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7 Things I Learned Studying Public Opinion on Water

What do Americans think about their water? Over the past few months, I’ve been poring over a variety of public opinion surveys that try to illuminate our attitudes toward water. Recent events, such as the lead poisoning in Flint and an epic drought in California, have repeatedly thrust water into the news cycle. Long before those headlines, however, Americans were telling pollsters they were worried about their water. Climate change’s impact on the hydrological cycle has only amplified the concerns.

Break in California Levee System Could Contaminate Bay Area Drinking Water Supply

A five year survey released by the California Department of Water Resources reveals half of the levees that guard California cities from a major flood don’t meet modern standards, and if a levee were to break in the wrong place, it could cut off the drinking water supply to the Bay Area for months or even years. Much of the state’s 13,000 miles of levees were built in the 1800s to protect farmland in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys from potential flood.

California’s Snowpack Nearly Double Of Normal Level, Final Survey Of Season Finds

Warming springtime temperatures in California are expected to accelerate melting of the state’s record snowpack, sending water surging down a major river in Yosemite National Park that could overflow its banks, officials said Monday.Reservoirs downstream from the Sierra Nevada have been lowered in anticipation of the heavier-than-normal runoff, said reservoirs managers. The current snowpack is double its normal size.The snowmelt flows downhill during warm months into reservoirs and canals, which supply one-third of the water used by residents of the most populous U.S. state. It also irrigates crops in the nation’s most productive farming state.

Will Ruling On Emails Make Brown More Transparent?

More than one month after the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that text messages and emails sent by public officials on their personal devices are matters of public record if they deal with public business, Gov. Jerry Brown has still not moved on his own email issues. During that time, in fact, Brown flouted his own boasts of transparency by using a federal anti-terror rule to deny public access for records on various aspects of the Oroville Dam crisis.

Oroville Dam Spillway Flows To Be Cut Off Starting Today

Oroville >> Flows down the damaged main Oroville Dam spillway are being shut off today through Tuesday, and the flow in the Feather River past Oroville will be reduced. The Department of Water Resources said in a press release that starting at 9 a.m. today that releases from Lake Oroville would gradually be scaled back from 35,000 cubic feet per second to 8,000 cfs by 3 p.m. Tuesday. All the water will then be flowing through the Hyatt Powerhouse under the dam.

Sierra Snowpack Is Huge And Melting Fast – What That Means For Spring Flooding

The wettest winter in Northern California history ended the drought and produced an abundant Sierra Nevada snowpack. Now it’s starting to melt, and quickly. As state officials completed the final snowpack survey of the season Monday, forecasters predicted high river flows throughout spring into midsummer. The federal government’s California Nevada River Forecast Center said the undammed Merced River, which flows through the Yosemite Valley, could rise above flood stage this week. The flooding could create “nuisance” impacts such as closing access roads or campgrounds in the national park, said the forecast center’s hydrologist Alan Haynes.

San Diego Water Authority Seeks Proposals For 500MW Energy Storage Facility

The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is seeking proposals for a 500MW energy storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir in San Diego in the US state of California. According to SDCWA, the project would have 5 to 8 hours of energy storage will help investor-owned utilities to source half of their energy from renewables by 2030.

Besides, the proposed energy storage project could balance the electric grids by producing locally generated renewable energy on demand. It would also stabilize water rates as a new revenue source.


California Mammoth Snowstorms Take Toll On Sierra Wildlife

California’s mammoth snow drifts, a welcome sight following five years of harsh drought, have killed off dozens of endangered bighorn sheep, lengthened hibernation for bears and should cause some hikers to think twice before seeking high Sierra adventures, officials say. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, heads out Monday for the final manual measurement of the wet season, which is expected to set a record. “We’ve gone from flat-out dry conditions to just an overabundance of moisture,” said Doug Carlson, a spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources. “

Facing Extinction: California Fish Close to the Brink

At least two species of California fish appear to be facing imminent extinction in the wild: delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon. These species could join about 57 other North American fish declared extinct. If we are fortunate, these species will continue to scrape by with small populations, maintained through considerable human effort. But if we are unfortunate, these fish, and likely other species, will disappear in the near future. This likelihood suggests we need answers to the following questions: