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New Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Investments Into Water/Wastewater Infrastructure

A new poll recently released by the Value of Water Campaign shows that 84% of American voters want state and federal leaders to invest in water infrastructure. The near-unanimous support amid the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that voters value water and want elected officials to prioritize investing in infrastructure — specifically, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

For the fifth year in a row, the Value of Water Campaign poll surveyed over 1,000 American voters for the annual Value of Water Index. The poll asked voters how the nation should solve infrastructural issues and which priorities it should meet. Support for water infrastructure investment cuts across demographic, political and geographic divisions.

Second Shutdown of Pipeline 5 at Moosa Creek Set For May 4-11

The actual repair work for a San Diego County Water Authority pipeline in Moosa Canyon is now complete, although a shutdown to remove the isolation bulkheads will be needed and the SDCWA pipeline will be shut down May 4-11.

“The carbon fiber repair has been completed, and we’re preparing for a shutdown of Pipeline 5, May 4, to remove the internal steel bulkheads,” Neena Kuzmich, CWA engineering manager, said. “After we remove the bulkheads Pipeline 5 will resume normal operations.”

Drought Makes Early Start of the Fire Season Likely in Northern California

Expanding and intensifying drought in Northern California portends an early start to the wildfire season, and the National Interagency Fire Center is predicting above-normal potential for large wildfires by midsummer.

Mountain snowpack has been below average across the High Sierra, southern Cascades and the Great Basin, and the agency warns that these areas need to be monitored closely as fuels continue to dry out. The agency also cites a warm, dry pattern in Oregon and central and eastern Washington, and assigns all of these areas a higher-than-average likelihood of wildfires in July.

States Sue Trump Administration over Rollback of Obama-era Water Protection

A coalition of 17 Democratic-leaning states sued the Trump administration on Friday for rolling back Obama-era protections for waterways, arguing the move ignores science on the interconnectivity of water.

President Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule limits federal protections for a number of smaller waterways, which many scientists say risks pesticides and pollution reaching larger ones.

“This rule opens the door to new, and worse industry pollution that endangers our wildlife, it dirties our drinking water and increases the risk of harmful contamination of our nation’s waterways. In short, it risks the health and safety of Americans around the nation,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a call with reporters announcing the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and asks to vacate the rule entirely.

Heat Wave Expected to Keep Deserts and Inland Valleys Hot All Week

Temperatures could reach triple digits Monday in the San Diego County deserts, and the mercury will be on the rise all week throughout the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Conditions will be relatively mild west of the deserts Monday, but building high pressure will cause temperatures to rise throughout the county until Friday, forecasters said. By midweek, high temperatures could be 15-20 degrees above average in most areas, forecasters said.

The NWS issued a heat advisory that will be in effect from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 9 p.m. Friday in the western valleys.

An excessive heat watch will also take effect Tuesday morning and last until Friday evening in the county deserts.

Billions in Coronavirus Aid will go to Farms. But Farmers say it’s Not Enough to Keep Them Afloat

Ryan Indart says he may have to kill off some of the sheep at his east Clovis ranch this fall. With restaurants shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic, he has no market for his animals. When a new flock arrives in October, he won’t have enough space in his pasture if his current flock is still there.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday a $3.6 million program to help farms and food banks stay afloat, coupled with a philanthropy pledge of $15 million. That promise came on the heels of a much larger federal aid package of $19 billion for farmers and ranchers across the country.

Farmers across the San Joaquin Valley echoed Indart’s concern.

Southern California Edison Wants its New, Huge 770 MW Battery Storage Procurement Online Fast

Southern California Edison signed seven contracts for a total of 770 megawatts of lithium-ion battery-based energy storage — to enhance the regional grid’s reliability and replace four large coastal once-through cooling plants.

It’s one of the nation’s largest energy storage procurements and an indication of utility acceptance of massive-scale battery storage. Late last year, the California Public Utilities Commission urged California’s power providers and community choice aggregators to procure 3.3 GW of storage and PV-plus-storage systems to solve grid congestion and to compensate for gas and coal plant retirements.

Remarkably, SCE wants these energy storage resources online by August 2021, an aggressive timeline unthinkable for any type of fossil fuel project of this size.

Blue-Ribbon Panel to Evaluate Hazards to Wastewater Workers During Pandemic

To ensure the protection of wastewater workers during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, the Water Environment Federation is convening a blue-ribbon panel of experts to evaluate information on biological hazards and safety precautions.

The panel is comprised of a diverse array of experts involved in water operations, science, health and safety, and will provide input to U.S. government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the World Health Organization.

“The top priority of the Water Environment Federation is always to ensure the safety and health of the frontline people in the water workforce, who protect our communities not just during the coronavirus pandemic but every single day,” says WEF President Jackie Jarrell. “In keeping with the WEF tradition of educational and technical excellence, the blue-ribbon panel will make certain that our information on hazards and safety and the guidance of organizations such as the WHO, CDC, OSHA and EPA are based on the latest evidence and absolute best science.”