DAILY DIGEST, 11/16: Water rules add to challenges for farmers; Hard truths about California’s water future; More on election shakeup at Westlands; Can seismic instruments act as early warning systems for flooding?; and more …
MEETING: Delta Conservancy Board Meeting beginning at 8:30am. Agenda items include Consideration of Staff Funding Recommendations for the 2023 Delta Drought Response Pilot Program; Consideration of Updates to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy General Grant Guidelines; and Consideration of Draft Solicitation Notices for Climate Resilience, Community Access, and Natural Resource Protection (CAR) Funding; and Nature Based Solutions (NBS): Wetland Restoration Funding. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
MEETING: California Water Commission beginning at 9:30am. Agenda items include consideration of resolutions of necessity for the Yolo Bypass Big Notch Project, State Water Project Briefings: water supply contract extension and construction updates, and long-term drought: expert panel on protecting communities and species. Click here for full agenda and remote access instructions.
WEBINAR: Drought and California Agriculture from 12pm to 1pm. Climate extremes bring challenges and opportunities for increasing resilience in agriculture and communities. Drought impact assessments are useful to identify systemwide vulnerabilities and downstream effects from water shortages. Impacts from the recent California drought are discussed along with insights for water management, planning and policy in light of new groundwater regulation and a globalized economy. Dr. Josué Medellín-Azuara is an Associate Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Merced, and Associate Director at both the Center for Watershed Science and UC Agricultural Issues Center. Click here to register.
WEBINAR: Update on GWRS Expansion from 12:30pm to 1:00pm. The $310 million GWRS Final Expansion Project is currently in construction and scheduled to be complete in early 2023. The GWRS Final Expansion Project will increase the GWRS treatment facility to 130 million gallons per day (MGD) production. An update will be given on the changes on the engineering design of the facility over the course of the design phase for this project – taking into account varying water quality and declining wastewater flows. There will also be an update on current constructions status of this project. Click here to register.
EPA WEBINAR: Real-Time Risk Characterization Tool for Harmful Algal Blooms from 2pm to 3pm. In response to two large harmful algae bloom (HAB) events on the Ohio River in 2015 and 2019, a risk characterization tool/web application was developed. The tool has been in use by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission for two bloom seasons, serving to predict the probability of HABs based on river flow conditions and as a water data monitoring utility. The tool is accessible to the public at url: https://orsanco-hab.shinyapps.io/shiny-ohio-river/#. This presentation will overview the science of large river HABs and the historical data that was used to develop a risk characterization framework and then a probabilistic prediction of HABs for 20 locations spanning the entire length of the Ohio River. Next, a general overview of the web-based application will be given, including details about data acquisition, data management, and the underlying statistical models. Finally, perspectives on using the tool to actively monitor the river’s water quality and make decisions about HAB sampling and risk communication will be given by the tool’s primary user. Click here to register.
GRA SoCAL (Hyrbrid): How to Get the Most of Your Transducer Data from 6:30pm to 9:00pm. Consultants and agencies dealing with water resources issues across the United States install transducers in monitoring wells to collect millions of groundwater level measurements daily. Typically, the analytical focus is on water level fluctuation over time. Such a focus deals only with long-term trends or, at best, a signature of a nearby pumping well. The information that can be extracted from the time domain is only a small part of a much larger picture; this is due to the limitations of tools that analyze data in the time domain. By switching to the frequency domain and using signal processing tools, it is possible to extract a full range of valuable information that can lead to a better understanding of the functioning of aquifers. Click here for more information and to register.
In California water news today …
Water rules add to challenges for farmers
“Already grappling with drought, lower commodity prices and higher production costs, more farmers are feeling the added pinch of groundwater regulations as local agencies implement plans that include pumping limits and new fees to balance long-term groundwater resources as required by the state. Looking over his toppled almond orchard, Madera County farmer Jay Mahil of Creekside Farming Company Inc. says he must fallow 500 acres of almonds and winegrapes due to water shortages. Mahil and other farmers who face lower prices and higher costs are also subject to new, per-acre fees to help local agencies fund groundwater management. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Water rules add to challenges for farmers
Back Forty: Hard truths about California’s water future
Teresa Cotsirilos writes, “Last month, Jay Lund, a distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, wrapped up a lecture on California’s drought with a slide titled, “Resistance is Futile.” It included a list of his predictions about the state’s water crisis, some of which bordered on apocalyptic. As climate change fuels extreme drought, heat and flooding, Lund explained, some of California’s native species will become unsustainable in the wild. Farmers, government agencies and environmental groups will continue to fight over dwindling water supplies. In the San Joaquin Valley, farmers could be forced to fallow 40 percent of their land. “These things will happen,” says Lund, who has been studying California’s water situation for over 30 years. “I don’t see anybody being willing to spend enough money to completely reverse these trends.” I spoke with Lund recently about his predictions. Our conversation focused on the San Joaquin Valley, which is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. … ” Read more from the Food & Environment Network here: Back Forty: Hard truths about California’s water future
These are the driest reservoirs in California
“Despite recent rain storms across the state, California’s historic drought shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. With the lack of meaningful regular precipitation, capacity at California’s reservoirs continue to decline, putting stress on the state’s water supply. Across the board, nearly all of California’s major water supply reservoirs managed by the California Department of Water Resources are well below historic averages. The state’s largest water reservoirs, Lake Oroville in Butte County and Shasta Lake in Shasta County, currently sit just shy of half of historical averages. … ” Read more from KTLA here: These are the driest reservoirs in California
Dan Walters: Another step toward agreement on California’s water
“For at least a decade, off and on, state water managers and local water agencies have pursued the holy grail of a master agreement to improve the environmental health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by increasing its water flows. At any given moment, California’s water supply is a zero sum game. Therefore, increasing flows through the Delta to improve habitat for salmon and other species would require local water agencies, particularly those serving farmers, to take less from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries. That’s not only a hard sell, but also could interfere with water rights, some of which stretch back to the 19th century. State officials have hoped that so-called “voluntary agreements” would forestall direct action that could touch off a legal donnybrook over those rights. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Another step toward agreement on California’s water
Districts agree to collaborate on Tuolumne River
“Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission have signed a memorandum of understanding with the state to advance a voluntary agreement for the Tuolumne River. MID and TID, which jointly operate the Don Pedro Reservoir on the Tuolumne River, joined dozens of other California water agencies in committing to collaborate with the state to finalize agreements that will provide water supply reliability to communities, while enhancing river ecosystems. Contra Costa Water District signed onto the agreement in September. Details from the agreement signed last week are expected to be scrutinized more closely as the process unfolds. … ” Read more from Ag Alert here: Districts agree to collaborate on Tuolumne River
“Change” candidates sweep Westlands Water District board election; may dump longtime General Manager Tom Birmingham
“The math was not in Tom Birmingham’s favor. It was clear weeks before the Nov. 8 election that the board of the massive Westlands Water District in western Fresno County would be changing. And that change would likely result in the controversial General Manager’s ouster. There were four board seats up for election. A preliminary vote count released by the district Monday night confirmed a sweep of all four seats by the so-called “change coalition.” With two existing board members already counted among the change coalition, that gives it a solid majority of six on the nine-member board. And No. 1 on the coalition’s to-do list is “A change in leadership,” according Sarah Woolf, who along with Jon Reiter helped coordinate a group of increasingly frustrated Westlands farmers to run the slate of change candidates. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: “Change” candidates sweep Westlands Water District board election; may dump longtime General Manager Tom Birmingham
Drying up: inside the Californian communities without enough water
“California’s Central Valley grows a large portion of America’s food – and that requires a huge amount of water.”
Anglers, scientists consider potential changes in sturgeon regulations
“Fishing for white sturgeon has been relatively productive on the West Delta and Suisun Bay over the past two weeks, but some anglers and prominent scientists are supporting changes in fishing regulations to preserve the prehistoric fish for the future. Hundreds of white sturgeon and some green sturgeon perished in San Francisco and San Pablo bays in late August in a massive fish kill spurred by a red tide algae bloom, but the exact number of fish killed is unknown. Captain Zack Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures reported “very good” sturgeon fishing on his latest few trips, but ponders how long this fishery will last at current rates of harvest. … ” Read more from the Stockton Record here: Anglers, scientists consider potential changes in sturgeon regulations
Conservationists, fishermen, and tribes sue over fish farming slated for federal waters
“Center for Food Safety (CFS), on behalf of itself and nine conservation, tribal, and fishing organizations, filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington yesterday challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ nationwide permit 56, which authorizes industrial finfish aquaculture structures in state and federal ocean waters around the country. The Army Corps approved the nationwide permit despite scientific studies and industry in other countries demonstrating that commercial finfish aquaculture poses significant threats to marine ecosystems and endangered whales, salmon, sea turtles, and many other imperiled species, as well as to traditional fishing economies, Tribal Nations’ food security, and public health. Nationwide permit 56 originated from a Trump-era executive order promoting rapid expansion of industrial marine aquaculture facilities under the guise of addressing pandemic-related food insecurity. The permit will allow the 16 adopting Army Corps districts—in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Hawaii, and Virginia—to streamline permitting for this new, ecologically destructive aquaculture industry. … ” Read more from the Center for Food Safety here: Conservationists, fishermen, and tribes sue over fish farming slated for federal waters
Can seismic instruments act as early warning systems for flooding?
“Predicting floods often depends on measuring water height with stream gauges. But for sudden and profound flooding events, gauging stations can be drowned early on, leaving nearby residents and city managers in the dark. In a new paper, “A Seismic Approach to Flood Detection and Characterization in Upland Catchments,” published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers looked at an alternative to stream measurements during floods. They turned to a seismic monitoring instrument, or seismometer, to reconstruct the signatures of the flood — not just the height of the water but the velocity, amount of sediment and debris the water was carrying, and the path of the flood through the valley. … ” Read the full article at Civil Engineering Source here: Can seismic instruments act as early warning systems for flooding?
UC expert helps save water, increase supply
“Earlier this year, officials in Southern California declared a water shortage emergency resulting in restrictions such as limiting outdoor water use to one day of the week. While mandatory restrictions vary across the region, Amir Haghverdi, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist and associate professor of agricultural and urban water management at UC Riverside, is using research to pinpoint irrigation strategies that will help communities reduce their demand for water and increase supply. Haghverdi and his team are responding to a hotter and drier California by working to identify changes that can make a substantial difference in water savings. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: UC expert helps save water, increase supply
Smarter ways with water: People need to find better and more productive ways to become allies with water — which might mean giving it space for its processes
“In just a few months this year, abnormally low water levels in rivers led China to shut down factories and to floods in one-third of Pakistan, killing around 1,500 people and grinding the country to a halt. A dried-up Rhine River threatened to tip Germany’s economy into recession, because cargo ships could not carry standard loads. And the Las Vegas strip turned into a river and flooded casinos, chasing customers away. It seems that such water disasters pepper the news daily now. Many businesses have long lobbied against changing their practices to safeguard the environment, by refusing to implement pollution controls, take climate action or reduce resource use. The costs are too high and would harm economic growth, they argue. Now we are seeing the price of that inaction. … ” Read more from Nature here: Smarter ways with water
Farm groups highlight the importance of alfalfa in the face of ongoing western drought
“With drought conditions continuing to blanket the Western U.S., and farmers struggling to find adequate water supplies, competing interests are pressuring the federal government to cut the water supply farmers are using to grow our food, including alfalfa, which is a foundational food chain crop. In response, the Family Farm Alliance and California Farm Water Coalition have produced a White Paper titled, “Our Food Supply at Risk; The Importance of Alfalfa Production in the American West,” detailing the valuable role alfalfa plays as a principal feed source for the nation’s livestock and diary industries, its environmental benefits, and contribution to effective drought management. Family Farm Alliance Executive Director, Dan Keppen, said reducing the acreage devoted to alfalfa may seem like an easy fix to save water, but a decision to do so has bigger ramifications for our nation’s food supply. … ” Read more from the California Farm Water Coalition here: Farm groups highlight the importance of alfalfa in the face of ongoing western drought
The changing face of agriculture
“Food, fiber and fuel make up the trifecta of agriculture. As we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on what we’re grateful for, those provisions often spring to mind—especially in time for cooking up holiday feasts and keeping warm in the cooler months. But rising threats like climate change, political instability, growing populations and increasing prices are upending the security of those agricultural products across the world. Researchers at the CSU are seeking ways to make agricultural practices more sustainable and climate-resilient to ensure the industry will meet future global needs. To support these endeavors, the California 2022-23 state budget awarded the CSU one-time funding of $75 million, split evenly between Chico State, Fresno State, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. See how these four universities are enhancing their agriculture programs, preparing the next generation of experts and securing the industry’s future success. … ” Read more from California State University here: The changing face of agriculture
Western U.S. streamflow declines respond asymmetrically to seasonal climate warming
“Although numerous studies have previously explored streamflow responses to annual climate warming, less attention has been given to the differing effects of seasonal (winter vs. summer) warming. It is well-known, for instance, that the seasonal timing of streamflow in snow-affected river basins is strongly affected by warmer winters, which lead to less snow, more rain, and earlier runoff. What has been less understood is how the total volume of runoff changes in a warmer climate, and in particular how the total (annual) streamflow volume responds to warmer winters as contrasted with warmer summers. To address this gap, UCLA’s Land Surface Hydrology Group examined western U.S. streamflow declines in response to climate warming and found they are expected to be asymmetric depending on the season in which most warming occurs. … ” Read more from Cal Ag Today here: Western U.S. streamflow declines respond asymmetrically to seasonal climate warming
Megadroughts in the common era and the Anthropocene
“In recent years, severe droughts have affected many regions around the world, including western North America, Europe, East Africa, and China. In some cases, these events (and others) have been referred to as “megadroughts,” a term increasingly used in the media and scientific literature to refer to almost any extreme or impactful drought event. There is little consensus in the scientific community, however, on when a drought becomes a megadrought, nor is there any quantitative or established definition. A recently published paper by a team of international scientists synthesized information from the paleoclimate record, observations, and climate models to summarize our current understanding of megadrought dynamics around the world, from the last two thousand years to the end of the current century (Cook et al., 2022). What is a megadrought? Where in the world do they occur? And what are the consequences of climate change for megadrought risk and severity? … ” Read more from NIDIS here: Megadroughts in the common era and the Anthropocene
Klamath River Renewal Corporation delivers fire protection equipment for Siskiyou County
“The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) announced Tuesday, Nov. 15 it has delivered two Peterbilt water tenders to the Siskiyou County Fire Chiefs Association to strengthen local fire prevention and response capabilities. The trucks are just the first pieces of equipment KRRC will provide to increase the capacity of local fire departments. The water tenders were built and purchased in Siskiyou County, adding an economic boost to a local business. A 2023 Dodge Ram 5500 diesel flatbed truck and other equipment is on order from regional suppliers. “As one of the many components of the KRRC Fire Management Plan, we are bolstering the resources of local firefighting entities and community groups,” said Mark Bransom, CEO for KRRC. … ” Read more from Herald & News here: Klamath River Renewal Corporation delivers fire protection equipment for Siskiyou County
Indigenous advocates for removal of Klamath Dams speak out against hydropower at COP27
“Rep. Jared Huffman (D-02) isn’t the only one from the North Coast making the rounds at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. On Tuesday, Danielle Frank, of Ríos to Rivers and a youth leader of the Hupa Valley Tribe, and Brook Thompson, who is a member of the Yurok Tribe and Karuk Tribe, shared the story of the dams in the Klamath River basin at a panel titled Centering the Protection of Rivers and Rights in Achieving Climate Justice in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. They were speaking alongside Indigenous people from other parts of the world who have also been fighting to protect rivers in their communities. “Indigenous resistance to dams has been constant,” Frank said in a statement. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard here: Indigenous advocates for removal of Klamath Dams speak out against hydropower at COP27
Ski season 2022: California mountain resorts roll out the white carpet
“It’s that time again! The first winter storm of the season on Nov. 1 and a big dump the next week created anticipatory excitement at California’s mountain resorts. Mammoth Mountain started turning lifts on Nov. 5, while many other resorts opened last weekend, two-plus weeks ahead of schedule. It’s an auspicious start for an industry that usually doesn’t start cranking up until late November to mid-December. Pandemic-era restrictions in place for the last three seasons have been relaxed. No more “Mask up! Over the nose!” exhortations on the slopes, but keep that mask in your pocket nevertheless, as some resorts will require it indoors. But some pandemic-era innovations remain in place. RFID technology, which uses a chip inside your pass card to automatically open a gate, will get you on board the lifts. And contactless ticketing kiosks have replaced walk-up window sales for those with advance reservations via QR codes. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Ski season 2022: California mountain resorts roll out the white carpet
Orland residents on dry wells getting connected to water
“The wheels keep turning in the large-scale Glenn County water project to help those with dry and drying wells connect to the city of Orland’s water lines. Over the course of the past year, the city has been working to connect those on wells within city limits to the source. Orland City Manager Pete Carr said the city has connected roughly 12 out of 34 of those households so far. Carr added that the city expects to have all 34 homes connected within the next couple of months. As part of the overall project, DWR has provided some additional funding to help the city drill a second well and put in an additional water tank to up the storage in anticipation of the new customers outside of the county, which consists of about 160 households. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Orland residents on dry wells getting connected to water
What’s the construction at the American River near the H Street Bridge in Sacramento?
“It seems as though there’s always construction work in and around Sacramento, including the shores of the American River. A reader asked The Bee: “Who is responsible for all the work being done on the banks of the American River above and below the Fair Oaks Blvd/H Street bridge and why are they doing that? [T]hey have removed all the vegetation that protected the levee. ” Here’s what we know: Who’s responsible? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with the California Central Valley Flood Protection Board, California Department of Water Resources and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency to make improvements along the lower American River. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: What’s the construction at the American River near the H Street Bridge in Sacramento?
St. Helena water may become discolored during water main flushing
“The City of St. Helena Water Department will conduct water distribution main flushing Wednesday, Nov. 16 through Nov. 22, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., the city’s Public Works officials said. The purpose of the Water Main Flushing Program is to improve drinking water quality for residents and businesses, according to Clayton Church, Public Works operations manager. … ” Read more from The Patch here: St. Helena water may become discolored during water main flushing
Commentary: Santa Clara County’s water-saving efforts should be shared by our commercial community
John L. Varela, Chair Pro Tem, Valley Water Board of Directors, writes, “Santa Clara County is making headlines for being a leader in water conservation. The efforts we undertook this summer have resulted in our county exceeding our Board’s call for conservation. In June 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors established a 15% water use reduction call for Santa Clara County compared to 2019. After months of steady progress, Santa Clara County reached this goal in July, saving 16%. I want to thank everyone who made a difference in our community by taking steps to reduce water use during this drought. We don’t know how much rain and snow this winter will bring us, so we must continue reducing our water use. … ” Read more from Valley Water News here: Commentary: Santa Clara County’s water-saving efforts should be shared by our commercial community
This is a big week for water in Monterey County.
“David Schmalz here, thinking about the hottest political hot potato that exists in Monterey County: water. That’s because, in case you missed it, Nov. 17 is shaping up to be a big day for the Peninsula’s future water supply. It was originally the date the California Public Utilities Commission was set to consider approving a water purchase agreement for an expansion of the recycled water project Pure Water Monterey (that hearing has been pushed back to Dec. 1). But still on the calendar is a meeting of the California Coastal Commission, starting Thursday, Nov. 17 at 9am in the County Board of Supervisors chambers in Salinas. The commission will consider whether to grant a permit to Cal Am to build a 4.8 million-gallons per day (mgd) desalination project that would draw its source water through subsurface slant wells from under the beach in Marina, on property owned by Cemex, whose sand mine on the property has now been shut down. ... ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: This is a big week for water in Monterey County.
Paso Robles helicopter to survey Coalinga groundwater for salinity
“Starting around Nov. 17 and lasting up to a month, a helicopter towing a large hoop from a cable will make low-level flights over areas of the western San Joaquin Valley in Fresno, Kings, and Kern Counties near Coalinga and the Pyramid Hills, with limited surveying near Lost Hills. Residents of these areas may see a low-flying helicopter towing a large hoop hanging from a cable.USGS scientists will use the data to improve their understanding of groundwater salinity and below-ground geology to better understand groundwater conditions near California’s oil fields. … ” Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News here: Paso Robles helicopter to survey Coalinga groundwater for salinity
Ventura firefighters train with drought-friendly water recycling system
“The Ventura County Fire Department trains its firefighters by pumping thousands of gallons of water a minute — despite historic drought in California. On Tuesday, the agency demonstrated a water-saving system used at its Camarillo training center to cut back on water use. The department recycles water via two PumpPod devices, which recirculate supplies used in training exercises. Officially called the Direct Recirculating Apparatus Firefighter Training and Sustainability unit, or DRAFTS for short, the county fire agency first acquired a prototype in 2017. … ” Read more from the Ventura County Star here: Local firefighters train with drought-friendly water recycling system
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
State Water Board appoints Tulare County as administrator for East Orosi water system
“In a step toward resolving chronic drinking water issues in the small rural community of East Orosi, the State Water Resources Control Board has appointed the Tulare County Resource Management Agency as the full-scope administrator for the East Orosi Community Services District, authorizing the county to oversee the drinking water system’s managerial, operational, and financial functions. The county’s oversight will help the water system prepare for its eventual consolidation with nearby Orosi Public Utility District so it can provide safe drinking water on a long-term basis. In addition to appointing the administrator, the State Water Board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) drinking water program is providing East Orosi CSD with grants totaling $784,000 to fund administration costs and supplement the system’s revenues to support its operation and maintenance. The water system serves approximately 932 residents through 103 service connections that are mostly residential. “We appreciate the cooperation between East Orosi CSD and Tulare County over the past several months as we all work together to overcome the many challenges this water system faces,” said Andrew Altevogt, Assistant Deputy Director of the Division of Drinking Water. ... ”
UCCE water management expert helps save water, increase supply in SoCal
‘Earlier this year, officials in Southern California declared a water shortage emergency resulting in restrictions such as limiting outdoor water use to one day of the week. While mandatory restrictions vary across the region, Amir Haghverdi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and associate professor of agricultural and urban water management at UC Riverside, is using research to pinpoint irrigation strategies that will help communities reduce their demand for water and increase supply. Haghverdi and his team are responding to a hotter and drier California by working to identify changes that can make a substantial difference in water savings. … ” Read more from Cal Ag Today here: UCCE water management expert helps save water, increase supply in SoCal
‘Pennies From Heaven’ could save Sweetwater Water Authority customers millions
“They looked down at the water blasting through the Loveland Dam and called it “Pennies from Heaven.” Sweetwater Water Authority engineers opened a valve at the base of the dam shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday. Millions of gallons of water blasted out of the dam near Alpine to begin a 17-mile trek down to the Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. “It’s a really cool thing to see, you know, water flowing out of the dam,” smiled Sweetwater Director of Engineering Erick Del Bosque. “We anticipate it’s going to take about two days for the first wave of water being released to reach Sweetwater Reservoir.” … ” Read more from Channel 7 here: ‘Pennies From Heaven’ could save Sweetwater Water Authority customers millions
San Diego approves new financing method that’s expected to generate millions for river park upgrades
“The San Diego City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a new funding source to pay for upgrades to the San Diego River, which officials say could become a regional attraction with recreational amenities and riverfront dining. The council voted to create an enhanced infrastructure financing district, which would generate money any time a parcel within half a mile of the river sees its property tax go up in the next 45 years. Combined with a separate EIFD the county government approved in September, the river is expected to get somewhere between $380 million and $750 million for a wide variety of projects. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: San Diego approves new financing method that’s expected to generate millions for river park upgrades
Tribes in the Colorado River Basin are fighting for their water. States wish they wouldn’t.
“In early November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case brought by the Navajo Nation that could have far-reaching impacts on tribal water rights in the Colorado River Basin. In its suit, the Navajo Nation argues that the Department of Interior has a responsibility, grounded in treaty law, to protect future access to water from the Colorado River. Several states and water districts have filed petitions opposing the tribe, stating that the river is “already fully allocated.” The case highlights a growing tension in the region: As water levels fall and states face cuts amid a two-decade-long megadrought, tribes are working to ensure their water rights are fully recognized and accessible. … ” Read more from Grist here: Tribes in the Colorado River Basin are fighting for their water. States wish they wouldn’t.
As coal fired plants are shuttered, Colorado River Basin states will save water
“Western utilities have been downsizing and shutting down coal-fired power plants in the face of climate change, a trend that is likely to continue and could have additional benefits. A new report from ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy says there are 37 coal-fired plants and mines in the Colorado River Basin. Together, they use more than 130,000 acre feet of water each year. … ” Read more from KJZZ here: As coal fired plants are shuttered, Colorado River Basin states will save water
Arizona’s water supply is shrinking, but its population is growing. Is it sustainable?
“Meredith Deangelis moved to the community of Rio Verde Foothills, north of Scottsdale, 11 years ago. The family settled on a four-acre property with a view of Four Peaks where their young daughter and three dogs loved to play. They started raising chickens. It seemed like an ideal desert home, except for one thing. “When I purchased my home, actually, I should have asked more questions,” Deangelis said. Like hundreds of others in the area, the home relies on hauled water — a big truck periodically delivers water from Scottsdale to fill a tank on the property. Deangelis knew that. She didn’t know that the city of Scottsdale might one day cut off that supply. Scottsdale is more reliant on Colorado River water than most other Valley cities. And since Arizona’s Colorado River supply is now facing drastic cuts, Scottsdale is putting an end to non-resident water sales next year. The Rio Verde Foothills community is continuing to look for solutions, but the situation has made Deangelis worry a lot more about Arizona’s future. ... ” Read more from Fronteras here: Arizona’s water supply is shrinking, but its population is growing. Is it sustainable?
Groundwater is critical to rural Arizona — but there’s a struggle to regulate it
“Every now and then it rains in the Arizona desert. Some of that water finds its way into cracks and crevices and then pools underground. Over thousands of years, that water has filled basins, and if you drill deep enough, you might find it. Most of rural Arizona survives on groundwater, and most of it is unregulated. Haley Paul of the Audubon Society says that lack of oversight is beginning to show, because as water tables drop, big companies are drilling deep wells. “Every year, the water table is dropping,” Paul said. “And every year more people’s wells are going dry. And we’re just letting it happen.” Big agriculture has discovered Arizona’s soil, sunshine and laissez faire mindset. … ” Read more from KJZZ here: Groundwater is critical to rural Arizona — but there’s a struggle to regulate it
ASU experts predict how water consumption might look in our state, based on the science of today
“The landscape at Lake Mead in Arizona looks apocalyptic. Drastically lowered water levels that have left a “bathtub ring” around the perimeter and uncovered junk that was thrown into the reservoir decades ago have changed the ecosystem and impacted the tourism industry. Will the Valley of the Sun face the same fate? Climate change has produced a megadrought that has reduced water in the Colorado River, which was already overallocated to the seven states in its basin. Cuts in the water allotments were imposed in 2022, and this summer, the federal government increased those cuts. Arizona will lose about one-fifth of its share. … ” Read more from Arizona State University here: ASU experts predict how water consumption might look in our state, based on the science of today
Lake Mead officials, public to decide management of launch ramp access amid low water levels
“Lake Mead National Recreation Area is said to host public meetings to decide how to manage launch ramp access amid record low water levels. The park also said they will meet with Tribes to gain their perspectives. “Already low water levels are decreasing at a more rapid rate than decades of projections indicated was likely. Climate change worsened drought requires us to think differently and plan for less predictable water levels into the future,” said acting superintendent, Stan Austin. “The purpose of our Sustainable Low Water Access Plan is to develop a strategic direction for the future of motorized boat launching and related commercial services at five key access locations, along with facility and infrastructure needs and related implementation actions at these locations.” … ” Read more from KTNV here: Lake Mead officials, public to decide management of launch ramp access amid low water levels
Toss of Trump-era Clean Water Act rule roils Ninth Circuit panel
“A Ninth Circuit panel on Tuesday heard arguments on whether federal judges can vacate a rule by the Trump-era U.S. Environmental Protection Agency without finding the rule unlawful. In July 2020, the Trump administration revised the “Clean Water Act 401 Certification Rule,” which narrowed what issues state and tribal governments can consider when determining whether a project, particularly one discharging pollution into a waterway, complies with state water quality standards. The rule affected the permitting and relicensing process for thousands of industrial projects, including natural gas pipelines, hydroelectric plants, wastewater treatment facilities and construction sites near sensitive wetlands. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News here: Toss of Trump-era Clean Water Act rule roils Ninth Circuit panel
Fear of PFAS disposal costs looms over firefighting foam switch
“Airports and other places that rely on PFAS-enabled foams to fight fires should start to prepare to manage the wastes they’ll generate by switching to non-PFAS alternatives, attorneys and consultants say. Congress ordered the Pentagon to release requirements for firefighting foams made without per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by the end of January. Once new PFAS-free foams that meet the military’s standards are available, that will open the door to military facilities along with oil refineries, airports, fire departments, and other private entities replacing their existing stocks of the PFAS-based foam, or AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam). But swapping the PFAS-based fire suppressants at just one facility can generate tens of thousands of gallons of waste, said Matthew Magnuson, a chemist with the Environmental Protection Agency’s research office. … ” Read more from Bloomberg Law here: Fear of PFAS disposal costs looms over firefighting foam switch
5 things to know about how SWOT will look at the world’s water
“On Dec. 12, NASA will launch the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite into Earth orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission is a collaborative effort between NASA and the French space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) – with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency – that will survey water on more than 90% of the planet’s surface. The satellite will measure the height of water in Earth’s freshwater bodies and the ocean, providing insights into how the ocean influences climate change; how a warming world affects lakes, rivers, and reservoirs; and how communities can better prepare for disasters, like floods. Here are five ways that SWOT will change what we know about water on Earth ... ” Read more from JPL here: 5 things to know about how SWOT will look at the world’s water
NASA study: rising sea level could exceed estimates for U.S. Coasts
“By 2050, sea level along contiguous U.S. coastlines could rise as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) above today’s waterline, according to researchers who analyzed nearly three decades of satellite observations. The results from the NASA Sea Level Change Team could help refine near-term projections for coastal communities that are bracing for increases in both catastrophic and nuisance flooding in coming years. Global sea level has been rising for decades in response to a warming climate, and multiple lines of evidence indicate the rise is accelerating. The new findings support the higher-range scenarios outlined in an interagency report released in February 2022. … ” Read more from NASA here: NASA study: rising sea level could exceed estimates for U.S. Coasts
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.