Water is all around us. The only problem is that it remains trapped in the atmosphere until the right conditions release it as rain or snow. Now Omar Yaghi, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has helped find a way to grab that water anytime we need it.
Archive for month: May, 2018
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Construction is underway on a Palm Desert groundwater replenishment facility, which the Coachella Valley Water District says will add up to 25,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water into the aquifer each year. The new facility will be built in two phases, one placing replenishment ponds just south of the water district’s Steve Robbins Administration Building and another involving the construction of ponds within the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel, between Cook Street and Fred Waring Drive. An estimated completion date was not provided by CVWD.
A bacteria common to sewage and feces was found in Camp Pendleton, California’s drinking water last month, Marine Corps officials warned on-base families this week in a notice obtained by Military.com. Base residents received a notice May 29 from the installation’s housing office that coliform bacteria had been found in the water supply during a routine test in April. The notice, dated May 25, says the drinking water is safe and that residents “do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions.”
Although he declared an end to California’s historic five-year drought last year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed two new laws that will require cities and water districts across the state to set permanent water conservation rules, even in non-drought years. “In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely,” Brown said in a statement. “We have efficiency goals for energy and cars – and now we have them for water.”
The drought may be over, but California residents should prepare themselves for new and more permanent restrictions on water use. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills Thursday to set permanent overall targets for indoor and outdoor water consumption. Assembly Bill 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, and Senate Bill 606 from state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, give water districts more flexibility than the strict cuts mandated under Brown’s emergency drought order and will eventually allow state regulators to assess thousands of dollars in fines against jurisdictions that do not meet the goals.
What to make of the propositions on California’s June 5 ballot? As ever, the issues span the political spectrum. But two address the environment, one asking voters to shell out billions to improve it and another that could make it more difficult for the state to spend billions on helpful projects. Taken together, these measures would provide money to shore up crumbling levees, give kids more places to play and help clean the air—albeit at a price—and affect how the state spends proceeds of the cap-and-trade system that California uses to reduce greenhouse gases. Let’s unpack.
Researchers have examined data collected by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission during the period 2002 to 2016 to track freshwater trends worldwide. In a new report, they claim that data shows access to freshwater will be the biggest challenge to humanity in the 21st century. The GRACE data made it possible for the researchers to track changes in freshwater resources around the world even in areas where local data has been scarce or unavailable, according to a report in The Guardian.
In the heart of the drought, reservoirs were getting sucked dry and the immediate concern was that we would not have enough water for everybody. These were stressful, dramatic days and in 2014, California residents voted to spend billions of dollars to fend off the next drought. The Prop 1 Water Bond was passed by 66 percent of voters and the long road to build water storage, and conservation, were underway.
The battle to drain the reservoir in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley reignited Wednesday as critics of the historic dam told a panel of judges in Fresno that their legal case to raze it should proceed, despite an earlier decision to dismiss the suit. In California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal, attorneys for the group Restore Hetch Hetchy reiterated their longtime argument that San Francisco should not be operating a reservoir in a national park because it violates a provision of the state Constitution requiring reasonable water use.
In contrast to the federal government’s chronic underinvestment in the pipes, pumps, and plants that supply and treat the nation’s drinking water, America’s large cities are forging ahead with fresh spending to modernize their systems. One result is that all the work to repair municipal water systems is raising the cost of service. In its latest annual survey of water price trends in 30 large U.S. cities Circle of Blue found that the average price of residential drinking water for a family of four using 100 gallons per person per day rose 3.3 percent last year.