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Overview

Aquafornia
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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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 Associated Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water

The second-largest river in California has sustained Native American tribes with plentiful salmon for millennia, provided upstream farmers with irrigation water for generations and served as a haven for retirees who built dream homes along its banks. With so many competing demands, the Klamath River has come to symbolize a larger struggle over the increasingly precious water resources of the U.S. West…

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

No, you can’t get COVID-19 from San Francisco tap water

Bottled water is disappearing from grocery shelves almost as fast as toilet paper, but there’s no shortage of water in California. There’s plenty flowing right out of your tap. And it’s germ-free and perfectly safe to drink. You can’t get COVID-19 from tap water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Fourth Phillips Station snow survey of 2020 this week

On April 1, 2020, DWR will conduct the fourth Phillips Station snow survey of the season. Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and California Department of Public Health guidance to limit gatherings, DWR will be conducting the April Phillips Station snow survey without media present and will be providing video of the survey and the results via Facebook live.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

‘We’re in bad shape’: San Joaquin Valley lags in rainfall, despite storms this week

The past week brought much-needed showers to Tulare County — but not enough to catch up to the amount of rain the area should have by this time in the water year. … The past week brought about .78 inches, a decent amount, considering the average rainfall over the past 30 years for the entire month of March is 1.9 inches. But the rainfall broke an all-time record dry period for the season, as not a drop fell in February.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge

Here on the largest Native American reservation, one that spans portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, politicians and health officials are mounting a frantic effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The impact could be especially devastating, officials fear, in an extremely rural area larger than West Virginia, with roughly 175,000 residents and only four inpatient hospitals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA’s relaxed enforcement amid virus draws mixed state reaction

State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. … The California Environmental Protection Agency said its enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA memo.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California eyeing regulation of 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water

California is moving closer to setting a drinking water limit for the solvent 1,4-dioxane, which EPA has said is a likely carcinogen. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced Friday it was working to set a public health goal for the emerging contaminant.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

San Onofre treatment plant problem leads to release of 7,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into ocean

In an alert to state regulators, Southern California Edison, which operates the power station, said an unexpected surge of wastewater led to an “upset” at the treatment plant that morning, triggering an alarm but allowing the sewage to flow through a 6,000-foot pipe out into the ocean before workers could turn off the pumps.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Marcos launches long-awaited Creek District construction

The $100 million Creek District project will improve streets, add bridges and build a new park in the area adjacent to San Marcos Creek, which goes through seasonal flooding during rains. The Creek District project represents a milestone for the city, which has struggled with annual flooding that has limited access to the neighborhood during storms.

Aquafornia news CNN

Designing an end to a toxic American obsession: The Lawn

While many residents across the US may want a traditional patch of green carpet, Jodie Cook, a landscape designer from San Clemente, California, explained over email that West Coast homeowners are growing increasingly aware of how innovative models for lawns can benefit natural ecosystems, while providing a new dimension to the family home.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Freshwater species are disappearing fast — this year is critical for saving them

We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine. The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Early April precipitation is expected to be below normal where it is most needed in Northern California

While snow cover has increased thanks to a series of March storms, the Northern Sierra 8-Station Index stands at 56% of normal for the season. As of March 24, another 29.25 inches would be needed to reach the season normal of 54.52 inches. But the area normally gets just 9.42 inches from March 24 through June 30. So a daunting 310% of normal precipitation would be required to make up the deficit, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Water utilities’ biggest coronavirus concern is staffing

As the coronavirus spreads across the country, water utility leaders say that potential staffing shortages due to illness and quarantine are their biggest current concern in the Covid-19 pandemic. That conclusion comes from interviews with water utility representatives and data from an American Water Works Association survey of several hundred water utilities…

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Because of the TP shortage, people are using wipes, T-shirts with predictable results

Thanks to people hoarding toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic, some Californians have completely run out of bathroom tissue. So what do they do when nature calls? They improvise. And that, communities are discovering, can cause problems. Big, stinky, overflowing problems.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Huffington Post

What it’s like to not have running water during a pandemic

Two weeks ago, as the coronavirus was spreading across the U.S., Shanna Yazzie loaded the bed of her gray Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with as many empty, five-gallon containers as she had in her house and drove 25 miles on unpaved desert roads looking for a place to fill them with water. This is a routine for Yazzie, 38, one of the 2 million Americans who live without access to running water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Depletion of interconnected surface waters: Not that simple

Sierra Ryan is a water resources planner with the County of Santa Cruz. In this presentation from the Groundwater Resources Association‘s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Ryan tells the story of how the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency balanced the various perspectives, authorities, and interpretations of the DWR regulations in writing the portion of their Groundwater Sustainability Plan that pertained to the depletion of interconnected surface water.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

COVID-19 complicates proposed Napa ballot measures about cannabis and watershed protection

Gathering signatures for two proposed Napa County ballot measures – one on rural, commercial cannabis cultivation, the other on watershed protections – is a daunting task amid COVID-19 shutdown orders. Californians are to shelter-at-home except when engaged in “essential” tasks such as buying food. Yet each measure needs more than 7,000 signatures from registered voters by May 8 to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Frost advisory has farmers scrambling for frost protection for vineyards

Below freezing temperatures that swept through Sonoma County on Wednesday had local grape growers turning on their fans and sprinklers to protect the tiny buds that have emerged on vineyards across the region.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.

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