DAILY DIGEST, 3/10: Snow drought expands as time is running out to replenish water supplies; Company considering reopening Grass Valley gold mine; Doheny desal plant easily wins first state approval; With Russia targeting west, U.S. water systems on high alert; and more …
ACWA 2022 Virtual Legislative Symposium from 9:00am to 12:30pm. ACWA’s legislative symposium has been an annual event engaging water district directors, general managers, attorneys, and staff from across California with up-to-date information on critical water policy issues. Click here for more information and to register.
MEETING: The Delta Independent Science Board will meet from 9am to 5pm. The Delta ISB will continue its presentation series to better orient Delta ISB members on Delta science and management and the science topics it plans to review. This will include presentations on the incidental take permit and biological opinions on the long-term operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, the Delta Science Program & National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis Working Group, the California Environmental Flows Framework, and the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
SCOPING MEETING: EIS for analyzing potential modifications to the Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) – Fresno from 2pm to 4pm. The Bureau of Reclamation intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for analyzing potential modifications to the Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). Reclamation is seeking suggestions and information on the alternatives and topics to be addressed and other important issues related to multi-year operations of the CVP and SWP. Meeting materials are posted here. Click here to join the meeting.
SONOMA COUNTY: Drought Town Hall beginning at 6pm. The town hall will focus on continued drought conditions in the Russian River watershed. Speakers will include representatives from Sonoma Water, California Department of Water Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Santa Rosa Water, Sonoma County Farm Bureau, and State Water Resources Control Board. Speakers will discuss ongoing drought conditions, water supply management efforts, and conservation measures. Click here to join the town hall. Passcode: 864640
In California water news today …
Snow drought expands as Western U.S. is running out of time to replenish water supplies
“February total precipitation was record low at over 200 Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) sites, leading to continued expansion of snow drought conditions across the West. Fifty percent of the SNOTEL sites now have snow water equivalent (SWE) that is less than one-third of historical conditions, up from 22% in early February. In California, the driest January and February in state history has led to a March 1 statewide snowpack of less than 70% of average, down from 160% at the start of the new year. Conditions in the Klamath Basin are especially dire. … ” Continue reading at NIDIS here: Snow drought expands as Western U.S. is running out of time to replenish water supplies
Some light to locally moderate NorCal showers to come, but a “Miracle March” it is not
Daniel Swain writes, “I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone reading this blog that the past couple of months have been astonishingly dry across nearly all of California. The official stats certainly reflect this: the 2 month period during January-February 2022 was the driest such period in well over a century of record keeping for a majority of California (i.e., the northern 2/3). In some places, essentially zero precipitation fell during this period–especially remarkable as these are typically the wettest two months of the year across much of the state. February was also a highly anomalously warm month in many areas, with numerous areas breaking daily high temperature records on multiple days and some spots hitting new all-time monthly records for February warmth. Obviously, this is not the pattern that anyone hoping for meaningful drought relief wanted to see. … ” Read more from Weather West here: Some light to locally moderate NorCal showers to come, but a “Miracle March” it is not
WhyGuy: Why are so many homes being built during a drought?
“Today’s Why Guy question comes in from Annette, who asks, “Just out of curiosity, why are there so many apartment, condos and homes being built when we are always in such a drought. I get it that California is growing and we need more homes. Rent or buying is just not affordable.” Annette, great question on a huge topic. Roughly 120,000 homes need to be built each year for the next eight years to meet the growing state housing demand, especially affordable homes. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: WhyGuy: Why are so many homes being built during a drought?
Water witches in high demand amid California drought
“Standing in the middle of a 400-acre ranch, Rob Thompson pulled out two L-shaped steel rods and held them perpendicular to the ground. “I’m grounding,” he said. “It’s kind of like rebooting the computer.” Thompson then lifted them up and began rotating in a circle, waiting for them to cross. “See that? Now that’s a keeper,” he said. Thompson is a water witch who says he can find underground reservoirs and even pinpoint how far down to drill. “To me, it’s like magnetism,” he said. “It’s like the energy between two magnets when they just pull you together.” … ” Read more from Spectrum 1 here: Water witches in high demand amid California drought
Almond forecast frosty for 2022
“This week’s almond forecast report isn’t pretty. Data shared from Integral Ag, Inc. shows more than 60 percent of the Tehama County almond crop is damaged. Glenn County is near 80 percent damaged and the early Peerless variety is believed to be 100 percent damaged across the entire state. This is sad news, especially when near perfect conditions existed in early February for almond farmers to believe their 2022 crop was off to a great start. … ” Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News here: Almond forecast frosty for 2022
The stalk market – where has all the California asparagus gone?
“A lovely plate of fresh steamed or roasted asparagus is something we look forward to each spring in California. Once called “The King of Vegetables,” the local fields of Delta asparagus have become harder and harder to find. Thousands of acres of asparagus used to cover the Stockton-Brentwood area in soft green spears every spring, but urban sprawl and other crops have stealthily replaced them. In the last 20 years, California’s asparagus acreage has plummeted. At the turn of the 21st century, California growers were farming over 36,000 acres of asparagus. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Bay Times here: The stalk market – where has all the California asparagus gone?
One man’s quest to document California’s most vulnerable public lands
“Josh Jackson was out for an exploratory hike in the Bodie Hills as the orange August sun dipped below the horizon. Located just north of Mono Lake on the edge of the Eastern Sierras at about 9,000 feet, the area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and attracts few visitors. What Jackson saw that evening made him wish more people would visit places like this. … A Los Angeles-based furniture maker by trade, Jackson has spent much of his free time over the past two years visiting the BLM lands of California. He’s traveled more than 10,000 miles, crisscrossing the state from the King Range National Conservation Area on the north coast all the way down to the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness in the southeast. … ” Read the full story at SF Gate here: One man’s quest to document California’s most vulnerable public lands
The EcoFarm conference goes virtual this year, and becomes more accessible than ever.
“For over 40 years, the Soquel-based Ecological Farming Association has offered a forum to share information and resources about sustainable and organic agriculture through its EcoFarm conference in Pacific Grove. The main audience is small and mid-sized farmers. The 2022 EcoFarm, which began with pre-conference events on March 8, is online-only for the second year in a row. (Events that remain in-person are farm tours, including JSM Organics in Royal Oaks and Bees N Blooms in Sonoma County.) Unchanged this year are the ambitious topics on the agenda, things like the future of agriculture in California, climate change, water use, ancient and new production techniques. Like the old days, attendees will have opportunities to interact in smaller forums, including meditation and yoga classes offered virtually. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: The EcoFarm conference goes virtual this year, and becomes more accessible than ever.
Not going with the flow: salmon ‘sue’ US city over harm to population
“An Indigenous nation is turning to a novel legal tactic in the hopes that it can save a beleaguered salmon population: it is suing on the salmon’s behalf, alleging that dams preventing it from migrating are a violation of the fish’s “inherent rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve”. The lawsuit is part of the growing “rights of nature” movement, a legal theory that seeks to give natural entities, like rivers or plants or animals, similar legal rights to humans. The salmon, called TsuladxW in the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe’s Lushootseed language, are named plaintiffs in the case. The dammed rivers in Washington state no longer provide enough salmon for the tribe to conduct all of their ceremonies, let alone feed their members, and scientists have determined that nearby dams are hurting the salmon population. … ” Read more from The Guardian here: Not going with the flow: salmon ‘sue’ US city over harm to population
Dan Walters: Newsom paints rosy picture, ignores big issues
“California is a shining example of economic and social progress, a beacon to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. Doubt it? It must be true because Gov. Gavin Newsom said it Tuesday in his fourth State of the State address, declaring, “now, in the midst of so much turmoil with stacking stresses and dramatic social and economic change, California is doing what we have done for generations, lighting out the territory ahead of the rest, expanding the horizon of what’s possible.” He called it “The California Way” and said it “means rejecting old binaries and finding new solutions to big problems … ” However, Newsom ignored many “big problems” as he portrayed a state on the cutting edge of virtually everything positive … a drought that threatens to devastate California’s agricultural industry and, in the longer run, clobber the entire economy. ... ” Continue reading at Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Newsom paints rosy picture, ignores big issues
Commentary: SF Estuary/Delta needs long overdue protections from ballast water discharges
“CSPA, along with over a dozen other environmental organizations, recently signed on to a comment letter supporting limits on the discharge of ships’ ballast water into the Bay-Delta Estuary. The letter was sent to the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) for consideration in the 2022-2027 San Francisco Estuary Blueprint. The comment letter calls out the failure of the Estuary Blueprint to address ballast water and to require actions to reduce the introduction of non-native species in ballast discharges. The San Francisco Bay/Delta ecosystem is generally recognized as one of the most invaded estuaries in the world. … ” Read more from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance here: Commentary: SF Estuary/Delta needs long overdue protections from ballast water discharges
Evidence in: Marine protected areas can bring back California’s underwater stars
Meghan Hurley, a conservation associate with Environment California, writes, “Just like the night’s sky, California’s oceans hold galaxies. A colorful collection of purple, orange and red sea stars rest in the shallow water of tide pools. These ethereal creatures move using hundreds of tiny tube feet, which gives them the illusion of floating, or drifting. While these pools can provide us with the same awe as staring up into the constellations, the Pacific is losing its stars. In 2013, many sea stars – also known as starfish – along the Pacific Coast mysteriously began to waste away. Their usual plump shape deflated. They lost their arms. Within a matter of days, sea stars afflicted with this disease, which is called sea star wasting, died. They literally dissolved into the ocean, melting away without a trace. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Evidence in: Marine protected areas can bring back California’s underwater stars
RISING VOICES: Where does it go? Water allocations & algae blooms in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary
Each month, the Water Hub is checking in with advocates and organizers in California to talk about the water issues impacting local communities and to also expand the visibility of leaders in California’s water and environmental justice movement. In this March issue, we spoke with Restore the Delta’s Science Coordinator, Spencer Fern, and Policy Analyst, Tim Stroshane, about the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, and how water gets moved around (or not) in California.
Rollout of Klamath Basin infrastructure funding begins
“How to spend $162 million in habitat restoration funding for the Klamath Basin was the subject of a congressional hearing on Tuesday. It drew members of Congress from districts along the Oregon-California border, Tribal members, farming interest groups, and officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation. The hearing followed the announcement Monday that an initial $15 million will be awarded by the USFWS for projects that “help improve river, riparian, lake and wetland habitats” that support fish, waterfowl and native wildlife. ... ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Rollout of Klamath Basin infrastructure funding begins
Klamath National Forest’s snowpack now at 32% of its historic average
“Klamath National Forest’s snowpack is now at 32% of the historic average for snow height and 34% of the historic average for snow water equivalent (SWE). “The snow water equivalent is essentially how much water would you get if you melted all that snow down,” said district fish biologist and overseer of snow surveys for Klamath National Forest, Maija Meneks. The Klamath National Forest surveys the region every month from February to May. Last March, the forests’ snowpack was at 68% of the historic average snow height and SWE. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Klamath National Forest’s snowpack now at 32% of its historic average
Crescent City Councilors add support to legislation that protects north fork smith river from mining
“Crescent City Councilors on Monday joined Del Norte and Curry County elected officials in supporting two pieces of legislation, both of which protects the city’s drinking water, proponents say. Councilors unanimously approved sending letters of support U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein, of California, for the Smith River National Recreation Area Expansion Act. and the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act. … ” Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Crescent City Councilors add support to legislation that protects north fork smith river from mining
Ocean kings more abundant in 2022
“The number of adult fall-run Chinook salmon forecast to be swimming off the coast of California seems to be trending upward from last year. That was the good news delivered at last Wednesday’s annual Ocean Salmon Information meeting hosted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The number of Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon predicted in the ocean this season is 396,458 compared to 271,000 last year, a 45-percent increase. This year’s ocean abundance for the Klamath River also came in above the 2021 forecast, with 200,100 adult fall Chinook salmon predicted to be in the ocean. Although an improvement, it’s still well below the stock’s historical levels. … ” Read more from the North Coast Journal here: Ocean kings more abundant in 2022
Company considering reopening gold rush-era mine in Grass Valley
“Modern life mingles with reminders of the California gold rush across Grass Valley. Rusty relics of once-thriving gold mines give silent testimony to the rich history upon which the city was built. … In its nearly 100 years of operation, the Idaho-Maryland Mine produced 2.4 million ounces of gold, which is 75 tons of high-grade gold. Some people believe there is more gold still down there. Ben Mossman, the CEO of Rise Gold, is one of those believers. His company bought the mine 2017. “This mine is a big deal,” Mossman told FOX40. “There’s very few deposits like this in the world.” … ” Read more from KTXL here: Company considering reopening gold rush-era mine in Grass Valley
Tahoe license plates raise $350K annually to fund environmental projects
“A virtual trail from Spooner Lake to Tunnel Creek is just one of the projects paid for by more than $350,000 a year in proceeds from Nevada’s Lake Tahoe license plate sales and annual renewal fees. The Marlette Virtual Nature Trail will be created by the Nevada Division of Natural Heritage and will be available for free download to allow to tour the trail and to learn more about local plants and wildlife and experience the cultural and geologic history of the area. Other projects funded by the license plate fees include ... ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Tahoe license plates raise $350K annually to fund environmental projects
El Dorado Irrigation District approves five contracts
“GEI Consultants had another $39,700 added Feb. 28 to the geotechnical engineering firm’s $85,370 original contract with the El Dorado Irrigation District. The total is about $125,000. Besides the burned canals, GEI Consultants were tasked with identifying areas prone to or experiencing landslide in the burn areas, finding fire-damaged erosion control mats, discovering drainage areas that could deposit sediment into the canal and looking for rock formations destabilized and in danger of damaging or blocking canals. … ” Read more from the Mountain Democrat here: El Dorado Irrigation District approves five contracts
Sacramento had record-breaking rain — then months without it. How does this affect drought?
“Downtown Sacramento is breaking records on both sides of the precipitation spectrum as it will reach a dry streak of 61 days without rain at the end of Wednesday, after having had a record-breaking storm in October. And it’s not looking great for Northern California’s drought conditions. “California has always had a very volatile precipitation history,” said Claudia Faunt, a hydrologist with the California Water Science Center. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Sacramento had record-breaking rain — then months without it. How does this affect drought?
Sewage smell in Sacramento neighborhood could take 10 months to remedy, city says
“While doing laundry a few weeks ago, Corri Calderon caught a whiff of something rancid in South Land Park. “It really smelled,” Calderon said. “I thought maybe it was something that was inside my house, then I came outside and there was a smell of just rotten eggs, maybe sulfur.” Calderon said the stench would come and go. Neighbors also complained, but they could never figure out what was in the air. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Sewage smell in Sacramento neighborhood could take 10 months to remedy, city says
Valley Water progressing on projects to reduce flood risk along Coyote Creek
Valley Water Directors Tony Estremera, Barbara Keegan and Richard P. Santos write, “So far this winter, we’ve had an incredibly wet December, followed by the driest January on record in San Jose. Although Santa Clara County is currently in a drought emergency, we can’t predict how much rain we’ll receive in the future. Valley Water is continuing our work on projects to reduce the risk of flooding in neighborhoods along Coyote Creek in San José. The Coyote Creek Flood Protection Project and the Coyote Creek Flood Management Measures Project extend for nine miles in historically flood-prone areas and seek to protect residential, commercial, industrial areas and major roads and highways from floods. … ” Read more from Valley Water News here: Valley Water progressing on projects to reduce flood risk along Coyote Creek
Half Moon Bay Harbor District, RCD wade through water projects
“The San Mateo County Harbor District recently reviewed upcoming and ongoing projects designed to increase water quality and recycled water use within Pillar Point Harbor. At the Harbor Commission meeting last month, the San Mateo Resource Conservation District, a non-regulatory agency that provides technical assistance to a variety of environmental services, announced that it was partnering with the Harbor District on a stormwater capture project that could retain up to 5 million gallons each year. … ” Read more from the Half Moon Bay Review here: Half Moon Bay Harbor District, RCD wade through water projects
Presidio of Monterey gray-water system to save more than 2,000 gallons of water a day
“U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey will save more than 2,000 gallons of potable water every day—more than 730,000 gallons a year—with a gray-water system that began operating in a Marine Corps barracks March 9. Pyeatt Barracks, in Building 827, houses about 740 Marines. The system harvests water from showers and sinks, filters it and then uses it again in toilets, said Rich Thorne, energy manager, Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey. The system demonstrates the Army’s commitment to the environment and preserving resources. … ” Read more from Army News here: Presidio of Monterey gray-water system to save more than 2,000 gallons of water a day
City of Santa Barbara and La Cumbre Mutual Water Company celebrate the commencement of recycled water deliveries
“[February 25th marked] a significant milestone in our efforts to build water resiliency and reliability on the South Coast. As dry conditions continue, the City of Santa Barbara has initiated a 25-year agreement to provide surplus recycled water to the La Cumbre MutualWater Company. On March 1, 2022, a newly installed service connection will be opened to deliver recycled water to the La Cumbre County Club. This is the largest customer of the La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, primarily serving Hope Ranch and the Hope Ranch Annex area. … ” Read more from Edhat here: City of Santa Barbara and La Cumbre Mutual Water Company celebrate the commencement of recycled water deliveries
Santa Barbara county sees third year in a row of drought
“Santa Barbara County supervisors had the bad news confirmed that the drought is on and not about to end, but water agency manager Matt Young also brought some promising ideas to the mix. At 53 percent of normal rainfall, 2021-2022 looks to be the third year in a row of drought. The inches of rain that fell early in the water year — nearly two feet at San Marcos Pass — sank to just about zero through January and February. Lake Cachuma was at 47 percent capacity, with nearly all the water in the lake allocated downstream or for fish passages. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Santa Barbara county sees third year in a row of drought
Californians will have to wait longer to access Hollister Ranch beach
“As coastal access advocates won an important legal victory to open up a stretch of pristine and spectacular coastline adjacent to a high-dollar enclave in Santa Barbara County, they pointed to April 1, 2022, as the day when all Californians would be able to enjoy the beach next to Hollister Ranch. But the wealthy landowners of Hollister Ranch — which includes filmmaker James Cameron, outdoor clothing magnate Yvon Chinnourd and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne — have lawyered up and those looking to catch a view of the beach along the Gaviota Coastline will have to wait. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Californians will have to wait longer to access Hollister Ranch beach
Dams out: Matilija Dam
“Matilija Dam, located in the Ventura River watershed on Matilija Creek north of Ojai, is a concrete arch dam built in 1947. Infamous for the scissors painted on the dam by graffiti artists in 2011 that have become an iconic symbol for dam removal, it was originally designed for water storage and flood control. The reservoir behind Matilija Dam is nearly completely clogged with sediment, significantly reducing storage capacity to the point that the dams is rendered non-functional. With no fish ladder or bypass structure present, it is a complete barrier to the migration of endangered Southern California steelhead. … ” Continue reading from Cal Trout here: Dams out: Matilija Dam
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
San Joaquin company ruled liable for pesticide drift over Stockton sports complex, Lodi school
“A San Joaquin County pesticide spraying company was negligent on at least five occasions its helicopter pilots allowed the toxic chemicals to drift onto a Lodi school, children playing soccer in Stockton, a woman standing in her backyard in the Delta, and neighboring orchards, a judge ruled this week. Alpine Helicopter Service, Inc. violated the law when it carelessly released the harmful chemicals on at least five occasions between 2014 and 2020, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office ... ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: San Joaquin company ruled liable for pesticide drift over Stockton sports complex, Lodi school
Ceres residents will be drinking river water by summer 2023
“A project three decades in the making is nearly complete and is scheduled to deliver a reliable source of drinking water to Ceres residents by the middle of next year. The Regional Surface Water Supply Project was formed in 2011 as the cities of Ceres and Turlock, in cooperation with Turlock Irrigation District, to start the process of building a plant to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to residents. Ceres has been working for 30 years to secure this alternate drinking source, as currently all water from the tap comes from underground aquifers. … ” Read more from the Ceres Courier here: You’ll be drinking river water by summer 2023
Exeter seeks out state dollars for more water projects
“As the hot days of summer approach the city of Exeter is in the process of requesting state funding and determining what projects to prioritize in order to keep up with residents demands. The city authorized an application to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a program that assists public water systems in financing the cost of drinking water infrastructure projects through low to no-interest loans, principal forgiveness and technical assistance. Once the status of that application is finalized, the city will have a clearer idea of which projects to finance, said City Manager Adam Ennis. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Exeter seeks out state dollars for more water projects
Tulare County to use mining pit to recharge aquifer with flood water
“… Working to reduce the long-term risks of natural disasters, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency of Services (Cal OES) announced last month it is applying for $250 million in federal funding for proactive projects preparing communities for emergencies instead of reacting to them. One project in Tulare County plans to reuse an excavated mining pit to recharge groundwater levels with floodwater, which would provide more water for irrigating crops and drinking water while also serving as a habitat for migratory birds. According to Cal OES, the project is requesting $16.27 million in federal funding for the nearly $23 million project. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Tulare County to use mining pit to recharge aquifer with flood water
Using Sentinel-1 and GRACE satellite data to monitor the hydrological variations within the Tulare Basin, California
“Subsidence induced by groundwater depletion is a grave problem in many regions around the world, leading to a permanent loss of groundwater storage within an aquifer and even producing structural damage at the Earth’s surface. California’s Tulare Basin is no exception, experiencing about a meter of subsidence between 2015 and 2020. However, understanding the relationship between changes in groundwater volumes and ground deformation has proven difficult. We employ surface displacement measurements from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and gravimetric estimates of terrestrial water storage from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite pair to characterize the hydrological dynamics within the Tulare basin. … ” Read more from Nature here: Using Sentinel-1 and GRACE satellite data to monitor the hydrological variations within the Tulare Basin, California
Letters to the Editor: You might not notice, but L.A. is making major progress on storing water
Doheny desalination plant easily wins first state approval
“A desalination plant proposed near Doheny State Beach was unanimously approved Wednesday, March 9, for the first of three necessary state permits, sailing through the San Diego Regional Water Control Board hearing in three hours with no major concerns raised by either the board or the public. That’s a sharp contrast to the regulatory scrutiny — and extensive public opposition — for Poseidon Water’s much larger desalination proposal up the coast in Huntington Beach, reflecting numerous differences between the two plans. Wednesday’s approval could signal a smooth regulatory path ahead for the Doheny project, proposed South Coast Water District. But the small district continues to seek financial partners among neighboring water agencies — and beyond — in order to bring down customer costs. … ” Read more from the OC Register here: Doheny desalination plant easily wins first state approval
San Clemente gets $570,000 state grant to study shrinking sand
“As the state releases a seventh round of grants to help with climate resiliency, San Clemente is set to get more than half a million dollars to study were its sand erosion is the worst and how it can be addressed. The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday, March 9, approved $570,000 for the seaside town, one of several that applied for a piece of the $3.4 million pot available this round. The money comes from $31 million earmarked for the Coastal Commission in the state’s 2021 budget. The existence of sand on a shoreline isn’t just a matter of providing a place for sunbathers to put towels down, it’s a critical buffer between the ocean and infrastructure. … ” Read more from the OC Register here: San Clemente gets $570,000 state grant to study shrinking sand
How the West’s megadrought is leaving one Arizona neighborhood with no water at all
“Late last year, Leigh Harris logged onto a local Facebook group and learned that she and her neighbors were about to lose their water — for good. Harris lives in an area called Rio Verde Foothills, an unincorporated expanse of dirt roads and horse farms on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, a city that is itself on the outskirts of Phoenix. The neighborhood sprung up during the housing boom of the early 2000s, but it lacked robust water access, so residents like Harris relied on private “water haulers” to bring them water from nearby Scottsdale. … She tapped the tank until it ran out, then paid to get more. This time, though, her water hauler was the one tapping out: The company posted on Facebook to say it would stop serving Rio Verde Foothills at the end of 2022. The other haulers in the area are quitting as well ... ” Read the full story at Grist here: How the West’s megadrought is leaving one Arizona neighborhood with no water at all
Buckeye: Inventor hopes to provide new water source
“Using his new technology, a solar-thermal energized hydraulic engine, Buckeye inventor Brian Hageman will use salt water from a natural aquifer beneath the city to pump through a desalination process. The resulting new, renewable, clean water source can provide plentiful water for local agriculture, residential and commercial customers. Each water desalination facility will process 4 million gallons per day utilizing 100% solar-thermal energy. No electrical grid connection is required; however, Hageman will sell surplus electricity to the grid. “It is an engine that runs on hot water, and this new engine replaces electric motors in the desalination system that use tons of electricity,” Hageman explained. “So, with my system we eliminate the electrical needs.” … ” Read more from the West Valley View here: Buckeye: Inventor hopes to provide new water source
What does it take to build a massive new reservoir? A lot of time, trucks, and rock
“On its way to your kitchen faucet, water in the Colorado River basin takes a long and winding journey. High mountain snowmelt trickles through streams, rushes through rivers, and flows along a chain of man-made tunnels, canals and reservoirs before it even reaches city pipes. For tens of thousands of people on Colorado’s Front Range, that journey will soon involve another step, as the Chimney Hollow reservoir takes shape in the hills above Loveland. Proponents of the build say it’s an investment in the future of a growing Colorado, while critics say it will add strain to an already taxed watershed. The build itself is a feat of engineering, and a striking example of human ability to reshape the natural world. … ” Read more from KUNC here: What does it take to build a massive new reservoir? A lot of time, trucks, and rock
With Russia targeting west, U.S. water systems on high alert
“With a geopolitical crisis playing out thousands of miles away, the drinking water sector in the U.S. has doubled its resolve against potential attacks against their digital systems. “Today water utilities across the country are girding for online attacks and misinformation campaigns that could lead to drinking water contamination, service disruptions and demands for ransom,” according to E&E News. “Top White House officials warned U.S. companies to brace for possible cyberattacks — specifically mentioning the water sector — and cited hackers disrupting Ukraine targets.” ... ” Read more from Water Online here: With Russia targeting west, U.S. water systems on high alert
Omnibus package opens spigots for water project earmarks
“A sprawling $1.5 trillion fiscal 2022 spending deal is awash in cash for water and natural resources projects, including a number of Republican proposals to gird coastal communities against the effects of climate change. The omnibus package is the first in years to contain congressionally directed spending, also known as earmarks. Lawmakers revived them under tight rules and only for certain parts of the federal budget. “Allowance for earmarks this year likely increased the likelihood that Congress would eventually overcome obstacles and agree to pass the bill, greasing the legislative wheels, so to speak,” said Mike Strachn, a former House staffer and Army Corps of Engineers official now working as a senior adviser at Dawson & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in permitting. … ” Read more from E&E News here: Omnibus package opens spigots for water project earmarks
U.S. officials reverse finding that toxic pesticide may lead to dozens of wildlife extinctions
“U.S. wildlife officials have reversed their previous finding that a widely used and highly toxic pesticide could jeopardize dozens of plants and animals with extinction, after receiving pledges from chemical manufacturers that they will change product labels for malathion so that it’s used more carefully by consumers. Federal regulations for malathion have been under review in response to longstanding complaints that the pesticide used to control mosquitoes, grasshoppers and other insects also kills many protected plants and animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in a draft finding last April that malathion could threaten the continued existence of 78 imperiled species and cause lesser harm to many more. … ” Read more from PBS here: U.S. officials reverse finding that toxic pesticide may lead to dozens of wildlife extinctions
Office buildings with infrequent water use may have poor water quality
“Low-consumption office buildings with infrequent water use could have chemical and microbiological safety issues, according to a study published in PLOS Water by Andrew Whelton at Purdue University, Indiana, United States, and colleagues. The research could have implications for office buildings used less frequently during pandemic lockdowns, and suggests that regular water testing in commercial buildings may be needed. Many office buildings have decreased occupancy during weekends and holidays — and recently, during pandemic lockdowns — increasing water stagnation in plumbing. … ” Read more from Science Daily here: Office buildings with infrequent water use may have poor water quality
New Biden wildfire commission looking for prevention experts to shape federal policy
“The federal government on Thursday will begin accepting applications for a newly created commission designed to shape the nation’s management of wildland fires. The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission is seeking potential members with expertise in wildland fire prevention, federal officials say, and hopes to assemble a diverse collection of people from rural, urban and suburban communities. Members will include representatives of tribal and state and local governments, especially those from areas like California that are at a high risk of wildfires. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: New Biden wildfire commission looking for prevention experts to shape federal policy
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