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Imperial County Hits IID, Feds with Violation Notice for Salton Sea Air Pollution

The Imperial County Air Pollution Control District on Tuesday hit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Imperial Irrigation District with notices of violation for ongoing pollution at a long-stalled Salton Sea restoration project.

The violations allege that the federal agency and the water district have only made sporadic attempts since 2016 to complete work at the several-hundred-acre Red Hill Bay site, “causing numerous instances of elevated levels of airborne dust.”

Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.
The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.

Arizona Starts Talks on Addressing Dwindling Colorado River

Arizona is getting a jump start on what will be a yearslong process to address a dwindling but key water source in the U.S. West.

Several states and Mexico rely on the Colorado River for drinking water and growing crops. But climate change, drought and demand have taken a toll on the river that no longer can deliver what was promised in the 1920s.

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026.

Helix Announces 2020 Landscape Contest Winner

Helix Water District named Tim and Brianna Montgomery of La Mesa as the winner of its 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest, an annual competition that recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

A COVID-19 Hit to Public Power? For Some, it’s Not All Bad

At a May meeting of the board of directors of the Brownsville, Texas, Board of Public Works, the utility’s director of finance Mike Perez made an announcement that was perhaps surprising in the middle of a pandemic.

“April was a good month,” Perez said. Revenue was up, in part due to customers staying home and using more electricity. Accounts receivable were “in line” with the same period a year ago, indicating that customers were mostly able to pay their bills. “We are not seeing anything alarming so far,” Perez said.

In Letter To Congress, Water Agencies Call For Drinking Water Relief Funding

In March, the COVID-19 relief bill known as the CARES Act set aside $900 million to help Americans pay their utility bills. Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance and assistance with water bills.

San Diego, Chula Vista Among Cities Receiving Funds in Monsanto Settlement

A settlement reached over water contamination claims stemming from Monsanto Company’s use of toxic chemicals known as PCBs will send $550 million to several jurisdictions, including the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, it was announced Wednesday.

Hundreds of U.S. Cities Testing Sewage for Early Signs of Coronavirus Hotspots

Local officials in Oregon, California, New York, Utah, Florida and many other places are collecting sewage samples to test for coronavirus, which experts say could allow for detection of hotspots for the disease before the diagnosis of clinical cases.

California Cities: Monsanto Settlement to Fund Water Cleanup

Major California cities say they’ll use their share of a $650 million settlement to clean up the now-banned chemical PCB from bays, lakes and other waterways polluted for decades. The giant chemical company Monsanto announced a tentative agreement Wednesday with government entities that had filed suit since 2015 over waterways and estuaries they say were polluted.

As Potential Mega-Drought Looms, Stanford Researchers Explore Desalination System

Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new predictions are accurate. Researchers have recently warned of a potential mega-drought in the western United States – conditions so dry that our drinking water supplies could be facing historic pressures. Experts say keeping the taps flowing could require a patchwork of solutions, including potentially increasing the use of desalination, turning saltwater into drinking water.