Helix Water to Consider Fees, Changes at Lake Jennings Campground

At today’s 2 p.m. meeting of the Helix Water District Board (7811 University Ave., La Mesa), directors will consider addition of fees and other changes at Lake Jennings, including adding kayak rentals and a tee-pee rental venue at the campground.  These are the latest improvements proposed by a committee led by director Joel Scalzitti.    As a result, the lake that some board  members sought to close due to budget shortfalls is now operating at a profit.  

Water Agencies May Ease Curbs

California may be in its fifth year of drought, but on Tuesday, state water regulators effectively turned back the clock to 2013.

BLOG: Watermaster Understanding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Crisis

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watermaster Michael George talks about his position at the helm of the Delta’s water rights system, and how we can address the ecological and political challenges the Delta faces.

MICHAEL GEORGE HAS called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta “highly important, highly complex, highly compromised.” George serves as Delta watermaster, a position created as part of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 to administer water rights in the Delta, where there are some 2,800 separate water diversions.

Bay-Delta Plan Would Shrink Ag in Merced, Report Says

A state board’s proposal to help fish populations by increasing water flows down the Merced River would hurt the local ag industry, according to a new report done for the Merced Irrigation District. If the State Water Resource Control Board’s proposed Bay-Delta Plan is approved, the report predicts Merced County’s economy would shrink by up to $231 million. “This magnitude of change in long-term surface water supply reliability could lead to a structural change in the agriculture section,” the report said. “Such a drastic reduction could likely result in a countywide contraction in the agricultural sector.”

OPINION: WaterFix Provides Solution to California’s Water Woes

Downtown San Jose sank 13 feet between 1910 and 1970 from excessive groundwater pumping. Repairs to sewers, roads, and bridges, plus the construction of levees to protect land below high tide from flooding, cost the area at least $750 million in 2013 dollars. The Santa Clara Valley region would still be sinking at a rapid rate if it weren’t for the foresight of the Santa Clara Valley Water District and supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In the 1960s, the State Water project started delivering Delta water to the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California. 

Los Angeles Makes it Harder to Qualify for Water-Wise Landscaping Rebates

The Board of Water and Power Commissioners today tightened up the criteria for granting turf removal rebates, under which synthetic turf and mulch will no longer be allowed and more rainfall capture features and plant coverage will be required.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gives out $1.75 for each square foot of grass lawn that is removed.

Conservation Prevents Colorado River Shortage Declaration

A resolute effort in Arizona, California, and Nevada to reduce Colorado River water use is slowing the decline of Lake Mead and delaying mandatory restrictions on water withdrawals from the drying basin.

The Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees lake levels, forecasts that Arizona, California, and Nevada will draw less than 7 million acre-feet from the river this year, some 500,000 acre-feet less than they are permitted to consume and the lowest since 1992. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough water to flood an acre of land with one foot of water.)

OPINION: CA’s Water System in Need of a Fix

Our wet winter increased the state’s water supply and filled many of our reservoirs. But in many ways, the much-needed relief exposed the failure of the current water system and the lack of a cohesive federal and state plan to secure water for California residents and businesses. Unlike the commonly used phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” our state’s water system is widely recognized as broken, in dire need of a fix.

Slower Snowmelt Affects Downstream Water Availability in Western Mountains

Western communities are facing effects of a warming climate with slower and earlier snowmelt reducing streamflows and possibly the amount of water reaching reservoirs used for drinking water and agriculture, according to a study published in July.

“As the climate warms, there is actually a slower snowmelt – both in timing and rates, which makes for a less efficient streamflow,” Adrian Harpold, ecohydrologist at the University of Nevada, Reno said. Harpold, who initiated the study two years ago at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a co-author of the paper published in AGU publications Geophysical Research Letters.

 

State Auditors Look Into ‘Potentially Improper’ Delta Tunnel Transactions

Last week, Northern and Southern California state legislators had a rare breakthrough over one of the state’s most divisive issues — water. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to instruct the State Auditor to launch an audit of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta Tunnels. Recent revelations show the project has murky funding and even supporters know the tunnels cannot be built on a financial house of cards. The Delta Tunnels would be 40-foot tall, 35-mile long tunnels dug beneath the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.