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Fun Fact: Lots of California Isn’t Metering Its Water

Last June, the State Water Resources Control Board (water board, from here on) warned some senior rights holders that the surface supplies did not contain enough water to meet their needs. Several kept slurping, and the water board slapped one offender (the Byron Bethany Irrigation District) with a $1.5 million fine. Byron Bethany appealed. Last week, after an internal review failed to turn up enough evidence that the water shortage would affect Byron Bethany’s allotment, the water board dropped the fine.

BLOG: What Climate Change Means for San Diego’s Water

San Diego imports 80 percent of its water, with the Colorado River supplying about 63 percent, and 20 percent coming from Sierra Nevada runoff funneled from northern California via the State Water Project. The remaining 17 percent comes from local sources – a mix of rainwater, groundwater, desalination and recycled water.

While these numbers vary from year to year, what hasn’t changed is the fact that San Diego has relied heavily on imported water for many decades. With climate change heralding warmer weather and prolonged droughts, this impacts the level of snowpack and river flow, which in turn threatens the region’s water security.

Federal Judge Wants More Details Before Ruling in Nestle Lawsuit

A federal judge Monday said he needed more information before he can determine if the government has erred in allowing Nestle to continuously withdraw millions of gallons of water annually from Strawberry Creek — 28 years after the company’s permit expired.

Judge Jesus G. Bernal asked both U.S. Forest Service attorney Andrew Smith and Matt Kenna, representing the environmentalist-plaintiffs, to provide briefs examining whether certain U.S. Forest Service regulations fall under the Federal Administrative Procedures Act, which proscribes how the federal government goes about its business.

DEAD SEAS: Landmark Water Transfer Creates Environmental Wasteland

The Salton Sea has gone from a midcentury vacation spot for movie stars to a post-apocalyptic desert with mounds of dead fish here, gurgling “mud pots” there, blasts from a military bombing range on the horizon and sulfuric stench everywhere.

The worst is yet to come. California’s largest lake (350 square miles) is about to be turned into a toxic dust bowl with potentially catastrophic health consequences for about 650,000 people who live in and around the sprawling drainage basin.

Big Steps Ahead on Regional Groundwater Management

By this time next year a lot of work needs to be done on a regional groundwater sustainability plan. By 2017 the major players in our local plan need to be identified. By 2022, local folks need to create and submit a groundwater plan that will be sustainable and accepted by state water leaders.

Every big task needs to start somewhere, and this week the public is being asked to join the conversation.

Bureau of Reclamation’s Complicated Situation of Balancing Needs of Fish, People

Don’t be fooled by the increased water levels in our area. Scientists say we are very much still in the drought, so we need to continue to save water — not just for our consumption.

The issue is protecting two endangered fish species, which would reduce water supply for farmers and people in Northern California. The fish – the Winter-run Chinook Salmon and the Delta Smelt – are protected by the Endangered Species Act. This means, by law, federal agencies like the Bureau of Reclamation must try to save them.

‘Critical’ Wildfire Season Expected for Southern California

Southern California residents should prepare for what could be the worst wildfire season on record due to a persistent drought and much less rain from an El Niño that was weaker than expected, officials from a variety of agencies warned Monday.

“From our perspective, each and every day is fire season for us,” Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said. “El Niño? Bad news. El Niño did not occur in Southern California.” Typically the region gets between 16 to 18 inches of rain by this time of year. But so far it has gotten only 9 inches, Osby said.

Drought Prompts Ban on Outdoor Burning in San Diego, Imperial Counties

Although recent rains have been a welcome sight in California, drought conditions continue to increase fire danger prompting Cal Fire to suspend burn permits in San Diego and Imperial counties.

This suspension takes effect immediately and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris like branches and leaves. “San Diego lives with the threat of wildfire year round and it is critical that the public do their part to be extra fire safe when outdoors” said Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham.


VIDEO: WaterWorld Weekly Newscast: San Diego Water Authority Executes Money-Saving $340M Bond Sale

Last week, the San Diego County Water Authority priced a $340 million bond sale that will reduce the cost of financing vital water supply reliability projects over the next two decades.

When completed, the transaction will re-fund $340 million in long-term, fixed-rate bonds issued in 2008 and 2010, saving the water authority $63.2 million over the life of the refinanced bonds. Closing of the sale is expected in about two weeks.