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OPINION: The Infrastructure Crisis Lurking In The Shadows

California, like many states, faces an infrastructure crisis, but not just the one affecting the roads we drive on, water systems we rely on, and the electricity that powers our everyday lives. As critical as it is for state and federal policy makers to focus on the resiliency of the state’s infrastructure, we also need to focus on a critical element that often is overlooked: the people who know how to build, maintain and operate the infrastructure we use every day.

Western Senators Introduce Bipartisan Drought Legislation

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) today introduced the bipartisan Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, a bill to improve the nation’s water supply and drought resiliency. The legislation builds on Senator Feinstein’s 2016 California drought legislation that was included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. “The effects of climate change are here to stay, and one enormous effect on the West is more – and more severe – droughts,” said Senator Feinstein. “As California continues to recover from a historic drought, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory now estimates that the Sierra snowpack, a primary source of water for California, will decrease by 79 percent by the end of the century.

Pure Water Day Delivers Pure Family Fun

The City of San Diego held its third ‘Pure Water Day’ Open House at the North City Water Reclamation Plant in the Miramar area, inviting residents to enjoy family-friendly activities and learn about the upcoming project construction. More than 300 people took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Pure Water Demonstration Facility and tasted the purified water produced at the facility following their tour. Residents of University City, Clairemont, and Scripps Ranch learned about Phase 1 of construction scheduled in their neighborhoods.

Environment Report: City Poised To End Its Styrofoam Recycling Program

San Diego looks ready to give up its money-losing plan to recycle plastic-foam food containers and packing material. A few years ago, as other cities were banning the material, commonly called Styrofoam, the San Diego City Council decided it would recycle the stuff instead. It knew then it would likely lose money, at least $90,000 a year. That may have been more palatable a few years ago because the city used to make several million dollars a year by selling other recyclables. City officials — lobbied hard by Dart Container Corporation, a plastics maker — also thought the loss was a small price to pay to make things easier on consumers and restaurant owners who preferred inexpensive, durable and insulating foam.

OPINION: Our Mojave Water Project Makes Good Sense

Cadiz operates a large agricultural property in California’s Mojave Desert at the base of a 1,300 square mile watershed with an aquifer system storing more water than Lake Mead. We currently irrigate the property with groundwater, but it’s a “tipping cup” and what we don’t use migrates to saline playas and evaporates—over 10 billion gallons lost annually. By managing the aquifer and this loss, Cadiz will  sustainably provide new water to 400,000 Californians.

Does Limited Underground Water Storage Make Plants Less Susceptible To Drought?

You might expect that plants hoping to thrive in California’s boom-or-bust rain cycle would choose to set down roots in a place that can store lots of water underground to last through drought years. But some of the most successful plant communities in the state — and probably in Mediterranean climates worldwide — that are characterized by wet winters and dry summers  have taken a different approach. They’ve learned to thrive in areas with a below-ground water storage capacity barely large enough to hold the water that falls even in lean years.

If You Haven’t Seen Oroville Dam Repair Work In A While, Here’s The Latest

Crews have finished placement of the structual concrete cap on the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam, according to the California Department of Water Recources.The cap can be seen in a DWR video released June 10, 2019. The work took place from January to May 2019. It’s been over two years since a hole opened up in the spillway, forcing the evacuation of nearly 180,000 people in California.

Officials Hope A New Treatment Plant Will Help Fix This Small Sacramento County Town’s Drinking Water Issues

Unsafe drinking water is common in Northern Californian cities. So common, in fact, that Governor Gavin Newsom called it a crisis during his State of the State address in February. That’s why water officials in Sacramento County are taking steps to solve the problem for residents of Hood, a small town located 20 miles south of Sacramento. Sacramento County Water Resources recently broke ground on the new Hood Water Treatment Plant, providing a new source of safe and reliable drinking water for the community.

 

Mysterious Freshwater Reservoir Found Hidden Beneath The Ocean

Scientists have found a gigantic freshwater aquifer hidden deep below the ocean. The surprising discovery, from a new survey of the sub-seafloor off the northeast U.S. coast by researchers from Columbia University, appears to to be the largest formation of this type anywhere in the world — stretching from Massachusetts to New Jersey and extending continuously out about 50 miles to the edge of the continental shelf. Researchers said that if it was discovered on the surface it would create a lake covering some 15,000 square miles.