From The Sewage To Your Cup. Can Recycling Water Save Southern California?

To state the obvious: California has a water problem. That’s why more than 6 million Southern Californians can water outside only once or twice a week as of June 1.

But experts say conservation alone can’t solve our water woes. So what does water security look like in a drier future? This story focuses on one piece of the puzzle: recycling wastewater. Let’s dig in.

Poseidon Water Could Receive Millions in State Bonds for Huntington Beach Plant

The controversial Poseidon Water seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could be in line to receive millions in state funds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

The committee met Wednesday, a three-hour meeting during which it partially decided how to divide up more than $4.3 billion in tax exempt Private Activity Bonds that are available for distribution in 2022.

California’s Drought Reckoning Could Offer Lessons for the West

The golden hills of California have turned green in recent weeks after a series of storms delivered much-needed rain and snow to a state suffering from two years of drought.

But state officials and water policy experts are still urging caution even in these wet conditions, pushing for water-saving measures as the drought is expected to continue throughout much of the West.

Drought Remains a Threat Even After Wet December

Despite December’s heavy rains and record snowfall, water agencies remain geared up for California’s two-year-old drought to extend through 2022.

The precipitation did bring encouraging signs, including a Dec. 30 report from the Department of Water Resources that the snowpack at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada is at a healthy level. The 78 inches of snow was 202% of the average for the site at that time of year, offering hope for an abundance of the imported water used in much of Southern California.

As OC Digs Deeper for Drinking Water, Worries About Contamination Arise

According to attorney and water policy expert Felicia Marcus, who is also the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University, regional officials hope to purify this groundwater and are also actively pursuing collaborations with local water districts in order to obtain clean drinking water for its residents.

South Orange County, though, is not affected by this dilemma as at least 90% of its water is imported.

As Cities Grow, Wastewater Recycling Gets Another Look

Around the U.S., cities are increasingly warming to an idea that once induced gags: Sterilize wastewater from toilets, sinks and factories, and eventually pipe it back into homes and businesses as tap water.

In the Los Angeles area, plans to recycle wastewater for drinking are moving along with little fanfare just two decades after similar efforts in the city sparked such a backlash they had to be abandoned. The practice, which must meet federal drinking water standards, has been adopted in several places around the country, including nearby Orange County.

Tarballs Found Along San Diego Coastline, Orange County Oil Spill Suspected

Large clusters of tarballs were found along beaches in Oceanside and Carlsbad, San Diego County officials said Thursday, with similar reports being made in Encinitas and Del Mar.

The black balls of tar, about the size of a quarter, are suspected to have come from the massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County, where a ruptured pipeline has spewed more than 144,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean.

Oil, Tar Wash Ashore in San Diego County as O.C. Oil Spill Cleanup Extends

Small amounts of oil and tar washed ashore as far south as San Diego County on Thursday as cleanup and recovery efforts accelerated following the oil spill along the Orange County coast.

Officials said they’ve made progress in the cleanup and hope to advance even further over the weekend. But a storm that meteorologists say could bring 20-mph winds to the region is moving in, raising concerns that more oil could reach the shores. So far, much of the crude has remained offshore, but striations have been seen in Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach.

Tar Balls Wash Up in North County Beaches, Prompt County Warning

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Thursday advised the public to be cautious at beaches and avoid contact with tar balls.

There have been increased reports of tar balls washing ashore on North County beaches, the agency reported.

It’s unclear if the increased numbers are directly related to the oil spill off the coast of Orange County, an official said.

Proposed Change at Prado Dam Could Yield Water for 60,000 More People

Enough water for 60,000 Orange County residents can be generated by more efficient release of rainwater from the Prado Dam into the Santa Ana River, according to a new multi-agency report.

During a year of average rainfall, that’s the amount of water currently flowing into the ocean that could be captured for urban use, according to the two co-chairmen of the committee overseeing project. The proposed plan, slated to begin phasing in next year, would enable more rainwater to be absorbed into the county’s major groundwater basin before it reaches the Pacific.