Shortly after two major earthquakes rocked buildings and rattled nerves in the Kern River Valley earlier this month, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer officials reported that it was “business as usual” at Isabella Dam, stating that the 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquake on July 5 did not cause any structural damage or safety concerns. Safety inspections on Isabella Dam were conducted immediately following the two earthquakes that were both centered outside of Ridgecrest with the use of both digital technology and on-the-ground inspections. Due to the ongoing construction that has been underway for the past three years at Isabella, Corps officials have been monitoring both Main and Auxiliary dams for seismic activity on a regular basis.
Archive for date: July 17th, 2019
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It was a match made in heaven, at least for the residents of Los Angeles, but it will soon be coming to an end. For around 20 years, Los Angeles has shipped a large portion of “biosolids” from its toilets to fertilize a farm it owns just west of Bakersfield. Bakersfield, in return, has been providing an annual load of 18,000 acre-feet of free water to the farm, Green Acres, in a deal that was meant to benefit both cities. However, Bakersfield is choosing not to renew the water contract with LA, and the farm will have to find another source to irrigate its crops.
In a move intended to provide access to discussions that happen at the committee level, the Sweetwater Authority has decided to post audio it records of those meetings online. The decision, announced this week by the South Bay water agency’s general manager in an email to the governing board, came after a July 11 report and subsequent critical editorial in The San Diego Union-Tribune about a policy change that did away with a requirement to keep minutes of meetings when board members on committees convene. Staff still planned to record audio. The revision to the policy on committees was criticized by Director Josie Calderon-Scott, who has represented the Bonita area since 2016, as well as some ratepayers.
When government agencies face sharp criticism for their decisions, it’s rare for them to immediately admit error. But that’s just what the Sweetwater Authority has done. On Friday, The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board posted an editorial criticizing the water agency for no longer requiring that minutes be kept at meetings of two important committees where key decisions are made. We wrote that Sweetwater, which serves 190,000 people in National City, Bonita and parts of Chula Vista, should be more transparent, not less. We suggested Josie Calderon-Scott, the only board member who seemed worried about this decision, should record committee meetings and post the audio online.
Cuyama landowners will soon have to pay to pump groundwater, a decision that some say will place the burden of Cuyama’s dwindling water supply largely on farmers’ shoulders.
At a board of directors meeting on July 10, the Cuyama Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency voted to approve a pay-to-pump funding structure, in which landowners are charged extraction fees each time they pump water from Cuyama’s groundwater basin. The pumping fees will fund the sustainability agency’s continued efforts to implement a groundwater sustainability plan as ordered by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a state law that requires critically overdrafted basins to submit plans for groundwater sustainability by Jan. 31, 2020.
Monterey County’s Nacimiento Dam safety program is seriously deficient with an outdated program document, insufficient staff and a long list of outstanding dam safety repairs and maintenance estimated to cost more than $50 million that needs to be addressed in short order.
That’s according to an independent outside audit of the dam safety program conducted by GEI Consultants, Inc. whose findings and recommendations were presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The program is operated by the county Water Resources Agency which is overseen by the county board in its capacity as the agency’s ultimate oversight authority. The audit report itself is not publicly released because it is considered critical energy infrastructure information under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations.
It may be out of sight, but it should not be out of mind. Water hidden beneath the earth’s surface comprises 98% of the planet’s fresh water. On average, this groundwater provides a third of all total water consumed, and its preciousness is ever more palpable since Cape Town’s water crisis sent shock waves rippling around the world.
Despite this, its regulation is far from ideal – especially now that drought conditions are intensifying around the globe and people are increasingly drilling downwards.
Water and healthcare was forced into the State’s 2019-2020 budget as a priority this year.
With a $22 billion surplus and $215 billion in spending, the southern region of the Central Valley got the financial OK needed from the State’s budget to get some projects off the ground. Brokered in large part by rookie state senator for California’s 14 Senate District, Melissa Hurtado, the southern portion of the Valley has gained tens of millions of dollars of investment in drinking water, asthma mitigation, aging and disability resource centers and Valley Fever research.