Mother Nature by Juraj Patekar, Mother Nature International Mosaiculture exhibition - Montreal Botanical gardens

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: California’s ‘Big Melt’ accelerates; How modernizing infrastructure can help to capture more storm flow; This California town hasn’t had clean drinking water in 11 years; Sacramento waters rise, but Klamath Basin stays dry in ‘rain shadow’; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

It’s here: Why this may be the moment California’s ‘Big Melt’ accelerates

“The colossal snowpack atop the Sierra Nevada will begin to melt more quickly as soon as this weekend as above-average temperatures persist into next week, according to weather experts.  “The Big Melt is now officially arriving… this weekend,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain tweeted Thursday afternoon.   Residents across the Sierra Nevada are likely to experience daytime temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s this weekend, with places like Mammoth Lakes, the Yosemite foothills and South Lake Tahoe probably seeing an uptick in nighttime temperatures as well, according to Gerry Díaz, The Chronicle’s newsroom meteorologist.  The rate of snowmelt could “rapidly accelerate over the next few days as temperatures warm considerably for a sustained period,” Swain told The Chronicle. More than 90% of the snowpack atop the Sierra Nevada has yet to melt, Swain said. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle (gift article).

California’s cool forecast could limit dangerous snowmelt flooding

“As worry grows over flooding from California’s record snowpack, forecasters say that a cooler-than-average May could slow the pace of Sierra Nevada snowmelt and spare the state a devastating spring.  Even though March 2023 was the second hottest March globally since record keeping began, temperatures in California have remained below historical averages — a trend that officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say will continue at least through next month.  “We’re actually favoring below-normal temperatures for a lot of the state,” said Scott Handel, a meteorologist with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

California’s water and snowpack Motherlode: a blessing or a curse?

“California’s Motherlode of water is a blessing and a curse. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is telling the 29 public water agencies serving 27 million Californians, they will get 100% the water they request. That has not happened in 17 years.  Even early in the melt, tributaries and the rivers they fill are already at very high flows. The key reason for that is that right now, throughout the Sierra, the snowpack is 256% of the historical average for this week; a two and a half year supply.  “In a year like this, it’s gonna be high flows well into the summer. Some of the snow we expect will stick around until August,” said federal National Weather Service/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist and flow forecaster Alan Haynes. … ”  Read more from KTVU.

Geologist weighs in on importance of California’s snowpack

“California’s snowpack is more than two-and-a-half times larger than average right now, according to the state’s Dept. of Water Resources. As the weather gets warmer, it’s going to melt. Geologists say there’s no question we needed the snow.  “The melting of snow has always been important every single year in California,” said Geologist Dr. Pat Abbott.  This comes as the latest U.S. Drought Monitor update shows almost two-thirds of the state is drought-free, a huge improvement over the past few months. Unfortunately the snowpack can’t guarantee we’ll stay that way. … ”  Read more from Channel 10.

How modernizing infrastructure can help to capture more storm flow

“The series of atmospheric river storms that brought record-breaking amounts of rain and snow this year has many Californians asking if our existing water infrastructure is able to capture and store flows from these extreme weather events. With climate change resulting in stronger storms carrying more water and creating major flooding, the answer is more complicated than one might think.  “We are seeing a change in the distribution of rain and snow as climate change creates more variable weather conditions and a greater opportunity for extreme conditions,” said Department of Water Resources State Climatologist Michael Anderson. “This results in runoff patterns that can challenge historical water management operations.” … ”  Read more from DWR News.

This California town hasn’t had clean drinking water in 11 years

“Three or four times a week, Melva Garza and her 40-year-old disabled son throw shampoo, soap, towels and fresh clothes in a bag, pack up their car and make their way to a truck stop eight miles away to take a shower.  She keeps the shower tokens — 50 cents each — stacked next to the truck stop faucet, each one worth three more minutes of water.  The Garzas haven’t showered in their own home in over a decade.  For years, Garza hasn’t turned on the taps that spew only fetid, discolored water into her house. She has five-gallon jugs strewn about for everything from washing her hands to cooking and cleaning her clothes. She uses her two bathtubs as storage.  It’s a reality the family has faced for 11 years since nitrate levels in San Lucas’s only freshwater well spiked to dangerous levels. Her family is one of the dozens in the small Monterey County farming community that must live daily with the inconvenience, danger and fear of contaminated water — and she is one of the hundreds of thousands of people across the Salinas and Central Valleys who face water insecurity in a state that is the world’s fourth-largest economy. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News (gift article).

Water Commission explores drought impacts and responses in latest issue of Water Resources IMPACT magazine

The California Water Commission staff has acted as guest editor for two issues of Water Resources IMPACT magazine, featuring articles on the topic of prolonged drought in California. Articles delve into how drought impacts people and the environment and how we can respond to droughts, better preparing for the inevitable.  The first issue, published in February 2023, focused on water scarcity issues confronting California and the ways these issues impact different sectors. The second issue, published on April 20, 2023, focuses on drought response, considering the options for adaptation. This two-part series complements the Commission’s work on strategies to protect communities and fish and wildlife in the event of a long-term drought.  The March/April edition of Water Resources IMPACT magazine can be accessed, free of charge, on the American Water Resources Association website, using this promotional code: 23MarAprWC.

Better late than never: Calif. growers get full allocations

State and federal water contractors in California can expect a full allocation – 100% of their contractual promises – of surface water deliveries this summer. Near simultaneous announcements of the full allocations were recently made this week by the California Department of Water Resources, and Bureau of Reclamation.  Federal water contractors who rely on the Central Valley Project (CVP) will see 100% allocations north and south of the Delta this year, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. A similar promise was made to State Water Project contractors by California DWR. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press.

KIND Snacks starting new ag initiative in Madera County

“KIND Snacks is launching a new agriculture initiative at a Madera County farm.   The company announced Tuesday that it is starting the KIND Almond Acres Initiative at KG Ranch.  The big picture: KIND will work with Olam Food Ingrediants , an almond supplier, in Madera County to test new technologies with best practices from regenerative agriculture with the goal of providing benefits to the soil and farm as a whole. The pilot-project will be three years and kicks off KIND’s effort to source 100 percent of its almonds from orchards using regenerative agriculture practices on a mass balance basis by 2030. … ”  Continue reading at the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Eureka! After California’s heavy rains, gold seekers are giddy.

“There’s a fever in California’s gold country these days, the kind that comes with the realization that nature is unlocking another stash of precious metal. California’s prodigious winter rainfall blasted torrents of water through mountain streams and rivers. And as the warmer weather melts the massive banks of snow — one research station in the Sierra recorded 60 feet for the season — the rushing waters are detaching and carrying gold deposits along the way. The immense wildfires of recent years also loosened the soil, helping to push downstream what some here are calling flood gold. … ”  Read more from the New York Times (gift article).

Californians see a need for immediate action on climate change

“This year’s Earth Day comes as California emerges from a winter and spring marked by extreme precipitation, following years of drought and last fall’s historic heat wave. Over the past several months, Californians have been buffeted by more than a dozen atmospheric rivers that have caused more than $5 billion in damage across the state—with more damage expected when the Sierra Nevada snowpack melts in the coming weeks. As climate change becomes more clearly linked to extreme weather, what do Californians think about the need to counter its effects?  According to the February 2023 PPIC Statewide Survey, three in four Californians think it is necessary to take steps to counter the effects of climate change right away, while one in four say it is not necessary to take steps yet. Overwhelming shares of Democrats and independents—compared to just one in three Republicans—think that steps should be taken right away. … ”  Read more from the PPIC.

California researchers attempt ocean climate solution

“Atop a 100-foot barge tied up at the Port of Los Angeles, engineers have built a kind of floating laboratory to answer a simple question: Is there a way to cleanse seawater of carbon dioxide and then return it to the ocean so it can suck more of the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere to slow global warming?  Called the lungs of the planet, the ocean, whose plants and currents take in carbon dioxide, has already helped the Earth tremendously by absorbing 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution and capturing 90 percent of the excess heat from those emissions. Acting as a giant carbon sink, it has been a crucial buffer in protecting people from even worse effects of early climate change. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.

The science behind California superblooms, explained

“California landscapes are transforming into a kaleidoscope of vibrant wildflowers, including orange poppies, yellow fiddlenecks and lavender-blue lupines. Many are calling this year’s tremendous bounty a superbloom — though it’s really in the eye of the beholder.  “I don’t think there’s this precise scientific definition for ‘superbloom,’ but it certainly does get at a sense of years that we’re particularly wowed by wildflowers,” said Valerie Eviner, an ecologist at UC Davis. In the past month, so many wildflowers covered Southern California hillsides that they were detected by satellites hundreds of miles above Earth’s surface.  “I’m going to say, maybe that’s the threshold,” said Naomi Fraga, director of conversation programs at the California Botanic Garden. “If you can see the flowers from space, it’s a superbloom.” … ”  Continue reading at the San Francisco Chronicle (gift article).


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Podcasts …

WATER TALK: David “Mas” Masumoto

A conversation with farmer and author David ‘Mas’ Masumoto about peaches, regenerative practices, soil, water, and intergenerational histories in the CA Central Valley. Rereleased April 20, 2023 with original recordings from October 2020.

LAist AIRTALK: For the first time in 17 years, CA is ready to fill everyone’s water requests – but isn’t the future looking dry?

Today on AirTalk, California plans to fill 100 percent of the state’s water requests. Also on the show, we discuss the myths surrounding the Millennial generation; how AI is changing aspects of our society and culture; FilmWeek; and more


The U.S. southwest is in a water crisis; it’s a front line of climate change. This show takes you to places that rely on the Colorado River, to explore what we can do to ensure life in the region as it dries out. In this first episode, we get high up in the Rocky Mountains to see where our water comes from, and see ground zero for our water problems — the Hoover Dam — where we meet someone who predicted this crisis years before it happened. It’s all to answer the question: Just how screwed are we? Part 1 of 10.


There are a lot of ways to experience water but I doubt very many of you have fallen through a cloud. Surprisingly, this relationship was shared by fellow hydrogeologist that I first met when he was the Executive director of the National Ground Water Association.  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,  530-205-6388

RIPPLE EFFECT: PFAS and artificial grass

Chelsea Benjamin, Water Policy Fellow at Western Resource Advocates, expounds on her team’s research of artificial turf. There’s far more to consider than just cost and water savings. A fascinating discussion full of facts that may surprise you.

THE CONVERSATION: Fear and wonder: How scientists attribute extreme weather events to climate change

Last month the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report. It showed global temperatures are now 1.1℃ above pre-industrial levels. This warming has driven widespread and rapid global changes, including more frequent and intense weather extremes that are now impacting people and ecosystems all over the world. But when an extreme weather event hits, how certain can we be that it was made more likely by climate change? How do we know it wasn’t just a rare, naturally-occuring event that might have happened anyway?Fear & Wonder is a new podcast from The Conversation that takes you inside the UN’s era-defining climate report via the hearts and minds of the scientists who wrote it. In this episode, we’re delving into one of the major shifts in the public communication of climate change – the attribution of extreme weather events to climate change.

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In regional water news this weekend …


Sacramento waters rise, but Klamath Basin stays dry in ‘rain shadow’

“While much of the state got a wet winter, parts of the Klamath Basin in Siskiyou County and southern Oregon are still dealing with dry conditions.  That’s because winter storms that dumped almost 41 inches of rain on Mount Shasta during the current water year ― Oct. 1 to April 20 ― mostly passed over parched areas to the north: Yreka, Montague and Klamath Falls, Oregon, according to the National Weather Service.  California Governor Gavin Newsom lifted water restrictions in most of the state on March 24, but left the drought “declaration in place for the Klamath Basin and its tributaries including the Scott and Shasta Rivers,” State Senator Brian Dahle and State Assemblywoman Megan Dahle said in a letter to Newsom, which was shared with the Redding Record Searchlight. “It is time to lift that declaration along with emergency drought regulations that continue to put a heavy burden on family farms and ranches in Siskiyou County.” … ”  Read more from the Siskiyou Daily News.

Owning Scott Dam, looking for water in Potter Valley, is raising Coyote Dam feasible?—updates from the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission

“At the April 13 Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (MCIWPC) board meeting, there was a brief status update on the progress of the Russian River Water Forum (RRWF), the Potter Valley Project, and Lake Mendocino.  There have been two special meetings of the Upper Russian River water users in preparation for the upcoming first meeting of the Planning Group of the RRFWF. You can read about them in’s previously published articles on March 31, 2023, and April 19, 2023. Sonoma Water, instrumental in forming the RRWF, has been talking to the Eel River and Tribal groups who will have representatives on the Planning Group. The first Planning Group meeting is scheduled for May 17, 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm at the Ukiah Conference Center. Sonoma Water is applying for more grant funding from the DWR to use for the Planning Group. This potential grant requires matching funds. MCIWPC will need to put in $150,000 and Sonoma Water will put in $600,000. … ”  Read more from MendoFever.

The Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant: What happens after the flush?

“The Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant is beautiful, in an industrial art-deco kind of way. It has massive white tubes, odor-proofed, that pipe the stuff we flush down toilets through the different stages of treatment. The water slowly gets clearer as it moves through the systems, ending in a pond frequented by birds.  Abe Crow, utilities operations supervisor at the plant, asked “do you get the ooglies?” before demonstrating some of the garbage people flush down toilets the system has to sort out.  He said a newer term for these plants are “reclamation facilities,” because there’s a lot of good stuff to be used. Between a third and a half of the plant is powered through methane captured on-site from waste.  “Nobody likes to think about this stuff until it doesn’t work,” said Michael Hansen, deputy director of public works. “It’s something we all take for granted.” Until the toilet doesn’t flush, or the water stops running. … ” Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard.


‘Carnage everywhere’: Exploded homes, collapsed buildings after Tahoe’s worst winter in 70 years

“With April warmth hitting the mountains, South Lake Tahoe and other nearby communities are finally crawling out of their most extreme winter in memory, confronting the damage from having too much of a good thing.  Heavy snowfall is typically welcome in Tahoe: Not only does it excite the town’s core of outdoor enthusiasts and drive the tourism economy, but a deep and lasting snowpack soothes anxieties about wildfire and drought. The first gusts of frigid air that blow flakes across the peaks each fall carry palpable anticipation of winter’s arrival.  “Everyone has that notion of, ‘Let’s have the biggest snow year on record! We can’t wait,’ ” said Sean Hutchinson, senior manager of lift operations at Heavenly Mountain Resort, who moved to South Lake five years ago to work at the ski area and is excited about deep snow, though even for him the circumstances have been extreme. “When you’re finally in it, it’s like, ‘Oh s—, what did we ask for?’ ” … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Commentary: Reaffirming our commitment to the Yuba River watershed

Willie Whittlesey is the general manager for Yuba Water Agency, writes, ““Invest in our planet” is this year’s Earth Day theme for the second year in a row. And for a good reason. Strategic investments are essential to turn plans into action. At Yuba Water Agency, investing in the Yuba River watershed – our forests, rivers, fisheries and communities – is at the heart of so much of what we do. Equally important is building and maintaining partnerships to make the most of these investments.  The North Yuba Forest Partnership is a shining example of the power of investments and bringing the right people together to get things done. What started with an initial $1.5 million commitment from Yuba Water in 2018 to help restore nearly 15,000 acres in the Tahoe National Forest has evolved into a tremendously valuable partnership that is undertaking one of the largest landscape-scale restoration projects in the state. … ”  Read more from the Appeal-Democrat.


Park rangers warn boaters of debris in Folsom Lake from winter storms

“It has been one of the warmest weekends we’ve had so far this year, and that means boaters are out on the lakes testing their boats ahead of the summer season.  But following a wet and rainy winter, park rangers are cautioning boaters about debris in Folsom Lake.  As we reach warmer days for the first time this year, the taste of summer-like weather is too good to pass up for boaters like Britt Fowler. But Fowler, like many others at Folsom Lake on Friday, cut her outing short due to debris in the lake.  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen floating trees in here before,” Fowler said. “I’ve seen debris, but to see floating trees is pretty bad.” … ”  Read more from the CBS Sacramento.


Puppet service announcements: Threatened species share Bay Area county’s Earth Day message

“Water gushes in the background while a guitarist strums and two plushy feet step into frame and land between a bright red plastic bottle cap, a cigarette butt and a crumpled lid near a creek bed.  Izzy, a foraging snowy egret puppet, goes for the red bottle cap and struggles to swallow it before a red-legged frog puppet named Fred races in from the right and discourages Izzy from eating plastic.  “Oh yuck, I keep thinking that stuff is food,” Izzy says to Fred before noticing the eight-pack ring choking the egret’s new, handheld friend. … Through a red-legged frog puppet talking on screen to an egret while plastic suffocates it, the county department in charge of federal clean water law compliance sends a clear message: Litter hurts. … ”  Read more at the San Jose Mercury News.

Tri-Valley bids farewell to water restrictions as end of drought emergency declared

“From barren lands to blooming hope, eastern Alameda County has finally turned the tide on its prolonged drought emergency.  In a unanimous decision, the Zone 7 board of directors has declared an end to the drought emergency while unanimously lifting mandatory conservation requirements for the Tri-Valley, marking an end to years of harsh water scarcity. The announcement came during a board meeting on Wednesday.  The 2020-21 water year was the driest year on record for the Tri-Valley, which includes Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. Zone 7 Water Agency, which supplies water to all of eastern Alameda County and its quarter of a million residents and businesses, mandated a 15% reduction in water usage in the fall of 2021. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.


Paso Robles: Local vineyard, herder implement mutually beneficial grazing program

“It was “mob rule” at Booker Vineyard this winter as more than 1,200 sheep roamed the estate vineyard as part of a mutually beneficial handshake deal between the winery and a longtime local sheepherder.  Now, with spring bud break underway, the vines are naturally fertilized while the sheep are happily fed, advancing a model for progressive farming that continues to take root at Booker Vineyard in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles.  The sheep belong to local herder Jean-Baptiste Jaureguy, who practices what is known as mob grazing at the vineyard: a high number of animals feeding on the land for a short period of time. This activity helps trim Booker’s nourishing cover crops while providing organic real-time fertilizer in advance of the growing season. … ”  Read more from the Paso Robles Daily News.


Mosquito population in San Joaquin County rising due to recent rain and floods, experts say

“People may be eager to go outdoors for some activities now that weather conditions are warming up, but mosquito abatement officials in Stanislaus County say, not so fast.  Mosquito numbers are on the rise, and experts are warning the community to be vigilant and take precautions, specifically in areas that have recently experienced floods.  Around the San Joaquin region, flooded properties and high-water levels are causing concern for mosquito abatement experts. … ”  Read more from KCRA.

Merced County prepares for another possible flood

“Merced County officials are warning people about the possibility of flooding.  This comes after a busy weather season with a record-high snowpack in the Sierra.  From the bypass to the San Joaquin River, the county is keeping a close eye on water movement.  “We had some pretty major flooding occurring and during that time, even when we had that flooding, we knew due to the heavy snowfall up in the sierras, this would be a possibility due to that snowpack, heavy flows coming along this river,” said Mike North, Public Information Officer for Merced County.  He said the farmland is a huge area of concern. … ”  Read more from Channel 30.

New Porterville area water facility agreement signed

“Porterville City Council authorized what officials call a historic agreement for the Provision of Recycled Water and Provisional Domestic Water for The Tule River Tribe Development Project, better known as the new Eagle Mountain Casino.  City officials The development of the 40-acre, multi-phase, casino-resort project required the development of an additional water supply to offset any new demands on the City’s current water supply.  For this reason, in order to establish terms and conditions, the City and Tribe entered into a Development and Reimbursement Agreement for the development and construction of the new water supply, known as Tertiary Wastewater System Facilities (TWSF). … ”  Read more from Your Central Valley.

SEE ALSOCity, Tribe enter into historic agreement for tertiary wastewater plant, from the Porterville Recorder

California farming valley scrambles to save future as Tulare Lake floods take over

“The relentless downpour from this year’s record rainfall in California has caused a long-dormant lake to reemerge after being bone dry for generations.  And now farmers, residents and officials who live around Tulare Lake are scrambling to save their land, protect their homes and salvage their livelihood as waters continue to creep inland.  “If the weather would get real warm, then I think we’re all in trouble. There’s a lot of people going to be in trouble,” Peter de Jong, a 10th-generation California dairy farmer, told ABC News. Flooding from this year’s winter storms, which left record snowfall in the California mountains and later excess water from the melting, has deluged Tulare and Kings counties, leaving streets and properties under several feet of water.  De Jong said he was forced to let a house on his farmland that is used by workers flood damage to save his cattle. … ”  Read more from ABC News.

PG&E building barriers to protect equipment from possible floods in South Valley

“Preparing for the worst, PG&E is building massive barriers in the South Valley to protect vital infrastructure that could be damaged by water during the huge snow melt in the coming months.  In Angiola, there is one of three substations that will soon have a 15-foot wall all around, protecting PG&E equipment that hundreds of customers depend on.  In Kings County, Pacific Gas, and Electric Company crews have been hard at work, preparing for the influx of water expected from the snowmelt in the High Sierra.  “It’s one of those situations where you are preparing for the worst, you’re hoping for the best and you’re hoping that even that best case might be wrong, but now is the time to do the mitigation work,” said Denny Boyles with PG&E. … ”  Read more from Channel 30.


‘Forever chemicals’ known as PFAS found in SoCal water as UCI researchers study impact

“Thousands of dangerous manmade chemicals are used to produce everyday items such as cookware, food packaging, waterproof fabrics and firefighting foam.  Many of them are classified as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short.  In Southern California, an ABC7 analysis shows PFAS were found in more than 200 water systems, servicing more than 18 million people at some point over the last 10 years.  “We all have these chemicals in our bodies, but we want less of them than we have,” said Scott Bartell, a professor of environmental occupational health at UC Irvine. … ”  Read more from KABC.

Oprah’s neighbors reportedly fear new wall on her property will send floodwaters their way

“Oprah Winfrey has amassed an impressive collection of Montecito real estate over the last two decades.  But the media mogul’s latest headline in the luxury community is not about a house, but a wall — one that neighbors fear might reroute flooding onto their properties during the next rainstorm.  After months of heavy rainfall and flooding across the community, a boulder wall was installed along San Ysidro Creek, which runs along Winfrey’s estate, to protect the property from flooding and creek erosion, according to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk. … ”  Read more from the LA Times. | Read similar story from the Marin Independent Journal.

How can we capture Pasadena’s groundwater?

“According to statistics from California Water Watch, our region has been inundated with 206% of our average rainfall so far this year; up from about 17 inches per year, to over 35 inches to date.  Why is this unique year, filled with atmospheric rivers and torrential downpours, so significant? About 40% of Pasadena’s water needs are met through local water production. Beneath Pasadena and Altadena lies an enormous natural water storage formation called the Raymond Basin aquifer, which includes the Monk Hill Sub-Basin below Hahamongna Watershed Park.  As the result of continuous pumping of approximately 13 million gallons per day, even in low-rainfall years, the Raymond Basin water level lies more than 350 feet below its level in 1910, the year that Pasadena Water and Power started tracking water usage of the basin.  One reason for this dramatic drawdown is that local water costs about a quarter of the price of imported water from the Metropolitan Water District (Colorado River or State Water Projects).  Thus, in an effort to maintain prices at affordable levels, PWP has prioritized using water from the Raymond Basin. … ”  Read more from Colorado Boulevard.

7 miles of California beaches closed after 250,000 gallons of sewage spill into the LA River

“Seven miles of California beaches will be closed until next week after 250,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Los Angeles River Thursday, officials said.  The spill was caused by sewer main line overflow caused by a blockage, the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release.  “Water from the LA River terminates in Long Beach and when there are spills, we close beaches, out of an abundance of caution,” wrote Jennifer Rice Epstein, a spokesperson for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, in an email.  According to the department, water from the Los Angeles River connects to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, meaning pollution upriver can impact the city’s coastal waters. … ”  Read more from USA Today.


New research reevaluates real causes of Salton Sea shrinkage

“In a study published in August 2022, Juan S. Acero Triana, UCR hydrologist, and Dr. Hoori Ajami determined the causes of the shrinking Salton Sea through models and data mining. Triana is a postdoctoral scholar specializing in hydrology, the science that examines the movement, the properties of, and relationship of water with its environment. Dr. Hoori Ajami is an assistant professor of Groundwater Hydrology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UCR.  The Salton Sea, despite its name, is not a sea at all. It is California’s largest lake, located in southern Riverside. … ”  Read more from the Highlander.

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Along the Colorado River …

Upper Colorado River states add muscle as decisions loom on the shrinking river’s future

“The states of the Lower Colorado River Basin have traditionally played an oversized role in tapping the lifeline that supplies 40 million people in the West. California, Nevada and Arizona were quicker to build major canals and dams and negotiated a landmark deal that requires the Upper Basin to send predictable flows through the Grand Canyon, even during dry years.  But with the federal government threatening unprecedented water cuts amid decades of drought and declining reservoirs, the Upper Basin states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are muscling up to protect their shares of an overallocated river whose average flows in the Upper Basin have already dropped 20 percent over the last century. … ”  Read more from Western Water.

Commentary: Colorado River’s fate relies on water cuts that probably will never happen

Columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “The feds came up with two ideas for how to save the Colorado River.  Neither is likely to happen.  Federal and state water officials have been beating that drum since the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was released on April 11.  Both alternatives – relying simply on the preexisting priority system or on an across-the-board cut that would be doled out according to use – are extremes on the spectrum meant to spur debate.  They are not a realistic view of how deep, painful cuts might play out through 2026, presuming this wet winter and other voluntary actions to save water will not be enough to stabilize Lake Powell and Lake Mead for that long.  But that doesn’t mean we should completely ignore the projected impacts of either alternative.  Because, if anything, it makes the case for why we so desperately need to find something in the middle. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central.

Water permits for Saudi Arabia-owned farm in Arizona revoked

“The state of Arizona has rescinded drilling permits for two water wells for a Saudi Arabia-owned alfalfa farm in the western portion of the state after authorities said they discovered inconsistencies in the company’s well applications.  This week, Attorney General Kris Mayes said her office uncovered the inconsistencies in applications for new wells for the company Fondomonte Arizona LLC, which uses sprinklers to grow alfalfa in La Paz County and exports it to feed dairy cattle in Saudi Arabia. The company does not pay for the water it uses. When Mayes brought the inconsistencies in the applications to the attention of state officials, they agreed to rescind the permits, which were approved in August. … ”  Read more from the AP via Arizona Public Media.

The American West is running out of water

It’s the end of the wettest winter in decades in the American West. And with large parts of California flooded, and many other regions buried in many feet of snow, it’s easy to forget about the epic scale of the water challenges still facing the region.  The reality, however, remains sobering. Many of America’s largest and fastest-growing cities—including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque—rely on vast amounts of water from the Colorado River. Despite the storms of the past six months, that river remains catastrophically diminished, with the reservoirs fed by its flow still three-quarters empty.  This year’s onslaught of atmospheric rivers bought some precious time, but the underlying risk remains. … ”  Read more from The Nation.

Feds apply pressure for water deal

“The federal government is prodding Colorado River basin states, particularly Arizona and California, to come to a deal for shared cuts in water use.  In an effort to create more urgency for such a deal, the feds are proposing their own potential solutions – including outlining one scenario that could effectively wipe out Arizona’s Colorado River water deliveries.  The latest prod came last week in the form of a pair of proposed plans for cutting water deliveries to Arizona, California and Nevada, the three lower basin states served by the river.  The first option is to reduce water use based on seniority of water rights. That would favor California, which has the largest allocation and most senior rights, to the detriment of Arizona, which holds the most junior water rights. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Capital Times.

Biden-Harris administration announces over $140 million for water conservation and efficiency projects in the West

“The Department of the Interior today announced a $140 million investment for water conservation and efficiency projects as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda to enhance the resilience of the West to drought and climate change. Funding for 84 projects in 15 western states, provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations, will go to irrigation and water districts, states, Tribes and other entities and are expected to conserve over 230,000 acre-feet of water when completed. This is equivalent to 77 billion gallons of water, enough water for more than 940,000 people.  “As we work to address record drought and changing climate conditions throughout the West, we are bringing every resource to bear to conserve local water supplies and support the long-term stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau. “The projects we are funding today are locally led and will support increased water conservation through innovative efficiency measures.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation.

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NASA snow report …


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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

UPCOMING WORKSHOP: Delta Island Adaptations Public Workshop #3

NOTICE: Notice of 180-Day Temporary Permit Application T033366 – Kern and Kings Counties

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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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