“A judge dealt a dual blow to plans for California’s bullet train in a pair of rulings handed down Monday in Sacramento.
“Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny denied a request by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to issue a blanket validation for the sale of more than $8 billion in bonds from Proposition 1A, a high-speed rail measure approved by California voters in 2008.
“Land in California’s San Joaquin Valley is sinking more rapidly than usual because of increased pumping from underground sources, a phenomenon that is damaging vital water infrastructure, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. …
“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the canals, will use the USGS data to mitigate damage and factor into current and future construction projects.”
“So much groundwater is being pumped from the San Joaquin Valley that it’s causing a massive swath of Merced County’s surface to sink at an alarming rate, U.S. Geological Survey researchers revealed Thursday. …
“USGS officials said they fear sinking ground levels will wreak havoc on economically vital man-made structures like the Delta-Mendota Canal, the California Aqueduct and irrigation canals that serve Merced and Madera counties.
“Extensive groundwater pumping from San Joaquin Valley aquifers is increasing the rate of land subsidence, or sinking, that could result in serious operational and structural challenges and repairs to water infrastructure, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey.
“It’s a long-awaited sight around here, as welcome as a big snowfall on the ski slopes ringing the lake. Hard hats are swarming over Lake Tahoe’s ‘hole in the ground,’ a vast construction site on Highway 50 that sat dormant for nearly five years. …
“But a massive makeover of Tahoe is years away; redevelopment at the lake usually comes at a glacial pace. The environmental rules are legendary.”
“It’s unclear exactly how much potentially flawed plastic water and sewer pipes that are the subject of a whistle-blower lawsuit are buried underground in Reno-Sparks and other Northern Nevada communities but the amount is significant, officials said the day after a federal jury decided against the pipe manufacturer.”
“But as megaprojects of yesterday proved, controlling costs and keeping schedules on track will remain unattainable without reforms in how agencies manage increasingly complex and expensive public works projects, experts from England to Berkeley testified Wednesday at a state Senate Transportation Committee hearing.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Joe Mathews:
“News flash! Los Angeles, a famously dry place, this month has been suddenly inundated. The source is not rain, not El Niño. Nope, we’re experiencing a flash flood of commentary tied to the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.”
From the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Blog, in a post by Richard Stapler, California Natural Resources Agency:
“The Department of Water Resources has revised its estimate of the cost to construct a 3,000 cubic-feet-per-second, single bore tunnel that some stakeholders have proposed be incorporated into proposals to restore the ecosystem and water supply reliability in the Delta. In 2012 dollars, that capital cost of such a facility is estimated at $8.6 billion.
“Ahead of Tuesday’s election, hundreds of thousands of Texans have already cast ballots on Proposition 6, which would amend the State Constitution so that $2 billion could be taken from the state’s savings account to help finance water infrastructure projects. …
“But whether or not the measure passes, Texas has a long way to go before solving its water deficit. The drought has shown little sign of letting up soon, and the state’s population explosion has not abated, either.
“Three environmental groups say new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers documents ignore the Corps’ responsibility for the effects of two Yuba County dams on fish habitat. … The assessments were required under a judge’s ruling that tossed out an earlier National Marine Fisheries Service biological opinion on Yuba River fish restoration.”