“Simply put, 2013 was a watershed year for water agencies in Santa Cruz County.
“Often in short supply in California, water became an even greater environmental and political focal point in 2013 — the driest on record for some parts of the state — after the city of Santa Cruz drew down its reservoir to the lowest level in nearly two decades and pressed the pause button on a controversial seawater desalination facility.”
“No one seems to be screaming the dread word ‘drought’ — yet — but it’s hard to argue any other explanation.
“In Santa Cruz, a little over a quarter of inch of rain has fallen this month — and December is one of the two rainiest months of the year in this county. That quarter of an inch is about 5 percent of normal rainfall for the month.”
“Proponents of clearing brush and other obstruction from the Salinas River to help prevent costly crop flooding acknowledged Tuesday that the current plan is “problematic” and are asking water officials not to present it to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.
“The final plan, called an environmental impact report, was met with sharp criticism from both the farming and environmental communities when it was released by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency in September, prompting the agency to postpone submitting the EIR to Supervisors for
“Justin Brown, a flower-bulb grower out of Moss Landing, has watched the water quality on leased land at the Elkhorn Slough deteriorate for the past decade. The groundwater became so bad that his company was forced to terminate a lease with its landlord — the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Steve Shimek:
“It is ironic that Friday’s press conference by Senator (Anthony) Canella, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, Supervisor (Simon) Salinas, and some area farmers was held on the bank of the Salinas River at Hilltown Road (near Highway 68).
“Firefighters battling an unusual late fall wildfire in the Big Sur region of California are expected to get some help from the weather. The National Weather Service says winds are expected to be calm on Wednesday, and there’s a 20 percent chance of rain at night.
“The fire, which began around midnight Sunday, has consumed 769 acres and destroyed 22 buildings.
“A wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean. No injuries were reported. …
“A wildfire so late in the year is unusual but not surprising given that California is in the midst of the driest calendar year on record.”
“There’s a new ‘old’ tower at the Piedras Blancas Light Station north of Cambria. Like the taller, older lighthouse, the 50-foot-tall replica water tower will continue the lighthouse tradition of providing safety communications, just as the 74-foot lighthouse tower itself has helped guide mariners since 1875.
“An advisory committee wants Monterey County Water Resources Agency officials to ask the Board of Supervisors to put money where its mouth is.
“The regional advisory committee, charged with developing a plan to use a Salinas River water permit to battle seawater intrusion, asked water agency officials on Thursday to consider asking the supervisors to help pay for the effort.”
“When property is sold within the Soquel Creek Water District, outdated toilets and showerheads must be switched out with more efficient devices to meet a state standard that will change in January.
“Officials with the district serving 35,000 customers from Capitola to La Selva Beach announced this week that toilets using more than 1.6 gallons per flush must be replaced with those using 1.28 gallons.
From the Monterey County Herald, in a commentary by Ed Mitchell:
“Two years ago, a major competitor to farmers and vintners came into Monterey County when the first fracking permit went to the Board of Supervisors. I was there that day and have been working since to get a fracking ordinance established in Monterey County.”
“With regulators having put the kibosh on allowing farmers to cut trees and brush and remove debris and sediment, the Salinas River channel is estimated to accommodate only half the water volume of recent years, a situation farmers underscore by recalling the disastrous flood of 1995.”
“A former Monterey County water official admitted in 2011 he knew in early 2010 that county water board member Steve Collins was being paid for his work on the failed regional desalination project, a possible conflict of interest.
“However, in a tape recorded message, former Water Resources Agency General Manager Curtis Weeks said he told investigators for the county that he believed Collins was working for the Marina Coast Water District and not the project manager, RMC Water and Environment.”
From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):
“Deemed in the 1990s a seismic risk by DWR’s Division of Safety of Dams, 92-year-old San Clemente Dam in Monterey County is scheduled for demolition in the fall of 2015. … Along with removing the risk of dam failure, the project includes re-routing the Carmel River and opening up the waterway for native steelhead trout to freely swim and spawn, and recover red-legged frog habitat.”