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Desalination test facility in the works

Water managers are taking the next steps in exploring whether to increase the amount of drinkable water produced from desalination in San Diego County by up to four times the current level.

Construction of a test facility at Camp Pendleton is scheduled to start this fall. There are no plans at this point to build a full-scale plant, but officials could approve such an undertaking to begin as early as 2020 if various factors exist.

BLOG: The Drought Solution That’s Under Our Feet

Now in the fifth year of an epic drought, Californians have explored ways to save water and wring it out of typical and atypical sources. The search has spanned the gamut from funding research, investing in expensive solutions like desalination plants, toying with the idea of recycling wastewater, imposing water-use restrictions, letting lawns go dry and experimenting with irrigation efficiency techniques for the crops that feed the country.

Thirsty crops, a burgeoning population and below-average precipitation have also led to seriously overdrawn groundwater sources that took a very long time to fill up.

Hillary Clinton in drought-plagued Fresno: ‘We’re going to get to work on water’

Sure enough, Clinton sprinkled a number of mentions of water into her standard stump speech, promising the crowd that if she’s elected president, “we’re going to get to work on water.”

Her proposals were vague. She noted the “water systems here [were] built before our time,” before pledging to invest anew in infrastructure. New water projects have been a top priority for Fresno’s agriculture industry, which has struggled to adapt to the state’s lingering drought. In another nod to the local industry, Clinton changed her standard riff promising to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.

Thanks to La Niña, drought could get worse this winter

Last month, state water officials eased conservation mandates in response to slightly above-average winter rain and snow in much of California, leading many to speculate that the state’s long-running drought has tapered off.If only.The El Niño winter that forecasters said could drench the state with rain and snow veered north instead, striking mostly the Pacific Northwest. The amount of rain and snow that hit Northern California was a tick above average and looked impressive mostly because it contrasted sharply with the extreme drought of the previous four years. Southern California was wetter than in previous years, but not by much.

Agency That Bet on Desalination Stands Out in Crowded Primary

In the latest installment of Muni Minute – The Bond Buyer’s 60-second video series that examines a top municipal market story that will impact the coming week – we look at how the San Diego County Water Authority is reaping the benefits from the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant and is expected to hit market with a triple-A rating for the first time ever.

BLOG: More Bad News for Delta Smelt

No surprise here, but an annual spring survey that is an important indicator of the Delta smelt’s ability to spawn shows the species has hit another record low.

“I am not optimistic that the smelt can make it through the next year or two. Love to be proved wrong,” California native fish expert Peter Moyle said in an email today after reviewing the survey results from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Delta tunnels won’t take northern California’s water, say officials

Will Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels divert water to Southern California that belongs to northern Californians? No, according to papers filed this week by state and federal officials — an assertion challenged by environmentalists, who are filing their own paperwork.

Months of contentious public hearings start July 27. This first set of hearings will focus on water rights; a second set of hearings, scheduled for 2017, will debate the tunnels’ impact on the environment.

Saving water saved a lot of power, too

As debate continues in San Diego County and around the state over how aggressively to conserve water amid a historic drought, a new study finds that cuts in urban water use have saved significant amounts of electricity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis, published by UC Davis, capitalized on the unique circumstances created by California’s drought. It culled statistics that electric utilities and water districts statewide were required to submit because of Gov. Jerry Brown’s unprecedented order for residents and businesses to lower water consumption by an average of 25 percent.

Bill Could Accelerate Sites Reservoir Timeline

Sites Reservoir could be built sooner than anticipated — if it ever receives public funding,

Accelerating the construction timeline for the long-proposed reservoir project, as well as other proposed dams in the state, is the focus of a bill co-authored by Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake. Assembly Bill 2551 recently passed the Assembly and will head to the Senate. It would allow water storage projects to use so-called alternative delivery methods, allowing several steps in construction, such as designing and building, to happen at the same time.

Manufacturing Grows Despite Drought, Regulations

For the Central Valley, known for farming and shipping, its status as a manufacturer is often overlooked.

However, here in San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, companies make products ranging from auto parts for Tesla’s electric cars to the steel beams for Sacramento’s new Golden One arena. “Because of the diverse base we have, California remains No. 1 in the nation in manufacturing,” said San Joaquin Partnership President and CEO Mike Ammann. “It is more capital intensive and automated, and jobs are more skilled due to working with robots and computers.”