The verdict is in and California stands convicted of gross negligence in the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highest dam, Oroville. The dam on the Feather River came very close to failing last year, forcing the evacuation of a quarter-million people living downstream. Heavy outflows revealed structural flaws in the dam’s concrete spillway and when dam operators switched to an auxiliary spillway that dumped water onto an “unarmored” earthen hillside, it quickly eroded, threatening the entire structure with collapse.
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A comprehensive condition assessment of nine dams owned by the city of San Diego has been underway for the past year, according to the Public Utilities Department said. Asked about the condition of San Diego dams after Sunday’s mass evacuation in Oroville in Northern California, department officials told City News Service that they hired independent experts in dam design, construction and safety to perform detailed inspections of the dams in February of last year.
Hearing about the drought and its profound effects on agriculture here in California is nothing new to residents of the Golden State.
Despite some more recent figures showing increasing reservoir levels and amounts of precipitation in some parts of the state, the severity of the drought has remained relatively unchanged, leading to about 43 percent of California to be considered under severe-to-exceptional drought, according to the Pacific Institute in Oakland. However, it is not the recurring story of the drought’s persistence Californians are interested in hearing about, it’s what’s being done to counter it.
For the past five years, as the drought drained California’s water sources and depleted its reservoirs, Southern California water managers have relied increasingly on the region’s largest out-of-state water source: the Colorado River.
The river feeds the 242-mile Colorado River Aqueduct, which ends at Lake Mathews in Riverside County. The aqueduct is managed by the Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles, a wholesaler that supplies 1.2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to the Inland region and beyond.
The San Diego Business Journal
Awards & Recognitions
Nora Jaeschke has received the California Association of Community Managers Lifetime Achievement Award. Jaeschke has been president of N.N. Jaeschke Inc. since 1971 (and is a member for the Water Authority board of directors).
Californians are doing an outstanding job conserving water, reducing urban water use by nearly 26 percent during the last seven months of 2015, compared with the same period in 2013, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown’s 25 percent reduction mandate. California’s investor-owned water utilities, together serving approximately 6 million people, are partnering with their customers to achieve those savings. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has recognized many of our members among the state’s water conservation standouts.
The severity of this historic drought has required extraordinary conservation measures to ensure adequate water supplies. As SWRCB Chair Felicia Marcus said last spring, “This is the drought of the century, with greater impact than anything our parents and grandparents experienced, and we have to act accordingly.” Given the uncertainties with the weather, the SWRCB made the prudent, responsible decision on Feb. 2 to extend the emergency conservation regulations (with appropriate adjustments for local climates, population growth and drought resilient supply investments) through October 2016.
A judge has ordered the release of the names and addresses of Los Angeles residents who received turf removal rebates aimed at helping California conserve water during the drought.
Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California must release the data but granted a temporary exemption to more than two dozen law enforcement officials, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
At a Feb. 3 meeting of the Orange County Water District, members of the public questioned plans to build a new desalination plant along the coast. They noted San Diego County Water Authority officials were forced to dump treated water into a lake because of a contract they signed with Poseidon Resources to build a desalination plant in Carlsbad. In response, Scott Maloni, vice president of Poseidon, said, “Despite some comments you heard tonight about water not being used or not being needed, that is not the case.”
With the El Niño weather phenomenon lingering lightly across the U.S. West Coast, many Californians have breathed a sigh of relief. The recent showers triggered by the weather anomaly so far this year could potentially aid the state’s growers in the short term. But will they abate the accumulated effects of nearly five years of drought in the long term? At www.freshfruitportal.com we caught up with water experts and local growers to find the answer.
Western Growers (WGA) vice president of federal government affairs, Dennis Nuxoll, said one year of stable weather conditions will not curb the long-term effects of the accumulated water shortage
The Department of Water Resources recently released an estimate of how much additional water would have been diverted from the Delta in January and part of February if the proposed Delta tunnels (California WaterFix or BDCP) had already been built. We have asked the State to make the underlying analysis and modeling available, to better inform ourselves, the public and decision-makers about the proposed project and alternatives. For instance, how much would doing so have reduced Delta outflow? What assumptions were they using regarding bypass flows, post-pulse protections, and reverse flows in the South Delta? And how much of the 9,000 cfs capacity would have actually been used, and for how long during that period?
But one thing is already clear, before delving into the details of the modeling – the State’s estimate of additional water supply that the tunnels would have made available over this short period of time is misleading someone – we just don’t know who’s getting the bait and switch.