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Watching California’s Wildlife Online Surges During Shelter-In-Place

Many nature webcams in California are seeing record traffic and interest this past month, as people bracing against the coronavirus pandemic look for virtual escapes from the doldrums of life indoors.

San Diego Will Build 7 Medians in University City to Settle Pure Water Lawsuit

San Diego has agreed to build seven new road medians in University City at an estimated cost of $1.2 million to settle two lawsuits that sought to block construction of the city’s Pure Water sewage recycling system.

Forty Atmospheric Rivers Have Hit West Coast Since October

More than three dozen atmospheric rivers made landfall on the West Coast from fall through early spring, but a lack of strong events in California led to the development of drought conditions in parts of the state.

An atmospheric river is a thin, but long plume of moisture in the atmosphere that stretches from the Pacific Ocean tropics or subtropics into higher latitudes. They provide a boost to the rain and snow totals produced by storm systems taking aim at the West Coast, mostly from late fall into early spring. Although these events can bring hazardous impacts, they are also beneficial since they help replenish the water supply in the West.

atmospheric rivers-SIO-graphic 2020

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography studies atmospheric rivers and other extreme weather. Graphic: CW3E Scripps/UC San Diego

Water Utilities May Face Virus-Linked Protective Gear Shortages

Nearly three in four water and wastewater treatment plants are worried about running out of masks, gowns, and gloves to protect workers from the deadly coronavirus, according to a survey of utilities.

The survey, released late Tuesday, reveals that the same proportion of utilities are also concerned about being able to keep workers 6 feet apart at all times to prevent transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The findings are a snapshot of the concerns a subset of the nation’s water and wastewater utilities shared with the nonprofit American Water Works Association, which conducted the survey March 25-30. Responses came from 532 utilities, and the margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

With the nation grappling to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check, clean and safe running water for washing hands and other cleaning has been deemed an essential service.

Water Board Grants Arant Emergency Powers to Maintain Operations

At Monday’s remote meeting of the Valley Center Municipal Water District board, directors approved an Emergency Powers Resolution, granting Gen. Mgr. Gary Arant Emergency Powers for a 120-day period during the current Coronavirus/Covid-19 (virus) Pandemic Event.

The resolution gives Arant the power the modify the ability of the public to access the district office at 29300 Valley Center Rd., “including closing the facility to all public access.”  

Arant is also empowered to “Modify staff duties, work schedules, methods, and locations, including, but not limited to staff working remotely, sheltering at home and responding remotely, responding from on-call status remotely, re-assignment to different divisions and departments, requiring staff to work at different locations at district facilities, requiring staff to reasonably restrict movement and interaction with other staff members, assigned staff duties and responsibilities, and requiring staff to work out of class on a temporary basis.”  

San Diego Will Get Soaked for Sixth Straight Day by Storm That’s Produced Twice as Much Rain as Expected

A Pacific storm that was expected to drop about 1.5 inches of rain along the San Diego County coastline has produced more than twice that much and will continue to wash across the region until Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

The system arrived in force on Sunday and was supposed to be gone by Wednesday night or Thursday at the latest.

“But it’s been sitting and spitting over us all week”, said Miguel Miller, a weather service forecaster “The models have it moving out pretty quickly on Friday night.”

San Diego International Airport unexpectedly received about 1.50 inches of rain overnight. By 6 a.m. Friday, the airport’s seasonal rainfall total had hit 12.54 inches, more than three inches above average.

Cities are Flouting Flood Rules. The Cost: $1 Billion

It’s a simple rule, designed to protect both homeowners and taxpayers: If you want publicly subsidized flood insurance, you can’t build a home that’s likely to flood.

California Greenlights Massive Klamath River Dam Removal

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history came one step closer to fruition this week, as California issued permits for breaching the four dams on the Klamath River.

Lawsuits Vowed as Feds, California Take Divergent Water Routes

California’s decision to depart from federal regulations when managing its water supplies is causing strife across the water world.

The state recently got a new permit for water delivery operations from its wildlife agency. In the past, that kind of authority came from adhering to federal rules. Now, with a dispute between the state and federal government over water management and endangered species act protections, the state issued its own permit.

Critics of the state’s move say they plan to file lawsuits. Different detractors say the rules are too stringent, or too weak.

April Rains Have Put a Dent in the Drought, at Least in Southern California

U.S. Drought Monitor data released Thursday show that less of California is abnormally dry, and more of the state is drought-free.

The improvement is mostly in Southern California and along the Central Coast, while data for Northern California show little change.