The decades-long political struggle over fixing the bottleneck in California’s immense north-south water system is nearing a climax—and it’s not looking good for Gov. Jerry Brown’s long-sought solution. The State Water Project, initiated nearly 60 years ago by Brown’s late father, Pat, impounds Feather River water behind Oroville Dam and sends it southward down the Feather and Sacramento rivers into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Huge pumps at the south edge of the Delta suck water into the California Aqueduct, which transports it as far south as San Diego.
Archive for date: November 27th, 2017
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State officials are under fire for not keeping up with legal requirements to track waterways that are polluted or have other problems that affect using those waterways for activities including fishing and swimming. San Diego Coastkeeper is one of three clean water groups suing the state in an effort to get better water quality. Coastkeeper Matt O’Malley said the groups want to make sure the state complies with federal clean water rules by doing a better job of identifying and listing impaired waterways that don’t meet the federal guidelines.
For decades, no matter the weather, the message has been preached to Californians: use water wisely, especially outdoors, which accounts for most urban water use. Enforcement of that message filters to the local level, where water agencies routinely target the notorious “gutter flooder” with gentle reminders and, if necessary, financial penalties.
With Tijuana and other rapidly growing coastal cities heavily dependent on the Colorado River, Baja California urgently needs to find new water sources. Baja California Gov. Francisco Vega de Lamadrid’s administration has offered a solution: Build the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere, enough to ensure a supply for decades to come. But plans for the reverse-osmosis facility in Rosarito Beach, a project that at full capacity would desalinate 100 million gallons daily, have come under unprecedented scrutiny at a politically sensitive moment.
Two new water bonds slated to be put before California voters in 2018 have received the endorsement of a key water policy group. The Association of California Water Agencies’ board has voted unanimously to support a $4 billion June ballot measure for water and parks projects and an anticipated $8.9 billion November initiative proposed by former state resources official Gerald Meral.
As a cold front from the Gulf of Alaska blasted the Sierra Nevada overnight, temperatures dropped into the 20s in the Tahoe Basin and low 30s in the foothills, creating the perfect conditions for Mother Nature to make snow. Snow dropped as low as 3,000 feet, with the foothills receiving a light dusting that didn’t stick or cause major traffic delays. Locations at 5,000 feet, such as Emigrant Gap on Highway 80 and Strawberry on Highway 50, received up to two inches, while locations at 6,000 feet, including Kingvale and Donner Pass, recorded up to four inches.
Can California still successfully take on big projects or is that part of our history already over? As high-profile infrastructure projects ranging from high speed rail to the Delta Tunnels face an uncertain future, that’s a critical question that lies before our next Governor. We were once known for ambitious projects like the California State Water Project which transformed the state and allowed for rapid development in the Central Valley and Southern California.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear an appeal by California water agencies in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ landmark lawsuit asserting rights to groundwater beneath the tribe’s reservation. The Desert Water Agency and the Coachella Valley Water Disitrict had appealed to challenge a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the tribe has a right to groundwater dating back to the federal government’s creation of the reservation in the 1870s.
Federal regulators have asked the officials who operate Oroville Dam — and who are in charge of the $500 million-plus effort to rebuild and reinforce the facility’s compromised spillways — to explain small cracks that have appeared in recently rebuilt sections of the dam’s massive concrete flood-control chute. In a previously undisclosed October letter, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told the state Department of Water Resources to document the extent of tiny cracks that have showed up in some of the spillway’s brand-new concrete slabs. FERC also asked DWR what, if any, steps might be required to address the issue.