DAILY DIGEST, 11/29: Heavy snow, rain to blast West Coast; New report shows continued water conservation is key to enabling suppliers to meet demand; USBR urges CVP contractors to prepare for another dry year; The ongoing saga to fix San Francisco’s sewers; and more …
Heavy snow, rain to blast West Coast states with travel disruptions
“A quick-moving stream of moisture that will blast areas of the Pacific coast this week could cause major travel disruptions as it produces heavy snow, flooding and strong winds, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. The moisture will take aim at much of the West Coast and move swiftly southward through the middle of the week, before weakening by Friday prior to reaching Southern California. The setup can lead to excessive amounts of rain and snow in a short period of time in the northern and middle portions of the Pacific coast. … ” Read more from AccuWeather here: Heavy snow, rain to blast West Coast states with travel disruptions
Tahoe will get hit with major snow storm, bringing whiteouts and road closures
“A cold front will sweep into the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley, bringing the first wave of rain and snow showers into Northern California on Wednesday. These showers will become more widespread by Wednesday night into Thursday as they seep into Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Oakland. Prevailing northwest winds will then steer moisture from the Pacific Ocean toward the Sierra Nevada. By Thursday, total white-out conditions will be possible in the Tahoe area and Donner Pass, with heavy snow falls over the I-80 corridor between Reno and Auburn. Look for more than 2 feet of snow between 1,000 and 2,000 feet and between 3 to 4 feet of snow above 7,000 feet. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Tahoe will get hit with major snow storm, bringing whiteouts and road closures | Read via MSN News
New report shows continued water conservation is key to enabling suppliers to meet demand
“As directed by 2018 legislation, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today submitted a first report to the State Water Resources Control Board summarizing how urban water districts assess the adequacy of their supplies over the next seven months. Broadly, the assessments show the importance of conservation by individual Californians to help suppliers meet demands through June 30, 2023. In this year’s assessments, urban water suppliers indicate that they will rely on either continued conservation or more aggressive actions to meet demand through June 30, 2023, if dry conditions persist. They report that they can ensure adequate water supplies through water-saving strategies, such as requiring customers to limit outdoor water and providing leak detection and repair services. … ” Read more from DWR News here: New report shows continued water conservation is key to enabling suppliers to meet demand
Reclamation urges Central Valley Project contractors to prepare for potential fourth dry year
“The Bureau of Reclamation is asking its contractors receiving Central Valley Project water for municipal and industrial use to begin planning for potentially extremely limited water supply conditions in 2023. Despite the early storms that California experienced this month, drought conditions continue. Conservative planning efforts will help better manage the limited water resources in the event conditions remain dry and we move into a fourth consecutive drought year. The Central Valley Project began the 2023 water year on October 1 with water storage reservoirs near historic lows. Shasta Reservoir, the state’s largest reservoir and cornerstone of the Central Valley Project, is currently at 31% capacity. If drought conditions extend into 2023, Reclamation will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to meet all the competing needs of the Central Valley Project without beginning the implementation of additional and more severe water conservation actions. … ” Continue reading this press release from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Reclamation urges Central Valley Project contractors to prepare for potential fourth dry year
U.S. warns California cities to prepare for possible water cuts and fourth year of drought
“Federal water managers on Monday warned California cities and industrial users receiving water from the Central Valley Project to prepare for a fourth year of drought and possibly “extremely limited water supply” during 2023. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Interior Department that oversees water resource management, said drought conditions in California have persisted despite early storms this month, and warned of looming water conservation actions. “If drought conditions extend into 2023, Reclamation will find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to meet all the competing needs of the Central Valley Project without beginning the implementation of additional and more severe water conservation actions,” the agency said in a statement. … ” Read more from CNBC here: U.S. warns California cities to prepare for possible water cuts and fourth year of drought
Video: Surplus and shortage—California’s water balancing act
“After three years of virtual events, the PPIC Water Policy Center’s annual fall conference made a welcome return to an in-person format in Sacramento on Friday, November 18. The half-day event began with a welcome from PPIC Water Policy Center assistant director Caity Peterson and a presentation by senior fellow Jeffrey Mount. “The elephant in the room is that conditions have changed,” said Mount. “We’re no longer talking about some future existential threat….we have now moved into the era of the hot drought.” Hotter droughts, he said, coupled with a thirstier atmosphere, are testing California’s water system as never before. This year was “brutal” for agriculture, said Thad Bettner of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District during the first panel, moderated by PPIC Water senior fellow Alvar Escriva-Bou. ... ” Read more from PPIC here: Video: Surplus and shortage—California’s water balancing act
This climate solution saves water and creates solar energy
“California’s newest infrastructure project will hit two proverbial climate birds with one stone. And Los Angeles city officials just decided last week to try one of its own. The plan is to cover some of California’s exposed water canals with solar panels. It will prevent evaporation amidst the state’s historic drought. It will also create renewable energy as the state attempts to meet lofty decarbonization goals. The idea gained traction in California after researchers at UC Merced studied the possibility on the state’s canals last year. “If we put solar panels over all 4000 miles of California’s open canals, we estimated we could save 65 billion gallons of water annually,” says Brandi McKuin, who led the study. “That’s enough for the residential water needs of 2 million people – enough to irrigate 50,000 acres of farmland.” … ” Read more from KCRW here: This climate solution saves water and creates solar energy
New study says California’s farmland is shrinking due to years-long severe drought
“California’s farmland is shrinking due to a severe three-year drought, according to a new report prepared for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The last three years have been the driest in the instrumental record and the multi-year deficits in precipitation have been compounded by “increased crop evaporative demands” according to the report. Researchers on the report — which included authors from UC Merced, UC Davis, and the Public Policy Institute of California — found that the state’s irrigated farmland shrunk by nearly 10% which totals 752,000 acres of farmland. … ” Read more from CBS News here: New study says California’s farmland is shrinking due to years-long severe drought
Drought-stricken CA increasingly turning to desalination of ocean water
“The California Coastal Commission recently approved the construction of two more desalination plants, one near Monterrey, and one by Dana Point. This adds to the four already providing drinking water in the state. But in 2020, this same commission advised not to build the Monterey plant. What changed? The state has faced its driest three years on record, and it needs more potable water for its almost 40 million residents, especially the ones living on the coast. “[When] you don’t have many alternatives … desalination is an appealing option,” says David Feldman, professor of urban planning and public policy and political science at UC Irvine. … ” Read more from KCRW here: Drought-stricken CA increasingly turning to desalination of ocean water
There are no new rivers left to tap. We must learn to do more with less.
Dr. Laurence Smith, a professor at Brown University and the author of “Rivers of Power: How a Natural Force Raised Kingdoms, Destroyed Civilizations and Shapes Our World,’ writes, “Last month, record low water levels in the Mississippi River backed up nearly 3,000 barges — the equivalent of 210,000 container trucks — on America’s most important inland waterway. Despite frantic dredging, farmers could move only half the corn they’d shipped the same time last year. Deliveries of fuel, coal, industrial chemicals and building materials were similarly delayed throughout the nation’s heartland. … Conditions are even worse in the southwestern United States, where an ongoing 22-year drought — now the harshest in 1,200 years — has shriveled Colorado River reservoirs, straining water supplies for farms, cities and hydropower from the Hoover Dam. Across the Atlantic in Germany, warmer temperatures and longer droughts have shrunk the Rhine River, making navigation harrowing on a waterway responsible for up to 80 percent of the country’s ship-bound cargo. … There are no new rivers left to tap. We must learn to do more with less. … ” Read more from the New York Times here: There are no new rivers left to tap. We must learn to do more with less.
Radio: Klamath River dam removal shifts into a higher gear with fed approval
“The vote was unanimous and completely expected: the Klamath River dams are coming out. Not all of them, but the three in California and one just over the border in Oregon are officially doomed after a vote from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses the dams. Now the work of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation ramps up to full speed, with destruction work potentially getting started in the next calendar year. KRRC is a transitional agency with one job: get rid of the dams. Mark Bransom, Executive Director, drops in to give an overview of next steps and how the dam-removal timeline unfolds. … ” Read more from Jefferson Public Radio here: Radio: Klamath River dam removal shifts into a higher gear with fed approval
Loleta Eric shares observations on Chinook salmon in the Eel River
“Outdoor guide and Eel River advocate, Eric Stockwell, shares his outdoor experiences on his social media pages and graciously shares them with Redheaded Blackbelt readers. Recently, Eric, known to many as Loleta Eric, shared his observations and thoughts on the Chinook Salmon in the Eel River: “Took my stand-up routine on the road, er, river yesterday. 14 miles on the Main below the forks at Dyerville. I stand on the kayak so I can see the redds on the tailouts and in the swift runs. … ” Read more from the Redheaded Blackbelt here: Loleta Eric shares observations on Chinook salmon in the Eel River
Commentary: How is groundwater in Sonoma County used?
The MOAg (Mother Of All Groups … ?) writes, “It is imperative more now than ever for residents of Sonoma County to be aware of exactly how our groundwater resources are being used. Understanding how much water is being pumped will enable actual protections for our residential users that are increasingly experiencing dry wells. In addition, knowledge of groundwater pumping from wells will also ensure that the important public trust resources we all hold dear are not adversely impacted. It is time for these harmful practices to come to an end. By challenging the County to fulfill their public trust obligations in a robust and transparent way, we can begin to rectify some of these past and ongoing harms, and bring our groundwater use in line with the increasing realities of climate change. Compliance with the Public Trust Doctrine is great for our environment, our County’s rural residences, and our small sustainable farming communities. … ” Read more from the Sonoma Gazette here: Commentary: How is groundwater in Sonoma County used?
San Rafael gets funds for Canal area climate change project
“San Rafael will use a $762,000 grant to fund an equity-guided study on the effects of sea level rise and climate change in the Canal neighborhood. The City Council agreed to accept the funds from the State Coastal Conservancy and the Marin Community Foundation for the “Canal Community Resilience Planning Project” at a meeting on Nov. 21. The city plans to use the money to conduct a technical feasibility study of sea level rise adaptation options in the east San Rafael neighborhood and along the city shoreline. The project is tentatively set to span three years. “This is an important project for the city as rising bay waters will affect the east San Rafael community first,” said Mayor Kate Colin. “The key aspects of this project is to explore the various options that can mitigate sea level rise, and engage with the community in both outlining and discussing the options.” … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal here: San Rafael gets funds for Canal area climate change project
‘It’s been a fight for our homes’: The ongoing saga to fix San Francisco’s sewers
“Months before this fall’s rains began, Victoria Sanchez stood out in front of her home on Cayuga Avenue in San Francisco’s Mission Terrace neighborhood. Her block appeared ordinary on that July day: rows of colorful Mediterranean-style homes stretched wall-to-wall as the 44 Muni bus rumbled past the corner. The scene was typical of many neighborhoods across San Francisco with one distinct difference. Along the sidewalks and driveways of Cayuga Avenue lay rows of sandbags, a reminder of the destructive floods of sewage and stormwater that the rainy season can bring — inundations that have ravaged the neighborhood for decades. … Mission Terrace isn’t the only San Francisco neighborhood to suffer problems with destructive flooding that both residents and government agencies trace to the city’s failure to upgrade sections of its sewer system. … ” Read more from KQED here: ‘It’s been a fight for our homes’: The ongoing saga to fix San Francisco’s sewers
Radio: How the climate crisis is changing the Bay Area bird population
“The San Francisco Bay is the largest estuary in Western North America and a key link in the 4,000-mile Pacific Flyway, one of the primary migratory routes used by birds to move north and south across the continent. It’s a place where birds come to rest and refuel for their long trip, or breed and nest the next generation. But in the span of a few human generations, 90% of California’s wetlands have disappeared to development and agriculture, endangering migrating and local birds. Now drought and sea level rise are further diminishing important bird habitats. As climate change becomes a bigger threat to the Bay Area’s local and migratory birds, scientists and conservationists work to help habitats adapt to climate change to ensure bird’s futures. We’ll talk to bird and conservation experts about how the Bay Area’s bird population has changed, what it means for the environment, for us, and what can be done about it. ... ” Listen at KQED here: Radio: How the climate crisis is changing the Bay Area bird population
San Mateo County Parks plans for future of Pescadero Creek Park
“The 2020 CZU Lighting Complex Fire burned approximately 90,0000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, including 2,850 acres of Pescadero Creek County Park. It was the largest fire recorded in history for the region and the park. Two years later, a thorough assessment of forest conditions by the San Mateo County Parks Department in coordination with Auten Resource Consulting has guided development of the Climate and Habitat Resiliency Plan for Pescadero Creek Park to improve forest habitat, promote presence of more old growth trees and forest diversification, and promote forest resiliency in the face of climate change and wildfire. … ” Read more from the County of San Mateo here: San Mateo County Parks plans for future of Pescadero Creek Park
Cool temperatures in Southern California could give way to ‘potent storm’ by weekend
“A cool air mass moving through the Southland this week is expected to deliver gusty winds, subfreezing temperatures and a potentially significant storm system by week’s end, the National Weather Service said. Temperatures on Monday dropped about 10 to 15 degrees from the day prior, with highs in downtown Los Angeles likely to top out around 64 degrees, according to Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Wednesday morning is expected to be the coldest point of the week, when the L.A.-metro area is slated to see low temperatures in the 40s, Kittell said. The Santa Clarita Valley and far western San Fernando Valley could drop into the 30s, while the Antelope Valley could see temperatures in the 20s. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Cool temperatures in Southern California could give way to ‘potent storm’ by weekend | Read via AOL News
Corona Clay Company repeatedly violated Clean Water Act, jury says
“After a five-year legal battle, a jury has sided with environmental groups who sued a clay production company in Corona over claims that the business repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act by letting iron-heavy soil and other sediment flow into Temescal Creek. The creek feeds into the Santa Ana River, which eventually reaches the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach. Family-owned Corona Clay Company is now facing civil penalties that could run to multi-millions of dollars. A judge is expected to set the exact amount early next year. The decision marks a rare trial victory for a citizen-filed lawsuit under the Clean Water Act, which lets Americans sue anyone believed to be discharging pollutants into U.S. waters. … ” Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Corona Clay Company repeatedly violated Clean Water Act, jury says
“The Department of the Interior today announced a historic agreement funded by the Inflation Reduction Act that will mitigate impacts from the worsening drought crisis impacting the Salton Sea in Southern California. Established by Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau and leaders from the California Natural Resources Agency, Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), the agreement will accelerate implementation of dust suppression and aquatic restoration efforts at the Salton Sea in Southern California. The agreement, which is set for consideration by the IID board of directors at its meeting tomorrow, will expedite implementation of the state’s 10-year plan and enable urgent water conservation needed to protect Colorado River reservoir storage volumes amid persistent climate change-driven drought conditions. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to bringing every resource to bear to help manage the drought crisis and provide a sustainable water system for families, businesses and our vast and fragile ecosystems. This landmark agreement represents a key step in our collective efforts to address the challenges the Colorado River Basin is facing due to worsening drought and climate change impacts,” said Deputy Secretary Beaudreau. … ” Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation here: Inflation Reduction Act funds landmark agreements to accelerate Salton Sea restoration
Water to be released from Hodges Reservoir into San Dieguito River
“Starting Monday roughly 250 million gallons of water from the Hodges Reservoir will be released into the San Dieguito River, according to San Diego city officials. The release is expected to last two days until the reservoir elevation is around 275 feet, which is the number the reservoir cannot exceed due to a state mandate. The impending rise of the San Dieguito River level prompted the city’s public utilities director to issue a warning for people who visit the area. ... ” Read more from Channel 5 here: Water to be released from Hodges Reservoir into San Dieguito River
A century ago, this water agreement changed the West. Now, the region is in crisis.
“The Colorado River has long been regarded as the “lifeline of the Southwest.” It supplies water to 40 million people in seven states, 29 Native American tribes and parts of Mexico. Farmers use it to irrigate nearly 5.5 million acres of agricultural land. One hundred years ago this month, the signing of the Colorado River Compact laid the foundation for how water from the river is used today. But the signers of the 1922 agreement had no way of knowing what the future would bring. Decades of overuse because of faulty science and population growth—along with climate change—have all reduced the river’s flow and the water levels in the nation’s largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Now, the basin is facing a crisis. … ” Read more from Smithsonian here: A century ago, this water agreement changed the West. Now, the region is in crisis.
Arizona communities at epicenter of water crisis
“America’s west is experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years. The Colorado River is at record lows, threatening the livelihoods of 40 million people who rely on the river everyday. And though the government could impose additional water supply cuts, some Arizona communities are already feeling the effects. Arizona resident Karen Nabity has appreciated living in Rio Verde Foothills, about an hour northeast of Phoenix. That is, until her surroundings began to run dry. … ” Read more from Channel 9 here: Arizona communities at epicenter of water crisis
Rising sea levels could swamp the US coastline by 2050, NASA predicts
“Sea levels are likely rising faster than previously thought, meaning low-lying coastal cities in the U.S. could flood far more regularly in the coming decades, a NASA study has revealed. According to the study, which analyzed three decades of satellite observations, by 2050, sea levels along the coastlines of the contiguous U.S. could rise as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) above current waterlines, the research team said in a statement (opens in new tab). The Gulf Coast and Southeast are expected to be most severely impacted, and will likely experience increased storm and tidal flooding in the near future, according to the study, published Oct. 6 in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. … ” Read more from Live Science here: Rising sea levels could swamp the US coastline by 2050, NASA predicts
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.