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One Tunnel, Same Distrust

State water officials offered an early look at the downsized California WaterFix project earlier this month, and conservationists and far-traveling indigenous tribes say they still believe it has the potential to permanently alter life in and around the Delta.

The old version of California WaterFix, better known as the “twin tunnels,” was opposed by virtually every major environmental organization in the state, as well as fishing alliances, Delta businesses and groups concerned with the cultural and historic resources from Freeport to Walnut Grove.

California is Dry With no Rain in Sight. Should We Start Worrying About Drought and Wildfire?

California’s alarmingly dry winter continues, with no meaningful snow or rain in sight. Although it’s far too soon to predict a drought, experts said wildfire risks could worsen this summer as a result of the shortage of precipitation.

And while the rainy season still has more than two months left, a persistent high-pressure ridge over the Pacific is keeping wet weather at bay, just as it did during the five-year drought, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. Swain said it’s possible parts of Northern California “could go completely dry in the month of February.”

San Marcos Student Jordan Chan Wins Statewide Video Contest

Mission Hills High School student Jordan Chan of San Marcos won third-place in the statewide 2020 California Special Districts Association video scholarship competition. The “Districts Make The Difference” contest is designed to promote public awareness and understanding of the special districts providing communities with essential services like water, sanitation, healthcare, fire protection, and parks.

Chan received his $500 scholarship prize at the February Vallecitos Water District board meeting. He received recognition from state legislators and CSDA representatives. Chan was honored with a proclamation from San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, and certificates of recognition from the offices of State Senator Brian Jones and State Assemblywoman Marie Waldron.

Otay Water District Names New General Manager

The Otay Water District Board of Directors last week unanimously appointed Assistant Chief of Water Operations Jose Martinez as the organization’s next general manager.

Martinez, 40, will succeed Mark Watton, who represented the water interests of Otay, the county and the state for more than 30 years.

The board said it will negotiate contract terms and vote on Martinez’s salary at its March 11 board meeting. His appointment is effective March 1.

SCV Water Looks at Reservoirs Due to Winter, Chemical Concerns

A relatively dry winter and new state-set levels for the presence of a carcinogen in water threatening the closure of groundwater wells have local water officials considering water from new sources and looking to use water they’ve already banked.

Santa Clarita Valley water users get their supply from two main sources via the SCV Water Agency — water imported from Northern California through the State Water Project and water from the ground under the SCV.

Cal Am Gets Coastal Commission Desal Project Extension

California American Water has received a 90-day extension of the deadline for the Coastal Commission to consider the company’s desalination project permit application, effectively allowing commission staff about four more months to complete additional analysis.

On Tuesday, Cal Am Vice President Ian Crooks sent a letter to Coastal Commission official Tom Luster requesting the 90-day extension of the time limits for considering the desal permit under the state’s Permit Streamlining Act, which requires consideration of a permit within 180 days of completion.

Water is Colorado’s Most Critical Resource. So Why isn’t it Central to Every Local Land-Use Decision?

In the early 1980s, the small city of Woodland Park started strategically planning how to protect its water supply for the future.

“Because we have all junior water rights and a limited water supply, we knew we must be very careful about how we grow,” said Sally Riley, planning director for Woodland Park, which is home to approximately 7,500 people in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. “We’ve pretty much mapped out exactly how our 6.5 square miles are going to grow.”

To ensure that they don’t develop beyond the limits of their water supply, Riley says the city has closely integrated its land-use decisions with local water conservation and efficiency goals that align with the Colorado Water Plan.

Synthetic Chemicals in Soils are ‘Ticking Time Bombs’

A growing health crisis fueled by synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in groundwater has garnered much attention in the last few years.

The reported levels could be “just the tip of the iceberg,” as most of the chemicals are still migrating down slowly through the soil, according to Bo Guo, University of Arizona assistant professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

Nearly 3,000 synthetic chemicals belong to the PFAS class. They have been used since the 1940s in food packaging, water-resistant fabrics, non-stick products, pizza boxes, paints, firefighting foams and more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

How Native Tribes are Taking the Lead on Planning for Climate Change

On a hot summer’s day, marine ecologist Courtney Greiner walks the shore of a rocky Washington beach at low tide with a handful of staff and interns. They stake out the ground and hunch down, digging up the top two inches of mud, silt, and gravel looking for baby clams.

For thousands of years, the indigenous peoples of the West Coast would build rock walls at the low tide line, allowing sand to pile up behind them, making the slope of the beach gentler, and expanding the area of the intertidal zone that clams like to call home.

Opinion: FPUD and Rainbow Make Brave Move to Save Ratepayers Money

Over the holidays, I received a letter from the San Diego County Water Authority designed to make customers of Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District worry. The tone of the letter alluded that if the two districts de-annex from the Water Authority, the reliability of our water supply would be at risk and our water prices could go up.

Since I have been to several community meetings where this change was discussed, I knew this insinuation was not true. FPUD and Rainbow have researched this option specifically to keep water rates down for our districts.