback on the draft regulation by no later than noon P.S.T., Thursday, December 23, 2021, as follows:

Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the Board
State Water Resources Control Board
P.O. Box 100, Sacramento, CA 95812-2000 (by mail)
1001 I Street, 24th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 (by hand delivery)

 Background:

California and the entire Western United States are facing a significant drought in the wake of one the driest periods on record. Climate change is making droughts more frequent and severe. The current drought has already caused significant impacts to ecosystems, agricultural production and municipal water supplies across the state. Although Californians have maintained lower water use from conservation actions taken during the last drought, there is still significant statewide conservation potential, and conservation is the quickest and least costly way to stretch water supplies.

On October 19, 2021, the Governor issued a proclamation expanding the drought emergency statewide and enabling the State Water Board to ban wasteful water practices. The prohibited practices proposed in the draft regulation published today are listed in full below:

  • The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes more than incidental runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures;
  • The use of a hose that dispenses water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use;
  • The use of potable water for washing sidewalks, driveways, buildings, structures, patios, parking lots, or other hard surfaced areas, except in cases where health and safety are at risk;
  • The use of potable water for street cleaning or construction purposes, unless no other method can be used to protect the health and safety of the public;
  • The use of potable water for decorative fountains or the filling or topping-off of decorative lakes or ponds, with exceptions for those decorative fountains, lakes, or ponds that use pumps to recirculate water and only require refilling to replace evaporative losses;
  • The application of water to irrigate turf and ornamental landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall of at least one-fourth of one inch of rain. In determining whether measurable rainfall of at least one-fourth of one inch of rain occurred in a given area, enforcement may be based on records of the National Weather Service, the closest California Irrigation Management Information System station to the parcel, or any other reliable source of rainfall data available to the entity undertaking enforcement of this subdivision; and
  • The use of potable water for irrigation of turf on public street medians or publicly owned or maintained landscaped areas between the street and sidewalk.

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

State agencies recommend indoor residential water use standard to legislature

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) have submitted a report to the Legislature recommending that urban water suppliers achieve an indoor water use efficiency standard of 55 gallons per capita per day by 2023, declining to 47 gallons per day by 2025, and 42 gallons by 2030 and beyond. If adopted by the Legislature, the standards recommended by DWR and the State Water Board would be implemented at the water supplier level and would not apply to individual customers.  The report, required under water conservation legislation enacted in 2018 (Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606), is intended to inform the Legislature as it considers next steps to advance progressive and achievable indoor residential water use standards. The report notes that the current statewide median indoor residential water use is 48 gallons per capita per day, and that a quarter of California households already use less than 42 gallons per capita per day. … ”  Read more from DWR here: State agencies recommend indoor residential water use standard to legislature

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

Valuing water rights in eminent domain

As water becomes scarcer in California, public agencies are looking for new sources and opportunities to provide water to their communities. When the government identifies those water sources but confronts unwilling sellers, eminent domain sometimes becomes necessary. This is currently taking place in the Antelope Valley, where the Rosamond Community Services District recently approved the adoption of a resolution of necessity to acquire water rights from agricultural land by eminent domain.  The District is facing shortages in its future water supplies and it is limited in the amount of groundwater it may use to serve its customers. … ”  Read more from Nossaman here: Valuing water rights in eminent domain

Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada could disappear in just 25 years

As the climate continues to warm, more and more of the snow falling on California’s mountains will be replaced by rain. Already in recent decades, the snow season has shrunk by a month, according to one estimate, while snow levels have moved upward by 1,200 feet, according to another.  Scientists and water managers say that at some point California’s snowpack could simply disappear. This would leave the state without the crucial spring and summer melt-off that fills rivers and streams, nourishes plants and animals, and provides a huge chunk of the water supply. It would also be devastating for the ski industry.  This snowless future, according to a new study led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, could arrive in California’s Sierra Nevada in as soon as 25 years. ... ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada could disappear in just 25 years

Groundwater plan managers not rattled by state’s initial negative reviews

Though the state’s first informal assessment of four San Joaquin Valley groundwater plans noted several — sometimes significant — deficiencies in those plans, groundwater managers were confident they could bring the plans up to snuff.  “I did not read it as a failure at all,” said Stephanie Anagnoson, director of water and natural resources for Madera County, which includes the Chowchilla district. “These are challenging water resource issues. I think it’s hard to be in the first batch of these where there’s no model.”  The Department of Water Resources issued letters on Nov. 18 to the Eastern San Joaquin and Merced subbasins as well as the Chowchilla and Westlands water districts calling out problems with those plans. DWR also approved four plans outside of the valley. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Groundwater plan managers not rattled by state’s initial negative reviews

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In commentary this week …

Dan Walters: Drought has big impacts on California agriculture

As California experiences a second year of drought, with no end in sight, the effects on California’s largest-in-the-nation agricultural industry are profound and perhaps permanent.  State and federal water agencies have cut deliveries to some farmers to zero while others, thanks to water rights dating back more than a century, still have access to water.  Farmers are reacting to shortages in three, often intertwined ways — suspending cultivation of some fields or ripping up orchards for lack of water, drilling new wells to tap into diminishing aquifers, and buying water from those who have it.  All three have major economic impacts. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Drought has big impacts on California agriculture

California water news keeps getting worse as climate emergency sharply limits supplies

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board writes, “The grim news about the climate emergency just keeps rolling in. San Diego International Airport saw its driest November since 1980, with only a trace of rain recorded the entire month. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the state Department of Water Resources said that California agencies that provide water to 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland will get 0 percent of requested water from the reservoirs, canals and dams that comprise the State Water Project. Seven agencies will get some water, but only for urgent health and safety needs, including indoor sanitation and fire suppression.  The San Diego County Water Authority — which made the courageous and game-changing decision in 1991 to diversify its supplies and no longer rely so heavily on the giant, mercurial Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — won’t be affected by the state decision. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: California water news keeps getting worse as climate emergency sharply limits supplies

Why dwindling snow in mountains east of Modesto should startle everyone

Columnist Garth Stapley writes, “When we’re warned that someday there won’t be much snow in mountains east of Modesto, we may think of how we’ll miss tubing with the kids on snowy patches by Long Barn, Strawberry or Spicer, or at Leland Snow Play near Pinecrest. Reduced snow would mean fewer skiing days at Dodge Ridge or Bear Valley. But climate change will affect more than just those looking for snow recreation. All of our lives will be touched, because all of us drink water and eat food requiring water to grow. ... ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: Why dwindling snow in mountains east of Modesto should startle everyone

Use the budget surplus to address the issue of water

Roger Miller, a retired administrator for Southern California Edison, writes, “Re “How should California spend its big budget surplus?”; Commentary, Dan Walters, Nov. 22, 2021:  To answer the question, we should address the single most pressing and potentially catastrophic future issue facing California – water.  My vote goes to determining the best, proven current large-scale desalination technology available today, prioritizing possible facility sites, current and future capacity needs, and evaluating the fiscal, social and environmental costs. … ”  Continue reading from Cal Matters here: Use the budget surplus to address the issue of water

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

In regional water news this week …

Shasta Dam still at 25% capacity after second-driest summer

Despite the wet start to this year’s rain season, Shasta Dam remains at only 25% capacity.  “So three-quarters of the lake is empty; we need some really significant winter storms back-to-back-to-back to help fill this lake,” said Don Bader, the area manager at Shasta Dam.  Bader says they would like to have the dam typically around 60% full during this time of year. He says the dam depends mostly on rainfall. … ”  Read more from KRCR here:  Shasta Dam still at 25% capacity after second-driest summer

Yuba County Water Agency could ship billions of gallons of water to bay area amid drought

California needs water and one local water agency wants to take a big step toward helping counties in danger of going dry.  The Yuba Water Agency could sell and ship billions of gallons of water to Marin County through a pipeline across a bridge.  This pipeline would be built across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. There’s no official price tag for this project just yet, but the Marin Independent Journal estimates it could be more than $10 million.  Under the transfer agreement, the Yuba Water Agency would sell at least 10,000 acre-feet of water to the Contra Costa Water District and East Bay Municipal Utility District from its new Bullards Bar Reservoir. ... ”  Read more from Channel 13 here: Yuba County Water Agency could ship billions of gallons of water to bay area amid drought

‘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

Vineyard technology working to combat the Napa Valley water crisis

In a response to the ongoing drought, Napa Valley vineyards are taking advantage of water-saving technologies to minimize the threat to their vines.  At Somerston Estate in St. Helena, this innovation comes in the form of aerial mapping and neutron probes, both of which General Manager Craig Becker utilizes to cut down on the property’s water use. And clocking in at a whopping 1,600-plus acres, the estate’s crew can use all the techy help it can get.  Drones fly above the vineyard to specific designated spots, taking note of the foliage color and vigor, whereas probes in the soil register just how much water is available to the vines. Then, through the beauty of technology, Becker and his staff are able to keep track of the fluctuations and accommodate irrigation and treatments accordingly. … ”  Read more from the Napa Register here: Vineyard technology working to combat the Napa Valley water crisis

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

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

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

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

Camarillo’s next wave of water unveiled with long-awaited desalter facility

Camarillo’s long-awaited desalter plant will soon begin treating previously unusable groundwater to convert into drinkable water for residents and businesses.  The city unveiled the $66.3 million North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter, located at 2727 Somis Road, at a ribbon cutting before a crowd of about 100 people on Tuesday. The desalter will begin trickling water into the city’s water supply in April, slowly increasing its output until its providing 3.4 million gallons of potable water per day, according to Lucie McGovern, Camarillo deputy public works director and project manager. … ”  Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Camarillo’s next wave of water unveiled with long-awaited desalter facility

Major extra cuts to be made in Arizona deliveries of Colorado River water next year

The Central Arizona Project’s governing board took the first steps Thursday toward approving Arizona’s share of a plan to save a half-million acre-feet a year of Colorado River water in order to prop up ailing Lake Mead.  The plan, adopted unanimously by the board, calls for Arizona users of the river water — mostly those on CAP supplies — to shoulder more than 40% of that total, or 223,000 acre-feet in 2022. The cuts are all supposed to be voluntary and temporary, and to be compensated by either state or federal money, totalling $100 million a year for the entire conservation program. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Major extra cuts to be made in Arizona deliveries of Colorado River water next year

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

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Weekly features …

BLOG ROUND-UP: California’s resources agencies and the delta smelt’s slide toward extinction; Another threat to winter-run salmon in 2021 – Fall Sacramento River bypass overflows; Reasoning with regulators, benefitting from bureaucrats; and more …

Click here to read the blog round-up.

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Announcements, notices, and funding opportunities …

NOTICE: Notice Of Consideration Of Adoption Of California’s 2020-2022 Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List and Notice of Availability of Proposed Final Documents and Responses to Comments

VELES WEEKLY REPORT: First uptick in the water price in 12 weeks, is this a start of a trend reversal or a blip on the radar?

NOTICE: San Joaquin River Restoration Program Resumes Restoration Flows

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~Lunch-MAR~ Risk Rating~ Delta Watershed~ Kaweah Strategy~ Conservation Grants~ EPA Summit~ Coastal Funds ~~

DELTA eNEWS: ~~ Dutch Slough~ Environmental Webinar~ ISB Meeting~ Invasive Species~~

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