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California’s Shasta Dam Project Hits Financial, Legal Snags

Feds want to raise dam, expand reservoir to improve water reliability State officials, environmental groups say plan violates California law A plan to raise and expand California’s largest reservoir is on hold as federal officials look for partners to share in the $1.4 billion cost. The federal Bureau of Reclamation also must grapple with opponents who have sued, saying the Shasta Dam project violates state law. The bureau has long-pushed to raise its 602-foot Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet and enlarge the reservoir by 630,000 acre-feet, saying it would increase water supply reliability and reduce flood risks. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water.

Flooding Spikes Along U.S. Coasts as Sea Levels Rise: NOAA Report

High tides are flooding basements, streets and septic systems up and down U.S. coastlines more often as sea levels rise—and the future looks even more soggy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said July 10.

Mexican Waters Eyed As Source To Save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.Formed by floodwaters from the Colorado River, the Salton Sea has been declining for years. Its exposed playa—the bottom of a desert basin—blows in the twisting wind, sending dust into the air and contributing to high childhood asthma rates.

Safe Water Fund Plan Advances To California Legislators

More than 1 million Californians don’t have access to safe drinking water, and after haggling throughout the weekend, California legislators approved a plan June 9 that would help fund work at contaminated water supplies across the state without imposing a tax. The state Conference Committee on the Budget unanimously approved a compromise plan that would allocate $133.4 million of the state’s proposed $213 billion budget for project costs in communities currently unable to use their water for cooking, bathing,

EPA Curbs Use Of 12 Bee-Harming Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled registration of a dozen pesticides, from a class of chemicals known to harm bees.The cancellations are effective as of May 20 for 12 neonicotinoid-based products produced by Syngenta, Valent, and Bayer. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act requires pesticides sold or distributed in the U.S. to be registered by the EPA. Under a December settlement agreement linked to an Endangered Species Act challenge by environmental groups, the companies voluntarily agreed to petition EPA to cancel 12 out of 59 products containing the active ingredients clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

California Touts Desalination, But Take It With A Grain Of Salt

Slimming down a $17 billion plan to shunt water from Northern California to the arid south has the state considering ways to supplement water needs. Desalination is one of the methods getting some attention. California has a water problem, drought or no drought. The new administration has signaled a shift in water policy by specifically talking about turning salty water potable after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he would support only a single tunnel as part of the project known as WaterFix, rather than the two tunnels his predecessor pushed for to bring water to the state’s southern half.

Environmental Review Of Water Wells Goes Before California High Court

The California Supreme Court will weigh in on whether environmental review is required for each new water well project. The issue of groundwater extraction heightened during California’s prolonged drought. All six justices during their weekly meeting Nov. 14 voted to review an appellate decision involving Stanislaus County.

Permit Delays Dam Up Hydro Projects, Relicensing Costs Millions

Alvin Thoma’s youngest son was born the year his employer, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., began the process of renewing the license for its Upper North Fork Feather River hydropower facility in northern California. His son is 19 years old now. The facility, however, is still undergoing relicensing. “For me, that’s a mental image of just how long it takes to go through this process,” Thoma, a director of power generation at PG&E, which runs one of the largest hydro systems in the country, told Bloomberg Environment.