The Tujunga Spreading Grounds may look like a vast, barren plot of dirt. But it’s what’s beneath the dirt that matters. Earlier this week, officials brandished shiny shovels to break ground on a project there that they say will play a key role in bolstering the region’s water supply and protecting against future droughts. The spreading grounds, a 150-acre tract of porous soil in the northeast San Fernando Valley, capture stormwater that falls from the sky or runs off from nearby mountains and hills, and allows the water to filter into a vast aquifer that can be drawn down when the resource is in short supply.
Archive for date: August 25th, 2016
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Gov. Jerry Brown got mad and one year later has gotten even with the oil lobby. It’s a textbook example of what can happen in a representative democracy when a leader is willing to settle for realistic goals. It’s what results when one doesn’t get too greedy and agrees to compromise. It’s also symptomatic of one-party control. Dominant Democrats in Sacramento hang together more often than not, and that produces victories when only a simple majority vote is required. And that’s usually. Republicans these days are mostly irrelevant in California’s Capitol.
Last week, Poseidon Water agreed to postpone the hearing on its proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project and work with state regulators on a process that will ensure a rigorous review of the project. Orange County Coastkeeper says this is good news for residents and ratepayers because the review process is designed to protect the county’s valuable coastline, clean air and water and ensure proposed desalination projects serve the public interest.
California’s prolonged drought is forcing Central Valley farmers to scramble for water to irrigate crops. They have to be creative. One agency is even turning to a sewage plant to meet demand. Just outside Modesto, farming communities like Patterson are facing a crisis. There’s barely enough water to irrigate crops, so little, that about a quarter of the local farms have stopped growing anything.”We have over 12,000 acres that has not been farmed for the last several years, and that has very sudden and severe economic ripple effects through these small communities,” said Anthea Hansen of the Del Puerto Water District.
Conflicts over water are not new to the American West, especially to California. An upcoming trial in Santa Barbara showcases many of the issues involved in our parched state’s quest for water, and points to a possible solution.
Water, or the lack of it, has emerged as one of the greatest sources of stress for California, its people and its native species. Fish populations are declining in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, while farmers are facing short supplies. Urban dwellers have come under pressure to use less water, and underground reserves are being rapidly depleted. Making matters much worse is the ongoing drought, which shows no sign of ending. In fact, forecasts for less annual rainfall in years to come have cast uncertainty on the very future of California and its rapidly growing human population.
Baja California’s ambitious plan to build the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere took an important step forward this week with the signing of a public-private partnership for a project in northern Rosarito Beach. At full build-out, the reverse osmosis facility would produce 100 million gallons of water per day, a volume twice the capacity of the Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad.
The San Vicente Reservoir, closed for eight years, will reopen Sept. 22, and boating and fishing permits are scheduled to go on sale this evening, according to the city of San Diego. The permits, which will go on sale on the Ticketmaster website at 7 p.m. Pacific Time, will allow for water activities Sept. 22-26 at the facility. Permits are $8 for adults to fish and $7 for boat launches, plus Ticketmaster processing fees. The reservoir has been closed since September 2008 to allow the San Diego County Water Authority to raise the dam 117 feet, creating more water storage capacity at the municipally owned facility.
Five years of drought have struck different parts of California unevenly. Cities with multiple sources of water have weathered the crisis relatively well, even after important reservoirs have hit bottom. But residents of some small towns in the San Joaquin Valley and northern California, who depend on a single source of water, have had their daily routines upended when one important well or creek has run dry.