Infrastructure

Overview

Infrastructure

“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 Native Americans.

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 floodgates.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Sinking Central Valley floor is wrecking a key canal supplying Fresno, farmers with water

Central California is slowly collapsing under its own weight as farmers suck out groundwater, emptying vast subterranean aquifers and disrupting one of the state’s key water-delivery networks. … Along 25 miles in Tulare County, the canal has sunk so far that its carrying capacity has been cut in half, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Aquafornia news CALmatters newsletter

What $8.9 billion water bond would buy

A 152-mile long canal that irrigates pistachios and other crops in the eastern San Joaquin Valley is sinking by an inch a month, the result of groundwater over-pumping by farmers. … Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion bond on the November ballot, would set aside $750 million to repair the canal, and additional sums to avert subsidence.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Army Corps to raise spillway at Success Lake

The Army Corps of Engineers will spend $74 million to enlarge Success Lake east of Porterville, doubling flood protection for the city and boosting the water supply for farmers. It’s not the only Army Corps project in the majority leader’s district that got major funding. Lake Isabella in Kern County is getting $258 million for a dam safety modification project.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Five projects rank higher than Sites Reservoir in bid for Prop. 1 funds

A number of water storage projects vying for $2.7 billion in available Proposition 1 funding moved a step closer to receiving that money with the latest and final application scores recently released by the California Water Commission – Sites Reservoir being one of them. … The highest-scoring project was the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project, which received a score of 82.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Meet the new entity in charge of California’s water tunnels project

California is about to embark on one of the biggest public works projects not just in its own state history, but in any state’s history. … And if that weren’t enough, it now appears construction will be led by an entity entirely new to such a massive water project.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Corporation submits plans to remove four dams on Klamath River

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history is set to begin in 2020 on the Klamath River in Siskiyou County, according to documents filed recently with federal regulators.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California voters will weigh these 12 propositions on November’s ballot

The largest proposal is an $8.8-billion bond for water supply and storage efforts including water recycling, stormwater capture, restoring fish habitats and repairing the spillways of the Oroville Dam that were damaged in 2017.

Aquafornia news Western Water

As decision nears on California water storage funding, a chairman reflects on lessons learned and what’s next

New water storage is the holy grail primarily for agricultural interests in California, and in 2014 the door to achieving long-held ambitions opened with the passage of Proposition 1, which included $2.7 billion for the public benefits portion of new reservoirs and groundwater storage projects. … After several rounds of reviewing and scoring proposals, the California Water Commission released its final application scores Thursday.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

As Decision Nears On California Water Storage Funding, a Chairman Reflects on Lessons Learned and What’s Next
WESTERN WATER Q&A: California Water Commission Chairman Armando Quintero

Armando Quintero, chair of the California Water CommissionNew water storage is the holy grail primarily for agricultural interests in California, and in 2014 the door to achieving long-held ambitions opened with the passage of Proposition 1, which included $2.7 billion for the public benefits portion of new reservoirs and groundwater storage projects. The statute stipulated that the money is specifically for the benefits that a new storage project would offer to the ecosystem, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam diversion pool and trails to be open for extended weekend

The Diversion Pool below Oroville Dam and the trails on both sides of it will be partially open Friday through the Fourth of July, the Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday. The report came during a conference call to update media on the status of work to repair the spillways, which were heavily damaged in February 2017.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California’s coastal communities could lose 130 feet of cliffs this century as sea levels rise

It’s not just beaches and sand that are disappearing as the ocean pushes inland. Sea level rise is also eating away at California’s coastal cliffs. The question is by how much, as Californians have heavily developed and continue to build along the edge of the Pacific.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US judge throws out climate change lawsuits against big oil

A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth’s changing environment.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Energy-water appropriations bill grows, stalls in Senate

The Senate will vote Monday on a minibus spending bill that would fund the Department of Energy into the next fiscal year, a measure that swelled with the addition last night of an assortment of energy and resource bills. Senate leaders had hoped to pass the package — which includes the energy-water, military construction-veterans affairs and legislative branch spending measures — before leaving for the weekend.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Hydropower plant by Joshua Tree misses construction start deadline

The developer trying to build a massive hydroelectric power plant just outside Joshua Tree National Park failed to start construction by a key deadline this week, in what critics of the controversial project are calling a serious setback.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

PG&E looks to sell Kern Canyon, Tule River hydroelectric facilities

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced its interest in selling two currently non-active hydroelectric projects at Kern Canyon and the Tule River. The Kern Canyon project is located east of Bakersfield. The dam was damaged in a rockslide in January 2017.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Decades-old project to raise Lake Mendocino dam gets a boost

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, got the Coyote Valley Dam project — in one 13-word sentence — on a list of feasibility studies for some 30 Corps projects from Alabama to Alaska to be expedited by the Secretary of the Army. Tucked into the 122-page Water Resources Development Act of 2018, the list was approved two weeks ago on a lopsided 408-2 vote in the House and was forwarded to the Senate.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Report: Renewing the water workforce: Improving water infrastructure and creating a pipeline to opportunity

At a time when many Americans are struggling to access economic opportunity and many of the country’s infrastructure assets are at the end of their useful life, infrastructure jobs offer considerable promise. … The country’s water infrastructure is emblematic of this significant opportunity.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Department of Water Resources expands on response to Oroville Dam spillway forensic report

The state Department of Water Resources has beefed up its response to the independent forensic report on what caused the Oroville Dam spillway failure last year. The report, released on Jan. 5, described how insufficient maintenance and repairs and faulty original design allowed water to seep through the spillway’s cracks and joints. It also blamed “long-term systemic failure” on the part of DWR, regulators and the dam safety industry at large.

As Colorado River Levels Drop, Pressure Grows On Arizona To Complete A Plan For Water Shortages
IN-DEPTH: A dispute over who speaks for Arizona has stalled work with California, Nevada on Drought Contingency Plan

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

It’s high-stakes time in Arizona. The state that depends on the Colorado River to help supply its cities and farms — and is first in line to absorb a shortage — is seeking a unified plan for water supply management to join its Lower Basin neighbors, California and Nevada, in a coordinated plan to preserve water levels in Lake Mead before they run too low.

If the lake’s elevation falls below 1,075 feet above sea level, the secretary of the Interior would declare a shortage and Arizona’s deliveries of Colorado River water would be reduced by 320,000 acre-feet. Arizona says that’s enough to serve about 1 million households in one year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Three Californias: Which landmarks would end up in each?

I’ll trade you a piece of Yosemite Valley and all of the Napa wine country for Disneyland and the Santa Monica Pier. … And don’t even get us started with probable battles over how the state’s precious water reserves would be distributed since California is currently criss-crossed with an insanely complex grid of aqueducts, dams, levees and channels.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Inspector general: 2 US dams at risk of ‘insider threats’

Two dams critical to U.S. national security are at high risk for “insider threats” that could impair operations because of poor computer security practices such as too many employees having access to administrator accounts and failures to routinely change passwords, according to a new inspector general report.

Aquafornia news POLITICO

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians turn to US for money that environmental groups say doesn’t do enough

California is one step closer to getting a cut of $2.5 billion over the next decade for its water needs now that the House has passed a bill aimed at funding water research and infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Election 2018: Environmental measures big winners

Across California and the Bay Area, environmental groups had one of their best elections ever. They won nearly every major race they contested, securing billions of dollars for parks, beaches, water projects and public transportation, and at the same time helped kill plans to develop Silicon Valley hillsides and a proposal to change the way the state spends money from its greenhouse gas auctions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Why Southern California is calling for a do-over on its vote to bankroll the Delta tunnels

A historic vote on the Delta tunnels project is getting a do-over. Southern California’s powerful water agency — the Metropolitan Water District — said Thursday its board will vote again in July on whether to pay for the lion’s share of the project, known officially as California WaterFix.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House backs $3 billion bill to boost ports, dams, harbors

The House on Wednesday night approved a nearly $3 billion bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects. … Lawmakers approved the bill [Water Resources Development Act] 408-2, sending it to the Senate, where a similar bill is under consideration.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam excavator operator sustains minor injuries

An excavator slid down the Oroville Dam spillway slope on Sunday morning, resulting in minor injuries to its operator, the state Department of Water Resources confirmed on Wednesday. Erin Mellon, assistant director of public affairs for DWR, said that the operator immediately got back to work after the accident, which is currently under investigation by the department and Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., the lead contractor for the construction project.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Mussel-infested boat stopped at Lake Mendocino

A specially trained dog named Noah is receiving well-deserved praise after preventing a mussel-infested watercraft from launching Saturday in Lake Mendocino — a frighteningly close call that public officials say underscores the need for long-delayed, full-time measures to protect regional reservoirs and critical infrastructure from exposure to the destructive organisms.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Governor may leave with two big projects on the bubble

When [Gov. Jerry] Brown became governor again in 2011, a bullet train project had been launched with voter approval and a successor to the peripheral canal, twin tunnels beneath the Delta, was being actively pursued, thanks largely to his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Recycled wastewater now flowing to San Joaquin Valley farms, wildlife

Wastewater recycling doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. Sometimes it can be as simple as building a pipeline. That is more or less the full description of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project. Only a year after starting construction, at a cost of around $90 million, the project is already delivering recycled urban wastewater to farms and wildlife refuges in California’s San Joaquin Valley, providing a reliable new water supply to a drought-plagued region.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Fish to have easier access to Sacramento River

Chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon will soon have an easier path to the Sacramento River, and eventually their spawning grounds. Construction has begun on the Fremont Weir, which will allow the fish to travel from the Pacific Ocean back to their birthplace during spawning season, which takes place in early spring and ends just before the summer.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Price of water 2018: Utilities revise household water rate formulas

In contrast to the federal government’s chronic underinvestment in the pipes, pumps, and plants that supply and treat the nation’s drinking water, America’s large cities are forging ahead with fresh spending to modernize their systems. … The largest price increases occurred in California, where major utilities are in a construction frenzy to cleanse dirty water for reuse, gird pipes against earthquakes, and respond to water-supply vulnerabilities that were exposed during the five-year drought that ended last year. 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Feds OK expert panel for Klamath River dam removal review

Proponents of a plan to remove four Klamath River dams to improve water quality and fish health were encouraged last week after a federal commission approved their panel of experts who will be responsible for determining what it will take to undergo what officials say is the largest dam removal project in the nation’s history, according to the nonprofit heading the project.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: New set of scores released for water bond projects

Water storage projects seeking money from Proposition 1 got another round of scoring Friday from the California Water Commission staff, adding a little more clarity to what will get how much. Proposition 1, a water bond measure passed in November 2014, included $2.7 billion for new water storage in the state.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Little-known accounting policy could fuel green infrastructure surge

In the years to come, we’re likely to see a lot more “green” and distributed infrastructure projects from water utilities, like permeable pavement, rainwater capture and efficiency rebates. That’s because coming up with the money needed to scale these projects just got a lot easier.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Bird’s eye look of work underway at Oroville Dam spillways

The second and final phase of reconstruction continues at the Oroville Dam spillways. … A flight over the location last week during a break in Butte County Sheriff’s Office helicopter training exercise, showed that much original concrete at the top of the chute has been removed, along with the walls.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Sites Reservoir officials: $1 billion falls short of hopes

The California Water Commission – the entity responsible for awarding $2.7 billion in Proposition 1 funds to water storage projects in a few months – didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with officials pushing for Sites Reservoir, primarily on the benefits to salmon the project would provide.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Zombie dam project underscores California’s dilemma over water

Despite what you may have gleaned from television and the movies, zombies aren’t always constituted of flesh and blood. Sometimes they come in concrete and rock. Exhibit A is a $3-billion dam proposal on the San Joaquin River known as Temperance Flat.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Your guide to the 5 propositions on California’s primary ballot

California voters are being asked to weigh in on new borrowing, new government restrictions and a drought-friendly tax break on the statewide primary ballots that will be counted June 5. There are five propositions in all, a small menu of proposed laws all written by the California Legislature.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: 3 water districts funding Delta tunnel project form oversight agency

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other water districts that agreed to fund the California Waterfix tunnel project announced today [May 14] the formation of a public agency that will be charged with its design and construction. … The California Department of Water Resources also announced that it has created the Delta Conveyance Office …

Aquafornia news Brookings

Can people afford American infrastructure?

Tracking how much Americans spend on infrastructure starts with defining the sector. In this case, we mean the essential services related to public works: water and sewer, electricity and gas, transportation, telephone, and broadband.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown stresses support for water tunnel project

Fresh off recent victories securing billions of dollars in financing for his ambitious plan to reroute California’s water system, Gov. Jerry Brown offered a genial yet urgent reminder Thursday of the need to set the project on stable footing before he leaves office next year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown warns that Delta tunnels project could be jeopardized if momentum is not maintained

Gov. Jerry Brown warned local water agency officials throughout California on Thursday that unless the delta tunnels project gets needed state and federal permits soon and continues advancing, the major infrastructure project may not happen in their lifetime.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Governor’s Delta tunnels get $650 million boost from Bay Area water agency

A Bay Area water agency agreed Tuesday to pump $650 million into Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project, providing a meaningful boost for the controversial $16.7 billion plan. The 4-3 vote by the Santa Clara Valley Water District brings the tunnels project, which would overhaul the troubled heart of California’s aging water delivery network, a step closer to being fully funded.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Sites Reservoir official: California Water Commission ‘undervalues’ project’s benefits

One billion dollars isn’t enough, Sites Reservoir supporters say. Despite being eligible for $1 billion in Proposition 1 funds from the state, a top official with the group spearheading Sites Reservoir said the state is failing to see the big picture in terms of the benefits the project would provide California, namely its endangered salmon.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$650 million vote set on Delta tunnels project: Are taxpayers protected?

In a vote that could give Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels plan new momentum, Silicon Valley’s largest water agency on Tuesday will consider changing course and endorsing the controversial project to make it easier to move water to the south.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Separating water and politics isn’t easy in California

The 2014 water bond included a novel funding approach designed to take at least some of the politicking out of deciding which projects get public money. This week’s tortured deliberations by the California Water Commission showed just how tough it is to do that. … The projects, from around the state, spanned the storage spectrum.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley leaders won’t give up fight for Temperance Flat, despite water commission vote

Leaders from across the central San Joaquin Valley gathered Friday to promise people here they won’t give up the fight for Temperance Flat reservoir, one day after the California Water Commission decided to allocate minimal money to the project. But, project proponents said it was too soon to know exactly how they’ll proceed.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento area water storage projects just got a boost in state bond money

The California Water Commission announced Friday that the Sites Reservoir project was eligible for $1 billion in Proposition 1 funds, up from $933 million the commission had said it might receive last month. … The commission also signaled more support for a small groundwater storage proposed by the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Temperance Flat Reservoir project far from key state funding despite San Joaquin Valley backing

The California Water Commission on Thursday put in serious doubt the future of building a reservoir at Temperance Flat in east Fresno County. Meeting in Sacramento, the commission appeared to be headed toward preventing the massive water storage project to move forward.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: San Jose water agency delays $650 million Delta tunnels vote

After a five-hour packed public hearing, the board of Silicon Valley’s largest water provider late Wednesday night put off a closely watched vote until next week on whether to provide up to $650 million to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water south.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Poseidon desalination plant: What to know about its pros and cons for Southern California water

The day of reckoning is drawing near for Huntington Beach’s long-planned desalination plant, which would help quench Orange County’s thirst with sea water and free up imported water for the rest of the Southern California. Twenty years and $50 million into the process, officials with plant purveyor Poseidon are optimistic they will get their final two permits — possibly by year’s end.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Did governor promise Bay Area a new reservoir in exchange for Delta tunnels support?

Just six months ago, a major Bay Area water district only would commit about a third of the $650 million Gov. Jerry Brown’s office had hoped it would pay for his controversial Delta tunnels project. In a sudden reversal, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board now may pay the full amount.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Lake Perris recreation spots are opening again — after nearly four years

The water is rising. Closures are lifting. And enthusiasm is building. After more than a decade of planning, construction and disappointing water levels, Lake Perris is on its way to being the recreational paradise it was before fears that its dam would collapse in an earthquake significantly curtailed activities.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Will rising seas eventually devour California’s beachfront homes?

State regulators are urging local elected officials to brace for retreat as scientists continue to predict sea levels will rise in coming decades and pummel beachfront communities from San Diego to Arcata.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Santa Clara Valley Water District may fund Delta tunnels

In a dramatic reversal of its stance just six months ago, Silicon Valley’s largest water district has scheduled a vote Wednesday on a plan to commit up to $650 million to Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls

Bureau of Reclamation: Leak ’standard,’ but ‘unfortunate’

Bureau of Reclamation officials are calling a water leak from the A canal headgates a standard operational incident, although an unfortunate one, in regards to water delivery to Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US House moves to reverse order to aid salmon

The U.S. House approved a bill Wednesday that would reverse a federal judge’s order to spill more water from four Pacific Northwest dams to help migrating salmon reach the Pacific Ocean. The bill, approved 225-189, would prevent any changes in dam operations until 2022.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle

Two different water bonds are set to appear on the California ballot this election season, after a $9 billion measure gathered enough signatures to qualify in November, according to the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam without Department of Water Resources?

A bill proposed by Assemblyman James Gallagher which would take the State Water Project out of the hands of the state Department of Water Resources passed unanimously on Tuesday through a legislative committee. Assembly Bill 3045 passed 15-0 through the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California’s future: More big droughts and floods, study finds

The extreme weather swings experienced by Californians the past six years — a historic drought followed by drenching winter storms that caused $100 million in damage to San Jose and wrecked the spillway at Oroville Dam — will become the norm over coming generations, a new study has found.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Voters OK’d billions for new reservoirs in 2014. California is about to start spending.

California took a big step Friday toward launching a new multibillion-dollar wave of reservoir construction. After being accused of being overly tightfisted with taxpayer dollars, the California Water Commission released updated plans for allocating nearly $2.6 billion in bond funds approved by voters during the depths of the drought.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Earthquake warning: Just how bad is Hayward Fault’s nightmare scenario?

Eight hundred deaths, 18,000 people injured, more than $82 billion in property damage and business losses, and 400 fires that would claim more lives and permanently alter the urban landscape of the San Francisco Bay region.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

How California water suppliers are getting earthquake-ready

As is often said, it’s not a matter of if, but of when, a large earthquake strikes the heart of one of California’s most densely populated regions. State officials and local agencies know the clock is ticking, and mile by mile, pipe by pipe, work crews are replacing or retrofitting water lines throughout much of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. Upgrades have also been made in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

East Bay fault is ‘tectonic time bomb,’ more dangerous than San Andreas, new study finds

A landmark report by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that at least 800 people could be killed and 18,000 more injured in a hypothetical magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault centered below Oakland. … More than 400,000 people could be displaced from their homes, and some East Bay residents may lose access to clean running water for as long as six months.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

High water level damages Lake Tahoe beachfront properties

After last winter’s big snowfall and this year’s “Miracle March,” which pounded the basin with feet of much-needed snow, Lake Tahoe’s water level has remained high and the Tahoe City dam has been releasing more water down the Truckee River. But for one lakefront community, it’s not happening fast enough.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

San Francisco’s big seismic gamble

Sailors arriving in San Francisco in the 19th century used two giant redwood trees perched on a hill to help guide their ships into the bay. The redwoods were felled for their lumber at around the time of the gold rush, but San Francisco now has a new beacon: Salesforce Tower, the tallest office building in the West.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway ocean could aid future water needs.

Sin City has never been a place that thinks small. So it should come as no surprise that Las Vegas – about 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean – is pondering seawater desalination to meet its long-term water demand. That doesn’t mean Vegas plans to build a pipeline to the ocean. More likely, it would help pay for a desalination facility in a place like Mexico, then trade that investment for a piece of Mexico’s water rights in the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

A look inside new pump station under construction at Lake Mead

Elected officials and Southern Nevada Water Authority employees got a rare glimpse inside the community’s water supply safety net at Lake Mead on Saturday. For several hours in the morning, during a lull in construction activity, the authority opened its low-lake-level pumping station to tours.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California plans to spend $11 billion on the Delta tunnels. Who will end up paying?

When the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to finance the lion’s share of the delta tunnels project, some on the board called it a bold stroke of leadership. The delegations from Los Angeles and San Diego, however, called the move alarming, financially risky and irresponsible.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Massive Delta tunnels project took a giant step forward — here’s what you need to know.

A powerful Southern California water agency voted Tuesday to cover two-thirds of the cost of building the controversial Delta tunnels, in one of the most significant California water actions in decades.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California water agency votes to fund controversial plan to build two Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to shoulder most of the cost of revamping the system that delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta to the Southland, committing nearly $11 billion to building two massive tunnels.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water agency approves $11 billion for California twin tunnels plan

California’s largest water agency on Tuesday approved a nearly $11 billion plan to help fund two enormous tunnels, breathing new life into Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious and controversial plan to remake the state’s water system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s 2-tunnel Delta project back on track with SoCal water district’s vote

The largest water district in California agreed Tuesday to fork over nearly $11 billion to build two tunnels that will siphon water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a major boost for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Infrastructure: Agencies sign agreement to speed permitting

At least a dozen federal agencies today [April 9] signed an agreement to streamline the environmental permitting process, a White House official confirmed to E&E News. The memorandum of understanding implements President Trump’s Aug. 15, 2017, executive order, which aims to cut permitting time for big infrastructure projects to two years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Vote on Southern California’s investment in Delta tunnel project could be a nail-biter

In what will be a crucial decision, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is expected to vote Tuesday whether to approve nearly $11 billion in financing to help build two giant water tunnels in the center of the state’s waterworks or $5.2 billion to construct a single tunnel. Lobbying on the long-planned project continued Monday as Gov. Jerry Brown asked MWD directors to move ahead with both tunnels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California zigzags on ambitious water-delivery project, puts two-tunnel concept back on the table

In agenda materials posted Friday afternoon, the staff of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California presented two options for the board to vote on Tuesday: Approve $5.2 billion in funding for a single tunnel that would be built in the center of the state’s waterworks, or OK up to $10.8 billion to help finance the construction of two tunnels.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Recent years prove we need more water storage

The need for more storage has been evident for decades, and although Southern California’s water agencies, particularly the Metropolitan Water District, have been diligent about adding it, Northern California, where most of the rain falls, has been negligent.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018

California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot. Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area’s newly linked water lifelines

The Bay Area’s deeply unequal cities, home to mansions and shacks alike, are linked by one thing: thirst. Banding together, the region’s water agencies on Tuesday unveiled the latest upgrades to a vast network that connects six million people and provides mutual aid in a crisis, such as an earthquake or severe drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly rebuilt spillway

With a powerful storm barreling toward California’s coast, state officials warned they may have to use the largely rebuilt flood control spillway at troubled Oroville Dam as early as next week.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

After deadly wildfire, a new problem for Santa Rosa: contaminated water

When a wildfire leveled a whole neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, in October, it was just the first disaster for this Wine Country city. A second disaster is now unfolding after chemical contamination was detected in the city’s drinking water following the fire.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District backs away from plan to finance both Delta tunnels

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is dropping plans to push ahead with a two-tunnel proposal to revamp the state’s water delivery system, opting to pursue a scaled-back version instead.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin school fountain closed amid lead contamination tests

Testing is in progress at schools throughout Marin for lead in drinking water, and one fountain has been shut down because of contamination. The testing is being conducted in accordance with Assembly Bill 746. It requires campuses built before Jan. 1, 2010, to receive the testing for lead contamination by July 2019.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

What is killing endangered steelhead trout in San Jose creeks?

Claiming that mismanagement by Silicon Valley’s largest water agency has likely wiped out endangered steelhead trout in Coyote Creek, a coalition of environmentalists, including the Sierra Club, has filed a complaint with state water officials seeking to force big changes to protect the fish in the nearby Guadalupe River.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa estimates fix of contaminated water system could take 2 years

It may take Santa Rosa more than two years to fully replace the water system in an area of Fountaingrove where the drinking water was contaminated by benzene following the fires last year, a timeline some residents say is unacceptable and will prevent them from rebuilding.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California might foot the bill for Delta tunnels project — with no promise of reimbursement

Southern California’s biggest water agency is considering picking up most of the bill for overhauling the state’s waterworks without any guarantee that it will eventually recoup its additional, multibillion-dollar investment. At a board workshop Tuesday, officials of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California outlined ways in which the agency could finance the construction of two giant water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Clear skies expected after reservoir-replenishing rains

Three of the region’s four major dams (aside from Oroville) are stocked with more than 100 percent of year-to-date average water supply, including Folsom Lake, which rose 33 feet over the past month. All dams remain 10-15 percent short of capacity.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

For less than $5 a month, Southern California ratepayers can pay for Delta tunnels, agency says

Pushing ahead with an ambitious effort to take a majority stake in the state’s troubled $16.7 billion tunnels project, Southern California’s behemoth water agency announced Tuesday that the plan would cost its ratepayers less than $5 a month.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexico pledges $4.3 million effort to stop Tijuana spills

Mexico is pledging to spend $4.3 million to clean the Tijuana river channel after two California cities sued a U.S. agency over the decades-old problem of sewage fouling U.S. wetlands and beaches.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Winemakers, infrastructure could take a hit in a Trump trade war

Jock O’Connell, international trade adviser at California-based Beacon Economics, said the infrastructure sector will be one of the first to feel the impact of the tariff. … So “if you’re building new bridges, or the twin tunnels the governor wants to build, or the high speed rail system,” you’re going to have to start recalculating, he said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Sierra foothills dam, part of San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy system, pushed to near failure

Heavy rain in the Sierra foothills pushed a small dam within San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy water system to the brink of failure Thursday, sending a brief scare through the rural region where roads were closed and a few dozen residents were forced to evacuate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles to oppose $17 billion water tunnels if residents must pay more than fair share

The Los Angeles City Council moved Wednesday to officially oppose staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water-delivery tunnel project if it would result in greater costs or a greater portion of the financial burden for Los Angeles ratepayers.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Federal budget proposal include Sites Reservoir study funding

Inclusion of money for raising Shasta Dam got the most attention in a recently released federal budget proposal, but the same package also includes money for Sites Reservoir. The Department of Interior is recommending spending $33.3 million under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016.

Aquafornia news Detroit News

EPA chief wants to eradicate lead from drinking water

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says eradicating lead from drinking water is one of his top priorities three years after the Flint water crisis, and he’s worried Americans aren’t “sufficiently aware” of the threat.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cyberattacks put Russian fingers on the switch at power plants, U.S. says

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

White House is sanctioning Russians for 2016 election interference and other cyberattacks

The Trump administration on Thursday announced sanctions against 19 Russian individuals and five organizations for meddling in the 2016 election and for other “destructive cyber-attacks” still targeting the U.S. electrical grid and water systems.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage shutters beaches from Mexico border to Coronado

Beaches as far north as the Hotel del Coronado have been closed following weekend showers that flushed sewage-polluted water through the Tijuana River and into the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California fish experts: Delta tunnels could help save native species

One of California’s foremost experts on freshwater fish believes there may be hope for restoring native salmon to abundance – but there’s a catch: California must build the controversial Delta tunnels, he says.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New study: SFO, Foster City, other San Francisco Bay areas are sinking

Major parts of San Francisco Bay’s shoreline are slowly sinking, a new scientific study has found, dramatically increasing the risk of billions of dollars of flooding in the coming decades as sea level rise continues due to climate change.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Short-term Tijuana upgrades respond to ‘crisis’ of cross-border sewage

In the wake of rising outcry in San Diego of cross-border flows of contaminated water, trash and sediment from Tijuana, Mexico is moving ahead with a series of short-term upgrades to Tijuana’s sewage collection and treatment system aimed at preventing such incidents, and responding with greater speed should they occur.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge shoots down Delta tunnels foes’ request to halt key hearing

A Sacramento County judge on Monday declined to temporarily stop the hearings that will decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project after its opponents sued alleging the process had been tainted by secret meetings.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: What, if anything, is lost in building one Delta tunnel instead of two?

Two tunnels, one or none? The question continues to swirl around plans to perform major surgery on the sickly heart of California’s water system. Confronted with a shortage of funding, state officials announced last month that they would move ahead with the construction of one giant water tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta rather than two.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Critic’s ‘hobby’ is getting costly, flood agency says

Flood control officials are asking a judge to impose sanctions against an outspoken critic who they say has forced them to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on litigation the critic referred to as his “hobby.”

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Sites Authority officials appeal project’s initial score

Sites Project Authority officials recently appealed the California Water Commission’s initial public benefit score in hopes of improving their pitch for a chunk of the $2.7 billion in available Proposition 1 funding for state water storage projects.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Porterville gets water, some regret it

Norma Sanchez took a quick break from watering her East Porterville front yard, bent the garden hose and reflected on years of being without reliable water.  Now, she has water, pressure and along with it problems with the new delivery system residents waited so long to get.

Aquafornia news E&E News

US Fish and Wildlife Service turns to ‘duct tape and baling wire’

The Fish and Wildlife Service faces a $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog that can sometimes get overlooked despite its ominous size. … With some 5,000 buildings and 6,938 other structures to tend across 566 wildlife refuges, among other responsibilities, FWS has to struggle to keep up with problems that the public may not see.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento County alleges secret meetings over Delta tunnels, files lawsuit

Sacramento County is leading a lawsuit accusing state officials of holding illegal secret meetings about the controversial Delta tunnels project. The county, joined by the city of Stockton, several Delta water agencies and a group of environmental organizations, sued the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Southern California water agency could vote soon on whether to bankroll Delta tunnels

Facing pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown, Southern California’s largest water agency could vote as soon as April on whether to take a majority stake in the twin-tunnels project Brown plans for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Deadline today to appeal state’s assessment of Proposition 1 water storage proposals

Friday is the deadline for agencies seeking water storage money from the Proposition 1 bond measure to respond to the critiques of their proposals by the California Water Commission staff. … At stake is $2.7 billion in bond money dedicated to increasing water storage, which was included in the broader $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in November 2014.

Aquafornia news The Union, Serving Western Nevada County

Anti-dam activists rally to show opposition to Centennial reservoir

The California Water Commission, which is evaluating the Nevada Irrigation District’s application in pursuit of state funding for the proposed Centennial dam, was greeted by a surprise group of visitors Wednesday. Dressed in lifejackets and wielding kayak paddles, about 60 demonstrators stood outside the Commission’s monthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday to show their opposition to the Centennial project on the Bear River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California water agency gets scolded: Speed up spending billions on new reservoirs

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle, pulling a child’s red wagon, arrived at a meeting of the California Water Commission with a stack of petitions with 4,000 signatures supporting the two largest reservoir projects seeking bond money: Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento and Temperance Flat in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blame California’s cities and counties for housing delays, not state environmental law, new study says

Those who want to blame a California environmental law for the state’s housing problems should instead point their fingers at cities and counties, according to a new report from researchers at UC Berkeley and Columbia University.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Many of north valley’s dams deemed high-hazard

Everyone knows about the risk from Oroville Dam after the spillway crisis, but most of the dams in the north valley are considered to have a high-hazard potential. … New requirements for these high-risk dams, including annual inspections, will come into play if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the dam safety bill on his desk soon.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump again seeks to end funding for earthquake early warning system

Mexico City got a substantial warning before the shaking from a distant earthquake arrived Friday — some 30 to 60 seconds broadcast over loudspeakers from an earthquake early warning system. It was another success for Mexico City’s earthquake warning system — one which California, Oregon and Washington state still lack, and one that is an ongoing target for elimination by President Trump.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Despite complaints, Interior boss pushing big reorganization

[Interior Secretary Ryan] Zinke wants to divide most of the department’s 70,000 employees and their responsibilities into 13 regions based on rivers and ecosystems, instead of the current map based mostly on state lines.

Aquafornia news KUNC Community Radio for Northern Colorado

For better or worse, the Colorado River’s first dam transformed the desert Southwest

We all know Hoover Dam, and you might know about the Imperial or other dams that manage the Colorado River. But the very first completed dam on the Colorado was the Laguna Dam. … Doug Cox at the Imperial Irrigation District manages the dam.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

US EPA funding to state designated for Pure Water Monterey project

More than half of a $173.5 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award to California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades will be designated for the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

5 things to know about the plan to ship water to Southern California (audio)

Earlier this week, KPCC learned Southern California’s largest water importer, the Metropolitan Water District, was considering more than doubling its investment in a plan to reconfigure how supplies are diverted from one of the region’s most important sources of water: the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta just east of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

State: Delta tunnels a good investment

More than six years after critics began calling for a full economic study of the Delta tunnels plan, the Brown administration released one on Tuesday, finding that the benefits outweigh the costs — albeit by a slim margin for some water users.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Southern California water agency eyes possible control of Delta tunnels project

In a dramatic twist on the Delta tunnels saga, Southern California’s powerful water agency is exploring the feasibility of owning the majority stake in the controversial project, a move that raises fears of a “water grab.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Love stinks (in a good way), and other lessons of the Valentine’s Day sewage tour

Becky Van and Kale Novalis knew exactly when and where they were going to tell each other, “I love you,” for the first time. … The couple had signed up for a Valentine’s Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the largest of 14 wastewater treatment facilities in New York City.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Can new California water storage projects win state funding?

If California taxpayers are going to spend $2.7 billion on new water storage projects, the projects had better come with many more environmental benefits. That was the message sent by the California Water Commission, which on February 2 released its first analysis of 11 projects vying for a share of the riches.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump infrastructure plan relies on state, local funding

President Donald Trump on Monday launched a “big week” for his long-awaited infrastructure plan, which envisions spurring $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade to rebuild roads and highways. … Half the money would go to grants for transportation, water, flood control, cleanup at some of the country’s most polluted sites and other projects.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Crucial’ vote for north San Joaquin farmers

On Feb. 26, the farmers will make a pivotal decision: whether or not to tax themselves about $14 million over 30 years to build a new delivery system. Thursday, the League of Women Voters, the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District and county officials will host a public meeting to explain all of this at 6 p.m. at Jackson Hall, on the Lodi Grape Festival grounds.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Californians voted to spend billions on more water storage. But state government keeps sitting on the cash.

Government at all levels moves at a glacial pace, especially when it’s trying to deal with the complex and contentious issue of water. Four years ago in the midst of a scary, five-year drought — one of the state’s driest periods in recorded history — voters eagerly approved a $7.5-billion water bond proposal, Proposition 1. The vote was a lopsided 67% to 33%.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco moves to build water system to fight fires when the worst hits

San Francisco officials have reached an important milestone in a long-running effort to build a high-pressure water network needed to bring vital firefighting capabilities to the Richmond and Sunset districts — two neighborhoods that have historically lacked direct access to such a system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Snooping around in hospital pipes, scientists find DNA that fuels the spread of superbugs

The pipes carrying away the effluvia of very sick people are bound to be nasty, dirty places. But just how unwholesome they are is made clear in a new report showing that the pipes beneath a hospital intensive care unit are a throbbing, seething hookup zone for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Many questions as expert committee begins study of Legionella in plumbing

Researchers, government officials, and technical experts met February 8 in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of a National Academy of Sciences investigation on minimizing the spread of Legionella bacteria in building plumbing and municipal water systems. Legionnaires’ disease sickened at least 6,141 people in 2016 in the United States and killed several hundred, a death toll that is higher than any other water-related illness in the country.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Huge Delta plan for moving water cut to just 1 tunnel

California water officials announced Wednesday that a plan to build two giant tunnels for moving water supplies across the state was being reduced to a single, less costly underpass — at least initially — a setback for one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California moves ahead with one Delta tunnel, scaling back ambitious water delivery project

State officials Wednesday said they will press ahead with a smaller version of a long-planned water delivery project, initially building one, instead of two, massive tunnels in the heart of California’s vast waterworks. The decision to downsize California WaterFix boils down to money.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: No more delay on Delta tunnels hearings

State officials declined late Tuesday to further delay key hearings on the proposed Delta tunnels, overriding opponents’ arguments that illegal meetings have taken place and that the project soon may be altered anyway. The State Water Resources Control Board found that the meetings were legal.

Aquafornia news Yuba-Sutter Appeal-Democrat

Locals seeking more than $27 million from DWR in lawsuit

Nine individuals or entities from Yuba-Sutter are suing the California Department of Water Resources for more than $27 million in damages suffered as a consequence of the Lake Oroville spillway crisis last February.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Major water projects hit funding barriers as California questions value

In a report released Friday, California water officials found that Los Vaqueros Reservoir managers haven’t shown that enough public benefit will come with the expansion. As a result, they may get little or no state funding. The same was said of 10 other water-supply projects competing for dollars from voter-approved Proposition 1. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California’s best hope for infrastructure collaboration with Trump may be fading

Last winter, California’s Democratic leaders were feeling cautiously optimistic that they could work with President Donald Trump to spur desperately needed infrastructure investment in the state. One year into the Trump administration, the prospects for bipartisan partnership on the issue have dimmed.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Voters OK’d $2.7 billion for new reservoirs. Critics say California won’t spend it.

It’s a tantalizing pot of money, $2.7 billion for new dams and reservoirs approved by California voters during the worst of the drought. But is the state willing to spend it?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California desalination projects move forward with new state funding

California water officials have approved $34.4 million in grants to eight desalination projects across the state, including one in the East Bay city of Antioch, as part of an effort to boost the water supply in the wake of the state’s historic, five-year drought.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Water affordability is not just a local challenge, but a federal one too

America is facing a water infrastructure crisis. … Investing more in the country’s water infrastructure would help—which the Trump administration and other federal leaders appear to be considering in 2018—but simply throwing more money at these problems does not necessarily address another enormous challenge facing utilities and the communities they serve: water affordability.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Public input needed for DWR community needs assessment, coalition says

Local leaders are pressing the state Department of Water Resources for details on how residents will be involved in the community needs assessment. Department officials have said that constructing additional infrastructure at Oroville Dam, including a second gated spillway and a fully lined emergency spillway, would be considered as part of the assessment.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction. Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’ve got company.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Jerry Brown’s two big public-works projects are foundering

During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society—a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes. He did it again last week, effusively plugging two major public works, twin water tunnels and a high-speed rail network, during his final State of the State address.

Aquafornia news Yuba-Sutter Appeal-Democrat

State of the State: Absence of Oroville Dam, water infrastructure draws ire

Locals were waiting for Gov. Jerry Brown to say something during his final State of the State Address about the Oroville Dam crisis and infrastructure. They were disappointed.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Governor defends blueprint for California’s future

For a politician who winces at the L-word — “legacy” — Gov. Jerry Brown spent much of his State of the State address on Thursday defending the key projects and policies that will likely define his: the state’s beleaguered bullet train, his Delta tunnel plan and criminal justice reforms reducing California’s prison population.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

One possible Delta tunnels deal would give cheap water to farmers — and more expensive water to cities

Months of behind the scenes talks have failed to drum up enough money to pay the full costs of replumbing the center of California’s sprawling waterworks with two giant water tunnels. That has left the state with little choice but to scale down a roughly $17-billion water delivery project to fit a funding pot of less than $10 billion.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego OKs landmark environmental deal that could spur development

Federal officials have agreed to cede authority over projects that would destroy vernal pools to San Diego officials. In exchange, the city has agreed to protect many vernal pools and abide by a clear set of rules endorsed by federal officials.

Announcement

Central Valley Tour Offers Unique View of San Joaquin Valley’s Key Dams and Reservoirs
March 14-16 tour includes major federal and state water projects

Get a unique view of the San Joaquin Valley’s key dams and reservoirs that store and transport water on our March Central Valley Tour.

Our Central Valley Tour, March 14-16, offers a broad view of water issues in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to the farms, orchards, critical habitat for threatened bird populations, flood bypasses and a national wildlife refuge, we visit some of California’s major water infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Governor is in danger of becoming remembered for his ‘boondoggle bullet train to nowhere’

Time is running out for Gov. Jerry Brown to fix two big legacy projects. If he doesn’t, his successor might just dump them in the trash. Brown has only until the end of the year to clean up and repair his bullet train and water tunnel ventures.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: With a flooding disaster in its past, Utah takes dam safety seriously

The disaster at Oroville Dam in California last winter put questions about dam safety in the headlines for the first time in many years. … The state of Utah went through its own disaster in 1989 that prompted big changes in the state’s dam safety program.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Plans to build new huge dams and reservoirs in California hit hurdle

Signaling trouble for nearly a dozen landmark water storage projects to help California cope with its next drought, state water officials on Thursday announced none of the proposals — including raising Contra Costa County’s Los Vaqueros Dam and building a new Santa Clara County dam near Pacheco Pass — provide the public benefits that their supporters claim, potentially putting their state funding at risk.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Deadly Legionella bacteria are common in U.S. building plumbing

Bacteria responsible for the deadliest waterborne disease in the United States are frequent residents of the cooling towers that are a part of heating and air conditioning systems in apartments, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and other large buildings, according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Seven ideas for fixing water in the United States

The United States is facing a number of water issues: drought, wildfires, pollution and inequitable distribution. In fact, when it comes to water policy, the U.S. Water Alliance says that the nation is at a “crossroads” of short-term crises – like deadly storms and acute pollution problems – and long-term trends such as climate change and crumbling infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor considers one-tunnel water plan

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is proposing scaling back his troubled plans to redo California’s water system, releasing a new plan that would build only one tunnel to ship water from Northern California instead of two, and put Southern and central California water agencies directly in charge of designing and building it.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Future floods will be in mind as California town rebuilds

After power and drinking water return, and cleanup crews haul away the last of the boulders and muck that splintered homes like a battering ram, the wealthy seaside hideaway of Montecito, California, will start rebuilding with the possibility of another catastrophic flood in mind.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Buried in mud, Montecito faces a daunting cleanup with no end in sight

Mudflows knocked out six sections of Montecito’s main water line that snakes along the hills above most homes. There, a pipeline once partly aboveground is now sometimes 50 feet in the air after the ravines beneath it washed out.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown administration scaling down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects — a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Forensic report confirms Oroville Dam lapses

The verdict is in and California stands convicted of gross negligence in the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highest dam, Oroville. The dam on the Feather River came very close to failing last year, forcing the evacuation of a quarter-million people living downstream. … Clearly, for decades there was no willingness at DWR [California Department of Water Resources] to acknowledge the fundamental nature of the flaws and spend money to repair them.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

BREAKING NEWS: Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Oil giant seeks to depose Santa Cruz city, county officials

In December, the city and county of Santa Cruz joined a wave of coastal California communities suing fossil-fuel companies for climate-change related damages. On Monday, ExxonMobil pushed back against what it called “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation,” threatening to file its own legal action and accusing the local jurisdictions of hypocritically omitting reference to climate change damages from their own bond disclosures.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Riverside County has a plan to revitalize Salton Sea — and to pay for it

Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez on Thursday proposed a $400 million plan to build a horseshoe-shaped lake on the north side of the Salton Sea — and to pay for it using a tax district and a new bond issue subject to voter approval. The proposal calls for a 4,200-acre lake, roughly double the size of Big Bear Lake.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Riverside County has a new plan to fix Salton Sea — or at least a part of it

Riverside County officials on Thursday unveiled a possible $400-million remedy for some of what ails the shrinking Salton Sea: record-high salinity levels, die-offs of fish, fewer birds and an immense “bathtub ring” of smelly playa prone to toxic dust storms.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Exxon fires back at Imperial Beach, 6 other California coastal cities over climate change lawsuits

Six months ago, officials in Imperial Beach joined six other California coastal communities in a first of its kind lawsuit: Demanding that 18 energy companies in the oil and coal sectors pay the cities for damages associated with rising sea levels and other effects of a warming planet. Now, one of those companies — ExxonMobil — has fired back with its own aggressive legal strategy.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California politicians weigh in on Oroville Dam report (audio)

“A long-term systemic failure.” The words leap off the opening page of the independent forensic report that examined the Oroville Dam crisis in February of last year.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Utilities celebrate Trump’s tax cuts, but will customers benefit?

Utilities from California to Florida are seeing their expenses drop dramatically with the GOP tax overhaul, which could save these regulated electric, gas and water utilities billions of dollars each year. … California is home to numerous investor-owned utilities, ranging from Pacific Gas & Electric to private water companies.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

2018 Preview: What not to ignore about water infrastructure

Having signed the tax bill just before Christmas, [President Donald] Trump promised to offer a public works plan in the new year. Large sums of money are potentially in play — a $1 trillion figure has been discussed by both Democrats and Republicans for repairing, modernizing, and extending the nation’s water pipes, roads, airports, dams, transmission lines, bridges, and sewer systems.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Bay Area dodges (another) bullet when a powerful quake fails to do much damage

Per EBMUD’s standard response protocols after an earthquake, staff conducted inspections of the water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plant, and other critical facilities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Projects battling for Proposition 1 water bond funding

The California Water Commission got a look in December at all 11 projects vying for water storage bond money, including Sites Reservoir. Proponents of Sites, an off-stream reservoir proposed for a valley west of Maxwell, are seeking $1.7 million from Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond measure approved by voters in November 2014.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Utah moves forward with Lake Powell pipeline application

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as FERC, formally accepted the state’s application for the Lake Powell Pipeline. This notice affirms that the proposed 140-mile pipeline, which would draw water from the Colorado River to serve southwestern Utah communities is ready for environmental analysis and public comment. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Politicians to Trump: Don’t relicense Oroville Dam until we know why spillway failed

Elected officials and other groups representing those living below the troubled Oroville Dam have asked the Trump administration to hold off on renewing its 50-year license, saying the federal government should at least know why the spillway broke in half last winter before signing off.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

San Joaquin Valley’s canal continues to sink, price tag could rise

A 20-mile portion of one of the Valley’s largest waterways is sinking. It’s getting worse each month and while the water levels drop, the price tag rises.  Earlier this year, the Friant Water Authority reported measurements that showed a nearly 3-foot drop in the Friant-Kern Canal’s elevation in some places.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

The year in water 2017 — a story of trial and response

The story of water in 2017 was one of trial and response. America’s water utilities, for instance, are caught between two forces: a need to reinvest in aging systems and income stagnation among the bottom 20 percent that is calling into question the affordability of water service for the poor. Overseas, the risks to life and health are more immediate.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why the Great Salt Lake is shrinking

Research shows that the world’s saline lakes are at risk, among them Utah’s Great Salt Lake, which is fueling controversy over a proposal to build new dams on its largest tributary.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should utilities turn off electricity when wildfire risk is high?

With the number of fires in the West growing due to climate change, and a recent decision by the state Public Utilities Commission to require that a utility — not ratepayers — pick up the costs for fires caused by its power lines, it’s likely that Californians are going to see more deliberate, pre-planned power outages when there is extreme wildfire risk, experts say. … Among the problems from planned blackouts … Water pumps may not work.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Key California environmental law not a barrier to development, new state report says

The study examined, over five years ending in 2016, how state transportation, parks and other projects were handled under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Inspection reports for important California dams

The Bee reviewed five years of inspection reports by the California Department of Water Resources for 93 dams that the state identified as potentially problematic in the wake of the Oroville Dam spillway failure. … Use the map to see if a dam near you is on the list.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Could recurring problems compromise safety of California dams?

When it comes to inspecting dams, California is second to none. A panel of national experts examined the state’s Division of Safety of Dams last year and declared it tops in the field, citing inspectors’ knack for flagging small problems before they turn serious. Getting dam owners to fix those flaws quickly is another matter.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Some fire hydrants didn’t work because of power outages, firefighters say

As firefighters battled a destructive wildfire that swept through neighborhoods in Ventura, they were stymied by some fire hydrants that didn’t work. Officials said power outages caused by the fire and heavy winds left some water pumping stations inoperable, meaning water couldn’t reach the fire hydrants.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Utah county wants to suck 77 million gallons a day out of Lake Powell, threatening Colorado River

Sun-scorched desert mesa, 140 miles of it, lies between Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, and Utah’s Washington County, one of America’s driest metropolitan regions. … The [Washington County Water Conservancy] district plans to link the reservoir and the county with one of the longest and most expensive water pipelines ever proposed in the West.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Lawmakers push for transparency on feasibility of Delta tunnels

State lawmakers opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnel plan are stepping up calls for greater transparency into the project’s finances, as the proposed water delivery system suffered a series of setbacks this fall.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels’ cost study coming, state says

A long-awaited study on the costs and benefits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels should be finished by next spring, a state official said Thursday after an independent audit concluded such a study should have already been done. The tunnels have been in the planning stage for 11 years, but state officials have never completed a comprehensive analysis of whether the project pencils out financially. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Panel recommends changes to two-decade-old EPA water affordability guidelines

In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Multibillion-dollar water measures heading to state ballot

With a five-year drought and then a winter of floods having exposed the limits of California’s vast network of reservoirs, dams and canals, voters are likely to have the chance next year to decide whether to pay for major upgrades to the state’s waterworks. Two multibillion-dollar bonds are expected to go before voters that promise to boost water supplies, offer flood protection and restore rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Siskiyou supervisors continue dam removal funding fight

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to continue its opposition to a proposal related to funding for the removal of four dams on the Klamath River. The removal of the dams is the core component of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, a multi-party agreement that sets forth a path toward the removal of J.C. Boyle, Iron Gate, Copco 1, and Copco 2 dams.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Can the private sector save America’s aging water systems?

Who owns the water pipes beneath your street? Increasingly, it is a private company, a shift from the mostly public ownership of the systems used to provide drinking water and remove waste that has prevailed in the U.S. since the early 1900s.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers upset that wildfire money left out of White House’s disaster aid request

Every day, Mike Thompson hears a new story about how last month’s fires in Northern California have affected people’s lives…. And yet none of the $44 billion that the White House requested of Congress on Friday for supplemental disaster aid includes funding to rebuild California after the fires — which killed 43 people and destroyed nearly 9,000 structures — a move that’s sparked an outcry from Thompson and his fellow lawmakers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump wants more big infrastructure projects. The obstacles can be big, too.

President Trump says he is frustrated with the slow pace of major construction projects like highways, ports and pipelines. Last summer, he pledged to use the power of the presidency to jump start building when it became bogged down in administrative delays.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Huntington Beach desalination plant challenged in court

A coalition of non-profits is asking a superior court to reverse a state agency’s decision to greenlight a long-proposed, controversial desalination plant in Huntington Beach. … The Poseidon desalination plant has been proposed for the site of the AES power plant on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach for nearly 20 years, and has been continually challenged and fought by environmental groups.

Aquafornia news Brookings

How the Land of 10,000 Lakes is planning and paying for cleaner water

This year’s record hurricane season has been a wake-up call when it comes to water infrastructure. It has also been a reminder of how the public sector plays a crucial role in promoting more resilient investments, managing runoff concerns, and preventing floods. Many communities, though, still lack the financial and technical capacity to support clean, safe, and reliable water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Risks grow for deadliest U.S. drinking water hazard

In the weeks after Labor Day, one dozen people who live in or visited Anaheim, California fell ill with a common set of symptoms: fever, chills, and coughing. Ten of the 12, all between the ages of 52 and 94, required treatment at a hospital and were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia-like illness that attacks the lungs. One person died.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: $300 billion war beneath the street: Fighting to replace America’s water pipes

Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares. America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task. Two powerful industries, plastic and iron, are locked in a lobbying war over the estimated $300 billion that local governments will spend on water and sewer pipes over the next decade.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California asks US for $7.4 billion for wildfire rebuilding

California Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers asked the U.S. government Friday for $7.4 billion to help rebuild after a cluster of fires tore through the heart of wine country, killing more than 40 people and leaving thousands without housing.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: If governor can’t sell California on two Delta tunnels, would just one fly?

It sounds like a nice, elegant compromise for a California water project swamped in uncertainty: If there isn’t enough money to build two Delta tunnels, why not build just one? Drastically downsizing Gov. Jerry Brown’s tunnels wouldn’t merely save money.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Could a simpler Delta tunnel solve years of California water conflict?

California’s ambitious plan to build two giant water tunnels under the West’s largest estuary has been deemed too expensive by some of the water utilities that would have to pay for it. As a result, attention is turning back to a cheaper option: One tunnel instead of two. … Ironically, it is an option the state’s top water agencies rejected out of hand a decade ago.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Take ‘twin’ out of Delta tunnels?

In the Delta region, the twin tunnels always have been considered double trouble. If you take the “twin” out, you’ve still got trouble. That’s the view of many local activists as speculation grows that Gov. Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel water conveyance project will soon be downsized, whittled down to perhaps just one tunnel with a smaller capacity.

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