Five candidates will compete for three open seats on the Desert Water Agency board, pitting the three incumbents against two challengers looking to increase representation of agency areas outside Palm Springs.
Frank Ruiz sees fewer birds at the Salton Sea these days. As salinity levels climb and kill fish in the giant but receding Coachella Valley lake, there are fewer white pelicans, brown pelicans and cormorants to be found, said Ruiz, the Salton Sea program director for Audubon California. “We’ve also seen a huge decline in other species like eared grebes,” he said.
As more and more of the western United States suffers from warmer temperatures and in some places desertification, water has become perhaps the most hotly debated topic in environmental newsrooms throughout the region. It’s no surprise then that an environmental reporter from the Palm Springs-based Desert Sun would be covering a whole host of water-related stories.
Desert Hot Springs — the only city to opt out of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan when it first circulated eight years ago — and the Mission Springs Water District are now in the process of joining the environmental effort.
“The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday weighed in to support the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its lawsuit against two water districts, backing the tribe’s claims that the local agencies are infringing upon its rights by over-pumping groundwater from the Coachella Valley’s aquifer.”
“A ban on single-use plastic shopping bags was approved Thursday, but the City Council left open the idea of lifting at least part of a requirement for all retailers to include a separate 10-cent charge for each paper bag given to customers, a move favored by many high-end El Paseo merchants.”
“The largest public water agencies in the Coachella Valley have begun withholding information about how much water is pumped from wells by businesses including farms, golf courses, housing developments and resorts.”
“In the 1950s, Palm Springs was promoted as ‘America’s desert oasis’ in a film that displayed lush gardens, golf courses and tourists splashing in swimming pools. The image helped make the area a vacation destination.
“But in creating the image, Palm Springs became one of California’s biggest per-capita water users.”
“The transfer of water from the Imperial Irrigation District to San Diego and the Coachella Valley has netted the IID nearly $85 million over a 10-year period, and is expected to net the district more than $2.7 billion from 2009 through 2047, according to IID projections.”
“Wide-ranging discussions about water use on farms and golf courses, wastewater recycling and how to encourage conservation emerged as the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency led a tour of water infrastructure Thursday focusing on management of the area’s groundwater.
“The water agencies offered the tour to participants in Thursday’s symposium in Palm Springs focusing on drought and water scarcity.”
“Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu joined dozens of water managers and local, state and federal officials at Sunnylands on Wednesday for the opening reception of a two-day symposium focusing on drought and water scarcity in the West.
“Yu introduced her film, ‘Last Call at the Oasis,’ which documents the increasing scarcity of water in many parts of the world.”
“Hydrologist Brian Thomas has pored over decades of groundwater data from water agencies in the Coachella Valley, and he says the declines in much of the aquifer highlight a need for the area to find ways to cut back on water use.
“Thomas, a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling at UC Irvine, is one in a list of water scientists and experts who will attend a symposium in Palm Springs on Thursday focusing on drought and water scarcity in the West.”
“Being a resort community, the Coachella Valley is full of ornamental water features outside hotels, housing developments and golf courses. …
“These types of features typically use water recycled through their systems, but experts say they could hurt California’s water conservation efforts if they’re left unchecked while the state contends with a drought.”
“As California faces a historic drought, The Desert Sun is launching a new column that takes a closer look at how we use — and abuse — water in the Coachella Valley. … Last week, we asked for examples of public water waste.”
“The Coachella Valley’s water agencies have been awarded a state grant of more than $5.2 million for five water projects that include expanding sewer systems and connecting more golf courses to supplies of recycled water and Colorado River water.”
“The Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, a creature unique to our desert, was added to the federal endangered species list in 1980. The lizard, which grows to 6 to 9 inches, thrives in our sand dunes. …
“In 1985, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the 3,709-acre Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge to protect the lizard.”