DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Storm to bring cold air, snow this week; Army Corps plan Stockton meeting on Delta Tunnel; Commentary: Imperial Valley has sacrificed enough; One wet year won’t solve Colorado River woes; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

Potent storm set to deliver colder air, heavy snow to western US

“A significant shift toward colder conditions is in store for the western United States through the middle of the week and AccuWeather forecasters are tracking a storm and monitoring the potential for a foot of snow or more to fall across some high-elevation locations.  On the heels of a storm at the jet stream level of the atmosphere that will track across the United States-Mexico border through Monday before lifting northward into the Plains, a separate storm will arrive in the Pacific Northwest and deliver rain and some areas of snow that are likely to continue at times through at least Monday evening. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather.

Army Corps plan Stockton meeting on Delta Tunnel

“Congressman Josh Harder on Thursday stepped up his efforts to derail the Delta Tunnel  by reintroducing legislation directing the Army Corps not to issue a federal permit required for the endeavor to move forward.  Harder’s legislation is co-authored with three other members of Congress from the Central Valley.  … The Army Corps in a bid to provide additional opportunity for public input, has extended the comment period to March 16. Originally, it was scheduled to end next Tuesday.  The agency is also now planning an in-person public workshop sometime in early March in Stockton. The date and location has yet to be confirmed. … “  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin.

Levee repair work continues after NorCal storms with infusion of funding

“Millions of dollars are on the way to help with levee repairs in the Wilton area after weeks of rain in January caused breaches and breaks.  “Without you and without CBS, a lot of this wouldn’t happen,” said Reclamation District 800 board member Leland Schneider. … Reclamation District 800, which oversees more than 31 miles of levee, is helping with materials and labor. In January, they spent more than $2 million, and so far this month, they have spent more than half a million on temporary emergency repairs. They have been asking for help from agency after agency while borrowing money to keep working.  Finally, on Friday, there was a little sunshine. … “  Read more from CBS Sacramento.

After January storms, some California communities look for long-term flood solutions

“In East Palo Alto, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, nearly four inches of rain fell on New Year’s Eve, as a storm parked over the San Francisco Bay Area. Trees came down. The power went out. Murky brown water from San Francisquito Creek spilled into a neighborhood of mostly low-income apartments and single-family homes. … California communities including East Palo Alto continue to clean up from the aftermath of a series of atmospheric rivers in January — monster storms that form over the ocean and flow inland. The storms caused billions of dollars in damages and climate scientists predict extreme weather events will only worsen as the climate warms. That’s left residents in East Palo Alto to pursue long-term solutions to aging infrastructure that will help minimize the risks of flooding in the future. … “  Read more from NPR.

The surprising effect of California’s storms on gold seekers

“Two yellow specks, each barely half the size of a pinky nail, stood out amid the rest of the river sediment in Terry Prebalick’s green pan.  Gold – about $100 of it, he estimated. By the end of the hour, he’d found another $200.  It was a sunny day in Jamestown (Tuolumne County), some of the best weather in a while, noted “Nugget” Nick Prebalick, Terry’s son. But the recent bad weather had also been a boon: The January storms had hastened mountain and river erosion, washing more-than-usual amounts of gold from hard-to-reach crannies under the earth into the Prebalick family’s corner of California.  “The only people who like big floods are gold miners,” Terry Prebalick, the family patriarch who has been looking for gold since the 1970s, said with a chuckle. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Watershed moments: Changing the way we see California’s landscapes

“No matter where you live, your home is in a watershed: a land area that drains to a central location, such as a lake, river, or ocean. Watersheds impact everyone; every community, farm, ranch, and forest. They provide a vital resource for all living things to survive and thrive.  There are countless watersheds across California- some as large as the San Francisco Bay, some as small as a creek- each of them important and unique. Watersheds can be described as “nested” – larger watersheds encompass many smaller water­sheds. They all fit together like puzzle pieces to form our land masses. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout.

These 2 NASA satellites are ‘smart water meters’ that can track groundwater in Northern California

“Northern California’s surface water is relatively easy to track. Mainly because we can see it: accumulating in the snowpack and flowing into reservoirs, rivers and other bodies of freshwater.   By comparison, keeping tabs on groundwater is much harder because it exists deep beneath our feet in various aquifers and well systems.  Yet tracking that groundwater is crucial to anticipating the water supply for the state in the short term but especially in the long term. During dry years, groundwater can account for up to 60% of the state’s drinking water availability. … “  Read more from KCRA.

Ag Secretary: We need more investment in ag

“The future of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley was on full display Thursday at the AgTechX Summit, held at the Agricultural Pavilion at Modesto Junior College’s West Campus.  Three hour-long panel discussions that delved into the various components of ag’s future were followed by a “fireside chat” with Karen Ross, state Secretary of the Department and Food and Agriculture.  “Agriculture is changing so fast and the cycles are going to keep accelerating and, of course, they need to,” said Ross, who returned to the summit on Friday to have breakfast with and speak to about 100 high school and junior college ag students. “For me, one of the biggest concerns is that we still spend the same, or slightly less, on publicly funded agricultural research that could really help identify solutions. Transferring research into knowledge and practical uses on the farm stimulates innovation.”  Continue reading from the Turlock Journal.

Connecting habitat in the Central Valley could help save California’s pollinators

“A study published today in the science journal PLoS ONE finds that planting the margins of agricultural fields with pollinator-friendly plants and minimizing pesticide use in the Central Valley of California could help pollinators survive in this highly altered landscape. … “Insects populations and the pollinating services that they provide are decreasing at alarming rates across the globe,” Tom Dilts, a spatial analyst and research scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources said. “Our paper addresses how the restoration of agricultural margins and reductions in pesticide use can greatly improve connectivity for pollinating insects in the Central Valley. We use a modeling approach that looks at three different agricultural margin scenarios combined with three different pesticide use scenarios.” … “  Read more from Nevada Today.

California Fish and Game Commission Holds Hybrid Meeting

“At its February meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission acted on several issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from this month’s meeting held in Sacramento with an option for the public to join via Zoom.  In the agenda item to determine whether listing western Joshua tree as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) is warranted, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham reported that The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act (PDF)  was introduced as a budget trailer bill on Feb. 7. … “  Continue reading at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Return to top

In commentary this weekend …

Imperial Valley has made enough sacrifices already in the water rights war

Craig William Morgan, a water resources engineer who served as consultant to farmers opposing the QSA, writes, “There is an old saying in the water world that it is better to be upstream with a shovel than downstream with a law book, which is the position California finds itself in as it stands apart from its neighbors on the Colorado River in negotiations over the use of the river’s water.  On Jan. 31, representatives for the six other basin states submitted a proposal to the Bureau of Reclamation describing the measures by which the supply deficit on the Colorado River should be closed in the near term. Not surprisingly, the other basin states have asked that California reduce its water use beyond that which the state had previously proposed last fall. California was right to decline its neighbors’ new proposal notwithstanding its position on the river. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun.

Why California controls the fate of the Colorado River

Columnist Joe Mathews writes, “Why do we still call it the Colorado?  Sure, the river begins in the Colorado Rockies. But in law and practice, the waterway making headlines is clearly the California River. And the first provision of any deal to save the river should rename it accordingly.  This condition wouldn’t be about Golden State pride. Instead, a name change would more accurately reflect the imperial role California plays in the movement of water, people, and power in the American West. … California is less a state than an empire, and the six states challenging it over water are California colonies. California is by far the richest and most dynamic area in this half of North America. California has more residents and a bigger economy than all the other western states of the U.S. put together. … ”  Read the full commentary at KCRW.

Lack of water is forcing major changes in Valley agriculture, new analysis says

Alvar Escriva-Bou, Ellen Hanak, and Josué Medellín-Azuara with the PPIC Water Policy Center write, “The San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater is dangerously depleted — a problem that’s grown worse as surface water deliveries have fallen in recent years. The consequences of groundwater overdraft are costly — and growing — for the Valley’s farms and communities: wells are drying up and land, bridges, and canals are sinking.  In 2014, the Legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to address these issues. Yet while agriculture’s irrigated footprint will have to shrink under SGMA, we found that a few key actions could defray some costs and help the Valley adjust.  Continue reading this commentary at the Fresno Bee. | Read via AOL News.

Return to top

In people news this weekend …

Promotions, passings, profiles – submit people news items to maven@mavensnotebook.com.

Going with the Flow, Thad Bettner

“While some prefer to just “go with the flow” – Thad Bettner is the flow.  He is the one constant motion, continuously engaging the journey even if it seems riddled with challenges along the way. Active is a perfect adjective for a man who spends his days entrenched in water resource and environmental management issues as head of the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District.  His journey to the general manager position started in a small town south of Santa Barbara named Carpinteria, a spot famous to surfers looking to ride the waves off Rincon Point or to those who can’t resist a sprawling ocean view as they hike the western slope of the Los Padres National Forest.  “For me, it didn’t matter what it was, as long as it was outside. My brothers and I were always at the beach – it seemed as if we practically lived in the water,” says Bettner. … “  Read more from the Northern California Water Association.

State Water Board selects Nicole Kuenzi to oversee Administrative Hearings Office

“The State Water Resources Control Board has appointed Nicole Kuenzi to direct the board’s Administrative Hearings Office as its new presiding officer.  Kuenzi (pronounced KINN-zee) succeeds Alan Lilly, who supervised the office since its inception in September 2019. She also is one of the unit’s original hearing officers. … “Alan laid a great foundation, building this office from the ground up,” said Kuenzi, who holds a B.A. in philosophy and J.D. from Yale. “In a larger picture, I want to continue to shape the office into an institution that is respected within the water rights community, a place where disputes can be resolved fairly and efficiently, and where we bring orders to the board to address novel water rights issues that have never been addressed.” … “  Continue reading from the State Water Board.

A Q&A to celebrate International Women and Girls in Science Day

“Each year, International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on Feb. 11. This day is meant to recognize the significance of women and girls in science, promote the possibilities of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers to future generations of women, and educate men on their role in encouraging and mentoring women and girls in schools and the workplace to pursue their technical and scientific interests.  In celebration of this day and as an inclusive workplace that uplifts a variety of voices, DWR interviewed three women who work as either scientists or engineers to share their thoughts, experience, and advice for pursuing a STEM career. … ”  Read more from DWR News.

Podcasts …

WE GROW CALIFORNIA: Farm management’s successful river restoration efforts

Environmental restoration is a hot topic, especially in dry years. Significant investments have been earmarked for these types of projects, however, what are the metrics of success? Julie Rentner, President of River Partners, a non-profit that restores rivers through farm management, shares with us their unique approach, their successes, and how they are duplicating these efforts throughout the state.

WATER TALK: Whiplash and reflection

A conversation with Drs. Sam Sandoval, Faith Kearns, and Mallika Nocco about the 2023 Water Year so far, weather whiplash, and what it means for California agriculture and communities.

THE SPIRITUAL EDGE: A prayer for salmon: Chapter 1. A Protest at Shasta Dam.

“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.”  The first episode is below; Listen to other episodes here.

LA TIMES PODCAST:  Colorado River in Crisis: The End

“The Colorado River is supposed to end at the Gulf of California but hasn’t done so for decades. A joint effort between the United States and Mexico seeks to change that.  In the final episode of our Colorado River series, we travel to the Colorado River Delta to see what’s happening. Read the full transcript hereHost: Gustavo Arellano  Guests: L.A. Times water reporter Ian James. 

JIVE TALKING: Peter Yolles backs water-smart technologies

Peter Yolles is the founder and General Partner of Echo River Capital (www.echorivercap.com), an early-stage venture fund advancing water technologies for a positive global impact based in San Francisco. Peter is the former co-founder and CEO of WaterSmart.com, which was acquired by Vertex One in 2020. His water industry experience also includes roles at GE Capital, The Nature Conservancy and the Pacific Institute. Peter studied political science at CU-Boulder and graduated from Yale with a joint MBA and Master’s in water science, management and policy.


Who would have known that a 30,000-year-old event would have such a positive impact on the population living in the Denver Basin today? Ancient melted glaciers and glacial rock debris are responsible for the water supply used by the Front Range area of the Denver Basin. Aquifers are as deep as 2,000 feet and produce some great quality water. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.  Produced by Steven Baker, Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, water@operationunite.co 530-205-6388

WATER LOOP: Funding to fight lead: The menu of options

This episode is part of a series, Funding To Fight Lead. There are perhaps 10 million lead service lines in the ground in the U.S. and it may cost $50 billion to remove them. The series explores financing lead service line replacement, technical assistance for under-resourced communities, and examples of successful approaches.This episode is about the menu of options.The ways to fund lead service line replacement and some of the key financial aspects are discussed in this episode with Cynthia Koehler of the WaterNow Alliance and Tim Male of the Environmental Policy Innovation Center. Cynthia and Tim talk about the $15 billion for lead pipe removal from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the use of municipal bonds to fund work on private property, the role of state and local policies, and help for communities in need.

Return to top

In regional water news this weekend …


State drought panel to include Mendocino County water expert

“A discussion on drought preparedness planned for the next meeting of the California Water Commission will feature a local water expert.  According to the agenda for the next meeting of the state commission, the schedule for Feb. 15 includes “a panel of experts who will explore long-term drought preparedness and response, as well as a briefing on maintaining the State Water Project’s operational flexibility.”  The commission notes that, “in support of Water Resilience Portfolio Action 26.3, it is engaging experts, interested parties, and the public in discussions about strategies to protect communities and fish and wildlife in the event of long-term drought. This month’s panel will cover practitioner and policy perspectives on implementation of drought preparedness and response strategies.” … “  Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal.

Spot Check: McCloud River redband trout

“The vast diversity of species and biomes are one of the features that makes California so unique. Eleven of our 32 distinct native salmonids are endemic trout populations. Nine of which have evolved into distinct sub-species because they have been isolated from anadromous travel and population-mixing in small and remote habitats for many centuries.  Due to the remoteness and small size of their existing habitats, some of our native, endemic inland trout are also some of the most threatened species we have here in California. Their reliance on small creeks with cold water put them on the front lines of the climate crisis and projected warming trends here in California. One of my favorite native inland trout is the McCloud River redband trout. This species is one of the most famous trout in history. They are the original broodstock that was used to transport rainbow trout all around the world- onto every continent. … ”  Continue reading at Cal Trout.


Rare plant found only around Shasta Lake gets state protection

“The California Fish and Game Commission decided to list a small shrub with white flowers called the Shasta snow wreath as threatened under the state Endangered Species Act on Wednesday.  The Shasta snow wreath has been found in just 26 locations around the lake.  It’s thought to have evolved as long as 34 to 56 million years ago, and grew across the Pacific Northwest. But the plant has since retreated to small, isolated pockets around the lake. … “  Read more from Jefferson Public Radio.

Let them run: The community effort to restore salmon on Big Chico Creek

“Kyle McHenry looks over the edge of a 200-foot cliff. His two young children peer down beside him, careful not to stand too close to the edge. Below them, the blue-green water of Ótakim Séwi, or Big Chico Creek, rushes through dark black basalt rocks in the deeply carved Iron Canyon. In stories, the salmon in Ótakim Séwi are so numerous you can walk across them. These fish provide nutrients throughout their lifecycle that can sustain ecosystems – plant, animal, and human.   “We’ve heard stories of the salmon so thick that they couldn’t all fit in the creek, and they would fly out on the ground,” says McHenry, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe’s Cultural Director and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. “Our people would pick them up and take them back home.”  It’s November in Upper Bidwell Park, just east of the City of Chico. … ”  Read more from Cal Trout.

Anger showed at Tehama County well registration program workshop

“A workshop on Tehama County’s well registration program drew many residents to the Red Bluff Community Center Wednesday evening, with some loudly voicing their concerns and anger.  Before residents could ask questions about the program, Public Works Deputy Director Justin Jenson reviewed the program and how the county got to this position.  The Tehama County Flood Control and Water Conservation District adopted a resolution requiring all wells in the county to be registered and all qualified APNs to pay $0.29 per acre per year to the cost of the registration program.  Jenson said a fee would be assessed to all APNs large enough to cover the billing cost. This fee is assessed regardless of property use and will initially be used to set up a well registration program. … “  Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News.

Tehama GSA to blame water fee

Columnist Liz Merry writes, “The Well Registry Survey Public Workshop and Mud Bog Boogaloo took place Wednesday evening and it was as contentious as one might expect. Shout out to Justin Jenson who maintained his cool in the sometimes hostile environment. Seriously, facing 300 people, half of them curious and the other half angry, cannot have been fun. My hat is off to you, Justin.  The meeting was opened with a welcome from Stephanie Horii of the Consensus Building Institute, a non-profit organization with expertise in facilitation, mediation, capacity building, citizen engagement, and organizational strategy. They work within and across organizations and stakeholder groups. Yes, I copied that off their website. I’m not sure consensus was achieved, but it’s nice to have it right in your name as a goal. … ”  Read more from the Red Bluff Daily News.

Solano County high schoolers are helping researchers solve the mystery of ‘spinning salmon’

“In a science classroom, nothing beats hands-on learning. That’s especially true when students can work to solve a problem that affects their own community.  Last fall, the Solano County Office of Education was awarded a grant to help bring some of that real-world science experience to its students.  Under the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant, students are helping researchers with UC Davis and NOAA explore the mystery of “spinning salmon”. … “  Continue reading at KCRA.


Walker Creek watershed

“Walker Creek, located in Marin County, flows year-round from the Soulajule Reservoir to Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean, draining approximately 76 square miles. Walker Creek is primarily a rural watershed with over 90% of its land privately owned for ranching and agricultural uses. Riparian woodland along the mainstem provides protected habitat for fish such as federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead.  The health of the Walker Creek watershed has suffered from the building of Soulajule Dam and a history of intensive land use practices, with fish and wildlife populations greatly reduced from historical numbers. In past recent years and ongoing today, collaboration among conservation groups, natural resource agencies, and landowners has resulted in large amounts of restored habitat in the Walker Creek watershed and major increases in fish abundance. … “  Continue reading from Cal Trout.

Highway 37 pact unites agencies on widening, elevation projects

“A collective of state agencies has forged a new agreement that proponents say will commit them to addressing grueling congestion on Highway 37 while expediting planning for a proposed rebuild of the commuter corridor threatened by sea-level rise.  Six transportation and environmental entities have agreed to begin by widening the highway along a 10-mile traffic bottleneck. At the same time, the coalition agreed to begin initial work to plan for a proposed elevated highway.  “This agreement is a big step to getting this congestion relief project underway while ensuring some of the most critically impactful projects are addressed sooner rather than later,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Geyserville. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.

The Delta’s floating highway | Bartell’s Backroads

Islands requiring ferry access, from the Delta Atlas, 1995

“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta spans five different counties and separates Sacramento from San Francisco. During California’s Gold Rush era, boats were the only way to travel through the Delta.  Today, cars can drive all over the wetlands thanks to roads, bridges and two unique ferry boats called the J-Mack and The Real McCoy II — also known as the Delta Ferry system. The boats are the fastest way off and on Ryer Island which is used by many of the residents in this area.  “This place [is] about 30 miles from Sacramento and most people from Sacramento have no clue this place is even out here,” said Ryer Island resident William Just. … “  Read more from Channel 10.

‘1.2 million pounds of nitrogen’: Refineries engaged in massive chemical dump into S.F. bay

“With nearly a half billion gallons of toxic wastewater spilling out of refineries across the United States every day, including into San Francisco Bay, environmental groups are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to enact stricter water pollution standards. The call comes after a new analysis of EPA regulatory data revealed that the agency is failing to adequately regulate and enforce restrictions of harmful discharges. The analysis, conducted by the Environmental Integrity Project, found that the nation’s top environmental agency has not kept pace with the 1972 Clean Water Act, which mandates the EPA update its requirements every five years in line with advancing treatment technologies. Additionally, the findings show that the EPA has routinely failed to enforce permit violations of weaker and outdated standards. … ”  Continue reading at the Washington Examiner.


Scotts Valley Water District awarded $1.6 million grant to capture storm water

“The Scotts Valley Water District was awarded a nearly $1.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources as it investigates long-term drought and climate solutions. The district plans to use that money to finish a project started in 2016 to capture stormwater in a parking lot.  “What this is designed to do. It’s designed to capture rain off this very large 2.5-acre site,” said David McNair, general manager for The Scotts Valley Water District. … “  Continue reading at KSBY.

Paso Robles farmers ask for fair water rules after supervisors repeal planting ordinance

“The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to repeal the planting ordinance for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin before it could take effect on March 1, as farmers called for a more fair approach to managing the resource.  For the time being, it means SLO County will return to its 2015 permitting rules for sowing crops irrigated by basin groundwater using an exemption limit of 5 acre-feet of water per year, rather than the increase to 25 acre-feet approved by the conservative majority in December.  According to the restored rules, the county can only issue a planting permit to farmers if the crops are water neutral — meaning the new crop uses the same amount of water as the previous crop on that land, with an exemption of a maximum additional 5 acre-feet of water per year, according to Planning Division manager Airlin Singewald. … “  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Santa Barbara County flush with water for short-term supply

“Santa Barbara County has received almost double its average rainfall for the water year to date and exceeded is average for the water year as a whole, bringing all but one of the county’s major reservoirs to near capacity. As of 8 a.m. Friday, the county as a whole had received 194% of its “normal” rainfall for the date in the current water year that began Sept. 1, 2022, and will end Aug. 31, 2023. The county has also received 115% of what’s considered the normal rainfall for an entire water year.  That’s good for short-term supplies, but water experts say that doesn’t mean the long-running drought is over, and it will take several more years of above-average rainfall to recharge groundwater basins. … ”  Read more from the Santa Maria Times.

Carpinteria continues storm cleanup projects at local debris basins and Carpinteria City Beach

“Since Jan. 17, Santa Barbara County Flood Control has been moving storm debris from Carpinteria watershed basins to beach reclamation projects at Carpinteria City Beach.  Since that start date, around 14,000 cubic yards of sediment has been removed from the Toro Canyon, Santa Monica, and Arroyo Paredon basins and transported to seaside soil replenishment areas.  Soon, clearing of the Gobernador debris basin will begin with the same beach destinations.  Without these basins, sediment and storm debris would flow to the beach and naturally replace beach soil removed by storms according to Santa Barbara County Flood Control. … ”  Read more from KEYT.

12,000 acres dead in Los Padres National Forest

“In an aerial survey conducted in 2022, U.S. Forest Services found 12,000 acres of dead trees in the Los Padres National Forest due to overgrown vegetation and the state’s ongoing drought.  Forest Services surveyed 2.6 million acres of private, state and federal land across California and found over 36 million acres of dead trees — almost three times as many compared to the year prior.  The damage in the Los Padres National Forest has more than doubled compared to 2021. … ”  Read more from KSBY.


Policy group warns of steep ag losses without coordinated action on water

“Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley may be able to blunt a sharp decline in the years ahead if policymakers and the industry can come together on a series of strategies for reducing demand for irrigation while also increasing water supply, according to a new assessment from a prominent policy organization. The report this month from the Public Policy Institute of California examined the biggest challenge confronting the state’s ag industry — a one-fifth decline in annual water supply expected by 2040 because of groundwater sustainability measures and climate change — then recommended softening the impact by loosening water-trading rules, incentivizing farmland reuse and investing in storage, including groundwater recharge. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian.

Almond blossom blooms appear, irrigation start nears

“The first almond blooms have started to appear among 25,000 plus acres of almond orchards in the Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon area.  The start of the almond bloom season will be on the minds of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District directors when they meet Tuesday to discuss when to start the irrigation season. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at SSJID headquarters on East Highway 120 in Manteca.  SSJID General Manager Peter Reitkerk said district canals will be ready to start operations March 1 thanks to the herculean effort of district crews in cleaning up and repairing storm damage. … ”  Read more from the Manteca Bulletin.

Language, communication a concern as Merced County communities faced flooding

“After the flooding endured by the tiny Merced County community of Planada at the start of the year, recovery efforts still continue for many residents.  The majority of Planada’s population is Latino, and most of them primarily speak Spanish, according to census data.  So when deputies with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department went door to door on Jan. 10 in the middle of the night to evacuate families, most residents didn’t understand how severe the flooding had gotten. … “  Read more from KVPR.  https://www.kvpr.org/local-news/2023-02-10/language-communication-a-concern-as-merced-county-communities-faced-flooding


Las Virgenes MWD’s Pure Water Project turns wastewater into drinking water

“It may not be the most pleasant thought, but the wastewater that flows through the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility in Agoura Hills could one day come out of your faucet.  “We’re taking the water that we would normally discharge into Malibu Creek and we’re going to create a local drinking supply out of this,” said Michael McNutt with the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.  It’s called the Pure Water Project and in a race against climate change, McNutt says the region must create additional sources for a clean water supply, one that is more resilient to drought. Currently, the district says it solely relies on the State Water Project. … “  Read more from Spectrum 1.


Dangerous levels of arsenic found in water at another Thermal mobile home park

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited D&D Mobile Home Park in Thermal for having water with dangerous levels of arsenic — a known carcinogen that can cause severe health problems if consumed at high levels over a prolonged period.  An emergency order from the EPA gave the park owners 24 hours to start providing residents with at least one gallon a day of free, safe alternative water, such as bottled water, and one month to fix their arsenic reduction system and hire a certified water system operator. A press release on the order was issued this week, but an EPA spokesperson said the order was made Jan. 31. … ”  Read more from the Desert Sun.


San Clemente Council looks to collaborate with Oceanside, Coastal Commission on sand retention

“The San Clemente City Council directed city staff to speak with both the City of Oceanside and the California Coastal Commission about sand retention efforts, and appointed Councilmembers Victor Cabral and Mark Enmeier to a related subcommittee on Tuesday, Feb. 7.  The decision came as the council was set to discuss an application to the Coastal Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to authorize the use of a ship to dredge beach-quality seabed, found past where waves break, onto San Clemente beaches.  Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knoblock agendized the application as he wanted to address the miles of coastline other than the city’s main beach that wouldn’t be touched by the recently approved San Clemente shoreline protection project.  He said that if Coastal Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers permitted the dredging, he foresaw numerous other Southern California cities doing the same thing along their shores. … ”  Read more from the San Clemente Times.

Sweetwater drains Loveland Reservoir again, closes lake to recreation

“Despite heavy rains in January that have alleviated severe drought concerns, Sweetwater Water Authority on January 26 announced that it has initiated a new transfer of water from Loveland Reservoir to Sweetwater Reservoir. The new transfer comes after a controversial transfer begun in November drained Loveland down to dead pool status for the first time in the district’s history, raising concerns over negative impacts on wildlife, firefighting resources, and loss of recreational use including fishing. Last month, heavy rains caused major damage to a floating fishing dock, as well as substantial erosion, as ECM reported. Now, the district has announced that “due to safety concerns, the Recreation Program at Loveland Reservoir is closed until further notice. … ”  Read more from East County Magazine.

San Diego airport captured stormwater for this repurpose

“Thousands of gallons of stormwater runoff was captured by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority last year to be reused in sustainability efforts.  How was it used? The water, which would otherwise have run off into San Diego Bay, was repurposed to heat and cool buildings at the San Diego International Airport. These efforts, as explained by SAN in a press release, reduced the amount of potable water used for indoor temperature control. … ”  Read more from Fox 5 here.

Return to top

Along the Colorado River …

‘One wet year is not going to solve the problem’: Why the Colorado River is running out of water

“The seven states that rely on the drought-stricken Colorado River are at an impasse. The failure to come to an agreement on water cuts could prompt the federal government to step in with mandatory cuts.  Six states agreed to an outline for cuts, but California is holding out. California has senior water rights and wants Arizona to give up more first.  However, the current agreement in place, the Colorado River Compact, allocates water to states that weren’t really there in the first place. That’s according to Eric Kuhn, the co-author of the book “Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River.”  In this book, Kuhn and his co-author, John Fleck, detail the decision-making behind the Colorado River Compact. … “  Read more from Channel 7.

Understanding California’s relationship with the Colorado River

“It may feel like California is flush with water at the moment, after a winter of historic storms that replenished drought-starved lakes and left the Sierra Nevada snowpack at the deepest it’s been in 28 years. But follow the Colorado River, which supplies 15% of California’s water, back to bottomed-out reservoirs like Nevada’s Lake Mead, and it becomes clear the future of water in the Golden State is still very much in flux.  After decades of drought and overuse, the Colorado River system is on the verge of collapse. To prevent that, every state that draws water from the river must significantly cut back on what it takes in the coming years. How much that affects California, which receives by far the largest portion of any state, will depend on how we fare in a battle now being waged between states, Native American tribes, agricultural giants and the federal government. … ”  Continue reading at SF Gate.

The Colorado River and what Romney, Lee and other senators are doing

“The politics of the Colorado River and what to do about the drought-stricken “work horse of the West” are inevitable as the seven basin states grapple with potential cuts and ways to save up to four million acre-feet of water in the system.  Utah Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee are among GOP senators representing those impacted states who are participating in informal discussions on how to remediate interstate disagreements and come up with workable solutions that keep the West vibrant. The states are Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.  “Sen. Romney and a bipartisan group of his colleagues are having discussions about how to best support the efforts of state officials who will continue to take the lead in working toward a solution,” said Romney’s spokeswoman Arielle Mueller on Friday. … “  Read more from Deseret News.

Return to top

Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NEPA DOCS: Delta-Mendota Canal Subsidence Correction Project

REGISTER NOW: February 15 Mono Lake Workshop at the State Water Board

NOTICE of Opportunity for Public Comment, Public Hearing, and Consideration of Adoption of proposed amendments to the Water Quality Enforcement Policy

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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email