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AM Alert: Water board discusses drinking wastewater

Let’s talk about drinking (treated) pee.

California is in the midst of a multi-year drought and just last week forecasters admitted to having no idea if the upcoming wet season will actually bring any rain. With water scarcity a major concern in California and beyond, recycling wastewater to drinkable standards is evolving from idea to reality.

The state commissioned a panel of experts through the State Water Resources Control Board to determine if it’s possible to develop standards for recycling wastewater into a drinkable source. Short answer: It’s doable, but we need to conduct more public health research first.

BLOG: Water contractors sue federal government for $350 million

Seventeen California water districts have filed a lawsuit for $350 million against the federal government for not delivering water to contractors in the drought year of 2014.

The Fresno Bee reports ( ) that the districts in the San Joaquin Valley and the city of Fresno filed the suit Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.

Attorney Craig Parton, who is representing the contractors, says the claim seeks to recover the fair market value of Friant Division water not delivered to the contractors even though there were sufficient supplies in Millerton Lake that year.

How California Is Learning to Love Drinking Recycled Water

Would you rather drink a cup of recycled wastewater or advanced purified water?

Actually, that’s a trick question – both terms are often used to talk about the same thing. But when it comes to public acceptance of the practice, the language you use makes a big difference. And so does education about how the process works.

Those are some of the things that have helped shift attitudes in California around potable reuse (drinking wastewater that has been purified for drinking). But it’s been a long road to get there and a few bumps remain.

California and National Drought Summary for October 4, 2016

The current U.S. Drought Monitor period was dry through much of the Midwest and Plains states. Dryness also dominated much of Idaho, the interior regions of Washington and Oregon, much of California and Nevada, and the Southeast. A slow-moving system brought with it soaking rains from eastern Illinois into the Mid-Atlantic. Some areas of the Mid-Atlantic into Virginia and North Carolina recorded over 5 inches of rain with this event.

Happy 10th Birthday to California’s Most Ambitious Water Project

There were high hopes for a new era in California water. Environmental groups, agriculture, the state, the feds and big urban districts like Metropolitan all signed on the dotted line. They all agreed to plan for a new and comprehensive way to manage the water system and ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The effort was to be known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Until, of course, it later became known as California WaterFix and California EcoRestore. Ten years. A quarter of a billion dollars in planning.

California Keeps On Farming, With or Without Water

California agriculture, which had been plowing ahead in the face of a major drought, finally had an off year in 2015, according to data released recently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state’s farms brought in cash receipts of an estimated $47.1 billion (this will be revised in the months and years to come), down from a record $56.6 billion in 2014. Here’s how that looks in historical context, with the numbers adjusted for inflation.

With standards relaxed, water use on the rise throughout California

Californians continued to backslide on water conservation during the hottest summer on record, worrying regulators and frustrating environmentalists critical of a new policy enacted this spring that allows most urban water districts to avoid mandatory cuts in water use.

On Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Board announced that conservation in urban California in August was still below the baseline year of 2013 – but by a far smaller percentage than in August 2015. In August 2015, Californians saved 27 percent compared with 2013. This year, that savings rate fell to less than 18 percent.

Two New Faces to Join Water Board After Election

The Santa Fe Irrigation District, which provides water to residents and businesses in Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and Fairbanks Ranch, will see new faces on its five-member board of directors later this year, as two incumbent directors are stepping down from their seats and will be replaced by candidates running in the Nov. 8 election. Two candidates each are running for the Div. 1 seat, now held by Greg Gruzdowich, and the Div. 2 seat, now occupied by Alan Smerican. Both incumbents opted not to seek new terms.

OPINION: Flora Not Blinded By Tunnel Vision, Would Protect Our Water

Why does Jerry Brown desire to send Northern California water south? The governor has a seriously poor sense of direction. Sacramento bureaucrats have no right to assume the power to re-direct river water from Northern California farmland, demanding to send the water to the Delta strictly for the survival of fish and, ultimately, out to sea. After all, the fish didn’t elect Brown. Heath Flora, seeking Assembly seat 12, places people, food, jobs and the economy first.

Project Underway To Prevent Straying Of Adult Sacramento River Salmon

Yet another hazard to migratory salmon will disappear soon, when local, state, and federal officials finish building a permanent, fish-friendly weir in the Yolo Bypass.The Wallace Weir Fish Rescue project, located four miles northwest of Woodland and near Knights Landing, will help prevent adult Sacramento River salmon from swimming into a drainage ditch that leads deep into farm fields where spawning is hopeless. By building a permanent barrier across the Knights Landing Ridge Cut, the agencies will be able to better control farm drainage releases to avoid attracting salmon.