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California’s Clean Energy Conundrum

San Diego – While California draws nearly one third of its power from renewables, solar and wind energy systems are periodically pulled offline because there’s not enough demand when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. These so-called “curtailments” increased significantly between 2014 (when they were almost non-existent) and today. They could soon become a major barrier to a more sustainable future as more and more renewable energy sources are developed to meet peak demands.

Thankfully, California water agencies are well-positioned to play a pivotal role with a solution that makes the state’s electrical grid more flexible, stable and efficient. Strategic deployment of large-scale, long-duration pumped storage facilities could minimize curtailments and provide many other benefits.

Kamala Harris Proposes Bill To Invest In Safe Drinking Water

Sen. Kamala Harris is introducing legislation designed to ensure all Americans, particularly those in at-risk communities, have access to safe, affordable drinking water, the latest response to burgeoning water crises across the country. The California Democrat and presidential candidate’s “Water Justice Act” would invest nearly $220 billion in clean and safe drinking water programs, with priority given to high-risk communities and schools. As part of that, Harris’ plan would declare a drinking water infrastructure emergency, devoting $50 billion toward communities and schools where water is contaminated to test for contaminants and to remediate toxic infrastructure.

District Raises Water And Sewer Rates, Despite Protests

After objections from the public and lengthy discussions, Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors approved four types of rate increases recommended by staff. The first action — to adopt an ordinance increasing water rates and fees — was approved 3-2 with President Jim Robinson and directors Thomas Ace and Bryan Wadlington in favor, and directors Jim Hickle and Jeff Lawler opposed. Monthly water charges will increase in different amounts depending on meter size and treated vs. untreated water. The increase reflects a 7 percent revenue adjustment each year for the next five years. Because meters and water quality vary for each customer, the increase in rate revenues do not necessarily directly correlate to the increase in proposed rates.

OPINION: All Californians Should Have Safe, Clean Water. But How Do We Make It Happen?

“Few California urbanites grasp the intolerable, third-world conditions that nearly a million of their fellow Californians live in when it comes to accessing safe drinking water,” said Michael Mantell, president of the Resources Legacy Fund. “That residents of a state with the fifth largest economy on the planet lack that access is nothing short of scandalous.” Lea Ann Tratten, a partner at TrattenPrice Consulting, described the Californians who suffer most without access to clean water and reiterated the urgency for action. “The heaviest burden of the toxic taps crisis has fallen on our most marginalized communities, communities of color and people with low-incomes,” Tratten said.

San Diego Company Awarded EPA Grant To Develop Water Quality Testing Tech

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it awarded a $100,000 contract to a San Diego-based technology company to develop technology to monitor water quality. The grant, awarded to 2W iTech LLC, is one of nearly two dozen awarded by the EPA through its Small Business Innovation Research program. The EPA awarded grants worth a combined $2.3 million to 21 companies across the country to develop technologies to improve environmental and human health, monitor air and water quality and clean contaminated areas. With its grant, 2W iTech will develop a low-cost method to identify trace amounts of perfluoroalkyl substances in water at a rate as small as 10 parts per trillion.

Dozens of Environmental Groups Want To Contribute To Newsom’s Water Portfolio Plan

A coalition of 55 environmental, fishing, and water policy groups has written Gov. Gavin Newsom, backing his Water Portfolio planning process, and announcing that they plan to take an active part with their own proposals for the plan.

Newsom announced his Water Portfolio on April 29. He ordered three state agencies — Natural Resources, EPA, and Food & Agriculture — to prepare “a water-resilience portfolio that meets the needs of California’s communities through the 21st Century.”

 

California Department Of Water Resources Approves Nine Alternatives To Groundwater Sustainability Plans

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced approval of nine alternatives to groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) submitted by water agencies to meet requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

SGMA requires local agencies throughout the state to sustainably manage groundwater basins. Basins ranked as medium- or high-priority are required to develop GSPs or submit an alternative.

An alternative may be an existing groundwater management plan that demonstrates a reasonable expectation of achieving sustainability within 20 years. It may also be a basin adjudication with existing governance and oversight, or a 10-year analysis of basin conditions showing sustainable operations with no undesirable results such as subsidence, saltwater intrusion, or degraded water quality.

Salmon Study May Foil Trump’s Plan To Boost Water Deliveries To Central Valley Farms

Federal biologists worked frantically this year to meet a deadline to assess the environmental impacts of Trump administration plans to send more water to Central Valley farmers.

But the biologists’ conclusion — that increased deliveries would harm endangered Chinook salmon and other imperiled fish — would foil those plans. Two days after it was submitted, a regional federal official assembled a new review team to improve the documents.

Bonneville, The Northwest’s Biggest Clean-Power Supplier, Faces Promise And Perils In Changing Energy Markets

When workers started pulling apart the three largest hydroelectric units in North America — capable of supplying more than enough power for all of Seattle — they found the damage far worse than expected. They encountered large cracks, worn-out bearings and a defect in a critical weld that, if left in place, could fail, unleashing catastrophic flooding inside the powerhouse that risked killing workers and destroying the 7 million-pound generator-turbine units. That last discovery halted work for 10 months to give engineers time to come up with a fix that would ensure a crucial covering would hold fast. “How do we deal with the unexpected?

When Will California Become Too Hot To Grow Wine Grapes?

We know that climate change is going to alter wine. In fact, we know that it already has. But we are still working toward a deeper understanding of what it will look like — and what can be done about it. The latest step toward that understanding is a study published Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the most detailed forecasts to date of extreme heat across the U.S. As The Chronicle’s environmental correspondent Kurtis Alexander reported, the study warns that most of the country will see more than double the number of days with a 100 degree heat index by 2050, unless something drastic is done.