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Warner Springs District Struggling with Arsenic in Water

A small school district in Warner Springs is still struggling with arsenic levels in its water that are above state limits, according to a new report. The Warner Unified School District is one of 95 water systems in California with arsenic levels that exceed the state threshold, the report by the Environmental Integrity Project found. The district, which serves about 210 students in the rural community in eastern San Diego County, had arsenic levels at 11.4 parts per billion, leaving it slightly above the state limit of 10 parts per billion, the report said.

OPINION: Let’s Avoid a Man-Caused Drought

As we enter the wet season when California gets more than 90 percent of its rainfall and snowfall, we urge state and federal officials to manage the state’s massive water system to ensure everyone gets their share of water this year. A University of California at Davis study found that mismanagement of the state’s water system has contributed to the water shortages facing all of California and has greatly contributed to the drawing down of the underground water supply in the San Joaquin Valley.

Plan Divvies up Desert for Conservation, Energy Projects

Swaths of public land in the California desert will be opened to solar and wind farms under a federal plan released Wednesday that preserves much of the landscape for conservation and recreation. The long-awaited blueprint finalized by the U.S. Interior Department after a years long process seeks to balance renewable energy development and species protection on 17,000 square miles (44,030 sq. kilometers) of desert managed by the federal government.The plan drew sharp criticism from clean-energy producers who warned it would severely limit development.

Lake Tahoe Protection and Sacramento Flood Control in Senate Bill

California’s Salton Sea and state-straddling Lake Tahoe would receive funding for environmental restoration under a bill set for Senate approval Thursday. More controversial water-related efforts remain stuck in Capitol Hill limbo, however. Put simply, California’s diverse water ambitions face a complicated future in what remains of the 114th Congress. Showing some progress, senators have groomed a bill that includes a 10-year, $415 million Lake Tahoe restoration package. The broader water resources development bill also authorizes help for the endangered Salton Sea, the much-diminished Los Angeles River and Sacramento-area flood control, among other projects.

 

California Water Tunnels Would Need US Funding, Analyst Says

Giant tunnels that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build to haul water across California are economically feasible only if the federal government bears a third of the nearly $16 billion cost because local water districts may not benefit as expected, according to an analysis that the state commissioned last year but never released. The findings run counter to longstanding state pledges that the districts that would get water from the tunnels would pay the full cost.

Interior Department Signs Blueprint For Renewable Energy Development in The California Desert

For decades, environmentalists have rhapsodized about the tranquil beauty of California’s deserts while battling fiercely with energy companies, the government and within their own ranks over what if any power production should occur on those sun-baked, wind-blown, geothermally active expanses of land. On Wednesday, U.S. Interior Department officials signed a blueprint that they touted as a finely tuned effort to balance conservation of California’s iconic desert landscapes with the state’s growing hunger for clean energy in the age of climate change.

BLOG: The Surprising Science of Wildfires and Tree-Killing Beetles

So far this year 4,636 wildfires in California have burned more than 200,000 acres. That’s more fires than this time last year and more fires than the five-year average. In fact, in the last few decades, the number of large fires are on the rise across the Western United States and the length of the fire season continues to expand. One of the biggest reasons for this is warming temperatures, which are impacting snowpack and ushering in an earlier spring. California has an added challenge of dealing with a five-year drought.