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Water Extraction Project Would Be Destructive to California’s Mojave Desert

California’s public lands and resources are under siege by a powerful corporation and its allies in Washington. Congressional Republicans used a recent must-pass government spending bill to pave the way for the Cadiz water extraction project, a particularly destructive project in California’s Mojave Desert. Cadiz seeks to create a loophole in an 1875 railroad law to drain an ancient desert aquifer without any federal oversight. The aquifer supports the abundant wildlife of California’s desert – from tortoises and bighorn sheep to breathtaking wildflower blooms that blanket the region.

Mojave Desert Feinstein Asks Trump Administration to Protect Desert Water

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, on Wednesday, May 24, called on the Trump administration to continue rules that now prevent the use of a Mojave Desert railroad right-of-way for a water extraction project. Los Angeles-based Cadiz company wants to pump large volumes of water from wells it owns in the Cadiz Valley between Barstow and Needles and pipe it over 40 miles of railroad right of way owned by the Arizona & California Railroad to Colorado River Aqueduct. The water then could be sold to Southern California water providers.

LA Lawns Lose Lots of Water: 70B Gallons a Year

In summer 2010, Los Angeles was losing about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through the evaporation and plant uptake of lawns and trees. Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a University of Utah study published in Water Resources Research. The results, based on measurements taken before Los Angeles enacted mandatory watering restrictions in 2014, shows a pattern of systemic overwatering in the city’s lawns, and a surprising water efficiency in tree cover. Further, the researchers found a correlation between water loss and household income.

Santa Monica Opens Water Reuse Project at Los Amigos Park

On May 23, the City officially opened the Los Amigos Park Storm Water Harvesting and Direct Use Demonstration Project. Officials said the project is another way for the City to maintain the strong environmental commitment within the community while helping move the city toward water conservation, water self-sufficiency and reduced water usage. The project is located within John Muir Elementary School and was collaborative effort between the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

EDITORIAL: A Strong Bill to Keep Public Agencies Public

One of the news media’s most important functions in a democracy is to constantly remind public agencies about that “public” part of their name. Too often, government officials try to conduct the public’s business in private, and the results can be disastrous for taxpayers (just ask those in the city of Bell). The California Public Records Act is a key tool in keeping public agencies public. Enacted nearly 50 years ago, the law assures all residents and the media have prompt access to most records — so we know what government is up to and can be involved in important decisions.

Stormwater Harvesting Project Unveiled At Santa Monica Park

On Tuesday, May 23, at 10:30 a.m., the city of Santa Monica unveiled its Stormwater Harvesting and Direct Use Demonstration Project at a ceremony at Los Amigos Park, located near John Muir Elementary School at 500 Hollister Avenue. Mayor Ted Winterer, Chief Sustainability Officer and Assistant Public Works Director Dean Kubani, City Engineer Rick Valte, and other officials were present at the event. The project, financed by a grant from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and the Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax (Measure V), is a collaborative effort between the city, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), and the MWD.

Howes Officially Approved for MWD

The Big Bear Municipal Water District Division 2 spot is no longer vacant, after the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the appointment of Frank Howes to the seat at its May 23 meeting. The MWD originally had 60 days to fill the board vacancy, after Mary Ann Lewis resigned Feb. 28. Exceeding the deadline by 16 days, the decision went to the Board of Supervisors and was no longer at the discretion of the MWD board. The MWD board provided a recommendation for Howes.