DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Storm set to wallop California with feet of snow, heavy rain; What it would take to fill CA’s reservoirs and end the drought; Battle for Kern River water goes deep into rights, history; and more …
Storm set to wallop California with feet of snow, heavy rain
“A powerful storm is expected to engulf the West Coast and will have the potential to unleash a month’s worth of rain and feet of snowfall from the Cascades to the Sierra Nevada into early next week. Heavy rain and snow will be beneficial for drought relief, but it can lead to major problems for travelers and pose risks to lives and property. AccuWeather meteorologists have been tracking this storm since Thursday, where the strengthening cyclone moved from the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean just south of Alaska on Friday. … ” Read more from AccuWeather here: Storm set to wallop California with feet of snow, heavy rain
Here’s what it would take to fill California’s reservoirs and end the drought this winter
“Dire warnings about communities and farms running dry next year. Headlines proclaiming a potentially dry La Niña winter. Reservoirs already so low they look like sets for post-apocalyptic movies. California seems poised for a continuation of its crippling drought next summer. And that might well be the case. It also might flood. Experts who study California’s weather patterns say it’s too early in the rainy season to make any predictions about the state’s water supply. … ” Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: Here’s what it would take to fill California’s reservoirs and end the drought this winter
Editorial: Governor’s drought solutions: Too little, too late
The San Jose Mercury News editorial board writes, “Four words sum up Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest effort to ease the impact of the drought: too little, too late. California needs to take far more aggressive action to ensure a reliable source of water for 2022 and beyond. Newsom’s administration is targeting unreasonable waste by urban users, who consume 20% of the state’s water. It’s time for him also to get aggressive with Big Ag, which sucks up the other 80%. Proposed rules for urban users recently unveiled by the State Water Resources Control Board would prohibit things such as watering landscaping within 48 hours of rain, spraying down sidewalks and washing vehicles with a hose that lacks a shut-off nozzle. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Editorial: Governor’s drought solutions: Too little, too late
State abandons negotiations, moves ahead to steal your water
John Sweigard, general manager of the Merced Irrigation District, writes, “In October, the State Water Resources Control Board did what most observers always expected it would eventually do. It walked away from any kind of negotiation with our community and simply committed to taking all the water it wanted from you. Here’s what every person in eastern Merced County now stands to lose: A robust and historic local water supply. Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic activity. Your community’s drinking water quality. Environmental benefits in and along local streams. Recreation at Lakes McClure and McSwain, including camping, fishing, boating and more. Water flowing in local streams throughout the year, including Bear Creek. At issue is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan and the water responsibly used by our community for more than a century. … ” Read more from the Merced County Times here: State abandons negotiations, moves ahead to steal your water
In people news this weekend …
10 Minutes With Sandra Kerl: General Manager for the San Diego County Water Authority
“Sandra Kerl has been with the San Diego County Water Authority (Water Authority) since 2009 and was appointed the general manager (GM) in November 2019. One of her first challenges as GM was leading the transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic for about three-quarters of the Water Authority’s 250 employees. Sandra recently sat down with Brown and Caldwell’s Wendy Broley, director of technical practices, and Mike Puccio, Southern California operations director, to talk about her experience dealing with unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, and drought. Q: What is the most important leadership quality in dealing with the unprecedented challenges facing the industry? A:Today’s leaders need to be inclusive, and focus on cooperation, engagement, and partnerships. The issues are so complex; the problem-solving that needs to happen requires many stakeholders. … ” Continue reading at BC Water News here: 10 Minutes With Sandra Kerl: General Manager for the San Diego County Water Authority
Tanya Trujillo: A Colorado River veteran takes on the top water & science post at Interior Department
“For more than 20 years, Tanya Trujillo has been immersed in the many challenges of the Colorado River, the drought-stressed lifeline for 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles and the source of irrigation water for more than 5 million acres of winter lettuce, supermarket melons and other crops. Trujillo has experience working in both the upper and lower basins of the Colorado River, basins that split the river’s water evenly but are sometimes at odds with each other. Now, she’ll have a chance to draw upon those different perspectives as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, where she oversees the U.S. Geological Survey and – more important for the Colorado River and federal water projects in California – the Bureau of Reclamation. … ” Continue reading at Western Water here: Tanya Trujillo: A Colorado River veteran takes on the top water & science post at Interior Department
Biden names Martha Guzman Aceves to lead EPA in California, western U.S.
“A longtime advocate for disadvantaged communities and the environment with roots in central California has been tapped by the Biden administration to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, covering the southwestern United States and Pacific islands. Martha Guzman Aceves, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission for the past five years, was announced Thursday as President Joe Biden’s appointee to become the Region 9 administrator for the federal environmental agency. ... ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Biden names Central Valley advocate to lead EPA in California, western U.S.
Orchard Dale Water District mourns the loss of Director Robert Noonan
Orchard Dale Water District honors its Director Robert “Bob” J. Noonan for his dedication of twenty-eight years of service to the District, family, community, the United States Armed Forces, and Civil Service. Bob will always be remembered for his charm, smile, love of life, and people. As an ambassador of the Orchard Dale Water District he embodied leadership, oversight, and protection of our District’s assets of water rights, infrastructure projects, and a steadfast dedication to the well-being of his community.
CVWD mourns loss of former Board Director Franz De Klotz
“Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is mourning the passing of former Board Director Franz De Klotz. “Franz was a dedicated and enthusiastic Director who brought a strong understanding of water resources and a commitment to keeping the district working smoothly while still being a budget hawk, ensuring that he was always an advocate for the rate payers” said CVWD Board President John Powell. “I learned so much from him. He taught me how to question, to dig deeper on what was best for the district and the people.” After being appointed to the CVWD Board in 2010, De Klotz won election to a full term on the board that same year and served as vice president during that tenure before opting not to run for another term. … ” Continue reading at the Coachella Valley Water District here: CVWD mourns loss of former director
WHAT MATTERS PODCAST: Karla Nemeth and Joaquin Esquivel
Hear how the State of California is coping with the current severe drought and impacts of climate change from two of its top leaders: E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board and Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources. This candid and informative conversation also includes discussion of personal leadership style, how big data is helping improve California water quality, and more. Esquivel and Nemeth discuss drought resiliency, reconciling California’s water past with an inclusive future, and share personal stories about how they got their start in water policy and why they are passionate about it.
JIVE TALKING PODCAST: Cynthia Koehler on environmental laws and local water management
Cynthia Koehler is an environmental attorney and water policy expert with 30 years of experience working on federal and state water and natural resource issues. She is the co-founder and executive director of WaterNow Alliance, a nonprofit network of local water leaders advancing sustainable, equitable and climate resilient water management strategies nationwide, with a particular focus on innovative infrastructure finance and policy. She has served for the last 16 years as an elected Board Director for Marin Water, a public water provider serving a population of 200,000 people and responsible for managing 21,000 acres of watershed lands. She is an appointed member of the US EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) Council, and served previously on US EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee, and Governor Brown’s Urban Advisory Group. She worked previously as the Legislative Director for California water issues for the Environmental Defense Fund, and is the recipient of The Bay Institute’s Hero of the Bay Award, as well as other commendations for her environmental leadership.
Local government officials and staff responsible for water management often have limited resources and must avoid risk, putting them on the constant search for proven solutions that work for their peers. Enter The Atlas, an online community where they can browse case studies, follow topics, and crowdsource ideas and advice, as discussed in this episode with Ellory Monks, Co-Founder of The Atlas. Ellory explains that water content has always been extremely popular on the platform and that lead, green infrastructure, data and technology, and sea level rise are leading categories of case studies.
VOICES OF THE VALLEY PODCAST: The interplay between water, tech, and regulation
Speaking from the unique perspective of both a farmer and technologist, Domonic Rossini discusses the key elements for creating a formula that results in a more automated, efficient and sustainable farm. Domonic, Netafim’s team leader of agronomy in the west, outlines how to take proven technology from Israel and tailor it to meet the needs of each farm – with a focus on altering the tech to meet specific regulations required in respective regions throughout California. He also touches on how to translate data from algorithms to use water more efficiently on the farm, the future of water technology (think, behind-the-scenes data sharing) and the trick to building and implementing water technology that lasts.
RIPPLE EFFECT PODCAST: Rewind! The Future of Water Distribution
This week we are revisiting an earlier episode that is still highly relevant to today’s water discussion. We are looking back on the discussion of episode 11: The Future of Water Distribution with Jay Humphrey of Emery Water Conservancy District and Amy Green from the Rural Water Technology Alliance. They unpack what it takes to measure and monitor a large scale distribution system.
WHAT ABOUT WATER WITH JAY FAMIGLIETTI PODCAST: ‘Portfolios will tank’: Mindy Lubber, money and water
We’re already reaping the financial repercussions of climate change. Four Twenty Seven projects that by 2040, roughly $78 trillion, equivalent to about 57% of the world’s current GDP, will be exposed to flooding. On this episode of What About Water? we ask the question: can market incentives align with climate priorities? And how do we hold big corporations accountable? We speak with Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit driving climate solutions through a surprising demographic – influential investors and fortune 500 companies. Mindy breaks down investors’ call for action leading up to COP26 and how, if we really want to create change, influencing corporate interest is part of the solution
Spring 2023 the target for removing four Nor Cal dams to free 400 miles of rivers and tributaries
“If all goes as planned, the removal of four PacifiCorp Dams on the Klamath River that have blocked salmon and steelhead migration for over 100 years will begin in early 2023, according to Mark Bransom, executive director of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, or the KRRC. Bransom spoke at a press briefing that also featured Yurok Tribe Lawyer Amy Cordallis, Trout Unlimited California Director Brian Johnson, Karuk Tribe Natural Resources Policy Consultant Craig Tucker, Sustainable Northwest Klamath Basin Manager Kelly Delpit, and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen director Glen Spain. Tucker moderated the event. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento News & Review here: Spring 2023 the target for removing four Nor Cal dams to free 400 miles of rivers and tributaries
Northern California winter storm will bring snow, rain; warnings extended through Tuesday
“The National Weather Service has extended winter storm warnings in Northern California, including in Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties. Powerful storms are expected to hit areas from far Northern California to the San Francisco Bay Area. In the North State, from Burney to Redding to the Lake Almanor area, the winter storm warning is in effect from 4 p.m. on Saturday to 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Redding and other areas of the Sacramento Valley floor will get 3 to 4 inches of rain Saturday night through Tuesday, weather service meteorologist Anna Wanless said. … ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Northern California winter storm will bring snow, rain; warnings extended through Tuesday
Sacramento exceeds last year’s total rainfall in less than three months
“If you did a rain dance last year, it looks like it worked. After only three months into the current water year, Sacramento is already expected to surpass last year’s total rainfall. With the water year running from October to September, last year, Downtown Sacramento received 7.87 inches of rain for the entire year. However, this year, we are already measuring 7.72 inches of rain since the start of this water year in October. If storm projections are accurate, Sacramento will likely see more rain in these first three months of the 2021/2022 water year than we saw during the entire year of 2020/2021. … ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Sacramento exceeds last year’s total rainfall in less than three months
Atmospheric river bringing rain, cold front to Sonoma County
“Rain, cold temperatures and a possible thunderstorm are all on deck as another atmospheric river builds offshore before moving through the North Bay starting Sunday. The new system is expected to move through the region quickly and deliver less rain than the powerful atmospheric river in October, said Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. That storm dumped up to a foot of rain in some areas of county, setting a new 24-hour record in Santa Rosa, where 7.83 inches fell in one day. The incoming weather system is expected to arrive Sunday, and skies are forecast to clear up Tuesday. … ” Read more from the Press Democrat here: Atmospheric river bringing rain, cold front to Sonoma County
Atmospheric river could bring ’18 hours of relatively solid rain’ to SF Bay Area
“It’s about to get wet. A moisture-rich atmospheric river was approaching the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday morning and expected to push across the region Saturday night, across Sunday and into Monday, the National Weather Service said. Rainfall totals are expected to range from 1 inch to 3.5 inches across urban areas and up to 6 inches in the coastal mountains. This storm will likely mark the biggest rain event the region has seen since a similar storm swept the Bay Area on Nov. 9. … ” Read more from the SF Gate here: Atmospheric river could bring ’18 hours of relatively solid rain’ to SF Bay Area
Alameda County Water District declares water shortage emergency, new restrictions in effect
“Mandatory water restrictions are now in effect for Fremont, Newark and Union City, following the Alameda County Water District’s declaration of a water shortage emergency. Facing a third consecutive upcoming dry year in the state, the district’s board on Thursday unanimously voted to declare the emergency and adopt new water use restrictions, aimed at reducing water usage in the Tri-City area by 15%. Water reduction targets will not be imposed on individual customer accounts, but instead the district is prohibiting any wasteful water use districtwide. Effective immediately, customers in the district may only water lawns and other landscaping once every other week, through February, though not when it is raining. More watering days would likely be allowed in warmer months, the district said. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Alameda County Water District declares water shortage emergency, new restrictions in effect
South San Francisco: Regional capture project aims to clean, reuse & recharge stormwater
“The City of South San Francisco is constructing a regional storm water capture project that is the first of its kind in northern California. The project captures storm water runoff from Colma Creek, processes and cleans it, reuses it for irrigation and to recharge groundwater, and then returns the water to its path to the San Francisco Bay. The system will clean water for trash, sediment, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), the latter two of which can cause adverse health effects. The project was generated in response to regional planning requiring a reduction in mercury and PCBs in storm water runoff flowing to the Bay. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) made it feasible through a $15.5M Cooperative Implementation Agreement. … ” Read more from Stormwater Solutions here: South San Francisco: Regional capture project aims to clean, reuse & recharge stormwater
Construction to begin on Pure Water Soquel purification plant
“Officials on Friday marked the beginning of construction on the Chanticleer Water Purification plant — the “heart” of the Pure Water Soquel project — where treated wastewater will undergo further purification before it is injected back underground. The recycling process will provide a buffer against seawater contamination, bolster drinking water supplies and raise groundwater levels that are depleted after decades of overuse. “We just experienced the driest two-year period on record here in the state,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. “The climate crisis is incredibly real and it creates a lot of anxiety … but this project is an example of taking that anxiety and transforming it into action.” … ” Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here: Construction to begin on Pure Water Soquel purification plant
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Commentary: Here’s how to combat illegal marijuana grows in Stanislaus National forest
Megan Fiske, executive director of Jackson-based Foothill Conservancy, and Ryan Henson, policy director of Cannabis Removal on Public Lands Project/CalWild, writes, “While cannabis has been legalized in California for nearly five years, the illegal growing of marijuana on California’s public lands has steadily increased. Thousands of cartel-controlled trespass grows are ruining California’s public lands by killing wildlife, depleting and contaminating our water sources, and making many places we love to visit potentially dangerous. While most of these operations have been historically located in northern California, they are expanding throughout the state, including the Stanislaus National Forest where there have been multiple grow operations identified in the Tuolumne River drainage alone. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Here’s how to combat illegal marijuana grows in Stanislaus National forest
Eastern Tule GSA groundwater sustainability plan has ‘deficiencies’
“The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency received a letter from the State Department of Water Resources on Thursday that its Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan in effect has “deficiencies.” But ETSGA has not been alone as so far only a handful of plans from across the state have been approved. Most agencies that have been evaluated have received letters stating their plans were inadequate or letters that were critical of their plans. On Thursday, the ETSGA received one of six form letters that were sent out to agencies covering six subbasins that essentially cover the San Joaquin Valley south of Fresno County. All of the letters were nearly identically worded. … ” Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Eastern Tule GSA groundwater sustainability plan has ‘deficiencies’
Battle for Kern River water goes deep into rights, history
“The state hearing on whether there is “loose” water on the Kern River got started Thursday and was quickly snared in a thicket of procedural issues, arcane water rights and water diversion practices. After two very full days of testimony and legal wrangling, the upshot is that there is no upshot, just yet. Administrative Hearing Officer Nicole Kuenzi hasn’t decided whether she’ll make a ruling on whether there is unappropriated water on the river until completion of a second set of hearings, which will look specifically at high-flow river water. No word on when those hearings will start, much less be finished. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Battle for Kern River water goes deep into rights, history
Several entities battle over water rights in Kern County
“It’s an issue other communities have faced, who owns the natural resources in the area. In Kern County, the resource battle is over water and several local entities have been fighting over who gets it for over a decade now. This battle is because whoever has the water rights is allowed to choose how to use and divert water from water sources, which in this case is the Kern River. This impacts domestic use, irrigation, recreation, stock watering just to list a few. This week, the state water board has taken up the case. … ” Read more from Channel 23 here: Several entities battle over water rights in Kern County
As drought deepens, a city looks to restore dry riverbed into flowing river
“The Kern River moves from the Sierra Nevada, a flowing oasis for flora and fauna, coursing to the northeast side of Bakersfield, California. Then it pools, drying out and turning into miles of sand. The river once flowed through the city of about 384,000, providing habitat for wildlife and recreational activities for residents, but the water was diverted decades ago to irrigate area farmlands. Now, a vocal group of residents is hoping the river will return to its former glory as the state decides whether to reallocate some water left unused 14 years ago. … ” Read more from NBC News here: As drought deepens, a city looks to restore dry riverbed into flowing river
Why aren’t we collecting rainwater? Don’t worry — smart people are working on it
“Every time it rains, Angelenos might be thinking: are we saving any of that rain water? Thursday’s storm brought some much needed rainfall, but with a burgeoning drought, many Southern California residents are wondering if we benefitted at all. Some of Thursday’s storm water went to waste in concrete drainage channels. Otherwise fresh runoff was carrying trash and other pollutants eventually out to sea. There is a better way — and Esther Woo can show you. … ” Continue reading at NBC LA here: Why aren’t we collecting rainwater? Don’t worry — smart people are working on it
LA to seek federal infrastructure bill funds to remediate orphaned oil wells
“Los Angeles officials joined U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland today to discuss opportunities through the new infrastructure bill to fund the remediation of Los Angeles’ idle oil wells. There are a total of 5,000 oil wells identified statewide eligible for a portion of the $4.7 billion in remediation funding through the infrastructure bill, according to Uduak-Joe Ntuk, California’s Oil and Gas Supervisor. His agency, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, is working to submit an application for the funding. The state will be competing with about 30 other states for portions of the funds, he said. Haaland noted that Los Angeles County has “one of the highest concentrations of oil and gas wells of any city in the entire country, with some recent estimates suggesting that 500,000 people in L.A. live within half a mile of a well.” … ” Read more from the Long Beach Press Telegram here: LA to seek federal infrastructure bill funds to remediate orphaned oil wells
San Diego Water Board approvesuse ofhighlytreated wastewater for groundwater replenishment
“Furtheringeffortsto improve resilienceandprotect drinking watersupplies threatened by climate change impacts, the San Diego RegionalWaterQualityControl Boardfor the first timehasauthorizedthe use of advanced treatedrecycled wastewaterto replenish groundwater. The permit approvedby the San Diego Water Board allowsPure Water Oceansideto inject up to three million gallonsper dayofhighly treated water from its Advanced Water Purification Facility into the San Luis Rey Hydrologic Unit, wherethe recycled waterwillcommingle with naturally occurring groundwater. Six months later,the water will beextractedfrom the aquiferand undergo final treatment at theMission BasinGroundwater Purification Facilitybeforebeingdistributedthroughout the regionasdrinking water. … ” Read more from the San Diego Water Board here: San Diego Water Board approvesuse ofhighlytreated wastewater for groundwater replenishment
Working within Colorado River’s 1922 water compact for 21st century focus of annual meeting
“As the climate change-fueled Colorado River crisis worsens, hundreds of water leaders from each of the seven basin states will gather in Las Vegas next week for the annual Colorado River Water Users Association Conference. The backdrop to many of policymakers’ discussions is sure to be one of the most important legal documents governing how the river’s waters are shared: the 1922 Colorado River Compact, which divvied up flows between the upper basin and lower basin. But this agreement is a relic of the 20th century. Those flows — totaling 15 million acre-feet, with 7.5 million for each basin — no longer exist, if they ever existed in the first place. The river was over-allocated to begin with, and hotter and drier conditions mean flows will continue to dwindle. … ” Read more from the Aspen Times here: Working within Colorado River’s 1922 water compact for 21st century focus of annual meeting
PFAS destruction technologies are starting to emerge
“At a Dec. 7 hearing held jointly by two subcommittees of the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, lawmakers learned about one emerging approach, supercritical water oxidation. Battelle, a nonprofit research and development organization that does contract work mainly for the US government, presented its work developing the technology. Battelle’s PFAS Annihilator technology relies on supercritical water plus an oxidizer to break the carbon-fluorine bonds in these persistent compounds, Amy Dindal, the organization’s director of environmental research and development, said at the hearing. … ” Read more from Chemical and Engineering News here: PFAS destruction technologies are starting to emerge
Infrastructure act will pump $3B into nation’s ailing dams
“The recently signed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes about $3 billion for dam safety, modernization and removal, as well as for hydropower projects. While that sum is not enough to cover all needed repairs and upgrades for the nation’s aging dams, it does mark a significant uptick in funding, according to experts. The act addresses problematic dams in three ways: rehabilitating them for safety and efficiency; retrofitting them to enhance electricity production and protect marine wildlife; and removing the ones that no longer provide much benefit and harm the environment. … ” Continue reading from Construction Dive here: Infrastructure act will pump $3B into nation’s ailing dams
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.