California is home to some of the most agriculturally productive regions in the nation. Yet in many small communities scattered throughout those regions, residents lack the most basic commodity of all: clean, safe drinking water. Instead, what comes out of the taps in upward of 300 rural public water systems is water contaminated with arsenic, nitrates and other toxins, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Each year, around 1 million Californians are exposed to unsafe water to meet their basic human needs.
Archive for date: August 22nd, 2017
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In California, a state that considers itself among the most advanced nations in the world, nearly 2 million people live without safe drinking water. These Californians reside in 300 small, sometimes remote, but always impoverished communities where the state’s 2012 first-in-the-nation law guaranteeing a right to safe and affordable drinking water is but an empty promise. It will take every Californian to ensure clean water is available to all. Groundwater in these communities is contaminated by naturally occurring pollutants, such as arsenic, but more typically by agricultural runoff.
Money is no object when you’re spending somebody else’s. If those words haven’t yet replaced “Eureka” as the official state motto of California, they soon will. The Legislature is back in session. The chairs were barely warm when lawmakers advanced yet another sneak attack on property owners. This time it’s a gut-and-amend bill to allow the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to levy special taxes for stormwater management projects.
A 3.2-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday morning near San Francisco Tuesday morning at 5:36 a.m. The earthquake, reported at 5:36 a.m., was recorded at a 4.9-kilometer depth, according to United States Geological Survey. The quake occurred right along the San Andreas Fault Line. The epicenter of the tremor was in the Pacific, about 6.8 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, 9.9 miles from San Francisco and 6.8 miles from Tamalpais-Homestead Valley in Marin County.
California’s record drought is officially over. But all over the states, trees are still dying. They’ve been badly weakened by years without water. In Bear Valley Springs, Mark Anderson and his partner bought a house to get away from city stress. It’s a small mountain community 125 miles north of Los Angeles at the tail end of the Sierra Nevada. But then, as he tells it, he found a whole new form of stress – the pine bark beetle.
What’s new in water? Oh, I thought you’d never ask. I’ve got some important tidbits for you. Oh don’t whine, this is the last water column by me you’ll have to slog through so COWGRRRL UP! The biggest, immediate water question right now is: Will they? Or won’t they? I’m talking about the California WaterFix and whether local farmers will help pay for it. WaterFix is the new generation “peripheral canal” project being pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown to route water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta via two tunnels, to avoid further damage to endangered fish species.
What implications will Trump administration policies have for America’s rivers? When I was first asked this, I felt like a school kid caught daydreaming in class by the teacher. It was during the Q&A following a public talk I’d given at the Smithsonian a few months ago on the science of rivers, and I didn’t have a ready answer. I’m a science geek, not a policy wonk.