Toxic Ashes And Charred Forests Threaten Water After North Bay Fires

For many homeowners in Sonoma and Napa counties, nothing could have been more welcome than the splashing of rain that fell on Northern California last Thursday – the first significant precipitation in about five months. The rain helped put an end to the fires burning in the area, which first ignited on October 8, and have wreaked hellish destruction on Santa Rosa and other communities. However, the recent rain – and the precipitation to come in the months ahead – will bring considerable environmental impacts of their own, especially to the waterways, and even water treatment plants, downstream of destroyed forests and incinerated neighborhoods.

San Diego Pledges $50K for Blue Tech Start-Up Incubator

The City of San Diego has awarded a $50,000 grant to Blue Tech trade group The Maritime Alliance to fund a new incubator for start-ups working on ocean and water-based technologies. Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the grant aims to bolster the region as a hub for Blue Tech innovation. “This new business incubator is going to provide the tools needed to spur the development of young companies with the potential to harness the ocean to create a cleaner and more sustainable planet for us all,” said Faulconer in a statement.

Floods are Bad, but Droughts May Be Even Worse

It is by now a familiar story: The storm hits, the cities flood, dramatic rescues ensue to save people from the rising waters, followed by the arduous and expensive cleanup. But chances are you’ve thought less about the deadly and economically destructive consequences of a slower-moving culprit: drought. Repeated droughts around the world are destroying enough farm produce to feed 81 million people for a year and are four times more costly for economies than floods, the World Bank found in a new study.

California Democrats Seek New Federal Probe of Water Project

Five California Democrats in Congress asked Tuesday for a new federal review of funding for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tunnel project. Their request follows a federal audit of Brown’s $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California’s complex north-south water system by building two giant water tunnels. The audit, released by the U.S. Interior Department’s inspector-general in September, found that the Interior Department improperly used federal taxpayer money to help fund planning for the tunnels.

Water Board Members Balk at Proposed 9 Percent Rate Hike

Directors with the Santa Fe Irrigation District are mulling whether to impose a 9 percent rate increase on their customers in 2018, on the heels of 9 percent increases levied in 2016 and 2017. The proposed increase for 2018 is part of a three-year rate plan approved by the board in 2016. However, the board was urged at its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19, to hold off on the third installment of the rate plan, and instead consider changing the way it calculates rates for the largest water users, many of whom live in Rancho Santa Fe. (The district also serves Solana Beach and Fairbanks Ranch.)