Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build two 35-mile underground tunnels to keep water coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. The San Diego County Water Authority used to pine for such a plan. But now, emboldened by its drought-proofing projects and wary of shocking ratepayers, the agency is aggressively questioned Brown’s delta tunnels. For over 50 years, the San Diego County Water Authority championed projects that bring water to Southern California from Northern California. But no more.
Archive for date: February 8th, 2017
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With a key deadline approaching, people involved in groundwater management say cooperation will be needed to accomplish goals set forth in the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Local agencies must form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies by June 30. The local GSAs will make decisions that affect groundwater use and fees, as they develop local Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Plans for groundwater basins identified as “critically overdrafted” must be in place by 2020; all others must be in effect by 2022.
Until Donald Trump won the presidency, prospects looked bleak for Cadiz, a California company that has struggled for years to secure federal permits to transform Mojave Desert groundwater into liquid gold. With the change of administration, a new day is dawning. In December, the National Governors Association circulated a preliminary list of infrastructure projects provided by the Trump transition team, and Cadiz’s was on the list. The company’s stock price rose on that news, part of a trend that has seen Cadiz’s valuation more than double – to roughly $14 a share – since the election.
State water officials say engineers are still in the process of assessing damage to the spillway at Oroville Dam and figuring out what they can do to fix it “They’re evaluating the situation intensively this morning,” said Ted Thomas, the chief spokesman for Department of Water Resources. “They’re looking at what their options are for repair.” An extensive section of concrete on the spillway, which is used to manage the level of Lake Oroville, has peeled away or collapsed.
Dry spells come and go in California, where the difference between a wet and dry year often depends on how much precipitation the state gets from just a few storms during winter. During the period of recorded water history, California’s most significant statewide droughts were 1929-34, 1976-77, 1987-1992, 2007-09 and the current five-year drought, according to the state department of water resources. The 2007-09 drought was was the first for which a statewide emergency was declared.
The discovery in drinking water of lead, copper and bacterial contamination due to aging plumbing at La Mirada Elementary School in the San Ysidro School District should be a wake-up call for all local — and state — districts with older schools. San Ysidro officials are so worried about the possibility of water contamination at two other campuses with older buildings, Smythe Elementary School and San Ysidro Middle School, that they are distributing bottled water at all three schools until it’s clear that water from their fixtures is safe to drink.
The Bay Area is gripped by an historic housing shortage and affordability crisis. A plan being circulated now by state water officials will only make it worse. The State Water Resources Control Board wants to cut water supplies to 2.6 million Bay Area residents in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the East Bay by up to 50 percent at the first sign of any future drought. The proposed cuts will dramatically reduce our ability to build the new housing we so badly need, even as we struggle to close a massive housing deficit that has been decades in the making.
Few people realize how outdated our systems for water information are. Because of data limitations, real-time, transparent decisions about drought management, flood response and groundwater protection have eluded the state for the past century. Without basic numbers on where, when and how much water is available and being used, we can’t improve how we manage our most precious water and natural resources.
Officials are working to find ways to repair the Oroville Dam spillway, which has concrete erosion.
As a test run at the Oroville Dam spillway commenced Wednesday afternoon, the director of the Department of Water Resources said at a press conference in Sacramento he expected the bottom of the spillway to be eroded away by spring, with a replacement completed by fall. This came after a gaping hole in the spillway at the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the U.S., appeared Tuesday morning. The hole in the spillway is 180 feet wide and 30 feet deep, DWR public information officer Eric See said.