DAILY DIGEST, 11/17: Largest dam-removal project in U.S. history gets the go-ahead in CA; Climate-challenged California must learn to thrive with less water; California reeling: When mudslides follow wildfires; Fate of possible Marina desal plant will be decided today; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • MEETING: Delta Stewardship Council meets beginning at 9am. Agenda items include a public hearing to receive comments on proposed amendments to implement the Delta Levees Investment Strategy (DLIS); uodate on the Delta Science Program’s Ecosystem Restoration Progress Review, and an update on the Delta Adapts project. Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • PUBLIC MEETING: SAFER Advisory Group from 9am to 2pm. Agenda items include process improvements and performance indicators, 2023 drinking water needs assessment, SAFER program updates, and advisory group member announcements. Click here for the meeting notice and remote access instructions.
  • MEETING: The Coastal Commission meets today at 9am.  Among the items on the agenda, appeals on Cal Am’s desalination plant in Marina.  Click here for the agenda.
  • WEBINAR: A Tale of Two Cities: Community Non-Potable Reuse Adoption Pilot Study from 11am to 12pm.  Join us on November 17 for a presentation on the latest onsite water reuse research. The Two City Pilot Study of Community Non-Potable Reuse Adoption was conducted by the Eastern Research Group and the WateReuse Association. The webcast will cover the assessment conducted in Cincinnati and San Francisco, key research findings, and a discussion of future research and onsite reuse efforts.  Click here to register.
  • MEETING: Delta Protection Commission from 4pm to 6pm.  Agenda items include Report on Delta Stewardship Council activities, Review and consider approval of draft comments on Delta Conveyance Project, Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) report, and the election of Chair and Vice Chair for 2023. Click here for full agenda and remote access instructions.

In California water news today …

Largest dam-removal project in U.S. history gets the go-ahead in California

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted Thursday to allow the license of four dams on the Klamath River to lapse, giving the final major go-ahead to the largest dam removal and river restoration project in the nation’s history.  The vote by federal regulators opens the door for the first of the four hydroelectric dams to come down next year in what has been a two-decade effort to liberate the once mighty river that spans southern Oregon and Northern California.  The goal of the nearly half billion-dollar project is to restore the health of flora and fauna in the vast Klamath Basin, particularly salmon. The fish once numbered in the hundreds of thousands there and boasted the third largest salmon run in the continental U.S. Removing the dams from the 250-mile waterway will open up fish passage, improve river flow and uproot toxic algal blooms. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Largest dam-removal project in U.S. history gets the go-ahead in California

SEE ALSO:  It’s official: FERC approves removal of Klamath dams, from the Eureka Times-Standard

Climate-challenged California must learn to thrive with less water

California has long been a hub of innovation. But managing the increasing variability of our weather in an era of climate change will challenge even the best and brightest water and land managers. Conditions are changing fast—and they will keep changing. And the warmer, drier conditions are revealing some profound weaknesses in our water supply systems.  As we argue in our new report, Priorities for California’s Water: Thriving with Less, even if we do everything right, water supplies are likely to decline. The grand challenge for 21st-century water management in California is learning to thrive with less.  It is important to acknowledge that climate change is here and not some future threat. California’s already variable climate is becoming increasingly volatile, with drier dry periods and wetter—but less frequent—wet periods. … ”  Read more from the PPIC here:  Climate-challenged California must learn to thrive with less water

California reeling: When mudslides follow wildfires

As 2017 ended, the Thomas Fire raged in the mountains flanking the Southern California town of Montecito. The new year had barely begun when a second disaster struck. On January 9, 2018 a torrent of mud, car-sized boulders and other debris barreled into the town. It was the middle of the night. More than 100 houses were destroyed. Twenty-three people died.  Southern California is already a hotspot for landslides on wildfire-ravaged slopes, and climate change is making these devastating events even worse. And Northern California, which so far has been largely spared from mudslides on burn scars, may be next. Reporting for KneeDeep Times, journalist Robin Meadows investigates the science of landslides that follow wildfires in California. What have scientists learned since then about the climate extremes that drove this catastrophe? Will science that is only now emerging yield tighter predictions of when and where post-fire mudslides will hit? The answers will help emergency services providers protect lives and property as these mudslides intensify in a warming world. … ”  Read more from Knee Deep Times here: California reeling: When mudslides follow wildfires

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 Desert Review here:  Farm groups highlight the importance of alfalfa in the face of ongoing western drought

DWR awards $5 million for Delta communities to improve flood emergency response

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced awarding $5 million in funding for seven emergency response agencies within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to increase their ability to respond to flood emergencies. This funding will help to improve the emergency response efforts for first responders and help these communities prepare for threats of flooding in the Delta, which is increasingly vulnerable to flooding from storm events and sea level rise.  Planning for flood emergencies should be a top priority even though California is in the middle of an extreme drought, with anticipation of a fourth dry year. Recent studies have shown California communities, especially in the Delta region, are at increased risk of flooding events due to climate change. … ”  Read more from DWR News here: DWR awards $5 million for Delta communities to improve flood emergency response

Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

At its Nov. 15, 2022 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $24.46 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 16 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some endangered species — while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.  Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. The General Fund is also being used, which will help to achieve the 30×30 Initiative (the goal to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030) and nature-based solutions. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

Updated fish advisory for the Central and South Delta offers safe-eating advice for several species

An updated fish advisory issued today for the Central and South Delta in Contra Costa, Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties provides safe-eating advice for American Shad, black bass species, bullhead species, catfish species, Common Carp, crappie species, Goldfish, Sacramento Sucker, small baitfish species, Steelhead Trout, Striped Bass, sunfish species, and White Sturgeon.  The advisory covers all water bodies in the central and southern portions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta south of Highway 12, except the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River south of Stockton. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) updated the recommendations based on the levels of mercury.  “Many fish have nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart disease and are excellent sources of protein,” said OEHHA Director Dr. Lauren Zeise. “By following our guidelines for fish caught in the Central and South Delta, people can safely eat fish low in chemical contaminants and enjoy the well-known health benefits of fish consumption.” … ”  Read more from OEHHA here: Updated fish advisory for the Central and South Delta offers safe-eating advice for several species

California sues manufacturers like 3M and DuPont over toxic ‘forever chemicals’

On November 10, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit against chemical companies like 3M and DuPont for endangering public health, and harming and destroying the state’s natural resources with the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.  In the lawsuit, Bonta alleges manufacturers knew PFAS were toxic yet continued to produce them while hiding their risks from the public.  “Toxic PFAS contaminate California’s water, food, soil and air,” said Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group. “Forever chemicals are used in countless consumer products – from personal care to textiles to food packaging.”  “PFAS polluters must pay for contaminating our state and our bodies with these insidious chemicals,” he added. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Working Group here: California sues manufacturers like 3M and DuPont over toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Engineer deploys research on ‘mud batteries’ for powering sustainable agriculture

With growing populations, climate change, and high levels of consumption, many areas of the world can expect to face water shortages by 2050. The majority of freshwater on earth is used for agriculture, driving the need for soil moisture sensing systems that are proven to help farmers more efficiently water their crops. While this tool has the potential to minimize or avoid a water crisis, it is not widely used due to cost and difficult maintenance.  Microbial fuel cells, a method for gathering tiny amounts of energy from bacteria that live in soil, are a potential solution to provide renewable energy to power soil moisture detection systems on farms. UC Santa Cruz Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Colleen Josephson published new research exploring the current state of this technology and future opportunities for expanding its efficacy and impact. … ”  Read more from UC Santa Cruz here: Engineer deploys research on ‘mud batteries’ for powering sustainable agriculture

California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045

California air quality officials released a bold climate plan Wednesday that outlines in broad strokes how the state intends to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade and eventually eliminate its carbon footprint.  The so-called scoping plan released by the California Air Resources Board reflects Gov. Gavin Newsom’s accelerated goal of curtailing planet-warming emissions by 48% this decade compared with 1990 levels. State law requires that California’s emissions be reduced at least 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2045, at which point any emissions from human activity would be offset by natural ecosystems and other solutions.  After months of public meetings and policymaker discussions, this finalized plan gives the clearest picture yet as to how the world’s fourth-largest economy can meet its ambitious climate targets while maintaining economic growth and accommodating a larger population. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045

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In commentary today …

Drought impacts an entire agricultural ecosystem

Tim Johnson, president and CEO of the California Rice Commission, writes, “This third year of extreme drought is taking a devastating toll on agriculture in California. We see pictures of orchards being removed, dry canals and fields that should be a verdant green now a sunburned brown.  The impacts on the farm are easy to see. The effects on our communities and on the wildlife that depend on agricultural lands in production are no less real, even if they are harder to observe.  The University of California, Davis, estimates that 530,000 acres went unplanted in the state this year. Cotton, tomatoes, forage crops, sunflowers, seed crops and rice are all affected. In the Sacramento Valley, the loss of 14,300 jobs and $1.3 billion in economic value added can be attributed to the dry fields. This is in addition to the $950 million lost in crop production.  But the impact goes far beyond the family farm. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Drought impacts an entire agricultural ecosystem

A different kind of harvest is in store this year

Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition, writes, “Harvest season is an iconic time of year. Summer is over, the weather cools and we turn our attention to fall. We associate autumn harvest with plentiful, fresh food, delivered to our grocery stores, and finally making its way to the family dinner table. Living in California, which produces 60% of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables, we get the best of this bounty.  Unfortunately, this year will be different. According to the University of California, Merced, 695,000 acres of California farmland is unplanted and will not produce anything this year — a 76 percent increase from last year.  Much of the blame lies with the ongoing drought. While the wet years are getting wetter and the dry ones hotter, the same cycle has occurred often in California’s past. We got by before. What’s changed? … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here:  A different kind of harvest is in store this year

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Today’s featured article …

METROPOLITAN IMPORTED WATER COMMITTEE: Delta Conveyance Project draft EIR, part 2; Collaborative salmonid recovery project

At the November meeting of Metropolitan’s Imported Water Committee, agenda items included the second of a two-part presentation on the Delta Conveyance Project draft environmental impact report (EIR) and a presentation on a collaborative effort to restore salmonids in the Central Valley.

Click here to read this article.

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In regional water news and commentary today …

MOUNTAIN COUNTIES

Why a Nevada water utility is looking upstream to forest management in California

Miles and miles away from Washoe County’s border with California, snowpack is starting to fall on the eastern Sierra Nevada. Over the next several months, with a few more storms, that snow will accumulate and begin to slowly melt and run off, trickling into the streams that feed the Truckee River.  The Truckee River, which pours out of Lake Tahoe, winds its way through California and crosses into Nevada, where it is used as a source for water in Reno and Sparks. What happens in the forests that the Truckee cuts across has a direct effect on what happens downstream.  That’s why the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the main utility for the fast-growing region, is looking upstream to reduce the risk of extreme wildfires that have, in recent years, torn through forests across the West, scarring soil, eroding streambeds and altering the water cycle. A fire can affect both water quality through contamination and water quantity through runoff changes. ... ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here: Why a Nevada water utility is looking upstream to forest management in California

Harmful algal blooms persist in Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is known internationally for its’ beautiful blue hue, but what if that were to change?  UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center Director Ph.D Geoffrey Schadlow says,  “Certainly, this year at Lake Tahoe, there have been warning signs put up because there have been observations of cyanobacteria being present.”  There are thousands of different types of algae, many of which are actually helpful to their environments. Few are harmful like cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is concerned a Harmful Algae Bloom or HAB. … ”  Read more from Channel 4 here: Harmful algal blooms persist in Lake Tahoe

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

Officials mark Bear River Setback Levee completion

Yuba Water Agency officials celebrated the completion of the Bear River Setback Levee on Wednesday after over a decade of development. The improved levee system will strengthen flood protection for the city of Wheatland, increase channel capacity and provide improved access for maintenance operations during high-water events, officials said.  With Wheatland’s experience with catastrophic floods in 1986 and 1997 as well as a high-water event in 2017, officials believe that the setback levee will bring the area a step closer to achieving the 100-year level flood protection level as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With these improvements, there is a 1-in-100 chance of a flood exceeding the levee system in any given year.… ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat here: Officials mark Bear River Setback Levee completion

BAY AREA

Weather models hint at chance of rain in SF Bay Area next week

The San Francisco Bay Area has seen cold, dry weather in recent days, and forecasters say these conditions are expected to persist through this week —  but a shift may come next week with a hint of rain.  Cindy Palmer, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, told SFATE on Tuedsay that models show a cold front from the Gulf of Alaska dropping down into Northern California on Monday. Rain could start falling as early as Monday and continue into Tuesday and Wednesday, but Palmer said the forecast may shift in the coming days. Palmer said there’s no indication that a superstorm — a huge rain event — could hit the Bay Area next week, but some wetting rain is likely. … ”  Read more from SF Gate here: Weather models hint at chance of rain in SF Bay Area next week

Pleasanton’s water, housing troubles converge

“The city’s ongoing water and chemical woes have spilled over to its housing plans and will likely require the city to include a special explanation when it certifies its Housing Element Plan early next year. At their Nov. 9 meeting, planning commissioners discussed Pleasanton’s significant water-supply deficit while reviewing the Housing Element’s draft environmental impact report (EIR). They acknowledged that the outlined housing plans will not be possible until the city resolves its water issues, which include chemical contamination and an anticipated closure of the city’s wells in 2023.  The commission, however, still hopes to meet the Housing Element’s Jan. 31, 2023 deadline. … ”  Read more from the Livermore Independent here: Pleasanton’s water, housing troubles converge

Gary Kremen concedes water district race; Eisenberg vows to oppose Pacheco Dam

In an outcome that could change whether Silicon Valley’s largest water district moves forward with a $2.5 billion plan to build a new dam at Pacheco Pass, voters have shaken up the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board.  Gary Kremen, a tech investor who co-founded Match.com and once owned domain names like sex.com, jobs.com and housing.com, has been defeated in his effort to seek re-election to a third term by Rebecca Eisenberg, a Palo Alto attorney.  Kremen conceded Wednesday after county elections officials updated the count and reported he was trailing 54.8% to 45.2% — or by 7,765 votes with roughly 8,000 ballots left to count. He was seeking re-election to the water district’s 7th district, which represents Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and parts of South San Jose. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: Gary Kremen concedes water district race; Eisenberg vows to oppose Pacheco Dam

CENTRAL COAST

Fate of possible Marina desal plant will be decided Thursday

The California Coastal Commission will decide whether to permit a proposed Marina desalination plant on Thursday. But the mayor of Marina, Bruce Carlos Delgado, plans to fight it.  “Marina gets none of the water, but all of the harm,” Delgado said. “Our air, our coastline, our groundwater is threatened, our vertical pools will dry up. The walking path to the beach will be past industrial facilities that Monterey and Carmel will never allow on their beaches.”  The project was proposed by California American Water, which would use the plant to deliver millions of gallons of water to about 100,000 of its customers on the Monterey Peninsula, which are predominantly wealthier communities: the city of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea and the neighborhoods of Pebble Beach. … ”  Read more from KSBY here: Fate of possible Marina desal plant will be decided Thursday

WATCH THE COMMISSION MEETING: Desal item expected to start at 11am.  Click here for the agenda.

Commentary: Desal answer for affordable housing

Jose Barrera, state director for the California League of United Latin American Citizens, writes, “As the California state director of one of the oldest Hispanic civil rights organizations in the country, I’m a tireless advocate for the Latino community – and that includes around how the impacts of climate change disproportionately impact my community.  The Monterey Peninsula is home to a rich culture of Latinos who have dedicated generations to the development of an unparalleled agricultural economy. But, despite the work that the Latino community has put into the region, our community is the one that suffers the most from water shortages around the region. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Commentary: Desal answer for affordable housing

Commentary: Pure Water Monterey expansion solves water crisis

Margaret-Anne Coppernoll writes, “Pure Water Monterey Expansion solves the Monterey Peninsula water crisis once and for all, while the California American Water desalination project creates a crisis, not only for our Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary but also for the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, both being survival essentials for Monterey’s and the Central Coast’s robust businesses, hospitality, and agriculture industries, but are vital to fisheries and restaurant economies as well.  There is a lot of misunderstood information that needs to be supplemented with scientific facts on land, sea and air perspectives. Our citizens have the right to know as their health and economic well-being are at stake. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald here: Pure Water Monterey expansion solves water crisis

All the spin on desalination makes it easy to forget what’s at stake

Sara Rubin, editor of Monterey Weekly, writes, “In 1995, Bill Clinton was president, Pixar produced Toy Story (the first fully computer-animated feature film), and a NATO offensive ended war in Bosnia. It was also the year the California State Water Resources Control Board determined that California American Water was pumping roughly three times more water from the Carmel River than it is legally entitled to. The board issued Order 95-10, requiring Cal Am to cut back its use of river water to the legal limit.  Here we are, 27 years later, and the cease-and-desist order is still in effect. That means restrictions on new water hookups in the Cal Am service area on the Monterey Peninsula and in Carmel Valley, and is part of the reason development of new housing in this area is stifled. … ”  Continue reading at Monterey Weekly here: All the spin on desalination makes it easy to forget what’s at stake

Seaside considers drilling a test well next to a native plant garden in a city park

For the past three-plus years, a group of Seaside residents, volunteering for the nonprofit Friends of Seaside Parks (FOSPA), has been planting and tending native plants in various parks around the city, the largest being Lincoln Cunningham Park, which is three acres.  That’s included thousands of hours on the weekends for those volunteers – who have weeded and watered the native plant gardens – not to mention all the hours spent acquiring plants and planning garden projects.  So it was quite a surprise for Cathy Rivera, who’s helped spearhead various projects, to find out during Seaside’s Environmental Commission meeting Nov. 7 that Seaside might be drilling a test well at Lincoln Cunningham Park in the garden FOSPA has planted and tended. ... ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Seaside considers drilling a test well next to a native plant garden in a city park

Paso Robles: California’s first groundwater rules rub against SGMA

San Luis Obispo (SLO) County has been restricting new groundwater wells in the Paso Robles subbasin for nearly a decade. Now county supervisors are hoping to go further by tacking on a carbon sequestration mandate for any new plantings.  The county is separately developing a revised groundwater sustainability plan (GSP) for the Salinas Valley basin—after the state rejected its initial plan and after agricultural leaders chastised the county for excluding farmers in the process.  The region has grown to dominate wine production outside of the North Coast region, where pricey real estate values have restricted expansion. Yet Paso Robles winegrape growers—who have also set high sustainability standards—have seen property prices skyrocket since the county approved the well ordinance in 2013, with the restrictions taking full effect three years later. ... ”  Read more from Agri-Pulse here: California’s first groundwater rules rub against SGMA

SLO city signals interest in selling recycled water to Edna Valley

Could San Luis Obispo’s wastewater help save Edna Valley agriculture?  That was the question of the night on Nov. 15 for the SLO City Council, which took a deep dive into the future of its recycled water program—including whether it wants to sell any “extra” water to Edna Valley to help neighboring farmers reduce their draw on groundwater.  By a 4-1 consensus (with Councilmember Jan Marx dissenting), the City Council agreed that it’d be a good use of city resources to explore short-term sales of recycled water to the Edna Valley region. … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: SLO city signals interest in selling recycled water to Edna Valley 

Commentary: Tell SLO County supervisors that their Paso planting ordinance is bunk

Andrew Christie, the director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, writes, “The Paso Basin Land Use Management Area Planting Ordinance—understandably often shorthanded as PBLUMA—is now slouching toward the SLO County Board of Supervisors after receiving a beat-down from the county Planning Commission of a kind seldom seen in these parts.  Here’s a taste from their recommendation of rejection:  “The benefits of the proposed planting ordinance do not outweigh the significant unavoidable impacts identified in the environmental impact report. … Increased groundwater extractions facilitated by the proposed planting ordinance risk the State Water Resources Control Board taking over the groundwater sustainability plan process if sustainability is not achieved.” … ”  Read more from New Times SLO here: Commentary: Tell SLO County supervisors that their Paso planting ordinance is bunk

Carpinteria:  Water District secures grants, moves into final design and permitting phase for water purification project

The Carpinteria Valley Water District (CVWD) and Carpinteria Sanitary District (CSD) have partnered to develop an advanced water purification facility which will create a drought-resilient water supply for our service area.  It is evident that the district’s existing water supply portfolio is extremely vulnerable during periods of prolonged drought. Lake Cachuma is currently below 32% of its capacity and California water agencies received just 5% of our water allocations this year from the State Water Project (SWP). Equally low or no allocations are expected in the coming years from the SWP.  Our existing water supplies do not provide enough water to meet our customer’s water demand in coming years and to date we have not met our districtwide conservation goals. … ”  Read more from Coastal View here: Water District secures grants, moves into final design and permitting phase for water purification project

EASTERN SIERRA

Los Angeles DWP to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay

Low-income residents, senior citizens and other eligible customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will no longer face shutoffs if they are unable to pay their utility bills, the agency announced Wednesday.  Under a motion adopted unanimously by the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the DWP must halt the practice of water and power shutoffs as a debt collection tool for residents enrolled in its EZ-SAVE program, which offers discounts for income-qualified residents, as well as those enrolled in the Senior Citizen Lifeline Discount Program.  The motion also prohibits shutoffs for all customers during extreme weather events such as heat waves, the agency said. About 147,000 customers are enrolled in EZ-SAVE and 90,000 in the senior citizen program. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Los Angeles DWP to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

‘We Will Win’ Actor James Cromwell against bulldozing Ballona Wetlands

Oscar-nominated actor and star of “Succession” spoke in support of lawsuits aiming to stop a project that plans to bulldoze the Ballona Wetlands on Sunday. More than 200 residents of Venice, Culver City, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey attended an event held by Defend Ballona Wetlands where Cromwell spoke about his support and involvement with the organization. Cromwell said Marcia Hanscom, Executive Director of the Ballona Institute, approached him 25 years ago asking him to visit the wetlands. When he did, Cromwell said it was moving and he knew he wanted to do whatever it took to support efforts to protect it. … ”  Read more from The Patch here: ‘We Will Win’ Actor James Cromwell against bulldozing Ballona Wetlands

Santa Margarita Water District Hholds groundbreaking ceremony for Ranch Water Filtration Plant

The Santa Margarita Water District is getting started on its first drinking water treatment plant, which will be in Rancho Mission Viejo.  SMWD representatives and local officials celebrated the coming new plant with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The Ranch Water Filtration Plant will be located near the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway, and near the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant. … ”  Read more from the Capistrano Dispatch here:  Santa Margarita Water District Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for Ranch Water Filtration Plant

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Along the Colorado River …

Water agencies unite and commit to reducing demands on Colorado River

Recognizing that a reliable water supply is critical to all economies and communities relying on the drought-stricken Colorado River, more than 30 water agencies and providers have committed to take additional actions to reducing water demands and helping protect the Colorado River system.  Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was delivered to the Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, municipal and public water providers in the Upper and Lower Colorado River Basin affirmed their commitments to implement comprehensive and innovative water conservation programs, initiatives, policies, and actions within their communities … “As we consider the long-term aridification of the Colorado River Basin, the math is simple: water uses exceed water supplies,” said John Entsminger, General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “But solving that equation will require all Colorado River water users across every sector to make hard decisions and be fully invested in water conservation if we are going to bring our shared river system into balance.” … ”  Read more from the Metropolitan Water District here: Water agencies unite and commit to reducing demands on Colorado River

SEE ALSOFacing Colorado River shortage, 30 urban suppliers pledge to target decorative grass, from the LA Times

Legal alert: Department of Interior announces intent to (potentially) revise Colorado River reservoir operating guidelines and impose additional cuts in 2023-24 water year

On October 28, 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a release stating it is initiating efforts to modify the existing operating guidelines for Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams in in the 2023 and 2024 water year, potentially paving the way for even more drastic water cuts next year to the Lower Basin states of Arizona, Nevada, and California than those spelled out in existing agreements. While it is too early to speculate about what actions (if any) may result from this process, water managers and right-holders should be aware of the potential for significant changes in river management and take advantage of opportunities for public input. … ”  Read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn here: Legal alert: Department of Interior announces intent to (potentially) revise Colorado River reservoir operating guidelines and impose additional cuts in 2023-24 water year

What role can history play in saving the Great Salt Lake, solving Utah’s water woes?

John Wesley Powell offered a poignant message for Western U.S. communities when he was the featured speaker in a room full of developers and government leaders at a major irrigation conference held in Los Angeles in October 1893.  Powell, then director of the U.S. Geological Survey, started off strong, receiving applause from those listening to him, noted Greg Smoak, a professor of history and director of the American West Center at the University of Utah. The mood quickly shifted to “downright hostility” as Powell began to caution his audience about the water limitations in the West, Smoak notes.
“There is not enough water to irrigate all the lands … There is but a small portion of the irrigable land which can be irrigated when all the water, every drop of water, is utilized,” Powell warned the crowd, adding that he foresaw a future filled with battles over water rights. ... ”  Read more from KSL here: What role can history play in saving the Great Salt Lake, solving Utah’s water woes?

Bill upending how Utahns pay for water gets dammed up in the legislature

A bill that would have dramatically changed how Utahns pay for water will not be advancing in the state legislature this year.  On Wednesday, Senate Revenue & Taxation Committee Chair Dan McCay pulled his bill, announcing to an interim committee “there will be some reworking.”  The bill was viewed as a way to help with a declining Great Salt Lake and an ongoing statewide drought. It had won support from taxpayer watchdogs, environmentalists and some members of the public. But it faced pushback from local water districts, who exercise sizable political influence on Utah’s Capitol Hill. … ”  Read more from Fox 13 here: Bill upending how Utahns pay for water gets dammed up in the legislature

Can agriculture and solar farms coexist? It depends

On a bright October morning, education specialist Allison Jackson leads a small tour group down a wide grassy lane. Rows of solar panels stretch out on either side, their blue-black crystalline faces gleaming in the sun. Between them grows a bounty of leafy green vegetables: dinosaur kale, celery, Swiss chard and more.   This is Jack’s Solar Garden, a 1.2-megawatt agrivoltaics research site in Longmont, Colorado, where farmers and scientists are studying how different crops fare when grown in the partial shade of solar panels. ​Agrivoltaics” is a portmanteau of ​agriculture” and ​photovoltaics,” or solar energy technology, and it’s a burgeoning field in the U.S.  Two farmers — Liza McConnell and Meg Caley — join the group, tugging a cart of hefty, just-harvested celery. It might seem counterproductive to plant crops where, for at least part of the day, they’ll be shaded, but according to McConnell, some types of vegetables have thrived in this setting. She enthusiastically tells the group about the lettuce heads that she helped harvest this summer: They were ​much bigger and more delicious,” she says, than the lettuce that they grew in full sun. … ”  Read more from Canary Media here: Can agriculture and solar farms coexist? It depends

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In national water news today …

Biden administration wins reprieve in fixing Endangered Species Act flaws

The Biden administration can reevaluate changes made by the previous administration to the Endangered Species Act without at the same time fighting a trio of lawsuits by environmentalists and state and local governments that challenged the 2019 overhaul of the law.  U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Oakland on Wednesday granted the requests by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to send the 2019 changes back to them for further reconsideration. The judge left the changes to the ESA intact, saying he couldn’t vacate them without having first ruled on the merits of the environmentalists’ claims. ... ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Biden administration wins reprieve in fixing Endangered Species Act flaws

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: Resources for changes to the Water Unavailability Methodology (Methodology) for the Delta Watershed

NOTICE: Notice of 180-Day Temporary Water Right Permit Application T033339 to Appropriate Water from the Scott River in Siskiyou County

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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