With snow failing to pile up in the Sierra Nevada, Californians are starting to think about the unthinkable again — another round of drought to shrivel lakes, parch the landscape and roil power markets. The mountain range hasn’t been this bare since the depths of the monster dry spell that was declared over only last year. “The snow numbers are abysmal,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center. Some ski resorts are struggling to keep trails open.
Archive for date: February 16th, 2018
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
Amid a winter marked by more sun than storms, California is desperate for rain and snow. An end-of-winter burst of wet potent California storms, aka a Miracle March, is the only hope to bolster the Sierra Nevada snowpack and boost the rainfall totals, but meteorologists say the odds of this happening are almost none. Even if a few wet weather systems sweep across the state in March, they’re unlikely to bump the state up to normal precipitation totals for the season.
It was a great exam question (at least I thought so – you’ll have to ask my Environmental Law and Policy students if they agree): Does the disposal of treated wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment plant into the ground through injection wells located a short distance from the ocean require a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act?
Last week, the California Department of Water Resources officially announced it would seek to build a single tunnel, but now the Metropolitan Water Agency of Southern California could change that. The Sacramento Bee reported that Metropolitan, the largest public water agency in the state, was contemplating a plan to fund a significant portion of California WaterFix. It was just a week ago that the state decided to scale back the project – a two-tunnel conveyance with a price tag of $17 billion.
Although California water watchers let their guard down after last winter’s deluge of hydration, the San Jose Mercury News published a reminder this week that the state’s drought is probably not over. In fact, it may turn out to be a decade-plus affair. The Mercury News quoted Heather Cooley of the Oakland non-profit Pacific Institute (which keeps tabs on water use) cautioning prudence at the tap:
Smart water meters, or meters that can relay your water-use wirelessly, are the future. Officials say the new meters can help customers conserve and even send alerts when waterline leaks are detected but installing the technology is critical to its success. Water billing was brought up at Thursday night’s public forum, hosted by Councilmember Chris Cate, where hundreds of homeowners who had questions about their water bills attended. “Every single time the water bill will come,” one homeowner said, “I will open it and I will be like, what is going on?”