One of the hard truths revealed by California’s five-year drought is that many small, rural communities lack the resources to adapt to water shortages. In this case, that means both money and expertise. It can be very expensive, for instance, to build a new water treatment plant or connect with one in the next closest town. Even if a community finds the money to build a small treatment plant, it may not have anyone locally with the expertise to operate it.
Archive for date: December 29th, 2017
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The Trump administration said Friday it will look at revving up water deliveries to farmers from California’s Central Valley Project, the largest federal water project in the United States, in what environmental groups called a threat to protections for struggling native salmon and other endangered species. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation formally served notice it would begin looking at changing the operation of the massive California water project to maximize water deliveries. Spokeswoman Erin Curtis called it the first step in what would likely be an 18-month analysis.
Unfortunately, since the late 1970s, the Desert Riviera has been ravaged by what Johnson calls a “slow-motion apocalypse.” Hotels and marinas were ruined by floods, then left high and dry by drought. Giant, stinky algae blooms linked to farm pollutants drove people out of the water. Rising salinity levels linked to evaporation helped kill nearly all the fish. Traces of everything from DDT to arsenic have been detected in the mud beneath the lake, and in dried-out stretches of lakebed exposed by drought.
Three years ago, California voters passed Proposition 1, a bond that provided $7.12 billion for water projects and reallocated another $425 million. The funds had to be split among seven categories: safe drinking water, water storage, flood management, water recycling, drought preparedness, ecosystem and watershed protection and groundwater sustainability. Ellen Hanak and Jelena Jezdimirovic at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) dove into the numbers to see how the proposition money has been spent throughout the state.
At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city’s Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it’s often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill, bottled and marketed by a small company called Live Water. “It has a vaguely mild sweetness, a nice smooth mouth feel, nothing that overwhelms the flavor profile,” said Kevin Freeman, a shift manager at the store.