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BEC News Interests

June 13, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The intent of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is to end nearly a century of over-pumping that caused thousands of wells to dry up and contributed to damaging subsidence.

Garth Stapley

The Modesto Bee fileTo understand politics in California, look down in an irrigation ditch, and where you see water, see gold.

– George Ballis, the late Fresno activist director of National Land for PeopleTags: no_tagby: ndcarter

April 12, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The water agency that supplies drinking water to Los Angeles agreed Tuesday to contribute $1.5 million toward the planning of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, giving the agency a toehold in a potentially valuable storage project.Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger has said he isn’t interested in investing in Sites unless California moves ahead with plans to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but he believes Metroplitan should contribute to planning and development costs as a way of maintaining its interest in the Sites project in the interim.Tags: water, california, sites, delta, river, twin tunnelsby: ndcarter

February 15, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:A presentation on Western burrowing owls is planned for the monthly meeting of the Altacal Aububon Society, 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 E. Eighth St.plans to increase local populations, including creation of the successful artificial habitat at Tuscan Preserve in Chico.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

January 5, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The state already has a lot of water infrastructure including reservoirs, aquifers, and dams.More than 1,400 dams play an integral role in helping move water from the northern part of the state to the southern portion.“The department has been looking at storage projects for many years,” Bardini said. “Not just for water supply but for environmental protection and meeting additional Delta outflow requirements.”Jim Watson is the Sites Reservoir Project manager who says this project could be one way to increase water storage in the state.Policy Advocate Ron Stork  with Sacramento based Friends of the River organization said the cost of building all of the major proposed projects in the state would surpass $9 billion and leave a large environmental footprint.“We can’t dam our way to paradise anymore because we  have already dammed most of our rivers,” Stork said.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

January 4, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:DWR says reassessing the prioritization of California groundwater basins is currently underway. The Bulletin 118 interim update will be amended in 2017 to include the approach for, and results of, the basin prioritization at the completion of that effort.Under SGMA, groundwater sustainability agencies must be established for all groundwater basins which DWR has identified as high and medium priority by June 30, 2017.Groundwater sustainability plans, or their equivalent, must be established for all other high and medium priority basins by Jan. 31, 2022.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

December 19, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The State Water Commission determined the guidelines for groups seeking funds through Proposition 1 for new water storage.If all goes well, the Water Commission should begin evaluating the applications a year from now.Within the guidelines is wording that the project needs to “contribute to the long-term ecological health of the delta,” Watson said. The Commission’s tasks will be a tough one — to consider all the proposals and estimate what combination will do the most good, he said.As for the applications, larger projects like Sites Reservoir, “have a higher threshold to cross,” including “rigorous modeling” and climate change preparation work.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

December 8, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:In professor Mark Stemen’s class titled Geography 506: Community Service in Geography, the students studied the effects of climate change locally and, as they wrap up their research project, reflected on ways to address the issue in the community.“Chico can expect four times as many extreme heat days within a summer by 2030,” warned Molly Marcussen. For Chico, an “extreme” heat day is when temperatures reach or exceed 103 degrees; currently, Chico averages four of those days a year. “With those consistent temperatures, we can expect more problems with heat-borne illnesses,” she said. City brownouts, melted power lines and damage to asphalt are other projected impacts.As the class wraps up its research project, the students will put their findings on the website, which provides climate projections between 2030-50. This is the same 20-year time frame outlined for Chico’s general plan, which happens to be scheduled for discussion at the next meeting of the Chico Planning Commission on Dec. 15.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

November 21, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:AquAlliance held a water conference to reach policy makers, activists, academics, and agencies to plan for California's future on Thursday at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico.Speakers took the stage debating the Sites Reservoir, a proposed off stream reservoir that would be 13 miles in length and 300 feet deep in the Sacramento Valley.Steve Evans, a consultant with Friends of the River, said it's a workable concept but said it will take away from the environment.Jim Watson, the Sites Project Authority General Manager, said the environmental plan and documentation review is still in the works, but said Sites will contribute to long-term ecological health of the Delta.Watson mentioned the environmental plan and documentation review for the Sites Reservoir will be released the middle of next year.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

November 21, 2016


  • A powerful op-ed from the LA Times - ndcarter

Highlights and Sticky Notes:One reason for the tunnels’ waning support is money. The state pegs the project’s cost at $17.1 billion, but there’s no detailed cost-benefit analysis to justify the number.State officials maintain that the tunnels project will be paid for entirely by the water districts that benefit from it.But extracting even more water from the system in any but the wettest years would deepen the delta’s environmental crisis and may not win approval from state environmental agencies, even if Trump administration-led federal bodies are supportive.The imbalance of costs and benefits is only one reason to object to WaterFix. The tunnels represent a failure of imagination. The project looks backward, to an era when hard technology was installed across the state to transport water hundreds of miles, regardless of construction and energy costs and environmental impacts.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

November 15, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Sites Reservoir ... is definitely tied to using and operating the Delta tunnels,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, probably the fiercest opponent of Brown’s Delta tunnels project. “It will become about selling water.”As evidence, activists point to a draft financial analysis commissioned by the state that said the tunnels project, officially called California WaterFix, would boost the economic value of Sites by roughly $1.5 billion. Sites’ backers say the reservoir stands on its own – a vital infrastructure project that would deliver considerable benefits for the state’s often strained water network.Unlike most of California’s major reservoirs, Sites would be an “off-river” project. Instead of damming a river, engineers would run an underground pipeline 14 miles from the Sacramento River to the reservoir’s proposed locationBuilding the reservoir would mean flooding about 60 ranches and homesteads. Landowners would be compensated for their property.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter