An aerial view looking south shows the California Aqueduct (right) and the Delta-Mendota Canal (Left) south of San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos in Merced County, California. Photo Taken April 14, 2023. Ken James / DWR
DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: Cool and wet conditions return; AI programs consume large volumes of scarce water; Lake Shasta approaches full pool; Congressman Valadao’s WATER for California Act passes out of House Natural Resources Committee; and more …
Big shift in weather is headed to California. Here’s a timeline for what to expect in May
“May is set to start off a lot like February, as chances for rain and snow return to parts of the state — along with the risk for isolated thunderstorms. Metaphorically speaking, winter doesn’t seem to be done with California, as weather models hint at more low-pressure systems on the horizon. The outlook for the first half of the month is riddled with unsettled, winter-like conditions, though weather models also indicate a return of another setup: the May Gray. Long-range weather models are trending toward a pattern where the next few weeks will feel a lot like a hodgepodge of winter weather mixed with the more typical ebb and flow of marine fog, depending on where you are in the state. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle (gift article).
“Every time you run a ChatGPT artificial intelligence query, you use up a little bit of an increasingly scarce resource: fresh water. Run some 20 to 50 queries and roughly a half liter, around 17 ounces, of fresh water from our overtaxed reservoirs is lost in the form of steam emissions. Such are the findings of a University of California, Riverside, study that for the first time estimated the water footprint from running artificial intelligence, or AI, queries that rely on the cloud computations done in racks of servers in warehouse-sized data processing centers. Google’s data centers in the U.S. alone consumed an estimated 12.7 billion liters of fresh water in 2021 to keep their servers cool — at a time when droughts are exacerbating climate change — Bourns College of Engineering researchers reported in the study, published online by the journal arXiv as a preprint. It is awaiting its peer review. … ” Read more from UC Riverside.
Lake Shasta approaches full pool for the first time in nearly two years
“Shasta Lake is currently approaching full pool levels, a milestone that hasn’t been achieved in nearly two years. This news comes as a relief to residents and officials alike, as the lake is a vital source of water and recreation for the region.According to the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the lake was at 97% capacity as of April 27, 2023, with the water level at 1,073 feet above sea level. The last time the lake was at full capacity was in June 2021, after a wet winter season. Since then, the lake levels have steadily declined, with the 2021-2022 winter season being one of the driest on record.The recent increase in water levels is due to the above-average rainfall and snowpack in the Shasta Dam watershed, which feeds the lake. The barrage atmospheric river events have also contributed to the rising water levels, with some areas of the watershed receiving more than 10 inches of precipitation over the past month. … ” Read more from Active NorCal.
Water levels are going up in the West’s massive reservoirs. Has the water crisis been averted?
“Historic snowfall across the Rocky Mountains is helping recharge some of the country’s biggest reservoirs and provide – briefly – some much-needed breathing room for the oversubscribed Colorado River. Forecasts say the melting snow flowing into Lake Powell via the Colorado River and its tributaries could hit 177% of average this year, a major boost at a time when lake levels had hit historic lows. The levels are now headed up and will likely peak sometime in June, raising the surface by 50 feet. But experts say the boost won’t solve or even significantly delay the West’s water crisis that has drained the massive Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs – Lake Powell will probably only be about 40% full this fall, far below what it once held. … ” Read more from USA Today.
UCLA Law students advocate for equitable groundwater rules at the State Capitol
““Welcome to Sacramento, California” reads the sign that greets Adrianne Davies, Owen McAleer and Gabi Rosenfeld as they step off the airplane. They’ve flown in to provide witness testimony to a State Assembly committee that is considering reforms to California’s groundwater rules. But these three are not representatives of a state agency or local irrigation district. They are second-year students at the UCLA School of Law. And they helped write the bill in question, AB 779. The trio has about 24 hours to refine their testimony, anticipate questions from the committee members and polish their answers. “I think all three of us have developed a passion for the bill and really want it to make it through the Legislature,” says Davies, who describes feeling nervous but excited. “We’ve been working on the project since last September and went through multiple rounds of research memos and countless stakeholder interviews to develop the final bill proposal.” … ” Read more from UCLA School of Law.
Near-record California heat is melting snow and triggering flooding
“The heat is on in California. Temperatures reached the 90s in many valley locations Thursday and are forecast to do so again Friday and Saturday, challenging record highs in Sacramento, Redding, Red Bluff, Stockton and Modesto, among other cities. As temperatures hover 15 to 20 degrees above normal across much of the state, flooding is possible into early next week as mountain snow melts and rivers rise. After an onslaught of atmospheric rivers and other storms since December, the state snowpack is 260 percent of normal and still not far off its record-setting peak one month ago. Flood watches are in effect through Monday morning for much of the Sierra Nevada, including the Lake Tahoe area, due to the likelihood of strong snowmelt near and below 8,000 feet. The concern is not just for flooding, but also for those who might be enticed to cool off in the water. … ” Read more from the Washington Post.
Cool temps to follow warm weekend in California, likely minimize snowmelt, flooding
“Highs for much of California will peak Saturday as the state braces for the year’s warmest temperatures so far, forecasters say, but rainy, cooler weather next week could help minimize the chances of drastic flooding from rapid snowmelt. Weather officials are warning about flooding in the Yosemite Valley by early Saturday, with minor flooding across the Central Valley and along Northern California’s border with Nevada. In Southern California, residents can expect above-normal temperatures Friday through the weekend, but the heat isn’t expected to reach extremes, said Rose Schoenfeld, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Oxnard. “It’s definitely a heat event that affects the inland areas a lot more,” Schoenfeld said. … ” Read more from the LA Times.
Congressman Valadao’s WATER for California Act passes out of House Natural Resources Committee
“Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources advanced Congressman David G. Valadao’s bill, H.R. 215, the Working to Advance Tangible and Effective Reforms (WATER) for California Act, out of a full committee markup. The WATER for California Act focuses on streamlining operations, expanding water storage infrastructure, and increasing accountability. “California’s recent storms have brought much needed water to our communities that have suffered drought conditions for years,” said Congressman Valadao. “Unfortunately, we’ve wasted a seemingly immeasurable amount of water because we do not have the proper storage. For years, I have stressed the dire need to increase water storage, but extreme environmentalists and Sacramento bureaucrats have grossly mismanaged our water and prevented these projects from getting off the ground. … ” Read more from Congressman Valadao’s office.
Reintroductions: A lifeline for salmon in the Central Valley
“Right now in California, many salmon fisheries in the Central Valley are stuck down on the valley floor where river waters are warm—too warm for salmon eggs to survive. As our climate is getting hotter and dryer more persistently, reintroduction into their historical habitat above dams—including healthy flows and cold water—is a viable method to increase their populations. We work with partners, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, to re-establish access to these upstream habitats and reintroduce salmon to inaccessible habitat above large dams.”
Geoff Vanden Heuvel, Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs at the Milk Producers Council, writes, “An enormous amount of water is flowing out of the Delta into the ocean. The two pumping plants that export water to the California Aqueduct and the Delta Mendota Canal are not restricted by regulations at the moment and yet are not running at full capacity because there is no place for the water to go. The one major surface water storage facility south of the Delta is the San Luis Reservoir and it is full. Irrigation season has not yet started, so demand from farmers is low. The Sierra rivers are all full and what is not headed to Tulare Lake is headed to the Delta as the flood control dam operators are maximizing releases to make space in the flood control lakes for the huge inflows expected from the melting of the incredible snowpack that accumulated this winter. As a result, millions of acre-feet of fresh water are flowing out of the Golden Gate into the ocean. This is the challenge of our day. … ” Read more from the Milk Producers Council.
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Pacific Institute Senior Fellow and Co-Founder Dr. Peter Gleick Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences
“The Pacific Institute is pleased to announce Senior Fellow and Co-Founder Dr. Peter Gleick has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Gleick is a world-renowned expert on water and climate science. At the Pacific Institute, Gleick’s research was among the first to establish a link between water resources and climate change. He developed one of the earliest comprehensive works on water and conflict, and helped define the basic human right to water, which has been utilized by the United Nations. Gleick also developed and advanced the concepts of the “soft path for water” and “peak water.” “I’m tremendously honored to be elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and I appreciate this recognition of the importance of efforts to tackle our water and climate challenges,” said Gleick. … ” Read more from the Pacific Institute.
Former California State Senator Ben Hueso appointed to the Delta Stewardship Council
“The Senate Rules Committee appointed formerCalifornia State Senator Ben Hueso to the Delta StewardshipCouncil, effective April 12, 2023. His first Council meeting wastoday, April 27.“The amount of leadership experience that Mr. Hueso brings to the Council fromhis time in the California State Senate and Assembly is impressive,” says ChairVirginia Madueño. “Throughout his career, he has championed environmentalstewardship for statewide water supply; restoring contaminated rivers, lakes, andwatersheds; protecting threatened wildlife species; and increasing access todrinkable water for the State’s most disadvantaged communities.” Hueso, of San Diego, has served in several public official roles. He was elected to the California State Senate in 2013 to represent the 40th District, which includes the cities of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, portions of the City of San Diego, and all of Imperial County. Prior to that, he was elected to the California State Assembly in 2010. During his three-year tenure, he served as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife; chairman of the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee; and a member of the Natural Resources Committee. … ” Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council.
Profile: Never counted out, Ted Trimble
“He nearly called balls and strikes for a living, but thankfully for the Chinook salmon, he chose to count fish instead. Ted Trimble was on his way to becoming a baseball umpire before he decided to stick with his job as waterman in a small community south of Chico. He had a family friend who suggested working for the Western Canal Water District and in the first couple of years, Ted felt like he had made the wrong move. He loved baseball as much as anything growing up and umpiring school in Florida seemed like his next big move. But something was happening along Butte Creek and Ted didn’t want to miss out on what he thought could be an opportunity of a lifetime. “The general manager at the time asked me to take on the district’s special projects. Some dams were set to come down in Butte Creek, I knew it was something I wanted to work on for the district,” says Trimble who now serves as General Manager. A background in physical and natural sciences with a specialty in hydrology, Ted rediscovered why he had come to Butte County in the first place. … ” Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association.
Chris Shutes – Recipient of 2023 Mark Dubois Award from Friends of the River
“Chris Shutes, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, was a recipient of the 2023 Mark Dubois Award at the California River Awards held on April 21, 2023 at the City Club in San Francisco. Friends of the River holds this annual event to honor an extraordinary person or group of persons whose contributions to restoring our rivers recall the courage, spirit, and impact of Mark Dubois, legendary activist and Director Emeritus of Friends of the River. In bestowing this award, Friends of the River recognized Chris as an outstanding leader in hydroelectric dam relicensing and in California water rights proceedings. Chris is one of the most experienced and effective advocates in the complex realm of hydropower relicensings. He has worked on numerous federal dam relicensings in California, which can take over a decade to complete. Chris was recognized for his deep knowledge of the regulatory and legal requirements as well as for his technical understanding of hydrologic and biological frameworks. … ” Read more from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.
Passages: Bob Hackamack — “Godfather of the Tuolumne”
“Known variously as “The Godfather of the Tuolumne” and “Mr. Tuolumne,” legendary Sierra Club member and activist Bob Hackamack passed away last week. An avid rock climber, canoeist and kayaker, Hackamack was one of the earliest conservationists to realize the ecological value of San Joaquin Valley watersheds. His training as a Chemical and Systems Engineer enabled him to provide meticulously detailed criticisms of proposals that would have weakened the Tuolumne River’s esthetic and natural values, especially with regard to migrating salmon and Steelhead Trout. A longtime resident of Modesto, where his home was located along the banks of the river he so loved, Hackamack moved to Twain Harte with his wife Jean several years ago. … ” Read more from the Valley Citizen.
Appointment: Geneva E. B. Thompson, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Tribal Affairs at the California Natural Resources Agency …
where she has served as Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs since 2021. Thompson is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and has been Associate General Counsel for the Yurok Tribe since 2019. She was a Staff Attorney and Legal Fellow at the Wishtoyo Foundation from 2016 to 2019. Thompson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $165,000. Thompson is a Democrat.
UNFOLD (UC DAVIS): The water we eat: Tackling the groundwater dilemma
You’ve probably heard of groundwater — the water stored underground in aquifers that is a critical natural resource for the western U.S. Did you know that in California, these aquifers provide nearly 40 percent of the water used by farms and communities? During a drought, that figure is even more — nearly 60 percent. Groundwater is vital for growing crops. But California is using this underground resource faster than it can be replenished. In this episode of Unfold, learn how UC Davis researchers are working to make groundwater more sustainable while also helping California remain the most productive agricultural state in the nation. Read more about growing crops with less groundwater.
THE BIG TAKE: Deeper pockets, deeper wells
Despite the rain-soaked year California has had, the ongoing issues of drought and limited water remain. Bloomberg reporters Peter Waldman, Mark Chediak, and Sinduja Rangarajan join this episode to talk about how farms that grow lucrative cash crops like almonds and pistachios are digging deeper and deeper wells to tap the state’s dwindling groundwater supply–leaving people in some communities with less to drink. Read the investigation here: How Wall Street Speeds California’s Groundwater Depletion.
WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: A Real Gully Washer
Aspiring to live in the rural areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills, I became aware of the importance of erosion control. I noticed that it takes very little disturbance of the land surface to create big erosion control problems. 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, email@example.com 530-205-6388
WATER TALK: Comparative water politics
A conversation with Dr. Sharon Megdal (University of Arizona) about water governance in AZ and CA, recharge, transboundary aquifers, and science diplomacy.
PARCHED: Ignored no more
Indigenous tribes lived with the water’s flow for centuries. Then, they were shut out of decision making about the Colorado River. In this episode, we go to the Jicarilla Apache Reservation to learn what that’s meant for tribes, and how it’s contributed to the river drying up. We also meet someone from a very different background in Boulder, Colorado. Together these men are urgently trying to do the same thing: Get everybody to the table to come up with solutions together–solutions to serve everyone who depends on the river. Part 2 of a 10-part series.
WEST COAST WATER JUSTICE: Big oil, fracking, and the hydrogen scam (part 1)
This is part 1 of a 2-part interview with Food and Water Watch (FWW) and the first in our Fossil Fuels Series. In this episode, we interview (FWW) National Policy Director, Jim Walsh, and Tomás Morales Rebecchi, California’s Central Coast Organizing Manager, they catch us up to speed on the oil and gas industry and its impact on our clean water and environment. We also learn about the future of fossil fuels and the false hope of hydrogen and what’s at stake. Food and Water Watch fights for safe food, clean water, and a livable climate for all of us, protecting people from corporations and other destructive economic interests that put profit ahead of everything else.
This ridge is considered a California ‘jewel.’ Here’s how tribes are trying to protect it
“At first glance, the undulating brown wrinkles of Molok Luyuk make it seem like a banal California mountain ridge. Most visitors ride ATVs up and down hillsides and litter them with shell casings from makeshift shooting ranges. Ryan Henson was one of those visitors as a kid, dumping an old refrigerator and spending an afternoon shooting at it with family. But today he’s optimistic that more people are beginning to appreciate this land and treat it like the gem he knows it is. “You hear the botanists freaking out about this place? It’s a mecca for them,” said Henson, a policy director for the California Wilderness Coalition. “It’s not just a bunch of brush that catches on fire every now and then or a speed bump for motorcycles.” … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee.
Rain, snow, cold temps return next week to Lake Tahoe
“The unseasonably warm, sunny period that spurred snowmelt and made a run at record temperatures will soon be a distant memory with wind, rain and snow showers in the forecast every day this coming week. The National Weather Service in Reno has a flood watch in effect through 9 a.m. Monday for the Tahoe region, but the 70 degree highs late last week will be replaced with temps in the 40s, well below normal for the time of year, that will slow down snowmelt. The highs peaked on Friday with South Lake Tahoe coming in at 73 degrees, short of the record of 75 set a couple of years ago. … ” Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
‘Whole Tahoe basin’ forecast to be 20 degrees hotter than usual this weekend
“The Tahoe region is bracing itself for an erratic, double-edged weather pattern that could bring potential flooding, unseasonably warm temperatures and snow to the area in the span of just a few days. On Friday and Saturday, Tahoe City is expected to reach a balmy 74 degrees, while the South Lake Tahoe region will likely reach about 75 degrees Friday before creeping up to about 76 degrees Saturday, National Weather Service forecasts show. According to Christopher Johnston, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Reno office, the “whole Tahoe basin” is expected to be about 20 degrees hotter than normal. “We’re close to record territory for sure,” he said. For the date of April 29, Tahoe City’s record high is 74 degrees, set in 1926, and South Lake Tahoe reached a record-setting 75 degrees just two years ago. … ” Read more from SF Gate.
Bushy Lake restoration celebrated as home for habitat, education along American River Parkway
“Michelle Stevens, a professor of environmental sciences at Sacramento State, was walking along the Bushy Lake behind Cal Expo in 2014 in the wake of a fire in the area when she ran into a botanist who was also strolling the path. The botanist, Mary Moret from Sacramento County Parks and Recreation, was feeling discouraged and upset looking at the ruins, left charred and black from the July 4 fire that not only threatened the holiday’s fireworks display but devastated the native plants and habitat behind Cal Expo. “Sort of like a little angel coming out of the smoke, (Stevens) cheered me up and she told me that Bushy Lake would rise again,” Moret said. The timing of the incident was right, Moret said, because at the time, the department was looking for university partners to help manage the parkway through applied science. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee.
Drought pressure subsides at Lake Sonoma, but marina operators still struggling
“Water levels at Sonoma County’s largest reservoir and freshwater boating destination are no longer shrinking, but the heavy rains and plentiful runoff that brought the lake to its brim have led to headaches for operators of the lake’s lone marina. With fueling facilities and sewage pump-out stations likely to be underwater well into the boating season, operators at Lake Sonoma Marina won’t venture a guess as to what the economic impacts could be. “We found out (the first week of April) their idea is to hold back water after one of the wettest winters ever,” Rick Herbert, operating partner of the Geyserville marina, told the Business Journal. “The Army did this without consulting us and it affects us the most.” He’s referring tothe Army Corps of Engineers that is mostly responsible for reservoir and dam operations. … ” Read more from the North Bay Business Journal.
Marin activists challenge dismissal of Point Reyes tule elk neglect case
“Environmental activists have appealed a federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging the National Park Service was negligent in a recent tule elk die-off at Point Reyes National Seashore. The Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Clinic filed the appeal on behalf of the activists this month in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after their initial case filed in 2021 was dismissed by the U.S. District Court of Northern California in February. The appellate court is calling for initial briefs to be filed beginning this summer. The lawsuit alleged the National Park Service was negligent in a die-off of tule elk in the Point Reyes National Seashore’s 2,600-acre Tomales Point Preserve, which is fenced off from the rest of the park. The population declined from 445 elk to 292 elk between the winters of 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.
Commentary: Tiburon’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center deserves support
Marin County Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters and Katharyn E. Boyer, interim executive director of the San Francisco State University Estuary and Ocean Science Center, write, “The effects of climate change are being felt on a global scale. They are also felt locally, as sea levels rise along with air and water temperatures. Understanding these changes and the local and regional effects are critically important in the fight against global warming, and for identifying ways that local communities can adapt. This need is just one of the many reasons to find and commit sources of investment for San Francisco State University’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center, located at the university’s Romberg Tiburon Campus near the tip of the Tiburon Peninsula. The EOS Center is the only marine science laboratory on San Francisco Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the United States. This only intensifies the need to preserve this important resource, which is currently facing significant challenges. … ” Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.
California American Water rejects unauthorized purchase offer
“California American Water issued its response to Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s (MPWMD) offer to purchase California American Water’s water system serving the Monterey Peninsula. The company has declined the purchase offer, confirming that its water system is not for sale and pointing out that MPWMD does not have the legal authority to purchase or operate the potable water system serving the area. California American Water reiterated its commitment to working cooperatively with MPWMD and other community partners to bring approved new sources of water supply online to protect the Carmel River. “California American Water has provided high-quality and reliable water service to its customers on the Monterey Peninsula for many decades and plans to continue serving its customers and working to address the real issues of water supply and environmental protection facing the Monterey Peninsula,” said Evan Jacobs, Director of External Affairs for California American Water. “MPWMD should stop wasting taxpayer money and reconsider its reckless and infeasible attempt to purchase our water system.” … ” Continue reading this press release from Californian American Water.
Harmful algae may be present in Lake San Antonio, Monterey County officials warn
“The County of Monterey cautioned the public Friday not to drink water from Lake San Antonio because algae blooms present in the water could be toxic. They say this is out of an abundance of caution, since it is not currently known if the algae is toxic. Lake San Antonio staff are reporting cyanobacteria blooms occurring at multiple locations near the south shore of the lake. The county has posted cautionary signage for the public, and fliers with the same information are being handed out to visitors at the entry gates. The Central Coast Division of the State Water Resources Control Board will conduct testing within the next two weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend. Should testing indicate that cyanotoxins are present, signage and messaging will be changed to a warning status. … ” Read more from KSBW.
Regulators find new source of pollution near SLO airport
“After determining the Noll family was responsible for toxic levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) found in groundwater near the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, regulators have determined a neighbor was the polluter. In 2019, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board sent a cleanup, abatement, and water replacement order to the current and former owners and operators of 4665 Thread Lane. The Noll family has since spent about $50,000 a year providing their neighbors with water filters to protect against TCE. TCE is an industrial solvent linked to liver and kidney damage and childhood leukemia. On April 14, the water board reported it has now determined a neighbor of the Nolls — former geotechnical laboratory at 795 Buckley Road that stored TCE on site — is responsible for polluting the groundwater. … ” Read more from Cal Coast News.
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Invasive rare fish non-native in California caught in Madera County
“An invasive rare fish, non-native in California was spotted and caught in Madera County. A Chowchilla homeowner near the Pheasant Run Gold Club reported seeing an Alligator Gar. … ” Read more from Fox 26.
Video: California bracing for severe flooding from snowpack melt
As temperatures rise in California, residents are bracing for severe flooding due to the massive Sierra Mountains snowpack melt. It contains twice as much water as the state’s 28 major reservoirs. NBC News’ Steve Patterson has more details on the climate crisis. Watch video from NBC News.
Hanford not in high-risk flood area, Kings County map shows; county urges residents in flood-prone areas to prepare
“While large pieces of land in Kings County, including land just outside Lemoore and Corcoran, are classified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at a high-risk for flooding, Hanford is not, according to a map released by the Kings County Office of Emergency Services. “We don’t have any natural waterways, and we don’t expect that the snow melt will cause any significant flooding problems within the city limits,” said Community Relations Manager Brian Johnson. “As far as the runoff goes into the ditches and streams, that is something that we always keep an eye on, but we don’t have any real concerns as far as flooding.” … ” Read more from the Hanford Sentinel.
Kings/Fresno county town hall tackles flooding concerns, flow rates at Kings River to stay approximately the same
“Residents of Kings and Fresno counties who attended a town hall meeting this week were told by officials that water release rates into the Kings River will likely stay approximately the same over the next few months. “If we continue at the rate we’re going right now, I’m not expecting any significant flooding,” David Merritt, general manager of the Kings River Conservation District, said after the event. “Things can change. Like I said here today, it could be a rodent, a tree could fall, seepage. Those types of issues, I can’t control.” Flooding concerns, and the managed water releases into the Kings River stem from snow deposited by a series of large storms this winter that left a snowpack in the Sierra Nevada more than seven feet deep. … ” Read more from the Hanford Sentinel.
Central Valley irrigation districts capturing runoff to protect against floods
“As the great snow melt kicks off in the Sierra, the California Department of Water Resources is working with local agencies like the Fresno Irrigation District to capture as much of the run-off as possible, to store in a heavily depleted groundwater supply. Typically, the Fresno Irrigation District recharge basins would be empty this time of year, as water deliveries are underway. But in a wet year like this one, as floods have already destroyed, or threaten to destroy parts of the Valley, it’s a chance to hit two birds with one stone. “That much more water that we bring in our system, is that much less water that’s going down there and potentially flooding them,” said Bill Stretch, general manager of the Fresno Irrigation District. … ” Read more from Your Central Valley.
Yosemite Valley to reopen as ‘Big Melt’ flood concerns persist across California
“Even as the spring heat wave that’s thawed California’s record Sierra Nevada snowpack comes to a close, communities across the Central Valley and the state’s northeastern mountains are continuing to prepare for potentially dangerous flooding. Already, near-overflowing rivers triggered the closure of much of Yosemite National Park on Friday. The Yosemite Valley, home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls in the park, was expected to re-open for day-use only on Sunday morning before a full opening Monday morning, when a flood warning for the area was set to expire. Indefinite flood warnings were also in effect for areas near rushing rivers in parts of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties, where some 60,000 acres of farmland are under about 3 feet of water brought by last month’s powerful atmospheric river storms. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.
Too little or too much, there’s always controversy brewing over Kern River water
“It may seem like a no-brainer to enthusiastically allow the Kern Water Bank Authority to take up to 300,000 acre feet of flood water off the Kern River and store it underground as water managers scramble to find homes for this year’s epic runoff. But, alas, nothing is simple with water. The water bank’s April 13 application for a temporary permit from the state Water Resources Control Board raised eyebrows almost as soon as it was filed. The 32-square mile water bank, which has 7,000 acres of recharge ponds, is currently taking 1,500 cubic feet per second of river water. But that water is being purchased by the bank’s participants, mostly from the Kern County Water Agency. … ” Read more from SJV Water.
Ninth Circuit drains $48 million judgment over Pomona’s polluted water supply
“A unanimous Ninth Circuit panel ruled Friday there isn’t enough evidence to support a $48 million award for the city of Pomona, California, in its lawsuit against a Chilean fertilizer manufacturer that polluted the city’s drinking water system decades ago. The lawsuit against brought against SQM North America, the U.S. subsidiary of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile found that the company’s sodium nitrate fertilizer used in citrus orchards around Pomona between the 1930s and 50s polluted the city’s drinking water system, including with a contaminant called perchlorate. Perchlorate interferes with the production of thyroid hormones, an important part of the development and function of tissues in the body, and can cause serious health issues, especially in developing fetuses, kids, and pregnant women. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service.
Can environmental and community leaders restore the Sepulveda Basin?
“For many San Fernando Valley residents, the Sepulveda Basin—with its vibrant array of egrets, herons and willow trees—is nothing short of an eight-mile oasis. But as the City of Los Angeles plans the basin’s future, some environmental activists say more must be done if the basin is to reach its full potential. “Where else in Los Angeles can you sit on a legitimate riverbank and stick your toes in the water?” asks Melanie Winter, director of The River Project, a leading non-profit working to revitalize the river. “I love the basin,” she said, “but it’s not designed to draw your attention to it for that sort of interaction.” … Winter and other environmentally-focused residents point to several ways the basin can be improved, including increasing its biodiversity, expanding its recreational and cultural offerings, and “geomorphically” restoring Los Angeles River’s natural path through the basin. … ” Read more from the LA Daily News.
Long Beach looks to invest more in groundwater as Colorado River shrinks
“With the future of the Colorado River and the amount of water it will be able to deliver to Southern California in question, the Long Beach Utilities Department is looking at investing $157 million into its groundwater system, which could reduce the city’s reliance on expensive and diminishing imported water. Groundwater accounts for about 60% of the water that Long Beach residents use each year, and the Colorado provides about 25% of the city’s supply, with the rest coming from the State Water Project, both of which can fluctuate with precipitation patterns. … Long Beach is now looking at expanding its groundwater rights in the region and expanding its capacity to distribute it across the city with a new water treatment plant in West Long Beach and new wells in areas of the city that currently don’t have potable water wells. … ” Read more from the Long Beach Post.
LADWP 2022-2023 Water Infrastructure Plan
Learn about the vast infrastructure that comprises LADWP’s water system, our annual accomplishments and goals, and the ongoing investments designed to ensure reliable water service to about 4 million residents of Los Angeles. The 2022-23 Water Infrastructure Plan (WIP) describes the condition and replacement cycles of 6,800 miles of mainlines and 544 miles of trunk lines throughout the city, along with large valves, reservoirs and tanks, pump stations, water meters, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct system. The plan includes the fiscal year 2021-2022 infrastructure accomplishments and fiscal year 2022-2023 goals that are a part of LADWP’s $5.6 billion five-year water system capital plan. All major water infrastructure components are evaluated through the ongoing Asset Management (AM) Program to systematically manage assets to achieve the lowest cost of ownership, including capital, and operations and maintenance costs.
Electric vehicle boom could turn Salton Sea into America’s Lithium Valley
“Crews are getting ready to dismantle a small geothermal plant that’s been operating for months a couple miles from the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea, at a site aptly known as Hell’s Kitchen. A hardy, 30-person team from Australian-based Controlled Thermal Resources has been manning the plant in this corner of the Imperial Valley since December. Their task: to fine-tune plans for extracting lithium and other valuable minerals, along with geothermal power, from the boiling brine that flows 8,000 feet beneath one of the most seismically active areas in the country. While exposure to harsh desert conditions and that 550-degree brine makes the equipment look as though it’s been operating for years rather than five months, the team isn’t dismantling the optimization plant’s tower and turbine and tanks because something went wrong. … ” Read more from the LA Daily News.
How reliable is cloud seeding to help reduce Arizona’s water woes?
“Despite a bounty of snowpack and rainfall this winter, the state still remains in a decades-long drought. As efforts to conserve the region’s most precious resource continue, agencies like Central Arizona Project fund cloud seeding projects in upper Colorado basin states with the goal of increasing snowpack that will melt into the Colorado River and flow into the Grand Canyon state. The method relies on airplanes to “inject a compound called silver iodide to aid in the formation of ice crystals. Silver iodide exists naturally in the environment at low concentrations and is not known to be harmful to humans or wildlife,” according to the Desert Research Institute, the nonprofit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. … ” Read more from KJZZ.
Wet winter allows for rare ‘high-flow’ Lake Powell release to help river
“An extra pulse of water was sent through the Grand Canyon this week, part of a Bureau of Reclamation “high-flow experiment” designed to move and redeposit sand and sediment from the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona. The big release of water from the dam is the first since 2018, and comes in response to forecasts for an above average spring snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains. Sediment carried and moved by high flows helps to rebuild beaches and sandbars, which provide habitat for wildlife in the Grand Canyon. The restored beaches are also important for ensuring enough campsites exist for the canyon’s many rafters and boaters. … ” Read more from Cronkite News.
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.