The Sweetwater Authority anticipates that it will buy less imported water and supply customers with more from its own water supply in the upcoming fiscal year than in 2018-19, thanks primarily to above-average rainfall. The South Bay water agency estimates that the amount it will spend to purchase water will drop from $15.2 million in 2018-19 to $10 million in the fiscal year that begins in July. The projected decrease is reflected in the $46 million operating budget adopted by the governing board last week. Among notable increases in expenses in the 2019-20 spending plan, the Sweetwater Authority expects an 11 percent increase in employer pension contributions and an 8 percent increase in health insurance costs.
Archive for month: June, 2019
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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 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.”
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.
California beat its drought this year, but from that seven-year drought came a new device, engineered by a Cal Poly graduate. The sensor, called Flume, could be the next step in water conservation from your couch. Each American uses about 88 gallons of water at home each day, according to the EPA. That same report shows on average, a family spends $1,000 on water every year. “You literally just take [the device], put it on the side of the meter, run some water, and just like that you’re calibrated,” said Eric Adler, co-founder and CEO of Flume, Inc., while demonstrating the device.
Water is a complex problem on Earth: Some places get far too little of it and some get far too much. That’s why NASA and its international partners are tracking the flow of freshwater across the world in hopes of improving access to it for the billions of us who depend on it. Satellites study how water moves through its cycle. Sometimes it evaporates from warm oceans in the tropics, condenses into clouds and then falls back into the ground as snow or rain. The water might stay in a river or lake — or freeze, locked within ice or snow. It can either evaporate into the atmosphere or soak into the ground, moistening the soil or filling an aquifer.
With the spring and onset of summer comes the return of the lerp psyllid insect to Rancho Santa Fe’s trees, an insect that eats up red gum eucalyptus foliage and leaves behind a big mess. The weather being cold and rainy for the last two winters has helped—the lerp psyllid population dies down in the cold months and that, in combination with the abundant rain, has reduced the overall stress on the trees, they are able to sustain themselves a bit better, said Caitlin Kreutz, RSF Association Parks and Recreation assistant manager. But with the return of warmer weather, the lerps are back.
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.
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.