“Infrastructure” in general can be defined as the components and
equipment needed to operate, as well as the structures needed
for, public works systems. Typical examples include roads,
bridges, sewers and water supply systems.Various dams and
infrastructural buildings have given Californians and the West
the opportunity to control water, dating back to the days of
Water management infrastructure focuses on the parts, including
pipes, storage reservoirs, pumps, valves, filtration and
treatment equipment and meters, as well as the buildings to
house process and treatment equipment. Irrigation infrastructure
includes reservoirs, irrigation canals. Major flood control
infrastructure includes dikes, levees, major pumping stations and
The sixth annual ‘Imagine a Day Without Water,’ advocacy day
returns Wednesday, Oct. 21, with likely thousands of
individuals, companies and organizations expected to take
part… Imagine a Day Without Water is a national education
campaign that takes place one day a year and brings together
diverse stakeholders to illustrate how water is essential,
invaluable and in need of investment.
The WIFIA Loan Program recently announced that it has reset the
interest rates on two undrawn loan commitments originally made
in mid-2018. The fixed rate on a $135 million loan to Orange
County Water District and a $614 million loan to San Diego
Public Facilities Financing Authority (PFFA) were reset
downward from about 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively,
to around 1 percent… Is this a big deal?
The solutions are not just about spending money, but changing
how we do coastal development — fewer expensive seawalls and
roads, and more “living shorelines” and coastal parks that can
The flames were coming over a ridge when a group of men, led by
a retired Cal Fire firefighter, saved more than 35 homes in the
Stonegate neighborhood on Brand Road just off Hwy 12. They held
off the flames until a full strike team arrived to take over.
What they could not save was the water well pump and holding
tank at the top of the hill which supplied water to the entire
subdivision. It was all destroyed and must be now replaced.
Water utilities increasingly face a dilemma in these
recessionary times: the challenge is to take in enough money to
operate and maintain complex water systems while also providing
safe and affordable water to all their customers—even those who
have trouble paying. We talked to Kathryn Sorensen of Phoenix
Water Services about Phoenix’s equity innovations.
Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an
environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that
could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and
California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge
of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and
the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River
flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a
The SSJID board has been pursuing a replacement tunnel after
sorting through options to substantially increase the
reliability of water flows as well as reducing costly annual
maintenance work that puts crews at risk. … The 13,000-foot
tunnel is now projected to cost more than $37 million. SSJID
would cover 72 percent of the cost and Oakdale Irrigation
District 28 percent…
The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per
second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the
Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer
Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix
the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to
the Bureau of Reclamation.
Zone 7 Water Agency’s failed flood control system needs a total
revamp from the ground up, according to a consultant hired by
the agency. The system can’t be saved by adding touches here
and there. It will need a whole new rethinking, and will be
expensive, said Eric Nagy, a principal with the firm Larsen,
Wurzel & Associates in Sacramento.
Emergency repairs are underway after a historic fire in the
Santa Cruz Mountains wreaked havoc on the San Lorenzo Valley’s
water infrastructure. The CZU August Lightning Complex fire
caused an estimated $11 million in damage to pipes, meters,
mains, tanks and other San Lorenzo Valley Water District
infrastructure and equipment, according to District Manager
Between February and July 2020, the East Bay Municipal
Utility District completed work on more than 20 community
infrastructure projects totaling $49 million. The projects
include rehabilitated neighborhood water storage tanks, miles
of new water distribution pipelines designed to withstand
earthquakes, and a new photovoltaic system to generate energy
from the sun.
Here, we summarize the financial impacts of COVID-19 on water
utilities, examine how this may reduce or delay water
infrastructure investments, and explore how investments in
innovative distributed water infrastructure can address some of
these issues while also fostering economic recovery, system
flexibility, and long-term resilience.
Recent research looking at projected global temperature
increases and large-scale oceanic and atmospheric processes
contains alarming news for California water and flood planners.
According to this emerging science, intense precipitation and
flooding from “pineapple express”-style winter storms could
both shift eastwardly landward and intensify by up to 40% by
the latter half of the century.
The water system owned by the city of Montebello is primarily
made up of old concrete pipes made with asbestos, a once-common
part of water and drainage systems. This system has not been
properly maintained, and is now in need of $50 million worth of
health and safety repairs and improvements. Why has this been
allowed to occur you may ask?
After nearly a decade of planning, the City of Manhattan Beach
will begin a $39 million rebuild of Peck Reservoir, its
63-year-old water storage and filtration facility. The project
was unanimously approved by City Council at its August 20
The Clean Water Act previously allowed states to halt projects
that risk hurting their water quality, but that power was
scaled back by the EPA in June, a move Administrator Andrew
Wheeler said would “curb abuses of the Clean Water Act that
have held our nation’s energy infrastructure projects hostage.”
The latest suit argues the Trump administration is
inappropriately denying states veto power over major projects
that pose risks to their waterways.
Decades of inadequate investment in water infrastructure has
exacerbated the economic challenges faced by water and
wastewater utilities in the era of COVID-19, according to a new
report released Aug. 26 by the American Society of Civil
Engineers and the U.S. Water Alliance’s Value of Water
The consolidation of multiple agencies into SCV Water makes
local coordination in emergencies much easier than in the past.
Partnerships with other agencies to the north and south of us
mean there are backup plans for dry years and places to store
excess water in wet years.
A main water pipeline in the San Lorenzo Valley was destroyed
by a wildfire burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The
San Lorenzo Valley Water District lost 4.5 million gallons of
water after this 5-mile long pipe melted from intense heat. The
district shut off its water supply throughout the Valley except
to Boulder Creek.
After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration
released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back
project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running
beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento. That’s nearly as
much as the old $16.7 billion price tag put on the larger,
The break occurred not far from a July 2014 rupture that spewed
an estimated 20 million gallons of water across the UCLA campus
and flooded numerous buildings, including Pauley Pavilion, the
Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, J.D. Morgan
Center and the John Wooden Center. … LADWP officials reported
that Sunday’s water main break was not the same trunk line that
ruptured in 2014.
A single tunnel proposed to take water under the sensitive
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to farms and cities
in the south could cost $15.9 billion, give or take, according
to an initial assessment discussed at the Delta Conveyance
Authority meeting on Thursday.
In the new study, researchers modeled the effects of rising sea
level along the entire California coastline. While results
varied with local topography, the study indicates rising sea
levels could push inland water tables higher, resulting in
damage to infrastructure and increased severity of flooding.
East Bay Municipal Utility District crews and first-responders
were at the scene of at least sixteen separate water main
breaks in two cities Wednesday night, affecting several hundred
customers, authorities said.
The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a historic ruling, in
favor of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, that compels the State Water
Resources Control Board to analyze whether it is “wasteful” and
“unreasonable” to dump billions of gallons of wastewater
uselessly into the sea, when it could instead be used
productively to ensure the sustainability of California’s water
The U.S. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
Loan Program (WIFIA) … has now completed three solicitation
rounds over the period 2017-2019, generating 90 competitively
selected applications totaling $13.6 billion of loan volume.
This indicates WIFIA has had an excellent start. But beneath
the surface, what’s actually happening? How is the program
working as intended to improve U.S. water infrastructure?
Due to local population growth and rising peak summer usage,
the West Valley Water District announced that it will expand
treatment capacity for the region by 16 million gallons per day
through the Oliver P. Roemer Water Filtration Facility
Failure to account for the long-term trend of declining per
capita water demand has led to routine overestimation of future
water demand. This can lead to unnecessary and costly
investment in unneeded infrastructure and new sources of
supply, higher costs, and adverse environmental impacts.
The Trump Administration Monday announced that the United
States Department of Agriculture is investing $462 million to
modernize critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
across rural America.
The city of Bellflower wants to sell its aging water system to
a big for-profit water company that is better able to manage
it. But the deal could fall through. That’s because state
regulators say the price is so high, it could hurt water
customers across Southern California.
The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors opened the
utility’s checkbook at the July 13 meeting and unanimously
voted to spend close to $9.5 million on a long list of capital
improvement projects. Leading the way, the most expensive
project approved was $4.56 million to recoat and inspect
Reservoir 2 and 2A water tanks.
The agencies specifically warned that internet-connected
operational technology assets, used throughout U.S. defense
systems, were often the targets of malicious cyber actors
attempting to hit critical infrastructure, such as systems
providing water, gas and electricity. As a result, the agencies
recommended that critical infrastructure operators and owners
take “immediate action” to secure their systems.
The Senate has confirmed Maj. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon as the
Army’s 55th Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the
Corps of Engineers, elevating him to one of the most crucial
infrastructure-related positions in the federal government.
Historically, Mesa Water District’s staff has performed all
their day-to-day operational tasks from its headquarters in
Costa Mesa, Calif. … The pandemic required the water district
to quickly transition to a nearly 100 percent remote workforce
almost overnight, without disrupting providing clean, safe and
reliable water to their many customers.
A water main break has caused major flooding on part of
southbound Highway 99 at 12th Avenue in Sacramento, California
Highway Patrol officials confirmed Monday evening. … Tim
Swanson, a spokesperson for the City of Sacramento, said the
break started as a leak that was expected to be repaired in the
The San Diego County Water Authority’s asset management team
recently celebrated the completion of a comprehensive condition
assessment of more than 27 miles of the agency’s oldest
pipelines. The assessment was performed in record time over
just 16 months.
The president’s plan to streamline the National Environmental
Policy Act … would make it easier to build highways,
pipelines, chemical plants and other projects that pose
environmental risks. … But the proposed changes also threaten
to rob the public, in particular marginalized communities most
affected by such projects, of their ability to impact decisions
that could affect their health, according to many activists.
Thousands of Redlands residents are being urged to cut their
water consumption and fill tubs and other containers for
emergency use as crews work to repair a major leak in the
city’s system, officials said Tuesday. The leak, which was
reported Monday and occurred in a 16-inch transmission line at
a pumping station near Ford Park, could spill as much as 5
million gallons of water a day…
The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project, which
began modified operations in January of 2019, successfully
allowed thousands of migrating fish to pass between the
Sacramento River and Yolo Bypass in its first year of
A total of $83.9 million grant funding has been issued to
communities in San Diego, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Sierra and
Central Coast regions. The funding is aimed at supporting
projects to address infrastructure needs, depleted groundwater
levels, flood control issues, and other water issues of
South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate
this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives
appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The
bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal
and for two Northern California reservoirs.
Don’t drink the water in the Del Monte area of Monterey, the
Monterey County Health Department and California American Water
announced this morning, Wednesday, July 8. A water main break
on Aguajito Road on Tuesday evening is the culprit, according
to notifications from Monterey County and California American
Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors committed approximately
$14 million in grants and loans for water infrastructure
upgrades, levee maintenance and Yuba County’s annual California
Public Employees’ Retirement System payment.
Rep. TJ Cox announced the inclusion of several water
infrastructure projects critical to the Central
Valley in the House Energy and Water Development
Appropriations bill, including funding for the repair of
the Friant-Kern Canal and $7.8 million for an
expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir.
Every single Californian deserves access to clean, reliable,
affordable water. Contrary to statements in the column, the
most disadvantaged communities in California, will not be
helped by a tunnel. This massively expensive, environmentally
destructive conveyance project won’t provide additional water
to water-starved communities in this unpredictable
climate-change era; nor can it promise safe, low-cost water
More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal.
On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a
letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage
projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More
than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for
preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal
Capacity Correction project.
The House passed a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill
that would help the nation rebuild its crumbling roads and
bridges, combat climate change, and promote clean energy and
clean drinking water.
The work, which begins June 29, will complete critical
improvements to the North Shore Force Main (NSFM), a
pressurized sewer pipeline that transports wastewater in
northern San Francisco to the Southeast Treatment Plant in the
Bayview, which treats 80 percent of the City’s wastewater.
Adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address
aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded
ecosystems, requires significant investment in natural and
built water systems. These investments present a significant
opportunity to support not only water, but to provide economic,
social, and environmental benefits.
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
has approved H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The legislative
package would provide $1.5 trillion for the nation’s
infrastructure needs. Included in the bill is funding for
Central Valley water needs and Friant-Kern Canal repairs. The
package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of
Representatives next week.
After almost 32 years with the Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power (LADWP) Clarence Martin will be stepping down as
Aqueduct Manager. Deputy Aqueduct Manager Adam Perez will be
taking over, come July 1.
A man working atop the iconic Fresno State water tower died
after being rushed to the hospital on Thursday after being
overcome with heat, eventually going into cardiac arrest. …
The man, 27-year-old Jason Peters of Palm Coast, Florida, was
one of three divers scheduled to do maintenance work on the
inside of the water tower on the Fresno State campus.
The June 17 meeting of the Eastern Municipal Water District
included approving the purchase of groundwater monitoring
equipment for the West San Jacinto Basin, approving a
consultant contract for the final design of the Hemet Water
Filtration Plant sodium hypochlorite tank replacement, and
awarding Pacific Hydrotech Corporation a contract to replace
the booster engines at the Pat Road facility.
It seems some are willing to wait forever for a new water
supply. After 25 years of failure, they still trust Cal Am to
come up with a solution. But the Monterey Peninsula Water
Management District is clearly done waiting. Last Monday, the
district board withdrew its support for Cal Am’s proposed desal
Three divers were rescued from the Fresno State water tower
Wednesday after Fresno Fire says one of them became
unresponsive due to heat exhaustion. The three divers were
taking part in a regular inspection and cleaning of the
The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent
on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal
year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most
of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in
California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress
will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year
energy and water appropriations bill.
Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies
delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The
letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California
Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal
dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance
and assistance with water bills.
The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention
it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void
of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water
world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced
to authorize significant funding for the project.
House Democrats attached a provision to the bill that would
look to introduce additional dam and hydropower safety
inspections and analysis to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission permitting process. … House Democrats included
various provisions that would boost drinking water protections
and infrastructure, harden water systems against the threat of
climate change, and provide a financial lifeline for tribal
water and wastewater systems.
It was a big day for the El Dorado Irrigation District as
members of the board, staff and other officials gathered above
Folsom Lake to celebrate the kick-off of a major infrastructure
project. … In February the board unanimously approved
spending $42 million to replace critical components of the
Folsom Lake water intake and restore needed reliability and
capacity that has been lost to mechanical failure over the
A proposal by the Trinidad Rancheria to connect to
McKinleyville’s water system received a mostly chilly reception
from the public during a meeting last week of the Humboldt Bay
Municipal Water District. A majority of more than three dozen
written comments submitted to the district were in opposition
to the pipeline, with many saying they are against the
rancheria’s proposed hotel.
In October 2019, the Public Policy Institute of California
(PPIC) released the report, Priorities for California’s Water,
which outlined California’s water management challenges and
their top priorities for addressing those challenges. At the
May meeting of the California Water Commission, Alvar
Escriva-Bou, a PPIC research fellow, gave a presentation on the
findings and how they align with the actions of the draft water
Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula,
commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the
highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the
edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates
protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm
flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee
trails, you might never know these important structures exist.
The Tribe has been working with Sonoma County to develop 147
housing units as well as a resort and winery. Now that this
ongoing development can be performed on land officially held in
trust by the U.S. federal government, the Tribe is no longer
subject to local land use restrictions. As such, the Lytton
Tribe must assess all potential options to best meet future
wastewater needs. Collaboration with their Windsor neighbors as
well as an environmental assessment identified two primary
A draft report released today by the San Diego County Water
Authority shows that building a new conveyance system to
transport regional water supplies from the Colorado River
Quantification Settlement Agreement is cost-competitive with
other long-term options for meeting the region’s water needs.
Existing residents in the 200-year-flood zone are not off the
hook when it comes to paying for more robust protection. …
That’s because fees assessed on new growth — homes, commercial
and industrial concerns — being built in the flood zone only
will cover a third of the bill.
Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events
show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more
effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea
walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and
state governments should heed those findings and increase
funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate
disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and
“living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.
For years — too many, residents say — Seville households
teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in
the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and
everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry
spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one
altogether for residents in Seville.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday
calling on federal agencies to use emergency powers to
“accelerate” infrastructure projects on federal lands as a
response to the coronavirus pandemic. The order urges the
Interior, Agriculture, and Defense departments to use emergency
powers under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and
National Environmental Policy Act to speed projects through the
New legislation was recently introduced that will address
several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The
Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by
Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water
conveyance damaged by subsidence.
While drain clogs aren’t new, most of the more than 15 cities
contacted by The Associated Press said they’ve become a more
costly and time consuming headache during the pandemic.
Home-bound Americans are seeking alternatives to bathroom
tissue because of occasional shortages, while stepping up
efforts to sanitize their dwellings and themselves.
Extended periods of inactivity in buildings can cause lead
leaching or legionella growth in water pipes and taking proper
steps can help minimize potential exposure to both these
contaminants. … Proper reopening procedures help in verifying
that water systems and equipment are in safe working order.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Monday
curtailing the rights of states, tribes and the public to
object to federal permits for energy projects and other
activities that could pollute waterways across the country. The
move … upends how the United States applied a section of the
Clean Water Act for nearly a half century.
A Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal has narrowly survived
another attempt to shelve it indefinitely even as the main
recycled water project struggles with operational and cost
issues that have further postponed its water delivery date and
hampered its capacity.
Marine life mitigation, the need for desalinated water in
Orange County and the overall merits of Poseidon Water’s plan
to build a $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach
were some of the main talking points of a 10-hour virtual
workshop, held on May 15. Highlighting the marathon of a
workshop: pointed questions about the merits of Poseidon’s
The gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal that is key to survival for
15,000 east side San Joaquin Valley farms continues to be
impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be
most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent
water pumping that the canal has lost 60% of its capacity. As
of July 2018, it was estimated the canal is approximately 12
feet below the original constructed elevation.
House Democrats will focus this summer on passing essential
legislation, including the Water Resources Development Act, a
highway reauthorization bill, and appropriations measures,
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday. … In early
May, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced
two major water infrastructure bills (S. 3591 and (S. 3590)
that are awaiting floor action.
Over email, local water activists concocted a secret plan to
derail a vote that would potentially kill one water project and
bolster the prospects of another. The idea was to stage a
“filibuster” of the Monterey One Water board meeting scheduled
for Tuesday, May 26.
The San Diego County Water Authority and its contractors have
completed essential repairs on a section of Pipeline 5 in North
San Diego County between Fallbrook and Escondido. The repairs
included installing 156 feet of carbon fiber liner inside the
96-inch pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe to extend its
Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental
victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along
the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply ––
including Great Salt Lake.
A referendum challenging a rural northern California town’s
water rate hike rests on whether the California Supreme Court
considers it a tax or a fee. Since 1911, California’s
constitution has exempted “tax levies” from the people’s
referendum. It’s an exemption that Dunsmuir, a town of about
1,600 residents in Siskiyou County, is trying to apply to its
aging water system.
The Senate’s environment panel pushed through two major water
infrastructure bills Wednesday, rejecting a GOP member’s
attempt to give Western states more authority over water
supplies but agreeing to direct the EPA to set drinking water
limits for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gathered
the last few comments on Friday on its plans to move two
mammoth water infrastructure packages this year. … At the
same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee is gearing up to introduce its own big water bill,
which should come by month’s end and be marked up over the
summer, according to a committee aide.
At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection
Board, Board members heard an informational briefing on the
Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage
Project being planned for the Fremont Weir. Referred to as the
Big Notch, this project will construct a gated notch at Fremont
Weir to create seasonal floodplain habitat for juvenile fish as
well as to improve migration for adult fish.
A team of UCLA undergraduate students has won a national
competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency seeking innovative plans for stormwater management. The
team proposed to redesign elements of a Los Angeles elementary
school to improve its environmental sustainability.
Work to restore a damaged 9-foot diameter water pipeline in
Moreno Valley continued Monday, May 4, and outdoor watering
restrictions will be lifted for Western Municipal Water
District customers starting Tuesday. … The reduced-use
directive had been in place since Thursday after a contractor
punctured the Santa Ana Valley Pipeline.
The reduced-use directive was put in place after a contractor
punctured the 9-foot-diameter Santa Ana Valley Pipeline on
Thursday. The water flow in the line has been stopped while
repairs take place, and the moves by the districts were to help
ensure reserves are not depleted.
Emergency repairs to a state-operated water pipeline prompted
officials Friday morning to ask 250,000-plus customers in
Moreno Valley and western Riverside County communities to
immediately stop outdoor water use. … Customers were asked to
not water plants or grass, wash cars or fill pools until
repairs on the Santa Ana Valley Pipeline, which brings water to
the region from Northern California, are completed, the MWD
The Lake Nacimiento water pipeline, which delivers supplemental
drinking water to several local communities including the city
of San Luis Obispo, has been out of commission since September
after leaks were discovered in a segment of the 45-mile pipe
that traverses the Salinas River.
As of March, the East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural
Resource Center construction project reached the halfway point
to scheduled completion⎯about 18 months in and 18 months left
to work. The water recycling plant will be capable of treating
up to 10 million gallons per day, depositing the clean water
into percolation ponds in order to recharge the Bunker Hill
To develop the rankings, the state took into account numerous
factors, including each water system’s vulnerability to climate
change and projected temperature changes, projected sea level
rise, recent water shortages, whether the system is in an
overdrafted groundwater basin or was located in an area with
underlying fractured rock.
Several streets in neighborhoods near San Diego State will be
torn up for short periods over the next four years so the city
can widen and upgrade sewer and water lines that lead to the
Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.
From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water
warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so
can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local
water system from private ownership and placing it under the
control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual
public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video
As federal, state, and local leaders look to provide economic
relief, they must pay special attention to the support and
protection of our current infrastructure workforce.
Additionally, this moment offers an opportunity that we may not
see again anytime soon: the chance to jumpstart long-term
infrastructure careers for millions of prospective workers
The number of supporters in Congress for utility assistance in
the next Covid-19 package continues to grow. One hundred ten
Democratic members of the House and Senate sent a letter today
to congressional leaders, requesting financial aid to utilities
and the people they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.
Most municipalities that have been maintaining aging
infrastructure for decades simply absorb the effort and costs
required to repair water main pipeline breaks when they occur.
Seldom do many municipalities make the efforts required to
track the costs and evaluate the cost benefit of proactively
rehabilitating the existing pipe line versus continuing to
repair emergency breaks.
We know one thing for sure: We need to wash our hands well and
often. And for that we need clean, running water. But so far
the federal legislative responses to the novel coronavirus
crisis have not included financial support for water utilities,
most of which are public agencies. And there’s been no federal
mandate to prevent water shutoffs for households unable to pay
Southern California Edison, the operators of the San Onofre
Nuclear Generating Station, is still investigating what caused
the release of 7,000 gallons of sewage into the ocean last
month but it appears the culprits were a blockage in the
facility’s sewage treatment plant and a worn out pump switch.
It’s possible that water left sitting for long periods of time
could contain excessive amounts of heavy metals and pathogens
concentrated in pipes nationwide, say [Purdue University]
researchers who have begun a field study on the impact of a
pandemic shutdown on buildings.
California has evacuation plans for earthquakes, floods,
mudslides and, of course, wildfires, but what if one of those
disasters occurs as the state is dealing with the coronavirus
outbreak when everyone is being urged to stay home? State and
local officials are trying to figure that out.
Napa Sanitation District is planning a $15 million project to
rehabilitate a deteriorating pipe that carries 90 percent of
local sewage to the wastewater treatment plant and has no
backup. … The half-century-old, 66-inch-diameter concrete
pipe transports raw sewage three miles from the city of Napa to
the wastewater treatment plant near the airport industrial
area. A district report calls it the “backbone” of the sewer
A lawsuit over the El Dorado Irrigation District’s plan to pipe
the Upper Main Ditch was denied by Superior Court Judge Dylan
Sullivan in a final ruling issued March 27. The lawsuit filed
by a Pollock Pines-based group called Save the Canal challenged
approval of the project and certification of the project’s
Environment Impact Report…
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, water agencies
across the Bay Area and California are taking unprecedented
steps to keep the water flowing that millions of people need
for drinking and washing their hands, but which is also
critical for fighting fires, serving hospitals, running sewer
systems and other vital uses. The main goal: Preventing the
workers who run the drinking water treatment plants from
The basics of the relationship between water and energy are
well known, but California’s recent drought revealed something
surprising about this connection. When the state mandated a 25
percent drop in water use, the resulting energy savings turned
out to be even higher than expected. This prompted the
Department of Energy to find ways of making water more energy
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.
Water agencies throughout the West are changing their
operations during the coronavirus outbreak to make sure cities
and farms don’t run dry. Their responses range from extreme
measures to modest adjustments to ensure their most critical
workers don’t succumb to the virus.
The Infrastructure Retrofit Project would mitigate earthquake
hazards currently threatening the Redwood Valley County Water
District and protect infrastructure against significant damage
in the future. The 2017 Redwood Complex fire also destroyed
parts of the water infrastructure in the valley and increased
the need for the reconstruction project.
Highlighting the threat that coronavirus poses to basic public
health systems around California and the nation, a worker at
San Jose’s wastewater treatment plant — a facility that treats
the sewage from 1.5 million people in San Jose and seven other
cities — has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is a
janitor working as part of a contract company.
The water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas
of North County have officially filed applications to detach
from the San Diego County Water Authority, an unprecedented
move with potential financial implications for almost all water
customers in the county.
Many are then tossing the disinfectant wipes, paper towels and
other paper products they used into the toilet. The result has
been a coast-to-coast surge in backed-up sewer lines and
overflowing toilets, according to plumbers and public
officials, who have pleaded with Americans to spare the
nation’s pipes from further strain.
Likely just in time for the real thing, a “Mock Frost” event
was held this week to test the capacity of the city of Ukiah’s
recycled Water System, also called the Purple Pipe. … “It
went well,” Ukiah grape grower David Koball said of the test.
“There was lots of water pressure and we had no issues.”
The Water and Wastewater Pathway at Indian Springs High School
is strategically located near East Valley Water District’s new
state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility. The Sterling
Natural Resource Center (SNRC) will provide a sustainable new
water supply to boost the region’s water independence.
Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does
in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics
and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer
systems, some of which already are experiencing problems during
the coronavirus crisis.
Innocent consumer substitutions due to shortages caused by
fears about the spread of coronovirus could create serious
consequences which are critical to society and life, according
to leading supply chain academic Prof Richard Wilding. The
warning comes amid panic buying sweeping UK supermarkets…
The intake, a pump house at the edge of the lake in El Dorado
Hills, was built in 1958, and got additional pumps installed in
1994. Both systems are at the end of their useful life and have
become unreliable in recent years. The intake … plays a
critical role in supplying drinking water to El Dorado Hills.
While the first draft of the governor’s draft Water Resilience
Portfolio wasn’t the transformational vision many had hoped it
would be, there is still time to deliver on a plan that will
help us rise to the challenges ahead.
“It’s a huge problem, especially in the cities,” said Daniel
Tartakovsky, a professor of energy resources engineering at
Stanford University in California. Tartakovsky and his former
student Abdulrahman Alawadhi from the University of California,
San Diego have proposed a way to improve a traditional method
of detecting these leaks.
The Retrofit Project would mitigate earthquake hazards
currently threatening the Redwood Valley County Water
District… The county said the project would replace
approximately 10,577 feet of main water lines, include
installation of around 3,300 feet of new water main lines, and
replace 146 water services lateral connections. The project
will cost an estimated $6,200,000, including construction
support and contingency.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is soliciting public
comment on the scope of environmental review for a revised
Delta tunnel project despite prior findings of independent
technical experts that a key project proposal is “impractical,”
stating that it “does not recommend” further study.
At the February meeting of the California Water Commission,
Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot addressed the
Commission, tasking them with assessing and prioritizing the
infrastructure needs around the state and helping to determine
the state role in rehabilitating that infrastructure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
recently released guidance for wastewater workers, reporting
that coronaviruses are vulnerable to the same disinfection
techniques used currently in the health care sector.
In a part of the country where freshwater supplies are often
scarce, the Olivenhain (California) Municipal Water District is
doing its part. The 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility
recycles some 1 million gallons of high-quality effluent each
day for irrigation and shares even more with neighboring
A $3 billion package of water projects recommended for approval
by the Southern Nevada Water Authority this month could raise
average residential bills by $10, while providing a boost to
the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.
Over the past month, DWR has been holding scoping meetings in
the Delta and select locations throughout the state. At
meetings in Walnut Grove, Stockton, Clarksburg and Brentwood, a
diverse group of farmers, fishermen, elected officials,
climate/social justice activists, economists and engineers came
out in force to oppose what is often referred to as the
During the Feb. 25 Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting,
supervisors Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter called to remove
Matthew Tennis from the Water Commission. … The reason for
proposing the removal, Lucero said, was that she believed
Tennis violated the Brown Act when he allegedly voiced support
for the pipeline from Paradise to Chico while talking in front
of a community group in Chico.
The Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District celebrated its 100-year
anniversary in February, according to a press release. The
district’s water rights were established in 1883, one of the
earliest and largest water rights on the Sacramento River, and
it was formally organized on Feb. 21, 1920.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District awarded a
$64 million construction contract on February 14 … for nearly
three miles of levee improvements along the Sacramento River
East Levee. This project will kick off major construction in
the region to complete approximately $1.5 billion of work to
upgrade levees along the American and Sacramento Rivers as well
as widening the Sacramento Weir and Bypass.
Fresh water shortages have made desalination a possible
solution for supplementing the overall water supply. To address
this issue, a team of industry professionals and researchers
have formed National Alliance of Water and Innovation to
jointly examine the critical technical barriers and research
needed to lower the energy cost of desalination and other water
As Delta smelt continue to decline throughout the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, novel approaches are being
implemented to open up additional habitat for these imperiled
fish. … The Department of Water Resources, in collaboration
with other stakeholders, has been conducting a pilot research
study to investigate how operational changes at the Suisun
Marsh Salinity Control Gates affect Delta smelt habitat
Amidst much anguish and gnashing of teeth, the El Dorado
Irrigation District Board of Directors unanimously approved a
$42.7 million dollar project on Monday that’s been on EID’s to
do list since 2011. Called the Folsom Lake Intake Improvement
Project, EID plans to replace the existing pump station that
has been in service since the late 1950s and considered to be
at the end of its useful life.
Legal wrangling over San Diego’s proposed Pure Water sewage
recycling system continued Friday, when a judge gave a
temporary reprieve to a group of local contractors fighting for
the ability of non-union workers to help build the system.
Legal wrangling over San Diego’s proposed Pure Water sewage
recycling system continued Friday, when a judge gave a
temporary reprieve to a group of local contractors fighting for
the ability of non-union workers to help build the system.
A project that started in early January has been completed in
late February by California Water Service of replacing 2,466
feet of 6-inch PVC water main pipes to enhance fire protection
in the area. The infrastructure upgrade is meant to strengthen
the water system reliability as the main had been originally
installed in the 1930s and 1940s. The replacement will aide
firefighters and customers’ daily needs.
A rally before the start of the Department of Water
Resources’(DWR) public scoping meeting for the Delta Conveyance
Project (DCP) set the tone for the event — residents of East
County were in no mood to consider another tunnel project in
A sewage spill that occurred a day before Thanksgiving last
year prompted the Laguna Beach City Council to move forward
with a one-time sewer rate increase Tuesday that will account
for the financial fallout. Pending the result of a protest vote
by ratepayers, the 10% increase ups bills for single-family
homes to $800 annually, or $66.67 per month. The hike could
take effect as early as July 1.
Officials in the city of Tehachapi approved new water and sewer
fees — in case new housing developments start moving in — to
support the construction of infrastructure that can’t quite
support projected growth in the next 10 years.
A Simon Fraser University-led research team has found
significant evidence that human activity in estuaries is
impacting juvenile Pacific and Atlantic salmon. The team’s
review of 167 peer-reviewed studies (from an initial search of
13,000) identified negative impacts from several stressors,
including the effects of flood-protecting tidal gates,
pollution and habitat modification.
The Folsom Lake Intake Improvement Project delivers district
water supplies available at Folsom Lake to the El Dorado Hills
Water Treatment Plant and is critical to service reliability
for the El Dorado Hills service area. In service since the late
1950s, significant portions of the pump station have reached
the end of their useful life.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
has created an online mapping tool known as the Bay Shoreline
Flood Explorer that allows you to see the impacts of rising
oceans if precautions aren’t taken. You can see how much of the
shoreline is inundated at 12 to 144 inches of rise, as well as
the impacts of storm surges and exceptionally high tides that
can temporarily cause water levels to rise.
The Arvin Community Service District has issued a boil water
notice to its customers due to mechanical failures at two of
its three active wells. … District General Manager Raul
Barraza, Jr. said that the district has contractors working on
both wells and hopes to have one or both wells back online as
soon as possible. He expects the notice will last at least a
Recently, the Department of Water Resources released a report
to supplement the 2017 California Aqueduct Subsidence Study
that addresses specific issues within a 10-mile-wide study
corridor… At the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Water
Planning and Stewardship Committee, Ted Craddock, DWR Assistant
Deputy Director of the State Water Project, provided an
overview of the report.
The town of Fairfield is moving forward with a project to
better protect its wastewater treatment plant from large storms
and sea level rise. According to a press release from First
Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick, the project will cost a total of
$7.4 million but $3.33 million will be funded through a grant
from the United States Department of Housing and Urban
Developments’ (US HUD) Community Development Block Grant -
While all presidential candidates, including President Trump
were invited to participate in the event, only Joe Biden, Tom
Steyer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Pete Buttigieg took
the stage to discuss their outlook on infrastructure issues.
Cal Am’s request calls for raising water rates to increase
revenue by about $8.4 million in the Monterey district to cover
new capital investment, increased labor costs, and higher
administrative and operations expenses, driving the “average”
local customer’s bill from about $89.40 to about $105.78 over
the three-year period from 2021-2023.
More than $188 million in flood risk management work for
Northern California were outlined in two separate budget
releases on February 10, adding to an already robust Sacramento
District workload. … Continued upgrades to Natomas Basin
levees leads the way with $131.5 million.
Two sprawling metropolitan areas offer a glimpse of the future.
One rich, one poor, they sit on opposite sides of the Pacific
Ocean: the San Francisco Bay Area (population 7 million) and
metropolitan Manila (almost 14 million). Their history, their
wealth, and the political and personal choices they make today
will shape how they fare as the water inevitably comes to their
Like last year, the White House wants to cut all non-defense
discretionary spending by 5%. Non-nuclear spending at the
Department of Energy would be cut 29%, EPA would be reduced by
27%, the Army Corps of Engineers would drop 22% and the
Interior Department would fall by 13%.
When the now-historic finger piers along San Francisco’s
Embarcadero were built, you can bet the builders never expected
that a century later, there would be engineering studies on how
to prepare the gaunt sheds for seas that could rise nearly 7
Owens Valley Indian Water Commission is pleased to announce the
Commission awarded the Big Pine Tribe a $100,000 Agriculture
Assistance Grant torepair segments of the Tribe’s irrigation
system to ensure tribal members have access to water for
agricultural and general purposes.
Repair work on the Friant-Kern Canal is getting $11 million in
new federal funding, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said
Tuesday. The funds are coming from the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation. … McCarthy also announced $8 million in funding
for design and other pre-construction work to raise Shasta Dam
in northern California by 18.5 feet at a cost of $1.4 billion.
The approval came after a 3-2 vote. Mayor Adam McElvain
proposed to table to the plan and vote again next year. … The
public works staff says they need the added funding to maintain
infrastructure and keep up with inflationary costs. One council
member said Redding is still using some infrastructure
installed in the early 1900’s.
The Coachella Valley Water District faces hefty challenges each
day: providing water for more than 1,200 ag customers on 65,000
acres in a desert environment. The water district serves San
Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties and nine cities.
Vast amounts of valuable energy, agricultural nutrients, and
water could potentially be recovered from the world’s
fast-rising volume of municipal wastewater, according to a new
study by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water,
Environment and Health.
Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of
legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water
infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking
ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater
Congressional leaders unveiled a transformative vision of
moving America and the environment forward by investing in 21st
century infrastructure. The Moving Forward Framework outlines a
five-year plan for bold investment in transportation and water
The plan, put together with the help of Carollo Engineers,
Inc., lays out a 20-year road map of projects needed to
maintain and improve the city’s reservoirs, water tanks, wells,
underground pipes and pump stations.
Fracta combines artificial intelligence with machine learning
and measures everything from soil quality to population density
of an area, along with historical information on when pipes
were installed and what they are made of. The startup says it
has already won contracts in 23 states, including cities such
as San Francisco and Oakland, which have faced water shortages.
Water-related projects topped the list of infrastructure
priorities for mayors, according to the 2019 Menino Survey of
Mayors released this month. Why it matters: The survey revealed
urgency around investments in water, wastewater and stormwater
facilities, with mayors 10 percentage points more likely to
focus on that issue than four years ago.
Tests are still finding such deadly pesticides as DDT, despite
the ban of its use in farming during the 1970s. There are also
untold amounts of ammunition from military testing as well as
uranium left over from the Atomic Energy Commission for
WWII-era testing. Proponents don’t claim sea water import is a
perfect answer; just the most feasible means of containing
these toxins as they are heavier than water.
The Newport Beach Harbor Commission got an update on the
proposed water wheel project at their Jan. 8 meeting… The
water wheel would be a floating stationary solar and
hydro-powered trash interceptor in San Diego Creek…
Understanding why desalination is so critical to California’s
water future is a lot like building a personal budget. With a
changing climate, growing population and booming economy, we
need to include desalination in the water supply equation to
help make up an imported water deficit.
Assemblyman James Gallagher introduced new legislation Monday
that will help expedite construction of the Paradise Irrigation
District intertie project. PID said after the Camp Fire, a
rough estimate of customers lost was around 9,000, nearly its
entire customer base. The District is searching for new revenue
streams to sustain itself …
Some local residents are organizing to oppose a twice-rejected
proposal for a Lake Elsinore hydroelectric plant. The Lake
Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage project, more commonly known
as LEAPS, was tossed aside by the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission nearly a decade ago in 2011.
New state-of-the-art water meters that will provide accurate,
real-time readings of how much water Lathrop’s residential
customers use are on the way. The Lathrop City Council approved
a consent calendar item that will allow city staff to purchase
the remaining 3,506 water meters in the city that have not yet
been updated – approving the expenditure of $436,760 and a
contingency of $43,676 to modernize the aging system.
San Francisco homeowner Carmen Hermida was suspicious when she
got a postcard in the mail this month bearing the logo of the
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from a private
company selling “protection programs” for water and sewer lines
on their property.
Americans are flushing toilets 10 times, showers aren’t
cleaning people like they used to and dishwashers must run five
times to be effective. That’s President Trump’s latest twist on
environmental messaging as he makes his pitch for a second
term. And it’s one that political strategists said is
reflective of so many aspects of Trump’s political career.
For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by
invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But
the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more
aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions
of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep
An annexation agreement between the Santa Margarita Water
District and City of San Juan Capistrano was approved by the
San Juan Capistrano City Council during a regular council
meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The agreement means the city’s
water and sewer utility systems will be transferred to the
Although water purified at the Silicon Valley Advanced
Purification Center is not currently part of Santa Clara
County’s supply of drinking water, the goal is to make that a
reality within the next decade or so.
Since July, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State
Water Contractors have engaged in fruitless negotiations over
how to pay for a single-tunnel Delta Conveyance Facility. On
December 23, right before the holidays, DWR made their 6th
proposal to the State WaterContractors with a major shift in
Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of
Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for
a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was
not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.
The East Valley Water District Board of Directors approved the
purchase of three new standby generators in order to better
enable the district to continue water service should Southern
California Edison exercise its new Public Safety Power Shutoff
program as a fire safety measure.
Construction projects aimed at providing flood protection to
thousands of Mountain View properties is over budget and more
than a year behind schedule. The Santa Clara Valley Water
District’s board of directors signed off on another round of
funding in November for $4.7 million, aimed at offsetting cost
overruns that ate through most of the project’s contingency
In a groundbreaking vote, California has allocated nearly $45
million toward boosting highly efficient electric heat pump
technology that can help avoid burning fossil fuels to heat our
water, as well as store California’s abundant pollution-free
solar energy to give us piping-hot showers when the sun isn’t
On Jan. 11 homeowners, administrators and local officials broke
ground on the sewer project for the Larkfield neighborhoods,
which had been leveled by the 2017 fires. The project has been
a source of conversation and negotiation, as the homes had
previously been on individual septic systems.
California’s vulnerability to climate change — from deadly
fires to sea level rise — has been well documented. But the
Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser says the state, with
rare exceptions, has only just begun to assess the risk climate
change poses to roads, dams, parks and schools.
An explosion rocked a portion of a Corona wastewater treatment
facility Friday but no injuries or chemical releases were
reported, city officials said in a news release. The cause of
the explosion is under investigation by the Corona Fire
Department and the Department of Water and Power.
The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, located just south of
LAX, purifies water and injects it into the ground to act as a
barrier between seawater and fresh groundwater. … But the
idea is to one day recycle wastewater into drinking water and
put it right back into the system. The industry is moving
cautiously, though, given what you might call a considerable
“ick” factor for the public.
In order to provide ongoing funding for Sebastopol’s water and
sewer system, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved
an increase to water and sewer rates at its Jan. 7 meeting. …
The average ratepayer’s bill is expected to increase by $3 or
$4 per month, according to Mayor Patrick Slayter.
Innovative efforts to accelerate
restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the
benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water
agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires.
Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of
California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address
persistent challenges facing the Colorado River.
These were among the issues Western Water explored in
2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed
Lathrop — like any other community — has a homeless problem.
But unlike other communities, the homeless problem could
imperil the community. That’s because a number of homeless in
the Lathrop area have taken to digging holes into the base of
levees designed to hold back the San Joaquin River at high
While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many
fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and
automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must
remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and
needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.
The Henry J. Mills Water Treatment Plant will be out of service
for nine days and the Western Municipal Water District will not
be able to import water, forcing the agency to rely on its
reserves, officials said. The work began Friday, Jan. 10, and
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California crews will
be fixing and modifying the facility until Jan. 19, according
to the agency.