Water: it poses one challenge after the next in the 21st Century. It’s increasingly scarce, it’s increasingly dangerous as sea levels rise, and it’s increasingly changing the workforce. But one of its most vital functions is often overlooked: the fact that it’s a lynchpin for (relative) world peace. Without clear distinctions of who it belongs to and how to share it, the world would be thrown into chaos.
Archive for date: September 22nd, 2017
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The embattled Delta tunnels project has secured a financing commitment from a Bay Area water agency, albeit a small one. The board of Zone 7 Water Agency, which serves about 220,000 customers in Alameda County, voted Wednesday to join the project, known officially as California WaterFix. The 5-2 vote came one day after Westlands Water District, a sprawling agricultural district in Fresno and Kings counties, dealt WaterFix a huge setback by rejecting the project.
Public drinking water systems in California violated state and federal regulations more than 4,700 times in 2016. This database contains every violation from that year. Most of the violations occurred at small systems serving fewer than 300 people, but you might consume their water even if the district doesn’t serve your home. Many of the smallest systems serve non-residential users at schools, workplaces, campgrounds, parks or ski resorts. The violations are tracked by the California State Water Resources Control Board.
One of civilization’s greatest accomplishments, really a wonder of the world, is the water infrastructure built during the 20th century in the state of California. The historic challenge was described in a 2008 U.S. government study of water in the West: “Hydrologic conditions in California vary greatly from year to year, season to season and place to place. Wet years bring the threat of floods, and drought years put pressure on available water supplies.
Earlier this week, California’s Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the U.S., voted not to participate in an ambitious, long-planned project to re-engineer the way water is shuttled across the Golden State. The Westlands decision is a setback for the project, a plan to route tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but California state officials aren’t giving up on it just yet. Still, the ‘no’ vote from Westlands — the district says the plan “is not financially viable” — puts the future of the $17 billion project in doubt.
California is world-renowned for its protection of natural resources, and its environmental laws are America’s strongest — far more stringent than their federal equivalents. In fact, the rigor of California’s environmental process has caused many high-profile projects to seek legislative exemptions from state review. So when a critical infrastructure project makes it through California’s environmental permitting processes and is upheld by all levels of the state’s courts, it’s a big achievement.
Snow fell in Sierra Nevada on the last day of summer, giving the towering mountain range shared by California and Nevada a wintry look in September and making travel hazardous. Mammoth Lakes got more than a dusting Thursday in the first snowfall of the season, with 3 inches reported in the village. Snow coated the roads so heavily that the plows were out, and locals left footprints on sidewalks. Sixteen vehicles crashed on Interstate 80 as snow and hail fell Thursday, killing a man driving a pickup and causing minor injuries to other people, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Nave said.