On the calendar today …
- LEG HEARING: Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife at 9 a.m. Click here for the full agenda and remote access link.
- LEG HEARING: Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water at 9 a.m.Complete agenda and remote access link available here.
- PUBLIC MEETING: South Fork Eel River watershed public informational meeting at 11am. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will present two reports: Watershed-Wide Instream Flow Criteria for the South Fork Eel River and Instream Flow Evaluation: Juvenile Steelhead and Coho Salmon Rearing on Redwood Creek, Humboldt County. The South Fork Eel River is a significant watercourse with high resource value, and one of the largest producers of wild Pacific salmonids in California. The South Fork Eel River, and subsequently Redwood Creek, was selected for development of flow criteria due to its inclusion as a priority stream in the 2014 California Water Action Plan, as well as the need to assure the continued viability of stream-related fish and wildlife resources and ecological functions in the watershed. The public meeting can be accessed on June 28, 2022, at 11:00 am PST here: CDFW SF Eel River Informational Meeting. Following this meeting both technical reports will be available on the Department’s Instream Flow Program web page.
- WEBINAR: Best Practices for Community Engagement from 12pn to 1:30pm. Join a distinguished panel of experts and practitioners for a robust 90 minute conversation about best practices for community engagement. Prof. Chris Benner of UC Santa Cruz will moderate the conversation, joined by Miguel Hernandez of the Salton Sea Management Program, Mariela Loera of Leadership Counsel, Silvia Paz of Alianza CV, Christian Rodgriguez of KDI, and Frank Ruiz of Audubon. This webinar will be available in English and in Spanish. Click here to register.
- WEBINAR: Multi-Benefit Floodplain Habitat Restoration on the Lower Yuba River from 12pm to 1pm. Join Yuba Water Agency and cbec eco engineering, one of its partners on the Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project, as they dive into fish habitat restoration on the lower Yuba River during a lunch and learn webinar. This one-hour virtual lunch and learn will explore the historical practices that forever changed the landscape of the lower Yuba River and efforts to restore fisheries and habitat in the area, including Chinook salmon and steelhead. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
California’s drought means less water to go around. Who is winning the pursuit for water — and who is losing?
“After three years of drought, the massive state and federal water projects that serve California’s cities and farms have less water to distribute, forcing water managers to increasingly ration supplies. This year, squeezed extra tight by the prolonged drought conditions, both the state and federal water projects are expecting to deliver mere fractions of what cities and farms are asking for. … Everyone gets less water during a drought. But the breakdowns of the state and federal projects’ water allocations show some groups — particularly farmers who have longtime rights to divert water — faring better than others. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: California’s drought means less water to go around. Who is winning the pursuit for water — and who is losing?
California’s ‘broken’ water supply forecast to be audited
“There’ll be an audit of California’s water supply forecast after the state overestimated and prematurely released 700,000 acre-feet of water last year, officials announced Monday. A news release from Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) announced that Gray’s request for audit was approved. It aims to examine the impacts of the flawed forecasts and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Board. “Errors on this scale have real and measurable consequences,” Gray said in the news release. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: California’s ‘broken’ water supply forecast to be audited
A large California water utility prepares for climate change
“Ken Jenkins is the Chief Water Resource Sustainability Officer for Cal Water, an investor-owned utility that delivers water to millions of Californians in communities across the state. He’s leading efforts to improve water supply resilience in the face of worsening droughts and other climate change challenges. Q: Cal Water recently completed an in-depth climate change planning effort. What have you found, and what are the implications for building resilience and adaptation? A: Cal Water has a broad geographic footprint, with 24 service areas in eight of the state’s ten hydrologic regions. We’ve long recognized climate impacts, but this new study took a deep dive into how, to what degree, and when impacts will occur in our service areas. We looked at a broad range of hazards that could worsen with climate change: drought, water quality degradation, extreme precipitation and flooding, sea level rise, extreme heat, subsidence, and wildfires. ... ” Read more from the PPIC here: A large California water utility prepares for climate change
Scaling integrated water management
“We dove deep into flood risk, floodplain potential, and environmental possibilities with our Water for the Future Program Director Aysha Massell. Now, we’re talking to our entire water team about why our DWR-backed watershed expansion is a watershed moment for Sustainable Conservation, and for California. We chatted about why scale matters when managing water, what our key role will be in these expansion projects, what the team members are most excited about, and why every Californian should care about the implications of integrated water management. … ” Read more from Sustainable Conservation here: Scaling Integrated Water Management
A Watershed Moment: Aysha Massell on floodplains, recharge, and collaboration for the future
“As we chart a path for our joint effort to expand our Merced River Watershed study to four additional watersheds in the San Joaquin Valley, we checked in with Water for the Future Program Director Aysha Massell to learn more about why the project is so critical for California’s water and people. Massell gave a broad overview of the watershed studies, and went into detail on exciting, small-scale floodplain recharge opportunities that could bolster our water supply, ecosystem health, and community flood security. We also talked about how floodplains really work, the unique geology and hydrology of the San Joaquin Valley, and what Massell’s looking forward to during this exciting work. … ” Continue reading at Sustainable Conservation here: A Watershed Moment: Aysha Massell on Floodplains, Recharge, and Collaboration for the Future
The 2022 California waterfowl breeding population survey is complete…Duck numbers are down.
“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2022 waterfowl breeding population survey. The resulting data indicate the overall number of breeding ducks has decreased by 19 percent, including mallards that are the most abundant duck in the survey. “Surveys indicated a 25 percent decrease in mallard abundance,” said CDFW’s Waterfowl Program Biologist Melanie Weaver. “Habitat conditions are poor in both northeastern California and the Central Valley, so below-average production for most waterfowl species is expected.” … ” Read more from Wildfowl Magazine here: The 2022 California waterfowl breeding population survey is complete…Duck numbers are down.
Largest floodplain salmon rearing habitat project in California history breaks ground
“Federal and state agencies broke ground last week on a project that will become the single largest floodplain salmon rearing habitat restoration in California history. Reclamation and the state’s Department of Water Resources are partnering on the “Big Notch Project,” a 30,000-acre floodplain habitat restoration and fish passage project in the Yolo Bypass, just west of Sacramento. When the project is finished late next year, the gated passage, or notch, will be opened when the Sacramento River is high enough to flow into the Yolo Bypass floodplain. Juvenile salmon will be able to feed in a food-rich area for a longer time, allowing them to grow more rapidly in size, improving their chances of survival as they travel to the Pacific Ocean. Adult salmon and sturgeon will benefit from improvements that will reduce stranding and migratory delays due to passage barriers. ... ” Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Largest floodplain salmon rearing habitat project in California history breaks ground
Senator proposes California buy water rights from farmers
“Chris Scheuring’s farm, like many others in California, has been forced to adapt to the drought. Some things have changed since Scheuring grew up on his parents’ farm in Yolo County. Sprinklers being used are smaller these days, targeting the tree roots. “It uses a lot less water. And that’s the name of the game because we don’t have water to waste in California,” Scheuring said. “California agriculture is on defense this year because of water.” Scheuring said the water district in the county, like many others, is down to nothing this year. … But what if a farmer simply wanted to cash out? What if the state would pay them to stop watering? … ” Read more from KTXL here: Senator proposes California buy water rights from farmers
More SWEEP grants likely for California farmers
“A trio of ag industry companies are teaming up to help farmers with grant applications to help fund water efficiency technology. Tule, HotSpot Ag, and Innovative Ag Services are hosting seminars throughout California to help growers successfully submit SWEEP applications. While last year’s applications have closed and this year’s application period has not been announced, there is a high likelihood a new grant period will open later this year. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: More SWEEP grants likely for California farmers
PFAS regulations could open floodgates to Prop 65 enforcement – Assess & manage your exposure now
“The group of chemicals known as PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are high on the federal regulatory agenda for 2022, as implementation of EPA’s “PFAS Strategic Roadmap” proceeds. One potential consequence will be new additions to California’s “Prop 65 List” of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Already, two PFAS substances are subject to Prop 65 warning and labeling requirements (PFOA and PFOS), with a third (PFNA) subject to enforcement starting in 2023. New federal Health Advisory Levels (HALs) announced on June 15, 2022 may provide the basis to add another two PFAS to the list (PFBS and GenX). … ” Read more from the National Law Review here: PFAS regulations could open floodgates to Prop 65 enforcement – Assess & manage your exposure now
Court upholds EIR for Kern River Diversion and Storage Project
“A California Court of Appeal held that the EIR for a public water authority’s river diversion and water storage project adequately described the unadjudicated waters to be diverted and adequately analyzed impacts to water rights and groundwater supply. Buena Vista Water Storage District v. Kern Water Bank Authority 76 Cal. App. 5th 576 (2022). Until 2010, the Kern River had been designated by the State Water Resources Control Board as a fully appropriated stream, and only those who held an appropriative water right could divert Kern River water. The State Board removed the fully appropriated designation after observing that, in certain wet years, unappropriated water in the form of excess flood flows remained in the Kern River. … ” Read more from the California Land Use and Development Law Report here: Court Upholds EIR for Kern River Diversion and Storage Project
New data viewer allows public to see the hidden groundwater basins beneath our feet and helps decision makers prepare for drought impacts
“With California in the third year of a severe drought and facing continued extreme weather swings, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing and using new data and forecasting tools to better anticipate and manage available water supplies. One new technology that DWR is implementing statewide is collecting airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data across California to better understand the groundwater aquifer structure and to support the state and local goal of sustainable groundwater management. The AEM method is an innovative helicopter-based technology that has been compared to taking an MRI of the subsurface, which helps DWR to better understand underground geology. The resulting underground images provide local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) with data to identify priority areas for recharging groundwater. … ” Read more from DWR News here: New data viewer allows public to see the hidden groundwater basins beneath our feet and helps decision makers prepare for drought impacts
Tales from the Water Wars — Jonas Minton’s testimony on true collaboration
Deirdre Des Jardins writes, “Jonas Minton, the Senior Water Policy Advisor for Planning and Conservation League, passed away on June 22, 2022. He was 73. I had the privilege of serving on an expert panel with Jonas on April 2, 2018. We testified in the WaterFix Water Right Change Petition hearing for attorneys Bob Wright and Kyle Jones, representing the Planning and Conservation League / Friends of the River, and the Sierra Club, respectively. Besides Jonas Minton and myself, the expert panel included Friends of the River’s Senior Advocate Ron Stork, and Larry Kolb, the former Assistant Executive Officer of the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. … ” Read more from the California Water Research blog here: Tales from the Water Wars — Jonas Minton’s testimony on true collaboration
U.S. Megadrought is worst for over 1,000 years: how long could it last?
“Droughts are periods characterized by abnormally dry conditions. But what are megadroughts, and how bad is the one currently affecting parts of the United States? While there are no clear definitions of what a megadrought is, in general these events are defined as droughts that last for multiple decades, i.e. two or more, according to Ashok Mishra, a professor in the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University. “Although there may be a few wet spells, most periods remained dry,” he told Newsweek. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: U.S. Megadrought is worst for over 1,000 years: how long could it last?
California’s Dixie Fire shows impact of legacy effects, prescribed burns
“The 2021 Dixie Fire burned over nearly 1 million acres in California and cost $637 million to suppress, making it the largest and most expensive wildfire to contain in state history. Fire history largely determined how severely the wildfire burned, and low-severity fire treatments had the largest impact on reducing the worst effects of the fire, according to a Penn State-led research team. “We’re in extreme drought conditions over most of California,” said Alan Taylor, professor of geography and ecology at Penn State and principal investigator on the project. “The Dixie Fire burned during the hottest summer in California on record and after two years with half the average precipitation and snowpack. The large amounts of fuels that had accumulated due to over a century of fire exclusion were primed to burn intensely due to these extremely dry conditions. The 2022 fire season may also be difficult in California. April 1 snowpack was only 38% of normal. In this study we wanted to see what factors help keep fire severity down when drought is extreme.” … ” Read more from Penn State here: California’s Dixie Fire shows impact of legacy effects, prescribed burns
California power plant deal: Fast-tracking and fossil fuel backups
“The expansive energy bill that so angered clean-energy advocates and city and county officials — negotiated last week behind closed-doors — was softened somewhat over the weekend, restoring oversight of new energy projects to some critical state agencies. But those hard-won concessions were nearly negated late Sunday night as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration added an entirely new and unexpected section. It reopened the heated debate over the trailer bill, intended, in part, to prop up California’s overstretched power grid. While the bill’s earlier version greatly expanded the authority of the state’s Energy Commission to site and quickly approve electric power projects, the new language does the same for the state Department of Water Resources. It would put the agency squarely in the energy business, giving it authority not only to buy power on the energy market, which it already does, but also to “construct, own and operate” power plants. ... ” Read more from Cal Matters here: California power plant deal: Fast-tracking and fossil fuel backups
Let’s make a deal: What to know about the California budget
“California lawmakers are set to adopt a $300 billion budget this week that will provide refunds to most taxpayers in the state, pour resources into expanding abortion access and extend health care to more undocumented immigrants. The state spending plan, which has grown to a record size as the economy recovered faster than anticipated from the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to be adopted before the start of the fiscal year on Friday, after Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced a deal on Sunday night. Negotiations dragged on for several weeks as Newsom bargained with the Democratic leaders of the state Senate and Assembly over whether to tie the tax relief to car ownership; funding increases for universities, housing and social safety net programs; the details of a major climate package; and a plan that would give state regulators more control in approving clean energy projects. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Let’s make a deal: What to know about the California budget
In commentary today …
Column: Carrying Epic Collaboration Forward
Joanne S. Marchetta, retiring Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, writes, “Over the past decade and a half working to protect and restore Lake Tahoe, I’ve learned many lessons. The first is that being paralyzed by our differences has dire consequences for the lake and our communities. Doing nothing is not an option. The second and most important lesson is that achieving anything requires each of us to find common ground, get over our turf, and work toward shared goals. Sounds simple, but in today’s fractured world, working to find common ground takes special work and the work is never done. When I stepped in as Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) in 2009, the Tahoe Basin was badly fractured. I had been the agency’s general counsel for four years, so I knew what was ahead. And I also knew that if TRPA could shift its culture from a top-down, regulatory mindset to one of collaboration and partnership, we could more readily overcome Tahoe’s most intractable problems and achieve some truly ambitious environmental goals. … ” Continue reading at South Tahoe Now here: Column: Carrying Epic Collaboration Forward
Today’s featured article …
FIVE QUESTIONS: Charley Wilson, Southern California Water Commission
The Southern California Water Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, comprised of leaders from a variety of businesses, cities, agricultural groups, labor unions, environmental organizations, water agencies, as well as the general public. Established in 1984, the Coalition has 200 members from across Southern California who facilitate productive dialogue and build consensus to solve California’s most critical water issues.
Charles Wilson is the
Click here to read this article.
In regional water news and commentary today …
Klamath Basin watermaster’s office moving to new location
“Klamath County’s watermaster field office will be serving the Klamath Basin from a new location. Oregon Water Resources Department’s (OWRD) District 17 is moving from the Klamath County Courthouse to 3125 Crosby Avenue, Klamath Falls. “The new facility provides more space to accommodate the growing water resources staff in the area and enables OWRD to continue providing crucial services to the Klamath Basin,” said the agency in a press release. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Klamath Basin watermaster’s office moving to new location
A far-fetched coal-by-rail export proposal stirred outrage in Northern California before fizzling. Was there ever anything to it?
“Nearly a year ago, a company newly registered in Wyoming set off alarms and political outrage in Northern California with a filing at a federal rail agency. The company outlined a plan to restore a long-abandoned rail line running north from Sonoma County for high-volume freight cargo. Though the filing did not specify the cargo or where it would come from, the few public and reported comments of its chief representative indicated the plan was moving Montana and Wyoming coal for export out of Humboldt Bay. The proposal immediately ran into a wall of fierce opposition ‒ with federal, state and local lawmakers from San Francisco Bay to Eureka all dead set against it. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: A far-fetched coal-by-rail export proposal stirred outrage in Northern California before fizzling. Was there ever anything to it?
Caring for the river: South Yuba River Citizens League River Monitors measure water quality
“For the last 21 years, the South Yuba River Citizens League has coordinated a revolving group of dedicated, environmentally conscious, river-loving volunteers in monitoring the water quality of the Yuba watershed. Almost every month, these River Monitors, ranging in age from high school students to senior citizens, visit 35 sites along the watershed to measure water quality parameters such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and conductivity, while also monitoring for the presence of sensitive and invasive species, and occasionally testing for bacteria, nutrients, and toxic metals. All 21 years of this volunteer collected data is available online at RiverDB.org for anyone who is interested in viewing it. … ” Read more from The Union here: Caring for the river: South Yuba River Citizens League River Monitors measure water quality
CA Forestry tour highlights Lake Tahoe fire reduction projects
“Crews in the Tahoe basin are trying to get ahead of the threat of destructive wildfires. Reducing the risk of wildfires is an ongoing battle in the Sierra but crews are hoping prevention projects will reduce blazes going forward. “We couldn’t just sit by and do business as usual,” said Jessica Morse with the California Natural Resources Agency. The massive flames shedding spotlight on forest management. “We’re not only seeing impacts to communities and smoke health, but we’re also seeing devastating impacts to ecology and our natural watershed,” Morse continued. … ” Read more from Fox 40 here: CA Forestry tour highlights Lake Tahoe fire reduction projects
They decided to clean up Lake Tahoe — and found more than 25,000 pounds of trash
“Lake Tahoe is one of the most scenic bodies of water in California, but it has a dirty little secret. Divers with Clean Up The Lake recently collected over 25,000 pounds of trash from the depths of Lake Tahoe. Colin West is the founder of Clean Up The Lake and he joined us with more on their ongoing efforts.” Watch video from the LA Times here: They decided to clean up Lake Tahoe — and found more than 25,000 pounds of trash
Tehama County sets fee for well registration program
“The Tehama County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Board of Directors set a fee June 20 of 29 cents per acre to help fund the Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s well registration program. The county’s staff said the well registration program is estimated to cost around $360,000 annually, including a prudent reserve. All properties, including cities, within the jurisdiction, will receive a fee as part of their regular property tax bill. This bill will not result in a property lien if unpaid. California passed legislation in 2014 requiring groundwater to be regulated for long-term sustainability. This legislation allowed local municipalities to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to oversee the program. If an agency was not formed, control would be in the hands of the state. … ” Read more from the Tehama Daily News here: Tehama County sets fee for well registration program
Water districts race to protect groundwater amid drought
“Sonoma Water held its first town hall this month, part of a new series to review the ongoing drought, local water conservation measures and guidelines for well users. Groundwater in the Sonoma Valley basin has declined approximately 900 acres of water per year from 2012 to 2018, fueled in part by the drought and a “general upward trend in groundwater use,” according to Ann Dubay, the administrator of the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency. The local water basin is approximately 44,000 acres, and its groundwater makes up just over half of the water used in Sonoma Valley, Dubay said. Due to less reliable rainfall over the past decade, the SVGA has started planning projects designed to sustain the region’s remaining groundwater. … ” Read more from the Sonoma Index-Tribune here: Water districts race to protect groundwater amid drought
Marin district to vet costs, benefits of new water sources
“Marin Municipal Water District will hold a series of meetings focused on adding new water sources. The district, which serves 191,000 central and southern Marin residents, launched a water supply study in March as it faced depleting its local reservoir supplies after two years of severe drought. On Tuesday, staff will provide the district Board of Directors a first-time overview of the various water supply options the agency could consider as it looks to bolster its supply. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. Among the options being studied are desalination, increasing local reservoir storage, groundwater banking in Sonoma County, increasing water imports from the Russian River, expansion of recycled water systems, conservation measures and a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: Marin district to vet costs, benefits of new water sources
Bay restoration project gets $1M grant for flood control
“A project to protect and restore more than 500 acres of critical shore area habitats in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park received a $1 million grant from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, announced on Friday, June. 24. The grant will help fund the Strategy to Advance Flood Protection, Ecosystems and Recreation along San Francisco (SAFER) Bay Project, leading up to the preparation of an environmental impact report. This grant will enable the creek authority to evaluate ways to protect 4,900 parcels in the two San Mateo County cities from tidal flooding and sea level rise and help protect and restore more than 500 acres of critical shoreline habitats. Improving recreational access is also part of the project. … ” Read more from Palo Alto Online here: Bay restoration project gets $1M grant for flood control
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Drought impacts Central Valley agriculture and produce prices
“Water is a vital resource for local agriculture. Central Valley farmers are forced to make tough decisions because of the drought and water allocations. Fresno County Farm Bureau President Ryan Jacobsen says a lack of water could mean fewer options at the grocery store and ultimately higher prices. … ” Read more from Your Central Valley here: Drought impacts Central Valley agriculture and produce prices
What’s in the water? There’s a class for that
“Want to learn more about where your family’s drinking water comes from? What’s in it? Why it costs so much? And what the future holds? A Water Leadership Institute for residents of the southern San Joaquin Valley will start later this summer and classes are free. The institute, which is taking applications now, is being put on by nonprofits Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) in Tulare and Kern counties. “I do think there’s a need to more actively engage communities in the different water governance and water decisions,” said Mariana Rivera-Torres, senior water analyst at EDF. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: What’s in the water? There’s a class for that
Exeter continues to use well with nitrates
“Several weeks after issuing a nitrate warning for groundwater, the city of Exeter is still coming up dry on solutions.With their only alternative well undergoing repairs and tests, Exeter has kept well 6 – the well testing at 11 parts per million (ppm) for nitrates – in production. Municipal wells are allowed to test up to 10 ppm for nitrates according to state mandates. At 11 ppm cities are required to issue notices that the water could be dangerous for infants and women who are pregnant. … ” Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette here: Exeter continues to use well with nitrates
Heat wave sweeps through Southern California
“A heat wave gripped Southern California Monday, bringing forecasts of triple-digit temperatures to the valleys and mountains. A heat advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. for the Santa Clarita Valley, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and the L.A. County mountains. Warm conditions are expected to continue for the next several days, but Monday will be the hottest. … ” Read more from KTLA here: Heat wave sweeps through Southern California
Rosamond plant nearly ready
“Despite a power outage and other hiccups, Rosamond Community Services District’s new water reclamation plant is working through the start up process and expects to begin introducing wastewater into the system, the week of July 5, officials reported. The freshwater start up process began, about two weeks ago, Thien Ng, Kennedy Jenks Southern California Construction Lead, told the Board of Directors, on Wednesday. “With anything like this, you have unexpected things that pop up,” he said. … ” Read more from the AV Press here: Rosamond plant nearly ready
Burbank tightens water restrictions after usage jumps 22% in March, 17% in April
“Burbank is tightening its water restrictions as the drought worsens, with a goal of cutting water usage by 15%. Stage III of Burbank’s sustainable water use ordinance goes into effect immediately. City officials say water reduction efforts started out strong, with the city achieving targets in December and January. But Burbank’s water conservation efforts relapsed in a major way since then, with usage jumping to 22.1% in March and 17.0% in April. Water conservation improved slightly in May, but usage was still up 5.7%, according to Burbank Water and Power. … ” Read more from CBS LA here: Burbank tightens water restrictions after usage jumps 22% in March, 17% in April
In wake of Poseidon desal plant’s denial, South Coast Water looks to fill hole in county’s water portfolio
“As the State of California faces a record drought, ocean desalination has been highlighted as a potentially more reliable alternative to imported water. Following the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) unanimous vote to deny permits for the Brookfield-Poseidon Desalination plant in Huntington Beach last month, the South Coast Water District (SCWD) is working to obtain all major permits for its own desalination plant near Doheny by the end of the year. The local water district is looking to produce up to five million gallons of potable drinking water a day by 2027 through its proposed Doheny Ocean Desalination project. The Poseidon plant would have produced up to 50 million gallons of potable water daily. … ” Read more from Dana Point Times here: In wake of Poseidon desal plant’s denial, South Coast Water looks to fill hole in county’s water portfolio
Letters to editor: Sharing Mississippi water with California would help feed America
“A recent edition of The Desert Sun had two letters objecting to piping water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River, and on to California. Whereas I understand water rights, but global warming has introduced new priorities. California uses 34 million acre-feet of water per year for agriculture. About 33% of vegetables and 66% of fruits and nuts are produced in California for consumption for the nation. Each year worsens our receipt of rain and snow. A drive up Interstate 5 shows how much land has been fallowed due to lack of water. The sharing of water would greatly contribute to California being able to feed the nation. ... ” Read more from the Desert Sun here: Letters to editor: Sharing Mississippi water with California would help feed America | Read via Yahoo News
Renegade sewage flows still seep across border, but there is progress
“The big fix for the region’s border sewage problem remains several years away, but that does not mean sewage will flow unabated until then. Some recent smaller-scale projects are already having an impact on the dry-weather flows coming through the Tijuana River channel. And planning for a large-scale fix continues moving forward. “This is the lined portion of the channel,” Morgan Rogers said as he surveyed the Tijuana River at the border. “That’s where it transitions to the natural,” Rogers said. “This is a good view point: You can see all the sediment that has accumulated. This is from the wet season.” … ” Read more from KPBS here: Renegade sewage flows still seep across border, but there is progress
As drought pummels northern Mexico, Baja weighs buying water from Mexicali’s farmers
“The drought is hitting northern Mexico so hard that the state of Baja will likely have to buy water from farmers in the agricultural region of Mexicali. That’s what Vicente Calderón, my collaborator on the Tijuana River Pollution crisis series, reported last week. He tapped José Armando Fernández Samaniego, the Baja secretary for water management, sanitation and protection, for more details and here’s what he learned. If the people of Baja don’t reduce their water use by at least 20 percent per household, the government will probably have to buy extra water at an inflated price – perhaps three times its value. … ” Read more from the Voice of San Diego here: As drought pummels northern Mexico, Baja weighs buying water from Mexicali’s farmers
Along the Colorado River …
Feds seek ideas on how to manage a drier Colorado River
“For many decades, the Colorado River was managed with the attitude that its water levels would remain roughly stable over time, punctuated by alternating wet and dry periods. But in the face of possibly the river’s driest period in 1,200 years, a new approach is now needed to managing the river’s reservoirs — one that can account for “deep uncertainty” about future climate and runoff conditions, says the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. And for the next two months, the bureau wants to hear from the public about how it should go about operating reservoirs including Lake Mead, Lake Powell and other parts of the river system under such conditions. … ” Read more from Tucson.com here: Feds seek ideas on how to manage a drier Colorado River
New tools may predict wildfire season severity, rainfall months ahead
“In the parched southwestern United States, few forecasts are as important as the future height of Lake Mead, which tells federal authorities how much water to release to the 20 million people living downstream of the giant reservoir. This year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is testing out a new tool it hopes will make those projections a little better: A model that can predict — months in advance — the summer rainfall associated with the North American Monsoon. The ability to forecast monsoon rains that far in advance has long eluded meteorologists. But if the new approach proves successful, the bureau believes it could lead to better summer projections of Lake Mead’s January water level — a key metric the agency uses to plan water releases during the coming year. … ” Read more from the Washington Post here: New tools may predict wildfire season severity, rainfall months ahead
Arizona legislature approves historic funding for water projects but fails to protect rural groundwater
“The Arizona Legislature approved legislation June 25 that dedicates $1.2 billion to water projects in response to plummeting Colorado River reservoirs. However, for the third year in a row, the Legislature failed to respond to pleas from rural communities seeking to manage their groundwater supplies and secure their water future. “The Legislature’s approval of additional funding for water projects in the 2022-2023 budget is encouraging, especially $200 million for historic investments in improving surface water flows, groundwater recharge and aquifer health, and watershed protection. I want to especially commend and thank Rep. Morgan Abraham, Rep. Andres Cano, Sen. Lisa Otondo and Rep. Reginald Bolding, who all helped lead the way to this conservation funding. At the same time, the legislation fell far short of what’s needed to meet the daunting challenges we face in Arizona of megadrought supercharged by climate change,” said Kevin Moran, Associate Vice President, Regional Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund. … ” Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund here: Arizona legislature approves historic funding for water projects but fails to protect rural groundwater
Where does your water come from? A look at Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe supplies
“Up to 70% of water usage for municipal users in Arizona is used outside for plants, grass, and swimming pools, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Water experts around the Valley say a significant amount is likely being wasted due to leaks without residents even knowing yet. Paulette Kelley of Scottsdale found out about her leaking irrigation system during a water check inspection with experts from Scottsdale Water Utility. … ” Read more from Channel 15 here: Where does your water come from? A look at Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe supplies
Chandler: Water project costs for city, Intel soar 49%
“If you are doing a major construction project at your home or business, you probably know that costs have soared. A year and a half ago, the City of Chandler and Intel agreed to work on a joint water project that would cost $23.4 million. Since then, supplies are in short supply and those you can get cost a lot more. There’s also a shortage of workers, so labor is going up as well. The City Council agreed to amend their agreement with Intel at its June 23rd meeting to reflect this reality. The new price of their joint water project: $45 million. That’s a 49% increase in the past 18 months. … ” Read more from the East Valley Tribune here: Chandler: Water project costs for city, Intel soar 49%
ASU online water tool updates help Arizonans learn about waterways
“The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University has an online tool to help people better understand and gather data on water quality, changes in water and usage of the waterways in their area. It recently expanded to farmland data and information on pollution levels of waterways around the state. Susan Craig is a water policy analyst at the Kyl Center, and she said her team designed the tool to be accessible to people at all levels of tech savviness. ... ” Read more from Arizona Public Media here: ASU online water tool updates help Arizonans learn about waterways
In national water news today …
House energy, water project earmarks on the rise
“House appropriators are poised to approve legislation today that would more than double earmark spending for the Department of Energy and Army Corps of Engineers. The House Appropriations Committee is on track to approve more than $750 million in earmarks, also known as community project funding, as part of a $56.2 billion, fiscal 2023 Energy-Water bill. Those earmarks include about $630 million for 75 Army Corps of Engineers projects, $117 million for 64 Department of Energy projects, and about $25 million for six Bureau of Reclamation water projects. ... ” Read more from E&E News here: House energy, water project earmarks on the rise
Rare ‘triple’ La Niña climate event looks likely — what does the future hold?
“An ongoing La Niña event that has contributed to flooding in eastern Australia and exacerbated droughts in the United States and East Africa could persist into 2023, according to the latest forecasts. The occurrence of two consecutive La Niña winters in the Northern Hemisphere is common, but having three in a row is relatively rare. A ‘triple dip’ La Niña — lasting three years in a row — has happened only twice since 1950. This particularly long La Niña is probably just a random blip in the climate, scientists say. But some researchers are warning that climate change could make La Niña-like conditions more likely in future. “We are stacking the odds higher for these triple events coming along,” says Matthew England, a physical oceanographer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. England and others are now working to reconcile discrepancies between climate data and the output of major climate models — efforts that could clarify what is in store for the planet. … ” Read more from Nature here: Rare ‘triple’ La Niña climate event looks likely — what does the future hold?
As increased flooding exposes issues with private wells, role of regulated drinking water may grow
“With some 43 million people in the U.S. relying on private wells for their drinking water, centralized water systems remain unable to deliver effluent or enforce treatment regulations for every consumer across the country. But now, fundamental trends in the environment are exacerbating many of the problems with these decentralized drinking water services, underscoring what is likely to be a growing role for the nation’s water systems. “While many private wells provide safe water, the absence of regulation and treatment afforded by larger municipal systems may expose some users to health risks, from bacteria and viruses to chemicals in lead, studies have found,” per ABC News. … ” Read more from Water Online here: As increased flooding exposes issues with private wells, role of regulated drinking water may grow
Remote sensing tracks down “plastic plants” in rivers
“Plastics can be retained in river systems for years and even centuries, but compared to marine debris, the amount of plastic pollution in rivers has been poorly quantified. There’s a reported lack of consistent and long-term observations of plastics in freshwater settings. Plus, the movement of plastics in waterways can be very dynamic and varied, and gathering reliable data about abundance and transport is crucial to supporting pollution prevention.At the European Geosciences Union’s (EGU) General Assembly this year, a team of international scientists showed how remote sensing could be used to monitor plastic pollution in aquatic settings. They identified plastic-laden hyacinths in satellite imagery from the European Space Agency to quantify the amount of plastic pollution in the Saigon River near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. ... ” Read more from AGU here: Remote sensing tracks down “plastic plants” in rivers
Model estimates 30-year wildfire risks for US properties
“Nearly 80 million properties across the contiguous United States have some risk of experiencing a wildfire during the next 30 years. Of these properties, approximately 30 million face at least a moderate risk of sustaining wildfire-related damage during this period. These findings come from a report, released in mid-May, presenting the results of a newly developed model that aims to estimate, for the first time, the current and future wildfire risk for every property in the lower 48 U.S. states. Development of the wildfire model was led by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group that works to quantify climate-related risks and convey them to the public. The effort builds on the foundation’s release in 2020 of a model that estimates the flood risk for individual properties across the country (see “Foundation Releases Comprehensive US Flood Model, Warns of Greater Risks,” Civil Engineering, September 2020, pages 27-30). … ” Read more from Civil Engineering Source here: Model estimates 30-year wildfire risks for US properties
Reservoir conditions …DWR Reservoirs
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
NOTICE: Revised Draft Emergency Curtailment and Reporting Regulation for the Delta watershed now posted