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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Named International Plant of the Year for 2016

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant has been honored with a Global Water Award as the Desalination Plant of the Year for 2016 by Global Water Intelligence, publisher of periodicals for the international water industry.

The award, announced this week at the Global Water Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, goes to “the desalination plant, commissioned during 2015, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.”


Federal Water Bill Would Boost Salton Sea Projects

A major water resources bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to partner with local governments and other agencies – not just California officials – on projects to address the problems of the shrinking Salton Sea.

The bill also would require the Army Corps of Engineers to present plans for completing projects that involve restoring ecosystems such as those at the Salton Sea, and that are aimed at tackling threats to public health.

EBMUD Board Votes to Suspend Excess Water Use Fines

Nearly a year after the East Bay Municipal Utility District was the first supplier in California to limit household use and publicly list violates, its board unanimously voted Tuesday to suspend excess-use fines.

Customers in the district have cut their water use by 24 percent since last summer, according to officials. “From the time that we implemented (the excess-use fines), we accessed approximately $596,000 in fines,” said Sherri Hong, EBMUD manager for customer and care community services. Since last summer, households in the district using more than about 1,000 gallons per day were fined $2 for each 748 gallons in excess of their limit.

States Consider More Cuts on Colorado River to Prop Up Lake Mead

Top water officials in Nevada, Arizona and California have negotiated a deal to cut their use of the Colorado River and slow the decline of Lake Mead, but the landmark agreement is far from finished.

Negotiators from Arizona and California are now shopping the plan to various water users and policymakers in their states, where the proposed cuts are likely to be painful and in some cases unprecedented. Arizona would shoulder most of the reductions, but the tentative deal marks the first time California has agreed to share the pain — if the drought worsens.


California Drought: Using Fines to Fuel Conservation

Six months ago, regulators with California’s State Water Resources Control Board made an example of four local agencies by slapping them with $61,000 fines for failing to comply with mandatory drought rules requiring reductions in water use.

Now two of those agencies, the Coachella Valley Water District and the Indio Water Authority, have reached deals with the state that will allow them to use the money locally to promote water conservation.


East Bay Drought: EBMUD Ends Penalties for Water Guzzlers

The East Bay’s largest water district is ending the fines and public embarrassment for households that use excessive amounts of water in the drought.

Saying it will have enough water this year, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Utility board voted 7-0 to suspend its excess use fines that garnered widespread public attention because EBMUD was the first large supplier in California to limit household use and disclose the names of violators.

Greens Continue Fight Over California Delta

The Environmental Protection Agency failed to review water quality standard changes for California’s Bay-Delta estuary that could harm at least half a dozen imperiled fish species, environmental groups claim in court.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, and Defenders of Wildlife sued the EPA in Federal Court on Friday, claiming the agency ignored its mandate to review changes that already have harmed at least two endangered fish species.

Loretta Sanchez Says Relaxing Species Law ‘On the Table’ to Help State

Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, campaigning for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that she would consider amending the federal law governing endangered species to help improve the water supply across the parched state of California.

To help address the drought, Sanchez said she wants to take a broader approach that calls for continued conservation measures, increased storage sites and the construction of Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin Delta tunnels project to move water south. Asked whether the Endangered Species Act should be looked at, Sanchez said yes.


Delta Battle Over Water and Fish Lands in Court

State and federal regulators have failed to protect Delta fish and the environment during the drought by repeatedly relaxing water-quality standards so as to keep water flowing to California cities and farms, three conservation groups argued in a federal lawsuit filed Friday.

The complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mirrors a persistent one by conservationists: that California water managers have let the environment suffer disproportionately from the drought.

OPINION: Start the Tunnels

Does it make sense to start the Delta tunnels? The Metropolitan Water District pays into the State Water Project every year for an allotment of water. The agreed-upon allotment of water is roughly 4 percent of the water flow from the Delta. In 2015, the State Water Project was only allowed to send 10 percent of the allotment (10 percent of the 4 percent). In 2014 and 2013, it was 5 percent of the allotment. The contracts of the State Water Project have been in place for over 50 years.

The Metropolitan Water District has been paying 100 percent of its agreed-upon fees but only receiving 5 to 10 percent of its allotment. This pain has caused great concerns over the reliability of water flow for the future of California.