President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a plan to cut back on the use of water from the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. West. The Colorado River drought contingency plan aims to keep two key reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead, from falling so low they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower. It was negotiated among the seven states that draw water from the river.
Archive for date: April 16th, 2019
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Fourteen states, including New York and California, and the District of Columbia said the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to replace an Obama-era water regulation would end federal protection for half of wetlands and 15 percent of streams across the country. The attorneys general issued a joint statement on Monday critical of the EPA’s proposal to narrow the scope of protections in the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that President Barack Obama’s administration expanded in 2015 to cover a wide range of water bodies.
The ominous gray clouds hovering above Los Angeles on Tuesday aren’t likely to produce much more than the occasional sprinkle for the region before summer-like temperatures return later in the week. The dash of moisture, which forecasters say will be mostly focused on the northern slopes of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, is the result of a low-pressure system known as an inside slider that’s moving over the inland portion of the state.
San Diego relies on importing 85 percent of its water supply each year from the Colorado River and Sacramento Delta. But soon, that won’t be the case. The city is working on a multibillion-dollar project to purify enough wastewater to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035. The city’s project, called Pure Water, will soon raise resident’s water bills by $6 to $13 a month. That story prompted another round of reminders that some San Diegans aren’t thrilled about the idea of treated sewage flowing from their taps.
Six months after the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, the town of Paradise remains a disaster zone. Only 6 percent of the debris from last November’s Camp Fire has been hauled away. Burned-out skeletons of cars, piles of toxic rubble and blackened old-growth pine trees can still be seen everywhere. Before the wildfire, the population of Paradise was about 26,000. Today, it’s in the hundreds. The extent of the latest crisis unfolding in Paradise is yet unknown: The deadly fire may also have contaminated up to 173 miles of pipeline in the town’s water system with cancer-causing benzene and other volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
EPA won’t regulate any pollution to surface waters that passes through groundwater. The Clean Water Act regulates pollution to surface water and requires permits for so-called point-source discharges to them. But questions have remained about whether the law regulates any pollution that ends up in surface waters, or only direct discharges.EPA now says it’s the latter. “The agency concludes that the best, if not the only, reading of the Clean Water Act is that Congress intentionally chose to exclude all releases of pollutants to groundwater from the [point source] program, even where pollutants are conveyed to jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater,” the agency wrote in an interpretive statement posted online last night.