DAILY DIGEST, 3/7: Odds are increasing for the return of El Niño; New atmospheric river to raise flood risk, drop more mountain snow; San Francisco Baykeeper petitions state to rescind waiver of Bay-Delta water standards; Current reservoir and snow conditions; and more …

On the calendar today …

In California water news today …

Odds are increasing for the return of El Niño. Here’s what that could mean for California

“The stubborn La Niña climate pattern that gripped the tropical Pacific for a rare three years in a row is waning, and the odds of an El Niño system forming later this year are getting stronger, according to recent meteorological reports.  The El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation, sometimes referred to as ENSO, has a major influence on temperature and rainfall patterns in different parts of the world, with La Niña often associated with drier-than-normal conditions in California, especially the southern part of the state.  El Niño, on the other hand, is linked to an enhanced probability of above-normal rainfall in California, along with accompanying landslides, floods and coastal erosion, though it is not a guarantee.  The latest outlook from the World Meteorological Organization says there is a 90% chance of a return to “ENSO-neutral” conditions from March to May, with that probability decreasing as the summer goes on.  That decrease “can be seen as a potential precursor for El Niño to develop,” with a 35% chance of El Niño developing from May to July, the agency says. … ”  Read more from the LA Times. | Read via Yahoo News

‘Pretty epic’ mountain snowfall stuns Californians

“California’s snowpack neared record levels Friday, offering good news for the state’s tight water supplies.  A series of extreme storms this winter built up a statewide snowpack that measured 190 percent of the daily average Friday. That’s deeper than the snowpack has been on March 3 in more than 50 years; the day’s record was set in 1969, when the snowpack hit 263 percent of the daily average.  The state’s snowpack is a vital source of water as it melts through the spring and summer. Experts now will start to calculate what snowmelt might look like for water supplies in the months ahead, said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). … ”  Read more from Scientific American.

New atmospheric river to raise flood risk, drop more mountain snow in California

“A storm system with milder air that was brewing over the Pacific Ocean at the start of the week will impact California from Friday to Saturday and generate a high risk of flooding, including in areas accustomed to receiving heavy snow, AccuWeather meteorologists warn. This storm will follow an ongoing winter storm that was producing heavy snow across the Sierra Nevada and is forecast to keep affecting the region into Wednesday.  The high-impact storm could potentially unleash flooding rainfall, mudslides, feet of mountain snow, and very strong wind gusts between Thursday night and Saturday. … ”  Read more from AccuWeather.

Storms keep hammering California and this could soon become a problem

“It’s still snowing in the Sierra Nevada after a weekend storm dumped several more feet of snow on top of the 12 feet that fell during the two weeks prior. The onslaught of precipitation is far from over.  Signs point to a continued active weather pattern that could deliver massive additional amounts of precipitation in the next two weeks. With the temperature forecast to slowly rise, the concern is that an increasing portion of this precipitation may fall as rain, melting snowpack and leading to serious flooding risks.   A staggering 48.33 feet of snow has fallen so far this winter at the Central Sierra Snow Lab near Donner Pass in California. Through the end of February, the recorded snowfall was unprecedented. The Sierra Nevada now has a snowpack that is 186 to 269 percent of normal. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post.

Dan Walters: California’s record winter storms could spawn disastrous floods

“The winter of 2022-23 will go into the meteorological record books for one of the heaviest – if not, the heaviest – precipitation ever experienced in California.  California has been buffeted for more than two months by a seemingly nonstop series of storms rolling in from the Pacific, soaking virtually every corner of the state. Their most unusual aspect has been the huge snowfall in Southern California mountains, where hundreds of people remain trapped in resort communities.  Overall, California’s snowpack is approaching 200% its average for this point of the season.  “This snowpack actually rivals 1982-83, which is the largest snowpack on record,” Sean de Guzman, who manages snowpack measurement for the state Department of Water Resources, said Friday after his crew conducted a survey near Echo Summit (7,377 feet elevation) in El Dorado County. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters.


San Francisco Baykeeper petitions state to rescind waiver of Bay-Delta water standards

San Francisco Baykeeper and allies late yesterday filed a petition (here, with exhibit) requesting the State Water Board to rescind an emergency order that waived Bay-Delta water quality standards through the end of March.The order has caused irreparable environmental harm, including by damaging commercial and recreational fisheries as well as by reducing survival of winter-run Chinook salmon and several of the Bay’s other endangered fish species.   The Water Board requires the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Resources to provide a minimum level of freshwater flow into SF Bay every year to protect estuary health. For the last two years, the Water Board waived these Delta flow requirements,leaving  the Bay’s wildlife desperate for improved habitat conditions that only occur when adequate levels of fresh water reach the Bay. However, the Water Board’s most recent order waived these requirements yet again. …

Click here to continue reading this statement from the San Francisco Baykeeper.

The Water Board’s order responded to a mid-February executive order from Governor Newsom that instructed state agencies to cache water for industrial agricultural interests in the Central Valley. With reservoirs now near or above historical averages and the Sierra snowpack holding almost two winter’s worth of water, it is increasingly likely that the water the state withheld from San Francisco Bay will need to be released to avoid catastrophic floods.

Baykeeper Science Director Jon Rosenfield, PhD, issued the following statement:  “The State Water Board’s decision to deny San Francisco Bay the required minimum wet-condition river flows in February dealt another blow to the state’s valuable fisheries and to the Bay’s endangered species. This is now the sixth year in ten that the Board has waived water quality requirements for San Francisco Bay—requirements that were inadequate to begin with.

“By encouraging the Water Board to waive water quality standards, Governor Newsom’s executive order took water from struggling fish and wildlife populations and gave it to powerful water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. But given ongoing heavy storms and near-record snowpack across the Bay’s watershed, it is clear that the governor harmed fish and wildlife while failing to increase water supply reliability or provide any other public benefits. Mother Nature will fill our state’s reservoirs this year, so the water held back during February will now likely need to be released from reservoirs to avoid catastrophic flooding.”

Baykeeper managing attorney Eric Buescher added:  “The law uses water quality standards to ensure that all beneficial uses of the state’s waters are protected. Those standards are based in science, and form the backbone of the legal protections for fish and wildlife.  

“Unfortunately the Water Board decided to waive those standards, rendering them meaningless as tools to protect the fish and the communities that depend on a healthy Bay at a time when they’re needed most. With the governor’s blessing, the Water Board has knowingly harmed fish and wildlife, including causing endangered species to suffer needlessly. That’s why we’ve petitioned the Water Board to rescind its order immediately.”

Water districts aim to go greener by cutting out ornamental grass

“Though recent snow and rainfall have certainly improved drought conditions, California water officials still want to make every drop of water count.  That means cutting out the watering of decorative grass — also known as non-functional turf — frequently landscaped at traffic medians or office parking lots.  Decorative grass is becoming a bigger problem for Western water agencies to address as policymakers look to cut back its water usage in statewide bans, proposed legislation and local ordinances.  Right before last summer’s sweltering heat, the California Water Resources Control Board set a statewide ban on irrigating non-functional turf with potable water in commercial, institutional and industrial sectors, also known as CII sites. Businesses could still irrigate their turf with recycled water, though the board recommended to prioritize watering trees and switching to low-water landscaping instead.  So, how do many Western water districts identify non-functional turf? … ”  Read more from SF Gate.

DWR and Partners promote California’s hidden water resource during Groundwater Awareness Week 2023

“The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today kicked off National Groundwater Awareness Week 2023 with an engaging educational event held at the California Natural Resources Agency headquarters in Sacramento. The event featured an array of groundwater partners who provided presentations describing their work in groundwater and why groundwater is such an important water resource in California. After the presentations, the in-person audience visited educational stations where they engaged with the day’s speakers and other groundwater professionals.  “DWR is excited to promote Groundwater Awareness Week because it highlights the importance of this hidden gem that 85-percent of Californians depend on for some portion of their water supply,” said Paul Gosselin, DWR Sustainable Groundwater Management Deputy Director. “This week is also a great opportunity to promote the tremendous work being done by local agencies and others throughout California that are working to protect and manage groundwater for long-term sustainability.” … ”  Read more from DWR News.

Mapping California’s ‘zombie’ forests

“A warming climate has left a fifth of the conifer forests that blanket California’s Sierra Nevada stranded in habitats that no longer suit them, according to a study published last week by researchers at Stanford University.  In these “zombie forests,” older, well-established trees — including ponderosa pines, Douglas firs and sugar pines — still tower overhead, but few young trees have been able to take root because the climate has become too warm and dry for them to thrive.  Zombie forests are “cheating death, in a way,” said Avery Hill, an ecologist and the study’s lead author. Mature trees are able to survive even after their local climate has shifted, but the species is not likely to grow back in these areas after a major disturbance, like a catastrophic wildfire, logging event or period of extreme drought. Instead, the study found, the forest is more likely to be replaced by smaller, shrublike vegetation that is adapted to warmer, drier conditions. … ”  Read more from the New York Times.

Increasingly large and intense wildfires hinder western forests’ ability to regenerate

“As global warming threatens the long-term survival of many forests in the Western United States, a new study suggests that reducing the intensity and size of wildfires would help conifers regenerate after the destructive blazes that have become more frequent in recent decades.  The team of more than 50 scientists analyzed data from more than 10,000 field plots after 334 wildfires to assess how forests regrow after fires. They also compared the effects of the fires to what’s expected from a warming climate.  The findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, show that, for the next few decades, fire intensity is the bigger factor influencing how forests regenerate after a blaze. And they suggest that there is a short-term window of opportunity to help coniferous forests regenerate with pro-active management of wildfires and forests. … ”  Read more from Inside Climate News.

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In commentary today …

Newsom made the right call on delaying Delta water flows

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, writes, “Over the past 10 years, California has seen two of the most severe droughts in a millennium separated by two of the wettest years on record. This erratic weather, volatile even by California standards, shattered heat records, killed millions of trees, fueled explosive wildfires and caused significant flooding. As California’s changing climate pushes us deeper into uncharted climate waters, past records are becoming a less reliable tool for predicting current and future weather patterns.  That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent decision to delay the release of 700,000 acre-feet of water, enough to supply nearly 7 million people for a year, from state reservoirs into the Sacramento-San Joaquin-River Delta was the right call. Snowpack from early storms can be lost to dry, hot weather later this spring. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.

Editorial: All that rain and snow! How can California still be in drought?

The LA Times editorial board writes, “After more than two months of atmospheric rivers and bomb cyclones, amid a supersized Sierra snowcap, and with more precipitation forecast for the rest of the month, isn’t California’s drought over?  The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that yes, 17% of California is now out of drought. Most of the rest of the state is quite wet as well, although it remains in some level of “drought” as the term is defined by the Drought Monitor.  Only 17%? How is that possible? We’ve had more rain and snow than in the entire winter of 2019, when the state was last declared drought free.  The cognitive dissonance is the result of the word “drought,” which scientists use to describe a set of measurable conditions in the soil, the atmosphere, plant life, rivers and reservoirs. For most of us, though, drought ends when it rains. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

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In regional water news and commentary today …


Regional salmon regulatory body hears scary salmon science at meetings all this week

“One of biggest meetings of the year for ocean fishermen in the northwest states is underway at the Doubletree Hotel in Seattle today. The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s deliberations started Sunday and will continue through March 10. Salmon issues are on the agenda every day.  Several leading fishing organizations have called for salmon seasons to be closed in California, based on low numbers in predicted California salmon returns.  The forecast is far less bleak in Oregon and Washington, the PFMC heard on Sunday.  On Sunday, discussions of the halibut and salmon fisheries were underway. The commission will make recommendations for fishing seasons and take input on fish that are commonly taken for recreation or commercial use. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Voice.


Tahoe skiers are in for ‘all-time amazingness’ thanks to winter storms, resorts say

“Frigid temperatures and record-breaking snow from a weekend winter storm in the Sierra Nevada will make for some of the best possible ski conditions around Lake Tahoe this week, resort officials said.  Some resorts reopened Monday after weather forced them to close Sunday and skiers were reporting conditions that were among the best in memory. “I have to say, this is some of the best skiing I have ever had in my entire life,” said Maddy Condon, a spokesperson for Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort. “Through the past couple of years, we’ve had some really great powder days, but they would be a little bit more spaced out. This has felt constant since December.” … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Heavy snowfall shuttered Yosemite. Here’s how long it could remain closed

“Yosemite National Park will remain closed at least through Sunday and possibly longer due to heavy snowfall that has left some parts of the park under 15 feet of snow.  Officials closed the park to the public on Feb. 25 amid heavy snowfall and whiteout conditions that made traveling treacherous. It had been expected to reopen last Thursday, but storms continued to dump snow in the Sierra and the closure was extended indefinitely. Now officials say that the public should expect the park to remain closed at least another week or more. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.


Why does it keep snowing in the Northstate? A look at Redding’s historical snow trends

“Parts of the Northstate saw more low elevation snowfall on Monday morning, making it three times in the past week we’ve seen such conditions.  How rare is that? According to KRCR’s Chief Meterologist, Mike Krueger, it really isn’t.  “Quite honestly, from a historical standpoint, it’s not terribly uncommon for us to see snow in March,” Krueger explained. “I mean, I’m looking at all the records [since] 1894 and there is just a huge list. The most we’ve ever seen in the month of March was March 2, 1976: 7 inches of snow… the most amount we’ve ever seen of measurable snow, in a full year, is 9 days, and that’s actually happened several times.” … ”  Read more from KRCR.

Stormy 2023 aids in local water troubles

“The consistent stream of stormy weather seems to have made an impact on some aspects of the California drought this year.  The California Department of Water Resources has reported strong snowpack measurements as well as some rising reservoir levels over the past two months along with a 35% allocation of water to the 29 public agencies that distribute the water. In December, DWR preliminarily planned for merely a 5% allocation. … Sean Earley, the general manager of the Richvale Irrigation District, said he had a positive outlook for the agricultural year given the abnormally wet winter.  “I’m optimistic,” Earley said. “I mean, we’ve got a healthy snowpack. It’s getting a little later into the spring and I worry a bit about the warm storm that’s coming but I think we’re going to be OK. The district is going to be OK. Other than that, this is a much better spot than we’ve been at in the past.” … ”  Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record.


State, federal officials laud Pure Water Monterey expansion

“Standing on a concrete pad that will support a major new water supply for the Monterey Peninsula, state and federal officials on Monday struck celebratory tones in describing government partnerships that will help usher in an expansion of the Pure Water Monterey project.  Tanya Trujillo, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior assistant secretary for water and science, told gathered reporters that Pure Water Monterey and its expansion is a good example of how to address unprecedented dry conditions with innovative technologies that provide for new water sources.  Trujillo was joined by Paul Sciuto, the general manager of Monterey One Water; U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, and Joaquin Esquivel, chairman of the state Water Resources Control Board. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald.

Coldest winter on the Central Coast and Los Angeles since 1978-79

“New data shows this winter is the coldest winter on the Central Coast and Los Angeles since 1978-79.  National Weather Service officials said 1978-79 was particularly rainy, with 30% of the days in that time period recording rain with 0.1 inches of rain recorded each rain day.  In comparison, 2023 is at 20% so far but some of those days have been very heavy rain, according to the National Weather Services.  “What we’ve had this year is apparently similar to 1979,” John Dumas, National Weather Service Science Operations Officer, said. “We’ve had a lot of systems dropping down out of the Gulf of Alaska area.” … ”  Read more from KSBY.


Atmospheric River: Concerns over flooding, rapid snowmelt in Valley and foothills

“An atmospheric river is expected to hit Central California this weekend, causing concerns over flooding and rapid snowmelt in the Valley and foothills.  While Monday was a sunny and bright day, Accuweather Alerts are in place for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the storm arrives in the Valley.  The atmospheric river is expected to bring warmer rain to the Sierra Nevada, creating a possibility of rapid snowmelt.  A major flooding threat looms as water levels rise in creeks, rivers, and streams.  Within the Fresno and Clovis areas, there are over 150 ponding basins around town to help control flooding. … ”  Read more from KFSN.

SEE ALSO: Foothill residents urged to prepare for flooding as another storm heads for California, from the Fresno Bee

Central Valley farmworkers struggle to recover after floods

“In January, a brutal set of atmospheric rivers unleashed a disaster in Planada, where a nearby creek overflowed and sent muddy water gushing into streets. Pictures of Planada, which for several days looked like a lagoon, circulated on social media and news sites. The waist-high floodwaters destroyed hundreds of cars and homes, and created damage that residents are still struggling to recover from weeks later.  I recently visited Planada and wrote about the impacts of the storms, which pushed hundreds from their homes into camps typically used by farmworkers who come to Merced each spring to work in the fields. For many of these low-wage workers, the losses inflicted by the severe flooding will require tens of thousands of dollars to repair and years of rebuilding. … ”  Read more from the New York Times.

Eastern Tule groundwater sustainability plan considered inadequate by state

“The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency, which basically oversees the effort in Southeastern Tulare County to meet the state’s requirements when it comes to preserving groundwater, has been basically been told again by the state it’s still failing.  The Tule Subbasin, which consists of several agencies throughout Tulare County and includes the ETGSA, received an inadequate rating from the State Department of Water Resources for its groundwater sustainability plan, GSP. All of the agencies in the Tule Subbasin essentially used the same plan.  It’s the second time the ETGSA has received a failing rating from the state. The ETGSA received an incomplete rating for its original GSP and has now received an inadequate rating for its revised GSP. The state announced its decision on Thursday. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder.

Tehachapi: Water district asks court to split lawsuit against city into two parts

“In a filing in Sacramento County Superior Court Feb. 28, the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District asked for its concerns about the city of Tehachapi’s approval of the Sage Ranch residential development project to be considered separately from its claim that the city has a “pattern and practice” of not complying with California’s environmental law. The city, in a statement March 6, said it supports the district’s request. Specifically, the district asked the court to bifurcate the fourth cause of action in its Sept. 21, 2021, lawsuit against the city. The litigation was filed after the city approved the 995-unit project proposed for 138 acres of vacant land near Tehachapi High School. … ”  Read more from the Tehachapi News.


Can we see a return of the endangered southern steelhead trout?

Connor Everts, Executive Director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance, writes, “It is difficult to perceive, the fish long associated with the big rivers of Northern California to the Pacific Northwest and all the way to the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula originated in the mountains of Baja California and migrated north to the Southern California Coast.  I learned all of this after fishing in Malibu Creek as a youth for warm water pumpkinseed and catfish in deep pools after winter rains. I had a huge hit on my line and the fish kept running and spooled me, taking all of my line until it broke but not before I saw the silver streak. As a teenager, after the big floods of 1969, I caught steelhead in the pool below the tall and notched Matilija Dam and released them.  … ”  Continue reading at the Sierra Club.

Rancho Santa Fe Association directors question SFID’s new water rate structure, pending rate increase

“The Santa Fe Irrigation District continues its outreach on its proposed water rate increases, making a stop at the March 2 Rancho Santa Fe Association board meeting.  “It’s a nice sales presentation but I don’t buy a bit of it,” commented Director Greg Gruzdowich.  The RSF Association has long been in favor of a uniform rate structure as they believe Rancho Santa Fe homeowners are unfairly subsidizing smaller lots and users.  “It’s like Groundhog Day, it’s the same story…coastal vs, rural, who is using the water and who is paying for the water,” said Gruzdowich, a former SFID member and plantiff in the Association’s lawsuit against Santa Fe Irrigation’s 2016 rates that was settled in 2021. … ”  Read more from the Rancho Santa Fe Review.


San Diego reveals new plans for De Anza Cove in Mission Bay

“Plans to transform northeast Mission Bay into a combination of marshland, campsites and recreation areas will take a key step Tuesday with the release of a multiyear city analysis of how the changes could affect the environment.  The 446-page analysis, which concludes the proposal wouldn’t have significant adverse impacts, allows the approval process to advance to hearings later this year before the Planning Commission and City Council.  City officials also revealed Tuesday some revisions and refinements to the proposal, including one third more land for active recreation areas, a third new beach and a clubhouse that would rent non-motorized boats. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Recent storms sent 7 billion gallons of raw sewage from Mexico into U.S., mayor says

“Imperial Beach’s new mayor, Paloma Aguirre, is dealing with an old problem in her city: beach closures forced by raw sewage from Mexico.  A recent string of powerful storms in the region has forced lots of raw sewage, trash, tires and other debris across the southern border into California.  “Because of the nature of our watershed, there’s an incredible amount of flow coming from across the border with trash, tires and sewage polluting not just our recreational valley but also the beaches,” Aguirre said.  Imperial Beach, the first coastal city north of the U.S.-Mexico border, is covered in signs warning people to keep out of the water. … ”  Read more from Fox 5.

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Along the Colorado River …

Rockies’ snowy winter may not mean enough runoff to replenish the Colorado

“Recent data show a snowy start to 2023 for the Colorado River basin, with heavy winter precipitation in the Rocky Mountains projected to boost spring spring runoff into Lake Powell to 117% of an average year’s flows.  But scientists say that while this winter’s snow may provide a temporary boost to major reservoirs, it will not provide enough water to fix the Southwest’s long-term supply-demand imbalance, as the beleaguered river continues to grapple with climate change and steady demand. … ”  Continue reading at Cronkite News.

Commentary: Why can’t we all get along on the Colorado River?

Law professor Jonathan Zasloff writes, “Well, this was intriguing. An op-ed from ran with this evocative title: California and its neighbors are at an impasse over the Colorado River. Here’s a way forward.  Its author was Eric Kuhn, a former general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District and a co-author of “Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River.”  I should read this, I thought: given how completely intractable the River has been, maybe he knows something I don’t.  Kuhn’s solution: the states of the “lower basin” – California, Arizona, Nevada – should agree to an interstate compact.  Now, the obvious question is: how the hell are they supposed to do that? … ”  Read more from the Legal Planet.

Commentary: We must save the drought-stricken Colorado River—here’s how

Katharine Jacobs, a professor of Environmental Science and the director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona, writes, “The Colorado River is in trouble, and so are the water supplies of seven U.S. states, dozens of Native American Tribes, and parts of northwestern Mexico. Recent news reports have focused almost exclusively on the current megadrought, but the underlying management system of the river needs urgent attention. It is alarming to see the institutions we depend on starting to unravel.  We can’t continue to operate from crisis to crisis in perpetuity; we need to begin addressing now the foundational interstate agreement that got us into this situation. Because the region’s water managers are now engaged in high stakes discussions with dramatic consequences, it is hard to get anyone to focus on the bigger-picture, longer-term challenges. But it is imperative that we do so. The longer we wait to resolve some of the structural issues in the water management system, the more conflict and consequences there will be for the regional economy, river ecosystems, and vulnerable communities, including Native peoples. … ”  Read more from Newsweek.

Invasive fish may swarm Colorado River as water levels decline

“An invasive fish species could begin swarming more areas of the Colorado River, officials have warned.  In a report released in February by the Bureau of Reclamation, concerns are raised that smallmouth bass—an invasive species established in Colorado River reservoir Lake Powell—could escape into other reaches of the river, below the dam.  Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon Dam, is seeing some of its lowest water levels ever. Officials are concerned that the low water levels will cause the smallmouth bass to escape past the dam, which has so far served as a barrier for the fish. When water levels are high, the report said it prevents the fish passing through. … ”  Read more from Newsweek.

The importance of Yuma’s agricultural water in the Colorado River basin

“A prolonged drought in the West is making the fate of the Colorado River less certain. As a result, agriculture is at risk. Agricultural water is extremely important to the Yuma growing region, the Winter Lettuce capital of North America. Between the months of November and April, 90% of the U.S. and Canada’s leafy greens and other vegetables come from Yuma area.   Yuma’s agricultural industry recently put together a webpage and video to illustrate what could happen if the Yuma area does not get its water allocations from the Colorado River. Yuma enjoys resources – water, soil, climate, labor, and infrastructure – that allow for the efficient production of the Nation’s food supply. Reduced water supplies for Yuma will mean less healthy foods available for consumers.  Approximately 170 million servings of lettuce are produced in the Yuma area each day from November to April. … ”  Read more from PR Newswire.

Bennet warns railway project would endanger Colorado River basin

“Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is asking the Biden administration to pump the brakes on a railway project that he warns could contaminate the Colorado River basin if a train derailment spills crude oil into the famed river’s headwaters.  In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack dated Monday, Bennet asked the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service not to authorize the construction of a railway through the Ashley National Forest.  Bennet is raising the alarm over “the risks to Colorado’s communities, water, land, air, and climate” from the Uinta Basin Railway Project, which would connect shale oil fields in Utah’s Uinta Basin to the national rail network, sending up to 350,000 barrels of oil a day through Colorado. … ”  Read more from The Hill.

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In national water news today …

Exploring the most efficient solutions to water scarcity

“70% of the planet is covered in water, a key resource for almost every aspect of life and a major factor in health, peace, and security across the world. SDG 6 looks to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ by 2030; a quite ambitious task considering that 2.3 billion people – or one-quarter of the world’s population – live in water-stressed countries. Physical water scarcity refers to the lack of sufficient water in an area, whereas economic water scarcity occurs when people cannot afford access to water. The consequences are disproportionately felt by the poorest and most vulnerable. Although there is no international mandate, governments around the world have implemented policies and strategies to help tackle the issue. In this article, we explore some of the most common solutions to water scarcity. … ”  Read more at Earth.org.

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Reservoir and snow conditions …

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


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