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California’s New Water Boss: States Must Set Own Course on Resources

Until California’s latest drought really took hold in around 2012, few residents of the Golden State had ever heard of the State Water Resources Control Board. But it very quickly became a major force in their lives. As the five-year drought worsened, the board would go on to order water use limits on every water agency in the state, which led to rationing requirements in households across California. It also imposed severe water-right curtailments, requiring rural residents who draw water from streams to immediately stop doing so.

Dozens Come Forward With High Water Bills

More San Diegans are coming forward with outrageously high water bills that in some cases are more than $1,000. But they say the city is brushing off their concerns. Now, they have a new strategy to get different answers to their expensive questions. “It’s too hard, sometimes, to fight it,” said Joyce Abrams, a La Jolla resident whose last three water bills doubled to nearly $500 each. “You can’t not pay because then they turn your water off.”

SoCal Facing One of Driest Rain Seasons on Record

This season is shaping up to be one of the driest years the Los Angeles area has ever seen. Since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, the downtown area has received less than an eighth of an inch of rain. This puts it in a tie for the fourth driest start to a water year. The last time it was this dry was in the early 1960s. So far, the rainfall is nearly four inches below normal for October through December.

Impacts, Lessons from Oroville Spillway Crisis

The Lake Oroville spillway crisis and evacuation last February might have only lasted a few days for Yuba-Sutter residents, but the ordeal left many with unanswered questions and a newfound fear of the unknowns of living downstream from an aging water storage facility and system. Questions about who is to blame for the spillway’s failure, how it happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again continue to resonate with local residents close to a year after the event occurred.

Rainbow, FPUD, Camp Pendleton Shares of CWA Vote Entitlement to Decline

The weighted vote entitlements for San Diego County Water Authority agencies at 2018 San Diego County Water Authority meetings were approved by the CWA board Dec. 7, and the shares for the Rainbow Municipal Water District, the Fallbrook Public Utility District, and Camp Pendleton will all be less than those agencies’ 2017 weighted vote. Rainbow’s share will decrease from 4.04 percent to 4.00 percent. The FPUD weighted vote was 2.35 percent for 2017 meetings and will be 2.32 percent during 2018. Camp Pendleton had a share of 0.10 percent of the weighted vote in both 2016 and 2017 and will account for 0.09 percent of the 2018 vote total.

Oceanside Raises Water, Wastewater Rates, Again

City Council unanimously approved increased water and wastewater rates Dec. 20. There was no discussion prior to the vote of approval. Two weeks earlier numerous speakers addressed City Council about rate increases, and the city received more than a dozen letters of protest. Most Dec. 6 speakers shared their frustration over decreasing their water use and still seeing a rise in rates. Residents also criticized the high cost of fixed rates, and not having adjustable rates for low-income households.

Time’s Up: Race Against Receding Salton Sea Is On

When the largest farm-to-city water transfer was approved in 2003, the state of California gave itself a 15-year period to find a solution to the receding Salton Sea waterline — an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Those 15 years are up. The mitigation water the Imperial Irrigation District was obligated to divert to the Salton Sea has come to an end, and it’s expected the lake’s receding water rate will speed up starting this year, increasing the risk of developing respiratory diseases through the Imperial and Coachella valleys.