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Nevada Supreme Court says State Cannot Change Water Rights for ‘Public Trust,’ a Loss for Environmentalists, County

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot reshuffle existing water rights to prevent environmental damage, despite recognizing a legal principle that requires the government to preserve natural resources for future generations.

Instead, the court ruled that principle, known as the public trust doctrine, is recognized in existing law. The Nevada court, in a 4-2 decision, separated itself from the California Supreme Court, which reached the opposite conclusion in a landmark 1980s case.

Pure Water Oceanside Recycling Project Gets $69 Million EPA Loan

The Pure Water Oceanside project is getting a $69 million loan from the U.S. EPA that will finance nearly half of the project’s construction cost.

EPA officials announced the loan at an event today in Oceanside attended by federal, regional and local officials.

The innovative water reuse project will purify recycled water to create a new source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and sustainable. It also will benefit the environment by reducing discharges into the Pacific Ocean. Construction and operation of the plant is expected to create 622 jobs.

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County. The project will provide more than 32% of the City of Oceanside’s water supply, or 3 to 5 million gallons per day.

A Tale of Two Coastlines: Desalination in China and California

The port city of Tianjin is in desperate need of water. The surface and groundwater supplies of this sprawling northeast Chinese metropolis have shrunk to dangerously low levels due to decades of reduced rainfall and overexploitation of the Hai River that flows through the city. According to the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau, the city’s per capita water resources are one-twentieth of China’s national average, far below the UN benchmark for a water-stressed region. Despite promoting water conservation and metering among residential and industrial users, Tianjin still faces shortages that drive its reliance on large-scale water-supply infrastructure like the South-North Water Transfer Project and seawater desalination. 

In the United States, a similar situation is unfolding. After a prolonged drought between 2011-2015, California’s investment in desalination solutions to supply fresh water to the state’s dry south grew exponentially. While most American desalination plants are used to purify less-saline “brackish water” from rivers and bays, large-scale seawater operations have begun to proliferate in California, as well as Florida and Texas. California alone has 11 municipal seawater desalination plants, with 10 more proposed. Southern California-based Poseidon Water LLC opened America’s largest desalination facility in Carlsbad in 2015, which currently meets about 10 percent of San Diego’s water demand. With the capacity to produce 54 million gallons of water a day, this new desalination plant, as well as another one currently in the works at Huntington Beach, could ensure water security in Southern California.

Experts Say Drought, Wildfire Risk to Persist Across Much of US This Fall

As historic wildfires continue to burn across California, Oregon and other Western states, government climate experts say much of the U.S. is likely to see persistent drought conditions and fire risk alongside continued above-average temperatures through the fall.

During a briefing Thursday, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that while wetter conditions are expected to bring some drought relief to parts of the Pacific Northwest and New England in the months ahead, drought conditions are likely to persist or even worsen in Central and Southern California and across the Southwest.

Water Insecurity Causes Psychological Distress for Americans, Study Finds

Unaffordable water bills and the threat of disconnection causes significant psychological distress for Americans, according to a new study.

A Guardian investigation into 12 American cities found the price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighborhoods with unaffordable bills.

War of Words Heats up Over International Efforts to Clean up Border Sewage

Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla is involved in a war of words with a California mayor over cleanup efforts along the Tijuana River Valley, which lies between Tijuana and the city of San Diego.

For decades, raw sewage, trash and debris have flowed from south of the border into the U.S.

Most of those materials, especially the raw sewage, end up in the Pacific Ocean, forcing the closure of beaches in cities like Imperial Beach where over the last nine months, beaches have been closed 180 days due to high bacteria levels in the ocean water.

Suez to Improve Rainbow Tank Staircases

Suez Water Technologies and Solutions will install additional tank fall protection improvements at Rainbow Municipal Water District reservoirs.

Rainbow’s board voted 4-1, with Helene Brazier casting the dissenting vote, Aug. 25, to approve a change order to the 2018 contract.

“This adds some additional safety enhancements for our steel reservoirs,” Tom Kennedy, general manager of Rainbow, said.

Water District Directors Named to Ad Hoc Committee Reviewing Proposed CALFIRE Contract

Two members of the Ramona Municipal Water District Board of Directors were recently selected to review the next fire and emergency medical services agreement proposed by Cal Fire.

Oceanside’s Plan to Recycle Water Gets a Boost From the EPA

Oceanside’s major water reclamation project is getting a financial injection from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA is loaning Oceanside nearly $70 million to help finance the city’s water reuse plans. The San Diego County city currently imports most of its water from the Sacramento Bay-Delta and the Colorado River.

The federal loan for the $158 million project will ultimately help Oceanside generate three to five million gallons of drinking water a day.

Oceanside Gets $69 Million Loan for Critically Important Recycled Water Project

Oceanside received a $69 million federal loan Thursday that will pay for almost half of the city’s ambitious drinking water recycling project.

The Pure Water Oceanside project will provide 32% of the city’s water by 2022. It will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County, beating San Diego’s considerably larger recycling project.