May 8, 2017 (Sunnyvale, Calif.) – Water systems in California have the nation’s ninth-worst record for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Researchers pored over Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data from 2015 and found more than 1,900 violations in 832 different water systems that together serve 2.5 million people – in the Golden State alone. Erik Olson, a report coauthor and director of the NRDC’s Health Program, said many of the violations are for water conditions that can make people sick, and listed a few of the concerns.
Archive for date: May 9th, 2017
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Earlier this month Valley PBS launched a documentary miniseries called “Tapped Out: The History and Battle over Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley.” The four-part series examines the history of water in California. Each episode delves into a different part of the history and future of water in the region and includes the voices of farmers, water leaders and environmentalists.
Padre Dam Municipal Water District received regulatory conceptual approvals for the East County Advanced Water Purification Program from the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water. Additionally, the State Water Resources Control Board awarded Padre Dam $116.2 million as part of the Proposition 1 (Prop 1) Water Recycling Funding Program. The conceptual approval will allow the program to use either Lake Jennings and/or and the Santee Groundwater Basin as an environmental buffer in compliance with existing groundwater recharge regulations and draft regulations on surface water augmentation.
After years of intense, record-setting drought across the U.S., particularly in the Great Plains and California, the country is now experiencing its lowest level of drought in the 17 years since the U.S. Drought Monitor began its weekly updates. Less than 5 percent of the U.S. was in some stage of drought as of May 4, the most recent update, compared to the 65 percent mired in drought in September 2012.
From “farmageddon” to good fortune. Five years after the drought, farmers across California’s Central Valley say produce is finally plentiful, but that doesn’t mean better prices. When the water ran out, farmers let go of their land. But after five years of California’s devastating drought, farmers markets are ripe for business. “The quality is exceptional this year,” said Missy Gotelli of Gotelli Farms. And fans know it. But perfection doesn’t come cheap. Alex Moreno at JJ Farms charges $5 a pound for cherries at local markets.
East Bay water customers would see rates rise 19 percent over the next two years under a proposal announced Tuesday. The East Bay Municipal Utility District said the increase is needed to more quickly replace old pipe, upgrade treatment plants and offset reduced water use by customers. The district proposes a 9.25 percent increase to take effect July 1 and another 9 percent increase to go into effect on July 1, 2018. Compounded, the increases amount to nearly 19 percent over two years for the district’s 1.4 million residents in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Last winter’s extreme storms notwithstanding, water remains scarce in this state. Between climate change and ongoing growth, California can’t afford to squander a single gallon. Yet in Orange County, a project that could increase water supply by 50 million potable gallons daily has been awaiting approval since 1998. There are pros and cons aplenty to the $1 billion desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach by Poseidon Water. And in the nearly 20 years during which state and local authorities mulled it, all have been masticated thoroughly.
“April showers bring May flowers” took on a whole new meaning this year: The United States just experienced its second-wettest April on record. Average precipitation across the Lower 48 was 3.43 inches. In other words, if you spread all of the rain and snow out across the continental United States, each location would have received nearly 3 ½ inches. That is a lot of water. This record is second only to April 1957 and nearly a full inch more than the average April rainfall in the 20th century.
At the north end of Santa Monica Beach, there’s a fenced off 2-acre section that looks a bit unkempt. It’s an experiment in “re-wilding,” or restoring the beach to what it looked like before humans altered it. The pilot project, a partnership of The Bay Foundation and Santa Monica, could also help protect the city from sea level rise. The Bay Foundation first staked out the plot in December 2016, but waited until Tuesday to hold the official ribbon cutting, so visitors could see dune plant seedlings emerging from the sand.
California is putting communities downstream in danger of flooding with the way it runs the now-crippled Oroville Dam, mayors and county leaders wrote this week in a strongly worded letter to Gov. Jerry Brown. The letter — signed by mayors of the city of Oroville and six other communities downstream, county leaders, state lawmakers and others — comes in the wake of a February spillway emergency at the dam that forced the evacuation of 188,000 people.