Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $1.9 billion in grant funding to the State Revolving Funds to accelerate progress on water infrastructure projects. Combined with historic investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will help states, Tribes, and territories upgrade water infrastructure to provide safe drinking water, protect vital water resources, and create thousands of new jobs in communities across the country.
A recent report shows Californians aren’t doing enough to conserve water, despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s request to reduce use by 15%. Newsom made that request in July of 2021.
Fast forward to now, and according to the State Water Resources Control Board, total water usage statewide decreased by just 3.7% between July and March compared to the same period two years ago.
The Sacramento is California’s largest river. It arises near the lower slopes of Mt. Shasta, in the northernmost part of the state, and runs some four hundred miles south, draining the upper corridor of the Central Valley, bending through downtown Sacramento, and, eventually, reaching the Pacific Ocean, by way of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Erik Vink, the executive director of the Delta Protection Commission, a state conservation agency, described the Sacramento to me as “California’s first superhighway.” By the eighteen-fifties, daily steamboats ferried passengers between San Francisco and Sacramento in as little as six hours.
At a point in the year when California’s water storage should be at its highest, the state’s two largest reservoirs have already dropped to critically low levels — a sobering outlook for the hotter and drier months ahead.
Shasta Lake, which rises more than 1,000 feet above sea level when filled to the brim, is at less than half of where it usually should be in early May — the driest it has been at this time of year since record-keeping first began in 1976. Lake Oroville, the largest reservoir in the State Water Project, a roughly 700-mile lifeline that pumps and ferries water all the way to Southern California, is currently at 55% of total capacity.
With water scarcity increasing around the globe, arid regions are striving to develop more flexible and diversified water supplies. For example, California’s 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative recommends improving and expanding the state’s conveyance and storage infrastructure as well as developing groundwater banking and other means of more flexibly sharing water. The success of such initiatives depends in large part upon the ability of water providers to collaboratively finance and build new infrastructure.
Momentum is building for a unique interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern California homes and business into relief for the stressed Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water agencies.
The San Diego County Water Authority has been granted its first ever utility patent for a device that inspects interior sections of water pipelines that are inaccessible or not safe to inspect without expensive specialized gear and training.
Water Authority Operations and Maintenance Manager Martin Coghill invented the tool to save time, reduce costs and improve safety during ongoing aqueduct inspections. The Water Authority’s industry-leading Asset Management Program includes a proactive search for pipeline weaknesses that can be addressed before they become large and costly problems.
Construction of the new Flow Regulatory Structure II, or FRS II, in Mission Trails Regional Park is nearing completion. The structure is now completely enclosed on all sides and was successfully tested.
Construction crews have started placing soil around the exterior walls to begin burying the structure. In the next three weeks, the roof will be covered so the facility is concealed. Water is expected to begin flowing into FRS II in June 2022.
Pinch your fingers together and try to imagine 0.02 inches.
That’s how much rain fell at San Diego International Airport in April. 30 days in San Diego and the airport measured 0.02 inches of rainfall.
In the coming weeks, the City of San Diego will begin emergency repairs on the Lake Hodges Dam at the Hodges Reservoir in Escondido outside of Rancho Santa Fe.
During a recent inspection, the city identified areas in the dam wall that require repair and need be sealed. In order to complete the work, the water level of the reservoir needs to be lowered by about 18 feet from its current level to an elevation of 275 feet.
The repair project is expected to continue for an estimated five months.