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Water news you need to know

A collection of top water news from around California and the West compiled each weekday by veteran journalist Matt Weiser. Send any comments to Foundation News & Publications Director Doug Beeman.

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Check out our special news feeds devoted to water equity and water news related to COVID-19.

Please Note: The headlines below are the original headlines used in the publication cited at the time they are posted here, and do not reflect the stance of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial nonprofit that remains neutral.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area, while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other, non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Aquafornia news The Brookings Institution

Blog: The hidden role of water infrastructure in driving a COVID-19 recovery

As Congress debates recovery strategies and stimulus efforts, water should be a bigger part of the conversation. Water can serve as a lever to achieve greater economic equity and access, environmental resilience, and technological innovation, among other benefits. Now is the time for Washington to elevate water as a core issue to drive a lasting recovery.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

New law lowers cost of clean water projects

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 974 to streamline the permitting process for low-income communities to deliver clean drinking water for residents. The law … offers low-income communities relief for the expensive and exhaustive permit process for small, disadvantaged community water systems with water contaminants beyond the state standard or failing wells.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers look to plant more rice acreage in the Delta

Now in its second year, a long-term project intends to learn whether rice farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta can succeed economically while helping to preserve the region’s uniquely carbon-rich peat soils.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District has two seats on November ballot

Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Imperial Irrigation District’s five-member board of directors on Nov. 3. The election will be the culmination of contentious races that already eliminated one incumbent in the primary. Water is power in the Imperial Valley, where one of California’s agricultural hubs is fed by a huge Colorado River allotment, an apportionment controlled by IID.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: The great uncoupling between water and growth

My research group published a new paper last week in the international Water journal that presents some very good news for water-stressed areas: cities are succeeding in decoupling their growth from their water needs. Our research – focused on 20 cities in the Western US – revealed some surprising findings…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said Monday.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Administration formalizes federal Water Subcabinet

A newly formalized Water Subcabinet will focus on “efficient and effective management and modernization” of water supplies while eliminating duplication among federal agencies, according to an executive order from President Donald Trump.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

East County advanced water purification project moving forward

The $681 million project, led by the East [San Diego] County Advanced Water Purification Project Joint Powers Authority, will recycle daily wastewater flows from Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Winter Gardens and Alpine. The recycled water will then go through an advanced treatment process that includes membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to produce purified water.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Clean water program earns multi-million dollar EPA loan approval

The City of San Mateo, in partnership with Foster City, has succeeded in its application for a $277 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Program is a $1 billion, 10-year capital infrastructure improvement program to repair, replace, and upgrade aging sewage conveyance and wastewater treatment infrastructure, serving approximately 170,000 residents…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Carlsbad lagoon dredging starts soon

Seawater desalination operator Poseidon is poised to take over the Agua Hedionda Lagoon maintenance dredging that has been done by local power companies since 1954. Permits are being obtained for the work to begin in November or early December with expectations to finish by mid-April…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

Working over the last year, construction crews expect to complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had been diked and drained for agriculture and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

San Juan Bautista selects path to resolve water problems

Two days before the deadline to submit its “compliance project,” the San Juan Bautista City Council voted 4-1 on a regional approach to solving its water problems over an in-house option. The city will send its waste water to the Hollister Wastewater Treatment Plant and import water from the West Hills Water Treatment Plant.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: La Niña: Is California heading into another drought?

A commonly held assumption among many Californians is that La Niña means a dry winter is coming, and in years when the opposite occurs, El Niño, a wet winter is considered more likely. So brown lawns and water rationing are just around the corner, right? Not necessarily.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news E&E News

Mega-fires arrived 30 years early, confounding scientists

A major analysis by California researchers projected that the amount of area burned by wildfire could jump 77% by the end of the century. Another study by UCLA warned that by 2050 fire on average would scorch twice as much land in Southern California. A doubling happened this year, instead of three decades from now.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: New insights into Putah Creek salmon

Chinook salmon have become a welcome and familiar sight in recent years in Putah Creek. Considered a keystone species across the Pacific Northwest, Chinook salmon hold a special place in our past and present as a cultural and food resource. This includes for indigenous peoples of California, such as the Patwin people, on whose land UC Davis is located.

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