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.
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.
In the exact spot where Hurricane Katrina demolished the Plaquemines Parish Detention Center, a new $105 million jail now hovers 19 feet above the marsh, perched atop towering concrete pillars. Described by a state official as the “Taj Mahal” of Louisiana corrections, it has so much space that one of every 27 parish residents could bunk there.
If water were priced according to demand, many Westerners would be smelly and thirsty. But water is a necessity, and demand-based pricing would be unethical. … In California, for example, state law Proposition 218 outlaws water prices that are higher than the cost of providing water.
Mustafa Santiago Ali could have gone to a major environmental group after spending more than two decades at the EPA, but instead last year he joined a small social-justice organization fusing hip-hop culture and politics. “It was one of the places where I didn’t have to convince anyone about my ideas,” Ali, senior vice president of climate, environmental justice, and community revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus, told Bloomberg Environment.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that Reclamation has awarded $1.3 million to seven projects to establish or expand water markets or water marketing activities. These seven projects are located in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington. “Water marketing provides communities a solution to move water between willing sellers and buyers within their local delivery areas,” Commissioner Burman said. “A water market is just one of the several tools water managers need to manage water within their communities.”
The Senate has passed legislation that would provide $1.7 billion to help residents of the Carolinas and elsewhere recover from recent natural disasters. … The bill also makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Agency programs that would allow more disaster aid to be used on projects that reduce the damage from future storms, such as rebuilding levees and buying out landowners in flood plains.
Americans across the country, from [BarbiAnn] Maynard’s home in rural Appalachia to urban areas like Flint, Mich., or Compton, Calif., are facing a lack of clean, reliable drinking water. At the heart of the problems is a water system in crisis: aging, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds to pay for upgrading it.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that Reclamation has selected 54 projects to receive a total of $26.5 million through WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants. This funding will be leveraged to accomplish approximately $167 million in improvements throughout the West. The projects funded with these grants include canal lining and piping, automated gates and control systems, and installation of advanced metering. “President Trump is dedicated to better water infrastructure for communities and farmers, and adequate and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy, and security of the country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
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.
A popular program that supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country expired after Congress could not agree on language to extend it. Lawmakers from both parties back the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but the program lapsed Monday amid dispute over whether its renewal should be part of a broader package of land-use and parks bills.
The U.S. Geological Survey joins its many partners in other federal agencies, at universities, and in state and local governments in recognizing the importance of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) of 1964.
Signed into law 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 17, 1964, the WRRA established a Water Resources Research Institute in each state and Puerto Rico.
From The New York Times, in a commentary by David Bornstein:
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that public water systems lose, on average, one-sixth of their water — mainly from leaks in pipes. The E.P.A. asserts that 75 percent of that water is recoverable.
Three U.S. states with anticipated water supply deficits in the coming decades reached milestones in July in their deliberations on how to meet the demands of cities, farmers, and industries. … A few plans have already been published. California, for example, released its five-year update in January.
Attendees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will vote Monday on a resolution that encourages cities to use natural solutions to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality,” sometimes by partnering with nonprofit organizations.
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposal addressing water provided for ski areas on national forest lands through the permitting process. The proposal would help to ensure public winter recreation opportunities on Forest Service lands are available in the long term.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by David Horsey:
“One of the great environmental success stories of our time is how the air in L.A. has gotten dramatically better over the years, thanks to auto emissions standards. … There are other good stories … It should be noted that every one of these positive outcomes resulted from government action.”