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.
As North County water stakeholders wait for the state’s
approval of a 20-year Paso Robles Groundwater Basin
sustainability plan, the State Water Resources Control Board
recently expressed concerns about whether that plan does enough
to reverse the basin’s decline and protect domestic well users.
USACE Sacramento District has a proven track record of facing
challenges head-on. When 2020 brought with it the Novel
Coronavirus, the District responded quickly to address the
needs of a rapidly changing work environment…This year marked
the start of major construction on the [American River Common
Features] project, and the pandemic hit just as crews were
mobilizing, meaning both USACE and its contractors faced
unexpected public impacts.
Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to
say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? … The
pandemic’s economic dislocation continues to reverberate among
those who lost work. Severe weather boosted by a warming
climate is leaving its mark in the watersheds of the Southwest
[including the Colorado River]. And President-elect Biden will
take office looking to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy of
environmental deregulation while also writing his own narrative
on issues of climate, infrastructure, and social
justice….Litigation over toxic PFAS compounds found in
rivers, lakes, and groundwater is already active. Lawsuits are
likely to continue at a brisk pace…
UC San Diego says it detected traces of the novel coronavirus
in five areas of campus over the weekend after it greatly
expanded its search for the pathogen in wastewater samples
drawn from dozens of buildings.
The intent is to help the State Water Board better understand
the financial impacts of COVID-19 on drinking water systems,
including details about the amount of money that customers owe
to water systems with implementation of the order suspending
water service shutoffs.
The University of California, Berkeley set up a temporary
laboratory where it is testing sewage water to spot signs of
COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area. University leaders said
the new high-throughput pop-up lab is helping health officials
collect data on where the virus may be spreading, circumventing
some of the limitations of testing people individually.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.