Even as winter and early-spring storms have filled reservoirs to the brim and piled snow on Sierra Nevada mountaintops, state and federal officials say they’re limited in how much water they can send south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. California’s lead water agency on March 20 set anticipated deliveries to contractors at 70 percent of requested supplies. The Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) update came a few days after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that agricultural operations north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta will receive their full supplies while south-of-Delta ag contractors will receive 55 percent.
Archive for date: April 10th, 2019
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The state Department of Water Resources stopped releases from the Oroville Dam spillway on Wednesday because of forecasts showing upcoming dry weather. The department said releases were halted at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Outflows from the newly reconstructed spillway started at 8,300 cubic-feet per second, or cfs, on April 2 and peaked at 25,000 cfs on April 7. “Releases over the past 10 days have provided adequate space in the reservoir to help provide flood protection,” said Erin Mellon, assistant director of public affairs, in a written statement.
Lawmakers recently heard testimony about the needs of California’s water grid at a recent House Subcommittee meeting on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Several experts presented information about the current conditions of western water infrastructure and what will be required going forward. “One of the first priorities is to really think about groundwater as a more active part of this grid; manage it more intensively and actively. The second piece is fix what’s broken and expand capacity where it’s needed,” Director of the Water Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), Ellen Hanak told the committee.
Throwing away millions of taxpayer dollars to re-purpose contaminated waste for creating toxic retention ponds disguised as “habitat,” in the middle of a desert waste sump, is not good logic. At its core, the ill-advised attempt to “restore” the Salton Sea is nothing short of environmental malpractice. It will inevitably fail at a very high cost to both wildlife and taxpayers, succeeding only in perpetuating a hazardous condition. Activists have been peddling the backward notion that Salton Sea is polluted and therefore needs to be “saved,” in large part because birds are threatened. The reality: Birds are in peril because the Salton Sea exists.
It’s official: This week, San Francisco surpassed what’s normal for the water year, and the rainy season isn’t over yet. The city measures 23.65 inches of rain on average in a water year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. After a round of light showers on Monday, the downtown gauge’s water-year total hit 23.69 inches. With more unsettled weather in the forecast, that number is bound to inch up even more in April and May, before holding steady through the summer months. While this season has stood out in many people’s minds as noteworthy and painstakingly rainy, “it’s just a normal year,” said Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services.
Senate Bill 559 (SB 559), authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District in California, and principal co-authored by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), and Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), today advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water by 7-0 vote. The legislation, which received bipartisan support, will invest $400 million from the State’s General Fund towards the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the Central Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.
With summer and its accompanying heat, you may be asking if you really want to pay for your increased water bill thanks to your thirsty lawn. Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California and its member agencies understand your concern and have returned with an upgraded rebate program for customers who remove grass from their yards and replace it with sustainable landscaping. The upgraded turf replacement program now offers $2 per square foot for the grass removal/ sustainable landscaping program which is double the rebate amount that was most recently offered. The last time MWD and its agencies offered a $2-per-square-foot incentive was during the drought of 2014/2015.
The City of San Diego has agreed to return more than $3.7 million to the city’s sewer fund which it took to pay for a citywide conversion to wireless water meters. The refund was made in hopes of ending a lawsuit filed by a ratepayer who said the city was charging the 8,500 sewage customers who do not use city water in order to help pay for the $67 million conversion to Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI. The new meters will allow ratepayers to monitor their current water usage as well as make it easier to check for leaks. At the same time, the city’s water department would benefit in reducing meter reading errors and cut down on employee hours.
Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, released Wednesday what he’s calling a “climate playbook” — a list of more than 50 pieces of legislation introduced by Democrats as well as Republicans since 2017. The congressman said revisiting bipartisan ideas to rein in climate change is a better use of time than focusing on the Green New Deal, a wide-ranging resolution aimed at wiping out greenhouse emissions by 2030 and creating new jobs.
From inside a small airplane, tracing the Colorado River along the Arizona-California border, it’s easy to see how it happened. As the river bends and weaves through the American Southwest, its contents are slowly drained. Concrete canals send water to millions of people in Phoenix and Tucson, Los Angeles and San Diego. Farms, ribbons of green contrasted against the desert’s shades of brown, line the waterway. Further downstream, near Yuma, Arizona, the river splits into threads, like a frayed piece of yarn. A massive multi-state plumbing system sends its water to irrigate the hundreds of thousands of farm acres in southern California and Arizona, hubs for winter vegetables, alfalfa, cotton and cattle.