The Santa Clara Valley Water District provides water and flood control to nearly 2 million people in 15 cities and owns and operates the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC), the largest advanced water purification plant in Northern California. Jim Fiedler is the chief operating officer of the San Jose-based organization, and leads its water program. He spoke with Water Deeply last week about his work and the challenges his organization faces five years into the drought.
Archive for date: September 28th, 2016
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Lurching for a third day through the bone-dry chaparral of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Loma Fire by Wednesday morning had grown in size by 10 percent, a sizzling 2,250-acre blaze with 300 homes in its path and more than 1,000 firefighters trying to rein it in. The human force fighting the Loma had doubled in size since Tuesday afternoon, reaching 1,092 by sunup, with fresh crews stepping in at 9 a.m. to relieve firefighters from around the region who had worked through the night.
A transparent and universal platform for sharing water data across the state will result from a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and authored by Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Napa. “The drought has exposed the need for a modern water information system to address the state’s water supply,” Dodd said. “California does not suffer from a lack of water data, but from a lack of usable water data needed to make smart decisions. This bill will create instant and accessible water information that will better enable water managers to cope with future drought conditions.”
California’s State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), regulators and environmental organizations want more water diversions to flow into the San Francisco Bay Delta Watershed to help save the declining Delta Smelt and Salmon. They have targeted three tributaries of the lower San Joaquin River; one of which is the Tuolumne River. Phase 1 of the Bay-Delta Plan is a real threat to all Modesto Irrigation District (MID) and Turlock Irrigation District (TID) customers including ag, urban water, and electric.
Since the historic California drought began five years ago the public has been inundated with water news. Governments and governing agencies have been bludgeoned with new policies and regulations. And there is little sense to be made of it all. Nonetheless, water policy in California is prepared to move forward and more confusion may be on the way with the State Water Resource Control Board’s (SWRCB) latest published proposal.
A new frontier the energy-water nexus is being forged in Southern California. Teaming up with Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Irvine Ranch Water District will be using an energy storage system to reduce its costs and help ease demand on the grid during peak hours.
The forests of San Diego County that have shaded 500 generations of local people and provided pine needle bedding, oak woodland and spiritual renewal could disappear. Overly intense fires in quick succession, along with drought, borer insects and climate extremes are laying waste to trees and creating a hostile environment for regrowth. Beloved local places — the Laguna mountains, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Palomar Mountain — could convert to chaparral or even to grasses. Some scientists mention even the Torrey pines as possibly at risk.
In a world turned upside down by advancing cancer, Isaiah Branzuela took joy in three things: his home, his dog, and the love of friends and family. Now his home is gone, destroyed by this week’s devastating Loma fire. His beloved dog is gone, too, killed in the conflagration. What remains are his fiercely devoted friends, who are fundraising for the 43-year-old Branzuela and his family, to whom fate has dealt such a blow. And another. And then another. “We take care of each other,” said friend Jamie Rose Berry, who created a GoFundMe campaign for the stunned Branzuela family.