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Blog: San Diego Region on Track to Receive $15 Million for Water Projects

Several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision this summer. Money for the projects has been recommended by DWR, which will make the awards after a public comment period. In San Diego County, the funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

Utilities Ramp Up Lobbying for Relief, Broader Reforms

The nation’s water utilities, facing more than $27 billion in lost revenue from the pandemic, are ramping up their outreach to Congress as lawmakers prepare to act on infrastructure legislation and additional relief in the face of a historic pandemic.

In addition to a flurry of letters and meetings, advocacy groups and lobbyists with congressional expertise are pushing for provisions in both Water Resources Development Act bills moving through the House and Senate, and the next round of COVID-19 stimulus funds.

In the near term, the bills could be a lifeline for both residents and utilities reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Over the longer term, some hope the bills could provide a pathway for revamping a highly fractured, aging water system — old lead pipes, vulnerable dams and 1,500 drinking water systems in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, said Robert Powelson, CEO of the National Association of Water Companies.

Sunniest Spring on Record Raises U.K. Drought Risk

The U.K. had its driest May in 124 years and sunniest spring on record, increasing the threat of a summer drought and compounding conditions that have been made worse by climate change.

The country had 9.6 millimeters of rain in May, which is just 16% of the average for the month and the least since 1896, according to early data by the U.K.’s Meteorological Office. It also recorded 573 hours of sunshine during Spring, which is due to end May 31. That makes it the sunniest spring since records began in 1929.

Gavin Newsom’s Evironmental Budget Cuts Escalate Tensions with California Activists

SACRAMENTO — Fewer rebates for electric-car buyers. No new oil and gas industry regulators. Less money to preserve wildlife habitats.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed spending cuts to balance a state budget mauled by the coronavirus pandemic have angered numerous progressive constituencies, but perhaps none more than environmental activists who were suspicious of him even before an estimated $54 billion deficit materialized.

Farmers Must Diversify in a Post-Pandemic World, Ag Experts Say

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, few industries have been quite as essential to the nation as agriculture.

From pickers crouching for nine hours a day to scoop up strawberries to CEOs making handshake deals to keep their companies afloat, hundreds of thousands of workers are feeding America. But, in many ways, the pandemic is forcing farmers to reevaluate how they do business.

States are Reopening from Coronavirus Shutdowns. What Happens to Frozen Utility Payments?

As states begin to reopen from coronavirus-related shutdowns, a wave of unpaid utility bills coming due will not only saddle Americans still out of work with new debt, it could also drive up rates for everyone.

And the $900 million that Congress provided in the CARES Act to help low-income households pay their utility bills won’t be nearly enough to ease the problem, advocates and experts say.

What’s at the Heart of California’s Water Wars? Delta Outflow Explained

The latest dustup In California’s water wars, as noted in Dan Walters’ commentary, revolves principally around the federal government’s efforts to increase the amount of water supplied to farms and cities by the Central Valley Project, and a breakdown in cooperation between the state and federal government.

Budget Cuts for SGMA Funding Could Hurt Farmers Later

The pandemic-induced recession has come at a critical time for water planning in the state. The governor’s administration in January pitched ambitious proposals to help fund the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and cushion its impacts on farmers and local communities. In the May Revision of the budget proposal, however, all but one funding allocation from an earlier proposition have been withdrawn.

American River in Sacramento Still Tainted with Feces, Despite New Parkway Bathrooms

Over the scorching hot Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of people headed to Tiscornia Beach near the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, one of the region’s most popular swimming areas. A few days earlier, state scientists had collected water samples with rates of E. coli bacteria that reached the highest limits of the testing equipment. The samples on May 12 and May 21 at Tiscornia Beach were at least seven times higher than state and federal standards for E. coli in a waterway.

Trump’s Fossil Fuel Agenda Gets Pushback from Federal Judges

Federal courts have delivered a string of rebukes to the Trump administration over what they found were failures to protect the environment and address climate change as it promotes fossil fuel interests and the extraction of natural resources from public lands.