DAILY DIGEST, 5/12: California regulators set to vote on desalination plant; Court of Appeal sides with parties seeking attorneys’ fees for challenge to California WaterFix; Which regions are saving the most — and least — water; Monterey has four affordable housing projects in the works, but not enough water to give; and more …
MEETING: The California Coastal Commission will meet this morning beginning at 9am in Costa Mesa and virtually. The main agenda item is the Huntington Beach desalination plant. Click here to watch livestream.
MEETING: Healthy Watersheds Partnership from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Agenda items include CA Watershed Assessment Dashboard Update, an overview of the Chesapeake Bay Healthy Watersheds Assessment and outline next steps for implementing watershed restoration and protection goals, and an overview of the Wisconsin Healthy Watersheds Assessment and the action plan to implement watershed restoration and protection goals, followed by Group Discussion on Healthy Watershed Assessments & Management Plans for California watersheds. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: Refinements to the Water Unavailability Methodology and Draft Emergency Curtailment and Reporting Regulation for the Delta Watershed from 10am to 5pm. State Water Board staff have posted refinements to the methodology for determining water unavailability in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed as well as proposed revisions to the emergency curtailment and reporting regulation for the Delta watershed. This workshop is provided to receive input on possible refinements to the existing methodology and the proposed minor revisions of the existing emergency regulation language. Click here for the full workshop notice and remote access instructions.
WEBINAR: A Regional Update on Southern California Water Supplies from 10am to 11am. California is in the midst of the most severe drought on record and historic water restrictions have been implemented across the state. From maximizing current water supplies to developing new water supply infrastructure, everything must be on the table to ensure long-term reliability of our water supplies for future generations. Our speakers will discuss the status of current statewide and regional water supplies and actions that are taking place to ensure water resiliency in Orange County, Southern California, and beyond. Click here to register.
PUBLIC HEARING: 2022 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan – Public Draft from 6pm to 8pm. There will be an overview of the draft 2022 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Update followed by public comment. Attend in person or virtually. Click here for the agenda and remote access instructions.
In California water news today …
California regulators set to vote on desalination plant
“California regulators on Thursday will vote on whether to approve a proposed $1.4 billion plant to convert seawater to drinking water, a project billed as a partial solution to a sustained drought that threatens the state’s economic health. In deciding the fate of the Huntington Beach desalination plant, the California Coastal Commission must weigh an expert recommendation to kill the project against pressure from Governor Gavin Newsom to approve it. The vote will follow a hearing at a Costa Mesa hotel conference room. … ” Read more from Reuters here: California regulators set to vote on desalination plant
Five last-minute questions about the Poseidon Water project
“After 20-plus years of planning and negotiating and politicking, Poseidon Water’s bid to transform ocean water off Huntington Beach into tap water for much of central Orange County is about to face a make-or-break test. The California Coastal Commission is expected to vote Thursday, May 12 on the company’s application to build a $1.4 billion desalination plant at a site in Huntington Beach during a public hearing in Costa Mesa. While other issues would need to be resolved before Poseidon could be a full go – including which water agencies will agree to be the company’s final customers – supporters and opponents alike say the ruling Thursday will go a long way to determine if one of the nation’s biggest proposed desalination plants is ever built. The vote also might set a path for other desalination projects in Southern California. … ” Read more from the OC Register here: Five last-minute questions about the Poseidon Water project
Court of Appeal sides with parties seeking attorneys’ fees for challenge to California WaterFix project
“Siding with public agencies and environmental groups who filed numerous legal challenges to the “twin tunnel” Delta conveyance project known as California WaterFix, the Third District Court of Appeal today unanimously held that the trial court improperly denied the appellants’ attorneys’ fees motions when it ruled that their legal challenges were not a “catalyst” for the State’s 2019 decision to rescind the WaterFix project approvals and decertify the project environmental impact report (EIR). After nearly two years of litigation, and several years in proceedings before the State Water Board and the Delta Stewardship Council, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) withdrew the WaterFix approvals following Governor Newsom’s issuance of an executive order directing DWR to “inventory and assess” planning efforts for a Delta conveyance project. ... ” Continue reading at Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Court of Appeal sides with parties seeking attorneys’ fees for challenge to California WaterFix project
Appellate Court reverses decision that denied attorney’s fees in environmental and finance challenges to the state’s California WaterFix/Delta twin tunnels project
“Public agencies and environmental groups spent nearly two years in litigation and several years in proceedings before the State Water Board and the Delta Stewardship Council challenging the twin tunnel Delta conveyance project (California WaterFix). In May 2019, the Department of Water Resources withdrew its approvals and bond resolutions and decertified its environmental impact report. On May 11, 2022, the Third District Court of Appeal unanimously held that the trial court misapplied the legal standard for recovery of attorney’s fees under the private attorney general statute when it denied that project opponents’ challenges were a “catalyst” for these results. The Court agreed with the challengers that the trial court erred in treating Governor Newsom’s statement of a change in policy away from the twin tunnels as an “external, superseding cause,” and in assuming DWR’s actions were “expected,” without considering all relevant evidence. The diverse project challengers remain committed to protecting the Delta and look forward to proceeding under the correct legal standard identified by the Court of Appeal.” Read the ruling below. Click here for more information.
California drought: Which regions are saving the most — and least — water
“This year is shaking out to be another dry year as the winter months, when the state records much of its precipitation, did not deliver as much rain and snow as hoped. The continuing drought means water providers across California — and their consumers — must conserve more water to avoid running out. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for a 15% decrease in water use, but only a small portion of the suppliers met that goal. Statewide, water use soared by about 19% in March 2022 compared to the same month in 2020. … ” Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle here: California drought: Which regions are saving the most — and least — water
California got snow in April and May. What does it mean for the snowpack?
“After California saw extended periods of dry weather in the middle of winter, a series of late-season storms swept the Golden State in April and May, dusting the Sierra Nevada with fresh snow. Did those spring snow showers help bolster the dwindling snowpack that historically provides about a third of the state’s water supply? The short answer is that every little bit helps, but the snow did not come close to making up for almost no precipitation in January through March, normally the height of California’s wet season, said David Rizzardo, chief of hydrology for California’s Department of Water Resources. ... ” Read more from SF Gate here: California got snow in April and May. What does it mean for the snowpack?
Lawns are terrible for the environment. California’s water restrictions may finally kill them.
“After years of on-again-off-again drought conditions and decades of precarity relying on imported water, Southern California has instituted major limitations on how residents can use water. Within weeks, residents will only be allowed to irrigate their yards once a week. Lush lawns and abundant flower gardens, your days may be numbered. This is likely just the start. Climate change is wreaking havoc on water systems around the world, and drought conditions are projected for the Western United States through 2030 at least. What’s happening now in Southern California could soon be seen in broader swathes of the West. Watering limitations could dramatically reshape the look of the outdoors. … ” Read more from Fast Company here: Lawns are terrible for the environment. California’s water restrictions may finally kill them.
Are sheep a crucial ingredient for vineyards and ecosystems?
“This is a story about livestock and vegetation, microorganisms and tilling, ecosystems and compost, water and climate change, which, in 2022, means it’s very much about wine. This dusty town in San Benito County, about an hour by car southeast of Santa Cruz, is the site of Paicines Ranch, an experiment in creating a diverse ecosystem dedicated to regenerative agriculture and soil health. On 7,600 rolling acres of grassy hills, threaded with chaparral sage, oak forest and wetlands, cattle, sheep, pigs, turkeys and chickens graze and forage in an environment rich with the sounds of birds, insects and other wild creatures going about their day. Before the animals are sold off as pastured meats, they are integral parts of a polycultural farm, which includes roughly 300 acres of organic grains and vegetables along with a 25-acre organic demonstration vineyard. ... ” Continue reading at the New York Times here: Are sheep a crucial ingredient for vineyards and ecosystems?
Floodplain restoration: In response to climate change, California is looking to nature’s patterns
“Water policy in the Western U.S. has always been a contentious issue. Changes in water management, however, are slowly happening. … More recently, the issues of water wastage and flood control from dam removal are being offset by allowing rivers to return to more natural flow patterns. Floodplain restoration is occurring along the Mississippi River and in Washington State, but California is rethinking how rivers flow even more broadly and leads with an additional emphasis on ecological health as climate change alters the environment. Carefully selected types of woody trees and shrubs are being planted in restored floodplains to enhance wildlife habitat and attract native species. … ” Read more from the Santa Barbara Independent here: Floodplain restoration: In response to climate change, California is looking to nature’s patterns
Study warns of potential inequities from water infrastructure investments
“More and more often, water agencies throughout California are being asked to work together to bolster water infrastructure. For instance, the Friant-Kern Canal is currently being repaired thanks to a partnership between the state and federal government and local water agencies, local groundwater sustainability agencies have been tasked with community engagement for the sake of groundwater management, and Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative sets out a plan for spending billions over the next decade on water storage and conveyance projects. But a recent scientific study asked: who is ultimately paying for these projects, and what outcomes should investors take into account other than the water that they gain? … ” Read more from KVPR here: Study warns of potential inequities from water infrastructure investments
Newsom pleaded for water cutbacks amid drought. Californians stopped listening.
“California’s drought is worsening yet new figures show that in March, water usage jumped nearly 19% compared with 2020, during one of the driest months on record. The startling figures come despite pleas from the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, and other authorities who have urged residents to curb their water usages. They also come the same day that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered residents and businesses to restrict outdoor watering to just two days a week in an effort to conserve. ... ” Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Newsom pleaded for water cutbacks amid drought. Californians stopped listening.
Congressman Valadao urges action on drought
“Today, Congressman David G. Valadao participated in the House Committee on Natural Resources Republican Members Western Drought Forum. The forum brought together members of Congress and stakeholders across the Western United States, including the Central Valley, to raise awareness on the drought’s impact on our domestic food supply. In his remarks, Rep. Valadao stressed the devastating impact of the Bureau of Reclamation’s zero percent water supply allocation for South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors: “I cannot emphasize enough that we cannot continue on this dangerous trajectory. Our ability to provide food for our nation is being critically compromised.” … ” Continue reading from Congressman Valadao’s office here: Congressman Valadao urges action on drought
Chinook salmon introduced to mountain streams not inhabited for 100 years
“The historic reintroduction of Chinook salmon into a California creek this spring will help secure another generation of this iconic species. State and federal biologists have been busy moving endangered adult winter-run Chinook salmon to the upper reaches of Battle Creek and threatened spring-run Chinook salmon to Clear Creek in Northern California, where colder water temperatures will better support spawning and help their eggs survive the continuing drought. Together the scientists will return about 300 adult winter-run Chinook salmon to native habitat above Eagle Canyon Dam on North Fork Battle Creek, about 20 miles east of Cottonwood, in Shasta/Tehama counties for the first time in more than 110 years. … ” Read more from the Good News Network here: Chinook salmon introduced to mountain streams not inhabited for 100 years
Column: Can today’s ag techies track our precious water?
Shanna Long writes, “I returned from visiting another farm planet last week. I might as well have embarked on a trip to the moon or have been witness to a Mars rover ru ing a pattern in a parking lot at Duarte Nursery’s 24th annual Friends Day in Hughson. Unmanned spray machines, tractors and even harvesters were running circles in the parking lot with nobody inside. Data tracking for soil and water with ever improving monitoring software was on display. Now, a farmer or beekeeper can even monitor the vigor of his honeybee hives with visibility and accountability via tracking devices. … ” Read more from the Tehama Daily News here: Column: Can today’s ag techies track our precious water?
Always looking at new ways to embrace California, Obi Kaufmann is telling the story of the Golden State’s coast.
“The four books on California nature Obi Kaufmann has written and drawn so far represent a new kind of genre. It began with the bestselling The California Field Atlas in 2017 – then his focus shifted to the state’s water resources, then Californian forests. Now, he is releasing his biggest book yet, a 700-page love letter to 1,200 miles of the California coast. An artist-adventurer and independent bookstore lover, Kaufmann is familiar with Big Sur and the Henry Miller Memorial Library, where his books are “perennial,” Library Director Magnus Toren said in a recent podcast conversation with the author. So it only makes sense that he’d make a stop there to introduce his new book. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Always looking at new ways to embrace California, Obi Kaufmann is telling the story of the Golden State’s coast.
California’s last nuclear power plant closes soon. New calls want Diablo Canyon open
“California’s last nuclear power plant is set to close in 2025. What will that mean for the most populous state in the US, which is already struggling to provide power for its nearly 40 million residents? And how will it impact California’s goals of reaching carbon neutrality by 2045? Diablo Canyon’s reactors generate enough electricity to provide power for 3 million Californians 24/7. That accounts for nearly 10% of the state’s total energy production, and around a fifth of its clean energy. It also produces all that at a much more affordable rate than PG&E’s average. One of the reactors will be shut down in 2024; the second, a year later. … ” Read more from KMPH here: California’s last nuclear power plant closes soon. New calls want Diablo Canyon open
The abundance choice, part 2: The problems with indoor water rationing
Edward Ring, a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, writes, “Perhaps the biggest example of misguided water policy in California are the escalating restrictions on indoor water consumption. As will be seen, the savings these restrictions amount to are trivial in the context of California’s total water consumption, yet are imposed at tremendous cost both in quality of life and in the required economic sacrifice. Despite alternatives that are objectively more cost-effective, California’s water policy continues to go down the path of rationing indoor water use. In 2018 the California Legislature enacted laws to restrict residential water consumption, in the form of Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668. For urban water districts, the laws “establish a standard of 55 gallons per person per day until January 2025, and then to 50 gallons per person per day in 2030.” It is fair to point out that some of the more alarmist reactions to these mandates are unfounded. … ” Read more from the California Globe here: The abundance choice, part 2: The problems with indoor water rationing
Advocates urge action to tackle Big Ag water abuse as drought worsens, voluntary conservation fails
Dan Bacher writes, “Domestic water use in California rose by 19 percent in March, exposing what Food & Water Watch describes as the “clear failure” of Governor Gavin Newsom’s repeated pleas for voluntary reductions in household water consumption, as well as California’s failure to rein in Big Ag and other corporate water abusers. … Food & Water Watch and other environmental advocates have long urged mandatory action to curb excessive urban water use and the need to rein in some of the biggest corporate water abusers such as Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Linda Resnick, which they say Newsom has thus far ignored. “Research from the nonprofit environmental advocacy group Food & Water Watch lays out the enormous scale of corporate water abuse among fossil fuel interests and agribusiness in California’s San Joaquin Valley,” according to a press statement from Food & Water Watch. … ” Continue reading at the Daily Kos here: Advocates urge action to tackle Big Ag water abuse as drought worsens, voluntary conservation fails
URBAN WATER INSTITUTE: SGMA implementation in the San Joaquin Valley: The farmers’ perspective
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, was passed in 2014 during a period of critically dry years; the legislation was intended to stop the adverse impacts occurring due to the severe overpumping of groundwater basins. SGMA required groundwater basins to form a local groundwater sustainability agency and develop a groundwater sustainability plan to achieve sustainability in their groundwater basins within 20 years. Eight years into implementation, all GSAs have submitted the first groundwater sustainability plans and are beginning to implement them. For SGMA, the rubber is just now starting to hit the road.
The law will most impact the San Joaquin Valley, as most groundwater basins in the valley have been designated as critically overdrafted. At the Urban Water Institute’s annual spring meeting, a panel discussed the challenges that San Joaquin Valley farmers face and how they are responding.
Seated on the panel were Jason Phillips, CEO of the Friant Water Authority; Dr. David Sunding, an economist and professor at UC Berkeley; and Jack Rice, farmer and consultant.
Klamath wildlife facility closes doors to prevent bird flu spread
“A wildlife rescue facility in Klamath Falls has temporarily suspended all animal admissions and tours after the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) known commonly as the bird flu, was detected in Oregon last week. “This is an extremely contagious strain of the avian influenza virus for birds & evidence suggests that it is nearly 100% fatal for raptors,” said a statement from Badger Run Wildlife Rehab. Badger Run is taking extra precautions to protect their animal ambassadors: the birds receiving lifelong care at the facility, including Pippa the barn owl, Draco the golden eagle and Squirt the European starling, among others. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Klamath wildlife facility closes doors to prevent bird flu spread
Documentary highlights Klamath Salmon Run, which starts Thursday
“For the 20th year in a row, people from tribal communities along the Klamath River are preparing to run the more than 300 mile length of the river, tracing the route of the salmon that are struggling to survive. “All four Klamath Basin Tribes participate in the 340-mile relay, which extends from the mouth in Northern California to the headwaters in southeastern Oregon,” Yurok Tribe Public Relations Director Matt Mais said in a statement. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Documentary highlights Klamath Salmon Run, which starts Thursday
Woodland City Council implements 20% water use reduction
“The Woodland City Council received an update on the city’s planned water supply for 2022 and adopted a resolution implementing stage two of Woodland’s water shortage contingency plan. “The state of California is in the third year of a drought and issued a governor’s executive order in March 2022 requiring urban water suppliers to implement at least stage two of their water shortage contingency plans,” the city staff report stated. “Stage two of the WSCP implements a goal of reducing water use by 20%.” … ” Read more from the Woodland Daily Democrat here: Woodland City Council implements 20% water use reduction
Russian River water draws in jeopardy after State Water Board vote
“Thousands of water rights holders in the Russian River watershed could soon lose access to their water after state regulators approved emergency drought rules Tuesday. The State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to reauthorize the Division of Water Rights to issue “curtailment orders” for up to 2,000 rights holders in order to preserve water in Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino and to protect drinking water supplies and fish populations. “Climate change-induced drought conditions are not easing, making it critical that we continue taking actions to protect the state’s diminishing water supply,” Deputy Director of the Division of Water Rights Erik Ekdahl said in a news release Wednesday. ... ” Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Russian River water draws in jeopardy after State Water Board vote
Wine country community of Healdsburg knows how to conserve water
“The wine country community of Healdsburg can teach the rest of the state a lesson in water conservation. Last year it reduced its water footprint by 40 percent. This Sonoma County community knows how to conserve water. Last year about this time homeowners were told to drastically cut their water use. Terry Crowley is the utilities director for Healdsburg. “Lawns that are not used for athletic purposes or other outdoor recreation. Those are considered non-functional lawns.” … ” Read more from Fox 26 here: Wine country community of Healdsburg knows how to conserve water
Changes coming to SF seawall in coming months
“The first portions of the new living seawall coming to San Francisco’s Embarcadero will be installed “most likely in September,” according to a scientist involved in the project. The goal of the project, which is a joint venture between the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Port of San Francisco, is to create ecologically-friendly surfaces that encourage underwater habitats. These surfaces will be placed on the existing seawall, which is a barren concrete surface. … ” Rea dmore from KRON here: Changes coming to SF seawall in coming months
EBMUD customers to see 8% drought surcharge starting July 1
“Facing down a second consecutive dry year, the East Bay Municipal Utility District board decided this week to impose an 8% drought surcharge that customers will see on bills starting July 1. The estimated $30.8 million collected from the surcharge will cover about half the estimated $64.5 million needed to manage the drought this year, according to EBMUD. The rest of drought expenses will be funded by reserves. The surcharge is EBMUD’s latest step to address the region’s ongoing drought. … ” Read more from Danville-San Ramon here: EBMUD customers to see 8% drought surcharge starting July 1
If we need desal for the region’s future water supply, how could it possibly get approved?
” … The California Public Utilities Commission approved the environmental impact report for Cal Am’s project in 2018, but when it came to the Coastal Commission, its staff twice recommended denying a permit—both in 2019 and 2020—in part because of the potential harm it could cause to local aquifers, and for social justice concerns regarding the water’s cost. (Cal Am withdrew its application before the commissioners voted on it.) And therein lies a paradox: On one hand, the state is putting a premium on marine life, yet subsurface intake wells – which state policy prefers – are too expensive. Instead, a cheaper, less energy-intensive project – the recycled water project Pure Water Monterey – is where the money and water ultimately flowed. Yet the widespread consensus among local water professionals is that, at some point in the coming years, the region will require a desal project to meet future demand. But given the permitting hurdles, how will that happen? … ” Read the full story at Monterey Weekly here: If we need desal for the region’s future water supply, how could it possibly get approved?
Monterey has four affordable housing projects in the works, but not enough water to give.
“On May 17, the Monterey City Council will discuss four city-owned properties it hopes to turn into affordable housing, and will be asked to wrestle with some challenging questions about how to move forward with making them a reality. At the top of that list is water, or the lack thereof: The city has 5.2 acre-feet of water annually it can allocate to the projects. But dedicating all the water to one or more of the projects, City Manager Hans Uslar says, would hinder the city’s ability to give water to public works projects like an additional restroom here or there, or water for an additional fire station. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Monterey has four affordable housing projects in the works, but not enough water to give.
Monterey commentary: It’s past time to restart the conversation for a regional desal project.
“David Schmalz here. Tomorrow, May 12, the California Coastal Commission will consider whether to approve a coastal development permit for the proposed Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach. Its decision, either way, raises important questions about the future of the local water supply. One controversial aspect of the project is it proposes to use open ocean intake pipes to draw seawater into the plant, utilizing existing cooling intakes of an adjacent power plant that are soon to be put out of commission. As proposed, the project would draw up to 106.7 million gallons per day (mgd) of seawater into the plant, producing up to 50 mgd of freshwater and another 57 mgd of salty brine that would be disposed of through an outfall pipe about 1,500 feet offshore. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Monterey: It’s past time to restart the conversation for a regional desal project.
Inyo County Board of Supervisors prep for Thursday May 12 Standing Committee Meeting at 10:00am
“This week’s discussion at Inyo County’s Board of Supervisors set the stage for the Thursday’s Standing Committee meeting where the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s pumping and operation plan will come up for a vote. After two years of drought and LADWP’s relatively low level of pumping in the Owens Valley, the Department is proposing a pumping range from 67,210 to 86,300 acre-feet. Inyo’s Water Department is recommending 59,540 a-f for in-valley uses only. In addition, LADWP cut back irrigation water for ranch leases from 5 a-f to 4. Leases that tap into stream flows for irrigation will also be impacted by lower flows out of a pitiful snow pack. The water scenario is grim. … ” Read more from the Sierra Wave here: Inyo County Board of Supervisors prep for Thursday May 12 Standing Committee Meeting at 10:00am
Listen: LADWP restricts outdoor water to twice-a-week, how should Angelenos prepare?
“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced Tuesday that its consumers would need to limit their outdoor watering to twice a week in an effort to manage California’s historic drought. For many Californians, the drought’s urgency has not yet settled in. New data from the State Water Resources Board showed Californians’ water usage was up in the month of March– the most water usage we’ve seen since 2015. Today on AirTalk we talk to LADWP senior assistant general manager of its water system Anselmo Collins about their restrictions and also better understand how to manage your garden at this time with California Native Plant Society horticulture outreach manager Ann-Marie Benz.” Listen at KPCC here: Listen: LADWP restricts outdoor water to twice-a-week, how should Angelenos prepare?
Upcoming water restrictions on affected Inland Empire residents will be dependent on water supplier
EPA announces $441 million WIFIA loan to modernize wastewater infrastructure in Los Angeles County
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $441 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) to support the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant Effluent Outfall Tunnel Project (“Clearwater Project”). With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping modernize infrastructure while creating local jobs in Los Angeles County. “Too many communities across the country rely on outdated and inefficient water infrastructure that puts public health and environmental protection at risk,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. “This WIFIA investment in LA County will help ensure wastewater infrastructure reliably serves 5 million customers while protecting nearby waters. EPA is excited to bring water infrastructure upgrades to more communities with $50 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” ... ” Read more from the EPA here: EPA announces $441 million WIFIA loan to modernize wastewater infrastructure in Los Angeles County
Imperial Irrigation District preparing water apportionment plan
“The Imperial Irrigation District is preparing a water apportionment plan for Imperial Valley growers to rein in a projected water overrun after the federal government declared a water shortage, reducing the amount of water that Arizona, Nevada and Mexico can claim from the Colorado River. The IID holds the largest and most secure federal entitlement on the Colorado River, but current Bureau of Reclamation projections show the district exceeding its allocation by more than 92,000 acre-feet of water this year as grain prices reach record highs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The IID’s senior water rights protect it from planned water cuts, but they don’t cushion the Valley’s growers if the district uses more water than it is allocated during a drought. IID officials worry that if there is an inadvertent overrun, the Bureau of Reclamation will shut off the tap. … ” Read more from the Calexico Chronicle here: IID Preparing Water Apportionment Plan
Air Pollution Control District and Imperial Irrigation District to enter into Joint Settlement Agreement
“Since 2015, implementation of the Red Hill Bay (RHB) Project to create hundreds of acres of shallow marine wetlands for aquatic bird habitat and to reduce airborne dust from exposed playa had been sporadic according to the Air Pollution Control District (ACPD) Since June 2020, the Imperial Irrigation District project had still been experiencing excessive airborne dust which violated APCD rules so the district issued a Notice of Violation which stopped the IID project next to the Salton Sea. After nearly two years of legal work between the IID and Imperial County, the Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board unanimously approved the stipulated order for abatement for RHB site addressing dust control concerns. … ” Read more from the Desert Review here: APCD and IID to enter into Joint Settlement Agreement
This California desert could hold the key to powering all of America’s electric cars
“The Salton Sea Basin feels almost alien. It lies where two enormous chunks of the Earth’s crust, the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate, are very slowly pushing past one another creating an enormous low spot in the land. It’s a big, flat gray desert ringed with high mountains that look pale in the distance. It’s hot and, deep underground, it is literally boiling. The Salton Sea, which lies roughly in the middle of the massive geologic low point, isn’t really a sea, at all. The largest inland lake in California, it’s 51 miles long from north to south and 17 miles wide, but gradually shrinking as less and less water flows into it. … ” Read more from CNN Business here: This California desert could hold the key to powering all of America’s electric cars
Hauck Mesa storage reservoir moving to completion
“The San Diego County Water Authority Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project in North San Diego County reached a major milestone in late April when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The major construction project, which began in March 2021, will improve drinking water supply reliability for the county. The project began with the demolition of an abandoned steel tank, and includes construction of an isolation vault and an underground flow control facility, in addition to the new 2.1 million-gallon water tank connected to the Valley Center Pipeline. The project is expected to be completed by November 2022. … ” Read more from the Water News Network here: Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion
ADWR and CAP host “shortage briefing” on unstable condition at Lake Powell
“In a May 6 joint presentation, officials of three agencies laid out publicly the serious challenges facing the Colorado River system, especially at Lake Powell, which currently sits at 24 percent of capacity, its lowest level since the reservoir was first filled. The Joint Colorado River Shortage Briefing was prepared by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Central Arizona Project and the federal Bureau of Reclamation to provide the public with a comprehensive update of the hydrology conditions on the vital river system and an outline of the actions being taken to help stabilize it. ... ” Continue reading from the Arizona Department of Water Resources here: ADWR and CAP host “shortage briefing” on unstable condition at Lake Powell
What is dead pool? A water expert explains
“Journalists reporting on the status and future of the Colorado River are increasingly using the phrase “dead pool.” It sounds ominous. And it is. Dead pool occurs when water in a reservoir drops so low that it can’t flow downstream from the dam. The biggest concerns are Lake Powell, behind Glen Canyon Dam on the Utah-Arizona border, and Lake Mead, behind Boulder Canyon Dam on the Nevada-Arizona border. These two reservoirs, the largest in the U.S., provide water for drinking and irrigation and hydroelectricity to millions of people in Nevada, Arizona and California. ... ” Read more from The Conversation here: What is dead pool? A water expert explains
Tier 1 water shortage impacts Arizona agriculture
“Arizona farmers are experiencing a cut to their allocation of Colorado River water for the first time. The Bureau of Reclamation declared a water shortage in Lake Mead in August 2021, triggering the first ever Tier 1 shortage in 2022. … ” Read more from Channel 9 here: Tier 1 water shortage impacts Arizona agriculture
Parker: Reclamation meets with residents to explain what they do.
“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is in charge of managing the Colorado River, a river on which many in the Southwest depend. They are trying to manage orders for water from that river and maintain the ecosystem while, at the same time, dealing with the region’s worst drought in recorded history. That was the message Reclamation’s Mike Bernardo and Noe Santos delivered to a public meeting held Tuesday, May 3, at the La Paz County Boating Safety Center. The meeting had been arranged by La Paz County District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor so residents could hear from Reclamation directly and ask them questions. … ” Continue reading at the Parker Pioneer here: Parker: Reclamation meets with residents to explain what they do.
Unregulated groundwater use threatens rural Arizona’s future
“One of the last preserved stretches of Historic Route 66 winds through the heart of this former railroad town. Founded in the 1880s, Kingman sits in northwest Arizona a few miles from the Colorado River. In 2022, tourism is the draw, but what has sustained the 33,000 people of Kingman, and the estimated 35,000 people in surrounding communities, is the water beneath it. “Our water source is groundwater,” City Manager Ron Foggin said. “It drives this community; we thrive because of it. And we have to be wise with the use of it.” … ” Read more from Cronkite News here: Unregulated groundwater use threatens rural Arizona’s future
Commentary: If nixing grass could delay mandatory water cuts, would we actually do it?
Opinion columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “You’re not going to like what comes next to save Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The situation on the Colorado River continues to get worse. Reservoir levels are falling into worst-case scenario territory with shocking speed. Yet even if we had new sources of water identified today (which we don’t), it would take years to build that infrastructure. And we’re now being asked to act every few months, taking ever more painful actions each time. The only meaningful thing we can do in the short term is use less water. A lot less. ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Commentary: If nixing grass could delay mandatory water cuts, would we actually do it?
Dramatic drop: Colorado’s snowpack shrinking
“Colorado’s snowpack numbers are dropping quickly and to a level well below normal for this time of year.. “We’re definitely seeing that we’re going to have a decreased run-off this year,” said Colorado Springs Utilities, Water Planning Supervisor, Kalsoum Abbasi. The snowpack is tracked closely because it melts and becomes Colorado’s water supply. It was close to normal a couple months back. Now the Arkansas River Basin is down to nearly 30% of what is normal for this time of year. The Colorado River Basin is at 70% of normal. ... ” Read more from Channel 5 here: Dramatic drop: Colorado’s snowpack shrinking
Biden’s infrastructure funding may never reach drinking water systems that need it most
“Though there’s little question that water systems of all sizes are in need of additional funding to upgrade infrastructure and continue to provide clean drinking water to ratepayers, some of those with the greatest needs may struggle to access federal funding recently set aside for them. “The federal government is handing out $11.7 billion earmarked for drinking water system improvements under the new infrastructure law, and it’s prioritizing … underserved, drought-stricken areas,” Bloomberg Law reported. “While nearly half of the federal money from the new infrastructure law will be available as grants or principle-forgiveness loans, some systems may sit out applying if there’s a chance they’d end up with repayable loans.” … ” Read more from Water Online here: Biden’s infrastructure funding may never reach drinking water systems that need it most
Agriculture’s water challenge is about to get a lot worse
“Across the globe, reports of debilitating droughts are reaching all-time highs and the demand for water is ever-growing. What does that mean for the agriculture industry, the largest user of the global water supply? According to a new study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future, it means a major increase in water scarcity problems. Researchers predict that, by 2050, agricultural water scarcity across the world’s croplands will increase by more than 80 percent. Researchers predict that shifting precipitation patterns and evaporation due to rising temperatures will cause about 16 percent of global croplands to experience water scarcity due to changes in available green water—or water within the soil. … ” Read more from Modern Farmer here: Agriculture’s water challenge is about to get a lot worse
How does forest restoration affect water cycles?
“How would afforestation and restoration of large areas worldwide affect water-fluxes world wide? A new study led by Wageningen University researcher Anne Hoek van Dijke with contributions from Martin Herold, GFZ, has interesting answers. Impacts on precipitation reach far beyond country or even continent level: tree restoration in the Amazon can, for example, affect rainfall in Europe and Eastern Asia. The study, published in Nature Geoscience on May 11, 2022, has calculated the global impact of large-scale tree restoration on water fluxes and water availability. … ” Read more from Science Daily here: How does forest restoration affect water cycles?
Wildfire, drought, and insects threaten forests in the United States
“Wildfire risk to forests across the United States is set to increase by a factor of 4, and tree mortality caused by other climate-induced factors like drought, heat, disease, and insects is set to at least double, new research shows. “Forests in the western half of the U.S. have the highest vulnerability to each of these risks,” said William Anderegg, an associate professor at the University of Utah and lead author of the paper, which was published in Ecology Letters. But risks are not confined to the West. There are wildfire risks in Florida and Georgia, as well as parts of Oklahoma and Texas, and insect and drought risks in the northern Great Lakes states. … ” Read more from EOS here: Wildfire, drought, and insects threaten forests in the United States
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.