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BLOG: Legislative Update: Six New California Laws Impacting Water

The end of September meant both the end of the 2016 water year and a deadline for signing new legislation. In the past few weeks California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bevy of new bills into law, many of them addressing drought or water issues in the state. Some affect water indirectly. Senate Bill (SB) 859, which establishes a Healthy Soils Program, is written to help build quality agricultural soil to increase carbon sequestration, but healthy soils also help retain more water. SB 1414 aims to help increase energy efficiency, which can also help save water.

Water Creates the Connection Between Farms and Our Families

Maybe it was a tomato, head of lettuce or a chunk of cheddar. Chances are, the Central Valley farmers our firm has financed through loans or lines of credit have grown something that has reached your dinner table. We have a farm-to-fork connection. Today, the challenging part of that connection is water. Rural and urban California have done a great job following state directives to lower rural and residential water use during the historic five-year drought. The actual savings varies throughout California, from 100 to 200 gallons per person each day around the home. That’s a very significant savings.


New Report Finds Water Recycling Regulations Feasible For Direct Potable Reuse

On September 8, the California State Water Resource Control Board released its draft report concluding that it is feasible to develop uniform water recycling criteria for direct potable reuse in California. Orange County Coastkeeper and California Coastkeeper Alliance are pleased to see this economic and environmentally preferred method to securing California’s future water sources moving forward. In California, recycled water is already used for non-potable purposes, such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, in a practice known as purple pipe recycled water.

OPINION: Growing Evidence Highlights Cracks in California Delta Tunnels Plan

As water deeply readers already know, the Peripheral Canal was rejected by California voters in 1982 when Jerry Brown was governor. But the proposal was reborn in 2015 as the California WaterFix, often referred to as the Delta tunnels. Recently, advocates for the Delta tunnels have been experiencing severe heartache over revelations that undermine their proposal. Using the California Public Records Act, Restore the Delta found that the state commissioned an economic analysis of the proposed tunnels, but it was never published. The Associated Press picked up the story and put it on their international wire.

‘Above Normal Potential’ for Large Wildfires Ahead in Southern California

Southern California faces an “above normal large-fire potential” this month and lingering through fall due primarily to vegetation left dry by five years of drought and the usual round of dangerous Santa Ana winds. The dire wildfire activity outlook came Tuesday from Angeles National Forest officials, who said a normal number of Santa Ana wind events could combine with above-normal temperatures to create fire hazards. “That affects most of Southern California south of Kern County, and possibly a greater frequency of events in November and December,” said Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia.


Without Mandatory Cuts, California Water Conservation Falters

Regulators say water conservation continues to slip in drought-stricken California after officials lifted mandatory cutbacks. Max Gomberg, a senior climate scientist for the State Water Resources Control Board, said officials on Wednesday will release the figures for how well Californians cutback their water use in August. California just entered its sixth year of a historic drought. Last winter delivered a near-average amount of rain and snow mostly in Northern California, but it wasn’t enough to end the long dry spell. Gomberg says he’s concerned by the latest monthly results.

Energy Storage Growth: Something Old as Well as Some Things New

The nascent energy storage sector is often described in terms of how fast it’s currently expanding — and its potential for explosive growth in the near future. But across San Diego County decades-old deployments such as ice storage are still in use just as cutting-edge technologies such as lithium-ion storage grab so many headlines. At the sprawling Mission City office complex in Mission Valley not far from Qualcomm Stadium, 29 ice thermal storage tanks help slash the energy costs for the owners of three office towers who retro-fitted the facility in 1999.


Weather Service Predicts Dryer, Warmer Winter in Southern California

Odds favor below-normal rainfall and above-average temperatures in Southern California this winter, according to a National Weather Service forecast released Monday.The overall average of 25 computer models indicate there is a 55 to 60 percent chance of neutral conditions this winter, meaning neither El Nino nor La Nina conditions, said Eric Boldt, an Oxnard-based meteorologist with the weather service. The El Nino pattern, characterized by warming ocean temperatures near the equator, is associated with above normal rain. However, there typically is no correlation with rainfall during La Nina conditions, which are lower than normal ocean water temperatures.