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Huntington Beach desalination plant a matter of environmental justice

California is in the midst of its worst drought in history. Across Southern California, this year’s El Nino provided no relief. Climate scientists believe that drought conditions may simply be the “new normal” for our region. How can our local communities meet their own needs and responsibilities without simply taking limited water supplies from each other?

Semi-arid and drought-prone Southern California can no longer rely on overdrawn ground water sources for more than a small fraction of local needs. Meanwhile, the region’s two main sources of imported water have become increasingly less reliable.

How revenue losses played into decision to relax conservation rules in California

It wasn’t just generous spring rains filling north-state reservoirs that had California’s urban water districts pushing back so hard against mandatory water cuts this year.

All those brown lawns and shorter showers have cost them millions in customer revenue.

As water use plummeted because of the statewide conservation orders implemented last summer, many water agencies found themselves struggling to cover operating costs. Less water use has meant lower monthly utility bills, and for most utilities, there has been no correlating decline in basic operating costs, such as payroll, debt obligations and maintenance of pipes and treatment plants.

Water, historic sites are subjects of Washington legislative flurry

California has a stake in a sprawling public lands package moving through the Senate, including controversial water provisions that don’t even name the state.

The package includes expanding one national historic site honoring famed conservationist John Muir and designating a new historic site at the former Tule Lake camp that housed Japanese-Americans during World War II. Both proposals easily won approval Wednesday from a Senate panel.

A Western water bill inevitably is proving far trickier, squeaking through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a 12-10 vote and facing an uncertain future.

State Supreme Court won’t hear Delta appeal

The state Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by Delta interests attempting to block the sale of roughly 20,000 acres of land to a Southern California water agency. The court’s decision appears to clear the way for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to finalize its controversial $175 million purchase. San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, Delta farmers and environmentalists fought the deal and were able to delay it twice, but their last-ditch request for the Supreme Court to get involved did not succeed.

State Supreme Court clears major hurdle to Brown’s tunnels

The California Supreme Court has cleared one of the hurdles for the Metropolitan Water District to buy 20,000 acres, including five islands, in the California Delta, according to the Los Angeles Times Friday evening.

The court ruled that the sale may go ahead even as the lawsuit by San Joaquin County opposing the land sale, wends its way through the courts, the newspaper says.

There was no decision to that effect posted on the court’s website, however.


State Supreme Court sides with Southern California in epic water war over delta islands

The state Supreme Court has cleared the way for Southern California’s powerful Metropolitan Water District to buy five islands at the epicenter of the delta’s water system, officials said Friday.

Some officials and environmentalists in Northern California had fought to halt the sale, worried about what the MWD planned to do with the land. The agency has said it might use some of the land to provide access for the construction of a proposed delta tunnel system, a controversial project some oppose amid California’s five-year drought.

The Strange Battle to Control a Bunch of Sewage

For much of human history, we’ve tried to move sewage – worthless, dangerous and disgusting – as far away from us as possible.

Now, sewage has become a valuable commodity. Water agencies across San Diego County are working on projects to turn sewer water into water that’s clean enough to spread on lawns or even drink.

In Coronado, a dispute has erupted over who controls sewage from the island and who can profit from it. At the heart of the tension is the Navy’s new campus on the southern end of Coronado.