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City-Wide Study Shows How Much Water Urban Landscaping Really Uses

In 2010, Los Angeles used enough water irrigating lawns to meet the needs of nearly a half-million average households for a year. That’s according to a new study by scientists at the University of Utah, who conducted what they say is the first city-scale assessment of water consumed by landscaping. Their findings show that Los Angeles’ landscaping consumed the equivalent of 100 gallons per person each day, with lawns accounting for 70 percent of that. Urban trees, it turns out, consume relatively little water. And by providing crucial shade, trees can actually make lawns less thirsty.

OPINION: State High Court Should Address Pivotal Water Issues

If California ratepayers were asked whether residents and businesses should be forced to pay more than the reasonable cost of delivering water to their taps, I’d bet my bottom dollar that virtually all of them would respond in the strongest possible terms: That’s not fair or legal. Essentially the same question is at the heart of the San Diego County Water Authority’s July 31 petition for review by the state Supreme Court: Can the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California charge San Diego County more than the cost of providing the services we purchase?

More CalPERS Retirees are Getting $100,000 Pensions, Report Says

The number of retired public employees in the CalPERS system with annual pensions of $100,000 or more grew 63 percent since 2012, according to a report released Wednesday. Riverside County, Long Beach, Anaheim, Torrance and Riverside made the list of the 25 public agencies with the most pensioners receiving six-figure retirement pay, Transparent California reported. Almost 23,000 CalPERS retirees collected pensions of at least $100,000 in 2016, the government watchdog group found. The rise in $100,000 pensions underscores the importance of making public employee pension data public, Robert Fellner, Transparent California’s research director, said in a news release.

Last Winter Not Big Enough to Fill Lake

Big Bear had a big winter. Or at least it felt like it. Yet it’s August and the lake is 13 feet, 2 inches from full. “Even though up north got a lot of precip, we just did not,” said Mike Stephenson, general manager of the Big Bear Municipal Water District. In mid-August of 2016, Big Bear Lake was down 15 feet, 4 inches, according to MWD historical lake levels. Stephenson said the winter and corresponding water loss was better than an average year. “We weren’t unhappy,” Stephenson said. “We wish it would fill, but that’s OK.”

Zinke’s New No. 2 Once Lobbied for CA’s largest Water District

At a hearing last month, Bernhardt testified that he stopped lobbying for Westlands on Nov. 18, 2016, at a time when he was serving on the Trump transition team. But since then, Bernhardt had helped draft two major California water bills and wrote a proposed executive order for Trump on water issues – all at Westland’s behest. Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting’s stories on the issue were based on a trove of Bernhardt’s emails first obtained by the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental group.

County to File Suit to Oppose ‘Twin Tunnels’ Proposal

Butte County plans to file a lawsuit over the plan to bury a pair of tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to move Sacramento River water south. County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to file the suit against the Department of Water Resources over the so-called “California WaterFix,” the largest part of which is the “twin tunnels” proposal. The California WaterFix is technically a Habitat Conservation Plan and Natural Community Conservation Plan, with the stated goal of protecting more than 50 species of fish, wildlife and plants over 50 years.

What You Can Do to Help Restore Mission Bay Wetlands

Having access to nature is a gift these days. In a time when our environmental protections are being threatened at a federal level, it’s more important than ever to get involved locally and make our voices heard. That’s why I encourage community members to join the effort to restore the northeast corner of Mission Bay and its wetlands. I grew up in San Diego and I remember running like a mountain lion through the Mission Bay wetlands, surrounded by tall cord grass, pickleweed and California sunflowers.

Under pressure from regulators, San Diego Cracks Down on Water Pollution from Construction Sites

Developers in the city of San Diego are facing tougher government enforcement at construction sites that have the potential to pollute rivers and streams — including fines and even stop-work orders. That’s the result of a settlement San Diego officials entered into with water quality regulators that will require the city to pay $3.2 million and step up policing of development. The agreement was reached after the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board brought a civil liability complaint against the city for alleged violations of its stormwater permit last year.

What it Takes to Recover from Drought

According to a study published August 10 in Nature, the length of drought recovery depends on several factors, including the region of the world and the post-drought weather conditions. The authors, including William Anderegg of the University of Utah, warn that more frequent droughts in the future may not allow time for ecosystems to fully recover before the next drought hits.Drought-stricken areas anxiously await the arrival of rain. Full recovery of the ecosystem, however, can extend long past the first rain drops on thirsty ground.

Panel Weighed Oroville Spillway Failure in 2014 — and Called It Unlikely

Consider a couple of scenarios for big trouble at Oroville Dam: First: The facility’s main concrete spillway suffers serious damage, resulting in erosion of the rock beneath it — and potentially threatening the safety of the dam itself. Second: Water fills Lake Oroville, the gigantic reservoir behind the dam, and begins surging down a steep unpaved hillside that’s meant to serve as an emergency spillway. The slope suffers serious erosion, again potentially threatening the dam’s safety.