DAILY DIGEST, 6/12: Report shows some progress on groundwater storage; Sparks fly at Tule basin GSA; Defining the ‘significant and unreasonable’ inadequacies in subbasin GSPs; Klamath Basin leaders call for full water allocation; and more …

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On the calendar today …

  • WEBINAR: Delta Research Award Seminar Series from 10:30am to 12:00pm.  The seminar series features the recipients of the 2020-2021 Research Awards, which totaled over $10 million in combined funds from the Delta Science Program, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and State Water Contractors.  Presentations:  Towards Quantifying the Effects of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise on Carbon Accretion of Tidal and Non-Tidal Wetlands Exposed to a Range of Salinity along the San Francisco Bay Estuary and Delta; and How Delta Food Webs have Changed: Integrating Detrital Material into the Delta Food Web Puzzle.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: Data for Lunch: The Climate Registry from 12pm to 1:30pm.  The Climate Registry (TCR) will provide an overview of the Water-Energy Nexus Registry and its benefits with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) sharing their successes and challenges of using the Water-Energy Nexus 2.0 to prepare a greenhouse gas inventory at a large water and wastewater utility.  Click here to register.
  • PUBLIC MEETING: DRIP Collaborative Drought Preparedness for Domestic Wells Workgroup from 1pm to 2:30pm.  The Drought Resilience Interagency & Partners (DRIP) Collaborative will hold a workgroup meeting to refine proposed recommendations under the Drought Preparedness for Domestic Wells Focus Area. During the workgroup meeting, DRIP members will review input provided during the April DRIP Collaborative meeting and address the following: Validate title and recommendation description; Identify anticipated impacts; Consider related implementing parties & partners; Describe potential alignment with other initiatives;  and Identify of SME for additional input.  Click here for more information.

In California water news today …

Report shows some progress on groundwater storage

A drone photo of water diverted onto a newly constructed groundwater recharge basin at Mountain View and Temperance near Selma in Fresno County, California. Photo taken May 13, 2024 by Xavier Mascareñas / DWR

“The good news is that the San Joaquin Valley has managed to store a little more groundwater since the drought of 2016. The bad news is that it is hard to keep account of what’s working and what’s not.  On Tuesday, the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonprofit policy research organization, released an update report on the replenishment of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the areas of the state that is heavily dependent on groundwater. The report also identified those basins best suited to accept water recharge operations, with the highest number being in the eastern and southern regions of the valley.  In late 2023, following a very wet winter and spring, the institute surveyed recharge activities in local water agencies. … They found a 17% increase in the total water volume that was recharged in the valley, including areas that use only groundwater. … ”  Read more from SF Gate.

Sparks fly as Tule basin agency is accused of being “unable and unwilling” to curb over pumping

“Fireworks were already popping between board members of a key Tulare County groundwater agency recently over an 11th hour attempt to rein in pumping in the severely overdrafted area.  The main issue at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) meeting June 6 was whether to require farmers in subsidence prone areas to install meters and report their extractions to the agency, which is being blamed for almost single handedly putting the entire subbasin in jeopardy of a state takeover.  “I don’t know why we’re sitting here massaging this thing knowing damn well the state told us to do this,” said Eastern Tule board member Matt Leider of requiring the meters.  But fellow board member Eric Borba pooh poohed the need for urgency, suggesting the board take things “one step at a time.” … ” Read more from SJV Water.

Defining the ‘significant and unreasonable’ inadequacies in subbasin GSPs

“Despite varying interests and distinct stakeholder needs, one thing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies can collectively agree on is the need to avoid a probation determination from the State Water Resources Control Board.  Of the six critically overdrafted basins in the Central Valley, only the Tulare Lake Subbasin has officially been placed on probation. While the six basins cover different areas with unique water needs and landowner interests, there are several commonalities in the deficiencies the SWB found within the separate groundwater sustainability plans.  State Water Board staff has released three probationary hearing draft staff reports for the following basins — Tulare, Tule, and Kaweah. The subbasin GSPs share three specific inadequacies: chronic lowering of groundwater levels with insufficient Sustainable Management Criteria, continued land subsidence, and further degradation of groundwater quality. … ”  Read more from Valley Ag Voice.

California and Tribal partners secure critical water supply to support Native American farmers

“”Working together to support local Tribal farmers, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe have expedited two water transfers to meet immediate water supply needs and to address long-term demands north of the Tulare Lake area. Working with the Tulare Lake Irrigation District, DWR and the Tachi Yokut Tribe entered into a contractual agreement to institute both a temporary and permanent transfer of water resulting in over 600-acre feet of additional water for the area.  “California remains committed to getting water to communities that need it most. This successful effort is a direct result of meaningful consultation and communication with our Tribal partners and the hard work of our staff to ensure we can move water to places in critical need,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. … ”  Read more from DWR.

Program to delay harvest protects birds and farmers

Listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act, tricolored blackbirds often build nests on dairy farmers’ forage crops due to loss of native habitat. To protect the birds and themselves from liability, farmers agree to delay harvest of their crops under a voluntary local program, which compensates them for crop losses due to the delay. Photo/National Audubon Society

“For multiple years, Simon Vander Woude’s Merced County dairy farm has served as a refuge for an imperiled bird species that has increasingly looked to agricultural fields as a nesting ground.  By agreeing to delay harvest where tricolored blackbirds nest, Vander Woude and other California farmers are helping to save a species that once faced potential extinction.  Tricolored blackbirds, which gained protection as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act in 2018, historically nested in freshwater marshes. But the loss of native wetland habitat has forced them to rely on winter silage fields planted by dairy farmers.  Because of the birds’ protected status, finding them in the field creates a hardship for farmers, as nesting season coincides with harvest and other farming activities. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert.

California Forever’s plan to build city from scratch qualifies for November ballot

“Election officials in Northern California announced Tuesday afternoon that a campaign to construct a new city from the ground up in Solano County gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.  The Solano County Registrar of Voters spent a month reviewing over 20,000 signatures submitted by California Forever, the Silicon Valley-backed initiative that envisions building an ambitious, walkable, environmentally friendly city that can house up to 400,000 people in eastern Solano County.  In order to make it on the ballot, the measure needed 14,369 signatures from registered Solano County voters. On Tuesday, the Registrar of Voters certified the signatures. … ”  Read more from the Courthouse News Service.

The nation’s most polluted beach is in California, study finds

“With summer just around the corner and the weather finally heating up, beach season is about to be in full swing, and beachgoers are flocking to the coasts of the United States in search of warm sand and a cool ocean breeze.  Many U.S. beaches often get recognition for this appeal, but several beaches recently received a less than favorable acknowledgment from a national environmental group as the most polluted beaches in the entire country.  Last year, labs run by Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force processed 9,538 water samples collected from 567 distinct sampling sites around the U.S. Of the 567 beaches sampled, 362 of them yielded at least one high bacteria result that exceeded state health standards. … ”  Read more from KTLA.


The meaning of Dos Rios, California’s newest state park

“On Wednesday, June 12, the state of California officially opens Dos Rios, the first new state park in more than a decade. It’s a riparian forest restoration at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, in the Central Valley, about an hour from San Jose—and the subject of Bay Nature’s Spring 2024 cover story, “The Everything Park,” by H.R. Smith.  We dubbed Dos Rios the Everything Park because a modern state park has an astonishing number of jobs to do—among them groundwater storage, wildlife habitat, and climate adaptation. People destroyed nearly all of the Central Valley’s riparian forest for agriculture or urban areas over the past century. This 1,600-acre restoration, which was led by the nonprofit River Partners, is part of an ambitious plan to restore 100,000 acres. (Seeing the landscape-scale engineering of this—how farmland has been transformed into floodplain—is fascinating, and worth a visit.) … ”  Read more from Bay Nature.

Healthy river advocates urge support for bill to improve climate resilience in coastal watersheds

“The California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition, a partnership comprised of California Trout, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited, is calling on Governor Newsom to support Assembly Bill 1272 (Wood). This bill will ensure a climate-resilient future for California’s coastal watersheds, which support vibrant communities, important ecosystems, and iconic species.  The bill, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), directs the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop guidelines for water use in certain coastal watersheds during times of water shortage. These principles and guidelines will allow for the development of locally generated watershed-level plans to protect public trust uses, public health and safety, and the human right to water. The plans will help water users anticipate how their businesses and communities will be impacted by drought, providing an incentive to invest in solutions that increase preparedness. AB 1272 passed both houses of the legislature in 2023 without opposition and awaits being sent to the Governor for his signature. … ”  Read more from The Nature Conservancy.

Should clean air and water be the right of every Californian? Not everybody thinks so

“A contentious proposal to amend California’s Constitution to enshrine environmental rights for all citizens has been delayed for at least another year after it failed to gain traction ahead of a looming deadline.  ACA 16, also known as the green amendment, sought to add a line to the state Constitution’s Declaration of Rights affirming that all people “shall have a right to clean air and water and a healthy environment.”  The single sentence sounds straightforward enough, but by the start of this week, the proposal had not yet made it through the state Assembly or moved into the state Senate. Both houses would need to pass the proposal by June 27 in order to get it on voter ballots this fall. … ”  Read more from the LA Times.

SEE ALSO: Commentary: Should clean air and water be a fundamental human right? California voters to decide, commentary by Terry Tamminen and James Strock, former secretaries of the California Environmental Protection Agency

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In commentary today …

How California can rewrite the extraction business model and boost Salton Sea communities

Silvia Paz, executive director of Alianza Coachella Valley, writes, “California is at a policy and fiscal crossroads. It must decide whether to rewrite the extraction business model to benefit impacted communities, or to continue with the traditional model that causes unmitigated environmental and economic injustices.  The Salton Sea region is facing economic pressure to become a substantial domestic supplier of lithium, placing greater challenges on lower-income communities that already face significant disparities – yet contribute so much to the prosperity and quality-of-life of others. Without meaningful investment, these communities will fall further behind as their needs are sidelined in the rush for lithium development.  This is a story all too real to the farm laborers and low-wage tourism workers who call this region home. … ”  Read more from Cal Matters.

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In regional water news and commentary today …


Klamath Basin leaders call for full water allocation

The Klamath River in winter near Happy Camp, California, also known as the Steelhead Capital of the world. Photo by Matt Baun/USFWS.

“Due to significant economic impacts to farmers and others in the Klamath Basin, county leaders are urging water officials to provide a full water allocation to irrigators this year.  In a statement, Klamath Water Users Association Executive Director Paul Simmons said inadequate water allocations have real consequences for working families and communities.  “We join supervisors from Siskiyou and Modoc counties and the commissioners from Klamath County in calling on federal agencies to take immediate action to provide a full supply for the 2024 water year and adequate irrigation supplies into the future,” he said.  “At all levels—from the top down—we need to respect the economic and socioeconomic realities of those who depend on the Klamath Basin for our livelihoods,” Simmons added. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert.

HAF+WRCF launches new fund for Klamath Basin as dams come down

“Amid the historic removal of dams on the Klamath River, the Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation announced the launch of a new fund to support projects in the drastically changing Klamath Basin.  According to a Tuesday news release, the fund will support “grantmaking to bolster community healing, Tribal self-determination, science and restoration, storytelling, climate resilience, regenerative agriculture, environmental stewardship, and more.”  Starting with $10 million, the foundations aim to support the health and restoration of the basin and the communities that live in it. At least 60% must go to tribes or Indigenous-led organizations, according to the release, with a focus on climate resilience and restorative justice projects. … ”  Read more from the Eureka Times-Standard.


Spaulding powerhouse repair completion date slips to late July

“Less than two weeks ago, PG&E notified Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) that the expected completion date for repairs at the Spaulding #1 Powerhouse was once again extended, this time from June 19 to June 30. Today, that date was pushed to late July, according to a post on social media by the utility corporation.  The post reads, in part:  Due to the unforeseen delays in repairs at the Spaulding 1 powerhouse, PG&E has extended the earlier restoration date of late June to late July. Water agencies have been notified and PG&E is examining ways to possibly reduce the restoration delay so that partial flows can resume through the powerhouse and into the Drum Canal. … ”  Read more from YubaNet.

Sunken boat recovered from Lake Tahoe after fire raises environmental concerns

“A sunken boat on Lake Tahoe has now been recovered after catching fire in the Cedar Flat area on Sunday.  North Lake Tahoe fire crews responded quickly that day and doused the boat, which was engulfed in flames. All six people and a dog that were on board were safely rescued.   The cause of the fire is still under investigation. … ”  Read more from CBS News.


Critical Linda water district well project underway

After several years of planning, construction is underway for a new water treatment and storage facility operated by the Linda County Water District. The utility provider recently received an $18 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board for the construction of the Well 17 groundwater treatment plant and storage tank improvements in the Edgewater and Linda communities. According to Brian Davis, general manager of the Linda County Water District, this project will provide additional water storage capacity for the communities and allow for continued improvements to other district facilities. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat.

Restoring American River spring-run chinook salmon

“For decades, the possibility of restoring spring-run Chinook salmon in the American River has been ignored. With recent changes to the Nimbus Hatchery fish ladder and federal and state mandates to focus more on the recovery of Central Valley spring-run Chinook, it is time to recover the American River’s spring-run salmon.  The American River spring-run were never really lost. The river has always had modest numbers of these iconic salmon that attracted fishermen and even guides each spring to the lower river below Nimbus Dam. It wasn’t much of a secret. It was more common knowledge and a nice complement to spring shad and steelhead fishing. These spring-run salmon were generally believed to be strays from other Sacramento River spring-run streams and the Feather River Fish Hatchery. … ”  Read more from California Fisheries.


San Francisco isn’t ready for extreme rain and floods, new report finds

“San Francisco isn’t ready for extreme rains and floods, expected to worsen due to climate change, according to a report released Tuesday by the San Francisco civil grand jury. The city’s sewer system isn’t able to manage downpours dropping more rain in shorter periods. Storms in 2023 spilled millions of gallons of sewage-tainted stormwater into creeks and streets.  The new report highlights a lack of transparency in the city’s budget for climate resilience and inadequate coordination between departments. The jury provided recommendations for improving flood preparedness, including reforming the city’s climate resilience program and reassessing funding shortfalls. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thompson presents nearly $1 million to city of Rio Vista for wastewater plant consolidation and reclaimed water project

“Yesterday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) presented a check to the City of Rio Vista for $959,752 to support the city’s Wastewater Plant Consolidation and Reclaimed Water Project. The funding will aid in the construction of piping infrastructure to connect the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant to existing recycled water distribution system pipelines. Rep. Thompson helped secure this funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024.  “When complete, this project will ensure Rio Vista is better able to conserve water and protect the local environment,” said Rep. Thompson. “I’m proud to have helped secure nearly $1 million in funding to help Rio Vista build the infrastructure needed to reuse recycled water and recharge our aquifer.” … ”  Read more from Representative Mike Thompson.

Refloating efforts could start this week for cruise ship Aurora sinking into Delta, officials say

“Crews are now installing dewatering pumps on a decommissioned cruise ship sinking into the Delta near Stockton.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Spill Prevention & Response division gave an update on the status of the ship Aurora on Tuesday. The old ship had been docked in Potato Slough, in the area of Empire Tract and Eight Mile Road, when it started taking on water in late May.  With the ship leaking diesel fuel and oil into the Delta, a unified response was deployed by several local agencies to contain the situation.  CDFW officials said work started over the weekend to install dewatering pumps on the Aurora. … ”  Read more from CBS News.

Santa Clara County: Cleaning our creeks is a community endeavour

“Every year, Americans create 268 million tons of trash. Here in Santa Clara County, trash can end up in our local waterways which flow into the San Francisco and Monterey bays. Encampments of unsheltered individuals along waterways compound the issue, which we are addressing at multiple levels to mitigate the impact of trash, debris and hazardous pollutants on our fragile ecosystems, wildlife, and water quality.  Recently, hundreds of dedicated volunteers came together in Santa Clara County to clean over 66 miles of waterways and natural areas across 52 sites, removing over 17 thousand pounds of litter as part of National River Cleanup Day 2024. The effort was spearheaded by Valley Water and the Creek Connections Action Group, a consortium of public agencies that share a goal of protecting Santa Clara County’s waterways. … ”  Read more from Valley Water News.


Triple-digits to bring wave of water

“Triple-digit heat arrived last week and will hang around this week bringing more water down the mountain to Tulare County.  This week’s forecast shows 95 degrees or above every day and a high of 105 for a number of them. Bakersfield, Fresno and Visalia could all match or set new record warm night-time temperature records. The first heat wave of 2024 hit inland California last week, and a spell of exceptionally warm nights.  That will bring down the snowpack in a hurry in the Sierra over the next two weeks with our dams already at capacity. The Sierras stored more water in snowpack than anticipated meaning the Friant-Kern Canal will receive uncontrolled spill from Friant Dam weeks longer than expected. That has led to a 5% surplus of Class II water supply adding to its 100% of contracted or Class I water supply. … ”  Read more from the Foothills Sun-Gazette.

State allegedly ghosted Merced’s attempts to get permission to clear creeks for months before the floods

A flooded street in Merced County on Jan. 11, 2023. Photo: Andrew Innerarity / DWR

“Evidence is stacking up against the state in one of multiple lawsuits over last year’s devastating floods in Merced County. One of the most stunning new pieces of evidence is a string of 12 emails from Merced County staff that went ignored by the state for more than four months before last year’s floods.  The lawsuit was filed against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on behalf of the City of Merced, a local elementary school and 12 agricultural groups. All the plaintiffs took significant damage from flooding after water backed up in clogged waterways and broke through, or overtopped creek banks and levees.  The flooding came primarily from Bear Creek and Black Rascal Creek, both of which have flooded before. Flooding from Miles Creek also damaged nearly every home in the small, rural town of Planada. … ”  Read more from SJV Water.

Still sinking rebuilt section of Friant-Kern Canal will officially “open” after ribbon-cutting ceremony

“A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a newly rebuilt – but still sinking – portion of the Friant-Kern Canal is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 21.  The public is invited to attend.  The event, to be held at the Avenue 136 bridge in Porterville, marks the completion of Phase I of a massive construction project known as the Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Four years in the making, the ten-mile segment runs parallel to the canal and aims to restore the canal’s ability to carry water downstream to cities and farmland all the way to its terminus in Kern County. … ” Read more from SJV Water.

Kings Co. Farm Bureau raising $400k to fund water lawsuit against state

“The Kings County Farm Bureau (KCFB) is asking for help from its members and the surrounding community to fight its lawsuit against the state for putting the Tulare Lake Subbasin on probation for its groundwater management.  The KCFB announced Tuesday that it has created a SGMA Defense Fund to support the lawsuit.  The backstory: Then Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in 2014, setting up the current battle Kings County farmers are locked into with the state.  … ”  Read more from the San Joaquin Valley Sun.

Isabella Dam construction project lauded by national award

“The United States Army Corps of Engineers received a national award for safety, innovation and resourcefulness for its design and execution of the reconstruction of the Isabella Dam complex, according to a press release from the Army Corps.  The $650-million project that succeeded in taking Isabella Dam off the Army Corps’ list as one of the nation’s “highest-risk dams,” received the National Academy of Construction’s 2024 Recognition of Special Achievement Award.  The award considers planning, engineering and solving design challenges among international practitioners in the engineering, design and construction industries, according to the release. … ”  Read more from SJV Water.


SCV Water to begin construction of new PFAS And VOC treatment project in Saugus

“As part of its commitment restoring local groundwater reliability, SCV Water is set to soon begin construction of a new treatment facility to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and restore wells to service that are currently offline due to PFAS detection.  The proposed facility is set to also remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from additional wells, according to officials.  Construction on the facility which is set to be added to the currency Rio Vista Intake Pump Station on Bouquet Canyon Road near the Lowe’s shopping center is scheduled to begin this summer.  Construction is anticipated to take 18 months to complete, added SCV Water officials. … ”  Read more from KHTS.


San Dieguito wetlands restoration enters the home stretch

“The second phase of the San Dieguito Lagoon restoration reached a significant milestone last week.  On June 6, a collection of SANDAG and Caltrans engineers and biologists gathered to witness the active release of berm at the restoration project site, opening up the saltwater marsh inlet to the tidal flow. Rather than sending an epic torrent of water into the lagoon, an excavator simply moved some dirt aside and the water slowly began to trickle in.  Kim Smith, SANDAG senior regional planner, said while it may have appeared anticlimactic, it was an incredibly exciting moment for staff to see on a project about 12 years in the making. … ”  Read more from the San Diego Reader.

San Diego wrongly bills nearly 700 public utility customers, at least one up to $24K

“Hundreds of San Diego utility customers were erroneously billed when they should have been receiving federal COVID relief funds, the city of San Diego said Tuesday.  In the most egregious incident of the 690 discovered by the city on June 4, a customer who owns a multifamily property with several separate accounts was charged nearly $24,500. That customer and all others were are in the process of being refunded, the city said.  A spokesperson for the city said the error occurred on June 3 when the IT department and an outside contractor were applying federal COVID relief payments to qualifying customer accounts.  “Due to the way in which the credits were applied, payments previously covered by these customers then showed in the system as “unpaid” and were automatically re-charged,” the spokesperson said. … ”  Read more from Channel 7.

Sewage crisis in South Bay puts businesses on the brink of bankruptcy

“A recent county report shows dozens of shops and restaurants in South Bay are suffering from the lack of tourism, with some being forced to close their doors for good.  Business owners say it has created a financial disaster for them and they need tourists to come back.  Kevin Reed just opened Seacoast Beach Bar and Sports Grill about a week ago. He told us the journey to get there had “a lot of blood, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, and a lot of money.”  Reed’s establishment is in a prime location just steps away from the beach, but so far, business hasn’t been good. “Starting after Memorial Day, we were hoping for a huge influx in tourism, and we certainly have not seen that,” Reed said. … ”  Read more from Fox 5.

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Along the Colorado River …

Commentary: Ag-to-urban bill saves groundwater while building the housing Arizona needs

Craig McFarland, mayor of Casa Grande, writes, “Arizona’s challenges with water supply and housing affordability are linked. But not in the way you may think.  Despite a roughly seven-fold population increase, Arizona actually uses less water now than it did in the mid-1950s.  Improvements in agriculture and farming water efficiency have helped make this possible, but it’s largely due to the state’s transition from water-intensive agricultural activities to less thirsty residential and domestic uses.  Now, this same phenomenon has the ability to not only generate massive water savings and take pressure off Arizona’s limited groundwater supply, but also combat a housing shortage that has made Arizona one of the most expensive places to live. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central.

Tucson’s groundwater is partially contaminated by ‘forever chemicals.’ Feds want it fixed

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the U.S. Air Force and Arizona National Guard take action as concentrations of toxic “forever chemicals” are increasing in the groundwater in a historically contaminated area on Tucson’s south side.  The EPA found the pollution came from the nearby military properties and ordered them to clean up the contamination.  High concentrations of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, were detected in Tucson’s groundwater near the Tucson International Airport at the National Guard base and at a property owned by the U.S. Air Force. The contaminants threaten the groundwater extracted at a water treatment run by Tucson Water in the Tucson Airport Remediation Project area, known as TARP. That water was intended for drinking, the EPA said in its May 29 order. … ”  Read more from Arizona Central.

Colorado River Indian Tribes get funds to replace backwater infrastructure, Arizona U.S. senators say

“The Colorado River Indian Tribes in Parker will receive $1 million to replace backwater infrastructure in the Deer Island area, the two U.S. senators from Arizona announced Monday.  U.S. Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema announced the funding that is part of three aging infrastructure projects totaling $12.445 million.  Senators Kelly and Sinema said the funding will go to replace debilitated water control infrastructure to provide greater control of flow and water levels within the backwater that is located within the Colorado River Indian Tribe Reservation. … ” Read more from KAWC.

Lake Powell’s rebound in spring runoff: Water levels are driving tourists back to Utah’s gem

“With over 1.25 million acres of scenic recreation, Glen Canyon National Park attracts millions of visitors annually. Its most popular attraction, Lake Powell, stretches 186 miles in length and has 1,960 miles of shoreline, bringing water sports lovers around the country to its shores.  Powell is the second largest human-made lake in the United States. Its reservoir is primarily filled by snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains that feeds into the Colorado River along its upper basin states: Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. Glen Canyon then works as a network that sends water to lower basin states, including Nevada, Arizona and California.  In 2022, it saw a record shrinkage — the lowest it had been since the 1960s when it was filled — but the last two years have brought wet winters, which are showing some signs of recovery for the massive lake. But is it enough? The Lake Powell Water Database reported that as of June 10, Powell sits at 36.69% capacity. … ”  Read more from Deseret News.

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In national water news today …

Billion-dollar weather disasters are soaring again this year. Here’s why.

“May was another exceptionally busy month for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the United States, pushing weather disaster costs to their second-highest amount on record to date. Eleven separate billion-dollar weather disasters this year have together caused over $25 billion in damage and 84 deaths. Two such storm disasters occurred in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday, including the violent storm complex that blasted Houston mid-month, killing seven people. The repeated, costly thunderstorm outbreaks fit into a trend toward more such incidents that are driving a surge in weather-related property damage and insurance payouts across the United States. Experts link the uptick to growth and development patterns that place many more homes and businesses in the way of such storms.  At the same time, they say certain atmospheric ingredients that fuel these storms are becoming more abundant because of human-caused climate change. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post.

Expecting the unexpected could help us prepare for climate extremes

“The U.S. Pacific Northwest experienced an unprecedented heat wave in summer 2021, with many locations in the region breaking all-time maximum temperature records by more than 9℉ (5℃). Although weather models forecasted the warmer-than-average conditions that summer, the extreme temperatures caught the climate science community by surprise. In the past year, so have catastrophic, deadly floods in such places as Libya and China and record-breaking wildfires in Canada.  Our collective unpreparedness for such extreme climate events should be a cause for concern, argue Sherwood et al. The authors contend that a reliance on models that don’t account for enough relevant factors and a tendency toward linear thinking have narrowed perceptions of climate change risks.  Central to their argument is the idea that society is too focused on the expected gradual consequences of climate change and not enough on high-impact, low-likelihood occurrences and tipping points—regime shifts in which systems can change rapidly and irreversibly. The authors suggest that as a result, we are overlooking critical potentialities in our efforts to adapt to and weigh mitigation options for a warmer future. … ”  Read more from EOS.

Environmental Defense Fund to study effects of artificially cooling earth

“The Environmental Defense Fund will finance research into technologies that could artificially cool the planet, an idea that until recently was viewed as radical but is quickly gaining attention as global temperatures rise at alarming rates.  The group hopes to start issuing grants this fall, said Lisa Dilling, associate chief scientist at E.D.F., who is running the project. She said research would focus on estimating the likely effects in different parts of the world if governments were to deploy artificial cooling technologies.  The intent is to help inform policymakers, she said. “We are not in favor, period, of deployment. That’s not our goal here,” Dr. Dilling said. “Our goal is information, and solid, well-formulated science.” … ”  Read more from the New York Times.

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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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