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California WaterFix Project Picking Up Speed

The pace of activity related to the California WaterFix project has stepped up considerably in the last few weeks, and several major developments have arisen. Those developments included the resumption of the Part 2 hearings, the issuance of a major ruling by the State Water Resources Control Board, the revelation that the Metropolitan Water District is examining the option of funding a majority of the cost of a two-tunnel solution and the release of an long-awaited economic analysis of the project.

‘Much Needed’ Rain in Merced County Here to Stay, Weather Officials Say

Showers and gusty winds are expected in Merced County through Saturday, weather officials report, and will only let up for a couple days before the next system rolls in. “We are looking at a pretty wet pattern the next several days,” said William Peterson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Hanford. “This is a much needed rain.” As of Thursday afternoon, Merced and Los Banos saw about a quarter inch of rain, Peterson said. By Saturday about an inch of rain is expected to fall in Merced and Los Banos is expected to get about three fourths of an inch.

Human Errors Contributed To Oroville Spillway Failure

Damage to the main and emergency spillways of the Oroville Dam in California, triggered in February 2017 by heavy rain that was part of Northern California’s wettest winter in almost 100 years, has brought to light several lessons that hydropower and dam engineers can learn from the disaster. The cost to repair the spillway has reached $870 million, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR), as repair work has discovered numerous defects in the original construction from the 1960s.

Why New California Drought Regulations Have Caused An Uproar

On February 20, California’s State Water Resources Control Board postponed a decision on the adoption of new statewide regulations meant to curb wasteful water practices. The regulations would make permanent some rules California enacted temporarily during the recent drought, which ended last year. After several public comment periods this winter, water board staff tweaked the regulations to address concerns and recommendations from water users and other groups, but the postponement came after a large number of water agencies claimed the regulations are a violation of water rights.

Water Officials Want Homeowners to Stop Watering Their Lawns Next Week

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency is asking homeowners to stop watering their lawns for a week while work is carried out on a pipeline that supplies water to Los Angeles. Beginning March 4-10, water from Castaic Lake will be unavailable for use while repairs are made to a pipeline called the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Foothill Feeder system. The Foothill Feeder Connection which draws on water from Castaic Lake connects two of the agency’s water efficiency projects to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. It is part of the system that delivers water to SCV Water for treatment and distribution for urban use.

NASA Launches Advanced Weather Satellite for Western US

NASA has launched another of the world’s most advanced weather satellites, this time to safeguard the western U.S. An Atlas V (five) rocket blasted off Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the GOES-S satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s the second satellite in an $11 billion effort that’s already revolutionizing forecasting with fast, crisp images of hurricanes, wildfires and other natural calamities. The first spacecraft in the series has been monitoring the Atlantic and East Coast for the past year. The same first-class service is now coming to the Pacific region.

Mismatched Water Meter Retrofits Causing Soaring Bills

After weeks of questioning San Diego’s water department about water-meter retrofits and being told no retrofits are taking place at residential homes, NBC 7 Responds found one home where a botched smart meter replacement led to a customer being billed thousands of dollars more for water she did not use. After the discovery by NBC 7 Responds, city water officials disclosed five homes where meter replacements were done incorrectly. “Our bill for this last period is $4,831,” Pacific Beach homeowner Laura Ambrose said. Laura said her family usually pays around $200 every two months for 35 to 40 hundred-cubic-feet (HCF) of water. In her June-through-September bill last year, after Laura’s water meter was replaced with a new smart water meter, Laura saw her bill jump to more than $800. The city said she used 85 HCF of water.

Why Atmospheric Rivers Can Be A Blessing And A Curse

The storm currently hitting Southern California is the second this week, but it’s far different than its predecessor. The earlier storm originated near Alaska, like many of California’s winter storms do, but it packed little rain because it tracked over land instead of the Pacific Ocean. The second storm, the one that began drenching the region Thursday, is what’s known as an atmospheric river. It’s a type of storm that begins far out at sea, allowing it to gather abundant moisture as it barrels toward land driven by high winds.

Water For Federal Districts Again In Short Supply

Farmers in a West Side water district once again face a curtailed water supply in 2018. The respite of 2017, when growers in federal agencies such as the Del Puerto Water District enjoyed a full water allocation after several years of receiving little to no deliveries through the Central Valley Project, was short-lived. The federal Bureau of Reclamation announced last week that south-of-the-delta users such as Del Puerto will receive 20 percent of their full contract allocation this year. That allocation could be revised upward if conditions improve.