Supporters of a water bill making its way through the legislature are calling for complete backing for the proposed legislation as it nears a full vote in the Assembly. As proposed, SB 623 would establish a fund to finance projects for communities and school districts dealing with unsafe drinking water. “SB 623 is a good faith effort to help poor families get access to water and to help small water systems clean-up contaminated water sources,” said California Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford).
Archive for month: August, 2017
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Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen announced that the Bureau of Reclamation has selected $20.9 million for 43 projects to improve water delivery efficiency improvements in the Western United States. When leveraged with non-Federal funding sources these projects will complete more than $101 million in improvements. The selected projects will include canal lining and piping to reduce seepage losses, automated gates and control systems, and installation of advanced metering.
Californians could see their water bills increase under a measure passed by lawmakers Thursday. The legislative bill approved by the state Assembly would let local governments charge residents for storm water management systems without voter approval. Supporters of the measure say it will help cities and counties prevent flooding and save water. Opponents say it violates Californians’ right to vote on taxes. Gov. Jerry Brown must sign the legislation for it to become law. Under the bill, local governments could charge residents to construct storm water control facilities, which divert and store rain runoff.
Sacramento is setting its eyes on the latest resource it can tax in California — drinking water. For the first time in California’s history, lawmakers are proposing a 95-cent per month tax on your water bill. Senate Bill 623 would establish a new water connection tax, fertilizer tax and milk tax to raise about $200 million for a new “Safe and Affordable Water” fund. While we all can all agree that all Californians should have access to safe and clean drinking water, there are ample general fund resources and many federal grants available to pay for those costs.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled on Thursday his plan for spending cap-and-trade revenue, prioritizing cleaner vehicles and improving air quality. Roughly $1.5 billion, all generated by the sale of permits required to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, is available to be spent by the governor and lawmakers. Brown wants the biggest chunk of the money, $607.5 million, to be used on financial incentives for cleaner cars, trucks, buses and farm vehicles.
Over the years, some Northern California supporters of Restore the Delta have complained about Southern California water users by making specious claims that everyone down there “has a swimming pool,” or “waters their sidewalk” carelessly during periods of drought, while the Delta continues to decline with inadequate freshwater flows. We even have some supporters who maintain that the answer is to split the state in half, allowing Northern California to keep “its water,” while those people down south “figure out how to get their own water.”
A standard question often asked people in charge of important things (such as being responsible for the water and wastewater needs of 26,000 people as well as hundreds of businesses and farms in our service area), is “What Keeps You Awake at Night.” My answer: The literal army of state legislators and bureaucrats working hard to dream up ways to micro-manage anything and everything your water agency does, how much water you can use on a daily basis and take your money to solve other people’s problems making your monthly water bill more expensive without providing you or our community any benefit.
A cannon-shaped sea drone plunges through the darkness. On the waves above, Nicky Suard steadies herself in a speed boat as she monitors its video feed. The drone’s tiny propellers keep it surging through the depths, diving further into the heart of the Sacramento River. Its floodlights send back murky images of bubbles and silt. There’s no sign of what Suard’s looking for.
When folks talk about “black gold” in California’s Central Valley, it’s usually a reference to oil – unless you’re in the dairy business. No state in the country produces more milk than California, thanks to its 1.7 million cows. Those cows also produce a lot of manure – 120 pounds per cow per day. But manure isn’t a problem; it’s an opportunity, says Ryan Flaherty, director of business partnerships at the San Francisco-based Sustainable Conservation, a nonprofit that works with diverse stakeholders to help clean water, air and land.
Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) announced on Aug. 23 the amended version of Senate Bill 623, which would establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to finance infrastructure improvement projects across the state with the help of a coalition of environmental activists, agricultural industry representatives, and labor groups. The bill will need to garner a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate and Assembly to pass, which at the present could prove difficult due to its widespread opposition among state water agencies.