On the calendar today …
- FREE SYMPOSIUM: Delta Invasive Species from 9am to 2:30pm. This year’s Symposium will focus on early detection and rapid response (EDRR) to invasive species, highlighting lessons learned, current EDRR efforts across the Delta and beyond, and future challenges and solutions for EDRR work. The virtual Symposium will consist of invited talks, a panel discussion, and an opportunity for participants to provide feedback on a draft Delta EDRR Framework being developed by the Delta Interagency Invasive Species Coordination (DIISC) Team. Click here to register.
- MEETING: The California Water Commission will meet beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include continuing eligibility and feasibility determinations fro the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project, Willow Springs Water Bank Conjunctive Use project, Sites Reservoir, and Pacheco Reservoir Expansion; and screening project feasibliity determinations for the Stanislaus Regional Surface Water Supply Project and Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir. Click here for complete agenda and remote access instructions.
- PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Possible Alternative Approaches to Address Water Supply Shortages in the Delta Watershed from 10am to 4pm. State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or Board) staff will hold a technical workshop to receive input regarding possible alternative approaches to address severe water supply shortages in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Delta) watershed, including but not limited to a curtailment methodology similar to standard water right Term 91. Click here for the full workshop notice. Additional information and document here: NOTICE: Water Board posts document explaining possible curtailment method based on a water right Term 91 type approach
- WEBINAR: Did Water Matter at COP26? Does Climate Policy Matter to Water? from 10am to 11am. COP26 in Glasgow already seems to have the potential to be a transformative event, both for climate policy and for the water community in particular. During this webinar, John Matthews, Executive Director of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) will reflect on more than a decade of attending COPs as a technical water professional, interested in how the water and climate communities need each other, what happened at COP that is relevant to us in water, and where we may be headed over the next few years — especially in Egypt at COP27 next year. Presented by the American Water Resources Association. Click here for more information and to register.
- WEBCAST: Modeling under SGMA: Using sensitivity analyses to guide future data acquisition from 12pm to 1pm. This talk presents an approach for using sensitivity analyses as a method of identifying data acquisition strategies that provide the greatest benefits during a GSA’s path towards sustainability. Presented by the Groundwater Resources Association. Click here to register.
- PUBLIC MEETING: Sites Reservoir RDEIR/SDEIS #1 from 6pm to 8pm. This meeting will provide information about the project and the draft environmental analysis, and to accept public comments on the RDEIR/SDEIS. The meeting will begin with a presentation followed by an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments. Click here for more information.
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In California water news today …
Another storm on the horizon for Wednesday night after atmospheric river storm pummeled the Bay Area
“Crews cleared leaves from storm drains and removed downed trees and utility lines Tuesday after a robust atmospheric river storm pounded Northern California, flooding portions of major highways, dumping snow on the Bay Area’s highest peaks and prompting evacuation warnings in areas scarred by wildfires. But the Bay Area hasn’t seen the last of the rainfall this week. Another storm — much weaker — is brewing for Wednesday night while Lake Tahoe could get several more feet of snow on Thursday. And smaller storms are possible over the weekend, signaling that the storm door has swung wide open. ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Another storm on the horizon for Wednesday night after atmospheric river storm pummeled the Bay Area
California cleans up after powerful storm drenches state
“Cleanup was under way after a powerful storm swept through California, setting rainfall records in the drought-stricken state but also triggering rescue efforts on a raging river and in canyon communities hit by mudslides. The National Weather Service reported remarkable rainfall, including 11 inches (28 centimeters) over 72 hours at Mount Tamalpais just north of San Francisco. By Tuesday afternoon, 8.1 inches (20 centimeters) of rain had fallen in one area of Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles. More than 4.6 inches (11.8 centimeters) fell within 24 hours in Orange County’s Silverado Canyon, south of LA, where sheriff’s deputies rescued residents after mud inundated homes in the area scarred by wildfires. No injuries were reported. … ” Read more from the AP here: California cleans up after powerful storm drenches state
Dusting of snow on Bay Area’s highest peaks, several feet of snow in Sierra after atmospheric river storm
“After weeks of bone dry weather, those hoping to hit the slopes at Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts this weekend will be greeted with several feet of fresh snow. Meanwhile, the Bay Area’s highest peaks, including Mount Diablo and Mount Hamilton, received a dusting during Monday’s atmospheric river storm. There’s even more snow in the forecast for this week. Another storm Wednesday into Thursday is expected to dump up to 36 inches of snow on Lassen Park, up to 18 inches on the Donner Pass and between 12 to 18 inches on Interstate 5, according to the National Weather Service. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Dusting of snow on Bay Area’s highest peaks, several feet of snow in Sierra after atmospheric river storm
Why California’s reservoir numbers don’t show the whole story
“Major winter storms have dumped quite a bit of rain and snow across Northern California. The state’s reservoir averages for Tuesday show Oroville at 59% of average Folsom at 94%, Don Pedro at 76%, New Melones at 76%, and Shasta at 50%. However, reservoir numbers don’t make significant movement when major storms have moved through the area. It’s when the snow begins to melt in the late spring and early summer that area reservoirs will reveal just how much water content is in the snowpack. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Why California’s reservoir numbers don’t show the whole story
This Northern California spot near Lake Tahoe just recorded 55 inches of snow in the past 48 hours
“The atmospheric river that drenched the Bay Area this week also dumped about 5 feet of snow across the Sierra over the past three days, which meteorologists said was above-average for this time of year. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported about 5 feet of snow in the last 48 hours at their facility, which is northwest of Lake Tahoe. The heaviest snow — a little more than 3 feet — fell Monday night, according to Andrew Schwartz, the snow lab’s station manager. “That takes us up above average for this point in winter, which is optimistic looking but we’re going to need a lot more to pull us out of the drought,” he added. … ” Read more from the SF Chronicle here: This Northern California spot near Lake Tahoe just recorded 55 inches of snow in the past 48 hours
SEE ALSO: Here’s how much rain fell during Monday’s atmospheric river storm in Northern California
The Atmospheric River Scale: A useful forecasting tool or storm hype?
“The term atmospheric river is thrown around so freely these days, it seems nearly every storm to hit California is now classified as an atmospheric river event. The definition of an atmospheric river has changed since it was first coined and the recently introduced storm scale may be overstating atmospheric river impacts. The term “atmospheric river” was first used in a geophysical research paper in 1994. It was discussed further in a 2013 conference simulating a worst-case scenario, dubbed ARkStorm. ARkStorm depicted a 1-in-1000 year atmospheric river event. ARkStorm was designed to mimic a series of atmospheric rivers that pummeled California from December 1861 to January 1862, bringing a year’s worth of rain in a single month. ... ” Read more from Spectrum 1 here: The Atmospheric River Scale: A useful forecasting tool or storm hype?
In other water news …
Open invitation to Gov. Newsom to learn how Bay Delta Plan will hurt communities
“The Merced Irrigation District (MID) general manager issued an open invitation to Governor Newsom on Tuesday. MID General Manager John Sweigard called on every resident of Atwater, Merced, Livingston, and the surrounding communities to write to Governor Newsom and the State Water Board and to sign an online petition. “For years, we have worked in good faith with the State Water Board, your secretaries and your staff. Despite our best efforts, and backed by solid science about salmon and the Merced River, we have not been able to reach a settlement agreement that would protect our community’s water supply under the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. ... ” Read more from KMPH here: Open invitation to Gov. Newsom to learn how Bay Delta Plan will hurt communities
RELATED NOTEBOOK CONTENT: STATE WATER BOARD: Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan update: Completed and implemented by 2023?
Major new reservoir proposed for Santa Clara County faces key vote
“After more than four years of planning, study and political debate, a proposal to build a $2.3 billion reservoir in Santa Clara County — the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years — will reach a make-or-break moment Wednesday. The California Water Commission, a 9-member panel appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is scheduled to vote on whether the project, which would be located near Pacheco Pass, will continue to be eligible to receive $496 million in state funding. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which is pushing the plan, says the reservoir is needed to boost water storage for future droughts. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Major new reservoir proposed for Santa Clara County faces key vote
New snowpack and precipitation normals now available
“Recently, the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting (SSWSF) Program published new 30-year hydroclimatic normal values or “normals” for snowpack and precipitation at western U.S. monitoring stations. This information serves as a benchmark for assessing water supply conditions and is used by producers, natural resource managers and the research community. Each decade the SSWSF Program calculates the median and average over a 30-year period to provide this data. This update shifts the reference period from the 1981-2010 period to the 1991-2020 period and includes new values for nearly 700 automated SNOTEL (snow telemetry) stations and over 900 snow course measurements at sites managed by NRCS. Data from SNOTEL stations help inform decisions for water managers, reservoir operators, producers, recreationists, and other groups. Also included in the update are 1991-2020 medians and averages for external agency reservoir storage and streamflow volumes, used for water supply forecasting across the west.” To view the new data and to learn more about this update, visit the National Water and Climate Center Normals Website.
California Economic Summit forges a path to water resiliency
“The health of California’s economy depends on an adequate supply of clean water. Fortunately, the ideas of innovative water leaders across the state are making their way into state action plans. In recognition of the threat to water supplies from increasing droughts and floods, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice President Glenda Humiston – a California Economic Summit work group leader and a member of the California Stewardship Network – invited 25 of the State’s most innovative local elected officials and land use planners and 25 progressive leaders from local water districts to a symposium on land use and groundwater recharge. The year was 2016. Most of the participants were already locally implementing cutting edge policies connecting land use and the recharge of groundwater aquifers. Also participating at Symposium were university researchers and top-level members of the Brown Administration. … ” Read more from California Forward here: California Economic Summit forges a path to water resiliency
Chinook salmon: Late-migration strategy, although rare, may be key
“In late October, a study spotlighting the migration patterns, or life-history strategies, of the spring-run Chinook salmon in California’s Central Valley showed that juveniles that migrate later in the year may have higher survival rates during years with unfavorable living conditions, such as drought. This late-migration strategy, once thought to be a rare behavior among spring-run Chinook salmon, may in fact prove pivotal for the fish population facing an increasing warming climate. “Chinook salmon are born in the freshwater tributaries of the Sacramento River in the Central Valley, where they will stay and grow before they migrate to the ocean,” said Flora Cordoleani, project scientist with the University of California Santa Cruz and lead author of the study. “They’ll stay in the ocean for two to three years and then come back to spawn in the river where they were originally born.” … ” Read more from the Sierra Nevada Ally here: Chinook salmon: Late-migration strategy, although rare, may be key
SEE ALSO: American Rivers: The Strength of Salmon
Signs of improvement in the battle to eradicate nutria
“The battle to eliminate a destructive swamp rat in Central California waterways is showing signs of improvement. However, a state biologist says declaring victory is still years away. Since 2017 the State Department of Fish and Wildlife has tracked the nutria from Stockton to Mendota. It’s a very destructive rodent that can tunnel through rivers, ponds, and wetlands creating all kinds of problems. State biologist Greg Gerstenberg started the nutria eradication team in 2017. ... ” Read more from KMPH here: Signs of improvement in the battle to eradicate nutria
Climate of chaos: Why warming makes weather less predictable
“A new Stanford University study shows rising temperatures may intensify the unpredictability of weather in Earth’s midlatitudes. The limit of reliable temperature, wind and rainfall forecasts falls by about a day when the atmosphere warms by even a few degrees Celsius. “Our results show the state of the climate in general has implications for how many days out you can say something that’s accurate about the weather,” said atmospheric scientist Aditi Sheshadri, lead author of the study published Nov. 29 in Geophysical Research Letters. “Cooler climates seem to be inherently more predictable.” Widespread changes in weather patterns and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events are well documented consequences of global climate change. These departures from old norms can bring storms, droughts, heatwaves and wildfire conditions beyond what infrastructure has been designed to withstand or what people have come to expect. … ” Read more from Stanford University here: Climate of chaos: Why warming makes weather less predictable
Ongoing drought in the Western U.S.: Hope for the best, plan for the worst
“For public water service providers, developers, agriculture, industry—truly anyone responsible for managing a water supply for an individual property or an entire city, county, or region—now is the time to redouble planning for a drier future. While the historic severity of this past summer’s drought has alleviated with recent winter rain and snow in the early ’21-’22 winter season, water managers continue to plan on acutely challenging conditions to persist through 2022. Drought conditions remain in place throughout the entire region as of December 9. Between the long-term regional aridification trend and La Niña currently projected to continue through the winter, we expect another underwhelming snowpack in 2022. When springtime comes, leaky streambeds and severely parched soils mean that a lower proportion of runoff will travel to reservoirs and headgates than would under more normal conditions. In a word, the overall western drought remains, and looks like it will persist. … ” Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Ongoing drought in the Western U.S.: Hope for the best, plan for the worst
California’s outgoing fire chief on wildfire crisis: Every acre ‘can and will burn’
“When California’s top fire chief Thom Porter finished his last official day leading Cal Fire last week, the state was still mired in an intractable wildfire crisis that not even a wet winter can erase. Massive areas of blackened forest still conceal smoldering remnants of the more than three million acres that burned this year. Thousands of people who lost their homes have just begun to rebuild. Communities are still struggling to bounce back after fires from previous years. Researchers are still studying the lasting impacts of wildfire smoke. ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California’s outgoing fire chief on wildfire crisis: Every acre ‘can and will burn’
UCSB study shows impacts of wildfires and droughts on stream communities
“A team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the National Forest Service have spent the past five years researching the impacts of wildfires and droughts on stream communities and the wildlife that live in these riparian habitats. The studies were launched in the wake of the Zaca and Jesusita fires of 2007 and 2009, when the team hoped to document the effects of wildfires on the plant and animal life that rely on the waterways in the burn areas 10 years later. In the course of research, the team found that a prolonged drought in Southern California was becoming just as big a part in their findings as the wildfires, and the project morphed to study both. Scott Cooper, a research professor at UCSB, and Kristie Klose, a lead aquatic biologist at Los Padres National Forest, led the charge and co-authored the article with their findings, which appeared as the cover story in the December issue of Freshwater Science. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: UCSB study shows impacts of wildfires and droughts on stream communities
In commentary today …
Initiative to fund and fast track water projects is badly needed
Edward Ring, contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, writes, “California is in the grip of its fourth drought since 2000. To cope with worsening droughts, over the past few decades Californians have made impressive gains in water efficiency. Total water diversions in California for agriculture and cities – roughly 30 million acre feet per year for agriculture and 8 million acre feet per year for cities – have not increased even while California’s population has grown and irrigated farm acreage has increased. But conservation alone cannot guarantee Californians have an adequate supply of water. The Water Infrastructure Funding Act, a proposed ballot initiative that may be headed for the November 2022 state ballot, aims to solve the challenge of water scarcity in California. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Initiative to fund and fast track water projects is badly needed
Today’s featured article …
STATE WATER BOARD: Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan update: Completed and implemented by 2023?
Board staff give an update on the progress on the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, including an potential timeline that would implement San Joaquin River objectives and Sacramento River and Delta objectives by 2023
At the December 8 meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, board members and staff discussed the update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, including the Board’s ongoing process and general timeline for implementing the flow objectives for the San Joaquin River and salinity objectives for the Southern Delta adopted in 2018, and the ongoing efforts to develop updated objectives addressing the Sacramento River and its tributaries, the eastside tributaries, and the Delta itself.
Click here to read this article.
In regional water news and commentary today …
Commentary: Plan for Water will grow more challenging
Bruce Herring of Grass Valley writes, “The second public forum on the Plan for Water came off much like the first — a solid showing from the NID board and staff. The presentation on the upper watershed infrastructure was well done and informative. Slides displayed the complex and well-engineered capture-and-conveyance systems put in place by NID in partnership with PG&E in the ’60s, which also utilized the 19th and early 20th century dams and flumes. But this is the easy part. In the coming year, the Plan for Water will become more and more intriguing and challenging. For now we’ll set that aside and return to groundwater use in the San Joaquin Valley. This is best illustrated with a true story. Here’s a shortened retelling of “The Well Fixer’s Warning,” by Mark Arax, published by The Atlantic in August. … ” Read more from The Union here: Bruce Herring: Plan for Water will grow more challenging
How is East Sacramento’s new McKinley Park water vault holding up in recent rainstorms?
“When Sacramento was drenched in the October bomb cyclone storm that set the record for the most rain fallen in a 24-hour period, the new McKinley Park water vault was just a few months old. Construction on the vault, which is meant to alleviate flooding in the East Sacramento neighborhood, was completed at the end of the summer. McKinley Park, which is in the East Sacramento neighborhood, officially reopened in October, about a week before the storm arrived. … So how did the vault hold up in October, and what should residents expect this week? The Bee caught up with a city official and two members from the Stantec project team. Stantec is the design firm that executed the project. ... ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: How is East Sacramento’s new McKinley Park water vault holding up in recent rainstorms?
Sustainable groundwater plan launched
“After decades of research and planning, a plan to reverse Sonoma Valley’s continuing groundwater losses has been unanimously approved by an independent agency formed for that purpose. That plan will be submitted to the state water agency for approval in January. The Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SVGWA) unanimously adopted a state-mandated Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GWP) for the Sonoma Valley subbasin on Dec. 6. Similar plans are currently being adopted for the Santa Rosa and Petaluma groundwater basins using the same process. ... ” Read more from the Kenwood Press here: Sustainable groundwater plan launched
Robust atmospheric river dumps nearly a foot of rain on Mt. Tam
“In a region in the grips of a severe drought the rain totals from a potent atmospheric river were a welcomed relief — nearly a foot of precipitation fell over the last 72 hours on Mt. Tamalpais and more than 10 inches drenched Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It may not be a drought buster, but it certainly eased the parched conditions and brought much needed moisture to the Bay Area hills and reservoirs. … ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Robust atmospheric river dumps nearly a foot of rain on Mt. Tam
Storm prompts Marin water officials to consider lifting some water restrictions
“The latest atmospheric river to pass through Northern California has prompted Marin Water officials to consider rolling back water restrictions, despite current drought conditions. This weekend’s intense storm brought more than 11 inches of rain to Mount Tamalpais, drenching Marin County and filling up reservoirs. “I hear it’s making a little bit of difference but could absolutely use a whole winter of it,” says Marin resident Alison Campagna. Marin Water says the capacity in 7 of its reservoirs have jumped up to 64%. … ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Storm prompts Marin water officials to consider lifting some water restrictions
These photos of snow-covered Mount Diablo are like a winter wonderland
“The atmospheric river that raked over the Bay Area this week left a picturesque dusting of snow on Mount Diablo Tuesday morning. The total amount of precipitation that fell on the Contra Costa County peak — both rain and snow — totaled 5.6 inches, according to the National Weather Service. But it was enough for some winter-weather revelers, equipped with gloves and ski caps, to make snowballs and even a modest snowman on the mountain, as captured by a Chronicle photographer. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: These photos of snow-covered Mount Diablo are like a winter wonderland
S.F. Bay Area rains to taper off as atmospheric river moves south. But more precipitation is on the way
“The atmospheric river that flooded Bay Area streets, closed highways and even dusted some of the region’s higher elevations with snow delivered a few more smattering of showers before moving south toward the Central Coast on Tuesday. But while that system tapered off, meteorologists suggested keeping umbrellas and other rain gear close at hand in anticipation of what was expected to be even more precipitation Wednesday, including pebble-sized hail, similar to what fell this week in San Francisco and Berkeley. “We have small hail in the forecast, which is common when you have these very cold-core systems,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Lorber. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: S.F. Bay Area rains to taper off as atmospheric river moves south. But more precipitation is on the way
Bay Area farmers happy to get latest round of precipitation
“Farmers in the Bay Area were excited that the latest storm brought another round of much-needed rain in the hopes it will bring them closer to the end of what has been a difficult drought. Many in the agricultural and farming industries of the Santa Clara Valley are relieved the region took in substantial rainfall over the past few days. “It’s a huge relief for us to see water come through. It’s a great relief,” said Santa Clara County Farm Bureau President Erin Gil. “It’s a huge help all the way around for all of California, for us to see rainfall. It’s just a matter of being able to store it when it does happen.” … ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Bay Area farmers happy to get latest round of precipitation
Livermore: Water users achieve 20% reduction; Zone 7 Patterson Pass Project nears completion
“The Zone 7 Board of Directors received mostly good news during its latest meeting on a variety of topics, including water conservation; progress on the Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant construction effort; and the impacts of recent wildland fires on local water quality. Angela Ramierez-Holmes, board president, noted that Tri-Valley residents achieved a 20% reduction in water usage in October compared to 2020, exceeding the 15% target. “It was very helpful to get some rain in October so that people will feel more comfortable turning off their sprinklers,” she said. … ” Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Water users achieve 20% reduction; Zone 7 Patterson Pass Project nears completion
Salinas: UCLA engineers build water treatment system for disadvantaged communities
“California’s Salinas Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the U.S., growing lettuce and many varieties of leafy greens, strawberries, wine grapes, garlic and more. But for isolated communities of farmworkers and others who live outside the reach of a municipal water system, access to clean drinking water has been an ongoing challenge. Groundwater taken straight from a well is oftentimes too contaminated to drink, so water for drinking needs to be trucked in or provided as bottled water, and both are expensive and unsustainable as permanent solutions. To solve this problem and provide an affordable and sustainable solution, veteran water technologies expert Yoram Cohen at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and colleagues from across campus have been working for more than two years to build and operate an on-site system that delivers safe, affordable drinking water to three small communities in the region. … ” Read more from UCLA Sameuli School of Engineering here: UCLA engineers build water treatment system for disadvantaged communities
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau named ‘County of the Year
“San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau has been named “County of the Year” by the California Farm Bureau. San Luis Obispo County received the award at the 103rd California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on Dec. 6 in Garden Grove. County farm bureaus across the state were judged for excellence in policy implementation, leadership, member services, agricultural promotion and public relations. “Our members, board of directors, and staff stepped up this past year to advocate for our industry,” explained Brent Burchett, executive director of San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau. “We brought our local agricultural community together to address serious challenges facing our farmers and ranchers on issues ranging from wildfire insurance and property tax protections to water regulations and access to vaccines for agricultural workers.” … ” Read more from the Paso Robles Daily Press here: San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau named ‘County of the Year
State delivering 5% of allocated water, Arroyo Grande wants in
“After implementing water conservation requirements and fines, the Arroyo Grande City Council recently made plans to deal with ongoing water shortages, which includes purchasing water from other agencies, recycling and buying into the state water program. Last week, the city ordered residents to reduce their water usage or face fines that increase incrementally from $50 to $200. Depending on past usage, the city is requiring residents to lower their water use from 7% to 14%, with a goal of lowering usage by 10% citywide. Violators can attend water school in lieu of their first fine. … ” Read more from Cal Coast News here: State delivering 5% of allocated water, Arroyo Grande wants in
Strongest rainstorm of the season hits Ventura County
“The biggest storm of the season drenched Southern California on Tuesday, causing flood advisories, gusty winds and slick roads. The heaviest downpour hit Ventura County in the hours just before dawn but rain fell in occasional torrents throughout the day. The storm also dropped snow levels to as far as 3,500 feet in some areas of Southern California. “This is the strongest we’ve seen and will be one of the stronger systems that we have this winter,” said Kristan Lund, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. … ” Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Strongest rainstorm of the season hits Ventura County
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Snowpack that supplies Modesto area doubled in one day. Where do we stand on drought?
“The snowpack about doubled in one day in the watersheds supplying the Modesto area. The readings remain below average, but they were good enough to prompt a Thursday, Dec. 16, opening for the Dodge Ridge ski area near Pinecrest. More rain and snow are forecast through Thursday, followed by a dry weekend. Drivers should watch out on streets that might still be flooded in places. ... ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Snowpack that supplies Modesto area doubled in one day. Where do we stand on drought?
1,000 Valley homes eligible for free clean water technology
“An Arizona company is offering to install its unique technology converting air and sunlight into potable water at 1,000 homes in underserved communities across the drought-stricken Central Valley. Source Global, a public benefit corporation, dedicated to innovative drinking water solutions, is asking families in migrant communities in the counties of Tulare, Fresno, Monterey and Kern making less than $65,000 per year to apply for a free program to install its patented hydropanels at their homes. The counties were selected for the high numbers of communities lacking clean drinking water based on monitoring done by the California State Water Resources Control Board. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: 1,000 Valley homes eligible for free clean water technology
State hears Tooleville residents’ plight for water
“The residents of Tooleville finally got to say their piece in front of the California State Water Resources Control Board Dec. 7, as a part of the voluntary consolidation process to hitch Tooleville’s mangled water system to their neighbors in Exeter about a mile down the road. Community members—most of whom only speak Spanish—from the two-road town plagued with water contamination, infrastructure and supply issues since at least 1978 gathered at the Exeter Memorial Building to state their wants and needs, and illustrate their quality of life without the basic human right to a clean, reliable source of water. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: State hears Tooleville residents’ plight for water
This Central Valley town has a carcinogen in its water. Why are solutions so slow?
“On the dusty outskirts of Bakersfield, Rosa Perez and her family are living without a basic housing amenity — clean water. Though they pay the water bill each month, what comes out of the taps is laced with a chemical that California admits could make the family of four more likely to develop cancer. Perez, 43, would rather spend some of her meager farmworker income on bottled water than see that come to pass. Two years ago, a neighbor knocked on the family’s door in the small town of Fuller Acres. The drinking water supply was contaminated, the neighbor said. Didn’t they get the notice? They may have gotten it, but they couldn’t read it. ... ” Read more from California Healthline here: This Central Valley town has a carcinogen in its water. Why are solutions so slow?
Ridgecrest: Water District board members discuss growing tension with Groundwater Authority
“Tensions between the Indian Wells Valley Water District and the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) seem to have come to a boiling point at the recent IWVGA board meeting on December 8. The IWVGA board voted to deny the Water District representative their turn as the chairperson due to the Water District’s adjudication lawsuit. Also at the same meeting, an unnamed participant on voice call forgot to press the mute button. Amplified through the speaker system at the Ridgecrest City Hall, this participant cursed at the Water District representative during a discussion on IWVGA finances. Following these events, the Water District used a portion of their own board meeting on Monday to discuss this growing tension between the two government agencies managing water in the Indian Wells Valley. … ” Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Water District board members discuss growing tension with Groundwater Authority
Ridgecrest: Groundwater Authority discusses what to do when private wells stop pumping water
“The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWVGA) is continuing to work on its Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). Part of that plan involves finalizing the details on a Shallow Well Impact Mitigation Program. Section 5 of the IWVGA’s GSP draft states that there are an estimated 872 shallow wells drilled throughout the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin, mostly serving rural business and homes. Since the formation of IWVGA, the board has discussed the challenge of registering and monitoring these wells in order to mitigate what the GSP refers to as the chronic lowering of groundwater levels and water quality in the basin. … ” Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent here: Ridgecrest: Groundwater Authority discusses what to do when private wells stop pumping water
‘Storm of the season’ dumps record-breaking rainfall on SoCal and snow in the mountains
“Streets flooded in North Hollywood’s Arts District and other neighborhoods. The normally constrained L.A. River roared to life, sucking vehicles down its surging waters and swamping the small islands that dot the middle of the urban waterway near Atwater Village. A man in Sylmar had to be rescued after he got swept up into its flow. Trees were toppled in Whittier, while homeless people who normally occupy benches near the Civic Center stop downtown huddled in an alcove in an effort to stay dry. The most significant storm of the season arrived in Southern California on Tuesday with a wallop — snarling traffic, delivering gusty winds and dropping a steady deluge of record-breaking rain and snow across the region. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: ‘Storm of the season’ dumps record-breaking rainfall on SoCal and snow in the mountains
SEE ALSO: Torrential California rains break 130-year-old L.A. Rainfall record by more than double, from Newsweek
Metropolitan board takes actions to alleviate drought
“As drought continues to stress the state’s water supply, Metropolitan Water District took new actions today to ensure Southern Californians have the water they need. The actions, approved today by Metropolitan’s Board of Directors, include new infrastructure investments and water exchanges with other agencies that will allow Colorado River water and stored supplies to be more readily distributed throughout the region. The strategies will preserve limited State Water Project supplies for areas, including parts of Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, that depend heavily on water from that system. “We’re entering the third year of drought in California. And while we hope conditions will improve this winter, we’re doing everything we can to ensure the entire region has reliable water if drought continues,” Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. … ” Read more of this press release from Metropolitan at Yahoo News here: Metropolitan board takes actions to alleviate drought
Agencies partner to boost water supplies for Southern California
“The San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California have reached an agreement that will provide water to parts of Southern California facing extraordinary supply constraints due to cutbacks on the State Water Project. Under a deal approved today by Metropolitan’s Board of Directors and previously authorized by the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors, Metropolitan will secure additional groundwater in 2022 from the Semitropic Water Bank in Kern County. Metropolitan can use that water to serve areas in the northwest and northeast parts of its service area that aren’t connected to its Colorado River supplies and are heavily reliant on limited State Water Project supplies. ... ” Read more of this joint press release from Metropolitan and the San Diego County Water Authority at Business Wire here: Agencies partner to boost water supplies for Southern California
Santa Ana’s general plan due for review, storm water management included
“Santa Ana, California’s, foundational planning document, the General Plan, is due for review. According to Voice of Orange County, the plan is supposed to guide city leaders’ choices on issues of housing, transportation, public services, open space, and community health, however it has not been comprehensively revised since 1982. Council members are set to vote on the draft update, which would last through 2045. Community leaders want to explore the city’s large open space deficit, and other environmental issues including industrial water pollution and lead contamination, reported Voice of Orange County. Air quality and storm water pollution issues are also top of mind for residents of the city and open space advocates. These issues disproportionately impact marginalized communities. … ” Read more from Stormwater Solutions here: Santa Ana’s general plan due for review, storm water management included
The Salton Sea, or the story of California’s worst ecological disaster
“A large, landlocked, and very salty body of water at the southern end of the U.S. state of California, the Salton Sea has been a tourist hotspot, a birdwatcher’s dream, a fishing destination, and the site of a U.S. Navy base. Today, it is best known as California’s largest body of water, a critical habitat for migratory birds, and the single greatest ecological disaster to have ever happened in the state. The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline lake located in the California desert. It fills the Salton Basin, which itself is a remnant of a past lake — Lake Cahuilla — that dried up around 1580. To the south, vast agricultural fields straddle the sea’s shore. The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park borders it to the west, and to its north lies Coachella Valley. It is a body of water stretching 35 miles by 15 miles, which can go up to 40 by almost 20 miles in particularly wet years. ... ” Read more from ZME Science here: The Salton Sea, or the story of California’s worst ecological disaster
As drought worsens in parts of Southern California, San Diego helps with supplies
“The San Diego County Water Authority has stepped up to provide additional water supplies to drought-ravaged areas in three Southern California counties. Under an agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Diego will provide water from an underground storage facility in Kern County to serve parts of northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County and San Bernardino County. “Metropolitan is committed to doing everything we can to bring more water to communities in our service area that are particularly challenged by the drought. We’re thrilled to have the Water Authority partner with us in this effort, supporting the well-being of all Southern California,” said Metropolitan Water Chair Gloria D. Gray. … ” Read more from the Times of San Diego here: As drought worsens in parts of Southern California, San Diego helps with supplies
EPA announces $630 million plan to stem cross-border sewage flows
“In March of 2018, the California cities of Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego sued the U.S. arm of the International Boundary and Water Commission over its failure to mitigate the flow of sewage-tainted water from the Tijuana River in Mexico. The lawsuit was in response to a February 2017 crisis, when more than 200 million gallons of sewage contaminated the California coast after a winter storm damaged sewer infrastructure in Mexico (“Two countries, one border and their shared pollution,” 12/06/18). “The U.S. has a responsibility to actually capture and treat that water,” said Matt Edling, a lawyer for the cities involved in the lawsuit at the time. … ” Continue reading at High Country News here: EPA announces $630 million plan to stem cross-border sewage flows
Along the Colorado River …
States to sign voluntary cutbacks of Colorado River water
“To help stave off another round of mandatory cutbacks, water leaders for Arizona, Nevada and California are preparing to sign an agreement that would voluntarily reduce Colorado River water to the lower basin states by 500,000 acre-feet — enough to supply about 750,000 households for a year — for both 2022 and 2023. The agreement, known as the “500+ Plan”, would require millions of dollars from each state over two years — $60 million from Arizona, $20 million from Nevada and $20 million from California with federal matching dollars — to fund payments for water use reduction and efficiency projects that result in supply savings throughout the lower basin. The signing is expected to take place Wednesday at the Colorado River Water Users Association annual meeting in Las Vegas, amid urgency to negotiate new rules for managing the depleted river beyond 2026 when the 2007 interim guidelines expire. … ” Read more from the AP via Channel 10 here: States to sign voluntary cutbacks of Colorado River water
Listen: Colorado River: How much water should each state get?
“A new report accuses Utah, Colorado and New Mexico of using more water from the Colorado river than they are supposed to. At the same time, more dams and water-sucking projects are being planned for the river. All at a time when emergency declarations are in effect on Lake Mead and the river as a decades-old drought persists.” Listen at KNPR here: How much water should each state get?
Colorado pushes its use of West’s major river to the limit, new study shows
“A new study released by a Utah nonprofit reveals Colorado and other upstream states are consuming too much water from the Colorado River system. The Utah Rivers Council, a water conservation nonprofit, released a report about Colorado River shortages and climate change Monday showing that continued water development in Colorado will force the state to run an annual Colorado River water deficit that could worsen if water resources across the West continue to dwindle. “The only reason that Colorado is not in a deficit today is because they’re using water rights which are actually owned by tribes inside the state of Colorado,” said Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council. ... ” Read more from the Durango Herald here: Colorado pushes its use of West’s major river to the limit, new study shows
Megadrought is renewing debates about how to manage water in the arid American West
“Parts of the West got much-needed rain and snow this week, but it comes as the region experiences one of its driest periods in a thousand years. The drought, amplified by climate change, is renewing debates about how to manage water in the arid West. NPR’s Nathan Rott takes a look at one debate playing out on the Utah-Arizona border over what some see as America’s lost national park. It’s a quiet day at the Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell. No families coming or going from the hundreds of moored houseboats, no jet skis roaring between the steep, rust-colored rock walls. Just quiet. … ” Read more from KOSU here: Megadrought is renewing debates about how to manage water in the arid American West
Audubon: The state of the Colorado River going into 2022
Jennifer Pitt writes, “Climate change is unfolding as a water supply crisis in the Colorado River Basin. Competition over water is on the rise, but I hold out hope that these extraordinary conditions will actually increase opportunities for stakeholders whose interests have historically been set aside. I’ve spent decades working in the basin to improve water management, looking for alignment between solutions for birds and other wildlife and solutions for people. Progress has been slow, hampered by the Law of the River – the laws, treaties, compacts, court decisions and regulations that apply in the Colorado River Basin— that is notoriously complex, difficult to change, and favors water development for agriculture and cities at the expense of water for tribal communities and the river itself. ... ” Continue reading at Audubon here: Audubon: The state of the Colorado River going into 2022
Colorado River trouble, rainwater harvesting, private wells, and the future of desalination
“Uncertainty can certainly strip away your peace of mind. In a developed society, we plan our lives around the certainty we’re blessed with. … Yes, certainty is a blessing. But it isn’t unreasonable to recognize that many of the certainties that keep our societal structure in place appear to be weakening. Drought is engulfing the Western half of the United States. Supply chains are being disrupted and according to financial analysts, inflation isn’t stabilizing anytime soon. The obvious, most visceral reaction to all of this is to FEAR. It’s easy to feel anxious about the uncertainty of our future but we don’t have to be compelled by it. It’s better to recognize the dangers now than to get caught off-guard later. The truth is, there’s still MUCH you can do to secure your future. Let’s get into it. ... ” Read more from Resilience.org here: Colorado River trouble, rainwater harvesting, private wells, and the future of desalination
In national water news today …
Report: Climate change contributed to some of 2020’s worst weather
“Failed monsoon rains that reignited the southwestern U.S. drought. A spring heat wave in western Europe. Intense Siberian wildfires. Scientists say human-caused climate change made these extreme weather events more likely, according to new research published today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). Among the findings: A NOAA study that examined the U.S. Southwest drought using several different model simulations found climate change may have increased the likelihood that the monsoon-season rains would fail as they did in 2020, reigniting a multiyear drought that shows no sign of relenting. … ” Read more from NOAA here: Report: Climate change contributed to some of 2020’s worst weather
Drought update …CA_Drought_Update_12-13-21
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
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