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‘They’re Going to Dry Up’: Debate Erupts Over Plan to Move Water From Farmland to Suburbs

A private company and the town of Queen Creek are proposing a water deal that would leave 485 acres of farmland permanently dry near the Colorado River and send the water used on that land to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb.

The company GSC Farm LLC is seeking to sell its annual entitlement of 2,083 acre-feet of Colorado River water — about 678 million gallons — to Queen Creek for a one-time payment of $21 million. The town and the company asked regulators at the Arizona Department of Water Resources to endorse the water transfer, and the agency is holding a series of four meetings this week to hear comments on the proposal.

Newsom Blocks New California Fracking Pending Scientific Review

In a victory for critics of California’s oil drilling industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday stopped the approval of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the permits for those projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists.

Newsom also imposed a moratorium on new permits for steam-injected oil drilling, another extraction method opposed by environmentalists that was linked to a massive petroleum spill in Kern County over the summer.

EPA Releases Review Protocol For PFAS

Contamination of drinking water from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be the nation’s most pressing drinking water quality issue. With many calling for the expedited banning and removal of PFAS in water sources, a new U.S. EPA procedure to better assess them may be a concrete step in that direction.

“The US EPA has published a systemic review protocol for the toxicity assessment of five per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and is now seeking the public’s input on its approach during a 45-day comment period,” according to Chemical Watch.

‘Round After Round’ of Rain Will Drench San Diego County Into Wednesday Night

San Diego County will experience a second day of heavy rain Wednesday from a cold storm out of the north that tapped into tropical moisture from the south as it surged into Southern California, according to the National Weather Service.

The entire region will get soaked, and all areas are under a flash flood watch. But the rain will be heaviest in northern and central San Diego County, especially along Interstate 15, from roughly Escondido north to the county line, forecasters say.

MarketInk: Canale, Mixte Southwest Shine at Annual PRSA Bernays Awards

Life sciences public relations firm Canale Communications received 14 awards, including a Best of Show distinction, at the recent 2019 Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence awards program presented by the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter.

A total of 73 awards were presented Nov. 7 at the Andaz San Diego Hyatt Hotel. Mixte Communications received 10 awards, including a Best of Show and Special Award for PR Team of the Year. Another top winner of the evening was public affairs firm Southwest Strategies with nine awards.

Four special awards were presented, including:

  • Deborah Baker PR Professional of the Year Award — Denise Vedder, San Diego County Water Authority
  • Eva Irving Community Service Award — Jean Walcher, J. Walcher Communications
  • 2019 Professional of the Year Award — Cambria Fuqua, Canale Communications
  • Otto Bos Hall of Fame Award — Marlee J. Ehrenfeld, MIG

California Finally Gets Rain, But Fire Threat Far From Over as 350,000 Face Power Outages

Parts of Southern California were under a flash flood watch Wednesday as areas of the southwest saw the first significant rainfall of a delayed wet season that fueled wildfires and forced intermittent power cutoffs to millions of residents.

The storm system brought heavy rain to portions of Arizona, and Phoenix could get 2 inches of rain before the storm ends there on Thursday. Prior to this storm, Sky Harbor International Airport had recorded only 3.68 inches for the entire year.

Water Reservoirs Below Average in Cascades

Coming off a summer of moderate drought with some crop losses, the five Cascade Mountain reservoirs serving irrigators in the Yakima Basin have less water than normal and the winter snowpack outlook is uncertain.

“We are in an El Nino neutral which would mean normal conditions and we would be fairly optimistic. No one has been calling for a dry or mild winter so we have no cause to think it will be,” said Chris Lynch, hydrologist for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Yakima. However, he added, a warm water body off the Gulf of Alaska, reminiscent of one there prior to the drought of 2015, could result in more moderate temperatures and less snow.

Full Funding of Land Water Conservation Fund Passes Key Senate Hurdle

A key Senate panel has voted to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a move that conservation groups see as a significant victory. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee voted Tuesday morning to permanently authorize and completely fund the program, which was established in 1964 to help with outdoor projects on public lands.

The bill passed with bipartisan support out of the committee and now faces a full floor vote. The LWCF, which was permanently reauthorized this spring, receives most of its revenue from on- and offshore oil and gas drilling.