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Dozens of Environmental Groups Want To Contribute To Newsom’s Water Portfolio Plan

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.”

 

California Department Of Water Resources Approves Nine Alternatives To Groundwater Sustainability Plans

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.

Salmon Study May Foil Trump’s Plan To Boost Water Deliveries To Central Valley Farms

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.

When Will California Become Too Hot To Grow Wine Grapes?

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.

OPINION: Coalition Of Agencies, Environmentalists Sees Future For Aging Dam

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.

Zone 7 Has Backup Plan To Keep Water Moving In Power Outages

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.

OPINION: The Changing Delta’s Challenges

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.

CAISO To Require Equipment Improvements For Inverter-Based Generation

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.

Report: Nacimiento Dam Safety Needs Expensive Upgrade

Monterey County’s Nacimiento Dam safety program is seriously deficient with an outdated program document, insufficient staff and a long list of outstanding dam safety repairs and maintenance estimated to cost more than $50 million that needs to be addressed in short order.

That’s according to an independent outside audit of the dam safety program conducted by GEI Consultants, Inc. whose findings and recommendations were presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The program is operated by the county Water Resources Agency which is overseen by the county board in its capacity as the agency’s ultimate oversight authority. The audit report itself is not publicly released because it is considered critical energy infrastructure information under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations.

The Importance Of Groundwater And Of Predicting Human Impacts On It

It may be out of sight, but it should not be out of mind. Water hidden beneath the earth’s surface comprises 98% of the planet’s fresh water. On average, this groundwater provides a third of all total water consumed, and its preciousness is ever more palpable since Cape Town’s water crisis sent shock waves rippling around the world.

Despite this, its regulation is far from ideal – especially now that drought conditions are intensifying around the globe and people are increasingly drilling downwards.