Infrastructure

Overview

Infrastructure

“Infrastructure” in general can be defined as the components and equipment needed to operate, as well as the structures needed for, public works systems. Typical examples include roads, bridges, sewers and water supply systems.Various dams and infrastructural buildings have given Californians and the West the opportunity to control water, dating back to the days of Native Americans.

Water management infrastructure focuses on the parts, including pipes, storage reservoirs, pumps, valves, filtration and treatment equipment and meters, as well as the buildings to house process and treatment equipment. Irrigation infrastructure includes reservoirs, irrigation canals. Major flood control infrastructure includes dikes, levees, major pumping stations and floodgates.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Can the private sector save America’s aging water systems?

Who owns the water pipes beneath your street? Increasingly, it is a private company, a shift from the mostly public ownership of the systems used to provide drinking water and remove waste that has prevailed in the U.S. since the early 1900s.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers upset that wildfire money left out of White House’s disaster aid request

Every day, Mike Thompson hears a new story about how last month’s fires in Northern California have affected people’s lives…. And yet none of the $44 billion that the White House requested of Congress on Friday for supplemental disaster aid includes funding to rebuild California after the fires — which killed 43 people and destroyed nearly 9,000 structures — a move that’s sparked an outcry from Thompson and his fellow lawmakers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump wants more big infrastructure projects. The obstacles can be big, too.

President Trump says he is frustrated with the slow pace of major construction projects like highways, ports and pipelines. Last summer, he pledged to use the power of the presidency to jump start building when it became bogged down in administrative delays.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Huntington Beach desalination plant challenged in court

A coalition of non-profits is asking a superior court to reverse a state agency’s decision to greenlight a long-proposed, controversial desalination plant in Huntington Beach. … The Poseidon desalination plant has been proposed for the site of the AES power plant on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach for nearly 20 years, and has been continually challenged and fought by environmental groups.

Aquafornia news Brookings

How the Land of 10,000 Lakes is planning and paying for cleaner water

This year’s record hurricane season has been a wake-up call when it comes to water infrastructure. It has also been a reminder of how the public sector plays a crucial role in promoting more resilient investments, managing runoff concerns, and preventing floods. Many communities, though, still lack the financial and technical capacity to support clean, safe, and reliable water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Risks grow for deadliest U.S. drinking water hazard

In the weeks after Labor Day, one dozen people who live in or visited Anaheim, California fell ill with a common set of symptoms: fever, chills, and coughing. Ten of the 12, all between the ages of 52 and 94, required treatment at a hospital and were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia-like illness that attacks the lungs. One person died.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: $300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America’s water pipes

Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares. America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task. Two powerful industries, plastic and iron, are locked in a lobbying war over the estimated $300 billion that local governments will spend on water and sewer pipes over the next decade.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California asks US for $7.4 billion for wildfire rebuilding

California Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers asked the U.S. government Friday for $7.4 billion to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of wine country, killing more than 40 people and leaving thousands without housing.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: If governor can’t sell California on two Delta tunnels, would just one fly?

It sounds like a nice, elegant compromise for a California water project swamped in uncertainty: If there isn’t enough money to build two Delta tunnels, why not build just one? Drastically downsizing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tunnels wouldn’t merely save money.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Could a simpler Delta tunnel solve years of California water conflict?

California’s ambitious plan to build two giant water tunnels under the West’s largest estuary has been deemed too expensive by some of the water utilities that would have to pay for it. As a result, attention is turning back to a cheaper option: One tunnel instead of two. … Ironically, it is an option the state’s top water agencies rejected out of hand a decade ago.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Take ‘twin’ out of Delta tunnels?

In the Delta region, the twin tunnels always have been considered double trouble. If you take the “twin” out, you’ve still got trouble. That’s the view of many local activists as speculation grows that Gov. Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel water conveyance project will soon be downsized, whittled down to perhaps just one tunnel with a smaller capacity.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Two years after California’s biggest dam removal, fish rebound

At a time when California was suffering from a record-breaking drought, removing a dam would have seemed counterintuitive. … The razing of the Sam Clemente Dam served a dual purpose. The sediment-choked reservoir blocked access to the ocean for steelhead and the dam was at risk of catastrophic failure due to earthquakes.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Delta tunnel project decision time has arrived

A new option has entered the discussion of Delta water supplies: one cross-Delta tunnel instead of two. For now, California’s WaterFix proposal, pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is for two tunnels under-crossing the Delta for 35 miles, allowing up to 60 percent of Delta water exports to come from the main channel of Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Officials express confidence when sizing up area levees

Considering the events of this past winter and the problems they posed to Yuba-Sutter levees, officials are confident the improvements made over the past several months will withstand the upcoming flood season.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Interior Department clarifies, says it will continue to work on Delta tunnels project

After several hours of confusion over the Trump administration’s position on a massive water delivery project, the Interior Department said Wednesday it would continue to work with the state on California WaterFix.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Is Donald Trump fighting the Delta tunnels?

Is the Trump administration opposed to the Delta tunnels, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to remake the troubled estuary and improve water deliveries to the southern half of the state? For a while Wednesday, it certainly looked that way.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Interior Department clarifies that it remains behind proposed Delta tunnels

Bewildering both opponents and supporters of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Department of Interior late Wednesday said the Trump administration had not pulled its support for the project as reported earlier.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California Democrats seek new federal probe of water project

Five California Democrats in Congress asked Tuesday for a new federal review of funding for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tunnel project. Their request follows a federal audit of Brown’s $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California’s complex north-south water system by building two giant water tunnels.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area group threatens lawsuit on Berryessa Creek project

Trouble with the Upper Berryessa Creek flood project between North San Jose and Milpitas continues to work its way downstream, as a group of residents plan to legally challenge the Santa Clara Valley Water District and California Department of Fish and Wildlife in court over “unmitigated” environmental impacts from the Lower Berryessa Creek project.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Poseidon desalination plant clears hurdle, sparks outcry

The final round of battles between the people who want to build the Poseidon desalination water plant, and the grass roots environmental groups who oppose it, began Thursday in a crowded city hall chamber in Huntington Beach. … The three-member [State Lands] commission voted late Thursday to approve the project as long as the operators agree to eliminate or reduce carbon emissions.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant clears a hurdle with State Lands Commission vote

A proposed Huntington Beach seawater desalination plant passed a major regulatory hurdle Thursday when a marathon session at City Hall concluded with an endorsement from the California State Lands Commission.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration says it’s willing to consider one-tunnel approach to Delta project

Silicon Valley’s water district Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta but said it would support a smaller, less expensive project. A top state official said the Brown administration is willing to consider such an approach.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Key vote on $17 billion Delta tunnels project Tuesday in San Jose

In its most far-reaching decision in more than 50 years, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider will vote Tuesday on whether to embrace or reject Gov. Jerry Brown’ s $17 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear

On Oct. 10, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to endorse the Delta tunnels, the $17 billion project that aims to reboot California’s main water supply system. Two days later, the Kern County Water Agency offered its own bid – albeit it a hesitant one – of support.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California firefighters say they finally ‘turned a corner’

Sonoma County officials said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. Crews have been working around the clock to connect water and power, in some cases putting up new poles next to smoldering trees, the sheriff said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Brown should compromise and settle for just one Delta tunnel

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls Gov. Jerry Brown pitching her to support his costly twin-tunnels water plan. He showed her the environmental analysis and she was shocked. Shocked not at the contents, but at the documents’ size.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot

Voters will decide in June 2018 whether to borrow $4 billion to fund improvements to the California’s parks and water systems after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 5 on Sunday.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Feinstein lends support to Huntington Beach desalination project

As supporters and opponents of a proposed Huntington Beach desalination project gear up for a key meeting before the State Lands Commission, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has weighed in.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego River experienced spike in human feces last winter—county says no link to hepatitis A outbreak

The San Diego River saw a huge increase of pollution from human feces last winter, according to documents obtained from regional water quality regulators. The flood of human waste came as storms drenched the region, washing pollution from the urban environment into watersheds and potentially flushing sewage from leaky pipes through groundwater into rivers and creeks.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Water north of Santa Rosa may not be drinkable for days amid Tubbs Fire

Residents in the Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa were urged not to drink tap water there for the foreseeable future, as the devastating Tubbs fire ravaging the region has damaged storage tanks and a pumping station, officials said Monday.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin dam spillways slated for detailed inspection

Next month three Marin Municipal Water District spillways will undergo an inspection to make sure they are safe in the wake of the Oroville Dam problems earlier this year. Last week the district hired Los Angeles-based AECOM to conduct evaluations of the spillways at the Kent, Nicasio and Soulajule reservoirs as required by the state Division of Safety of Dams.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Once again, Southern California holds the key to a major California water project

In 1960, the water barons of Los Angeles stood between Gov. Pat Brown and his dream of building a network of dams and canals to make the southern half of California bloom. He beat them – just barely, after weeks of public arm-twisting – and the State Water Project was born.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Trump official says government won’t stand in the way of removing Klamath dams

After the Obama administration helped broker a deal last year to tear down four dams straddling the California-Oregon border, practically everyone involved figured President Donald Trump would undermine it. They assumed Trump would side with conservative activists and Republican congressmen who thwarted an earlier version of the same agreement in 2015.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: State auditor slams California’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project

On the eve of key votes in San Jose and Los Angeles, Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels through the Delta to make it easier to move water from north to south was hit with another setback Thursday as a state audit found it was suffering from “significant cost increases and delays.”

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Cities, port take step to sue feds over border sewage spills

Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego took the first step toward suing the federal government to stop wastewater and raw sewage from continually pouring over the border from Tijuana into San Diego County. … On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, as the chair of the State Lands Commission, announced his support for the efforts by local officials in San Diego to address the situation.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Broadcasting, San Diego

Debating Delta tunnel plan

The state’s water users will find out soon if they will be paying for the $17 billion tunnel project called the California WaterFix. The controversial plan proposes building tunnels under the Sacramento Delta to secure the supply of water being sent south.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

State-mandated San Antonio, Nacimiento dam spillway repairs approved

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors of the Water Resources Agency approved up to $500,000 for state-mandated emergency repair work to the county-owned Lake San Antonio and Lake Nacimiento dam spillways dubbed “minimum requirements” to allow the dam spillways to continue operating, with additional, classified assessments still being finalized that could result in further repairs.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnels dead? Southern California ready to plow ahead

Southern California’s mammoth water agency appeared ready to plow ahead with the Delta tunnels project Tuesday, despite a “no” vote by a giant bloc of San Joaquin Valley farmers that could doom the $17 billion proposal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Which California megaprojects get breaks from complying with environmental law?

Year after year, owners of professional sports teams and developers of proposed skyscrapers have pleaded with California lawmakers to grant relief for their projects from the state’s environmental regulations. They’ve found a largely receptive audience.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

MWD to debate its stake in $17 billion Delta water tunnels project

MWD [Metropolitan Water District of Southern California] General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the board on Tuesday is scheduled to debate whether to commit to its portion of the project.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

California cities will flood, so why aren’t we ready?

After big natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, federal officials often tighten up flood protection standards. That’s what happened in California after Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago. But many flood-prone communities are still struggling to meet those standards, including Sacramento, one of the riskiest flood zones in the country.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: There is a multibillion-dollar hole in the Delta tunnels funding plan

The decision by one of the state’s major water players to opt out of California’s $17-billion replumbing project was a surprise to many. The reasons for it were not.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California again steps up to Trump, this time to stop border wall

California’s lawsuit claims the federal government violated the U.S. Constitution’s separation-of-powers doctrine “by vesting in the Executive Branch the power to waive state and local laws.” The lawsuit also says the Department of Homeland Security decided to build the walls without complying with the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

What’s next for Brown’s Delta tunnels now that a big chunk of funding has disappeared?

Shellshocked by an influential farm irrigation district’s refusal to help pay for the Delta tunnels, advocates of the $17.1 billion project were scrambling Wednesday to salvage it or conjure up a Plan B. Three possible options were floated by California water policymakers for reviving the proposal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California could be hit by an 8.2 mega-earthquake, and it would be catastrophic

Scientists say it’s possible for Southern California to be hit by a magnitude 8.2 earthquake. Such a quake would be far more destructive to the Los Angeles area because the San Andreas fault runs very close to and underneath densely populated areas. … The aqueducts that bring in 88% of Los Angeles’ water supply and cross the San Andreas fault all could be damaged or destroyed, [Lucy] Jones said.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers OK $4 billion for parks, water projects

Immigration and housing dominated the headlines from Sacramento this year. But with little fanfare, state lawmakers working with Gov. Jerry Brown also approved a sweeping measure to provide $4.1 billion in new funding for parks and water projects — everything from building Bay Area hiking trails to expanding Lake Tahoe beaches to constructing new inner city parks in Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Millions of Californians on hook for water plan

California is increasing the pressure on millions of Californians to help pay for two giant water tunnels that Gov. Jerry Brown wants built.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Southland wind up holding much of the $17-billion bill for Delta water tunnels?

Some of the state’s biggest water districts are about to make their opening moves in a financial chess game that ultimately could saddle the Southland with much of the bill for re-engineering the failing heart of California’s water system.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Lanes on Interstate 8 reopen after water main break

A series of water main breaks caused major problems in Mission Valley Thursday, where a geyser shot high into the air along Interstate 8, opened a large sinkhole and forced the closure of all four eastbound traffic lanes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Corps says Whittier Narrows Dam is unsafe, could trigger flooding

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that the 60-year-old Whittier Narrows Dam is structurally unsafe and poses a potentially catastrophic risk to the working-class communities along the San Gabriel River floodplain. According to an agency report based on research conducted last year, unusually heavy rains could trigger a premature opening of the dam’s massive spillway.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Rethinking the ‘infrastructure’ discussion amid a blitz of hurricanes

The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America’s fastest-growing states. … A national civil engineering group has surveyed the nation’s bridges, roads, dams, transit systems and more and awarded a string of D or D+ grades since 1998.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Interlake Tunnel delayed six months amid Nacimiento resistance

A number of challenges facing the proposed Interlake Tunnel project, including resistance from landowners near Lake Nacimiento, have delayed the proposal again by about six months. … The tunnel proposal calls for connecting Nacimiento and neighboring Lake San Antonio, in Monterey County, to allow water diversion from the former to the latter during higher flow periods.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Audit finds improper taxpayer subsidies for Delta tunnels

In a potential setback for the controversial Delta tunnels, federal auditors say $50 million in taxpayer funds were used to improperly subsidize San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts as they helped plan the project.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Biologists watch steelhead return after historic dam removal

Tommy Williams rips through an Alka Seltzer packet, dropping the antacids into a bucket of water teeming with juvenile steelhead trout. He has several minutes to work before the anesthetizing effect wears off and the fish wake up.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water lifting concrete slab seen as cause of Oroville Dam spillway failure

Faulty design, construction and repairs of the main Oroville Dam spillway allowed water to seep under its floor and build up, lifting a concrete slab Feb. 7 into the water flowing down the chute, starting a chain of events that largely wrecked the structure.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Water: Setting the sights on Sites

Sites Reservoir has been talked about for decades, but now that project officials — and backed by 70 major allies — have formally submitted an application for state bond money, the question arises: Will this $5 billion project actually come to pass?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Houston offers a grim vision of Los Angeles after catastrophic earthquake

For years, scientists have drawn up terrifying scenarios of widespread destruction and chaos that would come to Southern California when a catastrophic earthquake hits. … While epic flooding is different from a powerful temblor, both natural disasters fundamentally alter daily life for months or years.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Think Harvey-like flooding couldn’t happen to Sacramento? Think again

Taxpayers have spent billions of dollars on dams, levees and bypasses to keep Sacramento and other Central Valley towns and cities from flooding, but experts say the infrastructure would prove no match for a megastorm like the one that pummeled Houston this week.

Aquafornia news The Union, serving Western Nevada County

Massive effort in motion to repair Oroville Dam Spillway

It’s been six months since a failure of the Oroville Dam Spillway led to the evacuation nearly 200,000 people, including hundreds who took refuge at an evacuation center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds as well as hotels in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

With billions on the line, California begins vetting water projects

A dozen water storage projects in California are now officially in the running for a share of $2.7 billion in state bond funds. But experts are cautioning that taxpayers shouldn’t get their hopes up that these projects will solve chronic water shortages in the state. The money comes from Proposition 1, a bond measure approved by state voters in 2014.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

A big dam east of Fresno has been talked about for years. Now it’s time to talk money

The proposed Temperance Flat dam on the upper San Joaquin River east of Fresno likely will be at the head of the line when the state awards big money for water storage projects.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Dozens are suing to block Delta tunnels. Will it matter?

They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Native American remains, artifacts found at Pacheco Dam site

Ancient bones and abundant artifacts lie along Pacheco Creek, just north of Highway 152 at Pacheco Pass, where generations of Native Americans lived, died and now rest in peace. But the site is also where Silicon Valley’s largest water provider plans to expand a reservoir, storing more water for our region’s ever-growing thirst.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on 2018 ballot

Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump signs order to speed infrastructure construction

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has signed a new executive order intended to make more efficient the federal permitting process for construction of transportation, water and other infrastructure projects without harming the environment.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New dams for California? A dozen projects seek $2.7 billion

During the drought, Californians often asked why the state wasn’t building more reservoirs. On Tuesday, the state finally began taking a major step toward that goal, unveiling a list of 12 huge new water projects — from massive new dams in the north to expanded groundwater banks in the south — that will compete for $2.7 billion in state bond funding for new water storage projects.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Agreements in place to fund largest California reservoir proposal

California voters in 2014 approved a ballot measure that allocates $2.7 billion for water storage projects. It’s likely there will be hot competition for the money when the California Water Commission gets around to awarding it next year.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sites Reservoir supporters want $1.6 billion from water bond (with audio)

This week is the application deadline for projects requesting funding from the $7.5 billion Proposition 1 water bond that California voters approved in 2014.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

East Bay reservoir expansion plan wins support of environmental groups

A $914 million plan to expand the Los Vaqueros Reservoir as drought insurance for millions of Bay Area residents picked up endorsements Monday from six conservation groups in a rare display of environmental support for new water development.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Nearly $17-billion water project is being planned for California

Decision time is approaching for the agencies that will have to pick up the nearly $17-billion tab for building two massive water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water works.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

U.S. EPA approves plan for San Diego to recycle sewage into drinking water

Federal and state water-quality regulators have cleared the way for the city of San Diego to avoid costly upgrades to an outdated wastewater treatment plant, as long as local officials continue to pursue a $3 billion water recycling program.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Enough water agencies have bought in to get Sites Reservoir built even without Prop. 1 funding

The deadline is Aug. 14 to apply for water storage funding from the Proposition 1 bond measure voters approved in 2014, and while the folks working to build Sites Reservoir will be applying, they don’t need the money. Enough water agencies have agreed to invest in the reservoir near Maxwell that it can be built without taxpayer funds, according to Sites Project Authority General Manager Jim Watson.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

California orders closer look at dams after Oroville crisis – including 7 in Fresno County

California officials have ordered owners of 93 dams to reinspect their flood-control spillways following the Oroville Dam crisis, including seven in eastern Fresno County…. Large dams on the list include New Exchequer, which creates Lake McClure on the Merced River, and Don Pedro Dam on the Tuolumne River, which contains the sixth-largest reservoir in California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California orders closer look at these 93 dams after Oroville crisis

California officials have ordered owners of 93 dams to reinspect their flood-control spillways following the Oroville Dam crisis, saying the spillways need a closer look following a preliminary review. The list released by the Department of Water Resources includes some of the largest dams in California, such as the New Exchequer Dam on the Merced River, New Bullards Bar on the Yuba River, and Lake Almanor Dam on the Feather River in Plumas County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Severe, chronic flooding will devastate California coast as sea levels rise, experts say

Seaside cities are starting to prepare for the worst, conducting vulnerability studies and considering a suite of options. Among other measures, they can try to armor their coastlines using seawalls, move critical infrastructure and even retreat farther inland. Elected officials could update zoning rules to discourage future building along the water.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Despite federal infrastructure cuts, EPA’s WIFIA water loan program holds promise

More than six months into the Trump presidency, uncertainty still surrounds any potential federal infrastructure plan. Instead, the only formal movement is from Congress, where the annual appropriations process includes proposed eliminations or significant cuts to major programs within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and many other agencies.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump’s ‘Great National Infrastructure Program’? stalled

As a candidate, President Trump billed himself as a new breed of think-big Republican, pitching a $1 trillion campaign pledge to reconstruct the nation’s roadways, waterworks and bridges — along with a promise to revive the lost art of the bipartisan deal.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: EPA promoting millions in funding for water programs

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a dozen proposed water and sewer projects for a program that uses $25 million in federal funds to help secure billions in additional public and private financing.

Aquafornia news PolitiFact California/Capital Public Radio

McCarthy ignores key facts in claim on California water storage

One of the biggest backers for building new dams and reservoirs in California is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. … As part of his push for the bill, H.R. 23, McCarthy made a claim about the dearth of water storage construction in the state in recent decades.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego’s effort to turn sewage into drinking water could get huge financial boost from feds

The federal government is poised to invest as much as $492 million to get Pure Water, the city of San Diego’s effort to turn sewage into drinking water, off the ground. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce that San Diego is one of a dozen applicants chosen to participate in a low-interest loan program under the Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Oroville Dam repairs would benefit from multibillion-dollar ballot measure

With California’s drought fresh on voters’ minds, a longtime water activist is asking their approval for a veritable wish list of water and other environmental projects costing billions – from fixing Oroville Dam’s cratered spillway to improving the watershed of the Tijuana River.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Water district looking to buy land to construct reservoir

In a significant step toward construction of the Bay Area’s first major new reservoir in nearly two decades, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider has begun negotiations to buy more than 12,000 acres of rural ranch land — an area nearly half the size of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin sues energy companies over climate risks

Marin County sued 37 oil, gas and coal companies Monday asserting the companies knew their fossil fuel products would cause sea level rise and coastal flooding but failed to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution. The lawsuit was part of a coordinated litigation attack by Marin, San Mateo County and the city of Imperial Beach.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Political Notes: Dam safety bill advances

A bill that requires two state agencies to re-evaluate dam inspection reports and sets new rules for the reports unanimously passed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

More details as Twin Tunnels decision nears

A giant Southern California water district that could decide whether to invest in the Delta tunnels as soon as September has released the first of three “white papers” which are expected to address some unresolved issues.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley farmers meet with U.S. Sen. Harris

Agricultural leaders and farmers pressed their case for a reliable water supply, immigration reform and their fair share of the Farm Bill during a roundtable discussion with Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday. Harris is the former attorney general who won election last November in the race to replace outgoing Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

U.S. Sen. Harris works to forge relationship with Central Valley

The meeting between [U.S. Sen. Kamala] Harris and nearly two dozen agriculture and water officials was meant to ease what is typically a fraught relationship between the state’s Democratic leaders — all of whose power bases are in metropolitan areas — and the mostly Republican Central Valley powers that traditionally look at them with skepticism.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

More than 200 state highway bridges prone to erosion from surging waters slated for repairs or replacement

Using GPS and sonar equipment, it didn’t take [Kevin] Flora [state Department of Transportation engineer] long to find what he was looking for: holes up to 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide in the riverbed and around the foundations of the bridge that carries an average of 282,000 vehicles a day just north of the Orange County line.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New push to expand Bay Area reservoir

Working to expand water supplies for California’s next drought, a coalition of 12 Bay Area water agencies took a significant step Monday toward an $800 million expansion of one of the largest reservoirs in the Bay Area — Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the rolling hills near the Alameda-Contra Costa county line.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lawsuits challenge ambitious California water tunnels

Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plans to build two massive tunnels, reengineering the hub of California’s water system, would destroy native fish species already on the brink of extinction, lawsuits filed Thursday said.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Environmentalists, fishing groups sue over Delta tunnels

Kicking off what are expected to be years of legal battles, a coalition of environmental and fishing groups on Thursday filed the first major lawsuits over California Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two massive, 35-mile-long tunnels under the Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

BART’s rising floodwaters wreaked rush-hour havoc

A rush-hour delay caused by flooded tracks at the Powell Street Station in San Francisco — in the middle of summer — points up a BART issue that doesn’t get nearly the attention that overcrowded trains, finicky air-conditioning and the seemingly daily “equipment problems” command: a steady supply of subterranean water.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump’s infrastructure agenda: Approving private projects, including those of his allies

EPA, Interior and Energy all have influence over infrastructure, but possibly the most influential agency is one that many Americans have never heard of — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … For years, energy industry CEOs have complained about FERC’s slow pace, partly caused by multiple public hearings and comment periods, so affected landowners can express their concerns.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Rep. McClintock’s bill to streamline dam permits passes House

Dam permits would be funneled through a single federal agency in an effort to speed up new water storage projects under a bill that passed the House on Thursday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Bill aims to help California save water for a not-so-rainy day

After years of drought, the state of California is bracing for water. Lots of it. … Congress is trying to help manage such drastic shifts in California’s water levels.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Could desalinated water from Mexico flow to San Diego?

With Baja California pushing forward on its plan for a massive desalination plant in Rosarito Beach, a ground-breaking proposal to pipe some of that water to the United States has overcome a key hurdle. The U.S. State Department’s approval of a presidential permit marks a step forward for the Otay Water District and its vision for a cross-border pipeline to import the desalinated water from Mexico.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Budget cuts threaten forests’ roads, hunting, fishing

The roads to the national forests could get bumpier. Literally. Trails could get messier. Maintenance on bridges, dams and recreation sites could become tougher.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

How farmers, water districts and the federal government worked together to bring Butte Creek salmon back from brink

From hundreds of fish annually to nearly 9,000 per year, Butte Creek salmon are thriving, thanks to a project begun 20 years ago. That project was celebrated Thursday at Gorrill Ranch on the Midway. … Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior for the Clinton administration, helped bring the players to the negotiating table to get the Butte Creek Salmon Recovery Project, completed in the late 1990s.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Snowbound California roads still getting a major plow job

There may be no more potent reminder of California’s humongous snowfall than the plows still clearing roads that snake across the state’s highest mountains as summer approaches. … The snowpack presented an additional challenge this year because it was heavily saturated with water.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Who pays for water infrastructure?

Water infrastructure, for both drinking and irrigation, is especially in need of improvement in the arid West. Amid a wave of aging reservoirs, treatment plants and pipelines, and a Congress unwilling to pony up funding to fix them, the Bureau of Reclamation is considering private investment as a possible solution. While some municipalities in the U.S. have partnered with private companies on water projects, such deals are almost non-existent on the federal level.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why years of waiting may be over on Delta tunnels

Love it or hate it, the Delta tunnels project is reaching a decision point.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State orders in-depth assessments of more than 50 California dams following Oroville crisis

In light of the crisis at Oroville Dam earlier this year, state regulators have begun ordering up-close inspections of aging dams throughout California.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Isabella Lake brimming with water, highlighting dam risks

This weekend the water level in Isabella Lake is expected to reach — and maybe even exceed — the restricted pool allowed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And that means it might be time for residents who reside below the lake’s troubled dam to review their risks.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette-Journal

Trump budget would crush crucial weather data program

Regional Climate Centers, a little-known network of weather data gathering and processing centers, face an existential threat in the form of a recommended 82 percent budget cut in [President Donald] Trump’s proposed budget. Centers manage weather information that helps fire managers battle wild land fires, helps farmers decide where and when to plant crops and helps engineers design dams and bridges that can stand up to extremes.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

CPUC may order new desalination project hearings considering smaller plant

State Public Utilities Commission officials are seeking input on whether to conduct new hearings on California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project to address a number of issues, potentially including an updated project demand forecast and desal plant sizing evaluation that could lead to a smaller initial plant that could be more easily expanded as demand grows in the future.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Officials worried about Trinity Dam safety

Concerned Trinity Dam could suffer the same fate as Oroville Dam — which had a near catastrophic failure this past winter — the Trinity County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to continue to pursue getting an emergency spillway built on the dam.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump heads to Ohio to talk infrastructure

He’s [President Donald Trump] expected to press efforts to repair the nation’s aging levees, dams, locks and ports, as well as his larger infrastructure aims.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Public support for water investment depends how you ask the question

Many of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises have sparked controversy, but one of his proposals ­– spending $1 trillion to fix the nation’s decrepit infrastructure – has broad, bipartisan support, according to numerous public opinion surveys. Water projects are only expected to be a small part of that potential infrastructure spending, but polling data suggests that the public is willing to pay for such improvements – up to a point.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water agencies push bigger role in tunnel plan

California’s powerful regional water districts are working alongside Gov. Jerry Brown to take on more responsibility for designing, building and arranging financing for a $15.7 billion twin tunnel project that would ship water southward from Northern California as they push to finally close the deal on the controversial plan, two officials working closely on the project told The Associated Press.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump plans to shift infrastructure funding to cities, states and business

President Trump will lay out a vision this coming week for sharply curtailing the federal government’s funding of the nation’s infrastructure and calling upon states, cities and corporations to shoulder most of the cost of rebuilding roads, bridges, railways and waterways.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump pledges to spend federal tax dollars on rural infrastructure

After facing criticism for a budget proposal that hung his rural voters out to dry with huge cuts to crop insurance, Medicaid, rural loan programs and air services, [President Donald] Trump will release details of the infrastructure plan in a speech on Wednesday that White House officials say will stress his commitment to rural communities. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Landslide on California highway part of $1 billion in damage

A massive landslide that went into the Pacific Ocean is the latest natural disaster to hit a California community that relies heavily on an iconic coastal highway and tourism to survive, and it adds to a record $1 billion in highway damage from one of the state’s wettest winters in decades.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Looking for quick, massive infrastructure spending in Trump’s budget?

President Donald Trump made rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure a major job-creating campaign pledge. But while his first big federal budget proposal has $200 billion for that purpose, most of it won’t be available until late 2018 and beyond.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump’s rural voters fighting to keep their land from a growing web of pipelines

Eminent domain is often used by governments to gain right-of-way for projects such as highways or government buildings. But state and federal regulators who authorize pipeline projects also typically grant the private companies that are building them the right to use eminent domain to secure needed right-of-way.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Is ‘potential Oroville waiting to happen’ at other spillways?

Federal dam regulators are reevaluating how they conduct dam inspections in the wake of the Oroville Dam spillway crisis, and they’ve ordered the nation’s dam operators to thoroughly inspect their facilities to see “if they have a potential Oroville waiting to happen,” a federal dam inspector said Sunday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Chao on infrastructure: Trump plan out in weeks

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Monday that the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan will be out in a few weeks and will call for $200 billion in taxpayer money to generate $1 trillion in private investment.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Enhancing California’s Water Supply: The Drive for New Storage
Spring 2017

One of the wettest years in California history that ended a record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage to be built above and below ground.

In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they are needed.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

How historic would a $1 trillion infrastructure program be?

From the very first night of his election win, President Trump was clear about his intention to usher in a new era in American infrastructure. Since assuming office, the president and his cabinet continue to use the figure of $1 trillion over ten years to demonstrate the scale of their vision. By any measure, one trillion dollars is a lot of money. … But just how historic would a $1 trillion federal infrastructure program be?

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Broadcasting, San Diego

State appeals court hears San Diego water dispute

The California Courts of Appeal has 90 days to decide the fate of a water rate dispute between a Los Angeles-based water wholesaler and San Diego County water managers. At issue is the cost of moving water through the Metropolitan Water District’s delivery system.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

WRD’s recycled wastewater plant half-way finished, rising from a 5-acre field in Pico Rivera

Robb Whitaker walked the wooden bridge suspended above an underground reservoir four stories deep filled with 3 million gallons of treated sewage water. He liked what he saw during a VIP tour Friday … 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam — With bills rolling in, state borrows heavily

California is borrowing up to $500 million to pay for the crisis at Oroville Dam, although it expects to be reimbursed for its costs. … Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb., has won a $275.4 million contract for the repairs, which are expected to take two years.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta council gets an earful as advocates speak against tunnels

Delta advocates traveled to Sacramento en masse on Friday to protest revisions to a plan that they believe would favor Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

A ‘quick yes’ on Delta tunnels? Advocates concerned over new language

Proposed changes to a plan that is supposed to guide the Delta through the 21st century have advocates on red alert, as they worry that the new language locks in Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15 billion twin tunnels. The revised plan does not explicitly endorse the California Water Fix, as the tunnels proposal is formally known.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Hydropower plant next to Joshua Tree wouldn’t hurt environment, Interior Department says

Federal officials have concluded that infrastructure for a proposed hydropower project — which would tap billions of gallons of groundwater in the California desert, just outside Joshua Tree National Park — wouldn’t be especially harmful to the environment.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Yearly dam inspection bill proposed

State-maintained dams and reservoirs will be inspected every year if a new bill can make it through the California Legislature.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Barbara Boxer will lobby for an environmentally controversial desalination plant in Huntington Beach

A Boston-based water development company is paying former Sen. Barbara Boxer to push for approval of a proposed seawater desalination plant that has been mired for years in environmental controversy. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration blocks public review of Oroville Dam records

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is using federal security regulations written to thwart terrorism to deny public access to records that experts say could guide repairs to the Oroville Dam and provide insight into what led to the near catastrophic failure of its emergency spillway.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Big Los Angeles water agency antes up for a share of Sacramento Valley’s Sites Reservoir

The water agency that supplies drinking water to Los Angeles agreed Tuesday to contribute $1.5 million toward the planning of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, giving the agency a toehold in a potentially valuable storage project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Mighty Los Angeles water agency wants share of Sacramento Valley’s Sites Reservoir – and is willing to pay

Southern California’s most powerful water agency is prepared to invest in Sacramento Valley’s proposed Sites Reservoir, a move that could broaden support for the $4.4 billion project but also raise alarms about a south state “water grab.”

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am sticks to 6-month desalination project permitting window

A California American Water official argued the company’s desalination project can secure key permits and approvals within six months of certification of the final project environmental review document and start construction shortly afterward, despite a series of delays involving the draft report and the prospect of seeking a critical permit from the city of Marina.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Infrastructure won’t be the big item Trump can check off as an early win

President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan won’t be ready until later this year, delaying one of his signature campaign promises and depriving his administration of a big policy achievement in the first months of his presidency. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump’s infrastructure plan is caught in a White House turf war

When Donald Trump and Mike Pence met this month to discuss a promised $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the Cabinet Room was filled with half a dozen billionaire executives … One person who wasn’t there? The man who worked for months to line up priority infrastructure projects for the Trump transition team.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump requests — and receives — this infrastructure list from builders union

Among the projects listed by the unions is the $1 billion Huntington Beach Desalination Plant in California. … Also in Southern California, the Cadiz water project aims to tap groundwater from the Mojave Desert to supply roughly 100,000 homes.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose flood: A month later, 500 have yet to return home

More than a month after Coyote Creek spilled its banks and flooded surrounding neighborhoods, city leaders Thursday said some 500 families remain unable to return home and pleaded with property owners to help house them.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Flood control trumps tunnels

Californians are more likely to favor beefing up the state’s flood control infrastructure than building Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

When it comes to roads and dams, Brown isn’t always a Trump resister

Among the governor’s priorities, including several with their own revenue streams, are creating an express lane network he says will relieve Bay Area congestion, extending BART to San Jose, raising Folsom Dam to improve flood protection, building a hydroelectric energy storage facility in Riverside County and purifying Los Angeles water now being discharged to the ocean in order to recharge groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: What this week’s storms mean for California’s flood control system

While a nearly record-breaking rainy season has battered California’s dams and stretched the limits of local levees, the storms that began to hit Sacramento on Tuesday aren’t expected to put much additional strain on the state’s flood-control system.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Bigger walls, thicker concrete, more rebar: How a 21st-century spillway compares to Oroville’s 1968 structure

In the nearly 50 years since the Oroville Dam was completed, construction methods have changed. Chico State University construction management professor Chris Souder consulted on the Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway project which began construction in 2008 and is on pace to be completed in October.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California explores state-run flood insurance program (with audio)

California water managers say it may be time to drop federal flood insurance and start a state-run program. It could be a difficult and risky move.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Mayor calls for state of emergency amid concerns that flooding could damage Los Angeles DWP facilities

[Los Angeles] Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed a state of emergency Monday, citing concerns that melting snowpack in the eastern Sierra Nevada could flood homes and highways in the Owens Valley and damage the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Trump declares disaster for California because of January storms

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a major disaster for California because of damage caused by heavy rains that hit the state from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23, making available federal assistance to state and local agencies as well as some nonprofit groups.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Trump proposal to fix U.S. water infrastructure invites large role for private investors

President Donald Trump, fashioning himself the builder-in-chief, promised to invest $US 1 trillion to make America’s potholed highways, unstable bridges, leaky water systems, strained ports, and brittle levees whole again. The pledge is more a slogan at this point. Still, Trump and his advisers are adamant that such a big bet on the nation’s arteries of commerce, health, and safety come with a large role for investor-owned companies and equity firms to form public-private partnerships, or P3s.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Just weeks after Oroville Dam crisis, damage found in another key California reservoir

California water officials, still struggling with fixes at Oroville Dam, will have to temporarily shut down the pumping station that delivers water to much of Southern California and Silicon Valley after discovering damage at another key state reservoir.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California bill aims to make it harder for megaprojects to sidestep state environmental law

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams did something unheard of in California development politics: In just six weeks, the team went from unveiling plans for an 80,000-seat stadium to earning final approval from the Inglewood City Council.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Two countries, one sewage problem: Tijuana and San Diego grapple with renegade flows

Baja California’s governor is preparing to declare a state of emergency in the coming days, hoping to draw financial aid for Tijuana’s strained and underfunded sewage system following a massive spill that sent millions of gallons of untreated wastewater from Tijuana across the border and into San Diego last month. 

Aquafornia news NPR

Engineers say tax increase needed to save failing U.S. infrastructure (with audio)

The nation’s roads, bridges, airports, water and transit systems are in pretty bad shape, according to the civil engineers who plan and design such infrastructure. The new report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the infrastructure of the United States a D-plus.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Governor declares state of emergency for storm-wrenched California

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday declared a state of emergency and requested federal aid for parts of California hard hit by winter storms.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles overdue for major earthquake that would ‘impact our ability to be a world-class city,’ research shows

Southern California could be overdue for a major earthquake along the Grapevine north of Los Angeles, according to a sobering new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The research found earthquakes happen there on average every 100 years.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto begins releasing partially treated wastewater into San Joaquin River

To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure, the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon. …  Working with the California Department of Water Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director Larry Parlin] said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Official — California faces $50 billion price tag for flood control

California faces an estimated $50 billion price tag for roads, dams and other infrastructure threatened by floods such as the one that severely damaged Oroville Dam last month, the state’s natural resources secretary said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California flood control called a life and death crisis, but federal funding is uncertain

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday that further deterioration of the nation’s aging flood control and water infrastructure systems will put lives at risk.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Klamath River dam removal plan on track as administration shifts

The plan to remove four hydroelectric dams to improve fish passage and water quality on the Klamath River is proceeding on schedule for a 2020 demolition time, according to plan proponents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will ultimately have to approve or deny the plan, and the change in administration in Washington, D.C., has led to three of the five seats on the commission being vacated. 

Aquafornia news New York Times

In California, a move to ease the pressures on aging dams

Until a few weeks ago, the McCormack-Williamson Tract in the California Delta was an island of low-lying farmland, more than two square miles protected from the surrounding rivers and sloughs by earthen levees.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Latest Cal Am desal project delay impact uncertain, sanctuary official says hope is to stay on schedule

A Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary representative said the latest delay involving California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project — a 30-day extension of the public comment period on the project’s draft combined state and federal environmental review document — could push back finalization of the report by a month.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Despite Trump’s pledge, governors expect little federal spending on infrastructure

President Trump said again Monday that he was preparing to spend big on infrastructure. But even as he spoke, administration officials and congressional leaders were telling governors to expect little new federal investment in roads, bridges, transit systems, dam repairs and other water works.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: After storms, Oroville, Gov. Brown proposes almost $500 million in flood upgrades (with audio)

In response to this year’s storms and the emergency at Oroville Dam, California Governor Jerry Brown wants to expedite a half-billion dollars in funding for flood repairs and upgrades.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose mayor: Clear ‘failure’ led to record flooding

A day after rescuers boated hundreds of people to safety during San Jose’s worst flooding in decades, city officials Wednesday let many of the 14,000 evacuated residents return home and blamed the sudden overflow of Coyote Creek on bad information about its capacity.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Thousands flee, freeway shut in flooding near San Francisco

Rising floodwaters sent at least 14,000 residents fleeing inundated homes in San Jose, California, and forced the shutdown of a major freeway Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Turlock Irrigation District hopes to prolong spillway releases; Tuolumne River over flood stage

The Tuolumne River in Modesto, struck by a surge of water from the Don Pedro Reservoir’s spillway, rose above the flood stage Tuesday, though it did not result in major flooding.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Not just Oroville: More Northern California infrastructure that needs fixes

The Oroville Dam crisis reminded many Californians of something we only associate with earthquakes: Our crumbling state infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Continued erosion of Oroville Dam’s main spillway part of ‘normal process,’ state officials say

Oroville Dam’s badly damaged main spillway is still deteriorating from an onslaught of fast-paced water, but state officials insist that it is “stable” as they make repairs.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Don Pedro spillway opens, could nearly triple Tuolumne River flow in next few days

The spillway gates opened at Don Pedro Reservoir at 3 p.m. Monday, and over the next four or more days could nearly triple the flow of the Tuolumne River as it comes through Stanislaus County and Modesto.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Hillsides are ‘weeping,’ falling on California’s mountain highways

As the rain and snow have fallen this winter, so have California’s hillsides, forcing the closure of major roads through the Sierra Nevada and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Beyond Oroville crisis, record rain strains California’s flood control network

The frantic effort over the last few days to lower water levels at Oroville Dam after the structure’s two spillways became damaged is part of a larger drama playing out as California rapidly shifts from extreme drought to intense deluges. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Oroville puts focus on dam spillways – aging and some never tested

When operators of Oroville Dam suddenly ordered evacuations on Sunday, it focused a big spotlight on a crucial piece of California’s flood-control infrastructure – spillways. … Some of these dams are getting upgrades, albeit slowly.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Is there an Oroville-style threat looming in Southern California? Experts say no

While massive, damaged Oroville Dam threatens to disgorge floodwaters, you’ve got to ask yourself: Do Southern California dams pose a significant threat to people living below them?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Oroville Dam brings California’s $65 billion infrastructure annual price tag into view

Shock over the emergency evacuation downriver from the Oroville Dam has given way to serious questions about how California is coping with its aging infrastructure — which the American Society of Civil Engineers says would cost the state a staggering $65 billion per year to fix and maintain after years of neglect.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Could Oroville Dam crisis happen here? Unlikely, operators of San Joaquin Valley dams say

The scenario that played out at the Northern California dam is unlikely to occur at Friant Dam near Fresno, said Duane Stroup, deputy area manager for the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news USA Today Network

U.S. dams are aging and many don’t have emergency plans

As the nation’s 84,000 dams continue to age, a growing number of people downstream of these structures are at risk, according to experts and data of the nation’s dams. … California has 1,585 dams, according to the National Inventory of Dams database. Fifty-two percent of those dams are considered a high hazard, the fourth-most of any state.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Oroville Dam crisis highlights need to fix Anderson Dam, other California dams

One day after the deterioration of an Oroville Dam spillway forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people in the Sacramento Valley, a reservoir at the southern end of Santa Clara Valley flirted with an ominous milestone.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Brown administration puts forward projects for possible Trump plan

The Brown administration has presented a list of 51 road, water, energy and other projects as candidates for any public works package crafted by the Trump White House and Congress.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California submits a $100-billion wish list of infrastructure projects to Trump for federal funding

With President Trump pledging $1 trillion for infrastructure, California officials on Wednesday took a break from their feud with the new administration to propose a list of $100 billion in projects for possible federal funding to help rebuild the Golden State’s system of crumbling roads and bridges and improve transit and water storage.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Spillway crumbles as California reservoirs max out capacity

California’s recovery from drought has been so remarkably quick that reservoirs on the verge of record lows just a year ago are now too full to handle more rain, prompting dam operators across the state to unleash surpluses of water not seen in years.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Governors send list of more than 300 infrastructure projects to Trump administration

The nation’s governors will submit a list of more than 300 infrastructure projects to President Donald Trump’s administration this week, aiming to share billions he’s urging for nationwide construction projects.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Storms preview sea-rise damage to California roads, cities

Ocean rise already is worsening the floods and high tides sweeping California this stormy winter, climate experts say, and this month’s damage and deaths highlight that even a state known as a global leader in fighting climate change has yet to tackle some of the hardest work of dealing with it.

Aquafornia news McClatchy’s Kansas City Star and The News Tribune

Trump team compiles infrastructure priority list

President Donald Trump’s team has compiled a list of about 50 infrastructure projects nationwide, totaling at least $137.5 billion, as the new White House tries to determine its investment priorities, according to documents obtained by McClatchy’s Kansas City Star and The News Tribune.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Democrats pave the way toward spending $1 trillion on roads, ports and other projects

A lot more money could fuel improvements to California’s highways, airports and rail lines under a 10-year, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan proposed by Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Huntington Beach desalination plant is among Trump priorities, leaked document shows

A document purportedly leaked from the Trump administration indicates that the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach is among 50 infrastructure projects nationwide that the president has designated as a priority.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Sites Reservoir plan gets support from Placer, Roseville

In a boost for the proposed Sites Reservoir northwest of Sacramento, the city of Roseville and the Placer County Water Agency have agreed to invest in the $4.4 billion project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A key reform of California’s landmark environmental law hasn’t kept its promises

Overhauling the environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, is a perennial issue at the Capitol, and the measure benefiting the Warriors arena was one of the most high-profile CEQA reforms in recent years.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Klamath dam removals heavily supported by community

Close to 100 people showed up to speak for the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River at a public meeting put on by the California State Water Resource Control Board in Arcata on Thursday evening.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers tour proposed Sites Reservoir

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, is leading a troupe of lawmakers today on a tour of the Sites Reservoir, a $4.4 billion proposed water storage project four decades in the making.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: With prudent budget crafting, Brown shows again that he’s the adult in the Capitol

It isn’t entirely true that [Gov. Jerry] Brown’s new $179.5-billion budget proposal ignores infrastructure. The state is moving toward helping to finance probable construction of a major reservoir called Sites in the Sacramento Valley. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

New California dam proposed to combat climate change concerns

Americans have had one primary reason for building dams over the past century: capturing water for growth, whether on farms or in cities. Now a new dam proposed on California’s Bear River offers another reason: adapting to climate change.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Obama administration aids giant California water project

The outgoing Obama administration on Wednesday tried to nudge forward Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to build two giant north-south water tunnels for California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Should Los Angeles County have a huge desalination plant? A battle looms in the South Bay

On a a picturesque summer afternoon, West Basin Municipal Water District officials chose to woo regulators with a stroll by the beach in El Segundo, stopping to admire an unadulterated strip of California coastline. … A few hours later, environmental advocates held a town hall two miles away in Manhattan Beach. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Environmental documents for replumbing California water system released (with audio)

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration has released a 97,000 page environmental document on a plan to re-engineer the state’s water delivery system. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Jerry Brown’s controversial tunnel project moves forward

Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels to send Northern California water southward moved a step closer Thursday to final state and federal decisions, with the state’s release of a 90,000-page environmental review supporting the $15.7 billion project.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘On the brink’ of Delta tunnels

Saying that his Delta tunnels proposal has been subject to “more environmental review than any other project in the history of the world,” Gov. Jerry Brown and his administration on Thursday released 97,000 pages of final reports.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

With environmental review finalized, could construction on the Delta tunnels begin in 2018?

After years of planning, officials have finalized all 97,000 pages of environmental documents to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: State releases report on disputed twin tunnels water plan

It takes a while to get to the point, but an 80,000-page environmental opus released Thursday makes the case that Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.7 billion twin tunnels project is the best way to fix California’s water woes.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds to pour $225 million into water projects around US

The federal government will be pouring nearly a quarter-billion dollars into several dozen projects aimed at tackling the effects of drought in the West and restoring watersheds that provide drinking water to communities around the nation.

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