After many alternatives, iterations and tweaks, final environmental documents are to be made public Wednesday for a water re-routing project that has come to be known as the California WaterFix. Don’t expect the documents to mollify critics or to answer every question about environmental and financial costs, however — or to lessen the tension among the many interests that have a stake in the West’s shrinking supply of water.
Archive for date: December 21st, 2016
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Folsom Lake is filling up, which means the floodgates must open. On Thursday, Dec. 16, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released 35,000 acre-feet of water between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. According to Louis Moore, deputy public affair officer, starting at 9 a.m. they released 15,000 acre feet and every hour after released an additional 5,000 Acre feet until 1 p.m. Throughout the rainy season, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will be lifting the floodgates periodically to keep up with capacity, what will be coming into the lake and how much will need to be release to flow down the river to the delta.
Watching the live, online feed of the public hearing related to California’s proposal to take two major rivers by forcing water from them to flow unimpeded to the ocean says one thing to me: this is going to be a different fight for government officials who enjoy the view from their thrones.
With two winter storms set to hit the region this week, San Diego County officials reminded residents of unincorporated areas Wednesday that they can pick up free sandbags to help protect their homes, neighborhoods and streets from flooding and erosion. “The region is still suffering through record levels of drought this year,” county officials said in a statement. “Because of that, rains could trigger erosion and even debris flow, especially in areas that aren’t covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants.”
In less than a month, the United States will be led by a president who denies climate change exists. President-elect Donald Trump has also said he wants to see the U.S. withdraw from the Paris Agreement and wants to roll back environmental regulations. In California, a state that has already seen the impacts of climate change and has been a leader when it comes to efforts to slow its pace and mitigate its results, many are wondering what the new direction on the federal level will mean for the state.
The federal government will spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars to finance several dozen projects aimed at easing the effects of drought in the western U.S. and restoring watersheds that provide drinking water to communities around the nation, officials announced Wednesday. The $225 million in funding will be shared among 88 projects, from California’s Central Valley to centuries-old irrigation systems in northern New Mexico and thousands of square miles of fragmented streams in Maine. More than half of the projects specifically address drought and water quality.
A wet start to the rainy season means much of the Bay Area enters winter with well above average rainfall. The National Weather Service released maps on Thursday showing the majority of the Bay Area at over 110 percent of normal for this time of year. Much of Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties have seen over 150 percent of normal, with dotted areas in the state seeing as much as 400 percent of the typical rainfall by December 20th.
California officials, acknowledging the wet start to winter, on Wednesday more than doubled the expected allocation of water from the State Water Project. The Department of Water Resources said customers can expect to receive 45 percent of what they’ve requested in 2017. That compared with the initial allocation of 20 percent a few weeks ago. The allocation generally grows as the winter progresses and rains fall. Last year the allocation grew from 10 percent at the start of the winter to 60 percent as reservoirs filled up.
With the rainy season off to a strong start, California officials on Wednesday more than doubled the amount of water they expect to provide next year from the State Water Project. Officials had been proceeding with caution after five years of drought, projecting last month that the state’s massive network of reservoirs, pumps and pipelines would distribute only 20 percent of the requested water. That estimate was adjusted to 45 percent.
People from the northern San Joaquin Valley left their farms, classrooms and local government buildings Monday to voice opposition to a plan by the State Water Resources Control Board that would affect the flow of water for the San Joaquin River and its tributaries—the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The board says the purpose of the plan is to leave more water in the tributaries during periods it considers key for at-risk native fish species.