California’s Tulare Lake was once the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River. Located at the southern tip of the San Joaquin Valley, it collected snowmelt from dozens of Sierra Nevada streams. Today, the giant lake is long gone: In the decades after the Gold Rush, it was drained and transformed into farmland. Now, in a modern era of water scarcity, some are eager to see even a small bit of the old Tulare Lake restored. It could be an effective way to recharge groundwater that’s been overtapped by those same farms.
Archive for date: August 8th, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
Workers have been laboring hard to get the spillway at Oroville Dam fixed in time for the winter rainy season. There has been intensive construction to repair a hole in the spillway, as well as to shore up the dam’s emergency spillway with a new underground retaining wall. The state Department of Water Resources, which owns the dam, is confident that the construction repairs for the spillway are on target. It will be good news indeed if the dam repairs are completed on time.
Thanks to a stormy winter, California’s long drought is over says state government. But California’s man-made drought will continue as long as Sacramento misallocates our water supply. Maybe it’s time to appeal to a higher but distant authority. When Gov. Jerry Brown declared in April that the six-year “drought emergency is over,” he didn’t seem like a man relieved. Maybe because what followed was a weary caveat. “The next drought could be around the corner,” he said. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”
Ten states from Nevada to Texas have weighed in to support two water agencies in their fight with an Indian tribe over control of groundwater in the California desert. The states filed a brief Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will soon decide whether to take up an appeal by the Desert Water Agency and the Coachella Valley Water District. The water agencies are challenging a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a federally established right to groundwater dating to the creation of its reservation in the 1870s.
Federal and state regulators will allow San Diego to avoid upgrading its outdated wastewater treatment plant as long as the city continues to pursue a $3 billion water recycling program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board on Monday approved the city’s permit application to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant for another five years despite it being the only facility of its kind not to meet federal standards.
Water has always been a building block of the California economy. From the Gold Rush to the tech boom, and encompassing agriculture, manufacturing, construction and the service sector, reliable water creates opportunities for growth. Investments in infrastructure support these industries and create well-paying jobs. Over the next few months, water agencies across our state will consider one of the biggest water projects in a generation — a proposal to modernize our statewide water system. That project is called California WaterFix. Millions of California homes, farms and businesses depend on a system that brings water hundreds of miles from the Sierra Nevada.