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Trump Administration Unveils New Clean Water Act Rules. California Could See Big Impact

The Trump administration on Thursday revealed an overhaul of the Clean Water Act that could remove federal protections for waterways around the country, including as many as two-thirds of those in California.

The arid West, where intermittent rainfall often flows through arroyos and washes, could be especially impacted by the rollback of federal jurisdiction, as the new “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” will remove federal oversight from ephemeral waterways created by rain or snow.

About 66% of California’s waterways are ephemeral or intermittent, according to the government’s own reports that were used in formulating earlier Clean Water Act rules. That number rises to 81%  around the entire Southwest, including 94% of Arizona’s watercourses.

UC Merced Researchers Working on Innovative Way to Desalinate Ag Water

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) — A new project at UC Merced is focusing on irrigation water.
The work could have a significant impact on the crops that are grown throughout the Central Valley.

“We’re trying to take two problems and come up with one solution out of the two of them. We have an excess of drainage water which has excess salt in it, and we need cooling of agricultural greenhouses,” says assistant professor James Palko.

Desalination Emerges as a Possible Solution for Another Monterey County Water Challenge

On par with mission architecture or cattle ranching is another consequential relic of Spanish colonialism in California: the idea that water pumped from underground belongs to whoever owns the land above.

In the Central Valley, a major danger of unregulated pumping has been a drooping of the surface at a rate of one foot a year. Here, in the Salinas Valley, so much freshwater has been extracted that, in some aquifers, the natural flow from continent to ocean has reversed – seawater is pushing through gravel and sand into groundwater sources, threatening to spoil a critical household and agricultural supply.

Escondido Water Quality Lab Leads by Example

California’s 600 certified water quality testing labs will face strict new accreditation standards in the near future. While final hearings still need to take place on the draft regulations before adoption, the City of Escondido Water Quality Lab isn’t waiting. Escondido is working now to adopt the anticipated regulations.

Escondido is one of only two California labs already compliant with the draft regulations, which require more stringent quality controls.

Opinion: We Must Focus on the Most Viable Solutions for the Ailing Salton Sea

Talk about the Salton Sea, its possible effects on the surrounding communities, and solutions is ofttimes heavy in emotion but lacking a grounding in fact and science.

Here are a few facts that are often missed:

The Salton Sea lake is going through the natural evolution of a landlocked body of water, with minimal inflow, located in an arid environment. These lakes turn into salty lakes (think Great Salt Lake) and eventually turn into a salt flat or playa (think Bonneville Salt Flat).

Don’t Fall for This Old Hoax About Showering and Doing Laundry in California

The police won’t come knocking for Californians who shower and do laundry on the same day, despite what some social media users would have you believe.

An old hoax about California’s water conservation laws recently resurfaced after a guest on a Los Angeles TV station shared misinformation on air.

California Will be Hit Hard as Trump Administration Weakens Clean Water Protections

Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday will announce the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.

The changes to the Clean Water Act’s protections are expected to hit California and other Western states especially hard.

Bonds on the Ballot: Will Billions of Dollars Help California Cope With Climate Change?

Given California’s international leadership in addressing climate change, it isn’t surprising that voters will be asked this November to approve billions of dollars in bonds to help the state become more resilient.

But why settle for one ballot proposal when you can have three?

Trump Team Proposes Rollback of Desert Protections to Boost Geothermal Energy

In step with President Trump’s push for more energy development in California’s deserts, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday it wants to transform 22,000 acres of public land in the southern Owens Valley into one of the largest geothermal leasing sites in the state.

The agency has determined that the aquifer deep beneath the surface of the vintage Old West landscape of Rose Valley, about 120 miles north of Los Angeles, is a storehouse of enough volcanically heated water to spur $1 billion in investments and provide 117,000 homes with electricity.

Atmospheric Rivers Drive Western U.S. Flood Damages

New research recently published in Science Advances found that atmospheric rivers accounted for 84% of flood damages, or $42.6 billion, across the western United States from 1978-2017. Supported by NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) and co-authored by California-Nevada RISA PI Alexander Gershunov, the study analyzed 40 years of data from the National Flood Insurance Program to quantify atmospheric rivers’ economic impacts.