Water Futures to Start Trading Amid Growing Fears of Scarcity

Water is joining gold, oil and other commodities traded on Wall Street, highlighting worries that the life-sustaining natural resource may become scarce across more of the world.

Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike will be able to hedge against — or bet on — potential water scarcity starting this week, when CME Group Inc. launches contracts linked to the $1.1 billion California spot water market. According to Chicago-based CME, the futures will help water users manage risk and better align supply and demand.

The contracts, a first of their kind in the U.S., were announced in September as heat and wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast. They are meant to serve both as a hedge for California’s biggest water consumers against skyrocketing prices and a scarcity gauge for investors worldwide.

New National Climate Change Guide Focuses on Impact in San Joaquin Valley Communities

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists outlines wide-reaching environmental impacts affecting the health and economy of San Joaquin Valley communities from extreme heat to water scarcity and pollution.

The report acts as a guide to help community members and advocates address climate change issues and prepare for challenges. Advocates at the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability contributed to the report.

L.A.’s Coast Was Once a DDT Dumping Ground. No One Could See It — Until Now

Not far from Santa Catalina Island, in an ocean shared by divers and fishermen, kelp forests and whales, David Valentine decoded unusual signals underwater that gave him chills.

California Allows Polluting Power Plants to Keep Running. Recent Blackouts Helped Save Them

Two weeks after California was hit with rolling blackouts, state regulators extended the lifespan of a fleet of gas-fired power plants Tuesday, saying the facilities are needed to maintain reliability of the electricity grid. The State Water Resources Control Board voted 4-0 to allow nine generating units to operate up to three more years before they’re mothballed, overriding objections from environmentalists and some local officials complaining about air and water pollution.

Opinion: Changing the Climate for Environmental Racism

Environmental toxic exposure suffered in many minority neighborhoods is part of the systemic racism evident in society, and environmental justice belongs near the top of discussions to right those wrongs, writes Kevin McKie, an attorney at the Environmental Litigation Group P.C. Communities can take several steps, including passing legislation requiring industries to comply with stricter environmental regulations or pay additional fines, requiring that stringent environmental impact studies be performed before construction of new plants or the installation of toxic emission monitoring stations, and offering free medical monitoring.

Planning on Playing in Local Waterways? Avoid the Blue-Green Algae Blooms

Public health officials are urging boaters, swimmers and recreational water users to be on the lookout for hazardous blue-green algae blooms as warm temperatures persist.

San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department officials said in a news release Monday that staff have posted advisory signs at local marinas warning people to stay out of the water where toxic algae is present.

Sewage Spill Near Torrey Pines Closes Part of State Beach

The county Department of Environmental Health issued a water contact closure for the northern boundary of Torrey Pines State Beach, north of Carmel Valley Road in the city of Del Mar, due to a sewage spill. The sewage spill has been contained, but an estimated release of 1,800 gallons of effluent entered the storm drain, resulting in potential impacts to beach water quality, according to the DEH.

Water Company to Pay $5 Million for Hazardous Waste Violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5 million in fines for illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste, federal prosecutors said.

Old Mines Contaminating Water, Soil at 5,000 California Sites

California has about 47,000 abandoned mines and roughly 5,000 of those are contaminating water, soil, vegetation, and air across the state, according to a state report issued Tuesday.

Poll: Californians Support State Policies to Tackle Climate Change

Californians across the state are concerned about climate change and support plans to reduce harmful emissions and focus on renewable sources of energy. But there are stark differences when it comes to which residents of the Golden State see pollution as a serious threat to their family’s health.