California has many unmet needs in its water system—most notably in the areas of flood protection, safe drinking water, stormwater treatment, and ecosystem support. While dedicated funding over the long term has been hard to come by, water bonds have helped fill some gaps in these areas. Looking at how the 2014 water bond is being spent can give us some insights into how bonds are turned into projects on the ground. This is particularly important as three new bond proposals are floated for 2018.
Taxpayers may not realize it, but they foot the bill as their city or county complies with new state regulations to improve the health of local streams and waterways. Nicole Beck, 49, a UC Santa Cruz alum with a doctorate in aquatic chemistry, is marrying science and software to help city and county staff get information to make better decisions on where to focus their limited resources.
After seven years in the making, Pacific Grove officials on Wednesday celebrated the completion of its Local Water Project that will now see reclaimed water go to irrigate the Pacific Grove Golf Links and the city’s El Carmelo Cemetery. But when it comes to the potable water that will be saved by the project, there is still some uncertainty as to exactly where those water credits will go.
In a commentary in The San Diego Union-Tribune last month, San Diego businessman Jon C. Jacobson made a persuasive case that repeated sewage spills at the California-Mexican border should be addressed as the Trump administration tries to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
When the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems Permit last year, there was great alarm on the part of local governments, real estate developers and others affected by it.
From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard Staff Blog, in a post by Alisa Valderrama:
Stormwater runoff is a primary source of water pollution nationwide—be it a local river, lake, or ocean beach, so I knew cities in California would have their share of stormwater management challenges. What surprised me is just how far many of California’s cities are from meeting their water quality goals.
Five hundred million dollars in road and water-quality improvements are underway on the California side of Lake Tahoe. … The new roads are designed to collect storm water and filter out pollution in 30-by-60-foot sand pits.
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review a long-running Los Angeles County case, handing a victory to environmentalists in a battle over polluted urban runoff that fouls Southern California’s coastal waters.”
“[Lara] Meeker, who heads the environmental group’s DrainWatch program, is overseeing a special corps of volunteers called Storm Water Assessment Teams — or SWAT — who fan out across the region to collect water samples in an effort to force polluters to clean up.”
“An innovative project installed by the city to cleanse storm water naturally before it reaches San Francisco Bay is serving as an inspiration for a similar, but larger project planned for El Cerrito and six other East Bay cities.”
“Associations representing the nation’s mayors, counties, cities, stormwater agencies and major California water agencies filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting efforts by a coal mining company to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from having the power to retroactively revoke Clean Water Act permits.
“The U.S. Department of Interior has just announced nearly $9 million in grants for conservation projects around Lake Tahoe and in Nevada. The money comes from federal land sales, but such funding is quickly disappearing. …
“The TRPA [Tahoe Regional Planning Agency] is highlighting business investment in the environment from plant restoration to storm water management.”
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Andy Lipkis:
“On Nov. 5, 1913, William Mulholland stood before a crowd of 40,000 people near San Fernando and unfurled an American flag, signaling the official opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. As water from the Owens Valley rushed through the spillway for the first time, Mulholland exulted to the assembled onlookers: ‘There it is. Take it.’”
“After years of study, legal turmoil, public debate and legislative uncertainty, county planners say it’s going to take another year of staff work, an ombudsman and a citizens committee to figure out how to regulate creekside lots in Marin.
“Development rules that have proven politically elusive are up for another round of review at the Civic Center Tuesday morning as the Board of Supervisors reconsiders a controversial ’stream conservation area’ zone program that affects what happens near creek banks.”