The battle over plans by a Los Angeles company to sell water pumped from aquifers underneath Mojave Desert conservation areas heated up again this week when state legislation was amended to require a new round of state reviews. The legislation’s new language, by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, would stop major pumping until state land and wildlife officials determined that groundwater extractions would not harm wildlife or cultural resources. The legislation is in response to the Cadiz desert water project that has been prioritized by the Trump administration. Cadiz officials called the legislation a flawed attempt to further delay the project.
Archive for date: July 6th, 2017
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The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on whether Indian tribes hold special rights to the groundwater beneath their reservations, and the court will now have a chance to settle the question in a case that could redraw the lines in water disputes across the country. The case revolves around whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a federally established “reserved right” to groundwater on its reservation in Palm Springs and surrounding areas in the desert.
A few weeks ago, the governor and other state politicians ran victory laps proclaiming their passage of California’s new record budget. The behemoth budget — the largest spending plan in our state’s history — provides $183 billion to fund many diverse programs and projects deemed necessary to the people and government of California. Their speeches forgot, however, to mention a crucial item the Senate, Assembly and Governor Brown left out: funding to addresses California’s chronic water deficit. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
UC Riverside climate researcher Robert Allen says California should get ready for more rain. Unlike other recent work in the field, Allen has just published a study that says rainfall in the state will increase in the coming years if the planet continues to warm at its current pace. Allen, 42, is a professor of earth sciences and has been studying climate issues for two decades. He came to UCR six years ago. His study projects that by 2100, precipitation in California will rise 12 percent. But Southern California rainfall won’t change much.
As the worst drought in California’s recorded history fades from memory, and mandatory water conservation cutbacks become a thing of the past, California water agencies are left to grapple with the question: What do they do now? About 80 representatives of Inland Empire water agencies gathered at a symposium at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District (Chino Basin) headquarters in Montclair on June 29 to discuss that and many other topics, ranging from climate change to wastewater recycling to desalination.
How much lead should kids be able to drink at school? That’s question state lawmakers are considering this week. Assembly Bill 746, a bill by San Diego-area Assembly woman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher , would require schools to test for lead in drinking water fountains for the first time. If too much lead is detected, schools would be forced to shut down their water systems, notify parents within seven days and provide information on how to get their children tested by physicians. Most schools in California aren’t required to test their drinking water for lead.
Evelyn Rios wept in 2014 when the well went dry at her home of 46 years – the home where she and husband Joe raised five children on farm-worker wages.They cannot afford another well, so they do without. Her angst only grew as California’s five-year drought dragged on. Finally, after one of the wettest winters on record, Gov. Jerry Brown announced in April that the drought had ended. But situation remains grim, says Rios, 80, who lives in rural Madera County in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She thought she was being hooked up to the city of Madera’s water system.
Sen. Kamala Harris took time out during the congressional recess this month for a listening tour through California. On Wednesday, she visited the Central Valley, where the freshman senator toured a citrus-packing facility on the outskirts of Fresno. After sampling a mandarin orange and proclaiming it “delicious,” Harris sat down with two dozen people connected with the Central Valley’s multibillion-dollar agricultural industry to get their take on the federal farm bill and learn about other issues concerning them. Water was top-of-mind for many of the speakers. Jason Phillips runs the Friant Water Authority.
Smart water meters, which make conservation easier for customers, will replace outdated meters for all San Diego water customers by early 2020, city officials say. A successful pilot program last year, during which 11,500 such meters were installed, has prompted the city to revamp another 85,000 meters so they can handle transmitters that will enable the new technology. Once those are fully upgraded, the city’s remaining 185,000 meters will also be revamped so smart meters can be installed during the next three years.
A new bill in the state Legislature would require California to review the environmental impacts of a company’s proposal to pump groundwater from beneath the Mojave Desert and sell it to Southern California cities — a controversial plan that was slowed down by President Obama, but which appears to have the backing of the Trump administration. Cadiz Inc. hopes to pump 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater annually in the heart of the desert, about 75 miles northeast of Palm Springs, on land surrounded by Mojave Trails National Monument and near Mojave National Preserve.