Crews are laying the last layer of concrete on the Oroville Dam spillway with one day until the state Department of Water Resources’ deadline to have the structure ready to pass flows of 100,000 cubic-feet per second, or cfs. Over the last week, Kiewit Corp. construction workers connected the lower and upper chutes and erected the walls. Now all that is left is to place a coating of roller-compacted concrete in the middle chute “that will provide a stronger wearing surface,” said Erin Mellon, the department’s assistant director of public affairs.
Archive for month: October, 2017
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A new study by the US Geological Survey finds the river’s flow has shrunk by about seven percent over the past 30 years. As air temperature rises due to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, more water is sucked into the atmosphere from the snowpack and the river itself instead of flowing downstream. The amount that has evaporated is equal to approximately 24 percent of the total amount of California’s annual Colorado River allocation. “These are pretty significant amounts that are being lost as temperatures have gone up,” said lead author Gregory McCabe, a climate scientist with USGS in Denver.
California’s ambitious plan to build two giant water tunnels under the West’s largest estuary has been deemed too expensive by some of the water utilities that would have to pay for it. As a result, attention is turning back to a cheaper option: One tunnel instead of two. On October 17, the board of directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District unanimously rejected the $17 billion twin-tunnel project, known as WaterFix, and instead expressed support for a smaller, single-tunnel alternative. The district serves more than 1 million people in Silicon Valley.
The City of San Diego Public Utilities department has spend almost $328 million since 2013 to repair and replace 116 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes as part of a program to upgrade it’s aging water system, according to documents given to 10News. Most of those repairs (72 miles) were on cast iron pipes, the oldest ones in the system.
San Diego communities are working together to diversify their water supply, with a plan to convert the wastewater that goes down drains and toilets, into purified drinking water. The Padre Dam Municipal Water District in Santee is leading the East County Advanced Water Purification Program. The district is working with Helix Water District, the city of El Cajon, and the County of San Diego to build a full-scale water purification facility on-site at Fanita Parkway.
A sewage spill dumped a bunch of human waste into a creek in East County, but only the one family to specifically complain had a cleanup visit from the county. The spill started when a 12-inch plastic pipe owned by the county dislodged from a sewer main during a February storm and began emptying sewage into Los Coches Creek, in an unincorporated part of the county near El Cajon.
Picture a beach next to a blue lake under the bright California skies, its water twinkling as the sun catches gentle waves, and birds cruising on the thermals above. As you walk towards the lake, you see that the water levels are low, leaving behind cracked and dry brown mud below the white beach. When you reach what looks like sand from afar, your feet make a crunching sound. You realize it’s thousands—no, millions—of bones snapping beneath your sneakers, from fish that were washed ashore, too many for even the birds or wild animals to consume.
Chris Clarke remembers a billboard on the side of highway 15 outside of Barstow, on the way to Las Vegas: “The Boredom Ends in 150 Miles.” Clarke, a former journalist who now works for the National Parks Conservation Association, could never understand it. What’s so interesting about a place filled with people and money and electric lights? You can find that anywhere.
The California Department of Water Resources says crews are pouring the last bit of concrete on the bottom sections of the new Lake Oroville main spillway project. Erin Mellon with DWR says that Wednesday is the deadline for the major work to be completed. “The work that will continue past Nov. 1 on the main spillway is going to be focused on site cleanup, sealing of drains, concrete seams and drainage pipes,” Mellon said. Crews are also working on a cutoff wall to limit erosion below the emergency spillway.
The controversial water infrastructure proposal from California Governor Jerry Brown, billed as a solution to the state’s significant water challenges, has hit some snags in recent weeks. “In a landmark vote closely watched across California, Silicon Valley’s largest water agency on Tuesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.