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When “Reuse” is not a Dirty Word

Potable water supply professionals continue to struggle with growing populations, drought, and shrinking groundwater and surface water sources. Early in the game, no solution to the sustainable water supply problem is out of the question. Fortunately, current technology has the ability to defuse the concerns often associated with hysterical media headlines such as “Toilet to Tap”.

California Drought: Residents Cut Water Use 21.5 Percent in June Despite Relaxed Drought Rules

The drought rules were relaxed, but Californians didn’t open the spigots.The state’s urban residents are continuing strong water conservation, cutting water use 21.5 percent in June compared with June 2013, the baseline year, despite state officials easing mandatory drought targets earlier this year. The new data was released Tuesday morning by the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento.“It’s maybe not as good as we hoped, but it’s better than we feared with conflicting messages out there,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the board.

California Water Conservation Returns to Local Leadership

Californians conserved less water in June, the first month after statewide mandates were eased and control over drought restrictions returned to local water agencies, officials said Tuesday.

The State Water Resources Control Board reported that Californians used 21.5 percent less water in June than they did in 2013, a drop of 6 percentage points from a year earlier and nearly 7 percentage points from May.

A dip in conservation was expected after the statewide mandate was eased, and conservation overall remained high, said Felicia Marcus, water board chairwoman.


How Green is my Water?

Harmful plumes of algae in waterways have been much in the news lately, in California and nationally. We talked to James Cloern, a senior scientist at the US Geological Survey and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network, about this pressing water quality issue. PPIC: What are algal blooms, and how big a problem are they for California? James Cloern: Our waterways are home to many thousands of species of microscopic algae, but only a few dozen can develop into harmful blooms.

Sacramento Poised to Scrap Lowest Bidder Requirement in Troubled Water Meter Project

Sacramento is considering scrapping the lowest bidder requirement in its water meter installation program, a step it says could get meters put in faster and reduce customer complaints. The change could also allow contracting bias in a program that has weathered setbacks and scandals, including the recent finding by the city auditor that its onetime project manager had sex and used alcohol and drugs on the job.

Will Connecting California’s Power Grid with Western States Help Fight Climate Change?

In three years, California’s largest utilities could be slashing their use of fossil fuels by swapping homegrown solar energy for Rocky Mountain wind power in a sprawling Western electricity grid. Or a newly expanded grid could provide a profitable market to revive out-of-state coal plants that would otherwise face a harder time complying with California’s aggressive greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts.

Colorado River’s Tale of Two Basins

In Colorado, rivers flow not only down mountain slopes but beneath them, across them, and through them. Nearly four dozen canals, tunnels, and ditches in the state move water out of natural drainages and into neighboring basins. Some snake across high passes. Others pierce bedrock. All manmade water courses, meant to supply farming, manufacturing, or household use, eventually become so familiar they become part of the landscape. But old infrastructure can come to life in different form.


Global Heat, Sea Level Hit Record Highs in 2015

Global heat, greenhouse gases and sea levels all climbed to record highs last year, making 2015 the worst in modern times across a range of key environmental indicators, international scientists said Tuesday. A dire picture of the Earth’s health is painted in the State of the Climate report, a peer-reviewed 300-page tome that comes out once a year and is compiled by 450 scientists from around the world. The record heat that the planet experienced last year was driven partially by global warming, and was exacerbated by the ocean heating trend known as El Nino, it said.

Californians Conserve Less Water Under New Rules

Californians used 21 percent less water in June than they did in 2013. That wasn’t as much savings as last month or even last year, but state water regulators say they expected conservation to dip. It’s the first month after statewide mandates were eased. Local water agencies now set conservation standards based on supply. Agencies must self-certify that they can provide water for several years. Regulators call it a “stress-test.” But it may be too soon to tell if the dip in June is an indication that the relaxed rules aren’t working.


Californians Using More Water as Drought Controls Ease

Freed from stringent statewide drought controls, Californians have begun using more water. Urban consumption grew by 8 percent in June compared to a year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board. June was the first month in which California was operating under significantly relaxed drought regulations, and state regulators said they will monitor conservation going forward. If necessary, they said drought mandates could be reinstated. Californians still managed to reduce water use by 21.5 percent in June, compared with the 2013 baseline established by the state.