WEEKLY WATER NEWS DIGEST for March 5-10: Storm paradox: Too much water in reservoirs, too soon; La Nina is gone, odds for El Nino increase; How Carslbad desal plant is generating change; The toxic myth of the Gold Rush; and more …

A wrap-up of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …

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In California water news this week …

California storms create paradox: Too much water in reservoirs, too soon

“Two winters’ worth of snow has already fallen in the Sierra Nevada since Christmas, pulling California from the depths of extreme drought into one of its wettest winters in memory.  But as a series of tropical storms slams the state, that bounty has become a flood risk as warm rains fall on the state’s record snowpack, causing rapid melting and jeopardizing Central Valley towns still soggy from January’s deluges.  The expected surge of mountain runoff forced state officials on Wednesday to open the “floodgates” of Lake Oroville and other large reservoirs that store water for millions of Southern Californians and Central Valley farms. Releasing the water will make room for the storm’s water and melted snow, prevent the reservoirs from flooding local communities — and send more water downstream, into San Francisco Bay. The increased flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could help endangered salmon migrate to the ocean. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters.

A level 4 of 4 warning of excessive rainfall issued in some California areas

“Officials in California issued evacuation warnings in portions of several counties amid powerful storms likely to deliver severe rainfall and cause widespread flooding across the central and northern parts of the state Friday.  The most dangerous amount of rain could impact nearly 70,000 people along the central California coast, stretching from Salinas southward to San Luis Obispo and including parts of Ventura and Monterey counties, according to the Weather Prediction Center, which issued a Level 4 of 4 warning of excessive rainfall in the area.  “Multiple rounds of rainfall in addition to melting snow will result in the potential for significant rises along streams and rivers, with widespread flooding impacts possible through early next week,” the National Water Center said Thursday. … ”  Read more from CNN.

Washington Post interactive:  How much snow fell in California? Take a look.

“California’s diverse landscape of beaches, valleys, foothills and mountains has been transformed into a winter wonderland by a spectacularly snowy winter.  The scenes have ranged from staggering amounts of mountain snow to a coating at unusually low elevations down to near sea level, and the numbers just keep growing: Up to 16 feet of snow in two weeks. Some Sierra resorts are pushing 600 inches of snow for the season, which is at least 200 inches above the norm.  Here, we take you on a visual tour across California — from stunning scenes of frosted beaches and foothills, to impassable mountain roads with snow piled higher than street signs. … ”  Check it out at the Washington Post (gift article).

La Nina, which worsens hurricanes and drought, is gone

“After three nasty years, the La Nina weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.  That’s usually good news for the United States and other parts of the world, including drought-stricken northeast Africa, scientists said.  The globe is now in what’s considered a “neutral” condition and probably trending to an El Nino in late summer or fall, said climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux, head of NOAA’s El Nino/La Nina forecast office.  “It’s over,” said research scientist Azhar Ehsan, who heads Columbia University’s El Nino/La Nina forecasting. “Mother Nature thought to get rid of this one because it’s enough.” … ”  Read more from the Associated Press.

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

Earth is warming up. So why is California having a record-breaking winter?

“In the Bay Area, the past three months have included historic rains, record-breaking low temperatures, and even snow in places like the Berkeley hills and North Bay highlands. In the Sierra Nevada, storms and frigid temperatures have produced so much snow that this year’s snowpack could become the largest ever recorded for the state, following upcoming storms. …  All this winter weather may seem to be at odds with the hotter, drier California that scientists expect with climate change, as greenhouse gas emissions raise global temperatures. But that trend is taking place over longer timescales, across the entire planet. What happens in California from year to year — or even winter to winter — can vary dramatically and still fit into the bigger story, scientists say.  “Weather does not equal climate,” said Erica Siirila-Woodburn, a hydrology research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, by email. … ”  Read more from the SF Chronicle (gift article).

Drought to deluge: Managing water for climate extremes

“The year began with a soaking for California. Nine atmospheric rivers doused the state, leaving at least 20 lives lost, roads washed out, and communities underwater.  Though it may have felt that way, the quick swing from drought to deluge isn’t uncommon: California naturally pivots between extremes.  “I think people forget how ordinary rain can be in California,” says Ann Willis, an engineer and California regional director at the nonprofit American Rivers. “It wasn’t too long after that series of storms when scientists were saying that this wasn’t climate change, this was a regular year for California. We just haven’t seen it for so long that we forgot.”  But that doesn’t mean climate-amplified storms aren’t coming. This year’s heavy rain events aren’t even close to what’s expected in the future as climate change makes weather whiplash more severe. That’s why it’s important for California — and other states — to start planning now. … ”  Read more from The Revelator.

Thirst for water: How the nation’s largest desalination plant is generating change

“When the nation’s largest desalination plant opened in Carlsbad, California, in 2015, people across the country were watching to see how it increased water supplies as groundwater dwindled, reservoirs dried up, and drought ravaged the Golden State.  Nearly 10 years later, the plant has demonstrated how seawater desalination can play a pivotal role in achieving water security. Dependent on the Colorado River and State Water Project, California found itself watching water supplies reach dangerously low levels, forcing water agencies statewide to look beyond the usual solutions and tap into new opportunities. … ”  Read more from Water Online.

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.”

Coalition issues intent to sue over governor’s decision to suspend water quality protections

“A coalition of environmental groups – the California Water Impact Network, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and AquAlliance – have submitted a notice of intent to sue the State Water Resources Control Board unless it rescinds an order to suspend water quality and fish protections in California rivers and the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta.  The Board’s order was issued following a decision by Governor Gavin Newsom to retain water in state reservoirs to ensure future deliveries for Central Valley agriculture. The order constituted an end-run around state and federal legal requirements to maintain adequate water quality and temperature conditions for salmon below dams. … ”  Continue reading this press release from C-WIN.

State Water Board order modifying an order that approved a Temporary Urgency Change Petition filed by DWR and Reclamation

“On March 9, 2023, the State Water Resources Control Board Executive Director issued an order modifying a February 21, 2023 Order that approved a temporary urgency change petition to modify requirements included in the water right permits and license for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project for the period of February through March 2023.  “The February 21 Order determined that an urgent need for the proposed changes existed at the time the TUCP was filed and that the changes were in the public interest and would not have unreasonable impacts on fish and wildlife. However, as identified in the March 8, 2023 Bulletin 120 hydrologic forecast, hydrologic conditions have improved since the Order was issued and additional significant precipitation is currently occurring and projected to occur.  The State Water Board has also received public comments on the TUCP and a petition for reconsideration. Based on the improved hydrology and in consideration of the public comments and the petition for reconsideration, this Order finds that an urgent need for the changes no longer exists, the changes are no longer in the public interest, and the impacts of the changes on fish and wildlife are no longer reasonable.” … ”  Read the order from the State Water Board.

State Water Board approved petition to capture flood flows, recharge groundwater

To capitalize on strong flows resulting from higher-than-average snowpack, the State Water Resources Control Board approved a petition by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to divert over 600,000 acre-feet of San Joaquin River flood waters for wildlife refuges, underground storage and recharge.  With this approval, the State Water Board has authorized nearly 790,000 acre-feet in diversions for groundwater recharge and other purposes since late December 2022 – the amount of water used by at least 1.5 million households in a single year.  “Coming off the heels of the three driest years in state history, California is taking decisive action to capture and store water for when dry conditions return,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.  Reclamation’s petition requested a change to its San Joaquin River water rights at Friant Dam to manage flood flows. The board’s approval allows for diversions from March 15 through July 30. Given the time it takes for water to reach the downstream point of diversion at Mendota Dam, the approval period will allow for floodwater capture following storms expected this weekend. … ”  Read more from the State Water Board.

California regulators reject San Joaquin Valley groundwater management plans

“California regulators have told local agencies in large portions of the San Joaquin Valley that their plans for combating overpumping of groundwater are inadequate, a step that clears the way for state intervention to curb chronic declines in water levels and prevent more wells from going dry.  The Department of Water Resources announced Thursday that officials have determined local groundwater plans are inadequate in areas of the San Joaquin Valley where heavy agricultural pumping has drawn down aquifer levels and left rural homeowners with dry taps.  The so-called groundwater sustainability plans are required under California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which aims to address widespread problems of groundwater depletion in many areas by 2040. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

Helping the San Joaquin Valley find new uses for fallowed farmland

“In Sarge Green’s 40-plus year career, he’s worn an astonishing number of hats. Now a water management specialist with California State University, Fresno, Sarge has worked on water quality issues at the regional water board, served as general manager of an irrigation district, and managed two resource conservation districts (RCDs). He’s also a director for the Tule Basin Land and Water Conservation Trust and the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District. He’s been a long-time partner with the PPIC Water Policy Center in our San Joaquin Valley work as a trusted member of our research network.  Sarge remains deeply involved in efforts to help San Joaquin Valley farms and communities cope with the challenges of implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We spoke with him about a pressing issue in the valley: how to manage farmland that will be transitioning out of intensive irrigation. … ”  Read more from the PPIC.

‘A foundation of racism’: California’s antiquated water rights system faces new scrutiny

“It’s an arcane system of water law that dates back to the birth of California — an era when 49ers used sluice boxes and water cannons to scour gold from Sierra Nevada foothills and when the state government promoted the extermination of Native people to make way for white settlers.  Today, this antiquated system of water rights still governs the use of the state’s supplies, but it is now drawing scrutiny like never before.  In the face of global warming and worsening cycles of drought, a growing number of water experts, lawmakers, environmental groups and tribes say the time has finally come for change. Some are pushing for a variety of reforms, while others are calling for the outright dismantling of California’s contentious water rights system. … ”  Read more from the LA Times. | Read via Yahoo News.

The toxic myth of the Gold Rush

Pile of tailings left to erode at the abandoned New Idria mine

“On Jan. 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, Calif. “Boys, by god, I believe I’ve found a gold mine,” he’s said to have exclaimed. What happened next is a story that’s been told countless times.  People from around the world descended on the Sierra Nevada range of California seeking their fortune. Solitary prospectors crouched by streams, shaking around gravel in a pan to extract a few nuggets of gold. Within less than a decade, they went home, and the Gold Rush was over. It’s a romantic story in a way. It’s also a myth. … ”  Read more from the Boston Globe.

Feds still on the hook for endangering California coast salmon

“A Northern California man’s protest against the unlawful ‘taking’ of endangered salmon by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lives another day, as a judge ruled against allowing either a dismissal or a stay on the matter on Friday.  The defendants sought to either dismiss or stay the case that accused them of creating a hazardous habitat for Central California Coast steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon, saying that the case should be deemed moot, considering recent action taken by the Army Corp to come into compliance with Endangered Species Act requirements.  The Coyote Valley Dam, an earthen dam built seventy years ago, is currently managed by the Army Corp and lies above the city of Ukiah. The dam now prevents large-scale flooding of the city. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.

Facing dismal salmon population forecast, fishermen’s groups call for immediate closure of season, request disaster assistance

“Facing some of the worst salmon fishery numbers in California’s recorded history, a coalition of sport and commercial fishermen’s groups is calling on state regulators to immediately cancel the 2023 salmon season, which typically starts in May.  The request comes two days after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual pre-season salmon informational meeting, where agency personnel delivered a dismal 2023 abundance forecast.  For example, the forecast for fall Chinook on the Klamath River is just 103,793 adults, the second-lowest figure since the current assessment method began more than 25 years ago.  Meanwhile, the projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook — estimated at 169,767 adults — is among the lowest forecasts in the past 15 years. Wildlife managers at Wednesday’s meeting also admitted to errors in their forecast models. … ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost.

Judge lifts block on road construction along California’s last undammed river

“In a second go-around in a case affecting California’s last major undammed river, a federal judge on Friday lifted an injunction which prevented Caltrans from completing road improvements on two highways which, at many points, run directly alongside the wild Smith River.  U.S. District Judge James Donato lifted the nearly decadelong injunction after finding Caltrans’ revised plans for improvements on U.S. Route 199 and State Route 197 did not violate the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Plaintiffs Friends of Del Norte, an environmental group based in the state northwesternmost county, sued Caltrans claiming plans for improving the highways posed a threat to the salmon which inhabit the 25-mile river. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.

Duarte, House panel dig in on Calif.’s woeful water policies

“The Central Valley’s dire water situation took center stage in the nation’s capital on Wednesday.  The Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on the necessity for multiple use of water resources, bringing California’s water storage system into the national spotlight.  The backstory: Recent years have brought sweeping changes for the Central Valley’s water supply. The Central Valley Project is subject to biological opinions (often referred to as BiOps), the most recent of which were issued in 2019 under President Donald Trump’s administration, which proponents say allowed for greater flexibility to pump more water south to Valley farms and southern California communities. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun,

Water crisis in West has prompted desperate ideas: Drain the Great Lakes, desalinate ocean water

“As western water woes continue, some experts and authorities say a national-level problem like this requires an innovative solution.  The U.S. has plenty of drinking water — it’s simply in the wrong place. That’s a seemingly fixable problem that has inspired a number of creative ideas.  Unfortunately, everything except conserving water has proven to be a longshot proposal riddled with logistical, legal or cost problems.  Meanwhile, massive amounts of fresh water are readily available to the East. Ocean water can be processed into drinking water. And even glaciers could be helpful sources of fresh water.  Here’s a few ideas, some old and some new, about how the West could get more drinking water — and why experts generally regard these as desperate longshots. … ”  Continue reading at USA Today.

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In commentary this week …

Working water is not wasted water. How healthy, flowing rivers benefit people and the environment

Ann Willis, California Regional Director for American Rivers, writes, “It’s a familiar scenario: Rising rivers are pinched off from the flood plains that could have spread, slowed and stored the sudden abundance of water. Floodwaters break through levees and leave destruction and heartbreaking loss in their wake. Renewed frustration and fury enter the public dialogue about “wasted” water.  I could be describing the recent events in California, where footage of fast-moving rivers carrying floodwaters out into the Pacific Ocean baffled some who have been preoccupied (and rightfully so) with drought and dire predictions about the fate of California’s water supply. But it’s also the story of the Mississippi River in the aftermath of the 1849 flood of New Orleans. And the 1927 flood in New Orleans. And California’s Central Valley floods of 1964, 1982, 1995, 1997, 2017 and, of course, this past month. Over the past 150 years of river management, floods have been framed as “wasted water,” falsely pitting the environment against the economy, ignoring the self-inflicted consequences of rivers constrained by levees and overlooking the opportunities healthy rivers provide to support people and ecosystems. … ”  Continue reading at the SF Chronicle.

Editorial:  Listen to fishermen: Skip salmon season

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat editorial board writes, “When people call for action that goes against their own short-term interests, something bigger must be at stake. The public should pay attention.  So it is with three associations of West Coast fishermen that have called for a shutdown of this year’s California salmon fishing season. Members of all three associations know that a closure will cost them dearly, but they understand that this year’s pain is the best chance for long-term survival.  The call for a closure comes as the Pacific Fishery Management Council begins its meeting in Seattle to recommend seasonal limits for ocean fisheries. The council’s recommendation, due in April, will go to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Meanwhile. the California Fish and Game Commission will set limits for inland fisheries in May. All of those agencies should heed the fishermen’s request. … ”  Continue reading at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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.

Tampering with water rights could increase costs in California

John Seiler writes, “As I’ve mentioned before, “In California, whisky is for drinking and water is for fighting,” according to a quote attributed to Mark Twain.  Your water costs soon could be going up even more. That’s because the state is looking to “fix” the current complicated system. Here’s the title of the Los Angeles Times’ “unbiased” news story on March 6: “‘A foundation of racism’: California’s antiquated water rights system faces new scrutiny.”  For the L.A. Times, is everything “racism”? Even a water system that provides potable water at a reasonable price to almost 40 million Californians and the state’s vast farm system? Apparently. … ”  Read more from the Epoch Times (free registration may be required).

We have seen the future of water in California

Farmer, writer and educator, Paul H. Betancourt writes, “We have seen the future of water in California this winter and it does not look good.  After 200% rainfall and historic snowpack, what do we have? They keep saying we are not out of the drought. But when it starts raining like this, that is — by definition — the end of a drought. How much rainfall do they need? Actually, I probably shouldn’t ask that. I probably won’t like their answer.  There are no average rainfall years in California.  There are wet years and dry years. We are idiots because we do not catch the rainfall from the wet years and save it for the dry years.  Last fall, I read the journals of famous American geologist Josiah Whitney’s right-hand man, William H. Brewer, who walked up and down California in the early 1860s and documented what he saw. … ”  Read more from The Business Journal.

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In regional water news this week …

Construction preparation on Klamath River dams underway, removal complete by 2024

“Construction to start the removal process of the Klamath River dams will start this month and all four dams are scheduled to be removed from the river by the end of 2024.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the $450 million dam removal project in November of 2022. It will be the largest dam removal project in American history.  The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), who took over ownership of the dams from Pacific Power, is leading the historic construction project. This month, construction preparation work is underway. Construction on the dams will begin this summer, starting with Copco 2. … ”  Read more from KDRV.

Marin Municipal Water District selects strategy for new water supplies

“After a year of study, the Marin Municipal Water District has selected a list of new water supply options to explore in its effort to bolster availability during droughts.  The district board voted unanimously this week to begin examining a variety of options, including increasing reservoir storage, importing more Russian River water, creating a regional groundwater bank in Sonoma County, building a brackish desalination plant on the Petaluma River, investments in conservation initiatives, expanding the district’s recycled water system and building new ways to convey water to local reservoirs.  “We are on the cusp of approving significant funds to invest in storage, supply, conservation to the tune that our community has never seen before,” district board member Jed Smith said before the vote on Tuesday. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.

Pure Water Monterey officials fret grants could be lost

“A set of four grants that would pay for more than half of a $70 million expansion of the Pure Water Monterey water project are feared in jeopardy because California American Water Co. is refusing to sign a formal agreement to purchase water from the project.  The heads of the two public agencies involved in the projects are expressing concerns that without a signed document, called a water purchase agreement, agencies making the grants will balk, fearing the project won’t move forward without one.  The water purchase agreement is essentially a formal contract spelling out the terms underlying Cal Am’s purchase of water that is produced by the expansion project. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald.

Cal Am is conspicuously absent as Pure Water Monterey celebrates a milestone.

“Sara Rubin here, looking at a glass of water on my desk and appreciating all of the technology and infrastructure and people behind the scenes who worked to bring me that water. Specifically, I am thinking about Pure Water Monterey, a high-tech water recycling system at Monterey One Water in Marina, that uses a four-step process to treat wastewater—the same stuff that goes out the drains of our showers and gets flushed down our toilets. The four-step process includes ozone pre-treatment, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and oxidation with UV light and hydrogen peroxide. Like I said—to all of you working to build this stuff and get me my glass of water, thank you.   After that process, the treated water is then injected underground into the Seaside Basin. On Saturday, March 4, the system reached 10,000 acre-feet reinjected, a milestone. … ”  Read more from Monterey Weekly.

Cuyama Valley groundwater plan approved. What does this mean for Big Carrot?

“The embattled Cuyama Valley groundwater basin now has a state-approved plan that aims to create a sustainable source of water mainly through groundwater pumping reductions. On Thursday, the California Department of Water Resources approved the groundwater sustainability plan drafted by the Cuyama Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, a joint powers agency comprised of Kern, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties as well as the Cuyama Community Services District and Cuyama Basin Water District. The plan was required under the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act because the Cuyama basin is considered critically overdrafted. … ”  Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Eastern San Joaquin groundwater plan gets a thumbs up

“The California Department of Water Resources has recommended the approval of the Eastern San Joaquin Water Authority Groundwater Sustainability Plan. San Joaquin County officials said the recommendation is a significant step toward ensuring the region will have enough groundwater by 2040.  “DWR’s acceptance of our groundwater sustainability plan is a tribute to the hard work and historic collaboration among 16 diverse Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) that joined together to build consensus around realistic and common-sense solutions with the unified goal of sustainability,” San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Rickman said in a Friday media statement. … ”  Read more from the Lodi Sentinel.

Here’s how operator of Don Pedro Reservoir plans to guard against flooding along Tuolumne

“The managers of Don Pedro Reservoir said they stand ready to handle the Tuolumne River surge expected with the next round of storms. The Turlock Irrigation District said in a Wednesday news release that it has made careful releases since early January to prepare for runoff later in winter. The massive dam near La Grange is designed to protect the lower 52 miles of river corridor from destructive flows from higher in the Sierra Nevada.  TID operates Don Pedro in partnership with the Modesto Irrigation District and has rights to about two-thirds of its water and hydropower. … ”  Read more from the Modesto Bee.

Fresno Irrigation District working to handle water coming from atmospheric river

“Waldron Basin east of Kerman has been filling up with diverted flood flows brought on by previous storms.  Fresno Irrigation District General Manager Bill Stretch says other basins will take on a different look when the skies open up.  “We’ve got three or four dry cells, so we’re keeping those dry in anticipation of what we’re going to see in the next few days,” he said.  This is where FID can draw water directly from the Kings River but right now, it needs to control the flow of water going into the system. … ”  Read more from KFSN.

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Announcements, notices, and funding opportunities …

REGISTER NOW: Online Short Course, Spring 2023: Groundwater, Watersheds, and Groundwater Sustainability Plans

REGISTER NOW: Army Corps regulatory workshop: Overview of Permit Types, Endangered Species Act/Magnusson Stevens Act (Essential Fish Habitat) submittals

NOTICE: Public Comment Period on a Draft Temporary Conditional Waiver for the Carlsbad Desalination Plant

NOTICE: Comment period opens for Harvest Water Program draft contracts for the administration of public benefits

NOTICE: All Curtailments in the Delta Watershed Remain Temporarily Suspended

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