On the calendar today …
- WEBINAR: Planning and Conservation League: Groundwater recharge, updating CA water laws from 9am to 12:15pm. Panels will address creating paths from dams to aquifers and updating California water laws in the face of droughts/climate change #2. Click here to register.
- WEBINAR: Clean water, complicated laws: How to effectively work with water quality regulators from 10am to 10:30am. Join BB&K’s leading water quality attorneys for a webinar series as presenters provide practical guidance on water quality issues, laws and regulations. Click here to register.
- EPA WEBINAR: Tools & Resources Training: Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) from 12pm to 1pm. EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is an innovative system designed to help all 40,000 communities across the US anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The ARC-X is unlike any other resource currently available to the public. Users are given an opportunity to first “self-identify” by indicating the region of the country in which they live and the specific issues of concern to them. The system then provides them with an integrated package of information tailored specifically to their needs, including insights on the implications of climate change for the issues they care about, case studies of how similar communities have successfully adapted, access to adaptation tools to replicate those successes, available training, and information on federal sources of funding. This webinar will provide an overview of ARC-X and how to use it. Click here to register.
- STORMS Seminar – Building Blocks for Offsite Stormwater Credit Programs from 12pm to 1:30pm. Stormwater credit programs are an innovative approach to providing funding for stormwater capture projects, expanding project implementation, expediting project construction, and creating multiple benefits as part of these projects. This webinar will describe the primary elements, key program considerations, and major decision points that stormwater managers need to address in creating offsite stormwater credit programs. It will also explore the different perspectives and goals of potential participants in stormwater credit programs, including regulatory agencies, credit generators, and credit users. Click here to register.
- WORKSHOP: California Data Collective from 1pm to 3pm. Topics for this upcoming workshop include the development of a database to track non-functional turf in southern California and dashboards for tracking and estimating water efficiency of agencies across the state. Click here to register.
- EVENT: MWDOC Water Policy Dinner with Adan Ortega from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in Costa Mesa. Join MWDOC for a very special MWDOC Water Policy Forum & Dinner featuring an inaugural address from the newly elected Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Adán Ortega. Chairman-elect Ortega, the principal of Ortega Strategies Group, has worked in government relations for 30 years and helped lead efforts to bring technical assistance to small water systems in disadvantaged communities around Califonria. Attend and hear firsthand what he hopes to accomplish as he assumes leadership of the Board at Metropolitan during this pivotal time. Click here to register.
In California water news today …
He paid $1 million for destroying wetlands. Now he’s fighting clean water rules in Congress.
“More than 200 Republican members of Congress introduced legislation last week to strike down a Biden administration rule restoring long-standing federal protections for hundreds of thousands of streams and wetlands across the country — safeguards that the Trump administration dismantled in 2020. Among the co-sponsors of the House resolution is Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.), who in 2017 paid $1.1 million in fines for illegally plowing 22 acres of federally protected streams and wetlands on his farm. The settlement followed a yearslong legal battle that started when Duarte hired a contractor to “rip,” or deep till, his entire 450-acre property before planting wheat, including areas with federally protected waters. The case garnered national attention, and Duarte emerged as a sort of hero among anti-environmental zealots, agricultural interests and private property rights groups. … ” Read more from Yahoo News here: He paid $1 million for destroying wetlands. Now he’s fighting clean water rules in Congress.
Josh Harder: ‘We will not let them take our water’
“The Delta Tunnel — a $16 billion 45-mile long, 40-foot tall “straw” designed to siphon off water for Southern California urban areas before it enters the Delta — is winding down its environmental document comment period. … The comment period ends next Tuesday, Feb. 14. Congressman Josh Harder has sent a letter to the Army Corps opposing the project and repeating his call for an in-person comment opportunity on the environmental documents. “Sacramento has made it clear as day they don’t want to hear from our community when it comes to the Delta Tunnel water grab, but I refuse to let them off the hook,” Harder said. “Their failure to host a single in-person town hall on a project that will impact us for generations is inexcusable. Today, I’m sending them a letter from folks across San Joaquin County saying enough is enough. We will not let them take our water.” … ” Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Josh Harder: ‘We will not let them take our water’
In times of scarcity, California’s best new source of water? Reuse.
“As California has struggled with drought, Governor Gavin Newsom’s fundamental solution: find more water by diversifying the state’s public water supply. Because of the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, one of the most frequently mentioned sources is seawater desalination. A few communities are trying it, despite environmental concerns. But another potential source gets less public attention, even though water providers are showing increasing interest thanks to its early successes: reuse. “In many regions we’re running up against limits on natural water availability of the traditional sources of supply,” said Peter Gleick, the co-founder of the Pacific Institute, an environmental research organization. “And when that’s the case, and when you want more supply, you have to think about alternatives. The best, most reliable alternative is treated wastewater.” Californians use approximately 6.6 million acre-feet of water per year in urban areas. To meet this demand, the state’s water utilities identified a range of options including recycled water, desalination, and conservation. … ” Read more from … & the West here: In times of scarcity, California’s best new source of water? Reuse.
PPIC Policy Brief: The future of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley
“Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley is a key driver of the regional economy and an important contributor to the nation’s food supply—but it faces a future with less water for irrigation. By 2040, average annual water supplies could decline by 20 percent, constrained chiefly by the transition to groundwater sustainability under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, but exacerbated by climate change and increased environmental regulations. Improving trading rules, water infrastructure, and groundwater recharge could lower the cost of adapting to the coming changes. Incentivizing alternative uses for irrigated lands could bring additional income to farmers and local communities, while improving public health and environmental outcomes on fallowed lands. ... ” Read more from the PPIC here: PPIC Policy Brief: The future of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley
California faces threat from the type of back-to-back mega-earthquakes that devastated Turkey
“The mega-quakes in Turkey this week showcase how a magnitude 7.8 quake could trigger a magnitude 7.5 aftershock on a different fault, with 60 miles of distance between the epicenters. A similar seismic scenario could occur in California. Mega-quakes that could rupture the southern San Andreas fault from near the Mexican border through Los Angeles County and beyond could trigger major aftershocks and shake cities as far away as Sacramento and San Francisco, according to documents and interviews. In a U.S. Geological Survey report published in 2008 detailing a hypothetical magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Southern California, scientists said a plausible aftershock scenario included a magnitude 6.95 quake that would shake Sacramento and Modesto three days after the mainshock, endangering the stability of the levees, which are crucial for maintaining flood control and water movement from the northern Sierra Nevada to cities across the state. ... ” Read more from the LA Times here: California faces threat from the type of back-to-back mega-earthquakes that devastated Turkey
Newsom administration offers legislation to protect western Joshua tree
“Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday proposed the first legislation focused on protecting a climate-threatened species while also permitting development across Southern California’s sunniest desert parcels. The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act was prompted by the California Fish and Game Commission’s inability to act on a petition filed more than three years ago seeking to list the living symbols of the California desert as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. “Compromise is always painful,” said Brendan Cummings, conservation director of the Center for Biological Diversity and an author of the petition. “But at the end of the day, I’ll be happy if this bill passes.” … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Newsom administration offers legislation to protect western Joshua tree
In commentary today …
Dan Walters: Perspective: California’s long and complicated history with water
““Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting” is an aphorism attributed, albeit erroneously, to Mark Twain. Whatever its source, it accurately describes California’s decades-long conflicts over this existential liquid. From 19th-century battles between farmers and hydraulic gold miners over debris polluting rivers to 21st-century political duels over spawning salmon, Californians have squabbled incessantly over how water should be captured, allocated, conveyed and priced. The battles are growing more intense as climate change widens the gap between supply and demand. Thus, the search for a grand compromise that would satisfy the three major water interest blocs — farmers, municipal users and advocates for fish and other wildlife — has become increasingly difficult. … ” Continue reading at Comstock’s here: Dan Walters: Perspective: California’s long and complicated history with water
Today’s featured articles …
CA WATER COMMISSION: Commissioners prepare for final funding awards as first water storage program project nears the finish line
Regional San’s Harvest Water project expected to be the first project to receive final funding award
In 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, which provided $2.6 billion to be invested in the public benefits of water storage projects. The California Water Commission is administering the funding through the Water Storage Investment Program. Seven projects have been selected, and the amount of funding the project is eligible to receive was set by the Commission in 2018. Those amounts were adjusted in 2021 when the Temperance Flat project withdrew from the program.
Since then, the applicants have been developing their projects and working to meet the requirements before returning to the Commission for final award hearings. These requirements include obtaining permits and completed environmental documents, executing contracts for the administration of public benefits, and agreements for the remaining project funding.
The projects are on different timelines and in various stages of completion. The first water storage project to clear the hurdles and be ready for a final award hearing is expected to be Regional San’s Harvest Water project, which could be in front of the Commission in mid-2023. With this in mind, Water Commission staff briefed the commissioners on the remaining steps for determining and disbursing the final awards.
Click here to read this article.
NOW AVAILABLE: The State of Bay Delta Science 2022: primary production, invasive aquatic vegetation, remote sensing, harmful algal blooms, carbon sequestration, and more …
The State of Bay-Delta Science (SBDS) is a collection of papers that represents the state of scientific knowledge on relevant topics to the Delta. The articles emphasize the progress made on key research questions and identify remaining knowledge gaps.
The topics for the 2022 edition were chosen by the State of Bay Delta Science editorial board, and include primary production, invasive aquatic vegetation, remote sensing, harmful algal blooms, and carbon sequestration. Future issues are expected to be released every two years.
Click here for the State of Bay Delta Science.
In regional water news and commentary today …
Klamath National Forest reports more snow than normal this winter
“The Klamath National Forest says today the snowpack across the Forest is more than the normal average for its February 1 snow survey results. The Klamath National Forest (KNF) says today it has completed its February 1 snow surveys as part of California’s Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the State forecast the quantity of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year. KNF says, “The atmospheric river which started out the New Year brought a good amount of snow to much of the local high country around the Scott River Valley. Subsequent cooler temperatures have helped to maintain the snow despite mostly dry weather since mid-January. Consequently, the overall snowpack is above the long-term average for this time of year.” … ” Read more from Channel 12 here: Klamath National Forest reports more snow than normal this winter
SEE ALSO: Water year, snowpack check and how our upcoming pattern could favor more precipitation, from KTVL
Radio: The Spiritual Edge: A protest at Shasta Dam
“In this episode, we bring you the first episode of the The Spirtual Edge’s new season “A Prayer For Salmon.” In a peaceful protest, the Winnemem Wintu call out the U.S. government for its refusal to acknowledge the destruction caused by Shasta Dam. The protest at the Shasta Dam Visitor Center reveals the Winnemem Wintu’s ongoing reality. They are ignored and later a security guard threatens to forcibly remove them.” Listen at KALW here: Radio: The Spiritual Edge: A protest at Shasta Dam
Lake Tahoe may receive some snow to start weekend
“A bit of snow appears to be headed to Lake Tahoe. The National Weather Service in Reno is forecasting that after a sunny Thursday with the high hitting 50, a weaker system may enter the region Friday and last into Saturday bringing a few inches of snow. The service said a storm track Friday night into Saturday could generate bands of moisture with light snowfall across the eastern Sierra/Tahoe Basin with 1 to 4 inches expected and a 20% chance for 6 inches in some locations. … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune here: Lake Tahoe may receive some snow to start weekend
Advancing modern water management from ridgetop to river mouth
Bryce Lundberg, Chair of the NCWA Board of Directors, writes, “The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board of Directors recently approved its 2023 Strategic Priorities that will serve as our region’s roadmap for this year. NCWA and the water leaders in the region continue to advance modern water management in the Sacramento River Basin and we look forward to working with our many partners in 2023 to cultivate a shared vision in the region for a vibrant way of life. We will also work to harmonize our water priorities with state, federal, and other regions’ priorities to advance our collective goal of ensuring greater water and climate resilience throughout California for our communities, the economy and the environment. … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: Advancing modern water management from ridgetop to river mouth
How a rare plant found only near Lake Shasta finally got protection to help save it
“A rare plant found only in Shasta County and discovered by scientists just 30 years ago is headed for protection under California’s Endangered Species Act. The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday approved listing the Shasta snow wreath as “threatened” under the state’s Endangered Species Act. The plant was first found by scientists in 1992, and most of the areas where it is located are near Lake Shasta, according to reports written for the commission. The origins of the plant date back some 56 to 34 million years ago, but it likely remained undiscovered because of its short blooming period, according to the petition requesting the plant be added to the endangered species list. That petition was sent to the commission in 2019 by Kathleen Roche. … ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: How a rare plant found only near Lake Shasta finally got protection to help save it
Big Chico Creek Access opens after flood damage
“The Big Chico Creek Access opened Monday after winter storms in January caused the Sacramento River to rise and flood the park, spreading sediment and debris. As part of the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park, the park was designed to be in a flood plain and flooding is a regular occurrence, according to Aaron Wright, public safety chief for California Parks and Recreation North Buttes District. “Floods are not uncommon for this park. We typically see one or two floods for 2-3 years and then we have 1-2 years with no floods,” he said. Wright said the parks sustained typical storm damage such as downed trees, debris buildup and other damage related to water inundation. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Big Chico Creek Access opens after flood damage
Lake Oroville state officials and partners advise recreational boaters to exercise caution around driftwood areas
“The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Department of Water Resources (DWR) and marina partners at Lake Oroville State Recreation Area advise recreational boaters to navigate carefully in areas where driftwood is present. Driftwood and other floating debris at the state recreation area is expected due to high water inflows from tributaries and rising lake levels, in combination with past wildfires impacting the watershed. This month State officials and marina partners have been working daily on collecting, containing, and pulling pieces of wood out of the lake and away from boat launch ramps using boom lines. ... ” Read more from DWR News here: Lake Oroville state officials and partners advise recreational boaters to exercise caution around driftwood areas
State pact seeks to advance fixes to Highway 37 flooding and traffic woes
“A coalition of state traffic and environmental agencies announced Wednesday they will work together to redesign Highway 37, the North Bay’s key east-west route, adding new lanes in each direction to help unclog traffic and advancing other near-term fixes to address chronic flooding problems. The effort, which state and local officials touted as historic, focuses on the 21-mile state highway linking Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties from Interstate 80 in the east to Highway 101 at Novato in the west. Daily, it is traversed by 40,000 vehicles. … ” Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat here: State pact seeks to advance fixes to Highway 37 flooding and traffic woes
Zone 7 publishes annual report noting several key accomplishments
“The Zone 7 Water Agency recently released its 2021-22 annual report, which highlights completed construction projects, water conservation participation, and various flood and fire mitigation efforts including the use of goats. The agency, which supplies water to all of northeastern Alameda County and sells wholesale treated water to local retailers, publishes the report in order to provide information about its operations, updates on drought conditions and overall water quality improvements. … ” Read more from Pleasanton Weekly here: Zone 7 publishes annual report noting several key accomplishments
Storm recovery begins at beloved state beach in Santa Cruz County
“On Jan. 5, a frightening storm clobbered Seacliff State Beach and its famous ocean pier leading to a sunken cement ship off the coast of Santa Cruz County. A high tide carried over 15-foot waves ashore, flipping cement benches and smashing driftwood through bathroom doors. The ground collapsed, forming sinkholes in the park’s day use and campground areas, and over half of its iconic pier was destroyed. This storm was one of the nine atmospheric river storms that would pummel Northern California in a span of three weeks. Landslides from the storm parade persisted for many days. Anticipating sea level rise and climate change, the state may need to relocate camping and gathering sites and set bathrooms back from the formidable Pacific Ocean. Officials also are considering building coastal dunes as a buffer to powerful storm waves. Scott Shepherd, a California State Parks employee, speculates that many coastal California parks will inevitably have to do the same: reassess what recreational activities they can provide in the future. … ” Read more from KQED here: Storm recovery begins at beloved state beach in Santa Cruz County
Coastal Commission vacancy means a chance for influence — and politics
“The idea that California’s coast should be a public resource was not always a given. Amid concerns that private development would cut off public access, citizen-led Proposition 20 appeared on Californians’ 1972 ballots. Then-State Sen. Jim Mills led a bicycle tour down the coast, from San Francisco to San Diego, to rally support. It passed, creating the California Coastal Commission, later codified by the State Legislature with the Coastal Act of 1976. … The Central Coast region – comprising Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties – has not had a Monterey County representative since 2009 when Dave Potter, now mayor of Carmel, was ousted. He was succeeded by Mark Stone of Scotts Valley (a Santa Cruz county supervisor at the time, later an assemblymember), then Carole Groom, who termed out in 2022 after three terms as a San Mateo County Supervisor. Monterey County held the powerful seat for 40 years until losing it for the past 24. Now there is an opportunity to get it back. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Coastal Commission vacancy means a chance for influence — and politics
Planting delays in Monterey County due to flood damage
“Flood damage in Monterey County is going to set back production timelines for many growers. Multiple storms brought a tremendous amount of rainfall to the area, flooding a significant amount of acreage. Monterey County Farm Bureau Executive Director Norm Groot told AgNet West last week that an estimated 20,000 acres have been impacted. As growers continue to assess the overall amount of damage, many plantings will be delayed. “What I’m hearing at this point is everyone’s expecting 45 to 60 days probably as the minimum timeframe at this point for all the testing that they’re going to have to do for food safety compliance,” said Groot. ... ” Read more from Ag Net West here: Planting delays in Monterey County due to flood damage
Monterey County counts millions in damage to water infrastructure from storms
“With January’s onslaught of storms now past, Monterey County officials are counting the toll of rain and flood damage on the local water infrastructure – and hoping that federal relief funds will help them shore up the main rivers, dams and reservoirs. Both during and after the storms, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency has been focusing on three primary areas of water infrastructure under its jurisdiction: the county’s two main dams and reservoirs, at Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio; the Pajaro River’s levees; and the Old Salinas River slide gate, which connects that channel to the Salinas River Lagoon. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly here: Monterey County counts millions in damage to water infrastructure from storms
Wait is over as water begins spilling out of Lake Cachuma
“Water was spilling over Bradbury Dam at Lake Cachuma on Wednesday, for the first time in a dozen years. The flow down the spillway is the most obvious sign of the huge transformation that has taken place at a reservoir that two months ago was less than a third full. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the lake and dam, said in a tweet that the water releases into the Santa Ynez River were being done “to allow for incoming flows.” Two of the dam’s four gates were opened to let water out of the lake, which is within inches of being full. … ” Read more from Noozhawk here: Wait is over as water begins spilling out of Lake Cachuma
SEE ALSO: Lake Cachuma Spills for First Time in More than a Decade, from the Santa Barbara Independent
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Corps of Engineers officially asks for ‘deviation’ to begin process of filling Isabella Lake
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to fill Isabella Lake in northeastern Kern County — to a level that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. However, the Corps of Engineers communicated these expected changes in its own language. According to a USACE news release, the Corps is “preparing to request a deviation from the operating restriction at the Isabella Dam in Lake Isabella, California, to implement a plan to fill the lake up to its pre-construction volume of 568,000 acre-feet, or gross pool, when sufficient precipitation and snowpack occur.” ... ” Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Corps of Engineers officially asks for ‘deviation’ to begin process of filling Isabella Lake
Santa Clarita Valley Water OKs plan to address projects’ costs with future rate increases
“The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency unanimously approved a bond issuance that would raise $75 million by 2032 and a debt-financing plan that would saddle the water retailer with a little more than a half-billion dollars in debt, according to the agency’s plans. The efforts are expected to help the agency address capital projects’ costs estimated in the neighborhood of $747 million through the life of the bond issuance, according to SCV Water’s financial advisers. The agency is planning to finance that over time, as that’s the appropriate way to insure all of the projects’ beneficiaries contribute to the cost, which are expected to benefit the region for decades. The alternative would be having current ratepayers charged with double-digit rate increases, Rochelle Patterson, CFO of SCV Water, said in a phone interview Wednesday. … ” Read more from The Signal here: Santa Clarita Valley Water OKs plan to address projects’ costs with future rate increases
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District scales back watering restrictions due to improved hydrologic conditions
“The LVMWD Board voted unanimously to scale back watering restrictions at its meeting on Feb. 7 due to improved hydrologic conditions and increased water allocation from the State. The California Department of Water Resources increased its State Water Project (SWP) allocation from 5% to 30% due to the atmospheric rivers that have pummeled the state so far this winter. SWP reservoirs have filled up significantly, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is deep, and La Niña conditions are fading – together providing a much-needed break from the historic drought emergency. As a result of the improvement in water supply, LVMWD will move back to Stage 2 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP). The District has been in Stage 3 for a little over a year. Under Stage 3, the district-wide target for reduction in water use was 35%, which was achieved by customers. … ” Read more from Las Virgenes Water District here: Las Virgenes Municipal Water District scales back watering restrictions due to improved hydrologic conditions
SoCal homeowners can get more drought-resistant plants installed with this rebate offer
“As the state continues to deal with a historic drought, Southern California homeowners are getting the chance to transform their thirsty grass and gardens. The Metropolitan Water District offers rebates to residents ripping up their lawns and putting in plants that don’t need a lot of water to survive. Krista Guerrero, who works for MWD, took advantage of the offer and now has a native pollinator garden at her Rowland Heights home. It uses less water and will likely draw in more a more nature-friendly atmosphere. … ” Read more from KABC here: SoCal homeowners can get more drought-resistant plants installed with this rebate offer
San Diego airport reused more than 800,000 gallons of stormwater in 2022
“The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority captured, treated and reused 812,500 gallons of stormwater last year, according to a report released Wednesday. That water, which would otherwise naturally have run off into San Diego Bay, was then used to heat and cool buildings at San Diego International Airport. The airport authority captures stormwater from the top of the Terminal 2 Parking Plaza and stores it in underground pipes with about 100,000 gallons of capacity as part of the stormwater reuse treatment system. “Through the capturing and reusing of stormwater, the Airport Authority can meet strict stormwater pollution prevention regulations by keeping stormwater on-site rather than discharging to San Diego Bay,” authority President and CEO Kimberly Becker said. … ” Read more from the Times of San Diego here: San Diego airport reused more than 800,000 gallons of stormwater in 2022
Along the Colorado River …
As Colorado River shrinks, water evaporation becomes critical to California’s future supplies
“Much of the Colorado River’s water is diverted from reservoirs and transported in canals to the farmlands and cities of the desert Southwest. But some of the water also ends up going elsewhere — vanishing into thin air. Water lost to evaporation has become a central point of contention in the disagreement between California and six other states over how to divide reductions in water use. A proposal submitted by Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming calls for relying heavily on counting evaporation and other water losses from reservoirs and along the river in the Lower Basin — the portion of the watershed that begins near the Grand Canyon and stretches to northern Mexico. Counting those losses would mean immediate reductions of more than 1.5 million acre-feet across the region. It would also translate into especially large water cutbacks for California, which uses the single largest share of the river. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: As Colorado River shrinks, water evaporation becomes critical to California’s future supplies
Still no agreement between western states, including CA, on how to reduce Colorado River water use
“With the Colorado River in crisis, there is still no agreement over which states and regions should have their water allocations cut back and how soon those cuts should go into effect. Seven states in the western United States take water from the Colorado River, and although six of them have agreed on a framework, the lone holdout is the largest user of Colorado River water in the county: California. “We spent a lot of hours trying to compromise,” said Bill Hasencamp, the Colorado River resources manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “Ultimately, we couldn’t quite get there.” ... ” Read more from KABC here: Still no agreement between western states, including CA, on how to reduce Colorado River water use
Could Lake Mead be saved by sacrificing Lake Powell?
“As Lake Mead and Lake Powell water levels continue to decrease, people are growing desperate for a solution. Federally mandated water cuts have already been established, primarily targeting Arizona and Nevada water usage. The Colorado River Basin states recently proposed their own solutions, with six of the seven states uniting in one proposal and California proposing a different solution. Other people are proposing outlandish solutions, but some experts argue that the best fix is the most basic: reducing water use. … One climate change skeptic had a suggestion of his own. “A lot of people ask me about Lake Mead. The Lake Mead problem could be resolved by draining Lake Powell and storing the water in Lake Mead,” Tony Heller tweeted. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: Could Lake Mead be saved by sacrificing Lake Powell?
Lake Mead water levels: could California speed up recovery?
“As Lake Mead and Lake Powell levels inch closer to dead pool, states in the lower Colorado River basin are proposing more solutions that could lend to the reservoirs’ recoveries. Required water cuts have already been implemented and increased in severity this year for Arizona and Nevada. Western states are scrambling to come up with a solution that preserves their access to Colorado River water but aids the reservoirs in recovery amid a 20-year drought. Increased water use and water evaporation from global warming also has contributed to the declining levels. A torrent of rain in California and a higher-than-normal snowpack melt improved the reservoir levels slightly, but experts said it’s not enough long term and water use must be cut for the reservoirs to recover. … ” Read more from Newsweek here: Lake Mead water levels: could California speed up recovery?
Amid Colorado River cuts, a fishing guide hopes the ‘leftovers’ are enough
“A grinning fisherman often needs two hands to hold a massive lake trout on a sunny day at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which straddles the Wyoming-Utah border. Jim Williams has been a guide here for more than 30 years, and said some of the best trophy fish in the Rockies call these waters home. “I have a lot of clients over the years on the boat that on one trip or another will say, ‘That’s the biggest fish I’ve ever caught in my life,”’ he said. “There’s a lot of satisfaction from that.” But this habitat has seen some drastic changes in a short amount of time. In the past two years, the reservoir has dropped to its lowest level since the 1980s. Marinas and river channels are running dry. … ” Read more from KUNC here: Amid Colorado River cuts, a fishing guide hopes the ‘leftovers’ are enough
Study finds shifting timing, intensity of Las Vegas floods
“Las Vegas, with its rapid urbanization and desert landscape, is highly vulnerable to flooding. For this reason, flood managers have built an extensive system of drainage ditches and detention basins to protect the public. Now, a new study shows how intentional engineering and urban development are interacting with climate change to alter the timing and intensity of flood risk, according to a press release by the Desert Research Institute (DRI). The study is titled “The Nonstationary Flood Hydrology of an Urbanizing Arid Watershed, is available from The Journal of Hydrometeorology” and was published Jan. 6 in The Journal of Hydrometeorology. In it, researchers from DRI, the Clark County Regional Flood Control District, the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and Guangdong University of Technology examine Las Vegas’ changing flood regime. … ” Read more from Stormwater Solutions here: Study finds shifting timing, intensity of Las Vegas floods
2023 could be ‘session of water bills’ in the Nevada Legislature
“This “is going to be the session of water bills” — or so Sen. Pete Goicoechea (R-Eureka) predicted at a conference in Reno last week. Speaking at the Nevada Water Resources Association conference, Goicoechea and others noted the large number of proposals on the table for lawmakers to consider during the packed 120-day session that started Monday. “Please get down there and get involved,” Goicoechea told the audience. “Again, we’re talking 23 bills,” he added. “There’ll be 30 or 40 different twists in this.” … ” Read more from the Nevada Independent here: 2023 could be ‘session of water bills’ in the Nevada Legislature
House committee’s bill tries to force Scottsdale’s hand on Rio Verde Foothills water supply
“Arizona’s House Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee has passed a measure that would force the City of Scottsdale to supply the nearby community of Rio Verde Foothills with water until 2026. Residents of unincorporated Rio Verde have relied on water trucked in from Scottsdale until the city recently cut them off. On Tuesday, the House committee voted to provide a temporary solution. But Democrats said the Legislature needs to take a harder look at the issue. Rep. Oscar De Los Santos (D-Laveen) said that although Rio Verde appears to be an outlier, tribal communities throughout the state lack sufficient water supplies. ... ” Read more from KJZZ here: House committee’s bill tries to force Scottsdale’s hand on Rio Verde Foothills water supply
In national water news today …
Urbanism 101: What is a sponge city?
“Numerous cities are dealing with two seemingly unrelated challenges: flooding and drought. These two issues, however, are not as disconnected as they appear, and California suffered from both simultaneously throughout 2022 and into 2023. Usually, cities suffer from times of high temperatures, exacerbated by urban heat island effects, while at other times they experience high levels of sudden rainfall, with stormwater runoff systems unable to handle the quantities of water. As cities expand traditional infrastructure, increased “coverage” with asphalt and concrete increases the impervious area, which reduces the space for water to run off or drain away into, and escalates urban heat. Climate change in turn makes both issues worse. Sponge Cities are one way to alleviate these issues. … ” Read more from The Urbanist here: Urbanism 101: What is a sponge city?
Longtime tensions over federal wetlands rule return in U.S. House WOTUS hearing
“A U.S. House panel renewed the decades-long fight Wednesday over how standing waters on farmland and other private property should be defined and regulated by federal authorities, with Republicans calling for a pause until the U.S. Supreme Court can provide more clarity. The definition of so-called Waters of the United States, or WOTUS — wetlands that fall under federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act — has been in a state of flux for years, often in conjunction with changing administrations in the White House. Republicans and their rural constituents have argued the Biden administration’s approach unfairly restricts farmers from improving their own property, while Democrats say strong water regulations are fundamental to healthy communities. … ” Read more from Successful Farming here: Longtime tensions over federal wetlands rule return in U.S. House WOTUS hearing
Fish and Wildlife proposes new rule for take permits under the Endangered Species Act
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services proposed a new rule Wednesday to revise regulations regarding survival and incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act. The announcement received mixed reactions by midafternoon, with the Interior Department stating the rule strengthened voluntary conservation opportunities, while conservationists claimed it streamlined the process for companies to harm vulnerable species. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, it’s critical that we reflect on the lessons learned from implementing this landmark conservation law and assess what the next 50 years of species conservation should look like,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, in a statement. “A collaborative approach to the biodiversity and extinction crises will advance the goals of the President’s America the Beautiful initiative and set us on a course for continued recovery and resilience.” … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service here: Fish and Wildlife proposes new rule for take permits under the Endangered Species Act
SEE ALSO: Interior Department Takes Action to Strengthen Endangered Species Act, press release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Stanford-led study finds global wetlands losses overestimated despite high losses in many regions
“Sometime this spring or summer, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a case ruling that will legally define whether federal protections should be extended to wetlands outside of navigable waters. The justices might consider reading a new Stanford-led study that finds, although wetlands remain threatened in many parts of the world – including the U.S., which accounts for more losses than any other country – global losses of wetlands have likely been overestimated. Published Feb. 8 in Nature, the study’s findings could help better explain the causes and impacts of wetland loss, enabling more informed plans to protect or restore ecosystems crucial for human health and livelihoods. … ” Continue reading from Stanford News here: Stanford-led study finds global wetlands losses overestimated despite high losses in many regions