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.

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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 Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: As Californians save more water, their sewers get less and that’s a problem

Less water used in the home for showers, clothes washing and toilet flushing means less water flowing out and pushing waste through the sewers. That has resulted in corroded wastewater pipes and damaged equipment, and left sewage stagnating and neighborhoods stinking. … It’s a complex problem with no easy answers.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Water Board places 10 county agencies on notice to clean up San Diego River

The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies, including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water quality.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

A fight between Humboldt stakeholders over the Klamath dams is impacting environmental protections across the country

If the decommissioning goes through as planned (the latest timetable aims for a drawdown sometime in 2021) it will be the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, with major implications for environmental restoration, the salmon fishery, agriculture and local tribes. But a recent Federal Appeals Court decision is having repercussions that extend far beyond the Klamath River Basin.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Summer steelhead considered for protection under state Endangered Species Act

The Northern California summer steelhead is closer to being listed under the state’s Endangered Species Act as the state Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously 4-0 on Wednesday at its June meeting in Redding to review the species’ status over the next year.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Obama water regulations criticized as Senate backs rule change

Senate Republicans lambasted the previous administration’s water regulations as a federal power grab Wednesday in a hearing on the new policy rolled out by President Donald Trump. The Environmental Protection Agency revised the rule known as Waters of the United States in December, following Trump’s 2017 executive order aimed at minimizing regulations and promoting economic growth.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Lake Shasta fills but brings unwanted side effect

Floating debris on the lake is common, but this year is worse than most years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Agency officials blame it on the high lake level. As the lake level rises, the water picks up the wood and other debris along the shoreline, forest service officials said. The wind and currents in the lake can send huge rafts of logs, sticks, Styrofoam, plastic bottles, articles of clothing, tires and other debris into coves and boat launch areas.

Aquafornia news

EPA issues letter rejecting water board plan submission

California water regulators received a federal rebuke this week over an incomplete water quality plan submission. Feeling the irony, Tri-Dam Project partners, the Oakdale (OID) and South San Joaquin (SSJID) irrigation districts, which hold senior water rights on the Stanislaus River and are among over two dozen agencies suing the State Water Resources Control Board, were quick to comment.

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

County presents green infrastructure workplan

San Mateo County officials are moving forward on a green infrastructure plan that aims to transform the urban landscape and storm drainage systems. The plan will help the county transition from relying solely on traditional drain infrastructure, which allows stormwater to flow directly into drains and bodies of water, to a more environmentally friendly model that disperses runoff to vegetated areas and collects it for nonpotable uses.

Aquafornia news Vallejo Times-Herald

Vallejo City Council approves $200,000 to fill in wetlands

The possible residential and commercial development of the Northern Waterfront area received a boost Tuesday night as the Vallejo City Council approved spending $200,000 to have 1.51 acres of wetlands filled in with soil. … An initial 8.8 acres was filled by 1994 before the permit expired. Through a second permit, city hall has until November 2020 to fill the remaining acreage…

Aquafornia news

Don’t drink the water in Black Butte Lake

An algal bloom in Black Butte Lake could be harmful and even deadly if visitors or their pets swallow the water, the California Water Board said Thursday. Regardless of the heat, boaters, dog owners and other recreational users of the lake are asked to be aware of the dangers in the water since harmful algal blooms (HABs) were found in a recent water test.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Public can comment on draft abandoned vessel plan

A draft plan on how to remove abandoned commercial vessels from the Delta waterways is available for public review and comment. The California State Lands Commission completed the removal plan as mandated by legislation authored by Assemblyman Jim Frasier, D-Discovery Bay.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

House committee signs off on Garamendi’s Flood Insurance for Farmers Act

The Flood Insurance for Farmers Act of 2019, which [Congressman John] Garamendi introduced with Congressman Doug LaMalfa in January, would provide farmers access to discounted rates under the National Flood Insurance Program. It would also lift the de facto federal prohibition on construction and repair of agricultural structures in high flood-risk areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Supervisors approve $15 million contract with state for Middle Creek Restoration Project

The long-running Middle Creek Restoration Project, which is designed to massively reduce sedimentation and nutrient load in order to improve Clear Lake’s health, took another step forward this week. … The contract provides $15 million – or $5 million per year for three years – for the purchase and maintenance of properties as part of the Middle Creek Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Irvine Co. gives its piece of Irvine Lake to the county, reducing who negotiates to resume public access

The Irvine Co. has followed through on plans to transfer 29 acres it owns on the south shore of Irvine Lake to the county of Orange, but a dispute over what kinds of recreation to allow and who should profit from it must be resolved before the lake can reopen to the public.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Amethyst Basin dedicated

The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert, was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10 years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: California lawmakers are turning cap-and-trade into the slush fund critics long feared

As part of the budget negotiations, lawmakers shelved Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial “water tax” that would have raised $140 million a year to help low-income communities finally clean up their contaminated water systems. Instead, lawmakers plan to fund the much-needed water cleanups with $100 million a year in cap-and-trade dollars — money that is paid to the state by polluters and which is legally required to be spent on projects to reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: To save Klamath River salmon, shut down the hatcheries

In 2021, four large dams on the Klamath River are due to be demolished, in part to revive the river and Klamath Basin salmon. But unless salmon hatchery operations are discontinued soon afterward on the river, the effort will founder. Allowing hatchery salmon to mix with struggling native salmon after removing the dams is like rescuing a dying man only to slowly poison him.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Delta conveyance next steps

Governor Newsom has stated that he supports a single tunnel—building on the planning and analysis for modernized conveyance in the Delta done to date with an increased focus on how to make the project work for the Delta communities. … Under this direction, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will launch a new environmental review and planning process toward the end of this year.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Just west of I-5, a glimpse of the future of water management

Driving along Interstate 5 south of Sacramento, you wouldn’t notice anything unique about the land stretched out beyond your car window. But hidden between Interstate 5 and Walnut Grove, lies one of the most important environmental restoration sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: EPA, FEMA sign agreement to streamline water infrastructure and recovery projects after disasters

The agreement was likely spurred by recent struggles to provide assistance following hurricane events, especially Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and other infrastructure failures such as those experienced at the Oroville Dam in 2017.