“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.
With a federal deadline to sign a Colorado River drought deal three weeks away, Arizona water managers are still grappling with several unresolved issues that could get in the way of finishing an agreement. The outstanding issues, some of which are proving contentious, range from developers’ concerns about securing future water supplies to lining up funding for Pinal County farmers to drill wells and begin to pump more groundwater.
Officials have given President Trump a plan to divert funds designated for Army Corps of Engineers projects in California and Puerto Rico to help pay for a wall along the southern border, a leading member of Congress said Thursday. … The projects include raising the height of Folsom Dam on the American River in Northern California, protecting Lake Isabella in Kern County from leaking as a result of earthquakes, enlarging the Tule River and Lake Success in the Central Valley and building shoreline protections in South San Francisco.
At stake is an important rule that defines which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. It’s also poised to be a year of reckoning on the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland. And it could also be a landmark year for water management in California, with several key issues coming to a head.
A coalition of environmental groups has called on California members of Congress to prioritize the San Luis (B.F. Sisk) Dam seismic remediation over federal funding for new California dams. San Luis Dam is in a very seismically active area. Independently reviewed risk assessments for Reclamation have shown that a large earthquake could lead to crest settlement and overtopping of the dam, which would result in large uncontrolled releases and likely dam failure.
In February, following a string of severe natural disasters in 2017, Congress provided a record $16 billion for disaster mitigation — building better defenses against hurricanes, floods and other catastrophes. Eleven months later, the Trump administration has yet to issue rules telling states how to apply for the money.
In the foothills outside Longmont, Colorado, tucked high in a narrow valley, sits an ugly, cement slab. It’s the size of a train car and juts out into North St. Vrain Creek, a shallow alpine stream that serves as the city’s main drinking water supply. A tiny sign greets hikers as they pass the structure. It reads: “Chimney Rock Dam.” What the sign doesn’t tell you is how that cement slab ended up there.
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges. Catch up on these stories and more in Western Water Year in Review.
It has been called speculative, foolhardy and overly expensive, but Aaron Million’s plan to pump water from the Utah-Wyoming border to Colorado’s Front Range just won’t dry up. Now seeking water rights from the Green River in Utah for a new version of his plan, Million thinks he has fashioned a winning proposal to feed Colorado’s thirsty, growing population.
The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.
A new study out of Stanford University finds that 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide spewed from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho for power generation this century is the result of states turning to fossil fuels when water was too sparse to spin electrical turbines at dams.
A handful of environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to halt construction on an expansion of Gross Dam in the Boulder County foothills. Denver Water is proposing to increase the dam’s height by more than 130 feet to store more water from the Colorado River’s headwaters in the reservoir. The suit filed in Denver’s U.S. District Court alleges the construction project would negatively affect the Colorado River, harming native, endangered fish.
Although the contract has yet to be awarded and the operating license hand-over has yet to be approved, Kiewit Infrastructure West is seeking to give local contractors as much detail as it can regarding the proposed removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
[Serge] Dedina, mayor of Imperial Beach, expressed frustration after a pipe in Tijuana ruptured on Monday and began spilling as many as 7 million gallons of raw sewage daily into the Tijuana River, which feeds into the Pacific Ocean. Dedina urged city leaders in San Diego to join a lawsuit to force the federal government to take action.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is joining forces with House Republicans to try to extend a controversial law that provides more water for Central Valley farms, but with a sweetener for the environment: help with protecting California’s rivers and fish. The proposed extension of the WIIN Act, or Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, would keep millions of federal dollars flowing for new dams and reservoirs across the West.
A crucial certification needed to build two tunnels that officials believe would help solve California’s water delivery problems was withdrawn Friday, ensuring that Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet water project won’t be approved before he leaves office in January.
The grades for major U.S. infrastructure would give any parent indigestion if they were on a child’s report card. Roads: D; bridges: C+; dams: D; ports: C+: railways: B; airports: D; schools: D+; public transit: D-. … The need to rebuild the nation’s highways, dams and other infrastructure is one of the only areas of agreement among President Trump, congressional Republicans and Democrats, who will take control of the House next year.
A leading earthquake expert says San Diego should consider accelerating replacement of aging water pipes and completing a comprehensive inventory of local buildings, especially structures made of unreinforced brick. … She [Dr. Lucy Jones] said the water system is typically a city’s most vulnerable point in an earthquake because shifting ground cracks pipes, potentially depriving a recovering community of its crucial water supply.
Trump administration officials were in California on Tuesday to announce a $450 million loan for the Sites Reservoir project in Colusa County. The money will be used to build a tunnel to carry water from the Glenn-Colusa Canal to an existing reservoir, giving farmers on the west side of the Sacramento Valley more access to irrigation water.
Even if the nations of the world get their act together and slash fossil-fuel emissions rapidly, the United States will need to spend many billions of dollars to harden coastlines, rebuild sewer systems and overhaul farming practices to protect against floods, wildfires and heat waves that are already causing havoc nationwide. … Much of the nation’s infrastructure, including things like roads and sewers, was built with historical weather conditions in mind.
In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.
This month’s elections may have mortally wounded California’s chances for a long-delayed $23 billion water tunnel project. … The project’s biggest cheerleader, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), is leaving office because of term limits and his successor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), lacks’ Brown’s enthusiasm for the tunnels.
California voters on Tuesday rejected a water bond for the first time in almost 30 years, disregarding pleas from its backers that the money would fix crumbling infrastructure, bring clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and kick-start badly needed environmental restoration projects.
California voters rejected borrowing nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure improvement projects despite the state suffering from chronic water scarcity. Proposition 3 lost Tuesday by a narrow margin of less than 3 percentage points. The initiative called for devoting the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.
Voters across the Central Valley have been flooded with water initiatives this election season. President Trump’s Western Water Memo sought to “ease regulatory burdens” that he says keeps water out of Valley farms, while Proposition 3 will appropriate billions of dollars to Valley water projects.
Nearly a decade ago, Gabriel Lozada, a man with a wiry frame and waves of steel-gray hair who looks exactly like the mathematician he is, set out to answer what he thought was a relatively simple question: Could Utah’s proposed Lake Powell Pipeline — a plan to ferry Colorado River water to southern Utah — live up to the state’s rosy forecasts of growth and prosperity?
The spring and summer of 2018 saw frenzied activity around California WaterFix, the latest iteration of a decades-long, on-again-off-again effort to convey fresh water from the Sacramento River to the South Delta export pumps while bypassing the Delta itself. Governor Jerry Brown has made WaterFix a top priority, but as his administration heads into its final months, the project – one of the largest infrastructure projects in state history – still faces a raft of uncertainties.
In California, it’s an $8.3 billion bond measure. In Colorado, it’s oil and gas regulation. And in Alaska, it’s how much deference to give salmon habitat when permitting mines, roads, and other infrastructure. This election season, voters in at least a half dozen states and counties will determine the fate of ballot measures that propose policy changes or billions of dollars in new spending that will affect the quality and availability of water supplies.
An $8.9 billion state bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot authorizes $80 million for the removal of the Matilija Dam plus billions for water projects around California. Proposition 3 would provide the largest amount of money that’s ever come forward to take down the dam near Ojai, an official overseeing the dam removal project said.
President Donald Trump’s memorandum on western water, which ordered federal agencies to look for ways to remove regulatory burdens on federal water projects, has caused waves in California. But what will it actually do? … The USA TODAY Network in California asked experts on California water, farming and environmental issues to break down what’s known at this point.
Excessive groundwater pumping by San Joaquin Valley farmers has caused a stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal to sink so much that it has interfered with irrigation deliveries to more than 300,000 acres of cropland. A fix could come from Proposition 3, the water bond on the November ballot, which earmarks $750 million in state taxpayer funds to repair the aqueduct and other infrastructure damaged by land subsidence.
Most visitors walking along the Embarcadero on San Francisco’s famed waterfront are familiar with the Ferry Building, the Giants ballpark, the Exploratorium and Fisherman’s Wharf. But few might realize that none of those attractions would be possible without a low-profile workhorse that holds everything together: the Embarcadero Seawall, an aging, 3-mile-long, rock-and-concrete structure that rebuffs pounding tides and enabled the city to rise atop the tidal mudflats of San Francisco Bay.
More than a dozen years have passed since the U.S Army Corps of Engineers became concerned about water seeping through the auxiliary dam at Isabella Lake — not to mention the possibility of a massive earthquake leveling the earthen structure.
Congress has approved a sprawling bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects. If signed by President Donald Trump, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would authorize more than $6 billion in spending over 10 years for projects nationwide, including one to stem coastal erosion in Galveston, Texas, and restore wetlands damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year.
If Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is elected governor as expected, he’ll keep building the state’s two contentious public works projects: the bullet train and twin water tunnels. … The Democratic front-runner and his underdog rival, Republican businessman John Cox, competed in a debate Monday. But the train, tunnels and other vital state issues weren’t raised. So I [George Skelton] called Newsom and he phoned back. I also called and emailed Cox, but neither the candidate nor his staff responded.
Past investigations of Legionnaires’ disease have identified rooftop cooling towers, hospital plumbing, and ornamental fountains in restaurant lobbies as the source of outbreaks. In New Hampshire last summer, though, none of those was the culprit in an outbreak of the deadly, pneumonia-like illness that is caused by inhaling water droplets contaminated with Legionella bacteria. This time, it was the hot tub.
California voters may be feeling a sense of deja vu when they consider Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion water bond on the November ballot to fund a long list of water projects — from repairing Oroville Dam to restoring Bay Area wetlands to helping Central Valley farmers recharge depleted groundwater. Didn’t the voters recently approve a big water bond? Maybe two of them? Yes. And yes.
The Oakdale Irrigation District has completed a $15 million tunnel that bypasses a section of canal at risk of rock slides. The 5,949-foot tunnel a few miles east of Knights Ferry is the 10th that OID has built since it formed in 1909 to tap the Stanislaus River. One machine bored from the east and one from the west after the project launched in September 2017, with a break for the 2018 irrigation season.
From the air, Iron Gate Reservoir stretches for miles like a long green banner behind Irongate Dam. … State water quality officials posted signs around the lake in June warning people that coming in contact with the cyanobacteria in the algae can cause sickness in people, pets and wildlife.
Torrential rainfall lashed Japan in July. A cloudburst in August submerged entire villages in south India. In September, Hurricane Florence burst dams and lagoons, with coal ash and pig waste spilling into the waterways of North Carolina. On the other side of the planet, a typhoon walloped the Philippines and ravaged the country’s staple crop, rice.
The biggest ticket item on California’s November ballot, tucked between the governor’s race and local elections, is an $8.9 billion bond to help modernize California’s sprawling waterworks. The measure, which was authored by a former state water director, would fund scores of projects, from shiny new desalination plants to upgrades of old dams and aqueducts to restoration of tainted watersheds, including San Francisco Bay.
California voters in November will decide whether or not to approve a controversial $8.9 billion bond measure for water-related projects like groundwater storage, water treatment and restoring protected habitats.
Thirteen percent of Americans, some 42 million people, use a household well for their water supply. The largest clusters of people who use wells are not where you might expect. There are frequent reports of dry wells in the American West, but despite its ranch-and-frontier image, the region is the most urban in the country.
In a ceremony at the Eardley Avenue roundabout, where the 7-mile pipeline ties into the existing Cal Am water system, Cal Am president Rich Svindland, Pacific Grove’s Mayor Bill Kampe and City Councilman Rudy Fischer, who represented Monterey One Water, and Monterey Peninsula Water Management District General Manager Dave Stoldt all praised the pipeline project as a key element of the proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.
A bond measure on the California ballot this November could have major implications for water in Kern County and throughout the Central Valley. Proposition 3, also known as the Water Infrastructure and Watershed Bond Initiative, is one of 11 state-wide measures set to appear on the ballot on Election Day
After toiling away in the remote hills east of Interstate 680 on the Alameda-Santa Clara county line for seven years, hundreds of construction workers have finally finished the largest dam built in the Bay Area in 20 years. The 220-foot tall dam at Calaveras Reservoir — as high as the roadway on the Golden Gate Bridge soars above San Francisco Bay — replaces a dam of the same size, built in 1925.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed two bills that would block new offshore oil drilling in California by barring the construction of pipelines, piers, wharves or other infrastructure necessary to transport the oil and gas from federal waters to state land.
The Front Range water district that wants to build the Chimney Hollow Reservoir and pull more water from the Colorado River is delaying construction bids and issuing revenue bonds, citing a lawsuit by Save the Colorado, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups challenging federal approvals for the project.
Repair and renovation work at the Moccasin Reservoir and dam in Tuolumne County is under way nearly five months after a punishing rainstorm pushed it to the brink of failure, prompting the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people.
More than 80,000 people in the mountain community of Lynchburg, Virginia, were at risk, and 120 families evacuated, when rising waters from nearby College Lake reecently threatened to overflow its outdated dam. Although calamity was averted when the water receded, the incident was a frightening reminder of the growing risk facing millions of Americans.
The state just awarded more than $2.5 billion for new water storage projects that could help keep fruits and vegetables on dinner tables nationwide. Lauren Sommer reports from member station KQED in San Francisco that this marks a major shift in the way the state is thinking about water.
The Sites Reservoir project will move forward, according to officials, despite being awarded in a recent California Water Commission announcement about half what project backers sought. They will spend the next few months securing the necessary financing to begin the next phase.
Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion bond on the November ballot for a range of water projects, has support from 58 percent of California’s likely voters, with 25 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided, the poll indicates.
During California’s recent five-year drought, it was common to hear people asking why the state doesn’t build more dams. On Tuesday, flush with cash from voters, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to finally do just that, committing nearly $1 billion to build two huge dam projects in the Bay Area, and another $1.5 billion for six more big water projects from the Sacramento Valley to Bakersfield.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.