DAILY DIGEST, 3/23: From bulldozers to helicopters, Boswell-Vidovich battles continue; As drought intensifies, a return to wild, unrestricted waterways offers solutions; Sisk Dam to get $100 million safety upgrade; Bill introduced to prevent corporations from profiting off water rights; and more …
MEETING: Delta Conservancy Board Meeting from 9am to 1pm. Agenda items include Delta Conservancy 2021 Implementation Plan Status Update; Prop 1, Prop 68, and Delta Drought Response Pilot Program updates; Consideration of Prop 68 & Prop 1 grants; and Delta agency updates. Click here for the full agenda.
WEBINAR: Cannabis Water Rights Training for Consultants and Agents beginning at 10am. Come increase your understanding of water rights for cannabis cultivation sites. Staff will provide a walkthrough of the submission process for both a Cannabis Small Irrigation Use Registration (SIUR) and Small Domestic Use Registration (SDU) in addition to identifying common mistakes and ways to avoid them. Cannabis industry representatives (agents, consultants, engineers, and/or attorneys) participating in the training will receive a Training Completion certificate after the event. Click here to register.
SoCAL WATER DIALOG: “The Future We Worried About is Here” from 12pm to 1:30pm. Join the Water Dialogue as renown climate scientist, Dr. Daniel Swain, will speak about the mega-drought descending across many parts of the western United States and specifically southern California, new weather and drought modeling predictions for the future, and the impact of drought on the looming wildfire season. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
From bulldozers to helicopters, Boswell-Vidovich battles continue
“An ongoing tiff over construction of a large water pipeline in Kings County has gone airborne, according to a lawsuit filed by Sandridge Partners. Sandridge, controlled by John Vidovich, is accusing the J.G. Boswell Company of purposely “buzzing” cattle on its lands using a large helicopter. The actions have been ongoing since late January through the present, according to the lawsuit, and have endangered both animals and workers. In an email, Vidovich described the helicopter as “…a massive 7 seater with BIG engines and they dusted the workers in the field. They were low and it was harassment.” … ” Read more from SJV Water here: From bulldozers to helicopters, Boswell-Vidovich battles continue
As drought intensifies, a return to wild, unrestricted waterways offers solutions
“Willow trees. A puddle ringed by mossy scum. A creek that emerges in a basement. These are just a few of the signs that “water detectives”—a term that journalist Erica Gies uses to refer to innovative water stewards—may seek out in understanding where and how water once moved across a landscape, before it was transformed by humans. In Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge, now available for pre-order, Gies argues that the under-tapped knowledge of water’s natural movements are key to repairing a planet plagued by both extreme drought and extreme flooding due to climate change. The book comes at a crucially important time, following the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which details how countries aren’t doing enough to adapt to climate change, especially its impacts on food and water. … ” Continue reading from Civil Eats here: As drought intensifies, a return to wild, unrestricted waterways offers solutions
Press release: Interior Department invests $100 million of bipartisan infrastructure law funding for BF Sisk Dam
“The Department of the Interior announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation is providing project-specific funding of $100 million for the modification of B.F. Sisk Dam in California. The funding, authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, was highlighted in an addendum to the Bureau’s initial spend plan for fiscal year 2022 funding allocations. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $500 million to Reclamation over the next five years to support critical dam safety projects, streamline construction management, maintain the operational capacity of Reclamation’s dams and minimize risk to the downstream public. These investments underscore President Biden’s commitment to developing longer-term measures to respond to climate change, mitigate drought and build climate resiliency. “Investing in and enhancing dam safety is central to the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing drought and confronting climate change impacts on communities and habitats,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. … ” Continue reading at the Department of the Interior here: Interior Department Invests $100 Million in First Dam Safety Project Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
California dam to get $100 million safety upgrade
“The U.S. Department of the Interior announced March 22 that the Bureau of Reclamation is providing project-specific funding of $100 million for the modification of B.F. Sisk Dam in California. The funding, authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden, was highlighted in an addendum to the Bureau’s initial spend plan for fiscal year 2022 funding allocations. The infrastructure package provides $500 million to Reclamation over the next five years to support critical dam safety projects, streamline construction management, maintain the operational capacity of Reclamation’s dams and minimize risk to the downstream public. These investments underscore Biden’s commitment to developing longer-term measures to respond to climate change, mitigate drought and build climate resiliency, administration officials said. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: California dam to get $100 million safety upgrade
State deepens water supply cuts as drought continues
“The California Department of Water Resources is cutting its water allocation for the State Water Project to 5%—down from its earlier promised allotment of 15%. The agency cited dropping reservoir levels and reduced snowpack amid California’s continuing drought. The March 18 announcement marked another setback for farmers and others who rely on state surface-water supplies. “Farmers and ranchers are the most resilient group of people I know, but this third year of Mother Nature’s drought coupled with the state-imposed regulatory drought is cutting to the bone,” said Danny Merkley, California Farm Bureau director of water resources. “State regulators need to find a balance to their decisions for all beneficial uses of water: the environment, human health and healthful, locally grown food and farm products.” ... ” Read more from Ag Alert here: State deepens water supply cuts as drought continues
Drought continues and groundwater regulations heat up in California
“2021 was the driest year California has experienced in a century. At the end of the water year, spanning October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, the State received only 11.87 inches of precipitation, approximately half of average. This came on the heels of the second driest year on record in 2020. … While GSAs worked to draft and submit their GSPs, litigation followed as stakeholders challenged the approaches to basin management. Among the 42 GSPs that have been submitted to DWR, at least four are being litigated in California Superior Courts. So far, these lawsuits are not concentrated in a particular region of the State, with challenges in the Central Valley, Central Coast, and eastern desert regions. A common theme raised in each of the complaints is the allegation that the various GSAs violated SGMA by adopting GSPs that changed the rights and priorities of water rights holders within the basin areas. … ” Read the full post at Allen Matkins here: Drought continues and groundwater regulations heat up in California
CA Farm Bureau President Johansson urges action to achieve water promises
“As California farmers and ranchers face another year of drought and cutbacks in water deliveries, a page out of history served as a reminder that the state’s water problems remain urgent—and that their voices are needed more than ever to press for legislative action. Reading from the state’s first water plan—also known as Bulletin No. 3—California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson pointed to how issues described in the 1957 report could have been written today: “The bulk of the waters of the state do not occur where they are needed and are not actually available when they are needed,” the plan said. “This is nothing new,” Johansson said. “What is new is how we deal with it.” … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Johansson urges action to achieve water promises
Gov. Newsom, clean water advocates announce drought resilience challenge
“Community leaders, clean water advocates, and the philanthropic community joined Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, March 22, to announce an initiative that invests in transformative changes to California’s water in the face of climate change. The Drought Resilience Challenge aims to raise at least $30 million in philanthropic funds to support healthier and more resilient communities and watersheds. “We’re deploying an all-of-the-above approach to support our communities hardest hit by the drought and build a more sustainable future for all Californians,” said Governor Newsom. “With this Drought Resilience Challenge, the philanthropic community can help to ensure that state funding is equitably and effectively implemented, and we look forward to more leaders in the community stepping up to help meet the moment.” … ” Read more from the Water Foundation here: Gov. Newsom, clean water advocates announce drought resilience challenge
Water restrictions are in place as the historic drought persists in the West
“Federal forecasters say the West’s historic megadrought will worsen through the spring. That’s raising concerns about water shortages and fire danger. Lake Powell, one of the most iconic reservoirs in the West, hit an all-time low level last week. And it’s not alone. Reservoirs that supply water for 2 million people in the San Jose area of California are only a quarter full. A 15% mandatory water restriction is in place, says Matt Keller with the Santa Clara Valley Water District. … ” Read more from NPR here: Water restrictions are in place as the historic drought persists in the West
What every Californian should know about groundwater
“In honor of World Water Day—its theme is “Groundwater—making the invisible visible”—we asked a handful of PPIC Water Policy Center senior staff to discuss groundwater and drought in California. What should every Californian know about groundwater? Jeff Mount: Groundwater is our drought reserve, but we tend to treat it like a regular part of our water supply. It’s usually 30% of our water supply, but during drought it’s more than 60%. The problem is that we don’t reserve enough for droughts and use too much during wetter periods. Andrew Ayres: For a long time we treated groundwater like a property right, but it was a pretty lousy property right. A property right not only entitles you to access it but also excludes others from accessing it. That’s not what groundwater rights do in California. That is the source of many, if not all, of our groundwater problems. … ” Continue reading at the PPIC here: What every Californian should know about groundwater
World Water Day focuses attention on how water is underappreciated — especially groundwater
“Around the world, people and nature rely on groundwater for survival. The newly released United Nations World Water Development Report 2022 underscores humanity’s reliance on this resource, noting groundwater currently provides about half the volume of domestic water and a quarter the volume of irrigation water withdrawn globally. But it’s the frequent invisibility of this water source that often adds to the challenge of its governance and management. While 99% of the liquid freshwater on the planet is in the form of groundwater, it remains somewhat out of sight — and too often out of mind. … In California, groundwater has experienced a steep decline in some areas from overpumping, and climate change is creating additional pressures. Chronic groundwater overdraft has led to falling groundwater levels, dry wells, land subsidence, decreased groundwater storage capacity, decreased water quality, and stream depletion. … ” Read more from the Pacific Institute here: World Water Day focuses attention on how water is underappreciated — especially groundwater
Rep. Khanna, Senator Warren introduce bill to prevent corporations from profiting off water rights
“Today, Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led a bicameral group of colleagues in introducing the Future of Water Act to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to prohibit futures trading of water or water rights and protect our country’s water. Water is a basic human right that must be managed and protected as a public trust resource. As climate change has increased the severity and frequency of drought in our country, large corporations should not be profiting off of water or water rights. Water should be affordable, easily accessible, and guarded from markets prone to manipulation and speculation that could cause real-world price increases. The announcement of the water futures trading received condemnation from the global water community, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water who stated: “Water is already under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands and grave pollution from agriculture and mining industry in the context of worsening impact of climate change. . . I am very concerned that water is now being treated as gold, oil and other commodities that are traded on Wall Street futures markets.” … ” Read more from Food & Water Watch here: Rep. Khanna, Senator Warren introduce bill to prevent corporations from profiting off water rights
Third District Court of Appeal rejects CEQA challenge to project converting open ditch to pipe, providing valuable guidance regarding the analysis of indirect and wildfire impacts
“A recent decision by the Third District Court of Appeal upholding El Dorado Irrigation District’s (EID) environmental document for a ditch piping project will provide helpful guidance to water agencies and irrigation districts looking to conserve and protect water supplies. In Save the El Dorado Canal v. El Dorado Irrigation District (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 239, residents living along an open, unlined, earthen ditch used to convey surface water challenged EID’s approval of a project to convert three miles of the ditch to a buried pipeline to prevent water losses and protect water quality. The ditch in question, the Upper Main Ditch, was built by mining interests to convey water to the Placerville area in the late 1800s. The residents challenged EID’s certification of the project’s environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on numerous grounds. The El Dorado County Superior Court rejected all the residents’ arguments, upholding the EIR and project approval. The residents’ appeal focused on the EIR’s project description, environmental setting, and impacts to hydrology, biological resources, and wildfire risk. … ” Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Third District Court of Appeal rejects CEQA challenge to project converting open ditch to pipe, providing valuable guidance regarding the analysis of indirect and wildfire impacts
With climate change, Berkeley snow lab’s mission remains critical
“For someone who admits to “childlike excitement” at the prospect of a snowstorm, Andrew Schwartz has the perfect job. He’s the new manager of the University of California, Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory (CSSL), the only continuously manned snow research outpost in the Western U.S. He arrived there last April, and so far, he’s loving it. His first season in the 75-year-old U.S. Forest Service building — both a lab and a home for him, his wife and two dogs — in Soda Springs, California, saw the second highest October snowfall ever in the Sierra Nevada and the highest snowfall for any December in recorded history. … ” Read more from UC Berkeley here: With climate change, Berkeley snow lab’s mission remains critical
The microplastics crisis is getting worse. Can California’s plan move the needle forward?
“With more than 11 million metric tons of plastic entering Earth’s oceans every year, an amount experts say could triple by 2040, California’s comprehensive plan to reduce microplastics could serve as a welcome push. Will it be enough to make a difference? The scale of the microplastic pollution generated within the world’s fifth-largest economy alone indicates such a strategy certainly could not hurt. “We must take action, and this strategy shows us how,” said Wade Crowfoot, the state’s secretary of natural resources, in a public statement announcing the plan. “By reducing pollution at its source, we safeguard the health of our rivers, wetlands and oceans, and protect all of the people and nature that depends on these waters.” … ” Read more from Triple Pundit here: The microplastics crisis is getting worse. Can California’s plan move the needle forward?
Less sea level rise for left coast
“Scientists are now more confident we should plan for up to a foot of sea-level rise on the Pacific Coast by 2050 than they were the last time they did the math. That’s because this time when they compared the projections from computer models with projections from actual tide gauges in coastal waters and satellite altimetry (bouncing radar off the ocean surface to measure height changes), they got the same results. “What’s new is that models and observation-based projections corroborate each other,” says US Geological Survey coastal hazard scientist Patrick Barnard. “We’re getting better at using multiple lines of evidence to support projections.” … ” Read more from Knee Deep Times here: Less sea level rise for left coast
Not just any wall anywhere
“When Sam Liccardo, the mayor of San Jose, proposed last year the idea of building a seawall beneath the Golden Gate Bridge to keep the rising ocean from flooding Bay Area ports, he inadvertently helped to highlight what scientists recently flagged as a serious problem in the struggle to adapt to climate change — actions intended to help that wind up being counterproductive. Climate policy experts call it “maladaptation,” and in a recent 3,700-page report from the United Nations warning of unavoidable impacts from climate change, the word occurs 360 times. … ” Read more from Knee Deep Times here: Not just any wall anywhere
California gets a grade of ‘D’ for inaction on the climate crisis
Mary Creasman, the CEO of California Environmental Voters, writes, “This decade is our last chance to prevent a climate crisis catastrophe and ensure a safe and healthy future for all Californians. But our state’s leaders are failing to act. Each year, we assess if California is doing enough to fight the climate crisis. We look at the actions of the governor and state legislators. We see how climate legislation fared and if our leaders in Sacramento championed climate solutions or delayed our response to the crisis. And we share this information with voters. This year, we have assigned California its first “D” grade for inaction on the climate crisis in 2021. This grade reflects that California is not on track to meet its current goals to address climate change and has not passed significant climate legislation in more than three years. This is despite the reality that we are experiencing severe climate impacts: wildfires, extreme heat, pollution and drought. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: California gets a grade of ‘D’ for inaction on the climate crisis
DELTA INDEPENDENT SCIENCE BOARD: An update on the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan
At the March meeting of the Delta Independent Science Board (ISB), in preparation for a potential ISB review of environmental flows, the Board was given on overview and an update on the progress to date on updating the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan (or Plan.) Erin Foresman and Matt Holland, both with the State Resources Water Control Board, provided an overview of the Plan’s progress to date, the two recent processes to update the Plan, the scientific basis used to support the updates, and how a potential ISB review on environmental flows can inform the State Water Board’s efforts.
Klamath Dam Removal Project opens up job opportunities for tribal members
“The Klamath River Renewal Corporation and Kiewit Project Management hosted a tribal outreach event in Yreka on Tuesday morning. KRRC and Kiewit Project Management are in the final design stages for the Klamath Dam Removal Project and spoke with members of the Karuk tribe about subcontracting and direct hire opportunities. Mark Bransom, Chief Executive Officer of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, said that this project will serve as an economic development opportunity for tribal communities and businesses. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Klamath Dam Removal Project opens up job opportunities for tribal members
Court decision in Martis Valley West case
“A long-awaited victory for conservation groups came in mid-February when California’s 3rd District Court of Appeals found that the 2016 approval of development in Martis Valley overlooked the project’s impact on Lake Tahoe. Conservationists are hopeful that this decision sets a new precedent for development projects in the Tahoe region. “We want to create legal precedent that you can’t have these outside basin projects create all of their impacts on the Lake Tahoe Basin and do nothing to mitigate it,” said Alexis Ollar, executive director of Mountain Area Preservation, one of three groups involved in the litigation process. … ” Read more from Sierra Nevada Ally here: Court decision in Martis Valley West case
Weather whiplash: A month after freezing temps, Santa Rosa breaks 96-year-old heat record
“An early spring heat wave drove area temperatures toward the 90-degree mark Tuesday, eclipsing Santa Rosa’s nearly century-old record high by three degrees. The mercury reached 89 degrees in downtown Santa Rosa, obliterating the record of 86 degrees set March 22, 1926. Neighboring inland cities in Sonoma and Mendocino counties also contended with temperatures in the high 80s, but Santa Rosa stood out. The 89-degree reading was the hottest for the date since record keeping began 120 years ago and was 23 degrees above the 30-year average for the date. ... ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Weather whiplash: A month after freezing temps, Santa Rosa breaks 96-year-old heat record
Russian River water supply dam being inflated
“Due to a dry winter and warm temperatures, the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) today began the multi-day process of inflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville. The rubber dam is a critical component of the Russian River water supply system that provides naturally filtered drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. The rubber dam is typically inflated in spring or early summer when demand for potable water increases. A lack of measurable rainfall in January and February and warm temperatures have increased water demands earlier than usual and river flows remain relatively low. … ” Read more from the County of Somona here: Russian River water supply dam being inflated
Calistoga tap water fails quality test
“Calistoga’s tap water failed to meet a quality standard recently, although the water remains safe to drink, according to the city. Test results for water collected Oct. 14, 2021, and Jan. 27, 2022, at both of Calistoga’s water supplies, Kimball and State Water Project Water, showed that city water exceeded the maximum level of haloacetic acids, according to a press release from the city. The running annual average for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 61 ug/L, and on Jan. 27 was 89 ug/L, both exceeding the maximum of 60. … ” Read more from the Napa Valley Register here: Calistoga tap water fails quality test
Contaminant plaguing east Oakland’s air may soon be monitored in California’s water
“California today proposed a long-awaited standard for a cancer-causing contaminant in drinking water that would require costly treatment in many cities throughout the state. Traces of hexavalent chromium are widely found in the drinking water of millions of Californians, with some of the contamination naturally occurring and some from industries that work with the heavy metal. The proposed standard is a major step in a decades-long effort to curtail the water contaminant made infamous by the movie “Erin Brockovich,” based on residents of rural Hinkley who won more than $300 million from Pacific Gas and Electric for contamination of their drinking water. … ” Read more from KQED here: Contaminant plaguing east Oakland’s air may soon be monitored in California’s water
Planting the edgy bits of Giant Marsh
“A recent winter visit to the Point Pinole shoreline near Richmond felt like a step outside of time. I was there to watch a small team implement the next phase of a big scientific idea, but the area’s typical fog had rolled in thick, and the entire endeavor was cloaked in a fairy mist. Ducks paddled and dabbled in a dark flock, colors and feathers indistinct. Dogs walked their masked masters on a high trail. Dried stalks of purple teasel — coneheads freed of seeds by the bracing Bay breeze — lay felled across the slopes: in preparation for a restoration planting spree, East Bay Parks had cleared that prickly invader. Freight trains blasted and planes rumbled somewhere out of sight. Hidden by the high tide and low fog, oysters clung to human-made reefs offshore. The mist messed with my sense of place. But I had been here before, to the Living Shoreline project at Giant Marsh. Now, I was back to see the latest phase of a multi-year, multi-habitat restoration up close and personal. ... ” Read more from Knee Deep Times here: Planting the edgy bits of Giant Marsh
Monterey officials ask, again, for more water
“Monterey city officials are again lobbying state water overseers to open taps that have been blocked for years because of illegal diversions from the Carmel River, arguing that those diversions are no longer occurring. State water officials disagree. In a March 17 letter to the chairman and other members of the state Water Resources Control Board, Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson and other City Council members argued that California American Water Co. is, more or less, no longer making illegal diversions since the amount of acre-feet that is being consumed is now down to the limit set by the water board. Lifting of the cease-and-desist order is critical for the development of any new housing that is required by a different state agency, the Department of Housing and Community Development. ... ” Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Monterey officials ask, again, for more water
San Benito County farmers to receive zero water from the state
“As California continues on its third year of being in a drought, farmers in San Benito County will not receive state water for the rest of 2022. The San Benito County Water District, who’s tasked with distributing water to 500 agriculture accounts, was contracted to receive 35,500 acre-feet of water but has received none of it whatsoever. This is the second year in a row for the county. According to the general manager at the San Benito County Water District, Jeff Cattaneo, San Benito County has had a water deficit for 15 years. … ” Continue reading at KSBY here: San Benito County farmers to receive zero water from the state
USGS completes study on San Antonio Creek Groundwater Basin
“The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently published two reports to help local agencies address water conservation in the San Antonio Creek Valley Groundwater Basin. The basin – located 15 miles south of Santa Maria – provides water to Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB), Los Alamos and local agriculture. The basin also supports the unique marshland of Barka Slough, which is the largest freshwater estuary in Santa Barbara County. The slough is located 3 miles east of VSFB and is an essential habitat for several endangered species. The report was a collaboration between the USGS, the Santa Barbara County Water Agency, and VSFB. The study’s goals were to understand better the basin’s geology, the amount of available groundwater it has in storage and develop tools to manage the groundwater. ... ” Read more from Edhat here: USGS completes study on San Antonio Creek Groundwater Basin
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Tutor Perini / Brosamer & Wall works on $187m project to restore capacity at Friant-Kern Canal
“Crews from the Tutor Perini / Brosamer & Wall joint venture started work last November for the Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) $187 million Phase 1 of the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction project, which will restore capacity in a 10-mi. portion of the Friant-Kern Canal in the Great Basin Region of central California. The project is repairing damage caused by subsidence — a sinking of the earth from groundwater removal. Overall, crews will eventually restore capacity in a total of 33 mi. of the canal. “Achieving schedule milestones are tantamount to our success,” said Paul Garcia, the joint venture’s construction manager. … ” Read more from Construction Equipment Guide here: Tutor Perini / Brosamer & Wall works on $187m project to restore capacity at Friant-Kern Canal
Want to cut your Fresno water bill? City will kick in cash for drought-tolerant landscape
“With another season of drought a near certainty, the City of Fresno is offering Fresno homeowners the chance to turn off those sprinklers and cut watering bills by turning lawns into the types of gardens that suit the region’s semi-arid climate. Through the Lawn to Garden rebate, the city will pay $1 per square foot for residents to remove lawns and replace them with water-efficient landscapes. The offer is good for yards up to 1,500 square feet. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Want to cut your Fresno water bill? City will kick in cash for drought-tolerant landscape
Largest irrigation district in Stanislaus trims deliveries again as drought persists
“The Turlock Irrigation District will cap its farmers at about 60% of normal supplies as the drought enters a third year. The district board voted 5-0 Tuesday to deliver that much water from the Tuolumne River. The irrigation season will start Tuesday, March 29, none too soon in a region whose last major storm was in late December. “It’s dry,” Ceres-area almond grower Tim Sanders told the board. “We need to get a drink on those trees.” … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Largest irrigation district in Stanislaus trims deliveries again as drought persists
Agriculture struggles in Kern County
“With more than 250 crops grown locally, the rows of farmland that surround our communities are a staple in Kern County. March 22 is National Agriculture Day and students in the area went out to the fairgrounds to learn about the ranching and farming process. But farmers are facing lots of issues right now when it comes to getting that food to your plate. … ” Read more from KERO here: Agriculture struggles in Kern County
No surprise–from first look at Eastern Sierra precipitation numbers: 2021-22 was a dry water year
“The 2021-22 water year got off to a rousing start in early winter with an epic snow dump in the Eastern Sierra. The only problem for area water-watchers: that was pretty much all Mother Nature wrote. The grim implications were one of the topics at last week’s Technical Group meeting. The snow pillows, as of March 15, sat at 66-percent of normal to date. So, what’s a snow pillow: snow at specific locations whose water content is the measurement taken to anticipate run-off. What’s a little deceptive about the 66-percent, which seems not all that bad considering recurring droughts, is the other factors that go into run-off and assumptions about those factors like spring/summer rain storms. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: No surprise–from first look at Eastern Sierra precipitation numbers: 2021-22 was a dry water year
Is there rain in store for Southern California after this warm week?
“Spring is off to a warm start in Southern California, with temperatures expected to be 15-20 degrees above normal through Wednesday, forecasters say. But after that, cooler readings and some rain — something that has been scarce since December — are expected early next week. “There remains plenty of uncertainty with the rain early next week,” said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “We had 0.18″ on Jan. 17th in downtown L.A., so anything over that would exceed any storm since Dec. 30th.” … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Is there rain in store for Southern California after this warm week?
Have water and power officials in Orange County figured out a way to meet in secret?
“In late February, the newly-formed Orange County Power Authority made a bold promise. A highly controversial seawater desalination plant, proposed to operate in Huntington Beach, would use 100% renewable energy per a new agreement between the project’s proposer, Poseidon Water, and the agency. The agreement between Poseidon Water and the agency would “further enhance the facility’s environmental sustainability,” according to a joint news release from both sides. But the agreement isn’t binding. “This (agreement) does not obligate the parties to enter into an agreement or customer relationship,” the contract states. “The (agreement) may be terminated by either party, with thirty days’ advanced written notice.” ... ” Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Have water and power officials in Orange County figured out a way to meet in secret?
Amargosa from above: why water conservation is crucial in these desert lands
“Embedded in the Amargosa Desert lies a segment of the 185-mile long Amargosa River that is split between Nevada and California. The river starts north of Beatty then flows south through the town to Ash Meadows and crosses over to strike the small villages of Shoshone and Tecopa, California, before wrapping its way into Death Valley. The flat and mostly desert landscape might seem like a barren place for new land development, but underneath the surface holds a vast complex of underground water channels that have created pockets of aquifers. At ground level, it’s difficult to see the network of underground water, but from above it becomes more apparent how the water flows and how it could be key to survival in the area for years to come. … ” Read more from the Pahrump Valley Times here: Amargosa from above: why water conservation is crucial in these desert lands
Secretary Crowfoot and Desert Water ask locals to step up and save
“The California Natural Resources Secretary, Wade Crowfoot, visited Palm Springs on March 16 and spoke at an event with Palm Springs Mayor Pro-Tem Grace Garner and Desert Water Agency Board President Kristin Bloomer. DWA was honored to have Crowfoot in Palm Springs talking about water conservation as a way of life. All three leaders spoke about how each of us can do our part to help Palm Springs and California save water in the short term and for future generations. The message was clear – California’s climate extremes call for action. … ” Read more from ACWA’s Water News here: Secretary Crowfoot and Desert Water ask locals to step up and save
EPA issues emergency orders to four mobile home parks in Thermal, Calif., to ensure drinking water is safe
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued emergency orders under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to four mobile home park water systems, requiring the mobile home park owners to comply with federal drinking water safety requirements and to identify and correct problems with their drinking water systems that present a danger to residents. The mobile home parks — Arellano Mobile Home Park, Castro Ranch, Gonzalez Mobile Home Park, and Sandoval Mobile Home Park — are all located on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians’Reservation in California. None of the water systems were previously registered with EPA and will now be required to comply with SDWA regulations. “These emergency orders support EPA’s larger effort in the Eastern Coachella Valley to ensure all drinking water systems comply with SDWA and provide safe drinking water,” said Martha Guzman, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Mobile home park owners and all levels of government must protect the health of residents and comply with federal law.” … ” Read more from the US EPA here: EPA issues emergency orders to four mobile home parks in Thermal, Calif., to ensure drinking water is safe
Flores to address U.S. Senate on CRIT Water Resiliency Act
“Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Chairwoman Amelia Flores is set to address the U.S. Senate March 23 in support of a bill that would enable the Tribe to assist Arizona with Colorado River water for critical drought relief while preserving the life of the river and strengthen tribal sovereignty. … The Colorado River Indian Tribes Water Resiliency Act of 2021(S.3308) would create the authority for CRIT to further exercise its water right. This authority would enable CRIT to allocate its water resources to provide a short-term water supply for entities experiencing drought or shortages across Arizona and protect natural habitats along the Colorado River. The legislation provides CRIT similar rights many federally recognized tribes across the country currently enjoy and benefit from. … ” Read more from the Parker Pioneer here: Flores to address U.S. Senate on CRIT Water Resiliency Act
Parker Council approves emergency water use agreement with Tribes
“The Parker Town Council has approved an agreement which will allow the Colorado River Indian Tribes to tap into the town’s water system in the event of an emergency. The approval came at the Council’s March 15 meeting. As explained by Parker Public Works Director Steve Ziegler, he, Mayor Karen Bonds, Council Member Marion Shontz and Community Development Director Nora Yackley had been approached by Tribal Chairwoman Amelia Flores about tapping into the town’s water system while one of Tribal wells is undergoing repairs. This particular well is operating at less than one-half of its normal capacity of 1,200 gallons per minute, and the entire system is producing only half of what it usually produces. ... ” Read more from the Parker Pioneer here: Parker Council approves emergency water use agreement with Tribes
Utah water experts meet in St. George for conference, share drought concerns
“It’s a full house with more than 800 state and federal leaders taking a closer look at Utah’s water issues. “Gives us an update this time of year, to understand what the water supply is going to look like for the upcoming year,” says Gene Shawcroft, Utah’s Colorado River Commissioner. They’re meeting for the annual Water Users Conference and of course, the drought is the number one concern. … ” Read more from Channel 4 here: Utah water experts meet in St. George for conference, share drought concerns
IPCC paints a bleak picture for water – but there is a way forward
“The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the world’s leading scientists on the climate crisis — painted a grim picture. It warned that almost across the board, the world stands on the precipice of unavoidable and irreversible adverse impacts from rising temperatures. Drowned out in the rush of initial media coverage were the report’s findings on the havoc that the rapidly changing climate is already wreaking on the world’s water resources – a crisis that will only grow dramatically with the current trajectory of global warming. The science is clear: the climate crisis is directly impacting the global water cycle and the distribution and availability of freshwater around the world, acting as a threat multiplier to the existing and severe water crisis, further stretching water resources and systems. … ” Read more from the Circle of Blue here: IPCC paints a bleak picture for water – but there is a way forward
Shifts in El Niño may be driving climates extremes in both hemispheres
“The record-breaking heat wave last week in East Antarctica, the coldest region on Earth, saw temperatures surge as much as 85 degrees Fahrenheit above average, bringing readings near freezing and unexpected surface melting instead of the usual sub-zero conditions. The heat wave adds to a quickly growing list of previously “unthinkable” climate events, and puts an exclamation point on an Austral summer that included brutal heat waves and record-high intensity wildfires in Argentina and Chile and flooding caused by record-setting rains in eastern Australia that killed more than 20 people and left thousands homeless. Other “unthinkable” extremes hit the Northern Hemisphere in the months before that. … ” Read more from Inside Climate News here: Shifts in El Niño may be driving climates extremes in both hemispheres
The California Hydrology Update is a regular summary of current weather conditions in the State ofCalifornia and serves as a supplement to the data on theCalifornia Water Watchwebsite. It is producedby the California State Climatologist, Mike Anderson, and the hydrology and forecasting team at theCalifornia Department of Water Resources. View hydroclimate and water supply condition data and more at California Water Watch.
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.