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 East Bay Times

Earthquake warning: Just how bad is Hayward Fault’s nightmare scenario?

Eight hundred deaths, 18,000 people injured, more than $82 billion in property damage and business losses, and 400 fires that would claim more lives and permanently alter the urban landscape of the San Francisco Bay region.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

How California water suppliers are getting earthquake-ready

As is often said, it’s not a matter of if, but of when, a large earthquake strikes the heart of one of California’s most densely populated regions. State officials and local agencies know the clock is ticking, and mile by mile, pipe by pipe, work crews are replacing or retrofitting water lines throughout much of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. Upgrades have also been made in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

East Bay fault is ‘tectonic time bomb,’ more dangerous than San Andreas, new study finds

A landmark report by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that at least 800 people could be killed and 18,000 more injured in a hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault centered below Oakland. … More than 400,000 people could be displaced from their homes, and some East Bay residents may lose access to clean running water for as long as six months.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

High water level damages Lake Tahoe beachfront properties

After last winter’s big snowfall and this year’s “Miracle March,” which pounded the basin with feet of much-needed snow, Lake Tahoe’s water level has remained high and the Tahoe City dam has been releasing more water down the Truckee River. But for one lakefront community, it’s not happening fast enough.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

San Francisco’s big seismic gamble

Sailors arriving in San Francisco in the 19th century used two giant redwood trees perched on a hill to help guide their ships into the bay. The redwoods were felled for their lumber at around the time of the gold rush, but San Francisco now has a new beacon: Salesforce Tower, the tallest office building in the West.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway ocean could aid future water needs.

Sin City has never been a place that thinks small. So it should come as no surprise that Las Vegas – about 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean – is pondering seawater desalination to meet its long-term water demand. That doesn’t mean Vegas plans to build a pipeline to the ocean. More likely, it would help pay for a desalination facility in a place like Mexico, then trade that investment for a piece of Mexico’s water rights in the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

A look inside new pump station under construction at Lake Mead

Elected officials and Southern Nevada Water Authority employees got a rare glimpse inside the community’s water supply safety net at Lake Mead on Saturday. For several hours in the morning, during a lull in construction activity, the authority opened its low-lake-level pumping station to tours.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California plans to spend $11 billion on the Delta tunnels. Who will end up paying?

When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to finance the lion’s share of the delta tunnels project, some on the board called it a bold stroke of leadership. The delegations from Los Angeles and San Diego, however, called the move alarming, financially risky and irresponsible.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Massive Delta tunnels project took a giant step forward — here’s what you need to know.

A powerful Southern California water agency voted Tuesday to cover two-thirds of the cost of building the controversial Delta tunnels, in one of the most significant California water actions in decades.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California water agency votes to fund controversial plan to build two Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to shoulder most of the cost of revamping the system that delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta to the Southland, committing nearly $11 billion to building two massive tunnels.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water agency approves $11 billion for California twin tunnels plan

California’s largest water agency on Tuesday approved a nearly $11 billion plan to help fund two enormous tunnels, breathing new life into Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious and controversial plan to remake the state’s water system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s 2-tunnel Delta project back on track with SoCal water district’s vote

The largest water district in California agreed Tuesday to fork over nearly $11 billion to build two tunnels that will siphon water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a major boost for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Infrastructure: Agencies sign agreement to speed permitting

At least a dozen federal agencies today [April 9] signed an agreement to streamline the environmental permitting process, a White House official confirmed to E&E News. The memorandum of understanding implements President Trump’s Aug. 15, 2017, executive order, which aims to cut permitting time for big infrastructure projects to two years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Vote on Southern California’s investment in Delta tunnel project could be a nail-biter

In what will be a crucial decision, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is expected to vote Tuesday whether to approve nearly $11 billion in financing to help build two giant water tunnels in the center of the state’s waterworks or $5.2 billion to construct a single tunnel. Lobbying on the long-planned project continued Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown asked MWD directors to move ahead with both tunnels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California zigzags on ambitious water-delivery project, puts two-tunnel concept back on the table

In agenda materials posted Friday afternoon, the staff of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California presented two options for the board to vote on Tuesday: Approve $5.2 billion in funding for a single tunnel that would be built in the center of the state’s waterworks, or OK up to $10.8 billion to help finance the construction of two tunnels.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Recent years prove we need more water storage

The need for more storage has been evident for decades, and although Southern California’s water agencies, particularly the Metropolitan Water District, have been diligent about adding it, Northern California, where most of the rain falls, has been negligent.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018

California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot. Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines

The Bay Area’s deeply unequal cities, home to mansions and shacks alike, are linked by one thing: thirst. Banding together, the region’s water agencies on Tuesday unveiled the latest upgrades to a vast network that connects six million people and provides mutual aid in a crisis, such as an earthquake or severe drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway

With a powerful storm barreling toward California’s coast, state officials warned they may have to use the largely rebuilt flood control spillway at troubled Oroville Dam as early as next week.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

After deadly wildfire, a new problem for Santa Rosa: contaminated water

When a wildfire leveled a whole neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, in October, it was just the first disaster for this Wine Country city. A second disaster is now unfolding after chemical contamination was detected in the city’s drinking water following the fire.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District backs away from plan to finance both Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is dropping plans to push ahead with a two-tunnel proposal to revamp the state’s water delivery system, opting to pursue a scaled-back version instead.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin school fountain closed amid lead contamination tests

Testing is in progress at schools throughout Marin for lead in drinking water, and one fountain has been shut down because of contamination. The testing is being conducted in accordance with Assembly Bill 746. It requires campuses built before Jan. 1, 2010, to receive the testing for lead contamination by July 2019.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

What is killing endangered steelhead trout in San Jose creeks?

Claiming that mismanagement by Silicon Valley’s largest water agency has likely wiped out endangered steelhead trout in Coyote Creek, a coalition of environmentalists, including the Sierra Club, has filed a complaint with state water officials seeking to force big changes to protect the fish in the nearby Guadalupe River.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa estimates fix of contaminated water system could take 2 years

It may take Santa Rosa more than two years to fully replace the water system in an area of Fountaingrove where the drinking water was contaminated by benzene following the fires last year, a timeline some residents say is unacceptable and will prevent them from rebuilding.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California might foot the bill for Delta tunnels project — with no promise of reimbursement

Southern California’s biggest water agency is considering picking up most of the bill for overhauling the state’s waterworks without any guarantee that it will eventually recoup its additional, multibillion-dollar investment. At a board workshop Tuesday, officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California outlined ways in which the agency could finance the construction of two giant water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Clear skies expected after reservoir-replenishing rains

Three of the region’s four major dams (aside from Oroville) are stocked with more than 100 percent of year-to-date average water supply, including Folsom Lake, which rose 33 feet over the past month. All dams remain 10-15 percent short of capacity.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

For less than $5 a month, Southern California ratepayers can pay for Delta tunnels, agency says

Pushing ahead with an ambitious effort to take a majority stake in the state’s troubled $16.7 billion tunnels project, Southern California’s behemoth water agency announced Tuesday that the plan would cost its ratepayers less than $5 a month.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexico pledges $4.3 million effort to stop Tijuana spills

Mexico is pledging to spend $4.3 million to clean the Tijuana river channel after two California cities sued a U.S. agency over the decades-old problem of sewage fouling U.S. wetlands and beaches.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Winemakers, infrastructure could take a hit in a Trump trade war

Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser at California-based Beacon Economics, said the infrastructure sector will be one of the first to feel the impact of the tariff. … So “if you’re building new bridges, or the twin tunnels the governor wants to build, or the high speed rail system,” you’re going to have to start recalculating, he said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Sierra foothills dam, part of San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy system, pushed to near failure

Heavy rain in the Sierra foothills pushed a small dam within San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy water system to the brink of failure Thursday, sending a brief scare through the rural region where roads were closed and a few dozen residents were forced to evacuate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles to oppose $17 billion water tunnels if residents must pay more than fair share

The Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to officially oppose staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water-delivery tunnel project if it would result in greater costs or a greater portion of the financial burden for Los Angeles ratepayers.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Federal budget proposal include Sites Reservoir study funding

Inclusion of money for raising Shasta Dam got the most attention in a recently released federal budget proposal, but the same package also includes money for Sites Reservoir. The Department of Interior is recommending spending $33.3 million under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016.

Aquafornia news Detroit News

EPA chief wants to eradicate lead from drinking water

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says eradicating lead from drinking water is one of his top priorities three years after the Flint water crisis, and he’s worried Americans aren’t “sufficiently aware” of the threat.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cyberattacks put Russian fingers on the switch at power plants, U.S. says

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

White House is sanctioning Russians for 2016 election interference and other cyberattacks

The Trump administration on Thursday announced sanctions against 19 Russian individuals and five organizations for meddling in the 2016 election and for other “destructive cyber-attacks” still targeting the U.S. electrical grid and water systems.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage shutters beaches from Mexico border to Coronado

Beaches as far north as the Hotel del Coronado have been closed following weekend showers that flushed sewage-polluted water through the Tijuana River and into the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species

One of California’s foremost experts on freshwater fish believes there may be hope for restoring native salmon to abundance – but there’s a catch: California must build the controversial Delta tunnels, he says.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New study: SFO, Foster City, other San Francisco Bay areas are sinking

Major parts of San Francisco Bay’s shoreline are slowly sinking, a new scientific study has found, dramatically increasing the risk of billions of dollars of flooding in the coming decades as sea level rise continues due to climate change.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Short-term Tijuana upgrades respond to ‘crisis’ of cross-border sewage

In the wake of rising outcry in San Diego of cross-border flows of contaminated water, trash and sediment from Tijuana, Mexico is moving ahead with a series of short-term upgrades to Tijuana’s sewage collection and treatment system aimed at preventing such incidents, and responding with greater speed should they occur.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge shoots down Delta tunnels foes’ request to halt key hearing

A Sacramento County judge on Monday declined to temporarily stop the hearings that will decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project after its opponents sued alleging the process had been tainted by secret meetings.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: What, if anything, is lost in building one Delta tunnel instead of two?

Two tunnels, one or none? The question continues to swirl around plans to perform major surgery on the sickly heart of California’s water system. Confronted with a shortage of funding, state officials announced last month that they would move ahead with the construction of one giant water tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rather than two.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Critic’s ‘hobby’ is getting costly, flood agency says

Flood control officials are asking a judge to impose sanctions against an outspoken critic who they say has forced them to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on litigation the critic referred to as his “hobby.”

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Sites Authority officials appeal project’s initial score

Sites Project Authority officials recently appealed the California Water Commission’s initial public benefit score in hopes of improving their pitch for a chunk of the $2.7 billion in available Proposition 1 funding for state water storage projects.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Porterville gets water, some regret it

Norma Sanchez took a quick break from watering her East Porterville front yard, bent the garden hose and reflected on years of being without reliable water.  Now, she has water, pressure and along with it problems with the new delivery system residents waited so long to get.

Aquafornia news E&E News

US Fish and Wildlife Service turns to ‘duct tape and baling wire’

The Fish and Wildlife Service faces a $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog that can sometimes get overlooked despite its ominous size. … With some 5,000 buildings and 6,938 other structures to tend across 566 wildlife refuges, among other responsibilities, FWS has to struggle to keep up with problems that the public may not see.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento County alleges secret meetings over Delta tunnels, files lawsuit

Sacramento County is leading a lawsuit accusing state officials of holding illegal secret meetings about the controversial Delta tunnels project. The county, joined by the city of Stockton, several Delta water agencies and a group of environmental organizations, sued the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Southern California water agency could vote soon on whether to bankroll Delta tunnels

Facing pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, Southern California’s largest water agency could vote as soon as April on whether to take a majority stake in the twin-tunnels project Brown plans for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Deadline today to appeal state’s assessment of Proposition 1 water storage proposals

Friday is the deadline for agencies seeking water storage money from the Proposition 1 bond measure to respond to the critiques of their proposals by the California Water Commission staff. … At stake is $2.7 billion in bond money dedicated to increasing water storage, which was included in the broader $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in November 2014.

Aquafornia news The Union, Serving Western Nevada County

Anti-dam activists rally to show opposition to Centennial reservoir

The California Water Commission, which is evaluating the Nevada Irrigation District’s application in pursuit of state funding for the proposed Centennial dam, was greeted by a surprise group of visitors Wednesday. Dressed in lifejackets and wielding kayak paddles, about 60 demonstrators stood outside the Commission’s monthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday to show their opposition to the Centennial project on the Bear River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California water agency gets scolded: Speed up spending billions on new reservoirs

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle, pulling a child’s red wagon, arrived at a meeting of the California Water Commission with a stack of petitions with 4,000 signatures supporting the two largest reservoir projects seeking bond money: Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento and Temperance Flat in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blame California’s cities and counties for housing delays, not state environmental law, new study says

Those who want to blame a California environmental law for the state’s housing problems should instead point their fingers at cities and counties, according to a new report from researchers at UC Berkeley and Columbia University.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Many of north valley’s dams deemed high-hazard

Everyone knows about the risk from Oroville Dam after the spillway crisis, but most of the dams in the north valley are considered to have a high-hazard potential. … New requirements for these high-risk dams, including annual inspections, will come into play if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the dam safety bill on his desk soon.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump again seeks to end funding for earthquake early warning system

Mexico City got a substantial warning before the shaking from a distant earthquake arrived Friday — some 30 to 60 seconds broadcast over loudspeakers from an earthquake early warning system. It was another success for Mexico City’s earthquake warning system — one which California, Oregon and Washington state still lack, and one that is an ongoing target for elimination by President Trump.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Despite complaints, Interior boss pushing big reorganization

[Interior Secretary Ryan] Zinke wants to divide most of the department’s 70,000 employees and their responsibilities into 13 regions based on rivers and ecosystems, instead of the current map based mostly on state lines.

Aquafornia news KUNC Community Radio for Northern Colorado

For better or worse, the Colorado River’s first dam transformed the desert Southwest

We all know Hoover Dam, and you might know about the Imperial or other dams that manage the Colorado River. But the very first completed dam on the Colorado was the Laguna Dam. … Doug Cox at the Imperial Irrigation District manages the dam.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

US EPA funding to state designated for Pure Water Monterey project

More than half of a $173.5 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award to California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades will be designated for the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

5 things to know about the plan to ship water to Southern California (audio)

Earlier this week, KPCC learned Southern California’s largest water importer, the Metropolitan Water District, was considering more than doubling its investment in a plan to reconfigure how supplies are diverted from one of the region’s most important sources of water: the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta just east of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

State: Delta tunnels a good investment

More than six years after critics began calling for a full economic study of the Delta tunnels plan, the Brown administration released one on Tuesday, finding that the benefits outweigh the costs — albeit by a slim margin for some water users.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California water agency eyes possible control of Delta tunnels project

In a dramatic twist on the Delta tunnels saga, Southern California’s powerful water agency is exploring the feasibility of owning the majority stake in the controversial project, a move that raises fears of a “water grab.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Love stinks (in a good way), and other lessons of the Valentine’s Day sewage tour

Becky Van and Kale Novalis knew exactly when and where they were going to tell each other, “I love you,” for the first time. … The couple had signed up for a Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of 14 wastewater treatment facilities in New York City.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Can new California water storage projects win state funding?

If California taxpayers are going to spend $2.7 billion on new water storage projects, the projects had better come with many more environmental benefits. That was the message sent by the California Water Commission, which on February 2 released its first analysis of 11 projects vying for a share of the riches.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump infrastructure plan relies on state, local funding

President Donald Trump on Monday launched a “big week” for his long-awaited infrastructure plan, which envisions spurring $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade to rebuild roads and highways. … Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Crucial’ vote for north San Joaquin farmers

On Feb. 26, the farmers will make a pivotal decision: whether or not to tax themselves about $14 million over 30 years to build a new delivery system. Thursday, the League of Women Voters, the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District and county officials will host a public meeting to explain all of this at 6 p.m. at Jackson Hall, on the Lodi Grape Festival grounds.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Californians voted to spend billions on more water storage. But state government keeps sitting on the cash.

Government at all levels moves at a glacial pace, especially when it’s trying to deal with the complex and contentious issue of water. Four years ago in the midst of a scary, five-year drought — one of the state’s driest periods in recorded history — voters eagerly approved a $7.5-billion water bond proposal, Proposition 1. The vote was a lopsided 67% to 33%.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco moves to build water system to fight fires when the worst hits

San Francisco officials have reached an important milestone in a long-running effort to build a high-pressure water network needed to bring vital firefighting capabilities to the Richmond and Sunset districts — two neighborhoods that have historically lacked direct access to such a system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Snooping around in hospital pipes, scientists find DNA that fuels the spread of superbugs

The pipes carrying away the effluvia of very sick people are bound to be nasty, dirty places. But just how unwholesome they are is made clear in a new report showing that the pipes beneath a hospital intensive care unit are a throbbing, seething hookup zone for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Many questions as expert committee begins study of Legionella in plumbing

Researchers, government officials, and technical experts met February 8 in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of a National Academy of Sciences investigation on minimizing the spread of Legionella bacteria in building plumbing and municipal water systems. Legionnaires’ disease sickened at least 6,141 people in 2016 in the United States and killed several hundred, a death toll that is higher than any other water-related illness in the country.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Huge Delta plan for moving water cut to just 1 tunnel

California water officials announced Wednesday that a plan to build two giant tunnels for moving water supplies across the state was being reduced to a single, less costly underpass — at least initially — a setback for one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California moves ahead with one Delta tunnel, scaling back ambitious water delivery project

State officials Wednesday said they will press ahead with a smaller version of a long-planned water delivery project, initially building one, instead of two, massive tunnels in the heart of California’s vast waterworks. The decision to downsize California WaterFix boils down to money.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: No more delay on Delta tunnels hearings

State officials declined late Tuesday to further delay key hearings on the proposed Delta tunnels, overriding opponents’ arguments that illegal meetings have taken place and that the project soon may be altered anyway. The State Water Resources Control Board found that the meetings were legal.

Aquafornia news Yuba-Sutter Appeal-Democrat

Locals seeking more than $27 million from DWR in lawsuit

Nine individuals or entities from Yuba-Sutter are suing the California Department of Water Resources for more than $27 million in damages suffered as a consequence of the Lake Oroville spillway crisis last February.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Major water projects hit funding barriers as California questions value

In a report released Friday, California water officials found that Los Vaqueros Reservoir managers haven’t shown that enough public benefit will come with the expansion. As a result, they may get little or no state funding. The same was said of 10 other water-supply projects competing for dollars from voter-approved Proposition 1. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California’s best hope for infrastructure collaboration with Trump may be fading

Last winter, California’s Democratic leaders were feeling cautiously optimistic that they could work with President Donald Trump to spur desperately needed infrastructure investment in the state. One year into the Trump administration, the prospects for bipartisan partnership on the issue have dimmed.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Voters OK’d $2.7 billion for new reservoirs. Critics say California won’t spend it.

It’s a tantalizing pot of money, $2.7 billion for new dams and reservoirs approved by California voters during the worst of the drought. But is the state willing to spend it?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California desalination projects move forward with new state funding

California water officials have approved $34.4 million in grants to eight desalination projects across the state, including one in the East Bay city of Antioch, as part of an effort to boost the water supply in the wake of the state’s historic, five-year drought.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Water affordability is not just a local challenge, but a federal one too

America is facing a water infrastructure crisis. … Investing more in the country’s water infrastructure would help—which the Trump administration and other federal leaders appear to be considering in 2018—but simply throwing more money at these problems does not necessarily address another enormous challenge facing utilities and the communities they serve: water affordability.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Public input needed for DWR community needs assessment, coalition says

Local leaders are pressing the state Department of Water Resources for details on how residents will be involved in the community needs assessment. Department officials have said that constructing additional infrastructure at Oroville Dam, including a second gated spillway and a fully lined emergency spillway, would be considered as part of the assessment.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction. Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’ve got company.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Jerry Brown’s two big public-works projects are foundering

During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society—a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes. He did it again last week, effusively plugging two major public works, twin water tunnels and a high-speed rail network, during his final State of the State address.

Aquafornia news Yuba-Sutter Appeal-Democrat

State of the State: Absence of Oroville Dam, water infrastructure draws ire

Locals were waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to say something during his final State of the State Address about the Oroville Dam crisis and infrastructure. They were disappointed.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Governor defends blueprint for California’s future

For a politician who winces at the L-word — “legacy” — Gov. Jerry Brown spent much of his State of the State address on Thursday defending the key projects and policies that will likely define his: the state’s beleaguered bullet train, his Delta tunnel plan and criminal justice reforms reducing California’s prison population.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

One possible Delta tunnels deal would give cheap water to farmers — and more expensive water to cities

Months of behind the scenes talks have failed to drum up enough money to pay the full costs of replumbing the center of California’s sprawling waterworks with two giant water tunnels. That has left the state with little choice but to scale down a roughly $17-billion water delivery project to fit a funding pot of less than $10 billion.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego OKs landmark environmental deal that could spur development

Federal officials have agreed to cede authority over projects that would destroy vernal pools to San Diego officials. In exchange, the city has agreed to protect many vernal pools and abide by a clear set of rules endorsed by federal officials.

Announcement

Central Valley Tour Offers Unique View of San Joaquin Valley’s Key Dams and Reservoirs
March 14-16 tour includes major federal and state water projects

Get a unique view of the San Joaquin Valley’s key dams and reservoirs that store and transport water on our March Central Valley Tour.

Our Central Valley Tour, March 14-16, offers a broad view of water issues in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to the farms, orchards, critical habitat for threatened bird populations, flood bypasses and a national wildlife refuge, we visit some of California’s major water infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Governor is in danger of becoming remembered for his ‘boondoggle bullet train to nowhere’

Time is running out for Gov. Jerry Brown to fix two big legacy projects. If he doesn’t, his successor might just dump them in the trash. Brown has only until the end of the year to clean up and repair his bullet train and water tunnel ventures.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: With a flooding disaster in its past, Utah takes dam safety seriously

The disaster at Oroville Dam in California last winter put questions about dam safety in the headlines for the first time in many years. … The state of Utah went through its own disaster in 1989 that prompted big changes in the state’s dam safety program.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Plans to build new huge dams and reservoirs in California hit hurdle

Signaling trouble for nearly a dozen landmark water storage projects to help California cope with its next drought, state water officials on Thursday announced none of the proposals — including raising Contra Costa County’s Los Vaqueros Dam and building a new Santa Clara County dam near Pacheco Pass — provide the public benefits that their supporters claim, potentially putting their state funding at risk.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Deadly Legionella bacteria are common in U.S. building plumbing

Bacteria responsible for the deadliest waterborne disease in the United States are frequent residents of the cooling towers that are a part of heating and air conditioning systems in apartments, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and other large buildings, according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Seven ideas for fixing water in the United States

The United States is facing a number of water issues: drought, wildfires, pollution and inequitable distribution. In fact, when it comes to water policy, the U.S. Water Alliance says that the nation is at a “crossroads” of short-term crises – like deadly storms and acute pollution problems – and long-term trends such as climate change and crumbling infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor considers one-tunnel water plan

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is proposing scaling back his troubled plans to redo California’s water system, releasing a new plan that would build only one tunnel to ship water from Northern California instead of two, and put Southern and central California water agencies directly in charge of designing and building it.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Future floods will be in mind as California town rebuilds

After power and drinking water return, and cleanup crews haul away the last of the boulders and muck that splintered homes like a battering ram, the wealthy seaside hideaway of Montecito, California, will start rebuilding with the possibility of another catastrophic flood in mind.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Buried in mud, Montecito faces a daunting cleanup with no end in sight

Mudflows knocked out six sections of Montecito’s main water line that snakes along the hills above most homes. There, a pipeline once partly aboveground is now sometimes 50 feet in the air after the ravines beneath it washed out.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration scaling down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects — a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Forensic report confirms Oroville Dam lapses

The verdict is in and California stands convicted of gross negligence in the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highest dam, Oroville. The dam on the Feather River came very close to failing last year, forcing the evacuation of a quarter-million people living downstream. … Clearly, for decades there was no willingness at DWR [California Department of Water Resources] to acknowledge the fundamental nature of the flaws and spend money to repair them.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

BREAKING NEWS: Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Oil giant seeks to depose Santa Cruz city, county officials

In December, the city and county of Santa Cruz joined a wave of coastal California communities suing fossil-fuel companies for climate-change related damages. On Monday, ExxonMobil pushed back against what it called “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation,” threatening to file its own legal action and accusing the local jurisdictions of hypocritically omitting reference to climate change damages from their own bond disclosures.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Riverside County has a plan to revitalize Salton Sea — and to pay for it

Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez on Thursday proposed a $400 million plan to build a horseshoe-shaped lake on the north side of the Salton Sea — and to pay for it using a tax district and a new bond issue subject to voter approval. The proposal calls for a 4,200-acre lake, roughly double the size of Big Bear Lake.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Riverside County has a new plan to fix Salton Sea — or at least a part of it

Riverside County officials on Thursday unveiled a possible $400-million remedy for some of what ails the shrinking Salton Sea: record-high salinity levels, die-offs of fish, fewer birds and an immense “bathtub ring” of smelly playa prone to toxic dust storms.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Exxon fires back at Imperial Beach, 6 other California coastal cities over climate change lawsuits

Six months ago, officials in Imperial Beach joined six other California coastal communities in a first of its kind lawsuit: Demanding that 18 energy companies in the oil and coal sectors pay the cities for damages associated with rising sea levels and other effects of a warming planet. Now, one of those companies — ExxonMobil — has fired back with its own aggressive legal strategy.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California politicians weigh in on Oroville Dam report (audio)

“A long-term systemic failure.” The words leap off the opening page of the independent forensic report that examined the Oroville Dam crisis in February of last year.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Utilities celebrate Trump’s tax cuts, but will customers benefit?

Utilities from California to Florida are seeing their expenses drop dramatically with the GOP tax overhaul, which could save these regulated electric, gas and water utilities billions of dollars each year. … California is home to numerous investor-owned utilities, ranging from Pacific Gas & Electric to private water companies.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

2018 Preview: What not to ignore about water infrastructure

Having signed the tax bill just before Christmas, [President Donald] Trump promised to offer a public works plan in the new year. Large sums of money are potentially in play — a $1 trillion figure has been discussed by both Democrats and Republicans for repairing, modernizing, and extending the nation’s water pipes, roads, airports, dams, transmission lines, bridges, and sewer systems.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Bay Area dodges (another) bullet when a powerful quake fails to do much damage

Per EBMUD’s standard response protocols after an earthquake, staff conducted inspections of the water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plant, and other critical facilities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Projects battling for Proposition 1 water bond funding

The California Water Commission got a look in December at all 11 projects vying for water storage bond money, including Sites Reservoir. Proponents of Sites, an off-stream reservoir proposed for a valley west of Maxwell, are seeking $1.7 million from Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond measure approved by voters in November 2014.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Utah moves forward with Lake Powell pipeline application

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as FERC, formally accepted the state’s application for the Lake Powell Pipeline. This notice affirms that the proposed 140-mile pipeline, which would draw water from the Colorado River to serve southwestern Utah communities is ready for environmental analysis and public comment. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Politicians to Trump: Don’t relicense Oroville Dam until we know why spillway failed

Elected officials and other groups representing those living below the troubled Oroville Dam have asked the Trump administration to hold off on renewing its 50-year license, saying the federal government should at least know why the spillway broke in half last winter before signing off.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

San Joaquin Valley’s canal continues to sink, price tag could rise

A 20-mile portion of one of the Valley’s largest waterways is sinking. It’s getting worse each month and while the water levels drop, the price tag rises.  Earlier this year, the Friant Water Authority reported measurements that showed a nearly 3-foot drop in the Friant-Kern Canal’s elevation in some places.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

The year in water 2017 — a story of trial and response

The story of water in 2017 was one of trial and response. America’s water utilities, for instance, are caught between two forces: a need to reinvest in aging systems and income stagnation among the bottom 20 percent that is calling into question the affordability of water service for the poor. Overseas, the risks to life and health are more immediate.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why the Great Salt Lake is shrinking

Research shows that the world’s saline lakes are at risk, among them Utah’s Great Salt Lake, which is fueling controversy over a proposal to build new dams on its largest tributary.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should utilities turn off electricity when wildfire risk is high?

With the number of fires in the West growing due to climate change, and a recent decision by the state Public Utilities Commission to require that a utility — not ratepayers — pick up the costs for fires caused by its power lines, it’s likely that Californians are going to see more deliberate, pre-planned power outages when there is extreme wildfire risk, experts say. … Among the problems from planned blackouts … Water pumps may not work.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Key California environmental law not a barrier to development, new state report says

The study examined, over five years ending in 2016, how state transportation, parks and other projects were handled under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Inspection reports for important California dams

The Bee reviewed five years of inspection reports by the California Department of Water Resources for 93 dams that the state identified as potentially problematic in the wake of the Oroville Dam spillway failure. … Use the map to see if a dam near you is on the list.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Could recurring problems compromise safety of California dams?

When it comes to inspecting dams, California is second to none. A panel of national experts examined the state’s Division of Safety of Dams last year and declared it tops in the field, citing inspectors’ knack for flagging small problems before they turn serious. Getting dam owners to fix those flaws quickly is another matter.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Some fire hydrants didn’t work because of power outages, firefighters say

As firefighters battled a destructive wildfire that swept through neighborhoods in Ventura, they were stymied by some fire hydrants that didn’t work. Officials said power outages caused by the fire and heavy winds left some water pumping stations inoperable, meaning water couldn’t reach the fire hydrants.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Utah county wants to suck 77 million gallons a day out of Lake Powell, threatening Colorado River

Sun-scorched desert mesa, 140 miles of it, lies between Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, and Utah’s Washington County, one of America’s driest metropolitan regions. … The [Washington County Water Conservancy] district plans to link the reservoir and the county with one of the longest and most expensive water pipelines ever proposed in the West.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Lawmakers push for transparency on feasibility of Delta tunnels

State lawmakers opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnel plan are stepping up calls for greater transparency into the project’s finances, as the proposed water delivery system suffered a series of setbacks this fall.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels’ cost study coming, state says

A long-awaited study on the costs and benefits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels should be finished by next spring, a state official said Thursday after an independent audit concluded such a study should have already been done. The tunnels have been in the planning stage for 11 years, but state officials have never completed a comprehensive analysis of whether the project pencils out financially. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Panel recommends changes to two-decade-old EPA water affordability guidelines

In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Multibillion-dollar water measures heading to state ballot

With a five-year drought and then a winter of floods having exposed the limits of California’s vast network of reservoirs, dams and canals, voters are likely to have the chance next year to decide whether to pay for major upgrades to the state’s waterworks. Two multibillion-dollar bonds are expected to go before voters that promise to boost water supplies, offer flood protection and restore rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Siskiyou supervisors continue dam removal funding fight

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to continue its opposition to a proposal related to funding for the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The removal of the dams is the core component of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, a multi-party agreement that sets forth a path toward the removal of J.C. Boyle, Iron Gate, Copco 1, and Copco 2 dams.

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.

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