Climate change through the rest of the 21st century could be much more threatening to coastal California than previously anticipated, based on newly published research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. The new numbers are dramatic: Dynamic flooding in California could total more than $150 billion in property damage and impact about 600,000 people by the year 2100, according to research. When factoring in population trends, extreme scenarios could increase the total number of affected Californians to more than 3 million.
Archive for date: March 13th, 2019
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After more than a decade in the making, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, was signed into law by President Donald Trump as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The National Heritage Area Act will provide $10 million for community-based efforts to conserve the Delta’s cultural heritage and historical landmarks. Garamendi, who served as deputy secretary to the U.S. Department of the Interior under Bill Clinton, reintroduced the act in January. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has sponsored a Senate companion bill since 2010.
Why is Poseidon trying to hide the real costs of its water boondoggle? Because it doesn’t make any sense for ratepayers. The privately owned Poseidon water project would depend on a massive public handout of $400 million. On top of that subsidy, Poseidon would charge ratepayers significantly more for its water than any of the alternative water supply projects recently evaluated by the independent Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (MWDOC). Poseidon is a bad deal for ratepayers.
After a series of storms, multiple “atmospheric rivers” and Sierra deluges, Northern California can boast an impressive amount of snowfall this winter. The National Weather Service said Tuesday that over the course of the season, more than 50 feet of snow has fallen at the highest elevations. And across the state, California’s snowpack is doing quite well as a result. As of Tuesday, the average statewide snow-water equivalent is a whopping 3 feet, 6 inches, which is 160 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Drought conditions have been pushed to the far corners of the state, with nearly 90 percent of the state not under drought conditions, according to the federal National Drought Mitigation Center.
The researchers analyzed downstream ecosystems from four rivers, two dammed and two unobstructed, in the Mexican Pacific states of Sinaloa and Nayarit. They found dramatic coastal recession along the mouths of the obstructed rivers, including in vital ecosystems like mangrove forests, which provide protection from storms, commercial fishery habitats, and belowground carbon storage. The rivers that the researchers studied run roughly parallel to each other through similarly-developed land, into large coastal lagoon systems. The Santiago and Fuerte rivers have dams that provide hydroelectric power for the region, but withhold 95% of the flow of these rivers. Meanwhile, the San Pedro and Acaponeta rivers are relatively free-flowing and undammed, with over 75% of the rivers remaining unobstructed.
These days, Pedro Pizarro spends a lot of time fighting fires. Pizarro is president and chief executive of Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, which provides electricity to 15 million people. Unlike Pacific Gas & Electric — which could face tens of billions of dollars in liabilities from fires linked to its infrastructure — Pizarro’s company has stayed out of bankruptcy court despite facing similar wildfire-related risks.
Sacramento law makers have shown little interest in helping the Valley solve its water problems yet the only path forward is to get them to take interest in the area that grows most of the state, and the nation’s food. A panel discussion last Wednesday at the Citrus Showcase, an industry conference for growers hosted by Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual (CCM), discussed the looming deadline for local governments to comply with the Groundwater Sustainability Management Act (SGMA). Often referred to as “sigma,” the 2014 law set a deadline of Jan. 31, 2020 for local agencies to implement plans to become water neutral, meaning they put as much water back into the ground as they take out.
Awarding of a three-quarter-million-dollar capital projects contract was among the key items tackled during Monday’s regular meeting of the Indian Wells Valley Water District Board of Directors. The board also heard of a significant employee safety milestone and received an update on bulk water system upgrades, among other topics. A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system contract in the amount of $797,252.93 was awarded to low bidder ATSI, Inc. The contract consists of hardware and software used to communicate with wells and pumps and is part of capital projects in the annual budget. The recommendation from the Plant and Equipment Committee to award the contract passed unanimously.
In the most extensive study to date on sea level rise in California, researchers say damage by the end of the century could be far more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires in state history. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest amount of sea level rise — often dismissed as a creeping, slow-moving disaster — could overwhelm communities when a storm hits at the same time.