State officials Thursday toured San Diego County water infrastructure to get a first-hand look at the region’s successful water portfolio approach for supply diversification. California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Deputy Natural Resources Secretary Thomas Gibson, State Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and State Water Resources Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel were here to assess the region’s water projects as part of their new role in developing a water portfolio strategy for the state. “The region is proof that the portfolio approach works,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies continue to develop local projects and explore opportunities that would benefit the region, the state, Mexico and the Southwest.”
Archive for date: July 18th, 2019
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We know that climate change is going to alter wine. In fact, we know that it already has. But we are still working toward a deeper understanding of what it will look like — and what can be done about it. The latest step toward that understanding is a study published Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the most detailed forecasts to date of extreme heat across the U.S. As The Chronicle’s environmental correspondent Kurtis Alexander reported, the study warns that most of the country will see more than double the number of days with a 100 degree heat index by 2050, unless something drastic is done.
On the same day Sen. Dianne Feinstein chastised Chevron Corp. for keeping an 800,000-gallon spill outside Bakersfield “under wraps,” California officials confirmed Thursday that the site was once again seeping a hazardous mix of oil and water. The new leakage occurred in a surface expression vent in the Cymric oil field, near the Kern County town of McKittrick, according to the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. The vent is one of the locations where three previous leaks released about 800,000 gallons of oil and water.
While California contemplates new dams for its thirsty future, it’s also thinking about taking out old ones. Along with advancing plans to demolish three dams atop the Klamath River, there’s a movement to rethink and possibly take out a water and power dam in the Mendocino County back country. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is walking away from the Potter Valley project and Scott Dam, built east of Ukiah in 1922. A new federal license will be costly and the utility has plenty to do working its way out of wildfire-caused bankruptcy. What’s coming next is intriguing: A coalition of local agencies and a dedicated fishing group, California Trout, are talking up a takeover of the dam.
If PG&E shuts down power as part of its plan to prevent fires in northern California, the water will keep flowing in the Valley, thanks to Zone 7 Water Agency’s preparations. PG&E sent out notices with May bills that stated it had formed a Public Safety Power Shutoff program that would halt power deliveries in rural areas that may be threatened by wildfires. Investigators found that last year’s fatal Camp Fire, in Butte County, was caused by sparks from PG&E equipment.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is essential for the Central Valley’s economy, well-being and ecosystems. It is a major supplier of land for local agriculture, water for Central Valley farms and Bay Area and southern California cities, recreation for Californians and habitat for native species.
The Delta is ever-changing, from its origins 6,000 years ago as rising post-Ice Age sea levels drowned the confluence of local rivers to form a massive freshwater marsh. Since the 1800s this marsh was diked and drained for agriculture, leading to continuing land subsidence, as much as 25 feet below sea level in some places. Major federal and state water projects altered and reversed its water flows.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will require equipment improvements for renewable energy resources, requiring inverter-based generators to inject reactive current during low-voltage conditions in order to maintain grid reliability.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the ISO’s tariff revisions in a July 2 order. The change is designed to allow increased integration of wind and solar power.
A coalition of 55 environmental, fishing, and water policy groups has written Gov. Gavin Newsom, backing his Water Portfolio planning process, and announcing that they plan to take an active part with their own proposals for the plan.
Newsom announced his Water Portfolio on April 29. He ordered three state agencies — Natural Resources, EPA, and Food & Agriculture — to prepare “a water-resilience portfolio that meets the needs of California’s communities through the 21st Century.”
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced approval of nine alternatives to groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) submitted by water agencies to meet requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins ranked as medium- or high-priority are required to develop GSPs or submit an alternative.
An alternative may be an existing groundwater management plan that demonstrates a reasonable expectation of achieving sustainability within 20 years. It may also be a basin adjudication with existing governance and oversight, or a 10-year analysis of basin conditions showing sustainable operations with no undesirable results such as subsidence, saltwater intrusion, or degraded water quality.
Federal biologists worked frantically this year to meet a deadline to assess the environmental impacts of Trump administration plans to send more water to Central Valley farmers.
But the biologists’ conclusion — that increased deliveries would harm endangered Chinook salmon and other imperiled fish — would foil those plans. Two days after it was submitted, a regional federal official assembled a new review team to improve the documents.