After a truly searing start to summer across most of California, especially in the south, the last several weeks have felt rather mild by comparison. The record-breaking heatwaves of July, followed by record warm ocean temperatures later in the summer in SoCal, made for very uncomfortable conditions across some of California’s most densely populated regions for much of the summer. Meanwhile, in interior NorCal, record daytime highs were few and far between–but relentless overnight warmth and persistently above-average daytime temperatures again combined to produce record or near-record summer temperatures. Indeed: across many parts of southern and interior California, 2018 was the warmest summer on record.
Archive for date: September 18th, 2018
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California’s system of dams and canals is made of equal parts concrete and injustice. Injustice is baked into the system, which unfairly burdens Stockton and the Delta. A “vast and powerful” constituency of Delta water exporters — the south-valley water districts of Big Ag, southland urban consumers — likes it that way. Their latest baby, the California WaterFix, is more of the same. On Monday Restore the Delta unveiled a new way of fighting the WaterFix, with its twin tunnels: showing its impacts will fall most heavily on the so-called “environmental justice community” of Stockton and the Delta region.
The last large-scale water storage facility to be built in California was constructed in 1979, and now, almost 40 years later, the drought-stricken state will receive funding for projects to help secure its water supply thanks to two local representatives. Valley Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) made sure that America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which passed the House last Thursday, included provisions that will support local irrigation districts and water agencies in their effort to improve and expand water projects throughout the state.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) filed a complaint on September 4, 2018 against the United States Section of the International Boundary Water Commission (IBWC), alleging violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) related to contamination in the Tijuana River. Relying on a 1944 U.S./Mexico treaty, the complaint alleges that the IBWC is responsible for addressing waste entering the U.S. from Mexico along the Tijuana River watershed.
CALIFORNIA’S CLIMATE IS changing, and droughts are becoming more intense. Five climate pressures will seriously stress the state’s water system: warming temperatures; shrinking snowpack; shorter and more intense wet seasons; more volatile precipitation; and rising seas. While California is making good progress in addressing some areas of climate vulnerability, a more focused plan of action is needed.
San Diego, Calif. – Welcome to the future. That’s the message from the San Diego County Water Authority, which is developing and deploying cutting-edge techniques to maintain its 310 miles of giant pipes that provide water for 3.3 million residents across the region. “This is all about assessing the condition of our pipelines through the most advanced technology at our disposal and performing repairs before age-related defects become an unforeseen issue,” said Martin Coghill, a senior water resources specialist for the Water Authority.
After a warm September for millions of Americans, October is expected to feel much more fall-like across the north-central and northeastern United States, but the chilly weather may be replaced by milder temperatures for the start of winter. Near- or below-average temperatures are expected in October from the northern Plains into the Midwest and Northeast, according to the latest outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business. The greatest chance for colder-than-average temperatures will be in the upper Midwest, western Great Lakes and parts of northern New York and northern Vermont.
MONSOON STORMS IN the desert Southwest are vital for recharging groundwater – but it now appears likely this recharge effect may be compromised by climate change. The major cities of the Southwest – Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas – currently get most of their freshwater from the Colorado River or its tributaries. That river, however, is experiencing its 19th straight drought year, suggesting a new permanent dry state is gripping the giant watershed
San Diego, Calif. – Welcome to the future.
That’s the message from the San Diego County Water Authority, which is developing and deploying cutting-edge techniques to maintain its 310 miles of giant pipes that provide water for 3.3 million residents across the region.
“This is all about assessing the condition of our pipelines through the most advanced technology at our disposal and performing repairs before age-related defects become an unforeseen issue,” said Martin Coghill, a senior water resources specialist for the Water Authority.
Coghill spoke before dozens of water industry officials and residents on hand for a Condition Assessment Technology Showcase during the Water Authority Board of Directors’ Engineering and Operations Committee in late August. The showcase included a review of the latest technologies to protect the region’s vital water infrastructure.
The show-and-tell included a 360-degree imaging system Coghill and his team recently developed to capture up-close views of the interior of pipelines too steep for crews to enter safely. Three-dimensional, virtual reality goggles were available for visitors to experience views recorded by the new imaging system.
A week earlier, the Water Authority hosted a technological show-and-tell for businesses and others interested in advancing the tools necessary to maintain and operate major water delivery systems. The outreach efforts were part of the agency’s expanding initiative to identify new technologies – or new uses for existing technology – to benefit the region’s water ratepayers.
Besides developing its own advanced tools, the Water Authority recently launched an online forum to solicit additional innovative concepts from entrepreneurs and members of the public.
Innovation technology takes center stage
One of the key areas in which the Water Authority has embraced innovation is maintenance of its large-scale pipeline system. Inspections with advanced technologies typically are conducted after the mid-point of a pipe’s projected lifespan, meaning some 60 miles of reinforced concrete pipe will need to be inspected over the next nine years. Visual inspections occur every 10 to 15 years.
Some of the advanced technology used in the asset management program was pioneered by the oil and gas industry, with the Water Authority and other agencies adapting and improving it for use in the water world.
“The Water Authority really is in a leadership role in trying new technologies for cost savings and efficiency, and some of these have been brought to us by private sector,” Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton said during the August showcase. “However, a lot of what has been on show has been developed by our own staff…. I can’t tell you how talented our staff is in this area.”
Added Stapleton: “A lot of this can be scaled down to retail agency size, so it can be transferred to member agencies and so those agencies can make repairs without pulling pipes out and disrupting communities.”