Topic: Agricultural Drainage

Overview

Agricultural Drainage

California’s rich agricultural productivity comes with a price. The dry climate that provides the almost year-round growing season also can require heavily irrigated soils.  But such irrigation can also degrade the local water quality.

Two of the state’s most productive farming areas in particular, the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and parts of the Imperial Valley in southern California, have poorly drained and naturally saline soils.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: In California, Latinos more likely to be drinking nitrate-polluted water

Environmental Working Group analyzed California State Water Resources Control Board data on the San Joaquin Valley communities with nitrate levels in drinking water meeting or exceeding the federal legal limit. We found that almost six in 10 are majority-Latino. Latinos are also a majority in Valley communities with nitrate at or above half the legal limit, which is linked to increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Startup uses beneficial bacteria to aid water quality

Beneficial bacteria that quickly and effectively convert tailwater nitrates into gases could help answer an environmental challenge facing farmers, according to a Salinas-based startup company.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the Central Valley Water Board’s Irrigated Lands Program

Runoff and other discharges from agricultural lands affect water quality by transporting pollutants including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts, pathogens, and heavy metals from cultivated fields into surface waters. … Sue McConnell is the manager of the Central Valley Board’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  At the September 15 State Water Board meeting, she gave an update on the implementation of Order WQ-2018-0002, hereafter referred to as the ‘petition order’.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

The Delta’s blooming problem

Bright-green blotches of algae have been popping up all over the Delta since early summer, from Discovery Bay to the Stockton waterfront, befouling the air and poisoning the water with toxins that can sicken or even kill humans and animals. Veteran Delta watchers believe that this year’s harmful algal blooms may be the worst ever, and worry that some features of Governor Gavin Newsom’s recently released Water Resilience Portfolio for California will aggravate the problem.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

The big kahuna of California water — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — has stopped taking supplies from one Kern County groundwater bank because the water is heavily tainted with a cancer-causing agent that is pervasive in Central Valley’s aquifers. While only one banking program has been affected so far, the emergence of this issue could have huge implications for water storage and movement in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Farmers: California drainage project violates Constitution

Major California farmers last week revived a long-standing lawsuit challenging a politically tenuous federal irrigation drainage plan that has never been fully implemented.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Toxic algae keeps bathers, anglers out of two area lakes

Toxic algal blooms have resulted in a “danger” advisory not to go in the water at Prado Regional Park Lake and not to eat fish from the lake. A similar advisory at part of Big Bear Lake has been posted since last month.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Wine Industry Advisor

New winery wastewater regulations could cost small and midsize wineries thousands every year

The California state water board is working on an update to a permitting process with water discharge requirements that make sure wineries are in compliance with water quality regulation and allows them a pathway to compliance. The new order will affect over 2,000 wineries that discharge winery waste to land for the purpose of disposal or reuse for irrigation and soil amendment.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Harmful algal blooms are on the rise — here’s why stopping them is so hard

To be clear, not all algae are dangerous. In fact the vast majority are beneficial to ecosystems. They’re the base of the marine and aquatic food webs, providing nutrients for fish and shellfish, which in turn feed other animals — including people. They also produce half of our oxygen. “But a small handful of these organisms are harmful,” says phytoplankton ecologist Pat Glibert of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

Providing a reliable source of drinking water is a challenge for many small water systems in the San Joaquin Valley, where dropping groundwater levels, aging systems, and water quality problems are acute. … We talked to Laura Ramos and Sarge Green of Fresno State’s California Water Institute about this effort.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Toxic algae blooms spark warnings along Stockton waterfront

The California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said lab results from July 14 revealed high levels of a toxin called microcystins in scum samples from Mormon Slough, the downtown marina and Morelli Park Boat Launch that ranged from four to more than 20 times the state’s Tier 3 danger threshold.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water examines state’s effort to preserve Salton Sea, California’s largest lake

The state of California, long derided for its failure to act in the past, says it is now moving full-bore to address the Salton Sea’s problems, with ambitious plans for wildlife habitat expansion and dust suppression.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Stay away from harmful algal blooms in California waterways

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which naturally occur in waterbodies, can grow very rapidly into an algal bloom due to factors such as warm water temperature, calm conditions, and certain nutrients in the water. While some algae are harmless, certain types can produce toxins that can make people and animals sick.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California can lead the world to a more sustainable agriculture industry

The recovery from the COVID shutdown gives us a rare opportunity to rethink our relationship with the global ecosystems on which we depend. Like so many others, I long for a return to normalcy. But that’s not what we need. We must come out of this pandemic looking to address other looming crises. Our unsustainable agricultural system, along with climate change, are at the top of the list.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Officials say ’stay out of the water’ after harmful algal blooms found

Health officials are urging residents and visitors to stay out of the water in Discovery Bay after dangerous levels of harmful algae were detected. Marisa Van Dyke of the State Water Resources Control Board reported that recent lab results from water testing showed “significant” harmful algal blooms occurring in Discovery Bay. Multiple locations recorded a “danger” level, the highest threshold, she said.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California State University

News release: Steady streams: Bringing safe water to California communities

Over the years, much attention has been given to California’s drought, but less is known about the more than one million Californians in more than 300 communities who don’t have access to clean drinking water. To address this crisis, CSU faculty and students are performing community assessments, conducting research and assisting local engineering projects, often with support from Water Resources & Policy Initiatives. Take a look at some of the CSU’s ongoing work.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far… Unfortunately, in today’s highly politicized federal climate, it is unlikely that an effective solution to this problem will emerge from the U.S. EPA – at least not at the moment. So efforts by state regulators are particularly important.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Opinion: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways….In California alone, more than a quarter million residents in largely agricultural areas are served by water systems with degraded groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

How Mexico’s dry Colorado River Delta is being restored piece by piece

In the past decade, environmental groups have had success bringing back patches of life in parts of the river delta. In these green islands surrounded by the desert, water delivered by canals and pumps is helping to nourish wetlands and forests. Cottonwoods and willows have been growing rapidly. Birds have been coming back and are singing in the trees.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Helping dairy operators protect groundwater

Over the last 20 years, UC research has shown that dairies in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are potentially major contributors of nitrate and salts in groundwater. To maintain the quality of this irreplaceable natural resource, the California Water Resources Control Board has ramped up regulations to ensure that diary manure and wastewater application isn’t contaminating the aquifer.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper Klamath and Lost River subbasins.

Aquafornia news ABC30

Water worries for residents as dead fish float on Fancher Creek

Dozens of dead fish are floating to the surface along a Fresno County waterway and people living nearby are worried about their water. Fancher Creek flows from Pine Flat all the way into Fresno, mostly to let farmers get irrigation water. But fish also use the water, except right now, for about 200 yards, all of them are dead.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Cleaning Atwater’s contaminated water is city’s highest priority, says council

The Atwater City Council this week unanimously declared its highest priority public improvement project to be restoring the city’s clean water. The urgent resolution came after a carcinogenic chemical, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), was found in several Atwater wells — and in quantities exceeding state-approved maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Water bill designed to help bring clean water to Central Valley gets Republican opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California. In December 2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated drinking water.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Study: Toxic elements around Salton Sea could adversely affect nearby residents

More than dust-filled air could be plaguing residents around the quickly evaporating Salton Sea in Imperial Valley. University of California, Riverside research shows toxic aerosols could also be filling the air. The problem has to do with agricultural fertilizer in the Salton Sea wetland area.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Stop farmers’ poisoning of Bay Area drinking water supply

The Central Valley Regional Water Board has issued a 25-year permit for toxic discharges of agricultural wastewater into the San Joaquin River and Bay-Delta… Fishermen and environmental groups have appealed the water board’s decision to the state of California, leaving the future of this permit uncertain.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey gets final state OK

Pure Water Monterey has finally secured a critical final state approval and is poised to begin delivering potable recycled water to the Seaside basin by mid-February. After an all-day inspection of the $126 million recycled water project’s advanced water purification facility by a nine-member team on Tuesday, the state Division of Drinking Water signed off both verbally and by email.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: We must fix the Salton Sea. And, yes, water transfer is one hope

Tests are still finding such deadly pesticides as DDT, despite the ban of its use in farming during the 1970s. There are also untold amounts of ammunition from military testing as well as uranium left over from the Atomic Energy Commission for WWII-era testing. Proponents don’t claim sea water import is a perfect answer; just the most feasible means of containing these toxins as they are heavier than water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The nuts and bolts of the Central Valley Salts program

At a breakfast event hosted by the Water Association of Kern County shortly after the amendments were adopted, a panel discussed what the new program from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board means for dischargers in the Central Valley. The panel speakers were Clay Rodgers, Assistant Executive Officer at the regional water board; Tess Dunham, an attorney with Somach Simmons & Dunn; and Richard Meyerhoff, a water quality specialist with GEI Consultants.

Aquafornia news ABC30

City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million

The city of Corcoran and Curtimade Dairy have been neighbors for more than 100 years. But about four years ago, their relationship turned contentious. The city said it planned to sue the dairy for contaminating its drinking water wells with nitrates, a contaminant that if consumed, can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues.

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

Many of the people and businesses that once relied on the lake have left, driven away by the smell of dying fish or the fear of health problems. Those who remain — farmworkers, families, the elderly — are generally too poor to afford the rising cost of property elsewhere in the valley.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Lethal algae blooms – an ecosystem out of balance

In 2018, there were more than 300 reported incidents of toxic or harmful algae blooms around the world. This year about 130 have been listed on an international database, but that number is expected to increase. … The causes of the blooms vary, and in some cases are never known, but in many parts of the world they are being increasingly linked to climate change and industrialised agriculture.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

County board approves $350K to support Salton Sea rehab

The supervisors authorized the disbursal from the Coachella Valley Air Quality Enhancement Fund to help pay for the planned north end restoration of the 360-square mile lake, which will include the establishment of a lagoon to overlay exposed playa and mitigate the resulting atmospheric impacts.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Valley Citizen

Blog: Draining the last great aquifer: A group project

Environmentalists who had high hopes Gavin Newsom would lead the way to sustainable water use in the San Joaquin Valley are waking up to the knowledge that the new governor isn’t going to be any more effective than the old governor. Sustainability is just too big a lift.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid the wasteland of the Salton Sea, a miraculous but challenging oasis is born

It came as a bittersweet surprise to biologists and government agencies monitoring the steadily shrinking Salton Sea’s slide toward death by choking dust storms and salt. Thousands of acres of exposed lake bed have become, of all things, the unintended beneficiaries of lush marshlands that are homes for endangered birds and fish at the outlets of agricultural and urban runoff that used to flow directly into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly

Unfettered pumping has taken a toll on the state’s aquifers for many years, but just as experts are calling for Arizona to develop plans to save its ancient underground water, pumping is accelerating and the problems are getting much worse. Big farming companies owned by out-of-state investors and foreign agriculture giants have descended on rural Arizona and snapped up farmland in areas where there is no limit on pumping.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water fight between Kern district, Kings River managers

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news San Diego State University

Blog: Five takeaways from Re:Border: The Water We Share

Through a variety of panel discussions, presentations and a showcase of student research, the Re:Border conference is exploring how San Diego State University and its regional partners can contribute to innovative solutions for water-related challenges in the transborder region.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

A bi-national conference at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity… Experts at the Reborder 2019 conference discussed ways to improve regional access to “a secure and reliable water supply” through wastewater treatment and desalination.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Initially, federal scientists wrote a draft report that found increasing water exports would harm California’s native salmon population, a species already imperiled. Those scientists were reassigned. Now, the Trump administration and David Bernhardt have released a new proposal, and guess what? Westlands can grab even more water from the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Agencies scrap controversial Klamath Project biological opinion

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spent months working with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to mitigate potential harm to endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake, as well as threatened coho salmon in the lower Klamath River. … However, the bureau now says it received “erroneous data” from an outside source during consultation, meaning it must scrap the plans and start over again.

Related article:

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Toxic algal blooms are worsening with climate change

A new study that looked back at 3 decades of satellite data finds that these summertime algal blooms are indeed worsening in large freshwater lakes around the world—and that climate change may be undercutting efforts to combat the problem.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Creek deemed dirty

The board charged with overseeing the water quality in much of the San Francisco Bay Area unanimously approved a plan requiring local businesses, residents and government agencies to reduce the amount of fecal bacteria they put into the Petaluma River watershed, including San Antonio Creek.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

The water is cleaner but the politics are messier: A look back at the Clean Water Act movement after 50 years

Today, the quality of river water has improved markedly since the early 1970s, though critics say the red tape imposed through the Clean Water Act has become burdensome. The Clean Water Act has not been altered much over the past 50 years, though how we interpret the act has recently changed dramatically.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Trump Delta water policy threatens Stockton as well as salmon

The city’s fate is linked inextricably with the San Joaquin River… Much of the water upstream is diverted for agriculture, although a legal settlement ensures that the river no longer runs dry. Additional diversions at the downriver end … greatly reduce the amount of water that actually makes it through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the San Francisco Bay and then the Pacific. It is as if one of the state’s two great arteries … is detached from its heart.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Researchers look to wetlands to increase Delta water quality

By looking at how to manage levels of salt, mercury and nutrients heading into the San Joaquin River, researchers are aiming to boost water quality and reduce impacts on fish and other aquatic life in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … The project will examine wetlands — about 40 miles southwest of UC Merced’s campus — that drain into the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Improving nutrient management in California

In recent years the idea of nutrient management has been become even more important with increasing regulations related to nitrate levels in groundwater. Cooperation between water agencies and CDFA has helped to provide better education and outreach for the development of balance sheets for nutrient management.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

For California well owners, clean water is hard to get as state, local hurdles remain

As the state focuses on providing clean and affordable drinking water for millions of residents, those on private wells typically face an uphill battle. Private well owners confront significant financial challenges digging new wells, and connecting to a public water system involves a daunting local and state bureaucratic process…

Aquafornia news Vox.com

Prop. 65 was meant to protect residents from toxic water. Is that what it did?

The initial selling point of Prop. 65 — that it would eliminate toxins in the water supply by holding big business liable for its leaks — has largely been forgotten in 2019. These days, the law is better known for requiring eyebrow-raising warning labels on everything from bread to steering wheel covers to — briefly — Starbucks coffee, and it has turned into a national punchline.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In Napa Valley, winemakers fight climate change on all fronts

Wine producers are grappling with a maelstrom caused by a warming planet: heat waves, droughts, cold snaps, wildfires and more.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Disadvantaged communities claim a stake in state groundwater overhaul

A tiny community on the outskirts of the City of Sanger, Tombstone is a bellwether for groundwater issues… Most of the community’s 40 or so homes get their drinking water from shallow domestic wells, which can be vulnerable to both aquifer contaminants and falling groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Expiration date extended to 2021 for Regional Water Board’s Ag Order 3.0

A stipulated judgment in a lawsuit over a regulation to control pollution in runoff from agricultural irrigation systems has extended the expiration date for Agricultural Order 3.0 to Jan. 31, 2021.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

CV-SALTS plan to bring new requirements

Action by the state water board sets in motion a 35-year program of activity and research to address nitrate and salt content in Central Valley groundwater, in order to achieve water-quality objectives.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

The lost river: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the U.S.

The Colorado River serves over 35 million Americans before reaching Mexico – but it is dammed at the border, leaving locals on the other side with a dry delta.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

California’s Delta smelt are dying: How this affects the state’s water

The Delta smelt is such a small and translucent fish that it often disappears from view when it swims in the turbid waters of its home in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, it’s also been disappearing from the Delta entirely.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Water Board OKs 35-year plan to tackle farm pollution

A decade in the making, regulators on Wednesday approved new rules that will require the agricultural industry and others to shield nitrates and salt from seeping into groundwater supplies. “This is huge,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer of the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The nitrogen dilemma: Can we reduce fertilisers and still feed the world?

When nitrogen-based fertiliser runs into water systems it can result in toxic algae blooms, leading to oxygen depletion and vast oceanic ‘dead zones’. Evidence suggests their use also contributes to air pollution, increased rates of cancer and reduced biodiversity, as well as emitting nitrous oxide – an extremely potent greenhouse gas. … A team of scientists, led by the University of California, Davis, has come up with a five-step plan to tackle this two-sided problem.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

State water officials to vote on valley-wide plan to reduce nitrate and salt

Later this week, the State Water Resources Control Board will vote on a long-anticipated plan to reduce some of the pollutants flowing into Central Valley water. However, not everyone agrees on the details.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Poor Central Valley communities deserve safe, affordable water service

Access to safe and affordable water is a basic human right. Many of our communities have been without safe water for years or even decades because of contamination of our drinking water sources. Living in communities without safe water is a public health crisis. It is also a crisis of basic justice and equity.

Aquafornia news HowStuffWorks.com

How the Salton Sea became an eco wasteland

California’s largest inland lake, the Salton Sea, lies in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. The lake, which is more than 50 percent saltier than the Pacific Ocean, is becoming more salt than water because it’s essentially evaporating. The lake and the area that surrounds it — once hotspots for tourism and wildlife — have essentially become ghost towns.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Volunteers celebrate 10 years of combating silt, pollution in Tijuana River Valley

Pulling weeds is not usually a great way to start a party. But filling a dumpster with invasive species was just the right activity to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tijuana River Action Month on Saturday.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Tribe gives personhood to Klamath River

A Native American tribe has granted personhood to a river in northern California making it the first known River in North America to have the same legal rights as a human, at least under tribal law. The Yurok Tribe based near the southern border of Oregon confirmed the new status on the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news KUSI

Tijuana River Valley legislation signed by Gov. Newsom

Senate Bill No. 690 seeks to reduce exposure to dangerous pathogens, limit beach closures and address water quality issues in the Tijuana River Valley. The bill will also allow a $15 million budget allocation for cleanup efforts as well as prioritizing projects that will address water quality, flood control, trash and sediment.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Brown bag seminar: Managing water quality across boundaries

There are numerous agencies involved in water quality issues that are focused on the San Francisco Bay and the Delta. In this brown bag seminar, Stephanie Fong, Interagency Ecological Program Coordinator Chair, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, discussed the technical, geographical, and political boundaries that separate water quality monitoring in the Bay and the Delta.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Oregon releases plan to reduce water temperature in Klamath Basin

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a new plan to reduce water temperatures for endangered fish in the Upper Klamath and Lost River watersheds, though it could come at a price for farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego leaders meet with Trump administration to ask for fix to Tijuana River sewage pollution

Elected leaders from around the San Diego region met with the Trump administration on Tuesday to ask for help stopping the sewage-tainted water that regularly flows in the Tijuana River across the border with Mexico. Specifically, regional leaders tried to persuade federal authorities to fund a more than $400-million plan to capture and treat the pollution…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: How the Clean Water Act can combat harmful algal blooms

NRDC just released two analyses that look at how state water pollution control and public health officials deal with one of the most significant causes of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and one of the most important effects of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Is your favorite waterway facing the threat of toxic algae?

Because harmful algae blooms have increased significantly over the past 40 years and are now found in every state in the country, NRDC set out to find out how states are tracking this growing menace and how (and whether) states are educating and warning the public of the threats posed by toxic algae. … To our dismay, 16 states reported no data at all.

Aquafornia news Fox6 Now

California mayor calls Mexican sewage from Imperial Beach ‘international tragedy’

The mayor of this beach town, which abuts Tijuana, Mexico at a point that is visible by a border wall marking the two countries, is fed up with sewage and toxic chemicals flowing into the United States, and he is heading to Washington, D.C., to ask the Trump administration to do something about it.

Aquafornia news KPBS

South Bay officials, residents calls on president to act on border pollution

Tijuana’s sewage system appears to be incapable of handling the sewage generated in the Mexican city, and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina called the situation unacceptable. Dedina hoped to get the attention of President Donald Trump, who is in San Diego on Wednesday for a fundraiser.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Slimy lakes and dead dogs: Climate crisis has brought the season of toxic algae

From New York City to coastal California, a poison-producing living slime is overtaking waterways and shorelines, killing pets, ravaging tourism markets and making its way into local drinking water. So far this year, algae has been implicated in dog deaths and illness in California, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

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Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: Water victory shows power of people

In 2019, at long last, justice was finally achieved; it was secured through the combined power of the people and allies who said it was finally time to bring safe water to all Californians. On July 24, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will make sure all Californians have access to safe, affordable drinking water.

Aquafornia news UCLA

News release: UCLA to assess California drinking water systems to identify risks and solutions

Through a $3 million contract with the California State Water Resources Board, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation will conduct a statewide drinking water needs analysis to identify risks and solutions for water systems and private wells throughout the state.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: The Klamath River Basin is headed toward disaster. Here’s how we can save it

Salmon and steelhead that were once abundant in this great watershed are now at risk of extinction, a preventable disaster that can be averted by moving forward with the planned removal of four aging hydroelectric dams. While the Klamath River was once the third-largest salmon producer on the west coast, its fish runs have been declining for decades.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: East Coachella Valley residents, demand a cleaner environment

The state’s moves open up more opportunities for extension of drinking water service, operations and maintenance for domestic wells, and even demands action for Salton Sea conservation. The myriad issues east valley residents face are exacerbated by the public health impacts of the receding Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Removing dams is key to fish recovery

Removing the four aging hydroelectric dams from the river would significantly improve ecological and geomorphic conditions throughout the Klamath watershed and play a key role in returning salmon to stable population levels.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

Opinion: The water wars are here

Heather Hansman’s new book Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West explores the water emergency with remarkable calm and even-handedness. She focuses on a single river, the Green River, where ranchers, frackers, rafters, fishermen, and urbanites all fight for their share of the water, while contending with Byzantine state policies.

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Bioreactors to the rescue in polluted California wetlands

Farmers clearly appreciate the yields that fertilizers facilitate, but many acknowledge that these chemicals are tainting the land and water. Enter the Central Coast Wetlands Group and the Coastal Conservation and Research, Inc. and their new bioreactor designed to process agricultural runoff, turning algae-bloom-triggering waste into benign nitrogen gas.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Toxic algae spotted at Elk Grove’s Camden Lakes

A popular Elk Grove neighborhood destination has tested positive for the toxic blue-green algae that fatally sickened dogs across the country this summer.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Hurtado’s bill to provide relief for families without reliable access to water heads to governor’s desk

Senate Bill 513, authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), is headed towards Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for approval. The bill, which received bi-partisan support, will provide relief for families without reliable access to water by delivering a temporary alternative source of water supply.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

New UCLA study: State makes progress on goal to guarantee water as a human right

In 2012, California became the first state in the country to declare that “Every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water” when the state legislature inserted that statement into its state water code. Now, a new UCLA study finds, the state may be making progress on turning that goal into a reality.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Exeter says it won’t help community fix dirty water problem

The Exeter City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to scrap plans to connect Exeter’s water system with Tooleville, a rural community of about 80 households that has struggled for years with dirty water.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Opinion: Can California water woes be solved?

Can California’s water woes be solved? Some think that all it takes is money, which is exactly what the California Legislature may ask voters in 2020 for in the name of clean drinking water.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

9th Circuit revives Clean Water Act lawsuit over tile drains

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit that alleges tile drains in California’s Central Valley discharge pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Dairy lagoon water successfully blended in subsurface drip systems

Using dairy lagoon water to irrigate silage corn is standard practice. Running the thick, nutrient-rich water through subsurface drip systems could someday be just that as two California dairy farms, an irrigation company, and an environmental organization are working together to solve the challenges involved in the water thrifty practice.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Water to flow in Colorado River delta again

However, this is brackish water. For a few months we will see it in the Colorado below Morelos Dam, reminding us of the river that once flowed there. It is agricultural drainage that comes from farms in southwestern Arizona that use the Colorado River to irrigate in the desert.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

New Keyes plant filters out arsenic

Keyes’ problems with unacceptable high levels of arsenic arose in late 2006 when the district was issued a Notice of Non-Compliance from the California Department of Public Health. … The quality of Keyes’ drinking water had not deteriorated but the Environmental Protection Agency had lowered the maximum allowable contaminant level for arsenic from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. Three of four Keyes wells were testing at 12 to 14 parts per billion.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

These six projects could fix the cross-border sewage spills

The only bi-national financial institution dedicated to funding environmental infrastructure projects along the border unveiled six possible solutions to slowing down the cross-border sewage spills that routinely shut down southern San Diego’s beaches.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Dog deaths raise algal bloom alarm as states report more toxins

A high-profile series of dog deaths has awakened the public to the growing problem of toxic algal blooms, spurred by rising temperatures and pollution. The blooms are emerging as a national, not just regional, concern, according to preliminary data reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through July.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Potential cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms in Auburn and Folsom Lake state recreation areas

In recent weeks, two separate incidents of possible cyanobacteria poisoning in dogs have been reported at Moony Ridge (Folsom State Recreation Area) and Oregon Bar (Auburn State Recreation Area).

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Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

A new way to measure how water moves

A new method to measure pore structure and water flow is described in a study published in the journal Water Resources Research. With it, scientists should be able to more accurately determine how fast water, contaminants, nutrients and other liquids move through the soil — and where they go.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Boost seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration with ocean water

There has been overwhelming support from the public for salt water import to make up for the fresh water that has been sold off. It is not a perfect solution, but a doable one.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: California must follow water quality rules in Salton Sea restoration

The intent of the Salton Sea restoration is to mitigate losses of habitat for wildlife as the Salton Sea shrinks. However, mitigating lost habitat by replacing it with something harmful does not result in any benefits to wildlife; in fact, it makes things worse by creating a new exposure pathway that subjects wildlife to contaminants.

Aquafornia news USC News

Blog: As Salton Sea shrinks, experts fear far-reaching health consequences

University of Southern California researchers are exploring how losing California’s largest lake could affect the respiratory health of people throughout the Imperial Valley and beyond.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Tiny toxins: How algal blooms affect coastal systems through a complex web of interactions

Michelle Newcomer is a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area with expertise in hydrological and biogeochemical aspects of environmental issues, especially in watersheds and river environments. Now she is turning her expertise to algal blooms…

Aquafornia news ColoradoPolitics.com

Salt impacting water quality throughout the West, but a ‘grand deal’ has improved it

The Colorado is the most significant water supply source in the West, but it carries an annual salt load of nine to 10 million tons, said Don Barnett, executive director of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum. … For the past 40 years, the the forum has been “silently working away” at improving water quality and lowering salt content on the Colorado, which supplies water to 40 million people in seven states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news KAZU

Monterey County community organizes for clean tap water

A lot of money will soon be flowing into California communities with contaminated drinking water thanks to the new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Today at its meeting, the State Water Board will talk about how to implement that $1.4-billion program. One community that could use the help is north of Moss Landing.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA proposes to narrow water quality certification authority under the Clean Water Act

The proposed rule would re-write EPA’s existing Section 401 implementing regulations and significantly narrow the authority of states and Indian tribes when acting on Section 401 certification requests.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Common sense strengthens the Endangered Species Act

Although more fundamental ESA reform is needed, last week’s action yielded modest and common-sense improvements to implementation of an imperfect law. New efficiencies, clarity, and transparency will serve the purposes of the ESA and the public interest.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Taking the dog to the water? Tips to help watch for toxic algae

Not every bloom is toxic, but the toxins produced by the blue-green algae can be harmful and even deadly for pets when they eat the algae or drink the water, even in small amounts, water experts warn. Summer heat, stagnant or slow-moving water and nutrients from agricultural or septic runoff are an ideal recipe for the toxic stew.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Odor advisory issued for Salton Sea area; hydrogen sulfide leads to rotten-egg smell

Hydrogen sulfide is associated with the natural processes occurring in the Salton Sea, a non-draining body of water with no ability to cleanse itself. Trapped in its waters are salt and selenium-laden agricultural runoff from surrounding farms, as well as heavy metals and bacterial pollution that flow in from Mexico’s New River, authorities said.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Toxic algae has killed dogs across the U.S. this summer. Now California is on alert

Toxic, blue-green algae blooms that poisoned dogs across the country this summer with deadly results have California water officials on alert for the dangerous bacteria.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: Across U.S., eruptions of toxic algae plague lakes, threatening drinking water and recreation

In recent years, algae blooms – actually microscopic bacteria called cyanobacteria – have erupted in hundreds of lakes nationwide, putting at risk Americans whose drinking water comes from those lakes, or who swim, ski or fish in them. If ingested, microcystins can cause adverse health effects in people and animals, ranging from skin rashes to serious illness and even death.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: Across U.S., eruptions of toxic algae plague lakes, threatening drinking water and recreation

Microcystins are poisonous toxins that can form in blooms of blue-green algae. In recent years, algae blooms – actually microscopic bacteria called cyanobacteria – have erupted in hundreds of lakes nationwide, putting at risk Americans whose drinking water comes from those lakes, or who swim, ski or fish in them.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Six states sue EPA over pesticide tied to brain damage

California, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland and Vermont argued in court documents that chlorpyrifos, a common pesticide, should be banned due to the dangers associated with it.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Klamath River Renewal Corp. submits response to dam removal questions

Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced last week the selection of Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC to perform restoration work after the proposed removal of four Klamath dams, and on Monday, KRRC announced it had filed with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the answers to a plethora of questions brought forward by a Board of Consultants in December 2018.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Opinion: The long journey water pollutants take and how to prevent it

The 110-mile Russian River and all its tributaries move through many active communities and working lands which can affect water quality. Some of the main categories of water quality impacts can include chemicals, bacteria, sediment, and temperature.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Protection for the entire river’: Yurok, fishermen sue to save Klamath salmon

A new federal management plan for the Klamath River is proving to be a disaster for salmon, a lawsuit alleges. The Yurok Tribe and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Marine Fisheries Service on Wednesday because the new plan has led to drought-level flows in the lower Klamath River and an increase in salmon with a potentially lethal parasite…

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa’s water quality scores high, amid struggles in other California regions

Where Napa’s water quality is concerned, no news may be good news. A three-year analysis of the city’s water sources showed reservoirs meeting all federal and state limits on a variety of contaminants, a recently released report states.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Broken bubbling system on Stockton waterfront contributes to growth of harmful algae

The city of Stockton is working to fix a broken bubbling system that has caused an overgrowth of harmful algae along the Stockton waterfront. People who work near the deepwater channel believe the green sludge is preventing others from playing on the water.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Sutter County ordered to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water

Sutter County has been ordered to reduce arsenic levels in its drinking water or face some steep penalties from the Environmental Protection Agency. … If the county doesn’t comply, it could be fined more than $32,000 for each violation.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Wildfire, coastal issues worry Californians, survey finds

Californians are worried about global warming causing severe wildfires and consider the health of beaches and the ocean key priorities, according to a new statewide survey focused on the environment. … While the poll found significant concern about rising seas and more extreme heat, it was at a lower level than the preoccupation with wildfires.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Podcast: Speaking Of Water with Peter Gleick

I’m here with Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute. Peter serves on the Circle of Blue Board of Trustees from his base in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a bill directing some $130 million to improve access to clean drinking water for many state residents.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

30 Clear Lake sites tested, cyanobacteria concern in six Lower Arm areas

County and tribal officials are reporting that new testing at sites around Clear Lake have revealed half a dozen areas with cyanobacteria levels that trigger health warnings. Water monitoring is regularly done by the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Elem Indian Colony, a valuable service that helps facilitate safe lake use.

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Aquafornia news Washington Examiner

Border Patrol agents sickened by toxic raw sewage flowing into California from Mexico

Customs and Border Protection commissioned a six-month study, published earlier this year, of 42 samples from the river and two culverts during dry, wet, post-rain, and standing water conditions. … Justin Castrejon, a Border Patrol agent and regional spokesman, said the report validated the claims of agents who have complained of physical health ailments after patrolling the affected areas.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: We must use Sea of Cortez water to save the Salton Sea

The solution lies in filling the sea with water. But what source would produce enough water to cover the lakebed (playa) years into future years? Where would we get such huge quantities of fresh or salt water? There is but one realistic source: the Sea of Cortez.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Tiburon beaches closed amid bay contamination probe

State water officials ordered an investigation this week into the elusive source of contamination in Richardson Bay, where water samples collected near Tiburon beaches have shown high bacteria levels for more than two months.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Monday Top of the Scroll: Will California’s new water fund bring safe tap water to farm country?

In the state’s rural agriculture belt, many communities of color can’t drink the water in their homes. Fixing the problem may require more than money.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County looks to fix Tijuana River cross-border sewage flows

San Diego County officials are finalizing a list of projects that could help fix the region’s sewage problems. Sewage flows from Tijuana regularly foul San Diego’s ocean waters. That prompted the state, the Port of San Diego, a clean water group and several municipalities to sue the federal government to fix the problem.

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Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Officials warn against harmful algae blooms in Stockton and Stanislaus River

Officials are warning to stay out of the water at the Stanislaus River and Downtown Stockton due to harmful blue-green algae blooms.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom signs clean water bill in Fresno County

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed into law the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund bill in the tiny Fresno County community of Tombstone Territory — where residents rely on bottled water because their private wells are contaminated. Starting next year, Senate Bill 200 will provide $130 million annually to clean up drinking water in California communities like Tombstone that lack access to safe water.

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Aquafornia news The Coronado Times

San Diego delegation announces Tijuana River Valley solution bill package

Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) along with Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Mike Levin (CA-49), hosted a press conference to announce the introduction of their Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package. The combined legislation would further support mitigation efforts in the region.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

Kamala Harris proposes bill to invest in safe drinking water

The “Water Justice Act” would invest nearly $220 billion in clean and safe drinking water programs, with priority given to high-risk communities and schools. As part of that, Harris’ plan would declare a drinking water infrastructure emergency, devoting $50 billion toward communities and schools where water is contaminated…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: All Californians should have safe, clean water. But How?

When Gov. Gavin Newsom called for constructing and maintaining delivery systems to get water to at-risk communities in his State of the State address, he received widespread support. But the fight over funding for the project got divisive – and fast.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

EPA will not ban use of controversial pesticide linked to children’s health problems

The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition by environmental and public health groups Thursday to ban a widely used pesticide that has been linked to neurological damage in children, even though a federal court said last year there was “no justification” for such a decision.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at danger level: Public urged to avoid water contact

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. DWR increased the advisory from warning to danger after detecting an increased amount of microcystins.

Aquafornia news California Health Report

Opinion: State water agreement is a victory for health equity

Moving forward, we have an opportunity and an obligation to build on this agreement by addressing the barriers that confront small water systems that often have the most difficulty delivering safe, clean water. As advocates and organizers work to ensure that investments go to the communities with greatest needs, the public health community has the responsibility to step forward and align itself with the struggle for water as a human right.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: It’s not too late to save California’s salmon, but here’s what we need to do

If we can make things just a bit easier and provide reliable water and habitat, salmon in California can and will recover. This understanding informed the State Water Resources Control Board’s recent approval of a legally-required water management plan to reverse the ecological crisis that threatens an important coastal industry, drinking water for millions, and the natural heritage of California.

Aquafornia news ABC30

CDFW officers bust large marijuana grows that threatened South Valley bird habitat

Amid the vital habitat for wildlife, officers found that the suspects were using pesticides and fertilizers, including a 55-gallon drum of Roundup, and had an open trash pit and water pit used for premixing chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves clean drinking water fund

The California Senate on Monday sent legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom that will spend $130 million a year over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people. … Newsom had proposed a tax on most residential water bills to address the problem. Instead, the Senate approved a bill that would authorize spending up to $130 million each year on the state’s distressed water districts, with most of it coming from a fund aimed at fighting climate change.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

What is causing those harmful algal blooms? Water and heat

Weather conditions that make this a landmark year, like more rain, could be part of the reason for the algae blooms in Horseshoe Lake, putting the upper Bidwell Park lake off limits for use for the foreseeable future.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

California Assembly OKs clean drinking water fund

Legislative leaders reached a compromise with Newsom to take some money out of a fund used to improve air quality and use it for drinking water. … The state Assembly approved the proposal on Friday by a vote of 67-0. It now heads to the state Senate.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Why California’s fight against climate change must include clean water

California’s political leaders have made the long-overdue decision to clean up the Central Valley’s contaminated drinking water, and help cash-strapped rural water districts. The catch: rather than assess a fee on water users or tapping into the state’s budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature relied on cap-and-trade money to pay for a portion of the operation.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

After more than a decade, Lanare’s water is finally safe to drink

The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Runoff collects bacteria before flowing into ocean

To find out what’s in Southern California’s oceans, Spectrum News 1 went below the streets of Los Angeles into a storm drain to track the flow of water. We’re diving into a question scientists are facing: what is in L.A.’s water?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Toxic algae threaten 10 waterways in greater Sacramento area

The lake visitors call the “gem of Chico,” the local go-to location for a quiet and relaxing day trip on the waterfront, is infested with toxic algae, officials say. The Butte County Public Health Department warned people on Monday to stay away from Horseshoe Lake after colonies of microscopic cyanobacteria grew out of control…

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Mexican waters eyed as source to save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Hurtado secures $15M for area drinking water projects

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced Monday she has secured a $15 million one-time investment of General Funds for the southern Central Valley. The funds will address failing water systems that deliver safe clean drinking water to California’s most vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Rule: Court sides with WOTUS foes as legal fight gets messier

The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

A long-awaited bill to fund drinking water systems in rural areas faces decision time

By the State Water Resources Control Board’s estimates, more than a million Californians don’t have safe drinking water flowing through the pipes into their homes. … As Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to send his revised $213 billion budget to the legislature for approval, a trailer bill proposes that the legislature appropriate $150 million a year to a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. For example … many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults. … So I was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on March 20, 2019.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax millions of residential water users and others while California enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

‘Stop the Poop’ rally protests coastal pollution at the border

A local advocacy group held a rally Sunday morning calling on the federal government to stop the pollution of coastal waters caused by untreated sewage from the Tijuana River Valley.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Santa Clara River may be last of its kind in Southern California

The Santa Clara stretches 84 miles and through two counties from the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean just south of Ventura Harbor. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars have been invested to protect and restore the river, work that some say has reached a tipping point.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage flows from Tijuana completely shutter Imperial Beach shoreline

A beach closure that has been in place for months for the southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River.

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Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Be mindful of harmful algal blooms this summer

While there are all kinds of water safety issues to be aware of, the State Water Resources Control Board wants the public to know about one that may not be so obvious — freshwater harmful algal blooms, or HABs. As California confronts the realities of climate change, HABs have become increasingly common in rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and they can be especially dangerous to children and pets.

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Aquafornia news ABC 15 Arizona

How Arizona is cleaning up dozens of contaminated groundwater sites

Slow moving plumes of potentially toxic water are sitting underneath homes, businesses and schools throughout Arizona. … While some cities like Phoenix do not use groundwater for drinking water, much of the state does.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Senate rejects proposed tax on water bills

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s dairy industry faces water quality challenges

Contaminated groundwater is an ongoing problem in some of the state’s poorest rural communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. One big threat is nitrate, caused mainly by many decades of crop fertilization with chemical fertilizers and dairy manure. We talked to Anja Raudabaugh of Western United Dairymen about what can be done to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County moving ahead cautiously on watershed monitoring program

Cautiously, cautiously – that’s Napa County’s approach to creating a watershed computer model that could someday influence rural land use decisions in an effort to keep contaminants out of city of Napa reservoirs. Given the stakes, supervisors want stakeholders such as the wine industry and environmentalists involved in various decisions.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘Flint Is everywhere’: California farmworkers confront a tainted water crisis

Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

CalTrout gets big state grant to return 950 acres of Cannibal Island to marshland

The funding allows CalTrout to develop a broad team of agency partners to restore a 950-acre tidal marsh estuary surrounding Cannibal Island, adjacent to the mouth of the Eel River. … The goal of restoration is to transform the monotypic landscape of diked and drained land back to a mosaic of natural habitats and pasture with reconnected tidal slough channels and access for aquatic-dependent species.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: A new water tax? California has a $21 billion surplus, use that instead

Clean water is important, and there are a million people in the Central Valley without access to it. But do we need a new tax to pay for it? Maybe we don’t. Just last week, a state Senate budget subcommittee eliminated Gov. Newsom’s recommendation for a water tax and replaced it with a $150 million continuous appropriation from the General Fund.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Ideas abound to fix the California lake. Will any work?

Many have gazed across its shimmering expanse and seen an idea just as big to fix it. … So far, with the exception of geothermal energy, none have seen the light of day. But with new interest in Sacramento, the rough outlines of immediate, medium range and long-term plans to protect public health and restore wildlife are taking shape.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Unsafe drinking water is bad enough: But what if you’re the one tasked with fixing it?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

$1 million grant for Elkhorn Slough to help restore wetlands

Elkhorn Slough has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, which will be used to help restore approximately 63 acres—about 83 football fields—of tidal wetlands at the Slough. … Additional funds — equaling a $26.7 million — have been pledged by state and local governments, private landholders, and conservation groups.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

A different border crisis: It’s not security or immigration, it’s sewage

People who live along the southern border all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes that run from Mexico to wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must make drinking water safe for all consumers

No family should have to live in a community in which the water that comes from their taps puts their children’s health at risk. Over the last several years, the state has authorized millions of dollars for emergency actions and one-time patches, but has shied from doing what’s necessary to sustainably solve this problem.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Don’t panic, but California has yet another water problem

It’s true that a report published late last month in the journal Environmental Health found a link between California tap water and cancer. The study noted high levels of arsenic, plus numerous other contaminants that may be more toxic in combination than they are separately. … The problem is very serious — but not necessarily statewide.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties…

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Aquafornia news The Aggie

Is vertical farming a solution for feeding our growing cities?

Vertical farming also brings potential for solving our current and projected water issues in California. By using hydroponic system technology, water is constantly recycled and uses 98% less water per item than traditional farming. Adopting this technology would be greatly beneficial for our future, considering that California’s agricultural sector uses 40% of our water.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Business Journal

Environmental health hazards impacting the city of Long Beach

Across its multitude of neighborhoods, communities and cultures, the City of Long Beach offers a diverse haven for businesses and families to thrive. At the same time, the unique location of Long Beach in Southern California places it at the mercy of significant human health risks caused by both environmental and man-made factors.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

The Napa-Sonoma marshes are rebounding with wildlife

Once one of most extensive wetland areas in North America, the edges of the San Francisco Bay have become covered with farms, industry, and urban areas, squeezing out the marches and their animal and plant occupants. But at the lower end of the Napa River, a remarkable effort is underway to undo a century and half of damage to the once-thriving marshes.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Los Angeles’ urban-runoff projects expand, but dirty-water violators go unpunished, says NRDC report

While the state agency responsible for policing Los Angeles County’s polluted urban and stormwater runoff boasts significant progress in its monumental task, a National Resources Defense Council report this week criticizes the water-quality panel for lackluster enforcement.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

‘Desperately needed’: Congress OKs more than $29 million in disaster relief for California fisheries

It’s taken four years but fishermen along California’s North Coast who have seen crab and salmon seasons truncated and even closed altogether will finally see some relief after $29.65 million in federal disaster relief funding was approved by Congress. It was in the 2015-16 year the Dungeness crab fishery and the Yurok Chinook salmon fishery both collapsed due to poor water quality.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

California drainage deal sinks into doldrums

An ambitious California irrigation drainage deal is now mired deeper than ever in legislative and legal limbo, alarming farmers, spinning government wheels and costing taxpayers money with no relief in sight. Though nearly four years have passed since the Obama administration and the Westlands Water District agreed to settle their high-stakes drainage differences, the deal remains incomplete. Progress, if there is any, can be measured in inches.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Dam removal opponents keep up their fight

As the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced that they’ve contracted with a company for removal of four Klamath dams last week, opponents continue to insist the organization is ill prepared for the expense and consequences of removal.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Regional water board must address L.A.’s runoff problem

Every day, an estimated 100 million gallons of runoff contaminated with various pollutants flows through L.A.’s massive storm drain system to foul our rivers, creeks and, ultimately, our coastal waters. … Today, NRDC urged the Newsom Administration to encourage the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to address this serious public and environmental health threat.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Small fee would yield safe drinking water in California

We have a drinking water crisis in California—a crisis that has disproportionately impacted disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color for years. There is however hope as many voices, from many different people, with various political views, have now joined the fight to address this crisis.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Years into Tijuana sewage crisis, California senators call for federal help

A group of Democratic senators and San Diego County-based congressional representatives sent a letter to multiple federal agencies Tuesday urging them to address sewage runoff in the Tijuana River … Local and state officials as well as environmental activists have decried the condition of the Tijuana River for years, which regularly causes beach closures along the county’s coastline, particularly after heavy rain.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California and Imperial Irrigation District near Salton Sea projects agreement

Imperial Irrigation District general manager Henry Martinez and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot have reached an agreement in principle that the state will be responsible for construction and maintenance of more than 3,700 acres of wetlands aimed at controlling toxic dust and restoring wildlife habitat. In exchange, the water district will sign easements for access onto lands it owns that border California’s largest lake.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Court orders EPA to make final decision on banning controversial pesticide

A U.S. appeals court is forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a final decision on whether it will ban the use of a common pesticide linked to developmental disorders in children. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Friday ordered the EPA to make a final decision on whether it will ban the use of chlorpyrifos across the country. The agency has until mid-July to make its determination.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California’s new enviro chief talks alternative pesticides, recycling reform and Trump ‘upside-down days’

In a wide-ranging interview with KQED, California’s newly confirmed top environmental regulator says ensuring safe, affordable drinking water for all Californians is one of his top priorities; China’s rejection of previously accepted waste materials is a “crisis” that requires reforming the recycling process; and that the same innovation the state has brought to addressing climate change needs to be applied to developing alternative, safer pesticides.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Opinion: Advocating for dam removal, and the fish

Here’s what we know. The lower Klamath dams and reservoirs do not provide multipurpose water storage, flood protection, or irreplaceable energy. What they do provide are major barriers to fish migration, toxic blue-green algae and fish disease (C. shasta). The dwindling fish populations are proof. We must move forward with removing the dams and restoring the Klamath to the free-flowing river it once was.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Headwaters

I am standing where stream flow begins, in a nameless tributary of the Russian River to the east of Hopland, California. This particular spot and location has been a grazing livestock ranch, primarily sheep, going back more than 100 years. This is one of thousands of spots in the watershed where water comes to the surface, joins in a channel, and starts its path downstream.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: EPA won’t regulate pollution that moves through groundwater

EPA won’t regulate any pollution to surface waters that passes through groundwater. … If pollution travels through groundwater, EPA says, it “breaks the causal chain” between a source of pollution and surface waters. That could affect regulation of pollution from a variety of sources, including seepage from coal ash and manure management ponds, sewage collection systems, septic system discharges, and accidental spills and releases.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Proposal to build so-called ‘sewage pond’ angers some San Ysidro residents

Residents are concerned a proposed project aimed at tackling the pollution problem in the Tijuana River Valley will ultimately negatively affect them. … Some residents voiced they are not happy to hear about a proposal to build what they have dubbed a “sewage pond” near their homes.

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

Water quality talk turns contentious; Neighborhood watch meeting focuses on lilies

Smith River Neighborhood Watch coordinator Joni Forsht began by telling local Easter lily bulb growers that though the goal wasn’t to put them out of business, she wanted them to change their methods “as far as what you’re putting on the lily bulbs and where it’s going.” But before Wednesday’s meeting was over, the growers said they felt attacked.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Drought Resistance Outreach Program for Schools rain garden celebrated at Ukiah High

Prior to the installation of the system, the rain garden was hardpan dirt, allowing all the rainwater—contaminated and polluted with oil, gas, sediment, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers—to drain directly into Orrs Creek and the Russian River. The new garden is 3- to 5-feet deep and composed of carefully constructed layers of soil and rock, allowing the water to be cleaned mechanically and biologically filtering the biocontaminants.

Aquafornia news KQED News

‘There’s so much here that’s still alive’: Young filmmakers document a dying Salton Sea

Massive fish-die offs. Dead birds. A toxic stench. Bryan Mendez and Olivia Rodriguez are dissatisfied that those sad facts are the only things most Californians ever hear about the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland seas in the world.  

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Garbage in, garbage out: Sacramento’s Salton Sea restoration plan

At its core, the ill-advised attempt to “restore” the Salton Sea is nothing short of environmental malpractice. It will inevitably fail at a very high cost to both wildlife and taxpayers, succeeding only in perpetuating a hazardous condition.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Conservationists obtain $2.9 million to fight Salinas River’s arundo invasion

An invasive bamboo-like species called arundo is encumbering the natural ecology of the Salinas River and increasing flood risk to nearby farmland. But the conservation agency charged with protecting the area recently secured nearly $3 million from state coffers for the purpose of fighting the invasion.

Aquafornia news Plumas News

Watershed group will be testing Lake Almanor

Since 1993, the Lake Almanor community has been fortunate to have representatives from the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) assisting in the testing and assessment of the health of the lake and its tributaries. … The testers check for water temperature at the test location, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (amount of suspended matter in the water) and for various metals and minerals.

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