In 2007, the small town of Lanare in California’s Central Valley finally got what it had desperately needed for years — a treatment plant to remove high levels of arsenic in the drinking water. But the victory was short-lived. Just months after the $1.3 million federally funded plant began running, the town was forced to shut it down because it ran out of money to operate and maintain it. More than a decade later, the plant remains closed and Lanare’s tap water is still contaminated — as is the drinking water piped to about a million other Californians around the state.
Archive for date: August 21st, 2018
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Chula Vista, Calif. – The SweeetwaterAuthority authorized new water rates and charges at a public hearing on August 20. Authority customers will see an increase in their water bill for the first time since 2015.
“The budget and rate study process supports the Authority’s commitment to transparency and delivers on its mission to provide safe and reliable water to its valued customers,” said Governing Board Chair Teresa “Terry” Thomas. “The creation and adoption of the Authority’s rate stabilization fund will minimize future rate increases for our customers.”
Some students plant trees. Some hug them. This summer, eight Cal State Fullerton students sampled trees. Really, the students were listening to what trees had to say about the droughts and fires they had lived through. Specifically, the students extracted cores from trees in the Sierra Nevada – including some in Yosemite that had burned a few years ago – and are now examining the cores back on campus. A new laboratory, the Cal-Dendro Tree Ring Laboratory, has been set up to conduct research on the cores, which are expected to reveal valuable data going back 500 to 1,000 years.
Central Valley farmers and their elected leaders converged on Sacramento on Tuesday to accuse the state of engineering a water grab that puts the fate of fish above their fields and jeopardizes a thriving agricultural economy. The allegations came at a meeting of the powerful State Water Resources Control Board, which recently unveiled a far-reaching plan to shore up the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the West Coast’s largest estuary and a source of water for much of California.
Following California’s adoption of new water efficiency legislation in May, quite a lot has been written about the implications for urban water providers and their customers. The dominant emerging narrative is that by signing these “draconian measures” into law Gov. Jerry Brown has made it “illegal to shower and do laundry on the same day,” that individuals using more than 55 gallons of water per day will be subject to “hefty fines,” and that state authority over local water utilities has expanded in ways that “amount to tyranny.”
Water customers in National City, Bonita and western Chula Vista will see more expensive bills over five years under a proposal the Sweetwater Authority governing board approved Monday. The board voted 5-1 to authorize the plan, which allows the agency to increase rates between 2020 and 2024 based on the annual change in consumer prices. Board member Jose Preciado cast the dissenting vote. Board member Steve Castaneda was absent.
North River Farms, a proposed development that would bring hundreds of homes, a hotel and commercial properties to a rural area of northeastern Oceanside, returns to the City Council on Wednesday to request a development agreement. Approval of the agreement would allow the developer, Integral Communities, to negotiate the terms of things such as new water and sewer lines, street improvements and affordable housing that the city requires to be included with the project. Further approvals would be required before any construction begins.
A water main broke Tuesday in Coronado, flooding an intersection and shutting off water to a block of homes in an outage that was expected to last until early Wednesday morning. Brown water flooded the roadway near Pomona Avenue and Sixth Street about 3:30 p.m., city officials said. A contractor reportedly hit the line, causing the break. Crews from California American Water “committed to work around the clock until the broken water line is repaired,” city officials said on Facebook. Water service was expected to be restored a few hours after midnight.
More than 225 San Diego County homeowners have transformed their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds through the Sustainable Landscapes Incentive Program developed by the San Diego County Water Authority and its partners. Since the program launched in October 2016, more than 354,000 square feet of turf has been removed and replaced with sustainable landscaping. Approximately 100 projects are still under way, though the program isn’t taking new applications.
More than 225 San Diego County homeowners have transformed their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds through the Sustainable Landscapes Incentive Program developed by the San Diego County Water Authority and its partners.
Since the program launched in October 2016, more than 354,000 square feet of turf has been removed and replaced with sustainable landscaping. Approximately 100 projects are still under way, though the program isn’t taking new applications.
Instead, a new generation of rebates is available through the Landscape Transformation Program offered by the Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Residential rebates start at $1 per square foot, up to $1,500 per year. In the Water Authority’s service area, participants can receive $2.75 to $4 per square foot, depending on their retail water agency and funding availability. For more information, go to SoCalWaterSmart.com.
“We are leaders in developing innovative initiatives like the Sustainable Landscapes Program, and we are pleased to see other programs embracing the same holistic approach,” said Carlos Michelon, who leads the Water Authority’s conservation team.
Removing turf grass is one of the best ways to reduce outdoor water use – but it’s just a piece of the larger movement toward sustainable landscapes. A holistic approach to environmental stewardship involves enhancements such as reducing or preventing wasteful runoff by using rainwater capture or filtration systems, along with other upgrades.
In San Diego County, the Sustainable Landscapes Program helped generate substantial interest, and it set the bar for similar efforts to include education, technical assistance and incentives.
“As with the initial Sustainable Landscapes Program, the new incentive program requires that homeowners incorporate the four key components of sustainable landscaping: healthy soils, high-efficiency irrigation, rainwater harvesting and climate-appropriate plants,” said Jana Vierola, a water resources specialist for the Water Authority.
“People are putting much more thought and care into their landscapes,” she said. “It’s not just gravel and two plants. People are creating sustainable designs for much more of a long-term commitment.”
An example of the upgrades inspired by the Sustainable Landscapes Program:
Free WaterSmart classes help homeowners achieve successful results
Vierola said homeowners interested in sustainable landscaping should take advantage of the Water Authority’s free WaterSmart classes and other resources.
“Residents who participate in our classes and follow the guidebook tend to have more successful projects,” Vierola said. “Through these educational programs and resources, customers get a better understanding of best practices and recommendations for a watershed approach to landscaping.”
The next Three-Hour Landscape Design for Homeowners workshops are August 28 in Encinitas, September 8 in Fallbrook, September 22 in Oceanside, and October 27 in Vista. Click here for details.