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California’s Clean Energy Conundrum

San Diego – While California draws nearly one third of its power from renewables, solar and wind energy systems are periodically pulled offline because there’s not enough demand when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. These so-called “curtailments” increased significantly between 2014 (when they were almost non-existent) and today. They could soon become a major barrier to a more sustainable future as more and more renewable energy sources are developed to meet peak demands.

Thankfully, California water agencies are well-positioned to play a pivotal role with a solution that makes the state’s electrical grid more flexible, stable and efficient. Strategic deployment of large-scale, long-duration pumped storage facilities could minimize curtailments and provide many other benefits.

Environment Report: Officials Worry Water Notices Are More Confusing Than Informative

Two weeks ago, the San Diego County Water Authority notified thousands of customers across the region that San Diego’s main drinking water treatment plant wasn’t doing everything it was supposed to do to kill viruses and parasites.

We reported on this and rounded up other violations issued to local water agencies by state drinking water regulators.

A few water officials worried that the notices were likely to cause more alarm than necessary. Federal law requires that water agencies notify customers of drinking water issues.

Green Water Could Help California’s Farming Woes

More effective use of green water – rainfall stored in soil – could mitigate irrigation demand for some of California’s most important perennial crops. So say US researchers who simulated 13 years’ growth of alfalfa, grapes, almonds, pistachios and walnuts under different irrigation strategies.

Though the Midwest might be America’s breadbasket, in value terms the nation’s agricultural output is dominated by California, which has become a globally significant producer of fruit and nuts.

State Appeals FEMA Spillways Reimbursement

The California Department of Water Resources was notified today that the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services submitted DWR’s Oroville spillways reimbursement appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Back in March, FEMA notified DWR that it does not consider some spillway reconstruction work to be eligible for reimbursement based on information DWR had previously submitted at the end of 2018. DWR appealed the initial reimbursement determination and provided FEMA with follow up information and updated cost estimates to support DWR’s appeal, according to a DWR press release.

Dead Fish Line Shore Of Scripps Ranch fishing Spot

Dozens of dead fish are now lining the shore of a popular Scripps Ranch fishing spot.

The die-off, largely of catfish and bluegill, happened over the weekend at Evans Pond, which is adjacent to the Scripps Miramar Branch Library.

On Sunday, the water was reflecting a deep green color, likely due to an algal bloom that contributed to the die-off.

Kamala Harris Proposes Bill To Invest In Safe Drinking Water

Sen. Kamala Harris is introducing legislation designed to ensure all Americans, particularly those in at-risk communities, have access to safe, affordable drinking water, the latest response to burgeoning water crises across the country. The California Democrat and presidential candidate’s “Water Justice Act” would invest nearly $220 billion in clean and safe drinking water programs, with priority given to high-risk communities and schools. As part of that, Harris’ plan would declare a drinking water infrastructure emergency, devoting $50 billion toward communities and schools where water is contaminated to test for contaminants and to remediate toxic infrastructure.

It’s Not Your Imagination — Humidity Is Getting Worse In San Diego

It’s part of the reason so many of us love living here so much, the beautiful sunny weather. But inject humidity into the picture and the sunny becomes sticky. That’s when what meteorologists call the “heat index” comes into play. Some people call it the “real feel” temperature.

But are we really feeling more humid weather in San Diego over the last several years?

Meteorologists at the local National Weather Service office in Rancho Bernardo said yes. “In recent years, it has definitely been more humid than normal,” said meteorologist Brandt Maxwell.

New Yolo Bypass Fish Passage Project Approved

The Department of Water Resources has secured final state and federal approval for a project that will expand a migration corridor for fish to the Yolo Bypass, the Sacramento Valley’s main floodplain. The project is part of the largest floodplain restoration action on the West Coast and demonstrates a commitment by DWR, the State Water Contractors, and the Bureau of Reclamation to protect native fish in California, while safeguarding agriculture, according to Erin Mellon, assistant director of public affairs for the DWR. The project aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent executive order calling for a Water Resilience Portfolio that creates a suite of actions to secure healthy waterways and ecological function through the 21st century.

Farm Bureau Endorses Water Legislation

Water legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate recognizes the continued crisis facing water reliability in the West, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF). CFBF endorsed the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who introduced the bipartisan legislation along with Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz). The bill would authorize federal funding for new storage, recycling and desalination projects; create a loan program for water supply projects; enhance forest restoration and other activities to benefit water supply or quality; and take additional steps to encourage water development.

OPINION: Drought Contingency Plans Embrace Water Marketing

At Hoover Dam on May 20, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation hosted the seven Colorado River Basin states at a ceremony to celebrate the signing of the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans. The jubilant mood of the dignitaries masked a grim reality facing the Basin states: legal rights to Colorado River water exceed the amount of water in the river, which supplies water to 40 million people and irrigates 5.5 million acres of farmland. The act authorizing the plans, which Congress enacted in a rare display of bipartisanship, is only a few paragraphs long. It simply instructs the secretary of the interior to carry out the provisions of various state drought plans.