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Long Criticized for Inaction at Salton Sea, California says it’s All-In on Effort to Preserve State’s Largest Lake

The Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake – a vital stop for migrating birds – from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and a source of choking dust. The state of California, long derided for its failure to act in the past, says it is now moving full-bore to address the sea’s problems, with ambitious plans for wildlife habitat and dust suppression. Skeptics say addressing the sea’s issues is vital not only for the sea and surrounding communities, but for management of the Colorado River as well.

EPIC Award-CAPIO-San Diego County Water Authority-Water News Network

Water News Network Named Best California Public Agency Website

The Water News Network website has been named “Best Website” among California public agencies for 2020 in the California Public Information Officers EPIC Awards competition.

The CAPIO EPIC Awards recognize the “best of the best” in government communications throughout the state. Winning entries demonstrate the most creative and effective efforts in the areas of communication and marketing campaigns, newsletter production, photography, special events, writing, website development and video production.

Original news content praised by judges

The Water News Network received praise from competition judges for keeping all stakeholders in mind when creating the website, and for its initiative in producing original story content and photos. Other finalists in the Best Website/App category were the City of Santa Clara for its SantaClaraCA.gov website redesign; and Contra Costa County for its ‘Virtual Office’ entry.

“Over the past two years, the Water News Network has become a timely and reliable source of news and information about a variety of water issues, projects and programs affecting more than 3.3 million people across San Diego County,” said Water Authority Public Affairs Director Denise Vedder. “We’re proud to collaborate with our member agencies on this and other outreach and education efforts about region’s most precious natural resource.”

EPIC Award for Best Website/App revealed in package

In lieu of an awards ceremony, trophies were mailed to the winning entrants with results revealed upon being opened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CAPIO

In lieu of an awards ceremony, trophies were mailed to the winning entrants with results revealed upon being opened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CAPIO

The EPIC Awards honor work that transcends innovation and craft, work that made a lasting impact, providing an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of company or agency size and project budget.

Entries are assessed on research and planning efforts that display an understanding of audience objectives and needs for information; development and execution; and how successfully the entrant organization achieves its objectives.

This year’s CAPIO EPIC Awards program drew a record number of 275 entries in all categories from throughout the state of California.

The Water News Network has also won the Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website category for the past two years in the San Diego Press Club‘s Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

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San Diego Local Water Supply Projects Get Big Funding Boost

Two major water projects in San Diego County this week received a major financial boost to enhance the region’s water supply. The East County Advanced Water Purification Project was approved for up to $91.8 million and a project in the City of Escondido was approved for up to $23.4 million.

Agency Throws Curveball in Largest U.S. Dam Demolition Plan

Federal regulators on Thursday threw a significant curveball at a coalition that has been planning for years to demolish four massive hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing.

Scientists Predict Dramatic Increase in Flooding, Drought in California

California may see a 54 percent increase in rainfall variability by the end of this century, according to new research from the lab of Assistant Professor Da Yang, a 2019 Packard Fellow and atmospheric scientist with the University of California, Davis. Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Yang and his co-authors predict the entire West Coast will experience greater month-to-month fluctuations in extremely dry and wet weather, especially in California. The lead author is Wenyu Zhou, a postdoctoral researcher in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where Yang has a dual appointment.

The study explores the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), an atmospheric phenomenon that influences rainfall in the tropics and can trigger everything from cyclones over the Indian Ocean to heatwaves, droughts and flooding in the United States.

There Were No Reports of Coronavirus in Yosemite. Then They Tested the Park’s Sewage

Like a lot of the rural West, Yosemite National Park stood as a safe haven from the coronavirus. No park employees or residents tested positive. No visitors reported being sick. The fresh air and open space seemed immune.

FPUD Approves 2020-2021 Budget

The Fallbrook Public Utility District will adopt its calendar year 2021 rates in December, but the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget has been approved.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, June 22, approved the 2020-2021 budget. The budget will be used as the base for the 2021 rates and charges when the board considers those during its final scheduled meeting of 2020.

Opinion: It’s Time to Deliver on Human Right to Clean, Affordable Water

Amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide uprisings for racial justice, California’s promise to fulfill the human right to water has never been more clear or urgent.

A year ago this month, the state legislature, led by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senator Bill Monning, passed and Governor Newsom signed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SB 200) into law, the result of years of frontline community organizing and advocacy.

Water Expert Discusses Slowdown in Federal Regulation of Drinking Water

It didn’t grab headlines, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision last month to back away from regulating a rocket fuel ingredient in drinking water points to a dramatic shift in federal oversight. The decision was followed by a proposal to slow the process for reviewing chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and delayed action on hazardous perfluorochemicals, PFAS and PFOA, that have been found in various water systems.

Colorado Water Officials Create First-Ever Regulations for ‘Forever Chemical’ PFAS

Colorado has its first policy to regulate so-called “forever chemicals.”

The state’s Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to enact a policy to put new limits on per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS. The class of chemicals is a common ingredient in everything from nonstick pans to foam used to smother flames from jet fuel.

A growing body of scientific evidence has linked the chemicals to a range of health problems, including cancer and pregnancy issues. Meanwhile, federal efforts to regulate the chemicals have lagged, leaving states to take action on their own.