According to the US Drought Monitor, 28.8% of the lower 48 states are in drought. At one point in 2022, almost half of the country was in a drought condition. The lack of precipitation plays havoc on the groundwater supply which is the basic water supply for most Americans.
What began as a brash legal complaint that millions of ratepayers faced historic damage ended with a fizzle this week as the San Diego County Water Authority voted in closed session to settle a lawsuit filed earlier this year.
The water authority board approved an agreement to end its litigation challenging the plan by the Fallbrook Public Utilities District and Rainbow Municipal Water District to leave the broader agency and join the Eastern Municipal Water District of Riverside County.
Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would allocate $7.25 million to help protect water agency infrastructure in California’s 3rd Congressional District against fire.
If the legislation is also supported by a Senate majority, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District would get $1.25 million to construct a 2-million-gallon fire resilient water storage tank to aid in fire suppression efforts, according to a news release from the office of Congressman Kevin Kiley.
When California imposed its first-ever regulation on the extraction of water from underground aquifers in 2014, it gave environmental groups a landmark victory in their decades-long effort to overhaul water use laws.
It was also a political setback for farmers, who are California’s major water users and have depended on wells to irrigate their crops as increasingly frequent droughts reduce surface water in rivers and reservoirs.
In a move that activists hope could shift how water regulators statewide manage dwindling groundwater basins, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors this week banned the drilling of all new wells for six months countywide while they draft a set of longer-lasting rules on using groundwater.
California water agencies that rely on the parched Colorado River said Wednesday they can reduce their use by one-tenth starting in 2023 in response to calls for cuts from the federal government.
California’s agricultural empire is facing a shakeup, as a state law comes into effect that will limit many farmers’ access to water.
The seven-year-old law is supposed to stop the over-pumping from depleted aquifers, and some farmers — the largest users of that water — concede the limits are overdue.
Nearly $3.25 million in federal funding was preliminarily secured for separate project requests at the Salton Sea and the New River on Monday, July 12, according to the office of Congressman Juan Vargas, D-Chula Vista. The funding was part of a 2022 House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee bill that included requests of $2.546 million for a major Salton Sea research project, $200,000 for a Salton Sea feasibility study, and $500,000 for planning and design phases for a potential New River restoration project, Vargas’ press release states.
Imperial Irrigation District officials are making a last-ditch effort to amend or kill proposed legislation that could fundamentally transform the governing board of the agency, Assembly Bill 1021.
At the heart of the issue is how the bill could force the district — which provides water and power to virtually all of Imperial County, and electricity to part of the Coachella Valley — to add a seat representing energy ratepayers from a small section of southeastern Riverside County to the IID Board of Directors.
IID officials are vehemently opposed to the bill, which they see as the tip of a spear that would allow outside interests to seize control of Imperial Valley’s lifeblood, its water.
The backdrop for the legislation was set hundreds of miles away from Carson City, where the Colorado River meets Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam outside of Las Vegas.
Over the past two decades, Lake Mead, which holds nearly all of Las Vegas’ water, has dropped more than 100 feet amid drought and overuse. In response, federal regulators expect to declare the first-ever shortage for the Colorado River next year, triggering cuts to Arizona and Nevada’s allocations.