Oroville Dam’s massive flood-control spillway will be deployed Tuesday for the first time since it was rebuilt for $1.1 billion after a near-catastrophe forced the evacuation of 188,000 people in 2017. In a brief statement Sunday, the California Department of Water Resources’ deputy director Joel Ledesma said the agency has “restored full functionality to the Oroville main spillway and is operating the reservoir to ensure public safety of those downstream. The Oroville main spillway was designed and constructed using 21st century engineering practices and under the oversight and guidance from state and federal regulators and independent experts.”
Archive for month: March, 2019
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Colorado lawmakers, citing lower revenue forecasts and competing needs, have dramatically reduced proposed funding for the Colorado Water Plan and Colorado River drought work, providing roughly one-third of what Gov. Jared Polis had requested in his budget for this year.
The March 26 opinion piece by Tom Buschatzke and 13 other Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan proponents to persuade the public that the DCP is good for the Salton Sea would have been better served – and made more believable – by a show of good faith rather than a show of force. People who know the Salton Sea as an actual place, rather than a place on a map, can tell the difference. That Buschatzke and his fellow river contractors would be defiantly for a plan that turns the Salton Sea into its first casualty is sad but unsurprising. For them, the Salton Sea was the final impediment on the road to the DCP, not the finish line.
The City Council approved a regional plan for managing the area’s groundwater resources, which brings a measure of local control and to qualify for state funds for water-related projects. The Fremont Basin Integrated Regional Water Plan has been in the works for at least four years, filling in a hole in water plans in the area, as the surrounding groundwater basins already have plans in place.California City is one of three primary stakeholders in the document, with the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and the Mojave Public Utility District.
This year presents an ideal opportunity to solve a critical public health issue that our state must address, and one we cannot afford to miss. While most California residents have access to safe drinking water, there are some people living in disadvantaged communities do not. This is primarily because the water systems within these communities are unable to adequately fund the operation and maintenance of treatment facilities capable of providing water in compliance with state and federal standards. Everyone agrees with the urgent need to provide families in these communities access to safe drinking water and is supportive of Gov. Gavin Newsom making it a top priority for the state.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, wants to create a tax on water customers to fund a safe drinking water program in disadvantaged communities. But a rival proposal by a lawmaker from his own party seeks to tap into the state’s record budget surplus instead. One million Californians live without clean water for drinking or bathing, according to Newsom. He recently called attention to hundreds of water systems in the state that are out of compliance with primary drinking water quality standards because of contamination by lead, arsenic or uranium.
California is the only state in the nation that has codified the human right to water. Along with the innovation that streams out of the Silicon Valley, the food that feeds the world that grows in the Central Valley, the creativity that flows from Los Angeles and the beauty that pours out of San Diego, Californians should be proud that we recognize the human right to water. Our pride, though, is diminished by the more than 1 million Californians who do not have access to safe, affordable drinking water in their homes and in their schools.
Asked to “Highlight Water in Everyday Life,” students from the Grossmont Union High School District wowed judges as part of a contest sponsored by the Helix Water District. The annual photography contest, open to any student attending school or residing within the district’s service area in East County, drew 74 entrants from four schools. Ten of the students — from Monte Vista, Grossmont and Santana high schools — earned awards. They met with Helix Water District board members and staff, and were honored at a special Helix board meeting on March 20.
Like a climate chameleon, California turned brown during the 2012–16 drought, as vegetation dried or died off. But the change wasn’t uniform. According to research from UCLA and Columbia University, large areas of the northern part of the state were not severely affected, while Southern California became much browner than usual. “Southern California is more prone than the northern part of the state to getting severe droughts,” said UCLA climate scientist Glen MacDonald, one of the paper’s authors. “But that difference seems to be increasing.”
It’s a whole new ballgame for the San Diego County Water Authority when it comes to finding leaks in major pipelines with cutting-edge technology.
One new tech tool deployed for the first time in February actually looks like a tennis ball that floats through water-filled pipelines scanning for potential trouble.
Of course, the new device is much more complex inside than a tennis ball – in fact, the Nautilus is among the most advanced tools of its kind in the world. It not only detects defects that are invisible to the human eye, it does so without requiring pipes to be drained, which saves a significant amount of water and disruption to customers.
The Nautilus is just the latest component of the Water Authority’s cutting-edge Asset Management Program that has been adopting and developing innovative tools for more than two decades. In fact, the Water Authority has been recognized by the American Water Works Association as a leader in the water industry for its focus on asset condition assessment, risk management, proactive pipeline replacement, and use of cutting-edge technology that saves ratepayers money.
“These high-tech tools are cost-effective and fit perfectly with our proactive approach to managing our infrastructure, including 310 miles of large diameter pipelines and 1,400 pipeline structures,” said Nathan Faber, an operations and maintenance manager with the Water Authority. “Our mission is to find potential failures in the system in advance, rather than react after a failure.”
‘Listening’ for leaks
The Nautilus uses acoustic feedback to detect leaks or abnormalities in active pipelines without causing any disruption to water service or supply, Faber said. About the size of a tennis ball, the Nautilus is placed inside a larger, sterilized foam ball, to float through operating pipelines.
For the First Aqueduct scan, 26 sensors, called synchronizers, were installed on various structures on the outside of the pipeline. Those sensors relayed information to the Nautilus as it floated between checkpoints. No leaks were discovered in the tested portions of the pipeline.
Leveraging new technology to gather data and pinpoint pipeline problems saves water and money.
“Responding or reacting after failures can cost up to six times the cost of proactive repairs,” Faber said.
He pointed to a recent pipeline repair project in La Mesa, where a Light Detection and Ranging device, or LIDAR, was used inside a pipe to provide highly-accurate digital measurements.
“The LIDAR took 1,600 measurements in five seconds,” Faber said. “The high-resolution images showed stressed pipe and verified cracking issues that allowed crews to make an efficient, proactive repair.”