One of Jerry Brown’s biggest failures as governor has been his stubborn, foolhardy approach to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that provides a portion of the drinking water for 25 million Californians, including more than 5 million South Bay and East Bay residents. The news Friday that the Brown administration is reportedly scaling back his $17 billion, twin-tunnel plan to a single tunnel at slightly more than half the cost is a relief for Northern Californians fearing a massive Southern California water grab at the expense of the health of the Delta.
Archive for date: January 16th, 2018
The valley that is home to the Salton Sea sits below sea level. It has been flooded and dried multiple times on a historical geological scale. The current lake was born of a construction accident that pierced an irrigation canal in 1905. The damage was not repaired for 18 months, allowing the low-lying area to flood.
For nearly four years before federal and state environmental watchdogs descended on Camp Pendleton during a late June inspection, contractors had warned military leaders about apparently persistent problems with the base’s water system, according to newly released documents. Obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act, the records were generated between 2014 and mid-2017 by contractors hired to clean and inspect Camp Pendleton’s 34 water reservoirs. They buttress an Environmental Protection Agency summer survey of a much smaller portion of the sprawling base’s water system.
On a 2-2 vote Jan. 9, a motion to change the start time of Ramona Municipal Water District Board meetings from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. failed. With board members Jim Hickle and Jeff Lawler in favor of a 6 p.m. start time and board members Thomas Ace and Bryan Wadlington opposed, there was not a three-member majority to be able to reschedule the meetings. The board will continue to meet at 2 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month.
The millions of trees that died in the Sierra Nevada during California’s five-year drought may have actually helped the state’s water supply once the historic dry spell finally ended, according to a new study. Scientists led by UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute examined how much water was being absorbed by plant life in 1 million acres of Sierra forest along the watershed that feeds into the Kings River east of Fresno. The study, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, spanned the years before, during and after the drought, which officially ended last year.
The verdict is in and California stands convicted of gross negligence in the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highest dam, Oroville. The dam on the Feather River came very close to failing last year, forcing the evacuation of a quarter-million people living downstream. Heavy outflows revealed structural flaws in the dam’s concrete spillway and when dam operators switched to an auxiliary spillway that dumped water onto an “unarmored” earthen hillside, it quickly eroded, threatening the entire structure with collapse.
A state agency that is supposed to independently judge the merits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels has simultaneously been holding meetings illegally with project proponents, critics allege in a pair of motions filed this week. The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday is scheduled to resume lengthy public hearings that could result in a permit that would allow the $17 billion project to move forward.
California officials have moved closer to scaling back the troubled Delta tunnels project, officially notifying potential construction contractors that they’re considering limiting the project to one tunnel. In a memo to engineering firms and other contract bidders last Friday, the Department of Water Resources said it is considering building the tunnels project in phases, with the first phase consisting of “one main tunnel instead of two.”
Water is a top priority in California, and Cuyamaca College is hoping to help young women tap into a career in the field, offering tips and information at a daylong symposium on Thursday. “Women in Water: Exploring Career Pathways” is expected to draw nearly 100 high school students and an equal number of water industry officials from throughout California as Cuyamaca aims to bolster the numbers of women in the water industry.