Without a Statewide Water Supply Target, California’s Future is at Risk

If you don’t already know, it will surprise you to learn that for all the attention that our state’s water supply receives in California – for all the worry and effort it takes to make sure there’s enough for our 40 million residents, 24 million acres of farmland, countless acres of natural environment, and status as the world’s fifth-largest economy (of which its agriculture and environment are huge parts) – no statewide goal exists to ensure a sustainable water supply for California’s future. What big, bold vision has ever been achieved without first setting a goal?

Reservoir Levels Remain Above Historical Average Across California

California’s lakes and reservoirs remain in very good shape as an El Niño winter closes in.

Following the record wet winter, lakes and reservoirs were nearly full to the brim as the melting snowpack made its way into them.

Colorado Lawmakers Move to Ban Nonfunctional Turf Planting

State lawmakers are advancing a bill that would prohibit the planting of new, nonfunctional turf.

If the bill passes next year, it would prohibit local and state governments and unit owners associations from allowing the planting of nonfunctional turf or nonnative plants or installing artificial turf in commercial, institutional or industrial properties beginning in 2025.

Californians Bet Farming Agave for Spirits Holds Key to Weathering Drought and Groundwater Limits

Leo Ortega started growing spiky blue agave plants on the arid hillsides around his Southern California home because his wife liked the way they looked.

A decade later, his property is now dotted with thousands of what he and others hope is a promising new crop for the state following years of punishing drought and a push to scale back on groundwater pumping.

A River Runs Through Bakersfield? Judge Rules the Kern River Must Be Allowed to Flow

Environmental activists in Bakersfield have won an initial victory in their legal fight to keep water flowing in the Kern River, which for many years was reduced to a dry, sandy riverbed.

A judge has granted a preliminary injunction preventing water diversions that would dry up the river, requiring sufficient water to provide for fish and keep the Kern flowing in the city.

EPA Presents Awards to WaterSense Partners

The U.S. EPA has presented 47 awards to WaterSense partners for their support of WaterSense and water efficiency at the WaterSmart Innovations conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This year’s award winners made innovative water-efficient products, built homes using 30% less water than typical new construction, made WaterSense labeled products accessible to consumers, and implemented programs to promote water-saving behaviors and fixtures.

Eden Bruckman-sustainability-San Diego County

Eden Brukman is San Diego County’s New Chief Sustainability Officer

Eden Brukman is the new chief of the San Diego County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice (OSEJ). In addition to her unbridled passion for service and helping others, Brukman brings more than two decades of sustainability leadership experience to the role.

Brukman boasts a diverse portfolio of environmentally minded building and infrastructure projects along with many years of experience in climate justice policies.

She is also on a mission to make the world a better place and is inspired by the theme of “tikkun olam,” a Hebrew phrase meaning “repair the world” — something that has been at the center of her identity from a young age.

“This is not just about the environmental issues that we must address, but also is fundamentally about human relationships and connections – ways of seeing each other and supporting one another,” Brukman said.

Eden Bruckman-sustainability-environmental justice-San Diego County

Eden Bruckman says a major part of her job is to strive to reduce environmental and health disparities and expand opportunities in traditionally underserved areas by elevating community strengths. Photo: San Diego County

Before joining the County team, she worked for the San Francisco Environment Department and chaired the Municipal Green Building Task Force while aiding in the development of the San Francisco 2021 Climate Action Plan.

Before that role, she held various positions as a developer and director of global standards, licensed architect, and sustainability coordinator in Portland, Oregon, the UK, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.

“I’m inspired by common themes across children’s books that teach youth that they should feel empowered to dream big and create their own realities when the existing paradigm doesn’t match their vision,” Brukman said.

Brukman came to the County in March of this year and now oversees a team of 12 people. She says a major part of her job is to strive to reduce environmental and health disparities and expand opportunities in traditionally underserved areas by elevating community strengths.

“To me, it is about finding new ways to understand barriers and identifying that seed that creates something new and allows for scalable solutions,” Brukman said.

Zero Carbon Emissions

OSEJ focuses on both regional initiatives and County operations. The office seeks to achieve its goals by establishing meaningful connections, listening and elevating community needs, including those of our area Tribal nations, to achieve zero carbon emissions.

“We are creating a roadmap for stronger tribal partnerships, to ensure a mindful approach to fostering cross-governmental relationships and a mutual awareness on matters and opportunities for the health and well-being, quality of life, and sustainability of tribes throughout the County,” Brukman said.

Sustainability programs

Brukman said she was drawn to this role because of the County’s continued commitment to environmental justice through community engagement and its sustainability programs, including the Regional Decarbonization Framework and Climate Action Plan. The move also provided the opportunity to come back to the county in which she was raised.

“It is an honor and privilege to connect with San Diegans and our partners throughout the region to build the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice,” said Brukman. “I look forward to our continued collaboration to cocreate and advance initiatives that help foster a region where all people can live in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment.”

Brukman is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she received a B.A. in Architecture and a minor in Visual Studies. She also received a Master of Design at the Edinburgh College of Art.

She also received many awards, including the Women in Sustainability Leadership Award, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge and the Portland Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award. She is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Fellow, Living Future Hero, and a children’s book author and illustrator.

As leader of the County’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Brukman will bolster the County’s dedication to achieving a more sustainable, healthy, and just environment for area residents.

Millions of Children Are Displaced Due to Extreme Weather Events. Climate Change Will Make It Worse

Storms, floods, fires and other extreme weather events led to more than 43 million displacements involving children between 2016 and 2021, according to a United Nations report.

More than 113 million displacements of children will occur in the next three decades, estimated the UNICEF report released Friday, which took into account risks from flooding rivers, cyclonic winds and floods that follow a storm.

Nine Years in, California’s Groundwater Sustainability Overhaul is Becoming a Reality

For years, conversations about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – known commonly as SGMA – have largely taken a tone of speculation and even apprehension.

The 2014 law, which aims to slow California’s unlimited tapping of underground aquifers, gives locally organized groundwater sustainability agencies until 2042 to overhaul pumping practices for the spectrum of groundwater users — from cities and rural communities to dairies, small farms and agricultural conglomerates.

The East County Advanced Water Purification project is making significant progress on construction toward its 2026 opening. Photo: East County AWP

East County Advanced Water Purification Project Progressing

The East County Advanced Water Purification project is progressing, with construction underway at multiple East San Diego County locations. The project will create a new, local, sustainable, and drought-proof water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water.

Construction for the East County AWP is expected to be completed in 2025, and water production will begin in 2026. When completed, the project is expected to provide approximately 30% of current drinking water demands for East San Diego County residents and businesses.