Gov. Gavin Newsom, diving into one of California’s most contentious water issues, said Tuesday he wants to downsize the Delta tunnels project. The Democratic governor also set out to overhaul state water policy by naming a new chair of the state’s water board. Newsom said he wants the twin-tunnel project — designed to re-engineer the troubled estuary that serves as the hub of California’s elaborate water-delivery system — reduced to a single tunnel.
Archive for date: February 12th, 2019
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It’s all up to the Imperial Irrigation District. The fate of a seven-state plan to address dwindling Colorado River water supply now appears to rest squarely with the sprawling southeastern California water district. Its neighbor to the north, the Coachella Valley Water District, voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve interstate agreements that would conserve water for use by 40 million people and vast swaths of agricultural lands. IID has tied its approvals to a binding promise to receive $200 million in federal matching funds to restore the fast-dwindling Salton Sea, which lost critical Colorado River water imports a year ago.
Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $35.3 million for six authorized Title XVI water reclamation and reuse projects in California. The funding will be used to improve flexibility during water shortages and diversify the water supply. “Title XVI projects provide opportunities for communities to recycle wastewater and treat water that was previously unusable,” Commissioner Brenda Burman said. “It is a proven tool that enables communities to access dependable water supplies.”
Two years ago today, about 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate for fear the damaged Oroville Dam spillway would fail. While the worst fears never materialized, the incident had impacts still felt in the community. It also spawned new legislation related to dam safety, a modern rebuild of the spillway, and many lawsuits against the state Department of Water Resources. This is by no means a comprehensive summary, but below are some major updates related to the spillway crisis.
Sixty years ago, California voters approved Gov. Pat Brown’s plan for a 700-mile system of dams, water pumps and aqueducts to control flooding in Northern California and send water south to Los Angeles and San Diego. His son, Jerry, spent the better part of four terms as governor trying to expand his father’s work. On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom effectively capped the Browns’ multi-generation effort, known as the State Water Project, the source of about a third of Southern California’s drinking water.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday called for scaling back California’s two largest public works projects — the bullet train and delta water tunnels. In his first State of the State address in Sacramento, Newsom said the $77 billion bullet train project approved by voters should be canceled after the segment from Merced to Bakersfield is completed. “Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.,” he said. “I wish there were.” Newsom also called for only one of two massive tunnels to be built to connect the water systems in northern and southern California.
Three new directors representing the cities of Fullerton and Santa Ana, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency were seated today on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Adán Ortega, who owns a Fullerton-based public affairs firm, will represent Fullerton on Metropolitan’s 38-member board. He replaces Peter Beard, who served since July 2014. Santa Ana City Councilman Jose Solorio will represent the city, replacing Michele Martinez, who joined the board in March 2015. Jasmin A. Hall, a retired Southern California Edison employee of more than 27 years, will represent the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, succeeding Michael Camacho, who was named to the board in February 2011.
It’s hard to pin down how many billions of dollars the city is planning to spend on a new water recycling system, but it’s clear costs are rising – by billions of dollars. Back in 2015, the city of San Diego expected it would get about a third of its drinking water from recycled sewage within 20 years and could do so for about $3 billion in construction costs. Now, the city is looking to spend no less than $4.8 billion and perhaps as much as $9 billion on the project, according to city financial documents, including previously undisclosed internal estimates from the Public Utilities Department.