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EPA Administrator Emphasizes Value of Water Treatment in Talk With WQA

The Water Quality Association’s Board of Directors recently heard from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a conference call in which Wheeler underscored the value of water treatment during the COVID-19 crisis.

“You’re providing a critical service to the American public, and we want to make sure you have the resources you need to provide that service,” said Wheeler, who reiterated the importance of continued dialogue after hearing the perspectives of several directors during the call.

Wheeler emphasized that his office remains open for business during the COVID-19 crisis, and that action continues on other fronts such as drinking water standards, expanding funding to manage per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), updating the Lead and Copper Rule and a new water reuse action plan designed to accelerate water recycling efforts across the country.

“It was a great call and very informative for our Board,” says incoming WQA President D.J. Shannahan, who was among the directors to address Wheeler. “We appreciate his willingness to listen to our needs while also sharing his priorities for improving the water quality of our nation.”


HIV, Ebola, SARS and Now COVID-19: Why Some Scientists Fear Deadly Outbreaks Are on the Rise

The social upheaval and death caused by the new coronavirus has awoken many to what some infectious-disease experts have been warning about for more than a decade: Outbreaks of dangerous new diseases with the potential to become pandemics have been on the rise — from HIV to swine flu to SARS to Ebola.

Many experts now believe that this surge in new infectious diseases is being driven in part by some of humanity’s most environmentally destructive practices, such as deforestation and poaching, leading to increased contact between highly mobile, urbanized human populations and wild animals.

“The evidence is clear; we’re driving disease emergence through less sustainable use of nature,” said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the Center for Climate Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Following California’s Water as Another Dry Spell Looms

What does a Central Valley almond farmer have in common with a San Diego homeowner? The answer is simple: Water. More specifically, the amount of water they need to sustain their respective lifestyles — which is a lot.

Water Supply Diversification Overcomes Dry Winter

No ‘March Miracle’ for snow and rain in California, but the San Diego County Water Authority has diversified water supply sources to weather the boom-and-bust cycle of California winters.

March brought abundant precipitation throughout California, but not enough to offset a dry February. Most large urban water agencies in the state maintain a reliable water supply in wet and dry years.

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom Needs to Do to Protect State’s Water Future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions. Along with public health, jobs, energy, transportation, education, housing and fire protection, water is a compulsory gubernatorial priority.

Californians Won’t Have Their Water Service Turned Off for Unpaid Bills During Coronavirus Crisis, Newsom says

Californians won’t have their water turned off due to unpaid bills during the coronavirus crisis, and those who already had it turned off will have their service restored, under action taken Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor’s directive comes in response to calls from environmental justice organizations for assistance to low-income residents facing mounting financial pressures.

“This executive order will help people who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring they have water service,” Newsom said in a written statement after hinting at the action during an event broadcast online. “Water is critical to our very lives, and in this time it is critically important that it is available for everyone.”

The decision also requires that residential water service be restored to those who had it turned off for lack of payment since March 4, when the statewide coronavirus emergency went into effect.

Coronavirus Hit California’s Cut-Flower Industry at the Worst Time

It happened this fast: Shoppers frightened by the novel coronavirus ransacked grocery stores. Store managers shifted staff to restock shelves. The floral booth went empty. California’s cut-flower industry imploded.

Sure, there are lots of nuances to this tale of tumbling economic dominoes. But at its core is the simple fact that few will buy a perishable luxury item when they fear for their lives. That could spell the end of many farms in California’s $360-million cut-flower industry.

Since mid-March, sales have fallen an average of 85% on California’s 225 flower and foliage farms, while the labor force has dropped by a similar proportion, according to the California Cut Flower Commission, a state agency that promotes the industry.

“We have companies that won’t be here when it’s over,” said David Pruitt, CEO of the commission.

Oceanside Farm Delivers Fresh Produce Across North San Diego County

With farmers markets closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a family who has been farming in Southern California for more than a century is taking its produce directly to homes throughout North County and beyond.

For the last three years, Yasukochi Family Farm has been putting together and delivering CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes full of fresh produce.

“They’re buying local vegetables,” said Donal Yasukochi explaining how the community is supporting the operation. “It helps us stay in business.”

Farmworkers Confront Losses, Anxiety Despite Demand for Food

The coronavirus brought much of San Diego — and the country — to a standstillResidents are isolating in their homes and working remotelyclassrooms are moving online, most beaches and parks are closed, and many businesses have temporarily shut down.  

City streets that once buzzed with people are going quiet in the wake of local leaders implementing policies that prohibit large gatherings. That makes grocery stores and other businesses that sell food items some of the only pieces of the economy that are going strong. 

But while it may seem as if business is boomingthe agricultural industry in San Diego — the farmworkers, farmers and food distributors — is experiencing the economic impact of the global pandemic as hard as anyone else as it quickly shifts to accommodate a changing marketplaceFood is in high demand, yet some of those in charge of providing those products are struggling to stay afloat. 


Potent Storm Bringing Heavy Mountain Snow, Flood Risk to California