The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have an unyielding commitment to providing a safe and reliable water supply for 3.3 million people at a reasonable cost. For the San Diego region, that results in a constant, drought-resilient supply of water that meets rigorous state and federal quality standards. It’s not like that everywhere in California. Some rural, low-income communities face a different reality: their drinking water contains elevated levels of contaminants such as nitrates and arsenic. This public health issue and social justice challenge demands focused leadership by state officials to solve.
Archive for date: August 24th, 2017
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State lawmakers are considering a tax to help poor rural communities provide safe drinking water. Agricultural and environmental groups are backing the bill—but water companies, not so much. More than a million Californians lack safe drinking water, either due to fertilizer runoff from farms or contaminants like arsenic. The proposal would raise your water bill by around $10 a year. It could be more than $1,000 a year for farmers, says Tim Johnson, CEO of the California Rice Commission, which backs the proposal.
The proposed Temperance Flat dam on the upper San Joaquin River east of Fresno likely will be at the head of the line when the state awards big money for water storage projects. The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority last week submitted an application seeking $1.3 billion in bond funds from the California Water Commission, which is doling out $2.7 billion of Proposition 1 money for water storage projects around the state. The Temperance Flat dam is estimated to cost $3 billion.
More than a dozen water storage projects are vying for money from the Proposition 1 water bond California voters approved in 2014. The largest request comes from supporters of Sites Reservoir, which would be built about an hour northwest of Sacramento in Colusa County. Mary Wells walks along a dirt road tucked into the valley there. She owns a cattle ranch here. “I’ve been here 47 years I believe, raised my children here. Grandchildren spent a lot of time here. It’s been a wonderful home for us,” says Wells.
Crews rebuilding the Oroville Dam’s main spillway say their work is on schedule as the project passed the midway point for this year. Demolition and reconstruction of the gated flood control spillway began on May 19 and is slated to be finished by Nov. 1. Workers have finished excavations and preparation for the 2,270 feet of the spillway that will be done this year and are now placing reinforced, structural concrete, the state Department of Water Resources reports.
In just 128 days, mitigation water deliveries mandated by the 2003 water transfer will end. Meanwhile, the Salton Sea is expected to start receding at a much faster pace leaving thousands of acres of emissive playa exposed. Under the Quantification Settlement Agreement in which the State of California assumed responsibility to find a solution for the Salton Sea, the 2018 date to end mitigation water delivery was set to give the state enough time to come up with a solution. Nearly 15 years have passed and that promise has gone unfulfilled.
The Compton Herald is urging the Board of Directors Division IV Central Basin Municipal Water District to vote “No” on the proposed multi-billion-dollar Delta Tunnels project which could raise average household water bills by as much as $200-$400 a year. The cities of Lynwood, South Gate, Florence-Graham, Willowbrook, Compton, and Carson are comprised of hardworking residents who cannot afford an increase in their taxes amounting to hundreds of dollars.