Trinidad. Photo by Greg Jenkins on Unsplash

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Court rules feds didn’t stiff Fresno, other water users during last drought; Water-sharing agreements proposed; Does Tuolumne County already own water rights?; Choreographing restoration on Mono Lake’s tributary streams; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

Ruling: Feds didn’t stiff Fresno and other water users when they got zero water in the last drought

The federal government did not breach its contract when it gave water users, including the City of Fresno, a zero water allocation in the extreme drought year of 2014, according to a ruling issued June 6 in Federal Claims Court.  It may not seem fair, Judge Armando Bonilla wrote in his ruling, and “To be clear, a zero allocation for the Friant contractors was harsh,” but the fact is the Friant division of the Central Valley Project is outranked by superior water rights held by the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors.  “At all times the Exchange Contractors have a superior claim to CVP water than do the Friant Contractors,” Bonilla wrote. … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Ruling: Feds didn’t stiff Fresno and other water users when they got zero water in the last drought

Court rules federal government didn’t stiff Fresno, other water users during last drought

The federal government did not breach its contract when it gave water users, including the city of Fresno, a zero water allocation in the extreme drought year of 2014, according to a ruling issued June 6 in Federal Claims Court. It may not seem fair, Judge Armando Bonilla wrote in his ruling, and “To be clear, a zero allocation for the Friant contractors was harsh,” but the fact is the Friant division of the Central Valley Project is outranked by superior water rights held by the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. “At all times the Exchange Contractors have a superior claim to CVP water than do the Friant Contractors,” Bonilla wrote. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Court rules federal government didn’t stiff Fresno, other water users during last drought

Water-sharing agreements proposed

A serpentine stretch of the California Aqueduct in Palmdale.

Water wars are nothing new in California; Mark Twain himself is alleged to have said, “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over.” However, for a portion of the state’s highly contested water use, a new concept may help reduce some of the friction and litigation. The area of the Sacramento River Delta, which includes the San Joaquin River, is an important part of the water supplies for the state, including those areas to the south served by the State Water Project. This includes the Antelope Valley. … Rather than pursue a lengthy adjudication of this entire watershed — such as was done with the groundwater aquifer in the Antelope Valley — a system of voluntary agreements has been proposed, in which the individual water agencies, environmental organizations, government agencies and the like voluntarily agree to allow so much water though the Delta and provide funds for environmental restoration and research. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Valley Press here: Water-sharing agreements proposed

Air quality worsens as drought forces California growers to burn abandoned crops

Driving to work one gray morning last year, Eduwiges Aguayo stopped suddenly when she saw columns of smoke billowing from burning piles of discarded grapevines.  Aguayo, who had stopped about a mile from her home in San Joaquin Valley’s grape country, called her family to give them a warning: Stay indoors, shut the windows and avoid running the air conditioner since it draws air from outside.  “It looked almost as if it was cloudy, like it was very gray outside,” Aguayo recalled of the ashen haze that surrounded her. “But it wasn’t cloudy. It was air pollution.” … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Air quality worsens as drought forces California growers to burn abandoned crops

This SoCal business developed a system to reuse water as a way to fight the drought

This SoCal business developed a system to reuse water as a way to fight the drought. As the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department remains on the hot seat over allegations of deputy gangs, investigators at Friday’s oversight committee hearing expressed concern that witnesses are scared to talk over possible retaliation.  Recycling has become a big part of saving water amid California’s historic drought, and businesses across the state are implementing it in interesting ways.  Wasting water is something that has bothered Buzz Boettcher for years. “I’ve done a lot of offshore sailing and racing over the years, and it didn’t make sense that ten people could live on a boat for 15 days out in the ocean and survive on 200 gallons of water, and you come ashore, and you use 20,000 gallons a month,” he said. … ”  Read more from Channel 7 here: This SoCal business developed a system to reuse water as a way to fight the drought

Radio show: What can drought-ridden California learn from Las Vegas?

Residents of California’s South Coast — the hydrologic region that includes Los Angeles — used about 25% more water in April than a year ago, according to state data released this week. Statewide, urban dwellers used about 17% more. That’s sounding alarms about Californians’ ability and willingness to conserve water in the third year of what’s shaping up to be the worst drought in state history. We’ll hear how Las Vegas’s water agency has pushed its residents and businesses to conserve and talk about the practices that might work in California.”  Listen at KQED here: What can drought-ridden California learn from Las Vegas?

California drought prompts legislation to increase fines for water pollution for illegal grows

Two bills were recently introduced to prevent illegal cannabis cultivation efforts, which are using more water than ever in the wake of a historic California drought.  “Illegal cannabis farming is devastating the desert communities of San Bernardino County,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman in a press release. “The County is determined to stop this terrible damage to the environment and to protect the lives and property of our residents from lawless criminals.”  The county is sponsoring Assembly Bill 2728, introduced by Assemblymember Thurston Smith, and Senate Bill 1426, introduced by Senator Anna Caballero, to tackle these concerns. … ”  Read more from High Times here: California drought prompts legislation to increase fines for water pollution for illegal grows

Water … it’s complicated

In a dry year like this one, when there is not enough water to go around, who gets what and why is very complicated. The Friant division of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) takes San Joaquin River water that originates in the Sierra Mountain range above Fresno and collects in Millerton Lake and diverts it into a 160-mile canal that runs south to Bakersfield. The natural flow path of the San Joaquin River is to head west and north eventually joining up with the Sacramento River that comes all the way down from the north before heading out to the San Francisco Bay. There are four water districts along the San Joaquin River that “exchanged” their water rights for water that comes from the north through the delta. These four districts are called the Exchange Contractors. … ”  Continue reading at the Milk Producers Council here: Water … it’s complicated

Rebuttal to the Guardian’s article, Car tyres produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts, tests show

A reader submitted this article which rebuts, in part, aspects of the Guardian article:  “UK Environment Secretary George Eustice made some notable comments recently that got picked up by The Daily Mail. These comments were about EVs, that they produce more fine particulate matter through brake and tire pollution than traditional ICE vehicles. Speaking to MPs on the Commons’ environment, food, and rural affairs committee last month, UK Environment Secretary George Eustice claimed that fine particulate matter might be worse with EVs due to their weight, The Daily Mail reported. … Dr. McTurk not only addressed the claims made by the UK Environment Secretary but debunked them in his report. The report discussed brake particulate matter, noting that although all vehicles produce particulate matter dust in the process of slowing cars down, while the overwhelming majority of EVs use regenerative braking which reduces the use of the mechanical brake discs and pads while adding more range to the vehicle. … ”  Read the full article from Clean Technica here:  Debunking the “EV Brakes Cause More Pollution Than ICE Vehicle Brakes” FUD

Human-triggered California wildfires more severe than natural blazes

Human-caused wildfires in California are more ferocious than blazes sparked by lightning, a team led by scientists from the University of California, Irvine reported recently in the journal Nature Communications. The research could help scientists better understand fire severity and how likely a blaze is to kill trees and inflict long-term damage on an ecosystem in its path.  California is no stranger to wildfires; in 2020 alone, over 4 million acres burned across the state, including the million-acre August Complex Fire. But what’s been unclear until now was whether there was any difference in severity between wildfires that start naturally, from lightning strikes, versus those touched off by humans.  “Human-ignited fires grow more rapidly and release more energy as they’re growing because they’re often sparked under conditions that are hotter and drier,” said James Randerson, Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Professor of Earth system science at UCI and co-author of the study. “They’re more ferocious.” … ”  Read more from UC Irvine here: Human-triggered California wildfires more severe than natural blazes

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In people news this weekend …

Kamala Harris emerges as Team Biden’s water warrior

Vice President Kamala Harris has become a key figure in the Biden administration’s water agenda.  The vice president last week announced a major new Biden administration initiative to ensure global water security as climate change threatens drinking water supplies, although details of the plan remain scarce. The move comes after Harris has championed the administration’s other big water initiatives, like vowing to remove all toxic lead water pipes across the nation.  “One of the reasons the vice president was so interested in taking up water as an issue … was its ubiquity,” said Ike Irby, policy adviser to the vice president. “All communities have water issues; they experience them differently, but they all experience different pieces of the water crisis.” … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Kamala Harris emerges as Team Biden’s water warrior

Appointments

Sandra Matsumoto, 48, of Davis, has been appointed to the California Water Commission.

Matsumoto has been Director for the California Water Program at the Nature Conservancy since 2020, where she was Associate Director from 2015 to 2020 and Project Director from 2004 to 2015. She was Project Manager at the Los Angeles Community Design Center from 2003 to 2004 and a Project Analyst at Mintz Levin from 1997 to 1999. She is an advisor to the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center, a board member of the Water Education Foundation and a board member of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy. Matsumoto earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Matsumoto is a Democrat.

Crystal Robinson, 45, of Forks of Salmon, has been appointed to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Robinson has been Environmental Director at Quartz Valley Indian Reservation since 2014 and held that position from 2006 to 2010. She was Water Resources Program Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe from 2010 to 2014 and Scientific Field Technician at the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District from 2003 to 2006, where she was Watershed Education Coordinator from 2004 to 2005. Robinson was a Fisheries Biological Technician for the U.S. Forest Service Salmon/Scott Ranger District in 2005, a Scientific Aide for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2004, a Scientific Field Technician for the Northern California Resource Center in 2004 and a Watershed Steward for the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project from 2001 to 2003. She is a member of the Scott River Watershed Council, serves on the Salmon River Restoration Council Board and Scott Groundwater Advisory Committee. Robinson is secretary of the California EPA Tribal Advisory Committee, chairperson of the Klamath Basin Monitoring Program and Northern California representative on the U.S. EPA Regional Tribal Operations Committee. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $250 per diem. Robinson is registered without party preference.

Podcasts …

CIRCLE OF BLUE PODCAST: What does water want? A conversation with author Erica Gies

Modern societies have dramatically disrupted the water cycle. We have paved wetlands, diverted rivers, overpumped groundwater, and built levees that allow no room for streams to ebb and flow.  The problems — and the opportunities — that spring from this mismatch between the natural world and the built environment are the topic of Water Always Wins, a new book from journalist Erica Gies.  “In our standard development, we’ve taken a very control-oriented mindset toward water,” Gies told Circle of Blue. “We want to keep it in its little channel, we want to store it in a big reservoir. When we push water in that way, we find that there are limits to our powers of control.”  Gies suggests that many societies need a major cultural shift in how people relate to water. She calls this shift a “slow water” movement — an ethic that gives water space to move across the landscape and seeks local solutions.  “The way that we view water as a sort of contest is not required,” Gies says. “We can choose a different way.”


WHAT MATTERS PODCAST: Sites Reservoir and the future of California water storage

In this episode of What Matters Water TV + Podcast, we talk to experts about how Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley is the future of water storage in California and why it is so crucial for our entire state, especially as we face a severe water crisis with the historic drought.  There have been many discussions about Sites Reservoir and its potential to help us store more water for when it’s needed most. We break down the project, how it works as part of California’s water network and why it’s such a vital project.


WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: A Rural Dream

Dreams begin with a vision of anticipated desires that satisfy our needs and wants. Some of our families have made our homes in a rural residential setting many generations ago while others are moving, today, away from the big city and finding that perfect piece of land where dreams come true. It becomes immediately clear that water has a critical role in manifesting  this life dream. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.   Produced by Steven Baker, Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, email: water@operationunite.co 530-205-6388

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In regional water news this weekend …

NORTH COAST

Federal board rejects company’s bid to control Northern California rail line for coal-export scheme

A federal board that regulates the nation’s rail rights of way has rejected a mysterious Wyoming company’s bid to seize control of a defunct Northern California rail line to ship coal for export out of Humboldt Bay.  In a decision published Friday afternoon, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board stated it would not consider the North Coast Railroad Company’s petition for control of 176 miles of abandoned rail line north of Willits because the firm had missed an earlier filing deadline in the case.  The decision was a victory for supporters of the Great Redwood Trail, a state-backed initiative to incorporate the abandoned line into a 320-mile recreational trail that could one day stretch from Eureka to San Pablo Bay in Marin County. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: Federal board rejects company’s bid to control Northern California rail line for coal-export scheme

SEE ALSO‘Toxic’ Coal Train Application Tossed, from the Redheaded Blackbelt

MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

Does Tuolumne County already own water rights? TUD attorney says it’s murky

A retired manager for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. believes Tuolumne County already owns water rights under provisions included in a 1983 agreement with the utility giant, but the attorney for the area’s premier water and sewer agency says it’s not so clear due to the complexities of modern water law.  The arguments resurfaced this week after Tuolumne Utilities District, the main water supplier for most of the county’s population, announced that PG&E has halted years-long negotiations between the two entities on a possible deal for TUD to acquire some of the company’s assets and water rights in the South Fork Stanislaus River watershed. … ”  Read more from the Union Democrat here: Does Tuolumne County already own water rights? TUD attorney says it’s murky

Now & Then: Tuolumne County’s early water wars were fought by miners

Water was the real gold during the Gold Rush days in Columbia.  Shortly after settling in the area, when the creek supplying the placer mines dried up, miners found themselves with no gold, and merchants found themselves with no market. To solve the water problem, merchants and miners formed the Tuolumne County Water Co. “for the purpose of conveying water from the South Fork of the Stanislaus River to various points in the Southern Mines.”  This was to be an active shareholder owned company: Each shareholder had one vote, and shareholders were to work on building the ditches and flumes, or pay someone to take their place.  … ”  Read more from the Union=Democrat here: Now & Then: Tuolumne County’s early water wars were fought by miners

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Paradise set to take next step in sewer project

The Paradise Town Council will vote on Tuesday night on whether to accept a Principals of Agreement between the town of Paradise and the city of Chico developed by the Sewer Regionalization Project Advisory Committee. The Inter-Municipal Agreement between Chico and Paradise will utilize the principles of the agreement.  According to the agenda, the agreement outlines key parameters of a potential agreement, including making sure Chico ratepayers are not financially responsible for any aspect of the treatment needs of Paradise, including any potential connection payment from Paradise to the city of Chico. That cost is estimated at $14.9 million to support the existing plant and capacity-related needs. … ”  Read more from the Paradise Post here: Paradise set to take next step in sewer project

Chemical spill closes Glenn County Transfer Station

A spill of an unknown chemical occurred on the morning of June 1 at the Glenn County Transfer Station located on County Road 33 in Artois.  “The spill was encountered when a residential garbage bin was offloaded from a Waste Management truck at the sorting building,” read a release issued by the Glenn County Board of Supervisors. “An employee identified multiple liquid chemicals that had combined and created some mild bubbling and off gassing.”  Officials said about one gallon of an unknown chemical was released onto the Transfer Station Tipping Floor and water was not involved. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here:  Chemical spill closes Glenn County Transfer Station

Tree falls, knocking out power during a stretch of 100s, another sign of worsening drought

A large tree came crashing down in a South Land Park neighborhood, knocking out power in the middle of an excessive heat warning with temperatures over 100°. Late Friday night, the homeowners’ power went out as a tree pulled down power lines and fences. The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District says power should be restored by 11 p.m. Saturday.  This left people without access to air conditioning during the stretch of excessive heat. … ”  Read more from Channel 10 here: Tree falls, knocking out power during a stretch of 100s, another sign of worsening drought

Town of Discovery Bay sells finals bonds to fund wastewater project

The Town of Discovery Bay Community Services District sold the final bond necessary to pay for a new clean wastewater project and the construction of a new well. Discovery Bay General Manager Dina Breitstein said it was a step in the right direction for the town’s infrastructure. “The sale has been finalized; we closed the bond on May 17,” she said. “We are borrowing $13 million for the denitrification project and $5 million for the new well project.” ... ”  Read more from The Press here: Town of Discovery Bay sells finals bonds to fund wastewater project

CENTRAL COAST

Salinas’ Carr Lake is being reclaimed once again—this time for native plants, wildlife and community

David Schmalz here, thinking about the word “reclamation,” and how we need to reclaim it.   For the cover story in this week’s print edition of the Weekly I wrote about Big Sur Land Trust’s Carr Lake project, where the nonprofit will be transforming 73 acres of Carr Lake’s 480 acres—ag fields in the heart of Salinas—to create a 6-acre community park and restore the other 67 acres back to its previous state as a seasonal wetland.  The land has been farmed since the early 1920s, which was made possible in 1920 with the completion of the county’s Reclamation Ditch, an engineered waterway that travels out of the Carr Lake property—a historical floodplain, and once part of a chain of seasonal lakes—and carries water out to Monterey Bay. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Salinas’ Carr Lake is being reclaimed once again—this time for native plants, wildlife and community

San Luis Obispo Supervisors approve amendment to emergency groundwater ordinance

San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to a groundwater export ordinance that requires a permit to move water between groundwater basins within San Luis Obispo County.  The ordinance amending Chapter 8.95 of the San Luis Obispo County Code adds an exemption movement of groundwater through the emergency intertie between the Atascadero Mutual Water Company (AMWC) and County Service Area (CSA) No. 23 water systems in the event of a CSA 23 water supply emergency.  Currently, the ordinance requires a permit to transfer water between basins. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here: Supervisors approve amendment to emergency groundwater ordinance

SLO County town pledges water hookups for 13 new developments after decades-long ban

The tiny San Luis Obispo County town of San Simeon is slowly prying the door open to welcome new development after a 36-year moratorium. During a special meeting held Thursday evening, the San Simeon Community Services District’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to issue intent-to-serve letters to those still on the coastal community’s water connection waitlist. The waitlist has 13 developments still vying for a hookup to the town’s sewer system so they can build motels, retail spaces or residences in the town near the entrance to Hearst Castle. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: SLO County town pledges water hookups for 13 new developments after decades-long ban

Paso Robles has new restrictions on irrigation. Here’s when and how you can water

Effective Friday, Paso Roble residents have new rules on outdoor irrigation. Though city officials say Paso Robles is in no danger of running out of water, the California Water Resources Control Board implemented new restrictions on outdoor irrigation in urban areas to conserve vital resources amid the severe statewide drought. These restrictions have trickled down to the northern San Luis Obispo County city.  A new outdoor irrigation schedule allows Paso Robles residents to water outdoors no more than two days per week and once on the weekend, according to a news release from the city of Paso Robles. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo here: Paso Robles has new restrictions on irrigation. Here’s when and how you can water

Cambria must reduce water use by 20% due to ‘insufficient’ supply

The Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors declared a stage 2 water shortage watch with the aim of reducing the small coastal community’s water use by 20%. The 4-1 vote came during the board’s meeting on Thursday afternoon, with board member Harry Farmer dissenting. He said he didn’t believe a stage 2 declaration ws strict enough. Cambria’s implementation of the stage 2 water shortage comes after prompting by the California Water Quality Control Board, which voted in May to require local agencies to implement level 2 of their water shortage contingency plans by June 10. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune here: Cambria must reduce water use by 20% due to ‘insufficient’ supply

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY

Clawing its way toward clean water, tiny Allensworth keeps pushing forward

The long quest for clean drinking water in the small town of Allensworth has been beset by all manner of challenges – arsenic, a thicket of government red tape, lack of funding and even a protected lizard.  Now, after 14 years of wrangling (including having a special bill passed), as residents are finally on the cusp of getting a new well, drought is causing fresh worries.  The well project is plowing forward, though, and come September, construction could get underway.  “Everybody here in Allensworth is frustrated with how long it’s been taking and how they feel the county and the state view Allensworth,” said Sherry Hunter, president of Allensworth Community Services District (CSD). … ”  Read more from SJV Water here: Clawing its way toward clean water, tiny Allensworth keeps pushing forward

Tehachapi: City, Golden Hills call on water district to reduce ag allocation

A coalition representing the city of Tehachapi and Golden Hills Community Services District has called for 75 percent of all water imported from the State Water Project by the local water district to be allocated on a first priority basis to M&I (municipal and industrial) use, presumably leaving 25 percent of the water for agriculture. In a three-page letter to the Board of Directors of Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District dated June 8 and included with agenda materials for the board’s June 15 meeting, the city and Golden Hills CSD said they “originally requested an open and transparent conversation, with the goal of an equitable solution for all stakeholders.” … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News here: Tehachapi: City, Golden Hills call on water district to reduce ag allocation

EASTERN SIERRA

Choreographing restoration on Mono Lake’s tributary streams

Last fall the California State Water Resources Control Board ordered new requirements to further the restoration of 20 miles of Mono Basin stream habitat on Lee Vining, Rush, Walker, and Parker creeks. Order 21-86 implements new Stream Ecosystem Flows (SEFs) and an ongoing process for management of annual flows, requires the construction of an outlet at the Grant Lake Reservoir Dam, and establishes a team approach to administer independent scientific monitoring on Mono Lake and its tributary streams. If stream restoration is a dance, then all the parties are learning and performing some new steps. ... ”  Read more from the Mono Lake Committee here: Choreographing restoration on Mono Lake’s tributary streams

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Rosamond Community Services District making progress with new water reclamation plant

After months of delays, the Rosamond Community Services District’s water reclamation plant is poised to begin its start-up operations, next week. The plant should begin the 30-day start-up phase, on Monday, Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Ryan Becker told the Board of Directors, on Wednesday. “That’s the goal,” he said. … ”  Read more from the Antelope Daily Press here: Rosamond Community Services District making progress with new water reclamation plant

Malibu: Local residents concerned water restrictions could increase wildfire risk

With Malibu and the rest of the state coming into the third year of drought, and residents within the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District; which serves water customers outside the city limits of Malibu, all the way across the Santa Monica Mountains, now are limited to watering their landscaping one day a week. Many are expressing concern that vegetation will completely dry up, turning the area into one big tinderbox.  Even before the watering restrictions for Las Virgenes went into effect on June 1, Malibu’s State Senator, Henry Stern, sent a letter on May 16 to Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), asking that the communities in his 27th District “receive sufficient water supplies to protect their health and safety.”  “A large number of people in my District reside within areas that are both dependent on State Water Project (SWP) supplies and designated as Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” Stern wrote. … ”  Read more from the Malibu Times here: Local residents concerned water restrictions could increase wildfire risk

Newport Beach set to have the West Coast’s first water wheel trash collector

Newport Beach is set to be the first city on the West Coast to turn to a relatively low-tech, autonomous water wheel system to scoop trash headed toward Upper Newport Bay.  The California Coastal Commission commended the city for its plan for corralling trash that flows from upstream communities along the San Diego Creek and Santa Ana Delhi Channel before it can reach the ocean, but its members included with their project approval this week a call for city leaders to do more in their own community by passing laws against single-use plastics and litter from to-go meals.  “I’m really pleased to see this project,” said Donne Brownsey, the commission’s chair. “I didn’t realize the watersheds were so extensive in Orange County, and I do hope it becomes a model for other communities. You aren’t the only one that has extensive trash problems.” … ”  Read more from OC Register here: Newport Beach set to have the West Coast’s first water wheel trash collector

IMPERIAL/COACHELLA VALLEYS

Mission Springs: Ground broken for water reclamation facility

Friday, June 10 marked the start of the construction of Mission Springs Water District’s new Regional Water Reclamation Facility. Local business leaders, members of the public, and elected officials all gathered to celebrate.  Funded primarily by grants and low-interest loans, the new treatment plant will treat an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. This new capacity will allow more homes currently using a septic tank system to connect to the MSWD’s treatment system. The state-of-the-art facility will also support the addition of tertiary treatment in the future, which would provide recycled water to enhance water conservation efforts.  “We’ve been talking about the need for the new Regional Plant for several years now, but the timing is finally right,” said MSWD Board President Russ Martin. “Current ratepayers will be shielded from the cost of the new plant through the use of state-funded grants and low-interest loans.” … ”  Read more from the Uken Report here: Mission Springs: Ground broken for water reclamation facility

Two decade drought makes for a thirsty land

Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Water Manager Tina Shields gave an ominous presentation Tuesday, June 7, on the state of the two reservoirs, Lake Mead and Powell, that feed the Colorado River which in turn waters the Imperial Valley’s crops, cities and industries.  The presentation at IID’s regular meeting was similar to the ones given at the four previous Equity Distribution Plan hearings explaining how the water district would set water limits to farmers’ various fields.  The talk went beyond the details of the plan and delved into the hydrology of the river system as the West enters its third decade of drought. … ”  Read more from the Desert Review here: Two decade drought makes for a thirsty land

SAN DIEGO

Here’s what you need to know about new water restrictions in San Diego

New water-use restrictions went into for the City of San Diego on Friday, as part of a statewide effort to conserve water. According to the new rules, we can no longer wash our cars at home, but we’re still able to go to a commercial car wash. “Yes, we can go to car washes,” said Juan Guerreiro, Director of the Public Utilities Department for the City of San Diego. “Fortunately, commercial car washes are required to recycle their water, so they’re very efficient operations.” They also want you to limit watering your lawn or landscape at home to three times per week, and it needs to be done before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. And after it rains, you shouldn’t use your sprinklers again for another 48 hours. “It’s probably enough water to keep landscape healthy and looking good,” said Guerreiro. “But again, it’s just making sure we’re being really water conscious.” ... ” Read more from Channel 8 here: Here’s what you need to know about new water restrictions in San Diego

SEE ALSO: San Diego’s Cities Adopt Stricter Water Use Rules, from the Voice of San Diego

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Along the Colorado River …

Laughlin becomes new lake hotspot as Lake Mead water levels drop and temperatures rise

Heat can mean dollar signs when your economy is tied to the river, and here in Laughlin, locals notice a bump in traffic on the Colorado River after most of the launch ramps at Lake Mead shut down due to low water levels.  Adam Yoza knows exactly what it takes to get through the heat of summer.  “Families come up from the beach wet and hungry and they’re ready to get ice cream and cold frappes,’ he says. … ”  Read more from Channel 3 here: Laughlin becomes new lake hotspot as Lake Mead water levels drop and temperatures rise

Drought intensifies in Utah and the West amid searing heat, no rain

The hits just keep on coming.  Heat and dwindling water supplies have combined to result in an outbreak of a harmful algal bloom in the Virgin River watershed, according to the latest drought update issued by the Utah Division of Water Resources.   Southern Utah saw little to no precipitation in May and both Cedar City and St. George tied records for the driest May in 127 years.  An excessive heat warning is in effect for southern Utah Friday and Saturday.  The U.S. Drought Monitor this week shows that nearly 6% of Utah has reached exceptional drought, the absolute worst category. … ”  Read more from Deseret News here: Drought intensifies in Utah and the West amid searing heat, no rain

The Ute Mountain Ute can’t access their Colorado River water rights. Here’s how the tribal chairman is trying to change that.

The Ute Mountain Ute tribe has rights to Colorado River water that it can’t access and unresolved water rights claims in New Mexico and Utah. Tribal Chairman Manuel Heart, who views the future of the tribe’s water supply as a critically important topic, is set on securing those resources. But in a Colorado River Basin that is already over-allocated and deep in a two-decade drought, it won’t be easy.  The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of 30 federally recognized tribes in the basin. The tribe’s reservation spreads across approximately 900 square miles in the southwest corner of Colorado as well as parts of New Mexico and Utah. The tribe has about 2,100 registered members, most of whom reside in Colorado. Heart, who has served a total of 23 years on the tribal council with 12 of those years as chairman, recently spoke with the Colorado Sun at his office in Towaoc, the tribal capital.  … ”  Read more at the Colorado Sun here: The Ute Mountain Ute can’t access their Colorado River water rights. Here’s how the tribal chairman is trying to change that.

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In national water news this weekend …

Environmental groups demand answers from Biden’s EPA on forever chemicals

In 2019, Gray’s Creek Elementary, a school just outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina, announced it would provide its students with bottled water after it received reports that its well water contained PFAS chemicals.   Known as forever chemicals because the compounds take a long time to break down and in some cases never do, drinking water wells in proximity to a chemical plant built by industrial giant DuPont near Fayetteville have been testing positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances since 2017, when officials first began to reckon with the extent of the environmental damage.  In October 2020, the North Carolina Attorney General sued Chemours, a spin-off from DuPont based in North Carolina, saying that the company had known for years that the chemical posed a threat to human health, but did nothing to stop it. … ”  Continue reading from Courthouse News Service here: Environmental groups demand answers from Biden’s EPA on forever chemicals

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: $193 Million in Grant Funding Now Available for Water Infrastructure and Resilience Projects

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: Sierra Nevada Conservancy announces $23 million forest and fire restoration grant program

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.
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