A $42 million project that doubled the capacity of an innovative groundwater desalination plant in Chula Vista is now complete, another big step for a region in dire need of diversification of its water supply. The expansion doubles the facility’s production of drinking water from 5 million gallons a day to 10 million by adding five new wells. The drought-resistant water source — brackish, or saline, groundwater that’s been cleaned using reverse-osmosis technology — will be shared evenly between the Sweetwater Authority and the city of San Diego, which split the costs of the project not covered by $31 million in state and federal grants.
Archive for date: June 19th, 2017
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The final version of Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels plan is better than earlier drafts but still contains “key flaws,” independent scientists say, including an environmental impact report that is so chock full of facts that it doesn’t tell a clear story. The latest draft critique marks the Independent Science Board’s fifth review of various iterations of the tunnels plan. Their criticism isn’t really about the tunnels themselves, but rather the documents that are being used to justify their construction.
On May 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of State granted a presidential permit to allow the Otay Water District to build a nearly four-mile potable water pipeline that begins at the U.S.-Mexico border. This permit authorizes the District to “construct, connect, operate, and maintain cross-border water pipeline facilities for the importation of desalinated seawater at the International Boundary between the United States and Mexico in San Diego County, California.” Purchasing and transporting water Aguas de Rosarito’s $421 million desalination plant in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, is a component of the District’s water supply diversification efforts.
Arizona risks losing water rights because of a lingering, nearly two-decade long drought in the Colorado River that could restrict water use ranging from farmers’ crops to how many households receive water, state water experts say. Calcium rings around Lake Mead tell the story of declining water levels, with cream markings permanently decorating the canyon walls that shows high levels that haven’t been seen since 1983. Current surface elevation is at 1,081 feet. If it drops another six feet, water to Arizona will likely be cut, according to an Arizona budget document.
Heavy rains and snowthis past winter has left rivers flowing higher than average and reservoirs near capacity. The California Department of Water Resources says that river flows range from about 20-percent above average in the Sacramento River near Shasta, to double the average flows in the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers. David Rizzardo, the department’s chief of snow surveys and water supply forecasting said the heat wave is causing even more runoff.
Every spring firefighters throughout the West approach the summer season with a proverbial prediction: If the winter was dry, all those parched trees will burn like torches; if it was a wet winter, all those new grasses will fuel quick fire starts and hot, runaway flames. After a winter that left record piles of snow in the mountains and drenched most of California’s valleys, it’s no surprise that it is grass fires that are fueling a fast start to the state’s 2017 fire season. More than 16,000 acres had burned by June 3 in 1,229 blazes, most of them in central and southern California.
The Metropolitan Water District of California has authorized the preliminary design to replace the wastewater system at Lake Mathews. A May 9 MWD board vote authorized the preliminary design process, appropriated $350,000 for that phase, and found the preliminary design phase to be categorically exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review. The preliminary design activity will include data collection, resource evaluation activities, and potential inspections. In the late 1930s MWD built the Colorado River Aqueduct which runs from Parker to Lake Mathews, and MWD’s Colorado River supply is distributed from Lake Mathews.
As the West struggles with climate change, drought and rapid population growth, talk about the region’s deepening water woes often boils down to a simple but complicated question. Build more dams and other infrastructure, or ramp up conservation? E&E News put that question to two leading players with strong competing views. Daniel Beard, the commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation in the Clinton administration, is widely credited with shifting the agency’s mission from unrestrained irrigation and water development to environmental management.