California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature. The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools. More than a year of legislative negotiations reflected the enduring conflicts over state and local control. Though the bills establish a framework to end excessive urban water use, the proposals were substantially weakened by a series of amendments sought by water districts.
Archive for date: May 18th, 2018
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In the next 18 months, a small plane will fly over every city in California, recording data on what kind of plants are growing in our lawns, parks and street medians. That data will help determine where we’re wasting water, and help cities use it more efficiently. It’s a radical departure from the way water conservation has been done in California in the past, when, during water emergencies, state officials would simply instruct cities to cut usage by a certain percentage.
Proposition 68, which was placed on the ballot by the California Legislature, would authorize the sale of $4 billion in bonds to establish and rehabilitate state and local parks and to pay for environmental, water infrastructure and flood protection projects. Opponents raise fair questions about the wisdom of new state borrowing in a year in which the state is running a big surplus. Supporters respond by saying it’s traditional to use bonds to pay for capitol improvements and by emphasizing the bond responds to real needs, starting with its focus on adding parks to neglected poor communities.
The Salton Sea is steadily disappearing, and communities near it are literally being left in the dust. California’s largest body of water — located in Imperial County near the Mexico-U.S. border — has been sinking for years, and dust clouds containing heavy metals, agricultural chemicals and fine particulates connected to asthma and other diseases are harming young people in that area. Children living in Imperial Valley have higher rates of respiratory problems compared to children elsewhere in the United States, according to a recently released government-funded survey conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California.
The Trump administration on Friday named Mike Stoker, a Santa Barbara County attorney and former oil company spokesman who some credit with coining the “lock her up!” chants against Hillary Clinton at the Republican Convention in 2016, as the new West Coast head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stoker will lead the U.S EPA Region 9 office, which is based in San Francisco. The office oversees a wide variety of subjects, from air pollution fines against oil refineries to drinking water issues and wetlands permits for developers in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Islands.
Three hundred miles to the south, our society rewards the makers of tech trinkets with the greatest fortunes ever amassed in history — largely, infamously untaxed. Meanwhile, a coalition of government officials here and in Sacramento is asking you to pay a little more to ensure that everyone in the state has access to clean drinking water. It’s true, clean drinking water is an admirable goal for all and a sad memory for some. Just ask the residents of Flint.
Water rate increases proposed by the San Diego County Water Authority staff for 2019 are among the smallest in the past 15 years due to financial benefits secured through litigation against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Water Authority’s planned use of its Rate Stabilization Fund, the agency reported Thursday. Rates charged to the Water Authority’s 24 member agencies would increase by 0.9 percent for treated water and 2.9 percent for untreated water in calendar year 2019, according to a proposal to be presented to the Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday, May 24.