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California Governor Proposes New Plan for Managing Water

California’s governor revealed a plan on Tuesday that would keep more water in the fragile San Joaquin River Delta while restoring 60,000 acres of habitat for endangered species and generating more than $5 billion in new funding for environmental improvements.

The framework announced Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom is a unique approach to managing the state’s scarce water resources. Historically, California has governed water usage by issuing rules — rules that are often challenged in court by farmers or environmental groups.

At Least 1,680 Dams Across The US Pose Potential Risk

On a cold morning last March, Kenny Angel got a frantic knock on his door. Two workers from a utility company in northern Nebraska had come with a stark warning: Get out of your house.

Just a little over a quarter-mile upstream, the 92-year-old Spencer Dam was straining to contain the swollen, ice-covered Niobrara River after an unusually intense snow and rainstorm. The workers had tried but failed to force open the dam’s frozen wooden spillway gates. So, fearing the worst, they fled in their truck, stopping to warn Angel before driving away without him.

New Mexico Delegation Takes Aim At US West’s Water Scarcity

As things begin to dry out again in New Mexico, members of the arid state’s congressional delegation are looking for ways to combat water scarcity here and across the American West.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is blaming climate change for growing water scarcity. The New Mexico Democrat worries that snowpack in the region is getting smaller and unable to adequately feed the Rio Grande and the rest of the state’s groundwater supplies.

California Adopts 22 New Laws Taking Aim At Wildfire Danger

California is adopting nearly two dozen laws aimed at preventing and fighting the devastating wildfires that have charred large swaths of the state in recent years and killed scores of people.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he had signed the 22 bills, saying several also will help the state meet its clean energy goals.

The measures largely enact key recommendations from a June report by a governor’s task force and build on $1 billion in the state budget devoted to preparing for wildfires and other emergencies, Newsom said.

Report Details Extent Of Water Contamination In California

Chemicals used for carpets and anti-stain products have been found in water sources for 7.5 million people in California, detailing the extent of the problem as state regulators work to develop safety levels for the contaminants that have been linked to cancer.

A report released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group found variants of the chemicals known as PFAS in 74 community water systems between 2013 and 2019, according to data from state and federal regulators. More than 40 percent of the systems had at least one sample that exceeded the health advisory level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Latest: Snow Falling On I-80 On Top Of Sierra Nevada

It’s still technically summer but snow is falling in the Sierra along the California-Nevada line.

California transportation officials posted a photo on the Caltrans District 3 Twitter account shortly after noon Monday showing snow accumulating on U.S. Interstate 80 at the top of Donner Summit about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Truckee, California.

Caltrans is urging motorists to slow down.

A strong cold front packing winds gusting up to 50 mph (80 kph) sent sending temperatures plummeting Monday across western Nevada.

Wet Winter Doesn’t End Climate Change Risk To Colorado River

Snow swamped mountains across the U.S. West last winter, leaving enough to thrill skiers into the summer, swelling rivers and streams when it melted, and largely making wildfire restrictions unnecessary. But the wet weather can be misleading.

Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter.

“It only demonstrates the wide swings we have to manage going forward,” James Eklund, former director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an interstate agency that ensures river water is doled out properly, said earlier this year. “You can put an ice cube — even an excellent ice cube — in a cup of hot coffee, but eventually it’s going to disappear.”

Farmers Use Tech To Squeeze Every Drop From Colorado River

A drone soared over a blazing hot cornfield in northeastern Colorado on a recent morning, snapping images with an infrared camera to help researchers decide how much water they would give the crops the next day.

After a brief, snaking flight above the field, the drone landed and the researchers removed a handful of memory cards. Back at their computers, they analyzed the images for signs the corn was stressed from a lack of water.

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.

Invasive Mussel Threatens Lake Powell Pipeline Project

An invasive mussel that has taken up residence in Lake Powell on the Colorado River is threatening Utah’s push to develop a $1.8 billion pipeline to deliver water to fast-growing areas. The Army Corps of Engineers has asked the state to provide a plan on how it will prevent the pipeline from transporting quagga mussels from the lake on the Arizona-Utah border, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday. The 140-mile (225-kilometer) pipeline aims to transport water to Washington and Kane counties in southern Utah. The line is planned to end at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George.