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New Water Year Brings Uncertainty

Monday marked the beginning of the 2019 water year. Experts say it’s hard to know what this year will bring – considering the state’s significant weather variability on a year-to-year basis – but steps are being taken to prepare in spite of the uncertainty. “It’s been relatively dry so far this past water year, but it’s no indication of what kind of year we are going to have in Water Year 2018-19,” said Mike Inamine, executive director of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency.

Water Desalination Report

Despite interest from state’s Department of Water Resources and a $1.4 million grant from the Bureau of Reclamation, the San Diego County Water Authority’s $2.5 million intake testing program for the proposed Camp Pendleton Seawater Desal Project has apparently been cancelled. Last week, in a letter to the State Lands Commission, the Water Authority’s general manager Maureen Stapleton said that the Authority intended to “withdraw our application for State lands Commission approval due to the extraordinary permitting challenges created by State Lands Commission staff, that go above and beyond the statutory and regulatory requirements for this project.”

The $8.9 Billion California Water Bond That Has Environmentalists Divided

California voters in November will decide whether or not to approve a controversial $8.9 billion bond measure for water-related projects like groundwater storage, water treatment and restoring protected habitats.

California Turning Away From Traditional Imported Water Sources and Toward More Resilient Localized Water Supplies

In 2014 California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which provides the framework for local water management agencies to develop and implement groundwater sustainability plans in order to sustainably manage the state’s groundwater within 20 years. This legislation was California’s first ever attempt to sustainably manage groundwater resources, a long overdue effort given that the state relies on groundwater for 40 percent of its total water supply in an average year. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act aims to ensure that groundwater basins are being managed in a way that achieves “sustainable yield”—the maximum quantity of water that can be withdrawn annually from a groundwater supply without causing an “undesirable result.”

Season’s First Rainfall Sweeps Into Southern California

Southern California faces the possibility of flooding and slides in wildfire burn areas, including in the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County near the site of the recent Holy Fire, as a storm brings rain to the region this week.

Rosa and Non-Tropical Storm to Deliver Dangerous Flooding, Drought-Busting Rain in Southwestern US

Rosa will spread the risk of life-threatening flash flooding over the interior Southwest, while a non-tropical storm spreads soaking rain into much of California this week.

The Cost of Cleaning Up Nitrate Contamination Falls on America’s Poorest Counties

Millions of people in the United States drink water contaminated with nitrates from agricultural runoff, which can have adverse effects on human health. For decades, cities and towns in California and the Midwest, where much of this pollution is concentrated, have tried to clean up their water—for a high price. Now, an Environmental Working Group report has found that the brunt of this cost falls on small, rural communities, where a disproportionate amount of residents are living in poverty.

Drought Goes On, Water Use Goes Down and Supplies Stay Reliable

The beginning of the eighth year of drought conditions in Santa Barbara should be a red-alert for water managers, but the crisis is being managed. A multi-part plan is being used to slow down the water use and preserve what’s in the local storage sites both above and below the ground.

How A Law On Lead In School Drinking Water May Not Go Far Enough

In January of this year, a state law went into effect that requires public schools throughout California to test their drinking water for lead by July of 2019. Lawmakers enacted the regulation in an effort to improve water quality at schools. And while thousands of water districts have now tested their water for lead, a special report out of the education news website EdSource found many ways in which the law is lacking.

Northern California Sees Showers After Lengthy Dry Spell

Rain showers moved across Northern California on Tuesday after months of extremely dry weather. “What’s that on the radar? Yep, it’s rain!” the Sacramento National Weather Service office tweeted. Showers were reported from the coast inland to the state capital and the San Joaquin Valley, but rainfall rates varied greatly. The 0.01 inch (0.25 millimeter) of rainfall received in Fresno by early afternoon was enough to crow about.