As the Delta tunnels hearings resumed in Sacramento this week, an engineering expert for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California testified that many other large tunnels have been drilled “without incurring risk or injury to project stakeholders.” But in their “detailed” survey of these projects spread across two continents, Delta tunnels proponents did not actually talk to nearby landowners, who would presumably be considered “stakeholders.” Instead, officials relied on their meetings with project designers and owners, construction managers, and on written reports available on the Internet.
Archive for date: April 26th, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
Nothing quite like calling a group of committed activists “stupid” to light an even bigger fire under their already aggrieved asses. In publishing a factually challenged editorial that uses the S-word five times, “dumbest” once, “narcissistic” once (rubber/glue, anyone?), calls their mission a “little takeover hobby” and compares them to stoners who celebrate 4/20 every day of the year, Carmel Pine Cone Publisher Paul Miller gave Public Water Now what I think of as a new sense of resiliency in its mission to bring public ownership of the Monterey Peninsula’s water utility to reality.
District officials updated the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Board Tuesday night on its lead sampling program for campus water. According to Board documents, the City and the school district plan to test all schools on district property for potential lead in drinking water by mid-June. With about 200 schools total to test, the district is about half-way through the process. A slide in a Power Point presentation made to elected officials shows the district has submitted sampling plans to the city for 109 schools. Of that, 72 schools have already been tested.
Even as local hearings have been scheduled for California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a student survey is being planned to find out what farmers think of the program. The groundwater act has been the focus of debate statewide for the past two years with Yolo County primarily because of the involvement of the Water Resources Association of Yolo County. Known as “SGMA,” the act became law on Jan. 1, 2015, and mandates the creation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in groundwater basins defined as high or medium priority by the Department of Water Resources by June 30.
Lake Tahoe is full. As of Thursday, April 20, the lake’s surface elevation was 6,227.69 feet — almost 5 feet above its natural rim. U.S. Water Master Chad Blanchard said his office has been spilling water from Lake Tahoe since Feb. 22 in an effort to prevent the lake’s level from rising too high. It’s the first time since 2006 that excess water has been spilled from the lake.
California’s recent drought was the worst in memory. However, in a relatively quick turnaround, this year the state’s water infrastructure is full and water managers are battling the wettest winter in quite some time. Now, by many accounts, the drought is over for much of the state. The uniquely wet winter of 2016-2017 has highlighted a key issue surrounding our surface water and groundwater storage infrastructure: We could have stored this abundant water, not in new reservoirs, but right under our feet.
Arroyo Grande residents can once again pull out their garden hoses without fear of financial penalty, though they’re still being required to restrict some of their water usage. The city declared an end to its water shortage emergency on Tuesday, following Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement earlier this month that California is no longer in a drought. The decision removes the city’s water bill penalties, which charge users if they fail to reduce their water usage by a certain amount compared with their property’s historic usage.
California’s brutal five-year drought did more than lead to water shortages and dead lawns. It increased electricity bills statewide by $2.45 billion and boosted levels of smog and greenhouse gases, according to a new study released Wednesday. Why? A big drop-off in hydroelectric power. With little rain or snow between 2012 and 2016, cheap, clean power from dozens of large dams around California was scarce, and cities and utilities had to use more electricity from natural-gas-fired power plants, which is more expensive and pollutes more.
California’s Tulare Lake was once the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi. It was shallow, and it varied in size from year to year and season to season. But it was home to lots of salmon, turtles, otters and even, in the latter half of the 19th century, a few schooners and steamboats. It was also at the heart of a 400,000-acre network of lakes and wetlands (“the river of the lakes,” the painter and naturalist John W. Audubon — John J.’s son — called it in 1849) that in wet years overflowed into the San Joaquin River to the north, making it possible to travel by boat from Bakersfield to San Francisco.
When it comes to emergencies and disasters, people tend to have short memories. Much of this is human nature. When something bad happens and we’re in the thick of it we generally do whatever’s necessary to deal with the situation. But once the crisis has past we want to move on with our lives. That’s fine because it’s certainly not healthy to wallow in despair over something that has already come and gone. But I say again that people have short memories. And I don’t mean that literally. I simply mean that we tend to forget how bad something really was. California’s recent drought is a case in point.