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Draining the Delta Like Owens & Tulare Lakes

So who had the original sin in California water development — Los Angeles or the San Joaquin Valley?
While LA’s campaign — devious or otherwise — of snapping up almost all of the Owens Valley groundwater rights and diverting eastern Sierra streams to the point that it dried up Owens Lake that covered 17.5 miles long and 10 miles wide with a depth up to 3 feet until 1913, is still part of California’s water war narrative today, Tulare Lake doesn’t even rate a whisper.

Sacramentans are Still Supposed to Water Only Twice a Week

The California drought has been declared over for several months, but some may be surprised to learn there are still watering restrictions in effect in Sacramento. “Conservation in Sacramento remains a way of life,” the city’s website read. The city of Sacramento is continuing a policy of holding residents to watering only two days per week this summer, despite the state lifting its emergency drought order. “Yards can survive on two days per week of watering,” the city’s website said.

PODCAST: Big Decisions Loom On “Twin Tunnels” Delta Water Project

It could be California’s biggest water infrastructure project in two generations – a plan to build two massive, 35 mile-long tunnels deep beneath the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. Dubbed California WaterFix, it would send water from Northern California to farms and cities in the south, bypassing the fragile delta ecosystem. After years of study and fierce debate, the plan could be headed for a turning point in the coming months.

Watering Rules Ease for Some

Residents in unincorporated urban areas such as Lincoln Village and parts of Colonial Heights can finally water their lawns a bit more liberally after county supervisors on Tuesday eased water conservation rules that date back to the drought. Most notably, residents can now water three days a week rather than just two. “I can tell you there are several people in my district who were very happy with this decision,” Supervisor Chuck Winn told county staff on Tuesday.

California Will Use Toilet Water to Grow Vegetables

By the end of 2017, toilet water and other wastewater will be used to irrigate a large swath of Central Valley farmland near Interstate 5, an area that is known as California’s agricultural hub because it produces more than 360 products. “As long as we keep taking showers and flushing toilets, we can guarantee you water,” Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh said at a news event last August to farmers. Treatment facilities in the two inland cities, Modesto and Turlock, will collect the water from sinks, showers, washing machines and toilets, and process it into what’s commonly referred to as “gray water.”

Why the State is in Such a Hurry to Fix Oroville Dam

California officials are trying to speed up repairs on Oroville Dam’s battered flood-control spillway. The Department of Water Resources have asked federal regulators to let it demolish and replace an additional 240 feet of the spillway’s 3,000-foot concrete chute before the rains comes this fall, leaving less work for next year. That 240-foot section originally was going to be replaced next summer as part of the two-year plan for repairing the spillway, whose massive structural problems in February sparked the emergency evacuation of 188,000 downstream residents.

Water Authority Celebrates Award for World’s Top Civil Engineering Project

The San Diego County Water Authority celebrated Tuesday its award for the world’s top civil-engineering project — a network of dams, pumps and pipelines that can protect the region’s water supply for six months. The $1.5 billion Emergency & Carryover Storage Project received the 2017 award from the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year, beating out the iconic new One World Trade Center in New York and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2 in Mumbai, India, among other projects. On Tuesday a plaque was officially unveiled at the remote Olivenhain Dam, one of the four key parts of the project.

Sweetwater Authority Board Approves $51M Budget, No Rate Increase

Chula Vista, Calif. – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) customers will not see a rate increase in the new fiscal year. The Authority’s Governing Board (Board) approved the budget on June 14, 2017. In order to achieve a zero percent rate increase, the Authority used a variety of strategies, including absorbing increased chemical and energy costs, not funding some personnel positions and deferring capital projects in the short-term. The budget also reflects return on the investment from expansion of the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, from 5 million gallons per day to 10 million gallons per day, and installation of 3,276 ground-mounted solar PV panels and 264 roof-mounted solar PV panels.