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 National Law Review

FERC issues declaratory order finding waiver of state Clean Water Act authority

On May 21, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued another order finding that the California State Water Resources Control Board waived its authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to issue a water quality certification in the ongoing relicensing of Yuba Water Agency’s Yuba River Project.

Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

New report details managed aquifer recharge benefits

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources released a report on May 14 titled Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security Through Resilience. … The report states USACE and its partners have engaged, or are considering engaging, in the use of MAR in a variety of settings and purposes throughout the United States.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Dry winter spurs water managers to cut Russian River flows to retain reservoir supplies

In a stark reminder that drought has once again taken hold on the North Coast, Sonoma County is preparing to ask state water regulators for permission to reduce water levels in the Russian River this summer to conserve water stored in Lake Mendocino and ensure minimal late-season flows for fish.

Aquafornia news

Here’s how California’s water laws were made

This is an excerpt from “Ruling the Waters: California’s Kern River, the Environment, and the Making of Western Water Law” by Douglas R. Littlefield, published in May 2020.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Alternative desalination project to be studied for Doheny Beach

With its proposed Doheny desalination plant facing hurdles because of costs and a lack of partner water districts, the South Coast Water District board has agreed to spend $73,000 to study a scaled-down alternative.

Aquafornia news The Downey Patriot

Water district could be placed in receivership

California state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced legislation this week authorizing the Water Replenishment District of Southern California to take control of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, a move that would dissolve Central Basin’s board of directors and put the distressed agency in receivership.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA announces that Oasis Mobile Home Park has clean water

The park’s 1,900 residents have been without a permanent drinking water source for months, after the EPA announced last summer that the park’s well water contained nearly 10 times the permissible level of arsenic, a toxic metal.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA announces $196 million water infrastructure loan to Inland Empire, California

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $196 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in San Bernardino County, California. The loan will help finance expanded wastewater treatment capacity to support public health and the environment in this growing community.

Aquafornia news Audubon

News release: Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon agree to funding plan to conserve Colorado River water

The National Audubon Society has reached an agreement with the Arizona Department of Water Resources to help fund the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ on-going efforts to conserve 150,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over the next three years.

Aquafornia news Windsor Star

Opinion: California trial may determine fate of fluoridated water

Likely hanging in the balance is the future of artificial water fluoridation in the U.S. with shock waves possibly to be felt in countries which still add synthetic fluoride agents to their drinking water. The plaintiffs comprise a coalition of citizens’ groups, while the defendant is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue is the potential health risks posed by artificial water fluoridation.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Saving the Colorado River doesn’t have to mean hurting farmers

The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply chains and bring decline to rural communities that have developed around irrigated agriculture.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Opinion: Do two failed dams foretell a dire future?

The 2008 financial market crash was called a “black swan” event — an extreme catastrophic event that was not anticipated. We hope that when a catastrophic dam failure occurs in the United States it will not be called a black swan, since there is already strong evidence that the combination of aging and poorly maintained infrastructure and climate extremes could be very deadly.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR scientist uses COVID-19 diagnostic Testing Technology to help protect endangered fish

A scientist within the Department of Water Resources’ Division of Environmental Services has found a way to use gene-editing technology, most recently used for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, for ecological monitoring of threatened fish.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: How California’s oil industry may help preserve agriculture in San Joaquin Valley

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom’s environmental budget cuts escalate tensions with California activists

Administration officials said the state must make painful choices to keep funding intact for core environmental regulatory and safety programs. They also point out that the governor is proposing to boost spending for wildfire preparedness by $90 million and would preserve funding to enforce new clean drinking-water rules.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Almond orchard recycling a sustainable and beneficial strategy for growing almonds

This practice entails on-site grinding of whole, removed trees and the incorporation of the wood chips back into the almond fields before the next replanting. … In terms of soil health, the [University of California] researchers found a 58% increase in soil carbon as well as a 32% increase in water holding capacity compared to conventional burning practices. Overall productivity of the trees increased by 20% as well.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District names new CEO

Rick Callender, former president of the San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP and a longtime water executive, has been named CEO of Silicon Valley’s largest water provider, the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The district, also known as Valley Water, provides drinking water and flood protection to 2 million residents in Santa Clara County.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CNET

Can coronavirus spread through lake and pool water? Here’s what we know

The CDC says there’s no evidence the coronavirus can spread to people through pool water and that proper cleaning with chlorine or bromine should inactivate the virus if it’s in the water. So why are pools remaining closed if there’s no evidence of the virus spreading through the water? Because of human behavior.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: 2019 State Water Project review

At the May meeting of the California Water Commission, Assistant Executive Officer Jennifer Ruffolo presented the draft of the 2019 Annual Review of the Construction and Operation of the State Water Project for the Commission’s consideration and possible approval. Once approved, Commission staff will distribute the review to DWR and the Legislature.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County health officer reveals three business sectors recently hit by coronavirus

Under pressure to release more details about recent outbreaks of the coronavirus in the local business community, Sonoma County’s top public health official on Thursday revealed three industries in which workers recently contracted the virus. Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s health officer, said recent infections have been found among workers at a local winery, a water filtration plant and among a group of farmworkers.