In early 2018, Cape Town, South Africa came dangerously close to being the world’s first major city to run out of water. People lined up for blocks to collect spring water. Stores sold out of receptacles like buckets and bowls. Bottled water was rationed in tourist-heavy parts of the city. April 12 was designated “Day Zero”—the day the water was expected to dry up. City officials prepared for riots, keeping army and police ready to be deployed to water collection sources.
Archive for date: June 18th, 2019
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The California Water Board released a Caution Advisory for harmful algae blooms Monday in Lake Oroville. The blooms of algae were discovered in the Middle Fork of the lake, according to an advisory released on the board’s Twitter Monday. In another message on Twitter, the board said that water samples collected were found negative for microcystin. However, lab samples are currently pending for potential toxin testing. Signs have been posted near the Middle Fork of Lake Oroville to advise those near or in the lake to take caution. Swimming is still permitted. On June 4, a caution advisory for harmful algal blooms was also issued for the Thermalito Afterbay.
Utah is now working with representatives from seven states to urge California to sign off on a plan to preserve the Colorado River. According to the Associated Press, most of the seven states that get water from the Colorado River have signed off on plans to keep the waterway from crashing since it serves 40 million people. However, California missed the deadline from the federal government to get on board with the other states. California has two powerful water agencies fighting over how to get the drought contingency plan approved before U.S. officials possibly impose their own rules for water going to California, Arizona and Nevada, the AP reported.
Nearly half the world’s electricity will come from renewable energy by 2050 as costs of wind, solar and battery storage continue to plummet. That titanic shift over the next three decades will come as electricity demand increases 62% and investors pump $13.3 trillion into new projects, according to a report released Tuesday by BloombergNEF. The move away from fossil fuel has sweeping implications for energy markets and the fight to stave off climate change. Wind, solar and batteries are poised to enable the power sector to meet its share of emission cuts required under the Paris climate agreement, at least until 2030, according to BNEF.
The southern portion of the Sierra has the heaviest snowpack at 135% of its mid-June average. Since 2001, only 2011 had a heavier snowpack in the southern Sierra this late in the season. The central Sierra is 120% of its mid-June average. Since 2001, only 2017, 2011 and 2005 have had snowpacks on par with or heavier as of mid-June in this portion of the Sierra. Snowpack in the northern Sierra is slightly above average for mid-June, but only five other years since 2001 had snowpack near or above what we are seeing right now in that part of the mountain chain.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District will offer residents in its service area free low-water or drought-tolerant plants beginning July 1. The district will give qualified residents vouchers redeemable for plants at Silverthorn Ranch Nursery in Fallbrook, which produces plants using recycled water. “Customers will go through an application process and qualified applicants will receive free plants to install in their landscape,” said Mick Cothran, Fallbrook Public Utility District engineering technician. “We want to encourage and help our customers replace turf with plants that don’t require a lot of water, and show them drought tolerant plants can be beautiful additions to their landscaping.”
In the third year of the Trump administration, Congress and the White House have repeatedly discussed a multi-trillion dollar investment in the country’s roads, dams, levees, telecommunication networks, power grids, drinking water pipes, and sewage treatment plants.
Neither side has agreed on such a plan, and a deal seems out of reach at the moment. For drinking water infrastructure, Congress has preferred instead to fortify existing loan funds and grant programs. The country’s metropolitan centers, by and large, are taking advantage of those incremental measures. They are also forging ahead on their own, not waiting on Beltway politics to be resolved before making investments to prepare their water systems for the decades ahead.
California has over 500 groundwater basins and only 21 are classified as “high-priority basins in critical overdraft.” The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin is one of these 21 basins. In the Santa Cruz Mid-County, critical overdraft means our freshwater supply is threatened by active seawater contamination at the coast and a locally developed Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) must be in place by January 31, 2020 that addresses how to achieve a sustainable basin by 2040. The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin provides water for a population of approximately 95,000 people from Live Oak to La Selva Beach and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Coast.