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Oceanside Moves Forward With Agritourism Efforts

The City Council gave the go ahead to develop an agritourism vision plan at a workshop on Wednesday. Prior to approval more than a half-dozen farmers voiced their passion for farming and support for agritourism opportunities. Among them was popular singer and songwriter Jason Mraz who grows fruit trees and coffee in Oceanside. “Our family has 300 acres, I want to keep my father’s dream alive,” one Oceanside farmer said. There are 3,700 acres of farmland in the South Morro Hills region. Individual farms range from 25 acres to 450 acres. Crops include avocados, citrus trees, flowers, wine grapes and coffee.

California’s Salton Sea becoming a toxic witches’ brew, Boxer warns

Governments often take actions — or fail to act — in ways that would be treated as crimes if committed by an individual or a company. Take the scandalous U.S. Education Department’s Teach Grant program that defrauds idealistic young teachers.

Or compare the way federal and California agencies treated Volkswagen’s use of emission cheaters with the way they treat their own lack of action to head off a public health and environmental disaster, one that affects millions of Southern California consumers and could be much more harmful than the emissions from a few hundred thousand cars.


‘Climate change is water change’ — why the Colorado River system is headed for major trouble

There’s good news and bad news for the drought-stricken Colorado River system, according to projections just released in a new federal report from the Bureau of Reclamation, manager of dams, powerplants and canals.

The report predicts that Lake Mead — the river system’s largest reservoir, supplying water to millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico — will narrowly escape a shortage declaration next year. But a shortage is looking imminent in 2018, and water experts are growing ever more worried about the river system’s future.

OPINION: Signs the West is better with water conservation

There are strong signs that we’re settling into a new culture when it comes to water use.

Coachella Valley Water District reports that its customers used 28.6 percent less water in July when compared to July 2013, the state’s comparison year. That reduction is more than 5 percentage points better than that seen in June and above the district’s cumulative average of 25.6 percent for the past 14 months. Meanwhile, Desert Water Agency – our region’s second largest after CVWD – reported a 22 percent usage cut in July, smaller than the 33 percent reduction in June but still near the agency’s cumulative water-savings of 27 percent since last summer.

Sen. Boxer Calls for Quicker Action on the Salton Sea

Sen. Barbara Boxer called for urgent steps to fix the problems of the deteriorating Salton Sea, saying state and federal agencies need to speed up efforts to control dust and protect habitat as California’s largest lake declines. Boxer visited an expanse of dry, dusty lakebed on the south shore Thursday and talked with federal wildlife officials about their plans to build 500 acres of wetlands along the receding shoreline. “The sea is drying up at an alarming rate, and we better deal with it. It is our job,”

Water-use disclosure bill sinks in California Senate

A measure to expand public disclosure of commercial, industrial and other institutional water uses in California fell far short of passage in the state Senate on Friday.

Assembly Bill 1520, which would have removed exemptions to the Public Records Act for business customers of local water agencies, garnered only 15 votes on the floor, well below the 21 it needed to advance. The proposal, by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, was opposed by a long list of agricultural and business groups, including winemakers, car washes and restaurants.

In California, Who Owns the Water?

Santa Barbara County may be one of the wealthiest areas in California but when it comes to water, the residents are just like anyone else in the state — wondering if the day will come when nothing flows out of the tap.

California is in its fifth year of an historic drought with mandated state and local water cutbacks to avoid rationing. So when the county’s Goleta Water District discovered that a neighboring ranch was planning on drawing water out of its underground aquifers to benefit a celebrity enclave, things got testy.


Bill targeting water secrecy scrapped in California Senate

Strong opposition in the Legislature has scuttled a bill that would have required agencies in California to release information about water use by businesses such as farms and golf courses.

With the bill’s demise in the Senate, water districts will be able to continue keeping confidential information about how much water businesses are using during the drought.

Assembly member Mark Stone, who backed the measure, said there weren’t enough supporters in the Senate to take up the bill for a vote.

California Homeowner Drought Relief Bill Passes Senate

A bill to let drought-stricken homeowners seek state grants or low-interest loans for water and wastewater projects has passed the state Senate and is now in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 1588, authored by Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday. “This is an important measure for the Central Valley and I greatly appreciate the bipartisan support it has received,” Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, said in a statement. The bill now goes back the Assembly, where it passed 76-0 in June, for a concurrence vote following amendments to the bill.

Smithsonian Exhibit Comes to Western Science Center

A new Smithsonian Institution exhibit, highlighting the importance of water, made its national debut at the Western Science Center in Hemet on August 13, where it will be on display until November 27, 2016. The exhibit, entitled “H2O Today,” is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service (SITES). The Western Science Center is a Smithsonian affiliate. Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) is a co-sponsor of the exhibit, along with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.