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In California water news this weekend …

CA Legislature must pass balanced budget by Monday. Will they?:  “The State Senate Budget Committee met Friday to vote on several bills. This as the state grows closer and closer to the constitutional deadline to have a budget.  There are two major deadlines: the 72-hour requirement for the bill to be in print that they have met, and by Monday, the two houses of the legislature need to pass the budget by constitutional mandate.  However, there is still a gap between what the governor wants and what the legislature wants. … ”  Read more from KCRA Channel 3 here:  CA Legislature must pass balanced budget by Monday. Will they?

Solano County Water Agency withdraws appeal of certification of consistency for the Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project: On April 7, 2020, Westlands Water District filed a Certification of Consistency for the Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project; the Solano County Water Agency subsequently submitted an appeal which I wrote about here:  DELTA STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL: Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project Appeal.  On June 12, 2020, the SCWA formally withdrew its appeal of the Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project Certification of Consistency. As a result of the withdrawal, a public hearing on this matter scheduled for July 6, 2020, is now canceled.  Pursuant to Water Code section 85225.15, Westlands can proceed to implement the covered action.

Reclamation rescinds Shasta-critical designation after spring rain:  “Projected higher inflows to Shasta Lake caused the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month to rescind its “Shasta Critical Year” designation after hydrologic conditions changed sufficiently.  Los Banos, Calif. farmer and board chairman of the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority, Cannon Michael, said measurable rain in the Shasta Lake watershed in May and early June increased predicted inflows to Shasta Lake enough to avoid the designation. For growers with senior water rights under the Exchange and Settlement contracts with the Central Valley Project, this means full allocation water deliveries will be forthcoming. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here:  Reclamation rescinds Shasta-critical designation after spring rain

Trinidad Rancheria asks for pipeline extension to get water via Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District:  “Having hit a roadblock in negotiations with the City of Trinidad, the Trinidad Rancheria has turned a beseeching eye toward the county’s largest water supplier — the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District (HBMWD) — in hopes of securing a reliable water source for future development, including a controversial five-story, 100-room hotel near Cher-Ae Heights Casino.  On June 4, Tribal Chairman Garth Sundberg sent a letter on behalf of the Rancheria to HBMWD General Manager John Friedenbach formally requesting government-to-government consultation on the matter. ... ”  Read more from the Lost Coast Outpost here: Trinidad Rancheria asks for pipeline extension to get water via Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District

Salmonid counts below replacement level in Eel River, CDFW announces:  “In order for the Chinook and steelhead, whose populations are plummeting up and down the West Coast, to rebound in the Eel River, there should be at least 26,400 fish returning from the ocean to the Eel to spawn annually, according to the State of Salmon, a salmon information sharing venue run by The Nature Conservancy.  Although the Eels fish population was larger this year than last, Fish and Wildlife’s June 1 report shows that the population fell far below the margin for species recovery. Only 8,263 made the journey, they wrote.  ... ”  Read more from the Mendocino Voice here: Salmonid counts below replacement level in Eel River, CDFW announces

Lake Tahoe clarity report mixed for 2019:  “The clarity of Lake Tahoe has long been one of the most important indicators of the changing condition of this iconic water body. In 2019, Lake Tahoe’s clarity decreased nearly 8 feet from the previous year’s dramatic 10-foot improvement. The average annual value in 2019 was 62.7 feet. The lowest value was recorded in 2017, when clarity was 60 feet.  Such year-to-year and even day-to-day fluctuations are common. A truer picture of the clarity is often indicated by a five-year running mean, which shows a mean clarity of 67.3 feet, according to the data released by the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.  … ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Lake Tahoe clarity report mixed for 2019

Woodland report shows water quality remains high:  “Woodland’s water continues to be much cleaner and safer to drink than in the past, according to the 2019 Water Quality Report.  The report, recently released by the city, shows minimal, or “zero,” levels of cancer-causing chemicals and dissolved solids that were present as little as four years ago when the city relied on well water. Today the city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which it is treated and delivered to homes and businesses. … ”  Read more from the Daily Democrat here:

Anderson Dam bill clears assembly:  “The state assembly “overwhelmingly” passed a bill that will expedite the construction of Anderson Dam’s seismic retrofit, according to Assemblymember Robert Rivas.  The bill, known as AB 3005, is titled the Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act, and was authored by Rivas. In the June 8 assembly vote, the bill received strong bipartisan support for “important changes in law that will help facilitate the expedited and expert construction of the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project in Santa Clara County,” reads a press release from Rivas’ office. ... ”  Read more from the Gilroy Dispatch here: Anderson Dam bill clears assembly

Demolition begins in July for contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory buildings:  “As California’s wildfire season approaches, officials with a state agency that oversees cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys have presented a plan to remove a dozen buildings that in case of the fire and heavy rain could potentially release contaminants in the nearby communities.  A group of specialists with the Department of the Toxic Substances Control, known as DTSC, aim to demolish 10 buildings, including several of the most contaminated structures, following a consent order released in May by the Department of Energy, or DOE, and DTSC. ... ”  Read more from the LA Daily News here: 

Coastal Commission approves $1.7 million in fines for illegal beach yards in Newport Beach:  “A combined $1.7 million in fines for 33 homeowners whose Newport Beach yards extend onto public beaches — in some cases for 20 years or more — was approved by the Coastal Commission in a unanimous vote Thursday, June 11.  The beachfront homeowners on Peninsula Point, on the east end of the Balboa Peninsula, had earlier agreed to pay the penalties pending commission approval. Individual fines range from $6,300 to $134,000 per home while the city has agreed to spend an estimated $545,000 to restore the stretch of beach to its natural state. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:  Coastal Commission approves $1.7 million in fines for illegal beach yards in Newport Beach

Work resumes on San Clemente man-made reef, likely the world’s largest:  “Once again, tons of boulders are being dumped from barges into the ocean off the beaches of San Clemente.  When the operation cruised into the area last summer, social media lit up with residents asking what the heck was going on out there.  The answer: What is likely the world’s largest artificial reef is getting even bigger, thanks to mitigation requirements of the 1970s expansion of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. … ”  Read more from the OC Register here:

Orange County Water District awarded $3.6m grant to increase region’s drinking water supply:  “The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) was awarded a $3.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) grant program for use toward the construction of its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion project.  Operational since 2008, the GWRS is undergoing its second and final expansion. This expansion will increase treatment capacity from 100 million gallons per day (MGD) to 130 MGD; enough water to meet the daily needs of 1 million people. Construction began in 2019 and will be complete in 2023. … ”  Read more from ACWA’s Water News here:  Orange County Water District awarded $3.6m grant to increase region’s drinking water supply

San Diego: Draft study highlights region’s water conveyance options: “A draft report released today by the San Diego County Water Authority shows that building a new conveyance system to transport regional water supplies from the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement is cost-competitive with other long-term options for meeting the region’s water needs.  The draft Phase A report is under review by water officials across the region. The Water Authority’s Board of Directors is expected to decide whether to move to Phase B at its July 23 meeting.  “By releasing this draft report – along with an independent review of key financial assumptions – we are trying to spark a thoughtful dialogue about our region’s water future,” said Dan Denham, deputy general manager for the Water Authority. “Given the long lead time for major water infrastructure projects, it’s important that San Diego County wrestle with these complex questions today so we can control our own destiny tomorrow.” … ”  Read more from the Water News Network here:  Draft Study Highlights Region’s Water Conveyance Options

In people news this weekend …

EBMUD appoints first Asian American as general manager:  “The East Bay Municipal Utility District has appointed its first Asian American as general manager.  EBMUD directors made the selection at their Tuesday meeting, naming Clifford C. Chan, a 23-year employee, to replace Alexander R. Coate, who is retiring after 27 years. Coate served 10 years as general manager.  “It is an honor to be chosen to lead EBMUD during this critical time in our history,” Chan said in a statement before the board meeting. “We face many challenges and changes as we near our centennial, but I am confident that with the support of our dedicated staff, management and board of directors, we will continue to serve and support our diverse East Bay community, grow our local economy and protect our natural resources.” ... ”  Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here:

Along the Colorado River …

Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act was groundbreaking, but it needs an updateKim Mitchell and Christopher Kuzdas write, “Forty years ago on June 12, Arizona enacted the Groundwater Management Act (GMA), a first-of-its-kind policy aimed at ensuring our state’s groundwater could be sustained even as our economy and population continued to grow.  The act limited groundwater use, mandated conservation from all business sectors and established a system to manage groundwater in five key areas where groundwater overdraft was most severe: Prescott, Phoenix and Tucson, as well as Pinal and Santa Cruz counties. ... ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act was groundbreaking, but it needs an update

Nevada: Environmentalists see regulatory, funding gaps amid Clean Water Act rollback:  “Hiking near a snow-speckled mountain on a late spring day, it’s not hard to find water running through a narrow stream. Come back several months later, and that stream might be empty.  In Nevada, most waterways work this way. Roughly 90 percent of the state’s streams are intermittent or ephemeral, running at only certain times of the year in response to snowmelt or precipitation, according to data compiled by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP).  It’s a fact throughout the West, from Arizona to New Mexico. Many streams are seasonal. ... ”  Read more from the Nevada Independent here:  Environmentalists see regulatory, funding gaps amid Clean Water Act rollback

All Utahns would pay for Lake Powell Pipeline and Washington County water waste, says Paul Van Dam:  He writes, “The contentious Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) — conceived in the ‘90s, legislated in ’06 — is under environmental review now. It’s a project engineered to bring more than 82,000 acre-feet per year of water to our county. Washington County must pay for the 140-mile long pipeline and its water, but all Utahns will be affected.  The Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act indicates that Utah would bond for 50 years or more for the project and the debt would be repaid by Washington County. Seems clear but it is not. ... ”  Read more from the Spectrum here: All Utahns would pay for Lake Powell Pipeline and Washington County water waste

A key player on Colorado River issues seeks to balance competing water demands in the river’s upper basin:  “Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational industry and environmental protection takes expertise, leadership and a steady hand.  Colorado has that in Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board since 2017 and the second woman to lead the state’s primary water management agency in its 83-year history. ... ”  Read more from Western Water here:  

In national/world news this weekend …

Tougher building codes would avert major losses, FEMA study shows:  “A first-of-its-kind study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows that modern building codes are averting $1 billion a year in structural damage in California and Florida, the nation’s most disaster-prone states, according to preliminary findings.  The study could be groundbreaking in the agency’s effort to convince states and localities to adopt up-to-date building codes and to overcome opposition from builders, who have successfully argued in some areas that strengthened codes only increase construction costs.  “This gives us the foundation to back up the recommendations that we’re making,” FEMA building engineer Jonathan Westcott said yesterday at a conference on flood prevention. ... ”  Read more from Scientific American here: Tougher building codes would avert major losses, FEMA study shows

The COVID-19 pandemic is unleashing a tidal wave of plastic waste:  “When he stepped onto a beach on Hong Kong’s uninhabited Soko Islands, Gary Stokes was surprised to find — amid the discarded water bottles, shopping bags and usual piles of plastic waste — a new type of garbage washing ashore.  Masks. Dozens and dozens of disposable masks.  On that overcast morning in late February, just weeks after Hong Kong had recorded its first coronavirus case, the environmental activist collected more than 70 discarded masks from a beach slightly longer than a football field. In the months since, Stokes has found many more washed up onto other islands far from central Hong Kong. ... ”  Read more from the LA Times here: The COVID-19 pandemic is unleashing a tidal wave of plastic waste

Study: Plastics raining on U.S. parks, wilderness areas:  “Wind and rain transport more than 1,000 metric tons of plastics annually to protected lands in the United States, according to new research.  Utah State University professor Janice Brahney and her team of graduate and undergraduate researchers have released a report in Science magazine titled “Plastic rain in protected areas of the United States.” They concluded that “no place is safe from plastic pollution,” including national parks and national wilderness areas. ... ”  Read more from the E&E News here:  Study: Plastics raining on U.S. parks, wilderness areas

David Zetland’s Jive Talking Podcast: Brian Richter solves water scarcity:  “Brian Richter has been a global leader in water science and conservation for more than 30 years. He is the president of Sustainable Waters (, a global water education organization, where he promotes sustainable water use and management with governments, corporations, universities, and local communities. He previously served as Director of the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization. Brian has consulted on more than 170 water projects worldwide. He serves as a water advisor to some of the world’s largest corporations, investment banks, and the United Nations, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions. He also teaches a course on Water Sustainability at the University of Virginia.  Motto: “Everyone wins from managing scarcity.”  (Additional resources here.)

Image credit: Tuolumne River Panorama, Yosemite High Country: Lembert Dome is reflected where the river pools before making a turn.  Photo by Don Graham.

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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