Construction continues on the Oroville Dam’s main spillway this week. The Department of Water Resources has been working to reconstruct the the main spillway which was damaged in February because of heavy winter rain. Crews with Kiewit Corp., the lead contractor on the job, are working around the clock to rebuild enough of the main spillway in time for next rainy season. The deadline for the rebuild is Nov. 1. A study by an independent forensic team found that poor design and construction in the 1960s led to the failure of the spillway.
Archive for month: September, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
The California Supreme Court denied a petition by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) September 27 to review an appellate court ruling in a case over rates set by the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, according to the SDCWA website. For years, San Diego water officials argued the region’s major supplier of water, the Metropolitan Water District overcharged to deliver water to San Diego from the Colorado River. On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, leaving a lower court ruling siding with Metropolitan in place, according to the San Diego Voice.
Water is the Central Valley’s economic lifeblood — of that, there is no doubt. The drought of the last five years has put tremendous pressure on the state’s water allocation systems and shown that they are not only broken but incapable of adapting to the realities of a sustained drought cycle. But, why should people in Southern California and Orange County care if water is not available to the Central Valley and agricultural production goes away?
During California’s severe five-year drought, groundwater levels fell to record lows and people in farming communities from Tulare County to Paso Robles saw their wells go dry. Now researchers have analyzed records for about 2 million wells across 17 western states from Texas to Oregon, and they estimate that one out of every 30 wells was dry between 2013 and 2015. The researchers also found dry wells were concentrated in farming areas such as California’s Central Valley and the High Plains. In some areas, they estimated that up to one-fifth of wells were dry.
At some point in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 16, 2017, the California Legislative Session ended with a flicker of hope for there being some sanity, rational thought and common sense about water in the Capital City, Sacramento. Three bills, SB 623, (Monning – Carmel, CA), SB 606 (Hertzberg – Van Nuys, CA) and AB 1668 (Friedman – Glendale, CA) all failed passage and will be held over as two year bills to be taken back up in 2018. So why is this important to you?
On Monday, one time antagonists of a 50-year battle in the courts over right rights, who eventually became friends and allies, celebrated the San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights Settlement. They included representatives of the Rincon, Pala, Pauma, San Pasqual and La Jolla tribes, the City of Escondido, Vista Irrigation District and the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority, whose chairman is Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon tribe.
The value of water as a liquid is obvious. We can drink it, use it to clean ourselves and our things, swim in it to cool off and to play, and build dams across it to harvest its energy. Water as clouds are also essential: they are key for the way they deliver precipitation to cropland and forests. But scientists now say we may have been overlooking the most useful stage of the water cycle.
A cash crunch for public water utilities is creating an opportunity for the growing for-profit water companies—but it’s one that might drain customers’ wallets. Companies like American Water Works Co. and Aqua America Inc. are finding the time is right to purchase small, troubled water utilities from local governments that are facing political pressure to keep rates low—often by delaying infrastructure upgrades. Acquisitions like these are helping private water companies grow even while per capita water consumption continues its long-term downward trend.
The water project that north Delta communities fear will end their way of life may have met its own ending, after the plan to finance it collapsed unexpectedly in a Central California boardroom last week.
News of the twin tunnels’ setback came September 20, when the Westlands Water District, which serves farms in Fresno and King counties, voted not to participate in financing its share of the $17 billion project. The WWD’s manager told the Sacramento Bee that signing on would cause too much monetary pain. The district was expected to pay roughly $3 billion.
Toxic waste and sewage continue to flow from the Tijuana River to the Pacific Ocean, and California cities along the U.S.-Mexican border are ready to bring a lawsuit to halt it. Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and the San Diego Unified Port District Sept. 28 notified the International Boundary and Water Commission and Veolia Water North America-West LLC which operate the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant in San Diego, that they plan to sue over the discharges unless this issue is addressed within 60 days.