Cloud seeding has become big business worldwide as a means to boost water supplies. Utilities and governments spend tens of millions of dollars on the process, which is especially common in Western states that rely on winter snowpack to meet year-round water demand. The basic process involves spraying silver iodide from a plane as it flies through storm clouds. The silver iodide induces moisture in the cloud to form ice crystals, which then (hopefully) fall out as snow. Some studies have estimated cloud seeding can boost snowfall by between 8 and 15 percent.
Archive for date: February 15th, 2018
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The audit of the city utilities department’s water billing procedures is being fast-tracked and expanded, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Thursday, as officials seek more answers about how 343 residents were overcharged by as much as $420 due to one employee’s misreading of water meters. Residents began raising questions about their bills with city officials at the start of the year and, disappointed with the response, many went to local media in an effort to get more thorough answers. Some were told by the Public Utilities Department that there was nothing erroneous about their bills.
Hundreds of frustrated and angry residents turned out Thursday night for a city-held public forum at Mira Mesa Senior Center to address surging water bills — a long-simmering controversy that has now reached a boiling point. For more than three hours, one resident after another stepped to the microphone to address officials with the Public Utilities Department. Nearly all had stories of being charged for water they didn’t use, causing their bills to skyrocket by hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.
As water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead drop, the potential for restrictions on water use in 2019 rise, but not for all Colorado River water users. Under the 2007 drought plan guidelines Arizona adopted, Central Arizona Project will take the full hit for whatever that reduction is, said Mark Clark, Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District manager. CAP’s hit, Clark said, is about 349,000 acre-feet of water. “The local folk here along the river really won’t see any change due to a shortage declaration at a tier one level,” Clark explained.
As I have previously written, Los Angeles and its DWP pays to import most of our water from Metropolitan Water District sources. This is in addition to the water we obtain from the Owens Valley aqueduct, which is owned by the DWP (and was the subject of the movie Chinatown). After last year’s record precipitation, most of my friends thought that the drought was over and became uninterested in the Delta Tunnels “WaterFix” project.
A radical change in scope for the California WaterFix project has tunnels opponents calling for the state to scrap the permit approval and begin anew. In a memo dated Feb. 7, Karla Nemeth, director of the DWR, announced that WaterFix will be developed in two stages. The first stage will include a single tunnel and two intakes with a capacity of 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The second phase will add another tunnel and a third intake expanding the capacity to 9,000 cfs.
When San Diego city water customers receive a water bill, and they feel the bill is charging them for more water than they used, their options for challenging the bill are limited. One of those options is to have their water meter tested. NBC 7 Responds wanted to know if the city’s water meter testing is treating San Diego customers fairly. After sharing the test results and the city’s water meter testing process with one of the country’s meter testing experts, he said he could not say the tests performed by San Diego’s Public Utilities Department were done accurately.
Homeowners in the city of San Diego who find their water bill is overblown have limited options. The city tells them to check for leaks and if the homeowners find none, their last option is to have their water meter tested. NBC 7 Responds wanted to find out if the city’s water meter testing procedure is fair to customers. After filing public records requests for all water meter testing results performed by the city, NBC 7 Responds found the results were incomplete and an expert said those results could not prove if the meters actually passed or failed the tests.
Overall water use is climbing in Southern California as that part of the state plunges back into drought, driving state and regional water managers as they consider permanently reinstating some watering bans and conservation programs. Gov. Jerry Brown lifted California’s drought emergency status a year ago, after a wet winter that snapped a historic 2013-2017 drought, and the state ended his 25 percent mandatory conservation order. Water use has been moving steadily upward since then, especially in a six-county area of Southern California that includes the biggest chunk of the state’s nearly 40 million people.
The Government Finance Officers Association’s federal liaison center is warning some members against using interest rate swaps and derivatives as alternatives to advance refundings. In a recently published alert, GFOA noted that the tax law changes enacted in December prohibit the use of tax-exempt advance refundings as of Jan. 1, 2018. As a result, issuers are looking for alternatives. “Issuers should work with their advisors to understand potential new risks and other considerations that may accompany these alternatives,” GFOA said in the alert, adding it, “cautions many entities against entering into swap or derivative agreements.”