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City Says Sewage Is Hard To Find, Pushes Water Recycling Plan That Has Neighbors Nervous

Cities and water districts in East County, North County and the South Bay have lined up to oppose the city of San Diego’s ambitious plans to turn sewage into drinkable water. For years, San Diego has aimed to make recycled water drinkable and widespread. The idea used to face opposition from the public, who thought it was yucky. Two years ago, the drought and changes in public opinion seemed to remove any obstacles, so the city decided it could double the size of the three-part project’s first phrase.


OPINION: Public Should Demand Salton Sea Action At State Level

The State of California is not living up to its responsibility to protect the health and well-being of the residents of the Coachella and Imperial valleys. Due to a water transfer referred to as the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA), significant inflows of water currently flowing into the Salton Sea will be diverted, beginning January 2018, to urban water districts. As a result, the Salton Sea will shrink rapidly, revealing vast acres of dried beaches (termed playas) that are the source of toxic dust.

Yes, California’s Drought Is All But Over, And The Dramatically Revived Cachuma Lake Proves It

Heading into February, things were looking grim here in the rugged hills north of Santa Barbara. While much of California was emerging from five years of drought, this giant reservoir had dwindled to a weedy channel at just 7% of capacity and was perilously close to being written off as a regional water supply. And then the rains came in unrelenting horizontal sheets. It was one of the largest storms in memory over the Santa Ynez Valley on Feb. 17, swamping historical records and causing the lake to rise a whopping 31 feet in depth in just a few days.

Sinking Land Crushes California Groundwater Storage Capacity

Unbridled pumping of aquifers in California’s San Joaquin Valley is severely reducing the land’s capacity to hold water, according to a Stanford University study. The loss of storage is due to subsidence, which is the compaction of soils as a result of removing too much water. The study, which provides the first estimate of the permanent loss of groundwater storage space that occurred during a drought from 2007 to 2010, also shows that California lost natural water storage capacity equal to a medium-sized reservoir.

The Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System Prevented Beach Closures During Recent Heavy Rains

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), the world’s largest advanced water purification facility of its kind, has been online since January 2008. The project is a joint partnership between the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD). On January 22-23, 2017, OCSD saw influent flows that had not been seen since 1995. OCSD experienced peak flows of up to 586 million gallons per day (mgd) coming into both of their wastewater treatment plants.

Recent California Floods Could Trigger Earthquakes, New Report Says

As if we don’t have enough trouble from flooding, extreme amounts of rain caused by back-to-back storms systems in the state could create enough pressure in the groundwater system to trigger earthquakes along California’s faults, a new report says. California has received record amounts of rain this winter, causing everything from dam failures to widespread flooding and mudslides.

OPINON: How Does California Move Forward After Historic Storm Season?

This winter’s record-breaking storms have proven a fierce test of our state and its infrastructure. It has has been particularly frightening for people in and around the city of Oroville. We’d first like to say how glad we are that hundreds of thousands of people were able to safely evacuate and the emergency spillway helped provide the necessary time to do so. And we share their relief at being able to return to their homes. Now that the immediate danger is passed, we can take a more thoughtful look at what happened.

OPINION: After California Floods, Infrastructure Is Suddenly Sexy

There is a cycle to the conversation about infrastructure and how to pay for it. And it goes like this in California: A few politicians say that infrastructure – roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, dams and more – are the lifeblood of economic prosperity. Editorial boards point out that Gov. Pat Brown and the Legislature of his era helped make California an economic power by investing in the massive California State Water Project and highways, and by making the University of California system the best in the world.

Water Bond Money To Go To Fixing Deteriorating Infrastructure Across The State

In 2014, California voters approved a $7.5 billion bond that would go to several water projects. So far, only 2 percent of the money has been used, and the rest has been sitting in a fund, untapped. In light of the Oroville Dam scare in early February, lawmakers are looking to focus their attention on flood management projects, such as fixing old dams and maybe building new ones. However, some are hoping lawmakers will look over the lowest-priority projects and instead focus on water storage with all the recent precipitation.

BLOG: Lessons Learned From Floods And Misguided Priorities

The impacts of California’s catastrophic floods will not end when the water subsides. Even as drought conditions disappear it’s a safe bet that the politics of water won’t wane. The pictures are out there to be seen on the web. Flooded farmland as far as the eye can see; homes and businesses under water; and, the damage done to the spillway and hillside at Oroville Dam are amazing but predictable.