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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. Send any comments or article submissions 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 Los Angeles Times

Poop may tell us when the coronavirus lockdown will end

From Stanford to the University of Arizona, from Australia to Paris, teams of researchers have been ramping up wastewater analyses to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Initial studies show that sewage monitoring, or “wastewater-based-epidemiology,” could not only tell us how much the virus might actually be spreading in a community — but also when the virus has finally gone away.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California water board collects data on household water debt, utility finances

California regulators sent a survey on Monday to 150 of the state’s largest water providers in an attempt to shed light on the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Water Resources Control Board wants to know how economic slowdowns related to the virus have affected utility finances and, at a household level, how many residents have overdue water bills.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Non-revenue water: An opportunity for water utilities, now more than ever

Conservative estimates from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies suggest the industry as a whole is expected to lose at least $12.5 billion due to the coronavirus when all is said and done. Revenue concerns are spurring utilities to find new infrastructure investments that can help offset shortfalls. The persistent problem of non-revenue water is a good place to start.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: After COVID-19 ends, will Californians go thirsty?

In the midst of drought yet again, and two decades into the 21st century, California continues to operate with a water infrastructure engineered and constructed for 20th century climate conditions and populations. That’s true not only of the state’s physical network of dams and aqueducts, but of its legal and financial infrastructure as well — the pricing rules that allocate the state’s precious liquid resources among its 40 million thirsty people. The coronavirus emergency has highlighted some of the most serious stresses in the system.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Addressing water affordability in urban California

In the midst of the pandemic and recession, the cost of delivering safe drinking water continues to rise across California, creating a crisis of affordability for water users and a revenue problem for water suppliers. PPIC talked to Robert Shaver—board chair for the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) and general manager of the Alameda County Water District—about how the state’s largest public water agencies are thinking about this issue.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Just how bad is California’s water debt problem? The state isn’t sure

A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue losses for water providers across the state.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

How COVID put a $10 billion emergency on the back burner

COVID-19 has stopped or stalled at least a dozen Bay Area projects designed to prevent damage from rising sea levels. And experts say time is running out, as the latest NASA readings show exponential increases in ocean and bay water levels around the Bay Area.

Aquafornia news Coachella Valley Independent

Two of the valley’s largest water agencies say a statewide moratorium on shutoffs has not caused financial problems—yet

Today, nearly seven months have passed since then, and the state is still mired in the pandemic—so questions are beginning to arise about how much debt is being accumulated, not only by the state’s water providers, but by customers who can’t afford to keep up with payments.