The state Department of Water Resources on Wednesday announced an initial water allocation of 15 percent for most of its State Water Project contractors for 2018. The low percentage is a conservative figure, which is typical of the department’s early season forecast. But already, things are looking up. Shasta Dam is holding more water in Lake Shasta than historical averages, officials said.
Archive for month: November, 2017
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A long-awaited study on the costs and benefits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels should be finished by next spring, a state official said Thursday after an independent audit concluded such a study should have already been done. The tunnels have been in the planning stage for 11 years, but state officials have never completed a comprehensive analysis of whether the project pencils out financially. Such a study could answer basic questions like whether the tunnels will benefit the state as a whole and whether they should be built at all.
Chula Vista, Calif. – On Tuesday, November 28, Sweetwater Authority (Authority) successfully completed a bond sale of $23 million to fund five major infrastructure improvement projects. These projects include improvements to Sweetwater and Loveland Dams, a new storage tank, replacement of an aged 36-inch transmission main, and other system improvements.
A 14-inch water line break left an East County shopping center without water for most of Wednesday. The break occurred at about 12 p.m. on Camino Canada near Los Coches Road off Interstate 8 in an unincorporated area of El Cajon, near the East County Square shopping center. A Padre Water District spokesperson said about 34 retail stores in the center were without water. Water is not expected to be restored until about midnight, according to the spokesperson.
Thanks to a wet winter, California’s water supply is being replenished. One of the state’s crucial outlets is groundwater. The Kern Water Bank’s uses ponds to soak water into the ground, adding to the supply of groundwater. However, these ponds have been dry for the past six years because of the drought. This year, the two-feet-deep ponds are full again and the groundwater supply is being restored. With the full ponds comes wildlife that utilizes the wetlands. More than 200 species of birds can be found at the water bank.
High rates of water conservation helped California manage limited supplies during the 2012–16 drought. But conservation can have a downside. New research shows that indoor water conservation can reduce the quality and quantity of wastewater, making it harder for local agencies to use treated wastewater to augment their water supply. We talked to two members of the research team about their findings: David Jassby, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA; and Kurt Schwabe, professor of environmental economics and policy at UC Riverside and an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center.
California’s wettest months of the year are still to come, but the state’s largest water reservoirs already appear to be in decent shape. As of Nov. 27, most of California’s major reservoirs were above their historical averages for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources. The reservoirs received a significant boost during the 2017 water year, one of the wettest on record following a five-year dry spell. Several major reservoirs, such as Northern California’s Shasta, Folsom and Trinity, were above 60 percent of their total capacity.
In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems. Observers say that the revisions, if the EPA accepts them, could change the agency’s permitting and enforcement of municipalities under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, the bedrock federal environmental laws that occasionally result in multibillion-dollar modifications of water treatment facilities. That means communities could have more time to complete required projects.
Volunteer Paul Bareno’s yellow shirt makes him easy to see as he helps clean up a stretch of San Diego riverbed. “We were here, I’m guessing, we were here about two months ago, maybe less. And we got it pretty clean. Yeah we hit the same amount of places regularly,” said Bareno. There is plenty to clean up. There are clothes, food wrappers and at one campsite, long strips of yellow plastic tubing that’s supposed to be a temporary sandbag. None of it is surprising.
In a mere seven weeks, hundreds of thousands of California residents will face a major deadline affecting the health of their families and their communities. On Dec. 31, water deliveries that have been staving off ecological disaster at the Salton Sea for 15 years will come to a halt, leaving an uncertain future for the entire region. Here’s how we got here: In 2003, California struck a deal to divert a large amount of water from Imperial Valley farms to cities.