DAILY DIGEST, 6/22: What’s next for the plan to replumb the Delta?; Flow Deal: Peace treaty or Trojan Horse?; Lawsuit filed against $2.5B Pacheco Dam; Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May; and more …
CUAHSI WEBINAR: Hydrologic Science and Indigenous Voices from 9am to 10am. This series indigenous leaders in water leaders/voices of water/science; explores how hydrological sciences are defined and who is included in that definition. It explores how native american people relate to water, what water issues they think are important, how we can increase inclusivity in the hydrologic sciences community, what challenges and opportunities they faces with building resilience to climate change with regards to water. Click here to register.
MEETING: State Water Resources Control Board beginning at 9:30am. The State Water Board will consider adoption of the Proposed Statewide Municipal Stormwater Permit and Time Schedule Order for the California Department of Transportation. Click here for the full agenda.
WEBINAR: MAR in Action: The Role of Managed Aquifer Recharge in Meeting Water Policy Goals from 10am to 11am. Using Arizona as a case study, this webinar presentation focuses on how a sound regulatory framework for MAR is foundational to deployment of underground storage and recovery programs designed to meet multiple water policy goals, including those related to Colorado River utilization and shortage conditions. Click here to register.
SoCAL WATER DIALOG: Taking Action – Three Approaches to Increasing Water Supply from 12pm to 1:30pm. With a record drought upon us and mandatory water restrictions looming, it is crucial for the region to move forward with water supply projects. The Water Dialogue will highlight three approaches to stretch the region’s water supply. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
Tunnel vision: What’s next for the governor’s plan to replumb the Delta?
“California water officials are poised to release the first environmental review of a controversial project to replumb the Delta — a plan in the works for decades that has alternately been called a water grab or a critical update to shore up state supplies. Known as the Delta Conveyance Project, a tunnel supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom would take water from the Sacramento River and bypass the vast Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, funneling the flows directly to pumps in the south Delta or straight to Bethany Reservoir at the northern end of the California Aqueduct. The tunnel proposal, still in the early stages of environmental review, is the latest, scaled-down iteration of the contentious twin tunnels project, which Newsom scrapped in 2019 in favor of a single tunnel. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Tunnel vision: What’s next for the governor’s plan to replumb the Delta?
Flow Deal: Peace treaty or Trojan Horse?
“Promising up to 825,000 acre-feet a year of new water to protect endangered fish and thousands of acres of habitat improvements, the Newsom administration and others hailed the March announcement of a proposed voluntary agreement on Bay-Delta flows as the beginning of the end of California’s water wars, and a boon to the Bay-Delta ecosystem. “We think this has the promise to give us more benefit for ecosystems because we would be combining both flow and habitat assets,” says California Natural Resources Agency spokesperson Lisa Lien-Mager. And by providing an alternative to government mandates already in the works, proponents say the deal will head off litigation that could delay guaranteed environmental flows for years. … ” Read more from Estuary News here: Flow Deal: Peace Treaty or Trojan Horse?
Lawsuit filed against $2.5 billion dam project planned for Santa Clara County
“Critics of plans to build a huge new reservoir in Santa Clara County near Pacheco Pass have filed a lawsuit against the proposed $2.5 billion project, presenting a new hurdle for what would be the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years. The group, called the Stop the Pacheco Dam Coalition and made up of environmentalists and landowners whose rural ranchland property would be flooded, sued the Santa Clara Valley Water District in Santa Clara County Superior Court earlier this month. In the suit, opponents allege that the water district, a government agency based in San Jose, violated state law when it decided not conduct environmental studies to measure how upcoming drilling, boring and other geological tests will affect sensitive plants, wildlife and archaeological sites on the rugged landscape where the dam is planned just south of Henry W. Coe State Park. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Lawsuit filed against $2.5 billion dam project planned for Santa Clara County
Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May
“California Governor Gavin Newsom has been urging Californians to conserve water after another dry winter. And according to preliminary data from California State Water Resources Board, Californians cut their water use in May by 5% from the previous May. Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the water board’s Division of Water Rights, said a board meeting Tuesday that the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is gone for the season and the area will not see significant precipitation any time soon. “The state still remains in a severe drought with some intensification of the drought in the southern Sierra,” said Ekdahl. “The monthly temperature forecast for the coming month shows that most of California has an equal chance of remaining at average temperatures for this time of the year.” ... ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Californians finally climbed on water conservation wagon in May
Making water affordable for low-income households
“Carlos Torres is a program specialist with the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), a new federal program administered by the Administration for Children and Families Office of Community Services (OCS), which provides funds to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. (Full disclosure: Carlos was previously the center administrator for the PPIC Water Policy Center.) We spoke to him about what it’s like working with the first-ever federal water assistance program. Tell us about LIHWAP. When did it start, and why is it necessary? LIHWAP is an emergency water and wastewater assistance program that was authorized in response to the pandemic. … ” Read more from the PPIC here: Making water affordable for low-income households
Reorienting to salmon recovery
“The days when salmon and steelhead teemed in California’s coastal watersheds faded away last century. Today, many populations of the fish are gone or dwindling, the river systems where they spawn drained by diversions or too warm for native fish to survive. Warming trends and drought are squeezing water resources tighter. Nearly all efforts to revive the state’s ailing salmonids have failed, often stalemated by political tensions, and it takes hatcheries and truck transport of juveniles to saltwater to maintain the feeble populations that remain. California’s disappointing history of salmonid recovery programs has motivated a group of scientists from public water agencies and environmental conservation groups to step back, dream big, and take a new path forward. This group wants to abandon familiar heated dialogues and litigious relationships between those with differing values and try a new approach toward fish recovery based on collaboration, common interests and science. ... ” Read more from Estuary News here: Reorienting to salmon recovery
Farm, business groups call for action on water projects
“Agriculture and business groups are imploring Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to set clear goals for boosting water storage and supplies as the drought threatens to cripple California’s food, energy and housing sectors. “Our existing water system can no longer deliver the water necessary to sustain the world’s fifth-largest economy,” the California Farm Bureau and nearly two dozen farm and business groups wrote in a June 14 letter to the state’s executive and legislative branches. “California must establish a clear target to increase its surface water supply to meet current and future needs for human consumption and a growing economy,” said the letter, whose signatories included California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson. Danny Merkley, Farm Bureau’s director of water resources, said Farm Bureau signed the letter because “it is time to sound the alarm.” … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Farm, business groups call for action on water projects
On-farm recharge pioneer invested in water savings
“Don Cameron sparked curiosity in 2010 when he began a multi-phase project intended to capture floodwater from the Kings River during rainy seasons. The effort, supported by state grants, unfolded as a grand experiment, as the diversified Fresno County grower flooded his permanent plantings—including pistachios and vineyards—to such an extent that they soon rested in several feet of water. To Cameron’s relief, those plantings survived relatively unscathed. As the water percolated down, the aquifer water table rose significantly, increasing nearly 40 feet in a single year. In drought-parched California, with surface-water reservoirs badly depleted these days, storing groundwater is becoming a norm in California agriculture. It is viewed as a key tool to help sustain farming in times of diminishing resources. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: On-farm recharge pioneer invested in water savings
Building buy-in for restoration
“The success of a restoration project is in the eye of the beholder. Take the recently revitalized salt marsh edging Drift Creek in Alsea Bay, Oregon. To ecologists, the sight of new channels winding through bare, brown mud is a thing of beauty, heralding the abundance of life to come, from sedges and rushes to fish and shorebirds. But, as researchers learned while speaking with people living nearby, not everyone shares this view. Some locals favored the unrestored side for its lush green vegetation and vistas of grazing elk. Resolving such differences in perception is key to local support, which can be required for project funding and permitting. “Restoration can look unsightly at first,” said UC Davis salt marsh ecologist Julie Gonzalez. “There’s often a disconnect between scientists and other user groups, like community members and landowners, about what successful restoration actually looks like.” … ” Continue reading at Estuary News here: Building buy-in for restoration
NOW AVAILABLE: DISB Review of Water Supply Reliability Estimation Related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
The Delta Independent Science Board has published its Review of Water Supply Reliability Estimation Related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The report highlights the scientific challenges of estimating water supply reliability in the Delta and presents recommendations to make these estimates more useful for policy and management. It draws on scientific literature and perspectives provided by subject matter experts, managers, and stakeholders.
Pre-monsoonal moisture surge to bring scattered thunderstorms to southern/central CA, w/dry lightning threat in some areas
“After a final wave of cool and unstable conditions this past weekend across portions of NorCal, a much hotter and drier pattern is already firmly entrenched as of this writing. Today actually brought a pretty substantial heatwave all the way to the coast in NorCal, with even downtown San Francisco getting into the 90s. Some locations are hitting new daily record highs as of this writing, though values in the traditionally hotter inland locations (though toasty) are not that remarkable for June. But the hot and breezy conditions are rapidly drying out vegetation essentially everywhere right now, in a marked change from what many locations were experiencing up north just a few days ago. … ” Continue reading at Weather West here: Pre-monsoonal moisture surge to bring scattered thunderstorms to southern/central CA, w/dry lightning threat in some areas
“Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) announced today that his bill to strengthen penalties for water theft has been signed into law by Governor Newsom. Gray introduced Assembly Bill 2505 to address concerns that recent changes to state law had unintentionally capped fines for water theft within irrigation districts below market value. “Irrigation districts are some of the best water managers in the state,” said Gray. “They have had the authority to set penalties for water theft within their boundaries since their inception. As drought conditions worsen and water prices rise, thieves are growing increasingly brazen and the water they steal from canals and reservoirs is increasingly valuable. If the maximum fine for stealing $5,000 worth of water is capped at $1,000 then thieves can make a profit even when they get caught.” … ” Read more from YubaNet here: New law enhances penalties for water theft
Waters of the U.S. rule needs clarity, farm groups say
“California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson told leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the pending “waters of the United States” rule, or WOTUS, must be clear and concise and contain exemptions for normal farming activities. “California’s farmland provides many social and ecosystem benefits beyond a safe and affordable food supply, such as open space, habitat and carbon sequestration, and the scope of jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act is of fundamental importance to these benefits,” said Johansson, who led a roundtable discussion among western states last week to discuss the rule. Johansson said California farmers and ranchers deserve clarity and certainty on how the rule will be applied. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Waters of the U.S. rule needs clarity, farm groups say
Legal alert: EIR’s statement of project objectives was unduly narrow
“The EIR for a bottling plant in Siskiyou County withstood challenges to the project description and impacts analysis, but the EIR’s stated project objectives were unreasonably narrow and the County should have recirculated the EIR in light of significant new information about project emissions. We Advocate Through Environmental Review v. County of Siskiyou, No. C090840 (3rd Dist., May 12, 2022). Siskiyou County granted permits to Crystal Geyser Water Company to reopen a bottling plant that had ceased operations under prior ownership. Plaintiffs sued, alleging that the County’s environmental review for the bottling facility was inadequate under CEQA. … ” Read more from the California Land Use & Development Law Report here: Legal alert: EIR’s statement of project objectives was unduly narrow
California Fish and Wildlife trucking millions of juvenile salmon to saltwater again this year
“Juvenile chinook salmon from Central Valley fish hatcheries are getting another ride to the saltwater this year in an effort to prevent the fish from perishing in low, warm water conditions during yet another drought year. On Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the agency is nearing the completion of its efforts to transport 19.7 million hatchery-raised fall-run and 960,000 spring-run juvenile chinook salmon (smolts) to San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay and seaside net pens this spring and summer. Begun in March, the releases are scheduled to conclude by Thursday, June 23. One of the last releases took place at Brickyard Cove in Richmond on Sunday, June 19. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: California Fish and Wildlife trucking millions of juvenile salmon to saltwater again this year
How fog nets are making water abundant in arid Africa – and may be useful in California
“During the Moroccan desert summertime drought, fog nets are being used to provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people in remote mountain villages. Now villagers can irrigate agricultural fields, turning desertified land back into green gardens, all thanks to mathematician and businessman Aissa Derhem. Derhem lived in Canada while studying for a Ph.D. in mathematics during the 1980s. It was there he learned about how in the driest place on Earth—the Atacama Desert in Chile, where it has officially never rained—the inhabitants use fog nets to catch what little moisture does enter the landscape. … The drought-affected state of California, which has already borrowed water-saving strategies from India, could utilize these nets along the coastlines of San Francisco, Oakland, Point Reyes, Monterrey, and Santa Barbara. … ” Read more from the Good News Network here: How fog nets are making water abundant in arid Africa – and may be useful in California
President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to provide $25.5 million for water efficiency projects in eight western states
“The Department of the Interior today announced $25.5 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to safeguard local water supplies in the face of severe western drought. Fourteen projects in eight western states will be awarded funding to help local communities improve water use efficiency by lining canals, upgrading water meters, installing automated gates to control water flow and making other infrastructure improvements. The projects are anticipated to save more than 12 billion gallons of water annually – enough to fill over roughly 880,000 swimming pools–through reductions in residential water use and improvements to increase irrigation efficiency. Two of the projects will also receive funding for solar energy installations to power the affiliated water facility and water district buildings. Including non-federal funding contributions, the projects represent more than $130 million in water management improvements. … ” Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to provide $25.5 million for water efficiency projects in eight western states
Why summer fires in California are so dangerous
“It’s almost July, which is typically the beginning of California’s fire season. You’ve probably heard that wildfires in the Golden State have increasingly become a year-round danger, no longer limited to a few months a year. But even still, the start of the traditional summer-and-fall fire season brings a slew of heightened risks for us to contend with. It’s true that drought conditions and extreme heat in California have increased the likelihood that fires break out in the winter. “The ability for fires to burn straight through winter is probably increasing, but there’s still a very pronounced seasonality,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I would bet a lot of money that August and September and October will see a whole lot more fire, and a whole lot more destructive fire.” … ” Read more from the New York Times here: Why summer fires in California are so dangerous
Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press, writes, “At the risk of repeating myself and raising the ire of friends on the California side of the Colorado River, a story out of the LA Times illustrates what I’ve been saying for some time now: it’s time to remove California’s access to the famed river. We’ve exhausted our options through political inaction and misguided assumptions. The Times reports that the Bureau of Reclamation says upwards of four million acre-feet of water deliveries must be cut from the Colorado River to prevent the draining of lakes Mead and Powell. Decisions will be made soon as to who gets cut, and by how much. California seems like an obvious place to make the first cut. California is entitled to 4.4 million acre-feet of the river – the most of the lower basin states with straws in the system. Arizona is entitled to 2.8 million acre-feet annually. Nevada is entitled to 300,000 acre-feet. Is that fair? ... ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Can we curtail a Colorado River catastrophe?
Farm bill safeguards food supply, national security
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, writes, “One piece of federal legislation has had as profound an impact on America as thousands of other bills combined, yet very few people are familiar with it. I’m referring to the farm bill, which ensures a safe and abundant food supply, helps feed the hungry, invigorates rural communities and helps farmers take care of the environment. As I travel the country, it’s clear the farm bill has had a broad, visible impact. Family farms are able to be passed to the next generation because of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s numerous risk management tools and programs. Families are able to put dinner on the table thanks to nutrition assistance programs. Soil and water improvements are possible because of land enrolled in conservation programs. Rural communities are back in the game thanks to broadband grants and new business loans authorized by the farm bill. Soon it will be time to refresh and renew this nearly 100-year-old law, so let’s examine its history and relevance today. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Commentary: Farm bill safeguards food supply, national security
BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: Quarterly Meeting on the 2021 Reconsultation of the Long-Term Operation of the CVP and SWP
On June 14, the Bureau of Reclamation held its first quarterly meeting to provide an update on the reconsultation of the long-term operations for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project as required by the WIIN Act.
“The Klamath Basin has dealt with reduced water for decades, but this year is particularly grim. The region is facing extreme dry conditions, as one of many ground zeros in a western U.S. multiyear drought some scientists describe as the worst in 1,200 years. For a third straight year, the amount of water farmers can receive from Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath River is a trickle at most. But Lucky Ackley, owner of the Ackley Ranch in the Modoc County town of Newell, is still farming and ranching—even though it is costing him a small fortune to do so. Ackley runs 600 head of cattle on rangeland and grows 1,300 acres of grass alfalfa, alfalfa, orchard grass and grain hay. All his hay acreage is on well water and, so far, he hasn’t had to fallow any ground or sell off any cattle. … ” Continue reading at Ag Alert here: Costs spike, fields go fallow in Klamath
‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit brings hands-on education to Sand Harbor Visitor Center
“Visitors to Sand Harbor State Park will now be able to enjoy an informational, hands-on exhibit where they can learn more about protecting Lake Tahoe from plastic pollution. The display, titled Tahoe’s Plastic Problem, teaches families how to properly identify different types of plastic, the importance of recycling them properly, and how to keep them out of our waterways. The exhibit was developed by the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association, with funding provided by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Sustainable Materials Management. … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: ‘Tahoe’s Plastic Problem’ exhibit brings hands-on education to Sand Harbor Visitor Center
What’s up with water transfers: getting answers in El Dorado, Placer Counties
“Water transfers in dry years are not unusual in California. Water districts with a surplus sell to water suppliers with a need for more and the money earned through the sale is typically put back into the state’s water infrastructure. The El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) is preparing to sell nearly 3,000 acre-feet of water to Westland Water District in the Central Valley, for a deal that would bring in nearly $2 million for EID. The water, explained General Manager Jim Abercrombie, will come from the Weber Reservoir and saved water. … ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: What’s up with water transfers: getting answers in El Dorado, Placer Counties
Nurseries seeing growing demand for drought-tolerant plants
“Triple-digit temperatures have many triple-checking their plants and thinking twice about what to plant in the future. Nurseries are now changing products to meet the growing demand for drought-tolerant varieties. Quinton Young gave us a tour of his nursery in Fair Oaks. “These are great flowering shrubs, good for attracting pollinators. These do great with low to average water,” Young said. He says the drought in California demands different types of landscaping. … ” Read more from the CBS Sacramento here: Nurseries seeing growing demand for drought-tolerant plants
Monsoonal moisture is flowing into Northern California. Here’s how it could impact the Bay Area
“The monsoonal moisture flowing into Northern California from the coast of Mexico this week could bring a chance of wet and dry thunderstorms to the area starting Wednesday, meteorologists said. The storm activity appeared to be headed toward the Central Valley and the Sierra, according to the National Weather Service. Isolated showers, thunderstorms and some lightning were expected Wednesday through Friday in those areas, weather officials said. … ” Continue reading at the OC Register here: Monsoonal moisture is flowing into Northern California. Here’s how it could impact the Bay Area
Marin grand jury report blasts water supply planning
“The Marin Municipal Water District has failed to adequately prepare for severe drought and should create a four-year water supply, the Marin civil grand jury said in a new report. Last year, the district faced depleting local reservoir supplies as soon as summer 2022. While rains in late 2021 nearly refilled reservoirs, the drought “exposed serious shortcomings” in the district’s ability to offer a reliable water supply and has shaken public confidence in the district’s leadership, the report states. “Last year’s drought emergency could have been avoided, if MMWD had taken sufficient measures to provide for a resilient water supply,” the report stated. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin grand jury report blasts water supply planning
County warns of toxic algae blooms in area of Discovery Bay
“Blue-green algae blooms have been spotted in multiple locations around Discovery Bay so Contra Costa County public health officials are advising anyone boating, fishing or swimming in the area to use caution. … ” Continue reading at SF Gate here: County warns of toxic algae blooms in area of Discovery Bay
Valley Water offers submeter rebates for landlords
“Do you have tenants in a multi-family home? Monitoring water usage accurately is a challenge that is solved by installing submeters. To help property owners save water and money during the current severe drought, Valley Water offers $150-$300 rebates for installing qualifying submeters and water meters. These meters will allow you to better monitor water use, detect leaks and identify other maintenance issues. You can also see how much water you are saving by following conservation measures. … ” Read more from Valley Water News here: Valley Water offers submeter rebates for landlords
Santa Clara: Working together to clean our creeks
Nai Hsueh, Valley Water Director, writes, “Walking along our many Santa Clara County creek trails is a local favorite summer activity. However, it’s not always easy to enjoy our beautiful waterways due to the pollution issues generated by illegal dumping and encampments. Even worse is the impact of trash on our fragile ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. This is why pollution prevention is one of Valley Water’s top priorities. We partner with the community year-round on strategies and initiatives to protect the health of Santa Clara County’s creeks by addressing the trash and debris in our streams. This past May, 596 volunteers responded to our call to join National River Cleanup Day and work to clear 28 sites in Santa Clara County. … ” Read more from Valley Water News here: Working together to clean our creeks
Guest view: Feds must fully fund San Justo cleanup
San Benito Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki writes, “As I noted at the San Benito County Board meeting June 14, the discussion about San Justo Reservoir’s longstanding closure has been one of the worst broken records imaginable for local residents. That stale melody on repeat among political entities—ranging from the county to Congress—has played out every couple years at the board level where supervisors have received essentially the same update again and again. It goes something like this: San Justo was closed in January 2008 with the discovery of invasive zebra mussels, which can cause environmental and water infrastructure damage. The eradication will cost millions of unallocated dollars. ... ” Read more from the San Benito Freelance here: Guest view: Feds must fully fund San Justo cleanup
Santa Barbara City Council declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert
“Santa Barbara City Council members unanimously voted to declare a Stage Two Water Shortage, but they are not setting a conservation percentage goal to go with it just yet. Santa Barbara Water Conservation Analyst Madeline Wood said the community has already cut back 25% and is on track to have enough water to meet its goals for the next two years. Santa Barbara also gets 35% of its water from its once controversial desalination plant, which may be expanded within its footprint down the road. Santa Barbara Water Supply Analyst said, “Expanding the desal plant should be relatively easy from the kind of design and construction standpoint ad that’s because it is already permitted in design to produce up to 10,000 acre feet a year.” … ” Read more from KEYT here: Santa Barbara City Council declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Manteca residents getting new water restrictions
“The Manteca City Council is expected to declare a drought emergency at Tuesday’s meeting, which will tighten water restrictions for residents, businesses and even at city hall. Dry lawns will soon be the norm in Manteca. Going from green to golden is now the goal. “Residents can expect to see yellow and brown lawns, yellow and brown public spaces, parks, etc,” Public Works Director Carl Brown said. Businesses, churches, schools and hospitals will soon be banned from watering their decorative lawns as part of the city and state’s efforts to save water. ... ” Read more from Fox 40 here: Manteca residents getting new water restrictions
How idle oil wells leaked explosive levels of methane in Bakersfield
“Cesar Aguirre first became aware of a potential methane leak in Bakersfield about a month ago. He says that he heard the news from a resident who reported hearing a “hissing” sound coming from an oil well near their home. And sure enough, after investigation, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, confirmed the report. They found dozens of oil wells in need of remediation, with 21 leaking explosive levels of methane gas in various neighborhoods in Bakersfield. This means that the invisible fumes could ignite and put residents at risk. … These particular leaks came from “idle wells,” a term used to describe a well that once produced oil or gas but has later been abandoned by its operator. Recent reports estimate that there are about 35,000 idle wells in California. When improperly abandoned, idle wells can contaminate air and drinking water. … ” Continue reading at Capital Public Radio here: How idle oil wells leaked explosive levels of methane in Bakersfield
City of Techachapi will study options for improving water quality
“Water quality in the city of Tehachapi exceeds all state and federal water quality requirements and no water quality violations have occurred, Public Works Director Don Marsh told the Tehachapi City Council during its regular meeting on June 20. But water from the Snyder Well — which the city currently only uses for irrigation — fails to meet nitrate standards. It is not physically connected to the domestic water system. Two other wells produce water containing nitrates, and they are approaching legally allowable limits of the compounds, Marsh said. The city blends water from these two wells with water from three other wells with low levels of nitrates. … ” Read more from the Tehachapi News here: City of Techachapi will study options for improving water quality
California must euthanize 350,000 trout after bacteria outbreak. Recreational fishing could see impact
“A bacteria outbreak in two state hatcheries is forcing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to euthanize about 350,000 rainbow trout, which could affect fishing stock in some state waterways this summer. Two Fish and Wildlife hatcheries in the Eastern Sierra have been fighting an outbreak of a naturally occurring bacteria, Lactococcus petauri, since it was first detected in April, according to a news release from the agency. But this week, staff at the Black Rock and Fish Springs hatcheries determined that about 350,000 infected rainbow trout were showing signs of disease and must be euthanized. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: California must euthanize 350,000 trout after bacteria outbreak. Recreational fishing could see impact | Read via Yahoo News
Southern California sees its first monsoonal surge of the season; lightning possible
“Just when Southern California residents may have been getting used to sunny days and high temperatures, monsoonal storms from the south will bring thunder, rain and possibly lightning through Wednesday evening, forecasters said Tuesday. Less than half an inch of rain was expected for Orange County with the coming storm and even less in Los Angeles County, where precipitation is expected to vary but remain under .25 inches starting overnight Tuesday. The mountains and deserts will see most of the action with the eastern San Gabriel Mountains expected to see some activity of brief downpours and gusty winds. The San Bernardino Mountains may receive heavier rainfall. ... ” Read more from the OC Register here: Southern California sees its first monsoonal surge of the season; lightning possible
Amid drought, how do LA cemeteries save grass from turning brown?
“Three years ago, Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery on the border of Carson and Compton boasted 45 acres of vibrant green lawn. Today a serene stroll there is interrupted by the sound of crunching footsteps on dead, brown grass. “You wouldn’t want to have your mother buried here,” says cemetery manager John Michael Mintz. “If you’d asked me 10 years ago, ‘Would you bury somebody here?’ ‘Well yeah, this is a beautiful place.’ But it’s gone to seed.” The new drought rules mean Southern California’s grass only gets watered for a few minutes once or twice per week. That’s not enough to keep it alive and green. And most cemeteries have not been spared. ... ” Read more from KCRW here: Amid drought, how do LA cemeteries save grass from turning brown?
Some Southern California beaches get good marks for water quality
“Southern California beaches got mostly good grades in Heal the Bay’s annual beach report card, but there was also bad news for the region. More than 90% of the region’s beaches got an A grade for water quality. That number rose to 94% when A and B grades were added together. Of the state’s beaches, 10% made the report’s honor roll. And 19 of those beaches were in Orange County. Fifteen San Diego County beaches made the list including Mission Beach near the Belmont Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, La Jolla Shores beach and several Carlsbad beaches. … ” Read more from KPBS here: Some Southern California beaches get good marks for water quality
Santa Fe Irrigation District sets additional drought restrictions
“The Santa Fe Irrigation District has adopted its Drought Response Level 2 reduction actions in order to meet state guidelines for water conservation. The board made its decision at the June 16 meeting. “Drought and water-use efficiency are a way of life for all Californians and our local communities,” said Michael Hogan, SFID board president in a news release. “We appreciate everything our customers have done this year and in years past to eliminate water waste, but record-breaking dry conditions necessitate additional action. I understand that many of our customers are as efficient as possible, and we need you to continue that practice.” ... ” Read more from Rancho Santa Fe Review here: Santa Fe Irrigation District sets additional drought restrictions
Column: Summertime is no cure for the environmental blues
Columnist Michael Smolens writes, “News about the environment rarely is good these days, but a string of grim developments locally, regionally and internationally cast a particular pall over the otherwise sunny arrival of summer. Beaches from Imperial Beach north to Coronado were closed because of sewage discharges from Tijuana. The Colorado River’s reservoirs are so low that severe water cuts are on the horizon for much of the southwestern United States. And another climate conference, this one in Germany, pretty much went nowhere. All of this is bad, though all is not lost. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Column: Summertime is no cure for the environmental blues
The Water Budget Navigator:A comparison tool for the Colorado River Basin
“The Colorado River Basin is experiencing a historic drought. Many states in the basin are facing increasing variability in rain and snow patterns, and municipal water needs and infrastructure are more complex than ever. Given these challenges, state water budgeting is also becoming increasingly complex. To promote transparency and collaboration among Colorado River Basin states, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Water Policy Program developed the Water Budget Navigator tool as part of the Internet of Water start-up project. This tool builds on the Internet of Water start-up project’s Coming to Terms tool, which seeks to promote a shared vocabulary of water terminology and tracks definitions, synonyms, and homonyms of water-related terms used by public agencies and private entities. The Water Budget Navigator is a web application that allows users to compare the water budgeting and water use estimation frameworks used by water resources agencies in the Colorado River Basin states (California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah). … ” Read more from the Internet of Water here: The Water Budget Navigator:A comparison tool for the Colorado River Basin
Lake Mead: Drought-stricken reservoir near Vegas hits new lowest level since 1930s
“Lake Mead, a drought-stricken Colorado River reservoir located outside of Las Vegas, has been under full capacity for decades — and once again has dropped to a new low since the 1930s. The Colorado River pools behind Hoover Dam to create Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States that was developed in 1936, according to the National Park Service. Lake Mead, and another falling Colorado River reservoir called Lake Powell, are part of a system that provides water to more than 40 million people and businesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and across the southern border in Mexico. … ” Read more from Fox 5 here: Lake Mead: Drought-stricken reservoir near Vegas hits new lowest level since 1930s
How thinning dense Arizona forests could prevent another megafire and protect water sources
“From atop the Baker Butte Lookout, a sea of evergreens, oaks and locusts spreads across the Mogollon Rim to the hazy horizon. A broad-tailed hummingbird buzzes a feeder perched on the steel lattice tower, the food supplied bya U.S. Forest Service fire sentinel. Down the dirt road, but obscured by the dense tree cover, a band of spike-antlered and cow elk shuffle and munch in the warmth of a May afternoon. It’s a peaceful, pine-scented scene that cloaks the constant threat embodied by the watchtower and its staff. Out of view to the east, a 700-square-mile expanse of forest still struggles to recover from the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire. That massive blaze burned across 468,638 acres, destroyed hundreds of structures and dumped ash, eroded dirt and contaminants into streams that flow to the Salt River and, ultimately, metro Phoenix. A repeat here would choke off much of the water that the small city of Payson relies on, along with some that makes it to Phoenix in the Verde River. … ” Read more from the Arizona Central here: How thinning dense Arizona forests could prevent another megafire and protect water sources
Deepening fissures define rural southern Arizona’s fight over groundwater rules
“Cities and agriculture across the West put intense pressure on groundwater supplies. In some regions, few rules govern how and when people can pump. That’s true in rural Southern Arizona. Residents there are seeing their wells dry up as big farms move in, and they’re pushing the state to better manage dwindling underground water supplies. Tara Morrow can walk inside a crack in the ground that’s deeper than she is tall. “There’s a really good snake den back in there,” she said. The fissure had even swallowed part of the road near her home. … It’s already dry in southern Arizona’s Sulphur Springs Valley and it’s getting drier. The underground aquifer that lies beneath the desert used to be much higher, but as it drops the ground above it becomes unstable. … ” Read more from KUNC here: Deepening fissures define rural southern Arizona’s fight over groundwater rules
Commentary: Now is the time to secure Arizona’s water future
Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, writes, “Arizona is doing a lot of things well. Our economy is growing and diversifying at one of the fastest rates in the nation. We recovered jobs lost during the pandemic before almost any other state, and unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate in nearly 50 years. Businesses and new residents are moving here in droves to take advantage of the pro-growth policies we’ve adopted to make Arizona one of the most competitive and attractive places in the country to invest, expand and create jobs. With the economic development pipeline full and showing no signs of slowing, we have reason to be optimistic. But we can’t be overconfident. Mother Nature is humbling us. Our growth can only be sustained so long as we have a water supply that can support it. … ” Read more from Arizona Chamber Business News here: Now is the time to secure Arizona’s water future
Utah officials called it the “year of water.” Special interests still resist conservation.
“Utah policymakers billed the 2022 legislative session as the “year of water.” Gov. Spencer Cox signed into law more than 15 measures related to water conservation, heralding “generational” progress as the West’s megadrought continues well into its third decade. Those pieces of legislation allow farmers to earn money by sending their water downstream to shrinking lakes, require water meters for landscaping, appropriate $40 million to protect the Great Salt Lake and more. But perhaps more telling were proposals that lawmakers carved up or voted down. … ” Read more from Pro Publica here: Utah officials called it the “year of water.” Special interests still resist conservation.
Colorado River crisis giving tribes new opportunities to right century-old water wrongs
“In August 2021, federal officials issued the first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River, resulting in substantial cuts to Arizona’s share of Colorado River water and giving more power than ever before to the 30 Native Tribes, including two in Colorado, who control roughly 25% of the water in the seven-state river basin. Everyone in the basin sees the confluence of unfortunate events that have brought the Colorado River crisis to a head. There is less water than ever before with the basin ensnared in a 22-year megadrought, the worst in the past 1,200 years, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. … ” Read more from the Water Desk here: Colorado River crisis giving tribes new opportunities to right century-old water wrongs
EPA proposes new rules governing Section 401 water quality certification
“On 9 June 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the federal register a proposed rule regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 water quality certification process (the Proposed Rule), undoing many of the Trump administration’s changes to that process in 2020. While the Proposed Rule seeks to return regulatory authority to states and tribes in a manner more aligned with the agency’s Section 401 certification rules in existence prior to the Trump administration’s rule, expanded state and tribal authority under the Proposed Rule could be used to block or delay development projects at a time when major infrastructure projects are ramping up. … ” Read more from the National Law Review here: EPA proposes new rules governing Section 401 water quality certification
5 takeaways from the energy, environment spending bills
“House appropriators yesterday advanced legislation to increase energy and environment spending. The House Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee approved legislation to provide $44.8 billion in fiscal 2023, a $6.8 billion increase over current dollars. The Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee backed a $56.3 billion measure that means a $3.4 billion increase over current spending. Both bills were passed by voice vote with no amendments. They are headed for full committee markups next week, where GOP opposition will be more pronounced. Here are five takeaways so far … ” Read more from E&E News here: 5 takeaways from the energy, environment spending bills
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.