Inside a cavernous northern Utah warehouse, hydraulic engineers send water rushing down a replica of a dam built out of wood, concrete and steel — trying to pinpoint what repairs will work best at the tallest dam in the U.S for a spillway torn apart in February during heavy rains that triggered the evacuation of 200,000 people living downstream.
Archive for date: June 26th, 2017
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An effort by California officials to carry their success with water conservation beyond the drought is not sitting well with local water managers, many of whom are eager to shake off state control. Gov. Jerry Brown declared the state’s five-year drought officially over in April, following an unusually wet winter that refilled reservoirs and buried the Sierra Nevada in deep snow. But Brown also made it clear, given the likelihood of future droughts, that he wasn’t going to ease up on water conservation.
The city of San Diego is creating the county’s first donation program to help low-income people pay their water and sewer bills, which have risen rapidly in recent years. The long-awaited program is expected to shrink the number of water shutoffs in the city and help some low-income seniors avoid having to choose between paying their water bill and buying medicines they need. In a typical month, about 500 of the city’s 275,000 ratepayers are deemed delinquent and in danger of having their service shut off, city officials said.
A project is underway in Ventura County on a way for farmers to buy and trade water supplies. In January Ventura County opened the first of its kind water market. It allows farmers to transfer unused groundwater allocation to other farmers for financial compensation. Under California law, farmers have to use the water on their property or they lose access to it in the future. The incentive in this project is to use every single drop of water that is available.
The flooding that displaced residents in 90 homes along the Kings River in the Central Valley over the weekend was more than a week in the making. For eight consecutive days last week, temperatures from Fresno to Bakersfield exceeded 100, according to the National Weather Service. Wildfires burned, utility providers warned of possible blackouts because of a surge in demand, and thousands of feet up in the Sierra Nevada — far from where humans and their scientific tools could reach — California’s historic snowpack continued to melt.
The Trump administration took a big step Monday toward clearing the way for construction of two giant tunnels that would siphon water from the Sacramento River and send it south to farms and cities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service determined that the tunnel project, officially known as California Water Fix, would harm several endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, but that an extra 1,800 acres of habitat restoration, on top of the 30,000 acres the project calls for, would offset the damage.
In a win for a monumental water plan that would re-plumb the largest estuary on the West Coast, federal fisheries officials on Monday approved California’s decades-old delta tunnels project. The officials based their approval on a 1267-page biological opinion for the project prepared by Californian and federal officials. In a decision watched closely by proponent Gov. Jerry Brown and opposing environmental groups, federal regulators agreed that the $15.7-billion proposed makeover of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could be completed without devastating impacts to native salmon and other endangered fish species.
A California state appeals court ruling gave both sides victory claims in litigation between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the largest of its 26 member agencies. The First District Court of Appeal last week affirmed the legality of the aspect of Metropolitan’s rate-setting methodology that includes State Water Project costs, reversing a 2015 trial court decision that had awarded $188.3 million in breach of contract claims to the San Diego County Water Authority. The SDCWA pays water transportation rates to Metropolitan for the movement of imported water the San Diego authority purchases from the Imperial Irrigation District.
The Delta tunnels got a crucial green light from two federal agencies Monday when scientists said the controversial project can co-exist with the endangered fish that inhabit the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In a pair of long-awaited decisions, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service said the tunnels, known as California WaterFix, aren’t likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Delta smelt, Chinook salmon, steelhead and other imperiled species.
Federal fishery agencies Monday pushed forward a controversial water project that would change the way Northern California supplies are sent to the Southland.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the construction of new diversion points on the Sacramento River and two massive water tunnels would not jeopardize the existence of endangered species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which is the hub of California’s waterworks.