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Desert Groundwater At Stake As Joshua Tree Pumping Plan Moves Forward

Federal land managers have advanced plans for a $1.4 billion energy-storage project in which desert groundwater would be pumped to high-elevation reservoirs near Joshua Tree National Park and then released downhill to generate electricity. Late last week, the Bureau of Land Management found that using 1,150 acres of public land — mainly for the project’s power and water lines — would not cause significant harm to the environment. The acreage stretches between Interstate 10 and the national park. The finding moves the project, which was licensed by federal energy officials in 2014, into a 30 day period to allow for official protests.

Gonzalez Bill Requiring Lead Testing For School Water Moves Forward

Proposed legislation that would require all school districts and colleges to test water for lead contamination and take specific actions if high levels of lead are discovered will move forward to a full Assembly vote. The bill is proposed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego), who introduced it after high levels of lead were discovered at an elementary school in her district. Her office had been working on addressing concerns over lead poisoning for more than a year.


OPINION: Rudy Salas Water Legislation Clears Committee

A bill by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, that intends to keep drinking water safe and affordable by expanding state assistance to water systems in larger, severely disadvantaged communities, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety & Toxics Materials Committee this week. Assembly Bill 560 was approved with a 7-0 vote. “Communities in California should not have to struggle to access safe drinking water at home,” Salas said in a news release. “The financial assistance in AB 560 will help cities like Arvin provide families with safe, clean drinking water at affordable rates.”

California Approves Funding For Paso Robles Water Treatment Plant

California water officials on Thursday approved funding for Paso Robles’ proposed $18 million tertiary sewage treatment plant, the final in a series of major infrastructure projects that will bring about 3,300 acre-feet of water to the city each year. Dick McKinley, Paso Robles’ director of public works, said Thursday that the city plans to award a contract bid next month and break ground on the plant in June or July.

Water Begins To Flow Back Into Silver Lake Reservoir Complex

After two years of sitting empty, Silver Lake’s namesake and signature icon is being refilled. City officials cranked open the tower valves to begin refilling the Silver Lake Reservoir complex on Tuesday, nearly a year ahead of schedule. The 96-acre reservoir is expected to be fully refilled by the middle of June. Officials previously said refilling would begin in May and take about one year. Now water is expected to reach the Silver Lake Reservoir’s historic level of 440 feet above sea level within two months.

California Senate Passes Bill That Would Boost Stormwater Capture Projects

A bill that would make it easier for local agencies to build projects to capture storm water and boost water supplies has passed the California state Senate. The measure, authored by Democratic state Senator Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys, would change the way the projects could be financed. Proponents of the legislation say projects that clean, capture and recycle storm water can’t get built very easily in California.

The West Has A Tricky, Expensive Water Problem – And Even Solving It Is Controversial

A controversial California irrigation drainage deal designed to resolve one of the West’s trickiest, most expensive and longest-running water problems won approval from a key House of Representatives panel Thursday. But the debate – and uproar over the proposal – is only beginning, and its long-term fate is uncertain. On a mostly party-line 23-16 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill to settle the irrigation dispute between the mammoth Westlands Water District and the federal government.

Proposals Sought For Potential Energy Storage Facility After Successful Interest Solicitation

The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today authorized the Water Authority, in conjunction with the City of San Diego, to begin seeking detailed proposals for a potential energy storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir. The project could help ease pressure on electric grids by producing locally generated renewable energy on demand, and also lessen upward pressure on water rates by providing a new source of revenue.


To Fix LA’s Water, Garcetti Must Stop DWP’s Wasteful Water Tunnel Tax

California may be coming out of the drought, but LA’s water system is in dire need of fixing. Angelenos will soon be asked to pay more for their water and they must stay alert to ensure their money is being invested wisely and not wasted on projects for special interests. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is set to make its customers pay higher rates and taxes for a project misleadingly named the “California Water Fix.” This project involves building two massive water tunnels underneath the San Joaquin Delta in Northern California and could cost $25-67 billion.

Big Rains In Backcountry Means More Local Water For Vista

Runoff from big storms that soaked the region this winter have more than tripled the size of Lake Henshaw, meaning the Vista Irrigation District can cut back on its purchase of imported water — potentially saving the district and its customers big money down the line. The district owns the man-made lake near Warner Springs, as well as 43,000 acres of watershed land that lies to the east, north and south of it.