DAILY DIGEST, 1/27: Proposed water infrastructure ballot measure likely to be withdrawn; Why you might see fewer California vineyards soon; Hopes for a rainy end to January dashed; Requirements for CII Customers under CA’s Water Efficiency Framework; and more …
MEETING: California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout from 10am to 3pm. Agenda items include Upcoming CDFW Fisheries Priorities for 2022, Commercial Fishing Updates and Questions, Shasta/Scott River Watershed Working Group, and Emergency Changes to Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
WEBINAR: Flume Household Water Use Index: Exploring America’s Water Use Trends in 2021 from 10am to 10:45am. How did Americans use water in 2021? The previous year was marked by extreme heat, drought, floods, and fire in much of the country, in addition to many Americans still primarily working from home. Join Flume for this 45 minute webcast where we will review indoor and outdoor water use patterns and appliance and fixture level data for single-family homes across the United States for the past year. We will also compare quarterly and yearly data since 2019 for the 15 largest cities in the US. Click here to register.
Delta Lead Scientist: Ask Me Anything at 12pm. Join Dr. Sam Bashevkin and Pascale Goertler alongside Dr. Laurel Larsen on January 31 at 12:00 PM via Instagram Live in conversation about synthesis activities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, with an emphasis on understanding drivers of the food web. Synthesis is an approach to unlocking big-picture understanding of the Delta hidden among many types of data. Synthesis activities reveal how different components of the Delta both control and respond to many, simultaneously changing factors. Join on Instagram Live @deltastewardshipcouncil
WEBINAR: Water UCI Speaking of Water Series Presents: Privatization of Water: Will it Bring Greater Social Equity? from 12pm to 1pm. Engage in the debate that explores the pros and cons of public and private water systems in ensuring the human right to water. Safety, accessibility and reliability of water in California varies depending on where you live. More than 1 million Californians do not have access to safe drinking water and a growing number of systems are on the brink of collapse. These troubling statistics raise the question: Who can do it better – private or public agencies? Click here to register.
In California water news today …
Proposed ballot measure to build more California dams, desalination projects likely to be withdrawn due to lack of money and signatures
“Despite California’s drought, a proposed statewide November ballot measure to speed up the construction of new dams and other large water projects — and provide billions of dollars to fund them — has fallen short in its fundraising goals and is likely to be withdrawn by early next week. The initiative would require that 2% of California’s general fund, or about $4 billion, be set aside every year to expand water supplies. Those could include new dams and reservoirs, desalination plants, recycled water plants and other projects such as upgrading canals and pipes. The measure also would streamline permitting for those projects. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Proposed ballot measure to build more California dams, desalination projects likely to be withdrawn due to lack of money and signatures
Why you might see fewer California vineyards soon
“The future looks good for wine sales across North America. According to a 2020 Reportlinker.com announcement (via Globe Newswire), experts predict the organic wine market across North America to grow to a net worth of almost $4 billion by 2027, thanks to the product’s sulfite-free content and organic farming methods. Despite this projected growth, certain parts of the U.S. may soon see fewer vineyards. Food & Wine reports that California, which has partially become synonymous with wine production, may see vineyards disappearing from across the state soon, due to water scarcity issues and several economic hurdles. … ” Continue reading at Mashed here: Why you might see fewer California vineyards soon
Jared Huffman introduces legislation to preserve salmon strongholds
“North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) reintroduced legislation Tuesday to identify, restore, and protect thriving salmon populations and critical habitat strongholds. Habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, dams, and overharvesting have caused salmon populations to decline throughout the North Coast and across the nation. The Salmon Focused Investments in Sustainable Habitats, or FISH Act would ensure the survival of the healthiest remaining salmon populations by Identifying the core centers of salmon abundance, productivity, and diversity as Salmon Conservation Areas and identifying areas of particularly pristine quality as Salmon Strongholds … ” Continue reading from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Jared Huffman introduces legislation to preserve salmon strongholds
Swimming through the fields. How salmon are using rice fields to grow.
“Climate variability has caused issues across the state from many years of drought, fallowed land, and wildlife endangerment. However, a pilot program by UC Davis is aiming to improve conditions for rice farmers and salmon while these conditions persist. Ove the past few years, UC Davis researchers with the Salmon Project released about 7,000 fish with trackers into rice fields on Steve Neader’s rice farm in Sutter County. Researchers said they had the salmon eggs and tended to them every day, fed them and cared for them until they hatched on Nov. 20, 2021. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Swimming through the fields. How salmon are using rice fields to grow.
Here’s why hopes for a rainy end to January were just dashed
“Hopes for a wet start to February after a dry start to the year have all but evaporated now that meteorologists report seeing little but dry, warm weather on the horizon for the week ahead. “There is still an outside chance for some very light rain on Monday, but the longer-range trends are not looking good right now,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Walbrun. “The first week of February is looking much drier now than it did a few days ago.” … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Here’s why hopes for a rainy end to January were just dashed
Is California entering a megadrought? Water experts weigh in
“Despite the rain and snow that closed out 2021, California could be entering a third drought year as weeks of dry winter weather open the new year. The state has experienced drought in 15 of the last 20 years, according to UC Davis. Experts say California is in the grip of a “megadrought.” “It looks like, with a warming climate and climate change, it’s going to become more like this,” said Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Is California entering a megadrought? Water experts weigh in
New drought regulations in effect as a dry January erases fall water gains
“The snowpack and total rainfall have dipped to at or below the average year after a bone-dry January. To prepare for the upcoming dry season, the state water board instituted new regulations to curb public water usage. The new rules went into effect on Jan. 18, which includes restrictions to watering lawns during and two days after a period of rain. The rules also say to not use potable water in decorative fountains, to wash cars, and to clean sidewalks and driveways. The rules also require the use of a shutoff nozzle for hoses. … ” Read more from Action News Now here: New drought regulations in effect as a dry January erases fall water gains
Requirements for CII Customers under CA’s Water Efficiency Framework
“On January 25th, 2022 the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) hosted what could be the last in a series of workshops outlining their proposed guidelines for the standards and methodologies used to implement the state’s water use efficiency legislation. The majority of the workshops have thus far focused on topics related to calculating the water use objective (WUO) that urban water supply agencies will need to comply with. In contrast, this workshop dove deep into a number of auxiliary requirements for commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) water users. In some ways, these requirements feel a bit like “add-ons” because they are designed to cover sectors not included in the WUO. In practice, however, complying with these CII requirements may end up being even more resource-intensive than calculating and reporting the WUO. … ” Read more from the Water Data Collaborative here: Requirements for CII Customers under CA’s Water Efficiency Framework
Drought and infrastructure: A planning guide
“Over the past three decades, 26 major droughts have cost the U.S. at least $249 billion, second only to hurricanes. Periodic or sustained drought affects most U.S. regions and territories, potentially disrupting the economy, public health, and the operation of critical infrastructure systems such as energy, water supplies, and transportation. This Drought Guide can be used to anticipate and prepare for the consequences of drought on infrastructure services. It was developed by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with the National Drought Resilience Partnership. It directs users to NIDIS (drought.gov) and other agencies’ information and decision tools.”
VIDEO: Fix for one section of the sinking Friant-Kern Canal gets underway
“A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the banks of the Friant-Kern Canal on Tuesday, to celebrate the start of construction to repair a portion of the sinking canal. Leadership from the Bureau of Reclamation, California’s Department of Water Resources and the Friant Water Authority spoke at the event. For decades, farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley have overpumped groundwater for crops, causing land to sink in some areas. The Friant-Kern Canal, a 152-mile federally owned canal that carries water from Millerton Lake north of Fresno to farms and towns on the east side of the valley down to Arvin, has been significantly damaged by subsidence. In the most impacted section, called the “middle reach”, the canal’s carrying capacity has decreased by more than 50%. … ” Read more & watch video at SJV Water here: VIDEO: Fix for one section of the sinking Friant-Kern Canal gets underway
‘Investment in all of California’: Critically needed repairs to Friant-Kern Canal begin
“After years of planning and scrounging for funding, critically needed repairs to the sinking Friant-Kern Canal broke ground near Terra Bella on Tuesday. The $187 million first phase of the project will restore flows to a 10-mile stretch of the canal in eastern Tulare County. Excessive groundwater pumping during California’s droughts has caused the ground beneath the canal to sink more than 13 feet — a phenomenon known as subsidence. Subsidence has restricted the waterway’s ability to carry water to farms and communities south of the chokepoint by more than half. … ” Read more from the Visalia Times-Delta here: ‘Investment in all of California’: Critically needed repairs to Friant-Kern Canal begin
LAO Report: The 2022‑23 Budget: Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package
“This Brief Provides Our Initial Comments. This brief is designed to provide the Legislature with a clearer understanding of what is contained in the Governor’s wildfire and forest resilience package, as well as our initial assessment and recommendations to help guide legislative deliberations. We may provide additional analysis, comments, and recommendations, as relevant, in the coming weeks as additional information becomes available from the administration. We also note that, in addition to this package, the Governor is proposing a number of other wildfire‑related proposals as part of the January budget that are not covered in this brief. … ” Read the full report at the Legislative Analyst’s Office here: LAO Report: The 2022‑23 Budget: Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package
Forest Service Joint Chiefs’ Projects improve fire resiliency in Northern California and Hawaii
“The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5) will be investing more than $1.5 million through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to support wildfire prevention and resiliency activities through two strategic projects in Northern California and one in Hawaii. They are the Big Flat Community Protection Project, the Butte Valley South Landscape Restoration Project, and the Hawaii Island Wildfire Mitigation and Support Project. The three projects will bring together Tribes, state and local governments, and other partners to help make these important activities successful. … ” Read more from the NRCS here: Forest Service Joint Chiefs’ Projects improve fire resiliency in Northern California and Hawaii
What in the world is going on with water management?
Columnist Don Moir writes, “Hello my fellow anglers. Speaking to many of you there has one topic that comes up time and time again, loud and clear. What in the world is going on with the management of our water resources? Many anglers are very angry to see so much water just being wasted. Wasted by allowing it to go out to the ocean. “They all want us to conserve water but, the agencies that govern it waste trillions upon trillions of gallons themselves! There is no common sense anymore !”, one angler told me . The following is a list of the most common topics that has come up during our conversations. … ” Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal here: What in the world is going on with water management?
State’s water policies are shameful practices
Columnist Jeff Benziger writes, “I did something last week I haven’t done in quite a while – went to Yosemite with snow on the ground. … We took the Highway 132 route so I was able to see the low water levels of both Don Pedro and Lake McClure. Don Pedro is really low, so much so that the old road that led to Jacksonville – the town that was submerged by the creation of the reservoir, had partially reappeared. McClure was even lower. Earlier this month I saw the low water levels of New Melones Reservoir at Parrots Ferry. It’s ludicrous and sad that the California State Water Resources Control Board has dictated that operators of the dams flush more water out of the reservoirs out to the Delta, thus guaranteeing less water for Valley farmers of less water to grow crops and supply city dwellers. ... ” Read more from the Ceres Courier here: State’s water policies are shameful practices
BAY DELTA SCIENCE CONFERENCE: Sources and Sinks! What’s Going on With Mercury in Sacramento Valley Tidal Wetlands?
Legacy mercury contamination is problematic in California waterways due to historic gold and mercury mining. Even today, mercury from abandoned mines still leaches into the creeks and rivers in the Sierra and Coast Ranges, flowing downstream and into the Delta, contaminating the sediments.
With tens of thousands of acres of tidal wetlands planned for the Delta, the current assumption is that tidal wetlands are net exporters of methylmercury, which can result in expensive and time-consuming mitigation. However, studies undertaken by the Department of Water Resources have found that tidal wetlands are unlikely to be significant net exporters of methylmercury to receiving waters, although methylmercury concentrations of biota within wetlands still need to be considered.
At the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference, Petra Lee, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Water Resources, discussed the study results.
Roseville replenishes groundwater basin with 106 million gallons of water
“Because of the City’s investments in groundwater management and technologically advanced water infrastructure, Roseville can replenish and extract water from aquifers underground. In early January, we began capturing surplus water from Folsom Reservoir through our contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Central Valley Project to store water within these aquifers through specially designed wells. We will extract this stored water during future dry periods when the City needs additional water supply. … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Roseville replenishes groundwater basin with 106 million gallons of water
$269,710 approved towards Folsom Lake water backup intake study
“Folsom city officials recently approved design work this month for a backup Folsom Lake water intake system shared with Roseville and Orangevale. The Folsom City Council approved a contract Jan. 12 for engineering consulting services on the Folsom Reservoir Raw Water Delivery Reliability Project. The city of Folsom, city of Roseville and San Juan Water District currently take raw water from Folsom Lake from an 84-inch pipeline near the main concrete dam at Folsom Reservoir, officials said. The intake also provides raw water to Folsom State Prison. The raw water system has operated without major interruption or outages, according to staff. … ” Read more from Gold Country Media here: $269,710 approved towards Folsom Lake water backup intake study
American River advocates demand removal of homeless camps in appeal to Sacramento leaders
“The American River Parkway Foundation in a new appeal to local government leaders is demanding Sacramento officials clear more than 750 unhoused people from the lower Parkway this year. It’s also asking the county to turn over control of a section of the parkway to the foundation, alleging the county has failed to protect a treasured urban park. “The Parkway is in crisis,” the foundation wrote in a letter to County Executive Ann Edwards and City Manager Howard Chan Tuesday. “The environmental and public safety impacts of the growing number of incidents of illegal camping threaten the Parkway’s beauty and sustainability and are a hazard to communities, schools and businesses that border the Parkway. This includes growing fire danger, diminished water quality and hazardous materials resulting from intravenous drug use.” … ” Continue reading ath the Sacramento Bee here: American River advocates demand removal of homeless camps in appeal to Sacramento leaders
Solano joins as yet unfunded ‘regional approach’ to threat from rising sea levels
“Solano County residents will not have to live in a bay-fronted city to be affected by the rising sea level. River cities such as Rio Vista, the Delta areas, and even inland centers also will feel the effects, Solano County supervisors were told Tuesday during a presentation on the Bay Adapt regional response plan by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. “It is not a theory anymore,” said board Chairman John Vasquez, who represents the county on the BCDC, along with Supervisor Jim Spering. “And we will all be affected because we have one foot in the Delta and one foot in the ocean.” … ” Read more from the Daily Republic here: Solano joins as yet unfunded ‘regional approach’ to threat from rising sea levels
Volunteers save thousands of newts from becoming roadkill — but “we can’t just keep going out there every year and picking up the newts for three months”
“The city of Exeter has found itself neck deep in water issues, and is tossing out a net to troll for funding. At the Jan. 11 Exeter City Council meeting, the council approved direction for city administrator Adam Ennis to submit a funding application with the California State Water Resources Control Board for a drinking water system improvement project. Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), a third-party nonprofit that provides free, no-cost technical assistance to small water systems, will assist the city in its application. The application is for funding from the State Water Board’s SAFER drinking water fund, which is designed to ensure Californians who lack safe, adequate and affordable drinking water receive it as quickly as possible, and that the water systems serving them establish sustainable solutions. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Exeter in search of drinking water funding
Kings River: New snow survey has good news and bad. What does that mean for the drought?
“FOX26 News has some new insight into how we fair with the state’s drought. The Kings River Water Association has just completed its snow survey, and found we’re currently ranking at about 107% of where we’d normally find ourselves come February 1st. Randy McFarland, a spokesperson for the KRWA, says January is normally the Central Valley’s biggest month of the year for precipitation, but this year we’ve seen next to nothing. … ” Continue reading at KMPH here: Kings River: New snow survey has good news and bad. What does that mean for the drought?
880 acres permanently protected north of Mono Lake
“The Wilderness Land Trust recently purchased 880 acres of land in the Bodie Hills, north of Mono Lake. The Mono Lake Committee is pleased to have collaborated in support of the successful acquisition. The Trust is working with the Bureau of Land Management to add the property to the Mt. Biedeman Wilderness Study Area so that it remains protected forever. This portion of the Bodie Hills has seasonal streams, mature pinon-juniper forests, and a number of cultural and historic sites. Pronghorn and herds of mule deer migrate through the property between winter and summer habitats. While the Wilderness Land Trust has protected 6,500 acres in the Bodie Hills so far, much of the area remains vulnerable to mining and development interests threatening this important region that links the Sierra Nevada to the Great Basin. … ” Read more from the Mono Lake Committee here: 880 acres permanently protected north of Mono Lake
Pasadena Water and Power official explains need for rate hikes despite reduced water usage
“Pasadena Water and Power Interim General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger on Tuesday stressed the need to increase water rates in the city despite reduced water usage by local residents and businesses complying with conservation efforts in light of current drought conditions in California. PWP is recommending an increase in water rates by an average of 7.1% on April 1, 2022. A second increase of 7.2% would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The water rate adjustments would help pay for rising costs for purchasing and treating water, and to provide funding for critical improvements to reservoirs, treatment facilities and other water infrastructure. … ” Read more from Pasadena Now here: Pasadena Water and Power official explains need for rate hikes despite reduced water usage
Data, fines and threats to compel water conservation
“To address drought conditions, one California region is considering penalizing residents who exceed their “water budget,” a figure based on the property size and the number of residents in a household. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) will increase fines on residents who use too much water. It is also considering restricting the flow of water to households that have repeatedly disregarded conservation efforts. The flow restrictors will be reserved for homes that have been fined for overuse for three months or longer. … ” Continue reading at GCN here: Data, fines and threats to compel water conservation
Los Angeles moves to end oil drilling in the city
“The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took steps intended to phase out oil drilling and gas extraction in the city, moving to address the legacy of environmental and health problems caused by an industry that helped create modern Southern California. The council voted unanimously to support a ban on new oil wells and ordered a study intended to help city officials determine how to phase out existing wells in the next two decades. Environmental justice activists heralded the vote as long-fought win for the low-income communities of color near the wells and a turning point in city regulations that allow for the extraction of oil and gas in residential neighborhoods. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Los Angeles moves to end oil drilling in the city
Listen: Lower basin states unveil new water plan to bolster levels in Lake Mead
“Lake Mead in southern Nevada saw extremely low levels of water in 2021. And so the lower basin states of California, Nevada, and Arizona developed a plan to address the diminishing inflow from the Colorado River. It’s called the “500-plus plan.” The title refers to the goal of saving 500,000 acre feet of water per year in Lake Mead. And the plan is fully funded after just four months of discussions. Sackett recently wrote an article for Aspen Journalism about the 500+ plan here. She also references a recent white paper that examined the window water managers now have to come up with innovative solutions. Reporter Halle Zander sat down with Aspen Journalism’s Managing Editor Heather Sackett to discuss the plan and how it compares to conservation programs in Colorado and other upper basin states.” Listen at Aspen Public Radio here: Lower basin states unveil new water plan to bolster levels in Lake Mead
Drought conditions could impact housing prices in rural Arizona
“A study done by the non-profit organization “Business for Water Stewardship” shows a grim future for rural Arizona real estate. “The study confirmed that, especially in rural locations that are on wells, but also in rural locations that have municipal water supply, we can expect cost reductions associated with the value of those properties with ongoing depletion of groundwater levels and with ongoing drought,” says Todd Reeve of Business for Water Stewardship. … ” Read more from Channel 15 here: Drought conditions could impact housing prices in rural Arizona
White House expands digital regulations for U.S. water supply
“The White House launched a new cybersecurity initiative for the U.S. water supply Thursday after a handful of worrisome hacks against the sector last year. The new initiative is designed to create a system that shares information about cyberthreats with the water sector and industry-wide basic security practices, though water facilities will not be forced to adopt any new practices. Bryson Bort, a cybersecurity consultant for industrial systems, said it was an important first step toward more secure water infrastructure. “Evidence-driven security requires evidence,” Bort said. “The government is starting with data collection through reporting to establish visibility of the problem. We’re building the foundation to be smarter, not just performative.” … ” Read more from NBC News here: White House expands digital regulations for U.S. water supply
Biden administration moves to boost cybersecurity of water systems
“The Biden administration on Thursday announced a new plan to secure U.S. water systems from cyberattacks, part of a broader effort to defend elements of domestic critical infrastructure from digital threats. The White House and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new “action plan” for the water sector that aims to encourage water utilities to adopt technology that helps detect cyber threats to industrial control systems, or ICS, early on. The administration intends to implement the plan over 100 days, according to the White House. The administration is also trying to boost information sharing about cyber threats between owners and operators of water utilities and the federal government. ... ” Read more from The Hill here: Biden administration moves to boost cybersecurity of water systems
Formidable legal bar shields military from PFAS lawsuits
“Military installations are a major source of community contamination from a class of toxic chemicals called PFAS, but trying to hold the Defense Department accountable can be formidable due to a labyrinth of legal limitations. Mark Favors, an activist and nurse originally from Colorado Springs, has seen many family members, including his grandmother, die from cancer — which he believes resulted from the discharge of PFAS, per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, from the nearby Peterson Air Force Base. These so-called “forever chemicals,” dubbed such due to their propensity to linger in the environment, are present in a variety of household products but are most well-known for their presence in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), used to fight jet fuel fires on military bases and civilian airports. PFAS are linked to kidney cancer, thyroid disease and other illnesses. … ” Read more from The Hill here: Formidable legal bar shields military from PFAS lawsuits
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.