Poppy sunset in the East Bay. Photo by Jay Huang.

DAILY DIGEST, weekend edition: 600,000 years of history, and Tulare Lake isn’t done yet; Despite state investment in Corcoran levee, concerns remain for incarcerated population; In a reduced climate budget, Newsom pivots to flood response and cuts drought; Kern River water to go into California Aqueduct; and more …

Tulare Lake flooding …

600,000 years of history, and Tulare Lake isn’t done yet

“Much like the shifting shorelines and water levels of the lake itself, the history of Tulare Lake has remained difficult to map.  “The lake has a mystique,” said local historian Michael Semas. “There is a desire to know more. I think the mystery has always intrigued everybody.” With the resurgence of Tulare Lake for the first time in more than a quarter of a century following a historically wet winter that left Kings County soggy and flooded, the history of what was once the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River is again being embraced — not just for what it can tell us about the past — but about the present, and future. Road closures, submerged farms and NASA photographs confirm that on some level, Tulare Lake has returned, and local authorities and farmers are waiting to see how much worse the flooding will get. The thawing of a record-breaking snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, dubbed “the big melt,” is projected to fill the Tulare Lake basin this summer with 1 million acre feet of water. … ”  A really nice feature article by Parker Bowman at the Hanford Sentinel.   Continue reading here.

RELATED: An oral history of Tulare Lake: ‘I sing anyway’, from the Hanford Sentinel

A rabbit rescue operation is launched to save bunnies from rising floodwaters

With record-breaking storms wreaking havoc throughout the state, even rabbits need rescuing.  For months, a team from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has navigated the Central Valley looking to rescue from rising floodwaters stranded riparian brush rabbits, a small, brown and white creature listed as an endangered species.  Using canoes and motorboats, the five team members have trekked out in rivers from sunrise to past sundown in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge to rescue rabbits. Some are stranded on high ground, on bush branches or trees. They are then taken to higher ground as the river water level floods the region.  During operations in January and March, 286 rabbits have been rescued, said Fumika Takahashi, wildlife biologist at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

Calif. to cover costs to raise Corcoran Levee as re-emerging Tulare Lake swells

“With the looming melt on the horizon, the ever important Corcoran levee that is holding floodwaters at bay in Kings County will receive a substantial boost from the state.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state will pay $17 million to cover the costs to raise the levee on the edge of the reformed Tulare Lake.   The big picture: The Corcoran Levee, which spans 14.5 miles and is managed by the Cross Creek Flood Control District, currently sits at 188 feet above sea level and will be raised to 192 feet. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Despite state investment in Corcoran levee, concerns remain for incarcerated population

“On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to help pay for raising the Corcoran levee. It protects the city and its two state prisons from the rising Tulare Lake. As KVPR’s Kerry Klein reports, that’s little consolation to some families of the incarcerated.  KERRY KLEIN: What if the snow melts too quickly, and the floodwaters still overtake the levee? That’s top of mind for Christine Herrera, whose husband is one of nearly 8,000 men incarcerated in Corcoran.  Prison representatives have said there is a plan for relocating inmates if necessary. But they say that plan is not public. That terrifies Herrera.  CHRISTINE HERRERA: My biggest concern is they’re not going to get everybody out in time. … ”  Read more from KVPR.

California fights to save city, prison in peril from rising Tulare Lake floodwaters

“Central Valley Californians threatened by this year’s massive Sierra snowmelt will receive much-needed state funding as they rush to raise the Corcoran levee, a critical piece of flood control infrastructure that protects the city of Corcoran and its sprawling prison complex from the rising waters of Tulare LakeLocal and county officials have for weeks been pleading with the state to help finance the project — a substantial feat of engineering that will involve raising the 14.5-mile earthen embankment about 4 feet to keep floodwaters at bay. The levee is key to protecting critical infrastructure in the area, including medical facilities, power plants and dual prison facilities that hold about 8,000 inmates. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

Analysis: The flooding in California isn’t entirely bad news

“The partial return of what was once the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River has become one of the biggest stories of this crazy California weather year. Tulare Lake once covered around 700 square miles and could grow to as much as 1,000 in extremely wet times. It began shrinking in the late 1800s as irrigated agriculture took hold in surrounding lands, and since the middle of the 20th century it has been completely dry most of the time. But not this spring. The lake has reclaimed more than 100 square miles so far, and with most of the record southern Sierra Nevada snowpack still to melt, it’s likely to keep growing. … For what’s known to water nerds as the Tulare Lake hydrologic region and to everybody else as the southern San Joaquin Valley, the chief economic significance of this year’s deluge is instead the opportunity it presents to postpone a reckoning from more than a century of pumping more water out of the ground than seeps back in and maybe even put the region’s ever-thirsty agricultural industry on a path to sustainability. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post.

In California water news this weekend …

Much warmer conditions and mountain thunderstorms return to CA as extreme blocking pattern develops over western Canada

Dr. Daniel Swain writes, “After The Big Melt got a big boost from a short but sharp early-season heatwave, conditions in California once again cooled to below average temperatures as yet another late-season storm system brought more rain to lower elevations, a few severe thunderstorms (and another weak tornado or two in the LA Basin), and high mountain snow accumulation. Mountain snowmelt, unsurprisingly, slowed down again amid cooler conditions (but still maintained a high baseline). But that cool and unsettled pattern is once again in the rear-view mirror, as a much warmer pattern is imminent. … ”  Read more from Weather West.

El Niño is coming in strong, NOAA says

“El Niño almost here, the global shift is likely to stick around until this winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week. After an unusual three-year La Niña, all signs are pointing to changes in weather patterns for 2023.  Last month, NOAA said there was a 62% chance that El Niño would develop between May and July. Things have rapidly progressed, and now there is a 90% chance of El Niño forming and persisting into the end of this year, according to NOAA.  What can we expect now that The Boy is coming to town? Ocean temperatures are going to rise above average. The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be milder, because storms are more likely to form there during La Niña years. However, storms are more likely to form in the Pacific. In the U.S., the shift brings more rain to southern states and to the East Coast. It also brings warmer temperatures to northern states. … ”  Read more from Gizmodo.

How one strawberry farmer is coping with erratic weather in California

“Each November, Javier Zamora plants more than 20 acres of strawberries on his organic fruit and vegetable farm in Watsonville, California.  “And then four months later, you get to see people enjoy and take a bite out of a red, delicious strawberry,” he says.  Watsonville is in a cool, coastal region that Zamora says is known for its long, productive strawberry seasons.  He can typically harvest berries from April through October.  But as the climate warms, the weather is growing increasingly erratic. Heat waves and drought can reduce yields and damage fruit. And extreme storms can wipe out a harvest. … ”  Read more from Yale Climate Connections.

Report: Valley almond crop to dip for third-straight year

“The 2023 California almond crop is expected to drop for the third consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Friday.  California growers, the nation’s overwhelming leader in almond production, have seen prices of the in-demand crop plummet in recent years as production has soared.  Take a deep dive: The National Agriculturala Statistics Service (NASS) released its crop estimate for almond production Friday morning. … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Almond grower in Ceres tests the benefits of cover crops

“Saving water is top of mind for California farmers, even after wet winters.  For the past several years, an almond grower in Ceres has been testing a farming method that could help them use their water more efficiently.  That method is called cover cropping.   To an untrained eye, the cover crops on the Gemperle Family Farm look like long rows of unruly weeds growing between the many lines of almond trees. But the wheat, mustard and legume plants are grown there for a purpose.  “There’s a lot of benefits that you can get from cover crops,” said Tanya Gemperle-Goncalves, who is the sustainability manager for her family’s 45-acre orchard. … ”  Read more from KCRA.

California waterfalls: Map shows where to find dozens across Northern California

“California explorers, it’s time to go chase some waterfalls.  After a particularly rainy winter, and record snowfall at higher altitudes, Northern California’s rivers are racing at record speeds. Whether you’re looking to stay in the heart of San Francisco or drive a few hours for a lengthy hike, there’s a waterfall for you to enjoy. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Is it legal to collect rainwater in your state?

“It may seem like the most natural thing to do, even a great use of rain water: collecting it. But did you know it could be illegal to do it in your state?  While collecting rainwater is not federally illegal, many states have restrictions in place, and water laws are primarily handled on the state level. Alternatively, some states even offer incentives for those who collect rainwater.  States that have some level of rainwater collection restrictions include: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. … ”  Read more from KGET.

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California budget …

In a reduced climate budget, Newsom pivots to flood response and cuts drought

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed an increase to state spending on flood threats after a record-breaking winter, while retaining previously proposed budget cuts to his climate and environment budget. The governor’s budget update delivered Friday included $290 million in new funding for flood protection, of which $125 million was pulled from emergency drought response. Another $165 million was earmarked for flood control, business relief and floodplain restoration in the San Joaquin Valley. “Here’s the new commitment: Flood protection,” Newsom said in a press conference. “We have a posture of drought to flood, reinforcing this weather whiplash.” Friday’s proposal is part of a $306.5 billion budget that California must manage under the weight of a growing shortfall. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee. | Read via Yahoo News.

New California budget means a $6B cut, and future uncertainty, for climate spending

For climate advocates, the growing state deficit unveiled in the revised 2023-24 state budget offers some bad news, some good news and a great deal of uncertainty.  The bad news in the budget presented Friday morning by Gov. Gavin Newsom is that, despite lobbying efforts and environmentalists pitching at least two alternative proposals, the $6 billion in cuts to climate spending that Newsom proposed in January are still included. If those multi-year cuts stand it will mean significant hits to funding that previously was pledged to help speed California’s transition to non-polluting cars, clean up the water supply, decarbonize buildings and protect residents against the increasingly dire effects of extreme heat. … ”  Read more from the Riverside Press Enterprise. | Read via MSN News.

Governor Newsom proposes additional $290 million for state flood control projects

“As part of his revised state budget proposal announced on Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom stated than an additional $290 million would go to flood control projects in the state, for a total of $492 million added since January.  According to Newsom’s original 2023-2024 budget proposal in January, funding for flood control and similar measures was to have been significantly reduced, as California was seemingly in the middle of a megadrought and those funds would not be needed. However, record rain and snowfall throughout the state in the first three months of 2023 quickly quashed those plans, with more money actually being poured into those programs because of the resulting floods and poor winter conditions.  With flood threats and damages increasing, and some long disappeared lakes in the state returning as a result of the high volume of rain and snow, more money was needed to help mitigate flooding and the resulting damage. On Friday, as part of the major deficit jump from $22.5 billion to $31.5 billion, Newsom proposed many new flood proposals … ”  Read more from the California Globe.

California Water Research analysis: Proposed state investments inadequate to address increase in catastrophic flood risk

“The Governor Newsom’s May Revise Budget provides an additional $115 million in investments in flood risk reduction, including $75 million to support local flood control projects and $40 million for the San Joaquin Floodplain restoration.  This is in addition to the $202 million proposed by the Governor in January to reduce flood risk in urban areas, the Delta region and the Central Valley. However, the total investment of $317 million in the May Revise is only a third of the $1 billion proposed by the California Senate for last year’s budget (FY 2022-23) (Des Jardins 2022a, 2022b). … The inconvenient truth is that state and federal investments in flood risk reduction are utterly failing to keep up with the nonlinear increase in flood risk due to climate change. … ”  Read more from California Water Research.

Community Water Center: Governor retains most funding for water and wastewater investments, with no mention of affordability crisis

“Governor Newsom unveiled additional funding cuts to his January Budget Proposal, as the State takes increasingly aggressive measures to address a projected shortfall. The good news is that the Governor is proposing to retain critical investments in drinking water access and flood prevention and response. The bad news is that the Governor is not proposing any funding to aid families struggling to afford drinking water.  Water affordability continues to burden communities throughout California. The Governor’s May Revise makes no mention of affordability. To truly make good on the Human Right to Water, we must address affordability challenges by funding a statewide low-income rate assistance program and allocate a second round of funding for the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program.  “Low-income Californians are facing a financial cliff as pandemic protections expire,” said Jennifer Clary, California Director of Clean Water Action. “Water debt is well above pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget makes no mention of water affordability or low-income, even though it is a key part of his 2022 Water Supply Strategy.” … ”  Read more from the Community Water Center.

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Sunday video …

See crews clear Sonora, Tioga passes: ‘Deep enough to stop snow blower in its tracks’

“Working seven days a week, Caltrans maintenance crews continue to clear roads covered in eight feet of snow at Sonora Pass, and have plowed to within 5.8 miles of the eastern entrance of Yosemite National Park at Tioga Pass. New video shows significant progress being made in removing the snowpack from Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) and Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) since their efforts began in late April. Caltrans has not been able to provide an estimated time for opening either of the southern Sierra Nevada passes. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee.

Podcasts …

SF CHRONICLE’S FIFTH & MISSION: California has a new lake, and that means higher food prices

Tulare Lake was massive before modern agriculture and municipal water needs drained it. After this winter’s storms, it’s back, and it’s half the size of Lake Tahoe, at some locations so big you can’t see across it.  On this episode of the Fifth & Mission podcast, reporter  Kurtis Alexander talks to Demian Bulwa about why this is bad news for Central Valley farmers: Their crops are underwater, which is likely to make existing food inflation worse.

HERE & NOW:  The fate of the imperiled Colorado River and attempts to mitigate disaster

A water shortage on the Colorado River has put tremendous strain on the states that rely on it as a main water source. The fate of California’s Salton Sea is tied to the future of the river, and a catastrophic drought has only worsened conditions. As the river’s water supply dwindles lower and lower, farmers in different states fight over the allocation of resources. Farmers who rely on the water to grow crops are needing to cut way down on water consumption, but some states are still receiving significantly more water than others. Tensions are especially high between farmers in Arizona and California. But there have been some efforts to reduce the water needed to maintain agricultural industries, and vertical farming is one of them. It won’t replace traditional field agriculture, experts say, but it’s a step toward growing crops with fewer resources. Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd reports on the devastation of the Colorado River and its rocky future.

PARCHED: Water, water, everywhere

On the beach in Southern California, it’s easy to look at the Pacific Ocean and wonder what would happen if we could drink it. It’s already happening in some places, and others from Arizona to the California coast want to expand desalination. If big cities there use more of the ocean and less of the Colorado River, would that leave more water for the southwest? Part 4 of a 10-part series.


Communities that think in a different way are communities that will easily adjust to drier times. Pat Mulroy has demonstrated how a city like Las Vegas has accomplished this. You hope for the best and plan for the worst. Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.  Produced by Steven Baker, Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, water@operationunite.co 530-205-6388

WATER TALK: Water Sovereignty and Artistry

A conversation with Dr. Brittani Orona (San Diego State University) about visual sovereignty, Indigenous history, artistry, and advocacy on waters.

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In regional water news this weekend …


Chasing chinook in the Upper Klamath Basin

“For over a century, four hydroelectric dams along the Oregon-California border have cut off habitat to fish swimming up the Klamath River from the ocean. Now, researchers are in the midst of a project to learn how fish will use this ecosystem once the dams are removed. The operating theater is simple: sponges; a few instruments; and what looks like a foam yoga block.  Rachelle Tallman, a graduate student in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, places a small fish—a juvenile spring Chinook salmon—into the ovoid depression on top of the block. Working quickly but carefully, she uses a scalpel to make a small incision along the fish’s belly, then gently places a lentil-sized object—an acoustic transmitter—into the incision.  “356 Delta,” Tallman says, reading the number off the tag. Then she starts suturing. … ”  Continue reading at Jefferson Public Radio.

Scott Valley Agriculture Alliance: Drought officially over in Scott River watershed, yet emergency regulation remains–Local farmers and ranchers still required to give up 30% of groundwater

“The Scott River watershed is officially no longer in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Local family farmers and ranchers are asking Governor Gavin Newsom to rescind the Emergency Drought proclamation for the area, which is driving severe irrigation water restrictions for local agriculture.  Yesterday, the Drought Monitor released its updated map, which shows that Scott Valley and the majority of Siskiyou County are no longer considered to be in drought. Yet, the Valley’s small family farmers and ranchers are still being required to give up 30 percent of their irrigation groundwater in order to avoid a 100 percent shut-off this summer. The regulation, put in place by the State Water Resources Control Board, even places restrictions on how much livestock are allowed to drink during curtailments.  “In a good water year such as this, it’s senseless to have this extreme regulation still in place for our small, multi-generational ranches,” said Theodora Johnson, spokesperson for a local grassroots communication group, Scott Valley Agriculture Water Alliance. “There is no longer a ‘drought emergency’ in the Scott River watershed.” … ”  Continue reading from the Scott Valley Agriculture Water Alliance.

Is there concern about Mount Lassen erupting following recent earthquakes?

“Northern California has experienced two moderate earthquakes in the last day.  The first was a preliminary 5.5 magnitude earthquake around 4:20 p.m. Thursday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. About 11 hours later, a preliminary 5.2 magnitude aftershock struck north of Chico.  An ABC10 viewer asked the “To The Point with Alex Bell” team the following question: “I have family in Susanville, CA, and am wondering how much, if any, concern there is for Mount Lassen erupting?” … ”  Read more from Channel 10.

The Eel River: A river of opportunity with implications beyond its basin

“Friends of the Eel River facilitated an inspiring session at Salmonid Restoration Federation’s 40th Annual Conference. The Friday morning session, The Eel River: A River of Opportunity with Implications Beyond Its Basin, was filled with presentations from committed experts working in the Eel River to recover this promising watershed. Click the links below to see the presentations given during the session. … ”  Read more and watch videos at the Friends of the Eel River.


South Tahoe PUD hosting meeting to discuss strategy for recycled water

“The South Tahoe Public Utility District is developing a strategic plan for recycled water to analyze options and establish a roadmap for the future. The district will host a public meeting to provide an overview of alternatives being considered, the status of the evaluation process, and provide time for questions.  The district began exporting recycled water to Alpine County in 1967 to comply with state and federal laws. This requirement is unique to the Tahoe region and requires a significant amount of energy to pump recycled water over a mountain pass. There have been significant advances in and acceptances of water reuse over the last 50 years. As such, the development of the Recycled Water Strategic Plan re-evaluates current operations and practices to identify the best ways to process and use recycled water in the future. … ”  Read more from the Tahoe Daily Tribune.


Marin Municipal Water District defends plan for huge rate hike

“The Marin Municipal Water District is poised to adopt one of its largest rate hikes in decades on Tuesday — a move that will increase water costs for customers by about 20% — but staff costs are not the driver, utility officials said.  Agency staff and governing board members said one of the primary reasons behind the increase is to create new water supplies to avoid what occurred in 2021, when the agency faced the possibility of depleting its reservoirs amid a historic drought.  “Here in Marin, we’re faced with a lot of catch-up because there has been underinvestment in water supply for decades,” said Ranjiv Khush, vice president of the district board. “We are paying the consequences for that.”  A common point of debate among ratepayers is how much of their water bills are going to staff wages, pensions and other benefits. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.

Marin storms complicate outlook on endangered salmon spawning

“The intense rain storms this year acted as a double-edged sword for Marin County’s endangered salmon runs and the biologists who monitor them.  While providing ample water in local creeks and streams for adult coho salmon, chinook salmon and steelhead trout to reach their spawning grounds, the heavy storms also worked to conceal the level of success they had in breeding and laying their eggs nests, known as redds.  Marin Municipal Water District ecologist Eric Ettlinger said the persistent storms and turbid waters kept salmon surveyors from being able to conduct their normal monitoring for several weeks. So far, counts of salmon egg nests remain below average or low, depending on the species.  “Unfortunately, we know of some redds that definitely were destroyed and we suspect that others were destroyed and the eggs washed away,” said Ettlinger, who monitors the Lagunitas Creek watershed. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.

Silicon Valley water district sponsors state bill to help house homeless people

“A new state bill would give the Santa Clara Valley Water District expanded authority to help thousands of homeless people living along creeks, streams and other district lands find housing and services.  District officials say Assembly Bill 1469 would add language to the district’s governing act specifying it can assist unsheltered people, allowing it to play a more active role in addressing the deepening homelessness crisis in Santa Clara County.  The bill, authored by local Assemblymember Ash Kalra and sponsored by Valley Water, passed in the Assembly unanimously on Monday, and will next head to the State Senate, though it’s unclear when it might go for a vote. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Spotlight.


Monterey County agriculture: survey finds $600 million in total damages, future losses from winter storms

“Between January and March, the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office is estimating that torrential weather generated $600 million in damages, losses and future impacts to the local agricultural industry.  After repeatedly heavy rain again doused local farmland with floodwaters in March – some just starting to recover from storms two months prior – the Ag Commissioner’s Office conducted a survey to gauge the extent of second-round impacts.  Survey results, released on Friday, show damages, current losses estimated and projected future losses totaling $264 million from flooding in March. According to the Ag Commissioner’s Office, approximately 8,736 acres of crops were destroyed or unable to be planted due to the flooding, half of which were newly impacted from storms at the outset of the year. … ”  Read more from the Monterey Herald.

PG&E has a new way to store radioactive waste at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant

“PG&E will soon change the way it stores casks of new highly radioactive spent fuel from Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.  Currently, the spent fuel — radioactive waste that remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years after use — is stored in vertical casks mounted on concrete pads at the power plant’s property just north of Avila Beach.  The new system would store the spent fuel in horizontal concrete structures about 25 feet long and 20 feet tall.  PG&E will not move the current vertical spent fuel storage casks to the new facility but instead will begin to store new spent fuel in the horizontal system after it is constructed between June 2025 and March 2026. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Beacon.

Areas of Andrew Molera State Park remain closed from extensive storm damage

“Storm damage from the atmospheric rivers that hit the Central Coast this winter continues to keep parts of Andrew Molera State Park closed.  Trail Camp continues to undergo river bank stabilization and repairs that are expected to last through June.  The river has receded, but much repair work is still needed, according to the park. … ”  Read more from KSBW.


How big will Valley almond crop be this year? And why is USDA estimate kept secret?

“A federal agency on Friday projected a drop in the California almond crop for the third straight year, not the worst news for an industry dealing with low prices.  The 2023 harvest should come in around 2.5 billion pounds, the National Agricultural Statistics Service said.  The estimate is closely watched because the state grows about 80% of the world’s almonds. Buyers use them in baked goods, cereal, candy, beverages and many other items.  A record crop of 3.12 billion pounds in 2020 led to grower prices dropping below $2 a pound. Industry experts say that is roughly the break-even point for covering farming costs. … ”  Read more from Yahoo News.

Turlock adding chlorine to city’s drinking water

“Residents of Turlock who are on the city’s water supply will find their drinking water tasting a little different come Wednesday.  Turlock will begin a citywide chlorination project over time, starting on May 17, until the system reaches the desired levels for safety – consistent with State of California mandates for clean water — according to a press release from the Municipal Services Department.  “There will be safeguards in place to ensure that the levels of chlorine in the water remain within acceptable limits. Chlorination prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and eliminates viruses and microorganisms that can cause serious illness if consumed,” according to the City. … ”  Read more from the Turlock Journal.

Kern River water to go into California Aqueduct to keep it out of Tulare Lake; flows to ramp up mid-June

“For the first time in 17 years, the Kern River “intertie” will be opened on Monday to release Kern River flood waters into the California Aqueduct, according to the Kern River Watermaster.  The move is an attempt to keep more flood water off the already waterlogged Tulare Lake bed as officials anticipate significantly increased Kern River flows starting in mid-June.  “The plan is to start with 500 (cubic feet per second) on Monday with an increase to 1,000 cfs on Saturday if everything is working properly,” Watermaster Mark Mulkay said of water going into the aqueduct. “Then we will review the numbers and see what happens next.” … ”  Read more from SJV Water.

Floodwater is filled with icky stuff but won’t likely hurt drinking water long term

“Floodwater covering parts of the San Joaquin Valley is nasty – filled with animal and septic waste, road oil and other grunge from whatever it’s washed over.  Swimming in it is definitely not advised.   But over the long term, experts don’t think it will harm groundwater, which is where most valley residents get their drinking water.  “In the Tulare Lake basin, in particular, you have a lot of areas where the water table is pretty deep,” said Thomas Harter, a professor at UC Davis who specializes in groundwater resources in agricultural areas. “There’s going to be a lot of natural attenuation of whatever contaminants may be coming with the floodwaters if you’re not leaking directly into a borehole.” … ”  Read more from SJV Water.


State proposes $67 million to clean toxic parkways near former Exide battery plant

“California’s budget proposal commits $67 million to clean thousands of lead-contaminated parkways in front of homes, schools and parks near the former Exide battery smelter in southeast Los Angeles County, state officials announced Friday.  At a news conference to discuss funding in California’s environmental budget, state Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Yana Garcia said the state’s proposal will dedicate $40.4 million in this year’s budget, and nearly $27 million next year, to remove and replace toxic soil from more than 6,400 parkways — the publicly owned strips of land typically wedged between sidewalks and streets.  The funding will come from fees the state collects on car battery purchases. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

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Along the Colorado River …

Here’s the truth about the Arizona water supply

“Long before dams and large-scale plumbing projects brought water into the Valley, the Hohokam people carved out hundreds of miles of canals to irrigate their crops with water from the Salt River. For communities living in a desert, then and now, the reliable availability of water is the paramount organizing principle for collective action. Arizona is amidst a historic drought and water supplies from the Colorado River continue to dwindle, but state and federal legislators have long prepared for such a crisis and continue to act today. So, what is the truth about the Arizona water supply? … ”  Continue reading at Arizona Big Media.

NASA images show Colorado River changes after simulated flood

“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a torrent of water from Glen Canyon Dam last month as a way of shoring up the sandbars and beaches along the Colorado River.  Thanks to the watchful eye of NASA’s Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites, we can now see just how much change that deluge brought to the river.  After one of the West’s wettest winters in years, the Bureau of Reclamation conducted what it calls a “High Flow Experiment” between April 24 and 27 by releasing up to 39,500 cubic feet of water per second from the dam over a 72-hour period. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Water saved through upper-basin program unlikely to move needle for Lake Powell

“Three of western Colorado’s biggest irrigation districts are not participating on a large scale in a federally-funded program to conserve water, and the amount of water saved by the program overall won’t be enough to rescue depleted reservoirs.  The rebooted System Conservation Program was one of the legs of the Upper Colorado River Commission’s (UCRC) 5-Point Plan, announced in July and aimed at protecting critical elevations in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which have fallen to record-low levels in recent years because of overuse, drought, and climate change. System conservation will take place in the four upper Colorado River basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah — and will pay water users to cut back. It’s being funded by $125 million from the federal Inflation Reduction Act. … ”  Read more from the Aspen Times.

Navajo Nation members beg for water conservation to save Lake Powell

“JoAnn Yazzi-Pioche was very young when Lake Powell was created, and she knew people living down in the canyons who were forced to leave when the lake was filled.  “They had always lived down there, where there was a stream there,” she said. “They grew crops, they had orchards, all these things until much later that they had to go. They had to get out of that canyon.”  Yazzi-Pioche, now the president of the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation, says the construction of the dam brought jobs to many Native Americans.  “It brought a lot of people from across the Navajo Nation here for work,” she said. “My father worked there for many years during the construction of it.”  Yazzi-Pioche doesn’t know if the dam has helped or hurt the people living on the reservation. … ”  Read more from Fox News 13.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NOTICE of availability of the draft EIR for Friant-Kern Canal draft water quality guidelines

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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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