A wrap-up of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …
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METROPOLITAN’S IMPORTED WATER COMMITTEE: Southern California’s worsening water supply situation
“As we look at the supply outlook for the next year, we again stress the importance of our member agencies in preparing their governing bodies and communities for mandatory restrictions this next year,” said Noosha Razavian, Associate Resource Specialist.
At the November meeting of Metropolitan’s Imported Water Committee, staff briefed committee members on the Colorado River’s worsening conditions and what Metropolitan’s water supplies look like as staff prepares for a dry 2023.
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.
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
Another California desalination plant approved — the most contentious one yet
“The California Coastal Commission tonight approved another desalination plant, despite citing its high costs, risks to Monterey Bay’s environment and “the most significant environmental justice issues” the commission has faced in recent years. The commission’s divided, 8-to-2 vote came after 13 hours of debate at a Salinas public hearing packed with several hundred people, plus more crammed into overflow space. Many of the 375 who signed up to speak opposed the project — some in tears. Much of the debate focused on the fairness of locating a for-profit company’s facility in the Monterey County city of Marina — which does not need the water and is home to designated disadvantaged neighborhoods. The expensive supply will flow to other communities, including the whiter, wealthy enclaves of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Another California desalination plant approved — the most contentious one yet
Governor Newsom Statement on Approval of Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project
“California needs to diversify our water portfolio and stretch existing supplies as extreme weather threatens to reduce the state’s water supply 10% by 2040. Desalination is an important part of the state’s strategy to address the threats of extreme weather. I support the Coastal Commission’s decision to allow this project to move forward and I’ll continue supporting innovative solutions to bolster our state’s water resilience.”
“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
Praise and criticism for river flow deal reached by Modesto, Turlock irrigation districts
“The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts and San Francisco finally have reached a deal with the state on protecting fish in the Tuolumne River. The eight-year pact, announced Thursday, boosts releases from Don Pedro Reservoir but at a volume lower than the diverters had feared. They also will pay for about $64 million worth of nonflow habitat projects, such as rebuilding gravel spawning beds for salmon. The Tuolumne River Trust, an environmental group, said the agreement falls short of what is needed for the waterway. It supports a previous state plan to roughly double releases from Don Pedro. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Praise and criticism for river flow deal reached by Modesto, Turlock irrigation districts
Westlands shake-up: Reformers sweep election, oust water board’s president. Is its GM next?
“A slate of candidates aiming to reform the powerful Westlands Water District swept into victory on Monday night, cementing a new board majority and likely spelling the end of the line for the district’s general manager. The four candidates – Justin Diener, Ernie Costamagna, Jeremy Hughes, and Ross Franson – captured the four available seats in preliminary results. In the process, they are primed to boot the lone incumbent running for re-election from his seat – current Westlands board president Ryan Ferguson. … ” Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun here: Westlands shake-up: Reformers sweep election, oust water board’s president. Is its GM next?
“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
Stanford scientists uncover ancient “super highways” to increase groundwater recharge
“In the chronically overpumped San Joaquin Valley, groundwater recharge can’t happen fast enough. And researchers at Stanford University have found underground highways that could put recharge into the fast lane. In a new paper released today, scientists show that airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys flown with helicopters can locate ancient underground passageways, called paleochannels. Scientists and water managers alike say this finding could have significant impacts on how water is recharged in the valley. That’s because these specific types of paleochannels, called incised valley fill deposits, are made up of unusually coarse materials, which means water can move quickly through the channels. … ” Read more from SJV Water here: Stanford scientists uncover ancient “super highways” to increase groundwater recharge
“In the last decade, California—along with the rest of the world—has entered a new phase of climate change. The changes that scientists predicted have started to arrive. California’s already variable climate is growing increasingly volatile and unpredictable: The dry periods are hotter and drier, and the wet periods—lately too few and far between—are warmer and often more intense. Across the state, water and land managers are being forced to respond in real time to changes that were once hard to imagine. This report considers the state of water in California: What changes are we seeing now, and what should we expect in the near future? Then it examines how these climate shifts will impact urban and rural communities, agriculture, and the environment. Finally, it explores wet-year strategies that will help Californians get through the dry years. ... ” Read more from the PPIC here: PPIC REPORT: Priorities for California 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
Bill would impose water tax on exported crops
“Alfalfa is often the target of critics of irrigated agriculture who frequently rely upon simplistic explanations to heap scorn upon growing a forage crop in the West during times of drought. Two Democratic congressmen from Arizona — Ruben Gallego and Raúl Grijalva — last month introduced the “Domestic Water Protection Act of 2022” (H.R. 9194), which would impose an excise tax on the sale of a “water-intensive” crop. The tax is 300% of the price for which the crop is sold and is paid by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of the crop. The bill defines water-intensive crop as a crop grown in an area experiencing prolonged drought at the time such crop is grown, and by a manufacturer, producer, or importer that is a foreign corporation or foreign government. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Bill would impose water tax on exported crops
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
California tries to harness megastorm floods to ease crippling droughts
“The land along the Arroyo Pasajero Creek, halfway between Sacramento and Los Angeles, is too dry to farm some years and dangerously flooded in others. Amid the cycles of wet and dry — both phenomena exacerbated by climate change — a coalition of local farmers and the nearby city of Huron are trying to turn former hemp and tomato fields into massive receptacles that can hold water as it percolates into the ground during wet years. This project and others like it across California’s Central Valley breadbasket aim to capture floodwaters that would otherwise rush out to the sea, or damage towns, cities and crops. … ” Read more from Reuters News here: California tries to harness megastorm floods to ease crippling droughts
ICYMI: Superior Court Of California reaffirms the Delta Stewardship Council’s broad authority as Delta stewards
“For the second time since the Delta Stewardship Council’s establishment in 2010, its regulatory authority has been upheld by California’s judicial branch, clearing the way for the Council to continue to apply its expertise and exercise its broad authority in determining how to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Delta Reform Act. On November 4, the Superior Court of California ruled in favor of the Council regarding lawsuits filed by 17 parties challenging two amendments to the Delta Plan and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). … ” Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council via Maven’s Notebook here: Superior Court Of California reaffirms the Delta Stewardship Council’s broad authority as Delta stewards
California Drought: ‘It can’t stop snowing’ – The critical need for snowpack in NorCal
“ABC10 meteorologist Brenden Mincheff gives a drought update after last week’s winter storm that brought rain and snow to Northern California.”
A look into snowpack data at the Central Sierra Snow Lab
“The latest drought monitor, released Thursday, showed some minor improvements in drought status. Most of these improvements came along California’s northern coast but the areas experiencing the worst of the drought, like the San Joaquin Valley, saw no improvement. The monitor stops collecting data for its weekly updates at 4 a.m. Pacific time, so much of the rain that fell from the early week storm was not accounted for on this week’s update. This means the state may be in a bit better shape on next week’s monitor, but still has a long way to go to escape drought. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: A look into snowpack data at the Central Sierra Snow Lab
Are native fishes and reservoirs compatible?
“The question addressed in this blog comes from a new PPIC report that calls for reforms in management of environmental water stored behind dams in California. The report shows it is possible to manage water in ways that are compatible with maintaining a natural ecosystem in streams below and above dams (Null et al. 2022). An appendix to this report focuses on fishes (Moyle et al. 2022). It provides information on how dams and reservoirs affect native fish populations and supports the need for improved water management to avoid future extinctions. California has a unique assemblage of fishes native to its rivers and streams. … ” Read more from the California Water Blog here: Are native fishes and reservoirs compatible?
Amid California’s drought, environmental laws get scrutiny
“The impacts of California’s interminable drought are well-known. But one aspect has drawn little relatively attention — its relationship with environmental laws. Last year was the second-driest water year on record, with all 58 California counties placed under a drought emergency proclamation, according to California’s official drought website. The map shows how the vast majority of California is suffering from moderate to extreme drought conditions. The impacts of a water shortage ultimately will affect everyone in California as usable water continues its downward trend, says California Water Watch, which tracks the state’s water conditions. It notes that the next two decades could see California lose “10 percent of its water supplies” due to the warming climate. … ” Read more from Capitol Weekly here: Amid California’s drought, environmental laws get scrutiny
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
Dan Walters: Could the ocean slake California’s thirst?
““Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.” Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned those words in his 1798 poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” to describe the plight of becalmed sailors who could die of thirst while surrounded by limitless expanses of undrinkable seawater. In a way, it also describes California’s plight. Despite its 3,427 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, including bays, inlets and tidal marshes, the state has an ever-widening gap between its demand for water and its supply. Naturally, there has been a decades-long debate over whether the state should tap into that endless supply of seawater to bridge the gap, emulating other arid and semi-arid societies, particularly in Australia and the Mideast. … ” Read more from Cal Matters here: Dan Walters: Could the ocean slake California’s thirst?
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
How did winter-run salmon do in summer 2022? Not good.
Tom Cannon writes, “First the bad news. The production in 2022 of winter-run salmon fry in the upper Sacramento River near Redding was at record low levels, similar to the disaster years 2014 and 2015, maybe worse. Next, more bad news (there is no good news). Most of the fry are now in the 100-mile reach below Red Bluff, with only a small proportion to date (November 7) reaching Knights Landing below Chico. Flows remain too low for good fry survival, with little flow increase following late October and early November rains. … ” Read more from California Fisheries here: How did winter-run salmon do in summer 2022? Not good.
Editorial: The price of environmental damage in California? Less than a tank of gas for these farmers
The Sacramento Bee editorial board writes, “What is the cost of defying California’s environmental laws? Less than $50. That’s all Northern California farmers will pay for blatantly draining the Shasta River in defiance of the state’s drought regulations last summer, likely killing protected salmon. The Shasta River Water Association is an irrigation district serving about 100 farmers and ranchers in Siskiyou County. Over eight days, its members drained nearly two-thirds of the river to fill livestock ponds in the area. This was the primary finding of a Bee investigation that suggests California is unable to stop farmers from draining water as they wish — no matter how much damage is done to the environment. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Editorial: The price of environmental damage in California? Less than a tank of gas for these farmers
The demise of Sacramento river spring-run, fall-run, and late-fall-run chinook salmon
Tom Cannon writes, “We all know the story of the demise of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam over the past several decades. But what has happened to the other three Chinook runs: the spring, fall, and late-fall runs? They too have declined. Just 50 years ago, 300-500 thousand Chinook salmon ascended the Sacramento River to spawn. This was decades after most of the big Central Valley dams were built. Today, less than 10,000 Chinook salmon return to spawn near Redding. Most of these are Battle Creek and Livingston Stone hatchery fish, plus strays from Feather, American, Mokelumne, and Merced hatcheries. Wild, native Chinook are becoming increasingly rare with each decade. There are many factors that have led to the demise of Sacramento River Chinook salmon. No doubt, the two major droughts (76-77 and 87-92) had major roles. There was bad management and lack of regulatory protection on many levels. Today, the details of a post mortem are of less value than recognizing the problem and doing something about it. … ” Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here: The demise of Sacramento river spring-run, fall-run, and late-fall-run chinook salmon
Commentary: Water market is playing unsustainable game of chicken
Stephen Marks, the Elden Smith Professor of Economics at Pomona College, writes, “A Claremont friend of ours recently confessed, she is depressed if she sees a brown lawn, and she is depressed if she sees a green lawn. We think of our friend as reasonably well-adjusted, so lawns do seem to be the culprits here. Indeed, out for one of our walks on a Thursday evening — not a permissible sprinkler day — my wife and I see homes in our neighborhood with the sprinklers going full blast, with a steady flow of water running into the street. The L.A. Times recently interviewed Max Gomberg, who resigned as a senior manager with the California State Water Board out of his frustration over inaction in Sacramento on water. He described participants in the water market as playing a game of chicken, waiting to see who would blink first, taking us down an unsustainable path. … ” Continue reading at the Claremont Courier here: Commentary: Water market is playing unsustainable game of chicken
Collaborative solutions could benefit Mono Lake and LA—again
Martha Davis, Mono Lake Committee’s former Executive Director and a current Board member, writes, “The Mono Lake Committee has long supported Los Angeles’ vision for obtaining the city’s water supplies from local sources, including increased stormwater capture, restoration of LA’s substantial groundwater basins, water efficiency, and increased recycling of its highly treated wastewater. In fact, 30 years ago we raised more than $120 million in state and federal funds for Los Angeles to invest in the development of water efficiency measures to permanently replace a portion of the stream diversions from the Mono Basin. Those funds were strongly supported by LA community groups, such as our friends at Mothers of East Los Angeles, because they helped make water bills more affordable for low-income residents and simultaneously helped protect Mono Lake. Now the problem of having sufficient water is once again a shared challenge. … ” Continue reading at the Mono Lake Committee here: Collaborative solutions could benefit Mono Lake and LA—again
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
State agency claims climate change is rapidly accelerating in Golden State
Katy Grimes, Editor of the California Globe, writes, “Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to tout the need for drastic climate change regulations and policies. “Every Californian has suffered from the effects of record high temperatures, dry winters, prolonged drought, and proliferating wildfires in recent years,” a new climate change report says. But where is the actual science backing these statements and subsequent policies? … ” Continue reading at the California Globe here: State agency claims climate change is rapidly accelerating in Golden State
Why won’t California receive any money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill?
Fernando Lozano, the Morris B. and Gladys S. Pendleton professor in the Department of Economics at Pomona College and chairman of the faculty at Inland Empire Economic Partnership: Economic Council, writes, “The United States Department of Energy recently awarded $2.8 billion to 21 companies across the nation to fund projects for the development of lithium batteries and the electric grid. These grants are part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. This investment will total more than $9 billion as recipients will match the federal awards. This program can be truly transformational. The bad news: None of the 21 awards were given to California. Among the awards, three are in Nevada, two in Washington state, and three in Tennessee. Again, none in California. The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill shows the power of the government to guide technological progress and develop new industries. ... ” Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Why won’t California receive any money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill?
Tahoe’s largest wetland restoration wraps up construction after 3 years
“Major construction is complete for the multi-year Upper Truckee Marsh Restoration project, Lake Tahoe’s largest ever wetland restoration, the California Tahoe Conservancy announced Monday. The Conservancy has completed steps to repair damage caused by 20th century development, restoring and enhancing hundreds of acres of wetland habitat. A new trail offers improved access for all to experience and enjoy the lake’s shoreline. “As the largest wetland restoration project in the Lake Tahoe Basin, this is a remarkable accomplishment,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Restoring this wetland will help keep Tahoe waters clean, provide great habitat for fish and wildlife, and be one more beautiful place we can all visit.” … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Tahoe’s largest wetland restoration wraps up construction after 3 years
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
Federal drought relief might be on the way for A.C.I.D.
“During a special meeting held Thursday October 19, the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District board (A.C.I.D.) voted to accept a resolution authorizing the powerful water group it belongs to, the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors, to negotiate for, accept, and distribute federal drought relief funds on the district’s behalf. During the meeting, A.C.I.D. general manager Jered Shipley presented the A.C.I.D. board with a letter from the Bureau of Reclamation stating that drought relief funds of up to $60 million have been identified as a potential payout for districts within the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors group, including A.C.I.D. … ” Read more from Shasta Scout here: Federal drought relief might be on the way for A.C.I.D.
“As Northern California prepares for the possibility of a fourth dry year in a row, the potential for flood damage may seem distant, but the city of Sacramento Department of Utilities spokesperson Carlos Eliason says that doesn’t mean the threat is non-existent. “We can flood any single year, even if it is a drought year,” Eliason said. Weather and climate forecasters agree: climate change is projected to increase the duration and intensity of future droughts in the Western U.S. but it is also expected to accelerate Earth’s natural water cycle. That means when rain does come, it may be heavier and more extreme than what we’ve experienced in the past. … ” Read more from KCRA here: Despite drought, rising costs, Sacramento officials emphasize the importance flood insurance
Getting Mono Lake to rise
“From the shore of Mono Lake to the streets of Los Angeles, the Committee had a busy summer answering questions about the current low lake level, its causes, and what the future holds. In 1994, nearly 30 years ago now, the California State Water Resources Control Board issued its landmark water rights decision after extensively reviewing the devastating impacts of excessive stream diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP), which began in 1941 and continued for decades. … Today Mono Lake is only 25% of the way to the 6392-foot Public Trust lake level; therefore, the State Water Board will hold a hearing to look at changes to DWP’s annual stream diversion amounts.After years of waiting and watching to see if Mono Lake would reach the Public Trust lake level under the current State Water Board rules, it is time to take a new course. We have heard from many members and friends that you have questions about this new path, so we have set out to answer the most common ones here. ... ” Read more from the Mono Lake Committee here: Getting Mono Lake to rise
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. ... ”
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
Western US cities to remove decorative grass amid drought
“A group of 30 agencies that supply water to homes and businesses throughout the western United States has pledged to rip up lots of decorative grass to help keep water in the over-tapped Colorado River. The agreement signed Tuesday by water agencies in Southern California, Phoenix and Salt Lake City and elsewhere illustrates an accelerating shift in the American West away from well-manicured grass that has long been a totem of suburban life, having taken root alongside streets, around fountains and between office park walkways. … ” Read more from the AP here: Western US cities to remove decorative grass amid drought