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OPINION: Californians move beyond emergency water conservation to more sustainable practices

This permanent shift in the way Californians use and think about water is apparent in communities up and down the state where lawns are being replaced with water-wise landscapes thanks in part to the hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates offered by state and local agencies. Water customers also are changing out toilets and appliances indoors, making meaningful water-use reductions that can be sustained into the future. Last winter’s modest storms and smart planning and investments by local water agencies allowed Californians to move beyond drastic emergency measures required in 2015 to more sustainable practices.

OPINION: County Dependence on Bay-Delta Overstated

State Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin’s commentary (“Unity needed for statewide water solutions,” Oct 29) grossly overstated our region’s reliance on the Bay-Delta. It is not our largest imported water source, accounting for only 4 percent of our region’s supply last year. Nor does the Bay-Delta provide more than half of our water in wet years, as stated in the article. Our reliance on Bay-Delta water continues to decline because our ratepayers embraced conversation and invested heavily in diversified supplies. By 2040, we anticipate less than 7 percent of our supplies will come from the Bay-Delta, while 15 percent will come from potable reuse.

Sod It: Californians Turn Back To Grass Lawns As Drought Shaming Ebbs

Yumi Wong adores the latest addition to her southern California home: a lush, emerald lawn. “It just looks much nicer with all the green. It feels clean and peaceful,” she said on Tuesday, padding across the 2,800-sq-ft grass expanse. “I thought about artificial turf but I just wanted the real stuff back.” It arrived last week, a boon for her two children, two dogs and tortoise, and fitted right into Rancho Cucamonga, a neighbourhood east of Los Angeles. “Here nobody on the street has got rid of grass,” said Wong, 36, a physician’s assistant.

California Today: The Proposition That Has Jerry Brown Up In Arms

Gov. Jerry Brown has been around long enough to have learned to pick his battles carefully, especially when it comes to navigating the complicated thicket of initiatives on the California ballot next week. So it is notable that Mr. Brown has started a full-scale campaign to defeat one of them: Proposition 53, which would require voter approval before the state could issue bonds for projects over $2 billion, financed with user fees, such as tolls. The measure has been championed by Dean Cortopassi, a wealthy farmer and landowner who lives near Stockton.

Poseidon Finds Common Ground With Coastal Commission, Two Other Agencies

Poseidon Water came to terms with two state agencies and a regional water board to streamline the permitting process for a planned desalination plant in Huntington Beach, it was announced Oct. 13. The joint agreement included Poseidon Water, California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. A statement released by Poseidon claimed the joint agreement would “clearly define the remaining permitting process.” Changes to and clarification of the permitting process should help Poseidon proceed with its Coastal Development Permit, or CDP.

OPINION: Lessons We Should Learn From The Drought

California is entering what could be a sixth year of drought, despite a wet October. The drought is not over in the sense that surface water storage has not fully recovered – the state would need three Folsom Reservoirs filled to the brim. And our groundwater reserves have been drawn down – it would take 12 full Folsom Reservoirs stored underground to return to pre-drought levels. The drought has had devastating effects on forests and fish populations. Even if we have a wet winter, groundwater depletion will remain an issue for years, as will ecosystem recovery.


OPINION: Delta Tunnel Planners Should Learn From Seattle’s Expensive Goof

Engineers will converge in Los Angeles from November 6-9, during the election, for the Cutting Edge 2016: Advances in Tunneling Technology conference. California, it seems, is a hotspot for industrial tunneling these days. International tunneling firms will wine-and-dine political leaders in hopes of landing extremely profitable contracts, like the proposed Delta tunnels, while Californians are fixated on the elections. So before the conference begins, let’s review some recent West Coast tunnel history.

In Parched Central California, Water Trumps Other Election Issues

Even with the presidential race tightening, one issue in a drought-parched region of California has remained constant — water and the lack of it. “Water right now is the number one issue for us in the Central Valley,” said Republican Rep. David Valadao, whose congressional district includes some of the state’s largest agricultural production but has been hit hard by the 5-year-old drought.The drought impact goes beyond agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. Water tables in rural communities in parts of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties have dropped and residential wells are running dry.


On The Brink Southern California Faces Dire, Drier Future

In 1958 a cheesy science-fiction movie scared and amused audiences across the nation. Called The Blob, it featured future superstar Steven McQueen in his first lead role. The poster had the tagline: “Indescribable! Indestructible! Nothing can stop it!” The movie featured a mysterious mass that emerged from a meteorite and grew larger and larger with every human and object it overwhelmed, ultimately threatening to consume an entire town. Fast forward to 2013 when climatologist Nicholas Bond was struck by the persistence of an extraordinarily large, warm circular mass of ocean water off Washington and the west coast of Canada.

Water Crisis: The Colorado River Is Drying Up, And The Next President Needs To Work Fast To Stop A Major Drought

No matter who wins the White House Tuesday, the next president’s administration will likely immediately face a pressing issue that gets very little national attention: What to do about the drying Colorado River that supplies water to millions of people in the American Southwest.