“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
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.
Because zone changes have the potential to impact many well
users, Valley Water conducted extensive stakeholder engagement
on the preliminary study recommendations. … The board of
directors agreed and directed our team to prepare the survey
description to modify the two existing zones, and create two
new zones in South County. The board will consider these
changes in a public hearing later this year.
On a stretch of Sunset Beach where the overfull Huntington
Harbour is higher than Pacific Coast Highway, a pump is ready
to keep the road from flooding. In Long Beach, seawater has
overtaken Bayshore Beach. The water laps against Balboa
Island’s recently elevated seawall and it crashes onto the
boulders protecting beachfront homes in Capistrano Beach.
The F-Pipeline Project will construct pipelines to provide
supplemental water service to approximately 700 acres of
coastal farmland on the seaward side of San Andreas Road. …
The purpose is to further reduce groundwater pumping to halt
seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping
agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.
According to Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto,
the best-case scenario now is the much-anticipated $126 million
recycled water project would be able to start delivering water
to the basin by early February, about a month later than the
most recent previous estimate…
Without raising rates to make 3 percent more revenue each year
starting in 2020, Hi-Desert Water District would not have
enough revenue to recover expenses in the next five years. …
For residential customers who are in tier one (those who use
the least amount of water), rates would go from $3.65 per
hundred cubic feet in 2020, gradually up to $4.11 in fiscal
Water rates are set to rise next year for at least some parts
of San Diego County, including Imperial Beach, Coronado and
some sections of San Diego served by the California American
Water Company. The rates are renegotiated every three years,
but it’s about an 18-month process to determine just how much
those rates will climb.
King tides, a naturally occurring phenomenon that received a
common name only a decade ago, are heading to California
shorelines this weekend — and with them, a series of public
events intended to show people the dangers posed by sea level
Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries
to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large
footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife.
… Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a way to double
the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking
advantage of water’s inherent properties.
Nobody likes to look out to the Pacific Ocean and see oil
derricks on the horizon. That’s why California wisely banned
new offshore oil drilling 50 years ago. But in Monterey County,
coastal views are limited by a relic of a bygone era: a giant,
industrial sand plant right on the dunes between Highway One
and the ocean.
A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve
separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in
late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water
advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state
Nearly two months after the Kincade fire was fully contained in
northeastern Sonoma County, Santa Rosa is struggling with an
after-effect of the massive blaze: its wastewater disposal
pipeline at The Geysers was disabled for six weeks, backing up
the Sebastopol-area plant with about 400 million gallons of
Until recently, any time Long Beach firefighters practiced
using their high-powered hoses, the water they sprayed ended up
in the drain. … That changed in March 2019 when the Long
Beach Fire Department started using something called a Direct
Recycling Apparatus Firefighter Training & Sustainability Unit,
or DRAFTS Unit, for short.
A broad coalition that includes the California Chamber of
Commerce and labor, business, environmental, community and
water leaders recently announced the formation of Californians
for Water Security (CWS). The mission is to support the
construction of a single tunnel to funnel water from Northern
California through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to users
The nearly $4 million project, assisted with $3.4 million in
state grants and a $1 million match from Pajaro Valley Water,
is expected to further reduce groundwater pumping in the area,
so as to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft
while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.
Hailing it as a “historic” agreement, Santa Clara County’s
primary water supplier, Valley Water, enthusiastically approved
on Dec. 10 a 76-year deal with Palo and Mountain View to
construct a water purification plant in the Baylands with the
intent of greatly expanding use of recycled water.
Climate change is already affecting water management across the
state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water
challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes
brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a
special district administrator from Lake County, about how the
county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially
devastating string of natural disasters.
Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have
agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for
a potential public acquisition and ownership of California
American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water
district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24
million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the
district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…
Transforming water systems to be climate resilient is a
critical component of the needed change. This means urgent
action to plan for and adapt to climate impacts on water
systems; it also means urgent action to minimize the
contribution of water systems to the climate crisis.
The Rosamond Community Services District will replace the last
large areas of asbestos concrete water pipes in a project
slated to start early next year. On Wednesday, the Board of
Directors awarded a contract to California Compaction for $2.3
million to complete the pipe replacement project.
A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the
way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as
toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public
health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions,
water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all
water utilities across the country to inventory the location of
all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.
On Monday, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District
board is set to consider approving $1.24 million on consultants
to prepare for a potential vote by the summer on a resolution
of necessity to acquire Cal Am’s local system.
During the 2019 Flood Prevention Authority Legislative
Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented a
cost-benefit analysis in support of what is estimated to be
about a $394 million project, an effort which would reduce
significant flood risk to the city of Watsonville, Pajaro in
Monterey County and adjacent agricultural areas…
The cities of Ceres and Turlock formed the Stanislaus Regional
Water Authority which is in the process of hiring a
design-build consultant to oversee the project to build the
facility along the Tuolumne River west of the Fox Grove Fishing
Access. Water will be drawn from the river, filtered and piped
to both Turlock and to Ceres. Plans call for the water to be
stored in a large aboveground water storage tank. The surface
water will then be comingled with groundwater for use
throughout the two cities.
With a low rumble from a large pipe, water began flowing into a
dirt basin at 25th Street West and Elizabeth Lake Road Thursday
morning, christening the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge Project
and marking the debut of a new water storage endeavor in the
Valley. Inside the basin, water flowed from holes in a round
structure to begin flooding the bottom, where it will begin to
percolate through the soil to the aquifer beneath.
Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one
step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that
would divert Sacramento River water bound for the
Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly
to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and
During its 10 years, the Ellis Wastewater Treatment Facility
has reshaped itself to take in waste produced by a rapidly
changing city, factoring in an increased population and new
industries like large-scale beer production. Recently-completed
projects costing roughly $9 million have changed the face of
the wastewater facility by expanding treatment capacity,
tackling hard-to-process industry waste and building a system
that will provide biofuel to city vehicles.
A state inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s drinking water
delivery system less than three months before the city’s
precautionary boil water advisory. City officials remain
adamant that the issues raised by the inspection had nothing to
do with the nearly week-long advisory that ended Dec. 6.
Urban flooding is increasing in the Bay Area for four main
reasons: California’s naturally variable precipitation
patterns, climate change increasing precipitation extremes,
population growth, and aging and insufficient infrastructure.
It was welcome news for Kern County farmers, but word last week
that the process of fixing the Friant-Kern Canal has finally
begun may have obscured the fact that a great deal of work lies
ahead — including finding money to complete the job.
With Poseidon Water’s plans for a Huntington Beach desalination
plant approaching the homestretch, critics were as adamant as
ever at a Friday workshop, where dozens complained the proposal
is environmentally flawed, unneeded and would jack up water
When will the San Simeon services district end its 31-year ban
on issuing new water connections? Members of the San Simeon
Community Services District board of directors took initial
steps toward that goal on Nov. 13, unanimously authorizing the
preparation of a major report about lifting the longtime
moratorium on new water connections in the tiny town.
A state official said Wednesday he intends to notify the city
of Poway that its water storage reservoir is out of compliance,
a situation he said directly contributed to last week’s storm
water overflow that has left the entire community under a
boil-water advisory and temporarily shuttered nearly 200
California authorities are addressing the problem of lead in
drinking water at public schools through a statewide program to
test pipes and upgrade plumbing, but experts warn the threat
goes well beyond schools – and nearby homes and businesses may
unknowingly be affected.
As land around the Bay was developed, creeks were rerouted
underground through pipes called culverts for flood protection.
But in some spots, these hidden waterways can be brought back
up to the surface to provide habitat for wildlife and respite
for people. The Bay Area is a national leader in this type of
restoration, which is aptly called daylighting. And now we’re
undertaking our most ambitious such project yet.
California authorities are addressing the problem of lead in
drinking water at public schools through a statewide program to
test pipes and upgrade plumbing, but experts warn the threat
goes well beyond schools – and nearby homes and businesses may
unknowingly be affected.
Following a string of utility-sparked wildfires that have
killed scores of Californians and destroyed billions in
property, the former top regulator of California’s electric
grid says it’s time for sweeping change — a public takeover of
Pacific Gas & Electric and possibly other private utilities,
which would be transformed into a state power company.
Cities like Huron, with a population of 6,926 and a $22,802
median household income, are often too small to expand water
access projects that could lower utility rates. While cities
like Delano are too big to qualify for rural development
projects from the federal government. But a new proposal could
soon alleviate those pains.
Rains caused storm drains to back up into Poway’s water
treatment facility, officials said. Crews are working around
the clock to clean and flush the system, which may take two to
five days before the water is declared safe. The county health
department ordered the closing of all restaurants in the city
and residents are being advised to boil their tap water before
drinking it or using it for cooking, city officials said.
Frogs are delaying another wastewater treatment facility
project, this time at the South San Luis Obispo County
Sanitation District in Oceano. The South SLO County Sanitation
District members are working to upgrade the nearly 50 year old
facility, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is
concerned construction could impact the California red-legged
frog, a species on the verge of being endangered.
There’s a war over the future of water on the Monterey
Peninsula and it’s taking place in the board chambers of half a
dozen state and local government entities. It’s also taking
place on social media and in the press.
Called Bending the River Back Into the City, the project will
churn with water from the river, siphoning a fraction of it out
of the waterway, cleaning that water via “an artificial
treatment wetland” … and then piping it to Los Angeles State
Historic Park and the recently opened Albion Riverside Park and
Downey Recreation Center so it can water plants and other
For three years, residents of the unincorporated San Bernardino
County desert town have used twice-a-month shipments of bottled
water because local wells were no longer meeting state
standards for drinking water. … That changed in September,
when work finished on a new pipeline that pulls clean water
from a well 4 miles away in Yucca Valley.
Nicole Neeman Brady serves as principal and chief operating
officer at L.A.-based Renewable Resources Group, which … is
in the business of developing energy and water projects,
raising the potential for conflicts of interest if the company
seeks to do business with LADWP while Neeman Brady serves on
Orange County has long been recognized as a worldwide leader
for developing state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new
water supply technology, and we are not resting on our laurels.
… This month, it was announced that the Huntington Beach
Seawater Desalination Plant will receive $585 million in credit
assistance under the EPA’s WIFIA program.
It will be two years in December that the city of Chino Hills
shut down its wells because of a new contamination level set by
the state for the chemical 1,2,3-TCP (TCP) and it could take
another three years before a filtration system can be built to
treat the chemical and put the wells back in service, according
to public works officials.
City officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Lemoore to break
ground on construction of a new groundwater treatment plant
project. … The City obtains all of its drinking water from
local groundwater resources that are challenged by
naturally-occurring water quality issues. These issues include
elevated levels of arsenic, iron, ammonia, total organic carbon
Central Valley agriculture faces a looming existential water
crisis from the interlocking problems of drought, climate
change, and falling underground water tables. Yet the potential
answer to this problem is incredibly simple and only a lack of
political will may defeat it. The solution is to send south to
California the abundant waters of the Columbia River.
In what has become an all-too-familiar occurrence, three water
projects designed to serve the Monterey Peninsula have again
experienced delays, including the Pure Water Monterey recycled
water project and its proposed expansion, and California
American Water’s proposed desalination project.
A reservoir and water dam project aiming to store recycled
water is on track, according to water management officials. The
Santa Margarita Water District gave a tour of the Trampas
Canyon Reservoir and Dam on Saturday, Nov. 16. Construction
began in January 2018 and is expected to finish by 2020.
San Francisco Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously declared a
State of Urgency, calling on the city to expand its Emergency
Firefighting Water System to ensure the entire city is
protected in the event of a major earthquake or fire.
Currently, the water system only covers about one third of the
city, leaving neighborhoods in the city’s west and south sides
The pricetag for recycled drinking water just got less
expensive for Mid-County customers. The State Water Resources
Control Board unanimously approved a $50 million grant for
Soquel Creek Water District’s pending Pure Water Soquel
Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention
The extra 90 cubic feet per second are designed, in part, to
attract salmon up the creek – and the flows start a little
later than in recent years due to the failure of state
Department of Fish and Wildlife pumps in the Yolo Bypass. Rich
Marovich, streamkeeper for the Solano County Water Agency
and Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee, said because
it has been so dry this fall, the later release may be
West Basin Municipal Water District took the next steps Monday
toward building a desalination facility in El Segundo, a
project that has drawn fierce opposition from conservation
groups — including some who staged a rally before the meeting.
State transportation crews are wrapping up paving and drainage
improvement work along Highway 37 ahead of winter rains in an
attempt to avert flooding, which in two of the past three years
led to multiday closures of the critical North Bay commuter
Seeking to fortify the city against future droughts, the Palo
Alto City Council endorsed on Monday a long-term agreement with
Santa Clara Valley Water District and Mountain View to build a
salt-removal plant in the Baylands and then transfer the
treated wastewater south.
A $32.6 million addition to a water treatment facility rising
out of the ground under giant cranes will turn waste into
electricity, and provide education, jobs and more to an
underserved community, according to the East Valley Water
District. A co-digester added to the Sterling Natural Resource
Center project will turn sewage and food waste into three
megawatts of power per year, enough to power about 1,950
The Coachella Valley Water District on Monday approved taking
on outside financing for what is believed to be the first time
in its 101-year history for a $40 million pipeline to bring
more Colorado River water to the region’s farmers, freeing up
valuable groundwater for other uses.
Thousands of gallons of partially treated wastewater was
released from California Men’s Colony into Chorro Creek
Thursday morning, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health
department said… Approximately 33,000 gallons of wastewater
were released from the prison north of San Luis Obispo…
Water rates have not increased in Newport Beach since 2014. If
approved, starting Jan. 1, water rates will increase 7.4% each
year until 2024. After 2024, the proposal calls for water rates
to rise by 2.5% each year until 2029. The average household …
can expect a $3.38 per month increase in its water bill for the
first year, according to a staff report.
The newest water agency in California, the Santa Clarita Valley
Water Agency, or SCV Water, has been one big success story.
Formed on Jan. 1, 2018, it’s hard to believe this new agency is
approaching its second anniversary. It was not easy!
After blurring the line between a private and public utility
for nearly two decades, the water district that serves the
world’s largest industrial park is looking to part ways with a
developer. That action comes after The Nevada Independent
reported this month that the public water district … is
operated by a private entity and governed by three board
members who report income from companies connected to Lance
Gilman, the face of the industrial park. The board members also
reside at Gilman’s brothel, the Mustang Ranch.
A proposed desalination plant in El Segundo could soon be one
step closer to reality. The West Basin Municipal Water District
will hold a special meeting in Carson on Monday, Nov. 18, where
the board will weigh whether to certify an Environmental Impact
Report for the proposal. … The board has not yet selected a
company to build the proposed plant, which could cost more than
The treatment plant isn’t only at risk from rising sea levels
… but also from rising groundwater and tectonic forces
causing the land to sink, according to the 2018 assessment
compiled by local sea level rise expert Alderon Laird. Laird
has said to expect .9 feet of sea level rising by 2030, 1.9
feet by 2050 and 3.2 feet by 2070. … Arcata city officials
are discussing moving the treatment … but that’s too
expensive to do right now.
According to a 111-page analysis by a group of financial
consultants and bankers released on Nov. 6, not only is a
buyout of the behemoth Cal Am feasible, it would also cause the
cost of water to drop significantly if the water utility was
replaced by a public agency.
A living shoreline is an alternative to ‘hard’ shoreline
stabilization methods like rip rap or seawalls, and can provide
numerous benefits such as nutrient pollution remediation,
habitat, and buffering of shorelines from storm erosion and sea
level rise. … At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference,
Marilyn Latta from the Coastal Consevancy and Katharyn Boyer
from San Francisco State University gave a presentation on
living shoreline projects in the San Francisco Bay.
It will cost Monterey Peninsula ratepayers about $574.5
million, all in, to acquire California American Water’s local
water system, but that cost can be covered in rate savings
under public ownership with some leftover to lower local
customers’ water bills.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Las Vegas water grab and
pipeline –– which has been in various stages of development
since 1989 –– would forever tarnish public lands and waters in
Eastern Nevada and Western Utah. The idea is a direct
descendant to the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
Ponds at wastewater treatment plants are like magnets for birds
and bird-watchers, especially those along the migration flyway
in California’s Central Valley area. Among them is the Clear
Creek plant in Redding, along the Sacramento River, which
serves as its receiving stream.
Boeing worked with the state and installed a massive system of
plastic pipes, treatment systems and holding ponds meant to
filter and manage potentially toxic rainwater before it poured
downhill… Then the giant Woolsey Fire ignited at the
old laboratory… Flames destroyed plastic piping and tore
through the storm water system before ravaging another 94,000
acres as the fire stormed west to the sea, according to state
and Boeing records.
The revamped and expanded plant is expected to be operational
in spring 2021 and will do so with a new name — The Rosamond
CSD Water Reclamation Plant — to better describe its ultimate
purpose. In addition to handling the community’s wastewater
disposal, the plant will recharge the underlying groundwater
basin, providing additional groundwater for the District to
Here’s the scariest part: What’s happening in California is not
an isolated problem. From saltwater-ravaged tunnels in New York
to flooding in Houston to water loss along the Colorado River,
it is clear that we did not design our infrastructure and
communities to manage our new climate realities. While Congress
and statehouses across the country debate how much to spend on
traditional repairs and maintenance, we ignore a more
fundamental question: What will it take to redesign our entire
approach to infrastructure for an era of climate insecurity?
Cal Am Water’s experts may have seriously underestimated the
potential impact the company’s proposed desalination plant
would have on the existing water supply nearby, the staff of
the California Coastal Commission concluded in a report
released this week as a supplement to its exhaustive report on
the overall project.
The creation of the JPA marks a key milestone in moving forward
the project that will create a new, local, sustainable and
drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art
technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water.