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It’s Time to Drink the Kool-Aid and Get Over Recycled Water’s ‘ick’ Factor

If you knew that the water you were about to drink was recycled, would you put it down? It’s clear, odor-free, and tastes just like water. C’mon take a taste. You won’t know the difference. Still, hesitant?

Hilary Godwin, professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, understands the “ick” factor associated with drinking recycled water. She co-authored a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health touting the health benefits of recycled water.

OPINION: LA Bringing Home Bacon Island and More Water

Bacon Island is 5,400 acres of what is arguably some of the richest reclaimed farmland on earth. It is 13 miles east of Antioch and 13 miles west of Stockton smack dab in the middle of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Old River that parts ways with the main channel of the San Joaquin River west of the Mossdale Crossing snakes its way past Bacon Island on one side while the Middle River — that splits from the old River once it makes its way out of Lathrop — flows on the other side. 

Bills Aim to Increase Water Supply: Assemblyman Rich Gordon Seeks to Promotes Recycling, Stormwater Capture

As data show Californians have heeded conservation mandates and are adapting to the ongoing drought, one local legislator is hoping now is the time to start addressing the misgivings some may have about drinking recycled water. With many scientists predicting extended periods of drought could become the new norm, Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, recently proposed two bills he hopes will help expand California’s water supply.

Gordon chaired the Assembly’s Select Committee on Water Consumption and Alternative Sources during which lawmakers, scientists and water officials gathered to consider further means to adapt to the drought.


New Bay Area Dam Project Reaches Major Milestone

In a significant step for the largest reservoir project in the Bay Area in 20 years, workers have finished building the spillway — a massive concrete channel as wide as eight lanes of freeway and a quarter mile long — at Calaveras Dam near the Alameda-Santa Clara county line.

The $810 million project to replace the old dam with a new, more earthquake-proof version has been beset by delays and cost overruns, due to the discovery of ancient landslides and other difficulties in the years since work began in 2011 that have made the project more complicated.

Too Many Water Straws in the Ground?

Never one to shy away from controversial water policy, Wolk, a Davis Democrat whose district formerly included Stockton, is pushing a bill that would require local agencies to place conditions on new well construction — in some cases, at least.

The state is already implementing new laws regulating the use of precious groundwater for the first time in California, but it will be decades before all regions of the state are required to reach sustainable levels of use.Wolk’s bill, which passed out of committee last week, is intended to speed up compliance.

OPINION: Stopping Southern California’s Delta Water Grab

Predictions that La Nina conditions may deepen the drought in California this winter would be more alarming if the results of a Field poll released last week has been different.

Fortunately, the poll showed an overwhelming majority of Californians continue to believe that the state faces an extremely serious water shortage and are continuing to conserve water. With two notable exceptions: Los Angeles and San Diego. They’re failing to do their part.


BLOG: OPINION: California Water Lies

Big economic interests have invested heavily in convincing residents of California, and Santa Barbara in particular, that we are running out of water.

The policies they have pushed create a feeling of anxiety that rises to panic in many people. Imposition of 20% to 35% reductions on urban water use have led to the belief that any expenditure is appropriate to keep the drought from our doors. What is ignored is that California is always in a drought, or coming out of a drought.


March Storms Were Likely Swan Song for El Niño

The sometimes-ferocious rainstorms that hit California in March were likely the beginning of the end for El Nino, as the warm ocean system that produced a wet winter in many parts of the West is continuing to fade.

Any storms that remain on tap this spring will likely be mild and not contribute much to seasonal precipitation totals, experts say. “Now that we’re into the spring months, widespread rain events will become less and less likely as we transition into our ‘spring shower and thunderstorm’ season,” National Weather Service warning coordinator Michelle Mead said in an email.


Pushing for tunnels vote

Six years ago, a bill to force a legislative vote on the peripheral canal went before a state Assembly committee. It died there without a vote.
Four years ago, the same bill got five votes.
And on Tuesday a similar bill — this time calling for a vote of the public — got eight votes, enough to narrowly pass the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.The bill is a long way from becoming law, but the shift in support over time has encouraged Delta advocates.

OPINION: Israeli Water Solutions Won’t Defeat California’s Red Tape

Treating sewage and effluent currently discharging to the Pacific Ocean is an excellent idea for combating the drought, because millions gallons of clarified water is discharged annually to the Pacific Ocean from California and has been for some time. And I thought the oceans were rising because the ice caps were melting!

There were many students in the audience, who I believe were really excited about the prospect of addressing the drought. But no mention was made of all hurdles in our way by the federal, state and county governmental regulatory agencies.