A wrap-up of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …
Note to readers: Sign up for weekly email service and you will receive notification of this post on Friday mornings. Readers on daily email service can add weekly email service by updating their subscription preferences. Click here to sign up!
CENTRAL VALLEY WATER BOARD: CV-SALTS program to focus on enforcement
“You can’t just dare the board to come after you. You have to pay your fees, and you have to get into these programs.” –Patrick Pulupa, Executive Officer, Central Valley Regional Water Board
In May 2018, the Central Valley Water Board approved the CV-SALTS program to address water quality impacts from ongoing and legacy salt and nitrate accumulation. Implementation of the Nitrate Control Program began in 2020, followed by the Salt Control Program in 2021, issuing Notice to Comply letters to permittees with nitrate and/or salt discharges.
At the April meeting of the Central Valley Regional Water Board, Executive Officer Patrick Pulupa discussed how the Regional Board will begin working towards enforcement actions against permittees who have failed to comply with the Notice to Comply letters for the Salt and Nitrate Control Programs.
FEATURE: Wetland Responses to Restoration and Management
Dr. John Durand is a research scientist at UC Davis, where he studies estuarine food webs and fishes. He has conducted multiple studies throughout the Delta and currently helps run a long-term monitoring project, the Suisun Marsh fish study, which has been ongoing for over 40 years.
In this presentation, part of the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation series, Dr. Durand discussed recent studies in Suisun Marsh of phytoplankton and zooplankton of different types of wetlands, and how managed wetlands could support tidal restoration projects.
UPDATE: Delta Stewardship Council denies appeal of Lookout Slough project
At the April meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council during a public hearing, the Council voted to deny the appeal of DWR’s certification of consistency for the Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration and Flood Improvement Project, clearing the way for the project to move forward.
The rains that bring May flowers sort of fizzled after what looked momentarily promising…
Across California, federal CVP reservoir storage currently stands at 4.986 million acre-feet (MAF), which is about 58% of the 15-year average, a slight increase in a comparison of averages from this same time a month ago. In fact, when compared to this same time last month, federal reservoir storage actually increased by 278,000 acre-feet (AF) over the past 30-days despite receiving only modest levels of new precipitation around April 20-22. Oroville Reservoir, the largest State reservoir also increased its storage by 241,000 AF over this same period.
La Niña could enter rare third straight year. Here’s what that means.
“Meteorologists are monitoring the potential for a “triple-dip La Niña,” an unusual resurgence of cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific. While such a phenomenon might seem remote, La Niña plays an enormous role in our weather stateside. In addition to helping juice up tornado season in the spring, La Niña has been known to supercharge Atlantic hurricane season when it sticks around into the summer and fall. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, which are both sides of the coin that make up ENSO, or the El Niño Southern Oscillation. El Niño represents ENSO’s positive “warm” phase, while La Niña is the opposite. The effects of the different phases are wide-reaching and significant, with implications on the weather experienced all across the globe. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: La Niña could enter rare third straight year. Here’s what that means.
Valley could see a “mass migration” of farmworkers as land is fallowed under state groundwater law
“Advocates are sounding the alarm for what they think could be the collapse of the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture workforce. As drought continues to hammer the state and groundwater pumping restrictions take effect, farmland will need to be retired en masse. While there have been many conversations, including legislation, on how to support farmers during intermittent droughts, advocates say there has been little to no planning for what will happen to the nearly 167,000 farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley when swaths of farmland are permanently fallowed. Estimates of how many farmworkers are in the valley aren’t exact and the number is likely much higher during peak harvest season. “We just don’t think you can plan to transition land without also planning to transition the workers that will be impacted when the land gets fallowed,” said Nataly Escobedo Garcia, water policy coordinator at nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. “We need to get on it now. We can’t keep leaving farmworkers out of these conversations.” ... ” Read more from SJV Water here: Valley could see a “mass migration” of farmworkers as land is fallowed under state groundwater law
Why farmers often pay higher water rates and fees during drought
“California walnut grower Tim McCord is at the dry end of the spigot, facing a zero-water allocation from the Central Valley Project, which is supposed to deliver to his local San Benito County Water District. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said McCord. The farmer is not just concerned about his orchard; he’s also frustrated that he owes substantial water-related taxes to the district, and, if water is eventually delivered, he’ll be charged $309.75 per acre-foot — more than in non-drought years. McCord is not alone. During drought, it’s common for farmers across the West to pay higher water-related rates, assessments, fees and taxes than during wet years. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here: Why farmers often pay higher water rates and fees during drought
As drought strains supply, report describes challenges to providing safe drinking water
“Advancing its mission to ensure every Californian has safe and affordable drinking water, the State Water Resources Control Board has released the second annual Drinking Water Needs Assessment, which evaluates the overall health of drinking water systems and domestic wells across the state. New this year, the report estimates the cost of infrastructure requirements and predicts the risk of groundwater contamination issues and supply shortages for small systems and rural communities related to drought. Among the report’s sobering findings is the reality that, for reasons exacerbated by a third consecutive year of drought, over half of California’s 1,300 state small water systems (serving fewer than 25 people) and 312,000 domestic wells are at risk or potentially at risk of experiencing drinking water shortages and failing to meet water quality standards. …
Click here to read the full press release from the State Water Board.
Webinar recap: A restored California is a resilient California
“Accelerating Restoration Senior Project Manager Katie Haldeman moderated an excellent panel of restoration professionals, including Trina Cunningham, Executive Director of the Maidu Summit Consortium, Jessica Law, Executive Director of the Water Forum, and Evyan Sloane, Deputy Regional Manager of the Coastal Conservancy’s Bay Program. From our mountain meadows to our critical rivers and our struggling coasts, California’s ecosystems need our help. Decades of human alterations to our waterways and dependent habitats mean we face unprecedented drought, flood and wildfire risks. The need is clear: more functional and resilient habitats and ecosystems that benefit nature and people. Sustainable Conservation helps expedite restoration permitting processes so more restoration can get done more quickly across California. Our partner organizations, landowners, Tribal members, species advocates and conservation-minded citizens are the people whose on-the-ground efforts and big-picture vision help make the work real, for the health of all. … ” Continue reading at Sustainable Conservation here: Webinar recap: A restored California is a resilient California
Newsom: Desalination project should be approved — “We need more damn tools in the toolkit”
“Citing California’s worsening drought conditions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday made a powerful new push for a controversial $1.4 billion desalination plant on the state’s coastline. The proposed oceanfront facility in Huntington Beach has been under debate for more than 20 years, and its fate could set a course for other desalination plants on the state’s coast. The California Coastal Commission is scheduled to take a final vote on the project in two weeks. “We need more tools in the damn tool kit,” Newsom said during a meeting with the Bay Area News Group editorial board when asked about the project. “We are as dumb as we want to be. What more evidence do you need that you need to have more tools in the tool kit than what we’ve experienced? Seven out of the last 10 years have been severe drought.” ... ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Newsom: Desalination project should be approved — “We need more damn tools in the toolkit” | Read via Denver Gazette
Fire suppression fueled California’s destructive 2020 wildfires
“The 2020 wildfires that incinerated a record 4.3 million acres in California harken to centuries past when huge swaths of the state burned annually, researchers have found, but today’s climate-driven conflagrations are far more destructive to the environment and human health. “California is in for a very smoky future, and the continued resilience and even persistence of numerous terrestrial ecosystems is not assured,” concluded a new study published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography The state’s Mediterranean climate, with its normally wet winters and dry, hot summers, has primed California to burn throughout its history. Before colonization, though, such wildfires helped keep the state’s vast forests healthy by burning underbrush and triggering trees to release their seeds, according to scientists. . … ” Read more from Bloomberg here: Fire suppression fueled California’s destructive 2020 wildfires
Huntington Beach desalination plant is a crucial tool in California’s climate change arsenal
Mark Donovan, chair of the CalDesal board of directors, writes, “On May 12, the California Coastal Commission is expected to consider final approval of the Huntington Beach desalination plant. Poseidon Water has weaved through the state’s complex and evolving regulatory landscape for nearly two decades in pursuit of that development permit. Signing off on this project would demonstrate that seawater desalination — a proven water resource technology relied upon around the world to combat the effects of climate change and drought — has a future in California. For decades, California has been at the forefront of policies to clean our air and waterways and protect endangered species, but as the climate change challenges we face become more complex, this commitment will be tested. ... ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Huntington Beach desalination plant is a crucial tool in California’s climate change arsenal
Huntington Beach desalination project would be money down the drain
Kelly E. Rowe, an engineering geologist, hydro-geologist and Orange County Water District director, and Karl W. Seckel, a water resources engineer and a director of the Municipal Water District of Orange County, writes, “As North Orange County residents, we are concerned about our future water supplies, and we hate seeing bad investments made with public dollars — especially for private entities. While North Orange County may not have the same drought burdens as other communities across California — given our robust aquifer — we know Brookfield-Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project is not the answer to bringing new water resources to our region. The California Coastal Commission should not approve the coastal development permit Poseidon seeks at the May 12 meeting. Rather, it should follow the guidance of the commission staff, who recommended its denial on April 25. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Huntington Beach desalination project would be money down the drain
Newsom gets it right on desalination
The Southern California News Group editorial board writes, “Kudos to Gov. Gavin Newsom for increasing his support for the $1.4 billion Poseidon Water desalination in Huntington Beach. “We need more tools in the damn tool kit. We are as dumb as we want to be,” he said Friday in a meeting with the Bay Area News Group editorial board. “What more evidence do you need that you need to have more tools in the tool kit than what we’ve experienced? Seven out of the last 10 years have been severe drought.” California is thirsty. And another drought is making us thirstier. … ” Continue reading at the San Bernardino Sun here: Newsom gets it right on desalination
Column: It’s time to kill this useless and costly desalination project
Columnist Michael Hiltzik writes, “When it comes to wasteful, overpriced and ill-considered proposals to address California’s water supply issues, it’s hard to know where to start. But a good place would be the plan to build a desalination plant on the Pacific coast at Huntington Beach. As my colleague Ian James has reported, the project, which is sponsored by the politically wired and private-equity-owned firm Poseidon Water, will be coming up for a crucial vote by the California Coastal Commission on May 12. The vote represents the best opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of the project once and for all. The commission should have its mallet at the ready. … ” Continue reading at the LA Times here: Column: It’s time to kill this useless and costly desalination project
Desalination: California’s best hope to stave off water restrictions in the future
Evan V. Symon, Senior Editor for the California Globe, writes, “During the last few years, California’s drought situation has become more and more dire. While a large chunk of it is self-inflicted by the state, as they release an incredible amount of water from dams each year for environmental purposes instead of, you know, agriculture and people, part of it is also that rain and snowpack build have been well below averages in the past. Northern California still has restrictions going on, with Southern California, facing another hot summer, may face a scenario in some areas where water may run out if usage stays as high as it is now. … ” Continue reading at the California Globe here: Desalination: California’s best hope to stave off water restrictions in the future
What about this “damn tool”, Gov. Newsom?
Verna Jigour writes, “Last Friday, April 29th, Governor Newsom urged Coastal Commission approval of the Poseidon desalination plant proposal for Huntington Beach that Coastal Commission staff had recommended against in their report issued Monday, April 25th. I had read and saved the Los Angeles Times enewspaper summary of the staff report on it by Ian James, “Desalination plant: boon or boondoggle?” (updated April 25th) and the staff conclusion and recommendations reported there seemed sound to me. So I was shocked, as I groggily consumed my Saturday morning coffee, to read Paul Rogers’ front page piece on the governor’s comments about it in the Mercury News e-edition. ... ” Continue reading at the Rainfall to Groundwater blog here: What about this “damn tool”, Gov. Newsom?
Diablo Canyon …
Doubling down on Diablo Canyon nuclear plant could ease energy, water woes
“California regularly struggles to meet power demands during the summer months, resulting in rolling blackouts that put our residents at risk. This issue is compounded by the goal of transitioning our entire automotive industry away from fossil fuels and onto renewable options. Simply put, we are far too behind in our production of energy to meet these lofty goals. It is for this reason, in my opinion, that Governor Newsom has come around on the issue of the closure of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, which is set to shut down by 2025. … Droughts in California are nothing new, almost to the point of being commonplace. … ” Read more from The Business Journal here: Doubling down on Diablo Canyon nuclear plant could ease energy, water woes
Is Diablo Canyon a problem – or the solution?
Assemblymember Devon Mathis writes, “California regularly struggles to meet power demands during the summer months, resulting in rolling blackouts that put our residents at risk. This issue is compounded by the goal of transitioning our entire automotive industry away from fossil fuels and onto renewable options. Simply put, we are far too behind in our production of energy to meet these lofty goals. It is for this reason, in my opinion, that Governor Newsom has come around on the issue of the closure of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, which is set to shut down by 2025. Diablo Canyon, which utilizes nuclear power, produces roughly 8% of California’s in-state electricity production and accounts for 15% of our carbon-free energy production. As the State and the Federal Government debate the future of the site, a 2021 report from Stanford and MIT highlights a way in which we could alleviate two major problems afflicting California: access to clean water and the energy to keep the state running. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Is Diablo Canyon a problem – or the solution?
Stanford scientists find that the Delta Conveyance Project is a much worse idea than converting Diablo Canyon into a giant nuclear-powered desalination plant
Jeff Michael, Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, writes, “A recent study from Stanford scientists has caused some policy makers, including Governor Newsom, to reconsider the timeline for closing the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, California’s last operating nuclear plant. Among the future visions for Diablo Canyon plant evaluated in the study was using it as a mega-scale desalination facility. Mega-scale nuclear-powered desalination! I can see my environmentalist friends recoiling in horror at the idea. I am not persuaded it is a good idea either, but the Stanford team clearly demonstrated that it is far from the worse idea in California water. ... ” Continue reading from the Valley Economy blog here: Stanford scientists find that the Delta Conveyance Project is a much worse idea than converting Diablo Canyon into a giant nuclear-powered desalination plant
Adapting to drought – the good and the bad
Robert Hunziker, a freelance writer and environmental journalist, writes, “Not all climate change/global warming news is negative. Positive pushback to global warming is real and happening right under our collective noses. Still, climate scientists wring their hands in despair over the failure of the corporate-controlled world to come to grips with climate change’s biggest bugaboo, which is too much fossil fuel emitting too much CO2 creating too much warmth that eventually brings on excessive heat. Ergo! Ecosystems fail! Droughts accelerate! For decades now, scientists have been warning about the danger of too much fossil fuel causing climate system failure, like wet-bulb temperature-related deaths within 6 hrs. @ 95°F/90%H (India?), crop failures, rising sea levels, and scorching droughts. The broken promises of nation/states to “fix it” almost always turn to dust or result in too little, too late. ... ” Read more from City Watch here: Adapting to drought – the good and the bad
Amid California water shortage billions of gallons of water lost to protect small fish
Jamie Joseph, a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times, writes, “As drought concerns prompt state and city leaders to implement water conservation efforts, a small fish has made its way back to center stage in California’s water wars, with many farmers questioning why millions of acre-feet of fresh water are being sent to the ocean to try to save it. The Delta smelt fish—a small fish that lives in the San Francisco Estuary and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta—was placed on the threatened list under the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in 1993. By 2009, CESA changed its status to endangered. However, for four years in a row, beginning in 2017, the fish weren’t detected at all in annual surveys by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). ... ” Continue reading at the Epoch Times here (free registration may be required): Amid California water shortage billions of gallons of water lost to protect small fish
Droughts are ravaging the US — it’s time to get serious about water recycling
Craig Lichty, president of the WateReuse Association, and Patricia Sinicropi, executive director of the WateReuse Association, write, “Following the release of a dire new International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report this month, which warns of accelerating threats to our environment and society, community leaders from across the country are convening in Washington, D.C. for Water Week 2022. From today through Saturday, Water Week organizers will send a strong message to Congress and the administration about the need to secure our water future. Water recycling is a particularly critical tool for mitigating the impacts of climate change. … ” Read more from The Hill here: Droughts are ravaging the US — it’s time to get serious about water recycling
To avoid the ‘if it is yellow let it mellow’ toilet rule we need to ban new ornamental lawns
Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin, writes, “The canary in the proverbial coal mine is making croaking noises. The Metropolitan Water District— the mother of all water California water districts — has issued a blasphemous decree in the heart of the land of swimming pools and endless green grass. Starting June 1, some 6 million Los Angeles Basin residents will only be allowed to water outdoors one day a week. And the worst is yet to come. … ” Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: To avoid the ‘if it is yellow let it mellow’ toilet rule we need to ban new ornamental lawns
When it comes to life, water is more valuable than gold
The Simi Valley Acorn editorial board writes, “California truly is running dry and there won’t be enough water available to carry us through the entire year unless we cut back now, Adel Hagekhalil, general manager for the Metropolitan Water District, said at a news conference Wednesday after MWD officials voted to curb water use by 35%. … “This is real, this is serious, this is unprecedented,” Hagekhalil said. … Given that we live in an arid region, water conservation should already be a way of life. In addition to reducing outdoor irrigation, it’s important to be water-wise indoors by fixing leaky toilets and sinks and taking shorter showers. Water officials are not being alarmist. This is real. If we don’t act, there won’t be enough water to go around for residents and farmers. … ” Read more from the Simi Valley Acorn here: When it comes to life, water is more valuable than gold
Is Lake Powell an example of climate change danger? Not entirely
Robert E. Bakes, a former Idaho Supreme Court justice, writes, “When Hoover Dam was built near Las Vegas in the 1930s creating Lake Mead, and when Glen Canyon Dam was built in the 1950s and ’60s creating Lake Powell, the western United States had for decades been subjected to a wet weather cycle which regularly caused western rivers to flood. This cycle resulted in the building of hundreds of dams to both try and control the flooding, and run the plentiful water out onto the arid land for irrigation. … So, while the world’s climate constantly varies at different locations and times, science demonstrates that the world is getting warmer and wetter coming out of the most recent ice age — known as the Little Ice Age — beginning about 200 years ago, long before any human caused carbon dioxide buildup. Satellite photographs taken of the Earth since 1980 show that the Earth is getting greener with more vegetation. What could cause the increased vegetation? ... ” Read more from Deseret News here: Is Lake Powell an example of climate change danger? Not entirely
Balanced approach to water needed for farms, fish
Justin Fredrickson, a water and environmental policy analyst for the California Farm Bureau, writes, “Project operators recently explained unprecedented emergency plans for cold-water temperature management to support endangered salmon below Shasta Dam, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir. Based on what they told the California State Water Resources Control Board, the effort is pulling out all stops imaginable. The goal is to get at least a few nests of Central Valley winter-run chinook salmon eggs to hatch, while still leaving something in the reservoir at the end of this summer, should dry conditions continue next year. But conditions this year are so abnormally dry, and feasible flows below the dam will be so low, it’s not clear what will happen. Amid blast-furnace temperatures during the peak of summer, this process seeks to maintain water temperatures as cold as a beer in the ice chest of an angler casting his lure from the shore. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Balanced approach to water needed for farms, fish
California feeds us, but it’s in severe drought again. Time for a new idea.
Author Tom Philpott writes, “Chances are, you’ll eat something grown in California today. Its farms churn out a third of US-grown vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, and more milk than any other state. … Hot on the heels of the epochal 2011-2016 drought, the state has again descended into an even more extreme dry spell. This year marked the single “driest and among the warmest January to mid-April periods on record,” according to the eminent University of California, Los Angeles climatologist Daniel Swain. Alarming news, because that’s the very time frame when the state typically receives the bulk of its precipitation. Where will we get our fruits and vegetables as California’s farms inevitably adapt to a hotter, drier new normal? ... ” Read more from Mother Jones here: California feeds us, but it’s in severe drought again. Time for a new idea.
As Kern County goes, so goes the nation
Clint Olivier, CEO of the Central Valley Business Federation, writes, “Some in California hold our state as an example as the proving ground for climate policy, and the model for the rest of the U.S. – and beyond. So, it’s fair to ask – are California’s climate policies actually helping communities and, if so, should they serve as a template for other states? Unfortunately, the answer from working people in Kern County is a resounding ‘no.’ Folks who live in the Central Valley are seeing their jobs and quality of life negatively impacted by state energy and water policies, with the glaring byproduct of reduced tax revenues that support critical local government programs and essential services. … ” Read more from Capitol Weekly here: As Kern County goes, so goes the nation
State stormwater permit would stall housing, infrastructure
Joseph Cruz, executive director for the California State Council of Laborers, and Richard J. Lambros, managing director for Southern California Leadership Council, write, “Gov. Gavin Newsom has boldly promoted the goal of building more than 3 million new homes by 2025 to address the significant supply/demand imbalance and bring down the cost of housing. Given California’s challenging regulatory processes, we’re already falling woefully short of those ambitious goals. In spite of this, an excessive new proposal by the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) – comprised of gubernatorial appointees — will further stall new housing production, as well as the development of public infrastructure and economic development projects throughout California. The proposal will require unachievable standards for water quality compared to alternative enhanced and achievable approaches. … ” Read more from Capitol Weekly here: State stormwater permit would stall housing, infrastructure
California water regulators weigh renewing emergency drought restrictions in the Scott and Shasta rivers
“California water regulators hosted a public forum on Wednesday to collect comments about re-adopting drought emergency regulations for Siskiyou County’s Scott and Shasta River watersheds. The meeting attracted ranchers, tribal members and environmental groups, all concerned about access to water during the third year of a punishing drought in the state. “We’ve officially been experiencing drought conditions for a year now and, unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight,” said Ann Marie Ore with the California State Water Resources Control Board. … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: California water regulators weigh renewing emergency drought restrictions in the Scott and Shasta rivers
Folsom Lake nearly full, but extra releases needed this summer to make up for shortages elsewhere
“For the first time in nearly two years, Folsom Lake is looking nearly full. The sight of a high waterline is a welcome one for boaters, boarders and jet skiers whose season was limited or even canceled last year because of low water levels. Managers with the Department of Reclamation say that the turnaround this season was a combination of some late-season rain and snow in April and better system-wide water management and forecasting overall. “Today, we’re better than twice the storage in Folsom than we are at this date last year,” said Drew Lessard, Area Manager for the [Bureau] of Reclamation, which manages functions at Folsom Lake. … ” Read more from KCRA here: Folsom Lake nearly full, but extra releases needed this summer to make up for shortages elsewhere
Are there microplastics in the Napa River? According to experts, probably
“Plastic seems to be everywhere nowadays, and based on existing research on the greater San Francisco Bay, it is highly likely that the Napa River and its watershed are filled with it, too. “I don’t think most people realize how insidious plastics are,” said Chris Malan, executive director of ICARE, a Napa nonprofit that stands for the Institute for Conservation Advocacy Research and Education. “It is such a huge part of everybody’s daily lives, and we don’t give it a second thought.” The most recent of Malan and ICARE’s missions is the Napa Watershed Microplastic Project, although the group has historically conducted steelhead studies, helped restore Suscol Creek and the like. An educational endeavor with the hopes of teaching the public about microplastics, this new project came about when ICARE members started to notice an uptick in the amount of plastic in and around the Napa River. … ” Read more from the Napa Register here: Are there microplastics in the Napa River? According to experts, probably
Why Morro Bay is struggling to remove one of California’s great architectural missteps: a trio of smokestacks
Journalist Andrew Pridgen writes, “The sounds of bilge pumps churning and industrial-sized engines trying to fire combine with Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues” dripping out of a single crackly speaker to score a too-bright early spring afternoon in the tiny Central Coast fishing port of Morro Bay. … All morning I’ve been patrolling the shoreline trying to figure out what, if any, utility the Morro Bay smokestacks have today. There are three of them. They are massive, dormant, decaying and dangerous. And thanks to a Morro Bay City Council decision last November, they’re slated to come down sometime between now and 2028. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: Why Morro Bay is struggling to remove one of California’s great architectural missteps: a trio of smokestacks
Los Osos and Cambria must halt new development due to lack of water, state agency says
“The California Coastal Commission wants San Luis Obispo County to immediately halt all new water-using development, including housing, in Los Osos and Cambria. That’s according to two letters written by Central Coast District Director Dan Carl and sent to the county Planning and Building Department on April 19. The Coastal Commission also sent a letter on the same day to the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) notifying that it had violated the California Coastal Act over more than three decades due to its water extractions from wells in the San Simeon and Santa Rosa creek aquifers, and requests the locality retract its water service agreements at several properties. ... ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: These SLO County towns must halt new development due to lack of water, state agency says | Read via Yahoo News
Tule Subbasin: Groundwater law’s sinking of ag economy may have been overstated
“As the deadline for local agencies to implement plans to reduce groundwater use approaches, a new study finds California’s landmark legislation may have less of an impact on the local agriculture economy than originally predicted. A study authored by Professor Michael McCullough on the effect of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in the Tule Sub Basin in the Central Valley shows the long-term effect of the ongoing drought and restrictions on groundwater. It says by 2040, the deadline for local agencies to reach groundwater sustainability, the 2014 law will likely result in the loss of some crops, but probably not the more valuable ones, such as fruit and nuts, in the sub basin which encompasses Tulare County south of Tulare to the Kern County line. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Groundwater law’s sinking of ag economy may have been overstated
Seat for sale? Kings Co. Supervisor emerges as pricey proxy fight over water
“Has a seat on the sleepy Kings County Board of Supervisors become a proxy fight for control of water flows in the southern San Joaquin Valley? It sure looks that way as political youngster Martín Chavez, a member of the Stratford Public Utilities District, has received unprecedented financial backing from Bay Area native and controversial water giant John Vidovich and affiliates. Vidovich, through his company Sandridge Partners, is currently locked in a fight with the Tulare Lake Canal Company over a water pipeline that he is trying to construct in Kings County to connect to a larger interconnected conveyance system. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Seat for sale? Kings Co. Supervisor emerges as pricey proxy fight over water
Water districts bail on Kern’s largest groundwater agency; form their own group
“Fractures have appeared within Kern County’s largest groundwater agency as pressure mounts for it to show the state how it plans to address the region’s massive groundwater deficit. Four water entities recently notified the Kern Groundwater Authority they were pulling out of the 16-member group to write their own groundwater sustainability plan. That will add a sixth plan covering the Kern subbasin, which extends across the San Joaquin Valley portion of the county. This comes as members of the authority, and other groundwater sustainability agencies in the subbasin, are working to respond to the Department of Water Resources (DWR), which found all groundwater plans in Kern County incomplete in January. Those responses are due to the state by July 27. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Water districts bail on Kern’s largest groundwater agency; form their own group
Inyo county to ask LADWP to pump only for in-valley uses and to start planning for climate change
“Inyo County’s Board of Supervisors and Water Commission seem to be on the same page regarding the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 2022-23 pumping plan: pump for in-valley uses only for a total of 59,540 acre-feet and start the strategic planning process to address Climate Change. With the predicted run-off at 47-percent of normal, the lowest percentage since the Long Term Water Agreement was put in place in the early 1990s, LADWP intends to pump between 67,210 and 86,300 a-f. In addition, irrigation water for area ranchers has been cut from 5 a-f per acre to 4 a-f for a total of 34,770 a-f. LADWP’s plans have historically reflected a relatively narrow pumping range, but this year was exceptional with the 20,000 a-f differential. … ” Continue reading at the Sierra Wave here: Inyo county to ask LADWP to pump only for in-valley uses and to start planning for climate change
To survive drought, parts of SoCal must cut water use by 35%. The new limit: 80 gallons a day
“When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California this week unveiled its strictest-ever water restrictions for about 6 million residents, it did so with an urgent goal in mind: a 35% reduction in water consumption, equating to an allocation of about 80 gallons per person per day. Officials said that’s the number needed to conserve critical supplies for health and safety amid worsening drought — and to prevent a full outdoor watering ban as soon as September. Currently, the average potable water use across the MWD’s service area — including residential, commercial and industrial water use — amounts to 125 gallons per person per day. “The ballpark figure we’re looking at is getting to the consumption of about 80 gallons per person per day,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the district’s general manager. “We’re trying to preserve everything we can.” … ” Read more from the LA Times here: To survive drought, parts of SoCal must cut water use by 35%. The new limit: 80 gallons a day | Read via Yahoo News
Officials worry Southern California won’t have enough water to get through summer without unprecedented cuts
“As Southern Californians brace for unprecedented water restrictions, officials worry some communities won’t have enough water to get through the summer — at least not without residents and businesses significantly cutting back on their usage. The state’s top natural resources officer told CNN that California’s water emergency clearly shows the climate crisis in action. “Some would consider this a wake-up call. I disagree,” Wade Crowfoot, California’s secretary for natural resources, told CNN. “The alarm’s already gone off.” … ” Read more from CNN here: Officials worry Southern California won’t have enough water to get through summer without unprecedented cuts
Patrols, fines, altered landscapes: How severe SoCal water restrictions will roll out
“More than a week after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced its harshest-ever water restrictions for millions of residents across the region, several of the affected water agencies are offering a preview of how life will change throughout Southland when the rules kick in June 1. The restrictions target areas that rely heavily or entirely on the State Water Project, a Northern California water supply that officials say is dangerously low after the state’s driest-ever start to the year. The plan was designed to achieve at least a 35% reduction in water consumption, shrinking usage to about 80 gallons per person per day, which can be done through volumetric allocations or one-day-a-week watering limitations. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Patrols, fines, altered landscapes: How severe SoCal water restrictions will roll out
Column: San Diego remains afloat amid grim water scenarios
Columnist Michael Smolens writes, “Some of San Diego’s neighbors to the north are facing tough water restrictions. Others are in dispute over whether to move forward with a big, expensive water project. Meanwhile, levels at some huge reservoirs have never been so low. The impacts of the yearslong drought on water supplies are growing across the state, as is the dilemma about how to address them. But not in the San Diego region. That’s been the case for years, but it’s becoming more apparent as the state appears to be taking a more nuanced approach toward water restrictions. Rather than statewide mandatory cuts, California leaders are considering taking into account the status of local supplies. … ” Continue reading at the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Column: San Diego remains afloat amid grim water scenarios
Lake Powell officials face an impossible choice in the West’s megadrought: Water or electricity
“Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, is drying up. The situation is critical: if water levels at the lake were to drop another 32 feet, all hydroelectricity production would be halted at the reservoir’s Glen Canyon Dam. The West’s climate change-induced water crisis is now triggering a potential energy crisis for millions of people in the Southwest who rely on the dam as a power source. Over the past several years, the Glen Canyon Dam has lost about 16 percent of its capacity to generate power. The water levels at Lake Powell have dropped around 100 feet in the last three years. Bob Martin, deputy power manager for the Glen Canyon Dam, pointed toward what’s called the “bathtub ring” on the canyon walls. The miles of white rock represent this region’s problem. ... ” Read more from CNN here: Lake Powell officials face an impossible choice in the West’s megadrought: Water or electricity
AP analysis finds growing number of poor, high-hazard dams
“More than 2,200 dams built upstream from homes or communities are in poor condition across the U.S., likely endangering lives if they were to fail, according to an Associated Press analysis. The number of high-hazard dams in need of repairs is up substantially from a similar AP review conducted just three years ago. There are several reasons for the increased risk. Long-deferred maintenance has added more dams to the troubled list. A changing climate has subjected some dams to greater strain from intense rainstorms. Homes, businesses and highways also have cropped up below dams that were originally built in remote locations. … ” Read more from the Associated Press here: AP analysis finds growing number of poor, high-hazard dams
Condition of some US dams kept secret in national database
“Americans wondering whether a nearby dam could be dangerous can look up the condition and hazard ratings of tens of thousands of dams nationwide using an online database run by the federal government. But they won’t find the condition of Hoover Dam, which impounds one the nation’s largest reservoirs on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Nor is there any condition listed for California’s Oroville Dam, the country’s tallest, which underwent a $1 billion makeover after its spillway failed. Details about the conditions of these and other prominent dams are kept secret from the public, listed as “not available” in the National Inventory of Dams. The lack of publicly available data about potentially hazardous dams has raised concern among some experts. … ” Read more from the Associated Press here: Condition of some US dams kept secret in national database