DAILY DIGEST, holiday weekend edition: Race to move water underground; Millerton Lake can drain, fill six times over with snowpack; Walters: The stakes for Newsom’s big plan to streamline big projects; Fear, frustration and fatigue: How a deal to save the Colorado River was struck; and more …

In California water news this weekend …

Race to move water underground on as California’s Central Valley overflows

A view from a drone of a groundwater recharge project at Ball Ranch near San Joaquin River in Madera County, California. Photo taken March 30, 2023. Odin Abbott / DWR

“After an unexpected wet winter, California’s drought-addled Central Valley now faces dangerous floods as a historic snowpack melts — even as the state moves to store the liquid gold as quickly as possible. … Without an outlet to the ocean, water normally leaves the basin through evaporation and agriculture. The lake occasionally reappears in particularly wet years. Snowpack from recent storms melts into about 4 million acre-feet of additional runoff, leaving 103,000 acres underwater. Communities within the Tulare Lake Basin will be on flood alert well into July.   UC Davis professor Thomas Harter, Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group chair, said whiplash from drought to floods makes water management very challenging. Local agencies must negotiate with farmers about capturing water, and finding land where it can soak into the ground — called recharge basins.  “The looming question with the snowpack sitting up there is, is there a way we can store this water for a drier year?” he said. “The basin’s shortfall is not going to go away.” … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.

Millerton Lake can drain, fill six times over with registered snowpack, officials say

“Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig took to social media to put into perspective how much water is being released from the Friant Dam–to try and stay afloat of what is expected to come due to the melting snowpack.  According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the dam is releasing 10,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) into the San Joaquin River. On the other hand, Millerton Lake is receiving more than 15,000 CFS, so essentially there is more water coming in than going out.  They expect the reservoir to reach full capacity in July, to its stress level elevation. This brings the possibility of spilling over the top. … ”  Continue reading at Fox 26.

Oroville, Bullards Bar continue water releases

“The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Yuba Water Agency said water is still being released from spillways at the Oroville Dam and New Bullards Bar Dam. Because of the intense winter storms this past year and the expected spring runoff from snowmelt, the releases are intended to ensure continued storage space, officials said. Similar to Yuba Water, DWR has coordinated the ongoing releases with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and downstream water operators. … ”  Read more from the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

In the face of a changing climate, DWR is committed to making investments in forecasting our water supply

“As California transitions to a hotter, drier future with greater swings between flood and drought conditions like we’ve seen this past year, DWR is continuing to prepare for the long-term impact on water management. DWR has been and continues to adapt to these extreme weather swings by focusing on advancing our forecasting efforts in order to capture and move as much water as possible during high flow events and managing low flow in drought conditions.  This year’s series of atmospheric rivers demonstrated how quickly California can move from one extreme to another, as 3 years of severe drought conditions gave way to flooding and one of the largest snowpacks on record.  Anticipating these types of extreme years, DWR years ago began to develop partnerships with NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the National Weather Service, California-Nevada River Forecast Center, and other institutions. … ”  Read more from DWR News.

Audit finds California water agency not adequately considering climate change in forecasts

“The state auditor has issued a report strongly criticizing the California Department of Water Resources, saying the agency has overestimated the state’s water supply during drought and continues relying on forecasts that don’t adequately factor in the effects of climate change.  The report by State Auditor Grant Parks said the Department of Water Resources has “made only limited progress” in improving its water-supply forecasts to account for climate change, despite acknowledging more than a decade ago that it needed to improve its forecasting methods.  The audit also concluded that DWR “has not developed a comprehensive, long-term plan” for the State Water Project, the system that delivers water from Northern California to Southern California and supplies almost 27 million Californians, to proactively respond to more severe droughts. … ”  Read more from the LA Times. | Read via Yahoo News

SEE ALSOCalifornia’s water management has made ‘limited progress’ in accounting for climate change, audit says, from the San Francisco Chronicle

Supreme Court rules on wetlands. Here’s how it affects California environment protections

“Wetlands in California will stay largely protected despite a ruling Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court that limited the authority of federal regulators. The justices ordered that Clean Water Act safeguards only apply to “wetlands with a continuous surface connection” to bodies of water, a narrowed definition that followed years of legal disputes. While the decision reduces the federal government’s reach, California has its own rules for the ecosystems within the state. And they aren’t changed by the court action, said E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “We saw these challenges coming and we were able to adapt,” Esquivel said in an interview. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee. | Read via Yahoo News.


6 common misconceptions about El Niño and its impact on California weather

“After a four-year hiatus, El Niño is widely expected to make a grand reentrance this summer, ushering in the possibility of yet another wet, stormy winter.  “It looks like it’s full steam ahead,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said in a live YouTube interview last week, in which he placed the likelihood of a strong El Niño event at greater than 50% — even as projections still vary widely.  “A strong event does have the potential for strong impacts on California,” said Swain.  The El Niño climate phenomenon — the opposite of La Niña — generally occurs every three to five years when ocean waters along the equator in the eastern Pacific warm by at least a half-degree Fahrenheit. … ”  Read more from KQED.

We hear all about saving salmon. Here’s an inside look at it

“Adult salmon are in a tough spot – especially California’s King Salmon. Previous years of scarce rainfall contributed to a sharp fall off in their numbers.  But King aren’t the only salmon swimming upstream in the Golden State.  Their Coho cousins face many of the same challenges.  Experts are hoping conservation efforts along with fuller, cooler streams this year will chart a way back for the endangered population along much of the California coast.  Scientists and technicians are tracking that course, monitoring young salmon in countless rivers, creeks, and streams across the region. … ”  Read more from Northern California Public Radio.

FEMA suspends flood map reviews in 38 California counties

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will suspend processing two types of flood map revision requests in 38 California counties starting July 1, 2023. This pause will affect requests for Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F) and Conditional Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (CLOMR-F).  Applications from the following 32 counties are newly affected by the suspension: Alameda, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Placer, Sacramento, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Siskiyou, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba. FEMA will also continue the existing suspension, effective August 2020, in these six counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Thus, a total of 38 counties containing designated critical habitat for listed anadromous fish in California are affected. … ”  Continue reading from FEMA.

One of the last glaciers near Yosemite was about to disappear. Then came the snowy winter

“On the towering slopes of Mount Conness, just north of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass, one of California’s smallest glaciers sits beneath the biggest snowpack of the century, as much as 30 feet of snow at its height this spring.  It’s a huge change from previous years. So little snow fell in the Sierra Nevada during the recent drought that during the past two summers all of the snow on the 11,500-foot Conness Glacier melted, leaving the ice sheet without its protective cover and destined to be the state’s next glacier to vanish. This year’s cold, wet weather, however, has given California’s shrinking glaciers a new round of snowy protection and, in the case of Conness Glacier, new life. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Federal judge finds Forest Service violated Clean Water Act while fighting wildfires

“A federal judge in Montana partially sided with environmentalists on Friday, agreeing that the U.S. Forest Service violated the Clean Water Act by discharging aerially deployed fire retardant into waterways without a permit.  The order from U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen comes seven months after nonprofit Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics challenged the service under the Clean Water Act, claiming that between 2012 and 2019, the service dumped 761,283 gallons of aerial retardant into streams while fighting wildfires.  According to the group’s 2022 complaint, the service’s deployment of fire retardants into waterways occurred on over 459 occasions without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit — a claim the service only partially denied, countering that it only recorded water contamination 213 times. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.


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In commentary this weekend …

Dan Walters: The stakes for Newsom’s big plan to streamline big California projects

“Gavin Newsom is fond of proclaiming “big hairy audacious goals,” having borrowed the term from a book on successful corporate leadership.  However, he has not been particularly successful in delivering on his promises of bold, transformative action – such as single-payer health care for all Californians or constructing 3.5 million new housing units.  The hairiest and most audacious of Newsom’s goals is converting California’s massive economy – the fourth largest in the world, according to recent estimates – into one that booms while reducing its carbon footprint to zero in the next 22 years.  It would involve, among other things, shifting 30 million cars and trucks from gasoline or diesel power to electricity or hydrogen and abolishing gas-fired power plants in favor of solar, wind or thermal generation. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters.

California water proposal has dark, hidden currents

Jerry Hill, a former state senator and assemblyman, writes, “When’s the last time you thought about where your water comes from? If you aren’t steeped in water policy, it’s fair to assume you may not appreciate the complexities of managing our water systems. But what’s vital to know is that water is the essential building block to ensure prosperous, healthy communities.  This resource ensures housing gets built, people can afford groceries and local businesses can offer good jobs. Legislation introduced in Sacramento creates uncertainty that threatens these underpinnings of our economy.  As a former legislator, I trust that my former colleagues had the best intentions in putting these policies forward, but residents should be aware that these bills are far reaching and will create dramatic changes that increase costs. … ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News. | Read via SiliconValley.com

Editorial: Another chance for North Coast river deal

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat editorial board writes, “North Coast residents don’t have a direct stake in Colorado River allocations.  But there are unmistakable parallels between the over-tapped Colorado River and the parched future in parts of Sonoma and Mendocino counties if the upper Russian River is allowed to go dry.  Moreover, a new water-sharing deal that required rival Colorado River users to overcome their differences renews hope that a compromise is possible here in Northern California.  There are vast differences in scale between the rivers, but the stakes are the same – fulfilling a basic human need. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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In people news this weekend …

Promotions, passings, profiles – submit people news items to maven@mavensnotebook.com.

Kristin White selected as Bureau of Reclamation’s deputy regional director of operations

The Bureau of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region today announced the selection of Kristin White as deputy regional director of operations.   White will oversee regional operations that include the Northern California Area Office, Central California Area Office and South-Central California Area Office, as well as the Central Valley Operations Office, Bay-Delta Office and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.  White previously served as CVO operations manager where she was responsible for the daily water and power operations of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project, one of the world’s premier water storage and delivery systems. “Kristin is such a valuable asset in helping us achieve Reclamation’s mission every day, especially during the many challenges posed during the epic three-year drought,” said Regional Director Ernest Conant. “I am delighted that she is assuming this important and vital role for the California-Great Basin Region.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation.

Podcasts …

PARCHED: How big a deal is this week’s Colorado River deal?

Across the country, headlines this week touted a “deal” to save the Colorado River. In this bonus episode, we’ll break it down: What you need to know, and what it means for the solutions we’re exploring on Parched. Come back next week for our regular storytelling about people and places along the river.

WATERLOOP: The elevation of DEI in Los Angeles

Societal events of the past few years have many water utilities working to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workforce. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has established an Office of DEI that is focusing on an array of work and has a top executive that reports directly to the general manager rather than the human resources department. These efforts are discussed in this podcast with Cathie Chavez-Morris, Utility Services Manager with the LADWP Office of DEI. She talks about striving for improvements in the areas of workforce, workplace, and marketplace. Cathie also explains the opportunity to use historic levels of infrastructure funding to make progress on DEI.

COAST RANGE RADIO: Is the Forest Service “falsifying the scientific record” on wildfires? With Chad Hanson, PhD.

Wildfires are a fact of life in the American west. They have played a major role in our western ecosystems for millenia. But as the climate crisis deepens, and more people move into wildfire country, fires loom larger and larger in the public consciousness.  In the midst of this, a scientific debate is raging over what the science tells us about how to protect communities and live with fire.  At the heart of that debate is the Forest Service. As the manager of almost 200 million acres of land, there is a tremendous amount at stake in how the US Forest Service interprets that science and implements management policy. So I’m excited to be joined by one of the authors of a new scientific paper alleging that the forest service has been falsifying the scientific record around wildfires in order to justify more logging on federal lands.  Chad Hanson is the director and principal ecologist for the California based John Muir Project, which he co-founded in the 90s.


On this day, we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Private Second Class, John Baker, served in the Navy during World War II and was sent to Japanese waters of the South Pacific. Water for a Navy man is both good and shocking. Pacific Ocean storms, 150 battles, kamikaze suicide bombers, and the most spectacular views on the water. Water played an important part in lives saved and lives lost. I salute our military soldiers that lost their lives and the veterans that live today across our country. We thank you and know that your efforts have made a difference that you can be proud of today. Listen up. 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

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In regional water news this weekend …


New forest plans released for Sequoia and Sierra National Forests

“After extensive public engagement and scientific analysis, the USDA Forest Service has released a final environmental impact statement and final decisions for the Sequoia and the Sierra National Forests revised land management plans through a Notice of Plan Approval in the Federal Register.  The revised plans are strategic guidance documents that will be used to addresses the challenges of managing complex ecosystems for all forest users over the next 20 years. Each plan was developed alongside government, tribal and public groups with an interest in these forests.  “We are deeply grateful to everyone who worked with us through the revision process since 2012,” said Dean Gould, forest supervisor for the Sierra National Forest. “The input and diverse perspectives we received were essential in developing the final plans.” … ”  Read more from USFS Region 5.


Vacaville honored at California Water Environment Association Conference

“The city of Vacaville was recognized at the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) Redwood Empire Section Annual Conference this year.  Vacaville’s Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant was named the 2022 Redwood Empire Section Medium-Sized Plant of the Year.  Public Works Field Utilities Lead Jason Maher was given the Redwood Empire Section’s Collection Person of the Year Award. Maher was the overall third place winner for State Collection Person of the Year. This was awarded during the state’s CWEA conference, which took place this April in San Diego. … ”  Read more from the Vacaville Reporter.


Genetic rescue can help declining Russian River coho, study finds; habitat restoration still needed

“At the turn of the century, the plight of coho salmon on the Russian River was severe — so severe that the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program was initiated in 2001 to prevent extirpation (or localized extinction) of coho in the river. Scientists at the Broodstock Program at Don Clausen Fish Hatchery in Sonoma County have worked to pull the fish back from the brink in the decades since, with the eventual goal of re-establishing self-sustaining salmon runs in the watershed.  A new study published in Conservation Letters offers genetic rescue — a captive breeding intervention that crosses an at-risk species’ population with the same species from another geographic area — as a viable method to keep Russian River coho salmon from disappearing. … ”  Read more from the Mendocino Beacon.

Environmental nonprofits sue Sonoma County over groundwater well regulations

“Two environmental groups are suing Sonoma County over new regulations governing groundwater wells.  California Coastkeeper Alliance and Russian River Keeper, both nonprofits, say the county’s new well ordinance does not sufficiently protect waterways from depletion. The groups filed the suit Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Court.  “It really does not reduce existing pumping and for any new wells there is no assurances that groundwater pumping and the stream flows will come into balance,” said Sean Bothwell, executive director for California Coastkeeper Alliance.  The suit reopens a debate over how the county should regulate new wells and limit their impact on the region’s major rivers and feeder streams.  The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the new ordinance in April. … ”  Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (gift article).


San Francisco receives $369m in federal loans to bolster stormwater infrastructure

“Federal environmental officials on Thursday awarded a loan to the city of San Francisco — in the hundreds of millions of dollars — to improve the city’s stormwater infrastructure.  The Environmental Protection Agency gave the city $369 million in loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which could expand to $791 million in the future.  Passed in 2014, the federal loan program administered by the EPA provides facilities with long-term, low-interest credit assistance so they can complete water infrastructure improvement projects.  City public utilities officials said the money will help mitigate flooding in low-lying areas and replace aging equipment prone to damage amid a changing climate. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area.

Editorial: Stinson Beach must address threat of sea level rise now

The Marin Independent Journal writes, “When it comes to Stinson Beach and dealing with the threat of sea level rise, the guiding mantra should be now is better than later.  Beachfront homes and neighborhoods on the Pacific Ocean along the California coast that have seen flooding from storm-swept high tides face the science-founded warnings that sea level rise will increase those risks.  Marin County planners have warned that the higher tides could inundate hundreds of homes, block roads and cover Stinson’s sandy beaches.  That’s why county planners and Stinson residents are working on a new defense plan. … ”  Read more from the Marin Independent Journal.

FBI investigating hazardous fallout from Bay Area refinery

“The FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have opened a joint investigation into the release of hazardous materials from a Bay Area oil refinery — an incident that has sparked heated criticism of the facility’s owner as well as local government officials.  FBI agents and EPA Region 9 staff have been going door to door in the city of Martinez, asking residents for details about the release of metal-laden dust from the Martinez Refining Co. over the Thanksgiving holiday last year.  An FBI spokesperson confirmed Friday that the agents were canvassing residents as part of a joint investigation, but referred all other inquiries to the EPA. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.


As oil platform Holly is decommissioned what happens to the ecosystems on the underwater structure

“Some of the most productive ecosystems on the planet can be found on the underwater structures of oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel. Could Platform Holly be completely dismantled or turned into the first platform reef off of California?  Michelle Loxton writes, “There are 27 oil platforms off the coast of California. Some are active and others are inactive and in the long process of being decommissioned.  Some are in very deep federal waters, as deep as the empire state building is high, and others are in more shallow state waters – just like Platform Holly.  To find out more about Platform Holly I traveled to the Ellwood onshore oil facility in Goleta. … ”  Read more from KCLU.


Officials urging water safety in Valley during Memorial Day weekend

“As we head into Memorial Day weekend, local leaders are urging everyone to stay away from rivers – which have already turned deadly in recent days.  Officials are telling the community to reconsider planning any outdoor outings near the dangerously “fast-moving” Kings and San Joaquin Rivers.  On Tuesday, The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office released a new public service announcement about the dangers of our local rivers, reminding people how quickly their life can be in danger.  They don’t want to see another tragedy like the one over the weekend where a four-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister were swept away in the Kings River. … ”  Read more from KFSN.

Floodplain projects are “foreign concept” for the south valley

“One of the surest ways to corral flooding on the valley floor is floodplain restoration – letting rivers spread out over large swaths of undeveloped land to slow their flow and absorb the water.  But even as cities and farms throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley brace for more flooding from an epic snowmelt after already enduring massive flooding from heavy storms earlier this year, floodplain restoration remains a “foreign concept” in the south valley.  That said, Dan Vink, chair of the Tulare County Flood Commission said there is great potential for floodplain restoration in the south valley and it’s beyond time that locals start considering such projects. When it comes to this type of work, there’s a steep learning curve in the south valley, he said. … ”  Read more from SJV Water.


New River Improvement Project marks milestone with groundbreaking ceremony in Calexico

“A project to improve water quality in the New River as it crosses into California from Mexico broke ground in Calexico today. This milestone reflects years of collaborative advocacy, and nearly $48 million in investments from the state of California. The New River is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the nation. Trash and waste from municipal, agricultural and industrial sources cause heavy pollution throughout the New River, which runs from Mexico through the city of Calexico to the Salton Sea. It poses serious threats to public health and hinders local economic development. The predominately Latino community where the project will be located ranks in the 95th percentile for cumulative environmental impacts, including in the 92nd percentile for pollution burden and 100th percentile for impaired waters, according to CalEnviroScreen, California’s groundbreaking environmental justice mapping tool. … ”  Read more from Cal EPA.


Despite ‘multitude of risks,’ San Diego region could tap cash reserves to blunt spiking water rates

“San Diego leaders have directed the region’s water wholesaler to pinch every penny this year in the agency’s $1.8 billion budget, as ratepayers continue to grapple with ever-higher utility bills.  The San Diego County Water Authority has in response made substantial changes to its spending plan, looking to cut several positions and delay about $48 million in capital projects, including a pumped hydropower facility at San Vicente Dam.  However, top officials with the region’s wholesaler, which imports water from the Colorado River and Sacramento Delta, warned this week that digging too deep into agency reserves could compromise its long-term financial health. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Coronado beaches closed from Tijuana sewage ahead of Memorial Day weekend

“The beaches in Coronado were relatively empty headed into Memorial Day weekend. While a few families splashed in the surf Friday, most folks kept their distance, playing Frisbee or lounging in the sand.  Nobody, save a couple of brave surfers, ventured very far offshore — thanks to roving lifeguards and the now-familiar yellow and red placards that read: “Keep out of water.”  Sewage spilling over the border from Mexico has for months shuttered shorelines from Imperial Beach to Coronado. Local leaders had hoped the rain, which flushes pollution through the Tijuana River into the South Bay, would’ve subsided by the unofficial start of tourist season. … ”  Continue reading at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Along the Colorado River …

2023 Colorado River Drought Response Operations Plan Finalized; plan focuses on recovery of upstream reservoirs

“Under the Drought Response Operations Agreement, the Bureau of Reclamation today began implementation of the 2023 Drought Response Operations Plan, which focuses on allowing upstream reservoirs to recover additional water previously sent downstream to Lake Powell.  Lake Powell is not expected to need a boost from upstream reservoirs this DROA year (May 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024), thanks to high snowpack this winter and projected high runoff this spring. Lake Powell’s projected inflow through the end of this water year (Sept. 30, 2023) is just over 14 million acre-feet of water—that’s more than the last three years combined.  “We are using this opportunity to prepare for future dry conditions by preserving and retaining storage in our upstream reservoirs,” said Katrina Grantz, Deputy Regional Director. “We also remain cautious. We know how quickly things can change, and we will continue to monitor the hydrology and will adjust our projections and operations accordingly.” … ”  Read more from the Bureau of Reclamation.

Fear, frustration and fatigue: How a deal to save the Colorado River was struck

“When a deal to protect the Colorado River’s water supply finally came together after a year of contentious negotiations and a marathon weekend of last-minute haggling by phone and video calls that ran well past midnight, whatever sense of achievement the participants felt seemed outweighed by relief and fatigue. Even as they reached this landmark moment — an unprecedented agreement among Arizona, California and Nevada to conserve more than 10 percent of their river supply over the next three years in exchange for $1.2 billion in federal funds — there was little clean or definitive about the resolution.  Within hours, Arizona’s negotiator stressed at a news conference that the deal was simply “an agreement to submit a proposal.” The four northern states along the river signed off on further study of the plan but would concede little else. The negotiations wrapped up with a call to immediately start another multi-year round of talks. … ”  Continue reading at the Washington Post (gift article).

Conversation on conservation: Lawmakers talk Lake Mead, water rights

“As they overlooked the depleted Lake Mead Friday, U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev, welcomed Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., to her district Friday for a bipartisan district visit to discuss water conservation and rights.  In the face of an agreement between Nevada, California, and Arizona to reduce water use along the Colorado River, Lee said that funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will be used to compensate and incentivize water districts and agricultural users to conserve water, with an overall goal to cut 3 million acre-feet of water use.  “What this agreement does is buys us three-and-a-half years,” Lee said.  The plan still needs to be reviewed and approved by the federal government, but would bridge protections for the Colorado River’s water reserves between its potential approval and for permanent guidelines to take effect after 2026. … ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Arizona bears the brunt of voluntary Colorado River cuts, but water usage won’t be limited

“Arizona’s water officials stand behind the proposal submitted by the Lower Colorado River Basin States, which prioritizes voluntary water conservation efforts from the state and tribal Nations, and say that Arizonans won’t need to use less water, even as the state will bear the brunt of cutting 3 million acre-feet.  Through the Lower Basin Plan, water officials stated that no one in Arizona would need to cut back on their water use, allowing the states some breathing room to find long-term solutions for the Colorado River.  “It’s a critical first step in securing our state’s water future for generations to come,” Gov. Katie Hobbs said during a press conference at the  Central Arizona Project on May 25. She said the plan will provide immediate relief for the Colorado River Basin states and allow the states to refocus water conservation efforts beyond 2026.  “This is a great deal for Arizona, but we know long-term actions are needed,” she added. … ”  Read more from the Arizona Mirror.

Colorado River drought crisis is fostering a more collaborative U.S.-Mexico relationship

This week, Arizona, California, and Nevada reached a breakthrough agreement to reduce their water consumption from the drought-troubled Colorado River. Assuming all the river basin states and the federal government approve the deal, the next step would likely involve negotiations with Mexico, considering the substantial impacts the deal could have on the country.  Spanning 1,450 miles and ending in Mexico, the river provides drinking water for over 40 million people in the U.S. and Mexico and drives a $1.4 trillion economy on the U.S. side. The river is subject to a handful of treaties, some of which address the Colorado River dispute, a long-running quarrel between the U.S. and Mexico over water rights. … ”  Read more from Time Magazine.

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And lastly …

‘It’s a way of life’: This extreme sport is taking over California’s remote rivers

“Springtime in the remote northeast corner of Humboldt County arrives to the roar of high-octane boat motors echoing through river canyons.  That’s the sound of whitewater racing season in California’s north state, the hub of which is Hoopa, a small tribal reservation town on the Trinity River. At competitions throughout spring and summer, racers load into custom-made hydroplaning watercrafts and hurtle 80 mph through narrow river corridors, navigating rocks, rapids and risk. It’s like NASCAR on a river, with racers going head to head in heats of about a dozen boats. “Other places have motorcycle races or dirt bike races — we have boat races,” said Merv George, who organizes and promotes the events as vice president of the Klamath-Trinity River Racers Association. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle (gift article).

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Also on Maven’s Notebook this weekend …

NOTICE of Water Quality Certification Application for Removal and Decommissioning of the Kanaka Powerhouse for the Kanaka Hydroelectric Project (FERC Project No. 7242) License Surrender

NOTICE of Water Quality Certification Application for Merced River Agricultural Diversion and Fish Habitat Enhancement Project

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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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