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Drought’s End Means California Beachgoers Get Showers Back

California surfers are stoked after showers at state beaches that were turned off during the drought are flowing once again. The parks department turned off the showers in July 2015 at the height of the dry spell as Gov. Jerry Brown urged state officials to cut back on water use. Brown issued an executive order on April 7 ending the drought state of emergency. The Orange County Register reports Wednesday that showers at Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach and Doheny state beaches are back on. Parks spokeswoman Gloria Sandoval says more beaches will follow as the agency evaluates the condition of public rinse stations.

Many Areas Struggling To Set Up Groundwater Agencies as Deadline Looms

With their deadline less than three months away, local governments in many critical California groundwater basins still haven’t settled on a local entity to implement the state’s new pumping regulations, a key water official says. Counties, cities and water districts in many areas have submitted “a hodgepodge of overlapping claims” to be their region’s groundwater sustainability agency, said Pat Minturn, who is on the Northern California Water Association’s groundwater committee that’s working with state officials on solutions.

Documents Provide Play-By-Play of Dam Crisis Response

In early February, a massive crack opened in a concrete chute that carries water from America’s tallest dam. For nearly a week, Oroville Dam managers assured the public there was no imminent danger as they slowed releases of water down the main spillway to assess the damage. Then, with the lake behind the dam swelling from rain and runoff, water began running down a never-before-used backup spillway. But that, too, began breaking apart, and nearly 200,000 people were suddenly ordered to evacuate.

Cosumnes River Provides Model for Floodplain Restoration in California

With California’s surface drought over, the state can prioritize investing in groundwater recharge and floodplain restoration to help fight one of its biggest lingering problems: groundwater overdraft. As it does so, the relatively unknown Cosumnes River watershed has emerged as a model. Roughly half of the groundwater basins in California’s Central Valley are critically overdrafted, including the San Joaquin Valley basin to the south of the Cosumnes.

California’s Rainy Winter Likely To Give Mosquito Populations A Boost

After years of drought the mosquito population is poised to make a comeback — with a vengeance. Our exceptionally wet winter left no shortage of places for mosquitoes to breed. Santa Clara County Vector Control spokesperson Russ Parman says, “They’re very good at finding all of that water. So, we will have higher than average mosquito populations this time of year.” Health officials are bracing for an explosion of the insects which can spread dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus.


Barbara Boxer To Lobby For Desalination Plant in Huntington Beach

Two prominent former California Democratic lawmakers who oversaw environmental legislation, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, have signed on to lobby for a controversial desalination plant in Huntington Beach. For nearly two decades, the plant proposed for a Pacific Coast Highway site next to an existing Huntington Beach power generating facility has faced strong opposition from community and environmental groups. It is one of eight desalination plants currently proposed in the state, including at coastal properties at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point and near the El Porto area adjacent to El Segundo.


You Can Now Use The Outdoor Showers At State Beaches Again

Sand- and salt-caked beachgoers, rejoice: The California Department of Parks and Recreation is lifting its two-year ban on outdoor shower use at many state beaches. In the face of a statewide drought, officials ordered that outdoor showers be shut off indefinitely at 38 California beaches — many of them in Southern California. That long, sticky spell ended Friday, a week after Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order to lift the state’s drought emergency. Once again, beach lovers were allowed to rinse after a long day at the shore.

Groups Demand Transparency on Oroville Dam Spillway Repairs

A coalition of environmental groups that had warned Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was fatally flawed long before it nearly washed away this winter is demanding that federal regulators open up dam repair plans for public vetting. In a filing Wednesday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a coalition of environmental groups led by Sacramento-based Friends of the River also said it was concerned that the state Department of Water Resources is only going part way in repairing the emergency spillway.

Water Authority Chief Heavily Criticizes Metropolitan Water District

Maureen Stapleton of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) spoke to the Valley Center Municipal Water District board Monday, updating members on the California “drought,” on a lawsuit between SDCWA and the Metropolitan Water District —and alerted them to what the Authority considers questionable financial practices by the Met. Later a representative of the Met asked for time to rebut some of Stapleton’s points. Stapleton was welcomed as “an old friend,” by board President Gary Broomell, with Stapleton quipping, “emphasis on the old.”