Under the fee structure, there are two types of water use: agricultural and “all others.” Ag users will be assessed a $4.79/acre fee and other users will be assessed $2.26 per service connection. (Ag accounts for more than 90 percent of the pumping from the basin.) The new fees are part of California’s effort to regulate groundwater, which has historically been treated as a “pump as you please” resource, not subject to the same restrictions as surface water, like the Carmel River that largely supplies the Monterey Peninsula.
Newsom has embraced an idea that has previously failed to gain traction in Sacramento: new taxes totaling as much as $140 million a year for a clean drinking water initiative. Much of it would be spent on short- and long-term solutions for low-income communities without the means to finance operations and maintenance for their water systems. … But the money to change that — what’s being called a “water tax” in state Capitol circles — is where the politics get complicated.
A landslide that dumped about 6 million cubic yards of rock and debris across California Highway 1 near near Big Sur, California, in May 2017 was the result of drought followed by deluge, a team of scientists say. … The researchers determined that water replaces air in the tiny spaces between soil particles, which greatly increased the pressure on those particles, speeding up the rate of collapse.
According to a new study from the UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences, waves are crashing onto the coastline with more force than ever before — and this increase in wave strength is directly correlated to ocean warming.
Salinas Valley farmers would cover the bulk of administrative costs for a state-mandated groundwater sustainability agency charged with balancing use and recharge in the agriculture-rich region under a proposal to be considered Thursday. Farmers would pay about 90 percent of the Salinas Valley Basin groundwater sustainability agency’s proposed $1.2 million annual budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year or about $1.08 million through a $4.79 per acre annual “regulatory” fee under the proposal, while public water system customers would contribute about $120,000 per year through a $2.26 annual fee.
The hottest and driest summers in state history have occurred within the last 20 years … Her bill, if passed, would allocate $2 million in funding from the Office of Planning and Research for a competitive grant program designed to develop “specified planning tools for adapting to climate change in the agricultural sector.”
Farmers, water managers and government agencies agree: Groundwater sustainability is critical for California. But achieving it could bring significant changes to the state’s agricultural landscape, according to speakers at a Sacramento gathering of water professionals.
Of the 517 groundwater basins and subbasins in California, local agencies submitted 43 requests for basin modifications for either scientific or jurisdictional reasons. … In the draft decision, DWR approved 33, denied seven, and partially approved three modification requests.
While unfamiliar to many consumers, dry farming is an age-old practice that entails carefully managing soils to lock winter rainfall into the top layers until it’s time to begin growing crops during the spring and summer. As little as 20 inches of rain – roughly the same amount that the Central Coast receives each winter on average – can sustain crops in the months without rainfall, with no need to add any extra water.
About 1 million Californians can’t safely drink their tap water. Approximately 300 water systems in California currently have contamination issues ranging from arsenic to lead to uranium at levels that create severe health issues. It’s a disgrace that demands immediate state action.
Questions about financial liability and concerns over weighted votes among member agencies of the Central Coast Water Authority prompted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to take no action on transferring the state water contract to that joint-powers agency. … CCWA has been trying to have the contract reassigned since it was formed in 1991, but the Department of Water Resources would not agree to the request because it was unclear if a joint-powers agency could levy a property tax if a member defaulted on financial obligations.
For the first time, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and collaborating institutions have documented the transition of a stable, slow-moving landslide into catastrophic collapse, showing how drought and extreme rains likely destabilized the slide. The Mud Creek landslide near Big Sur, California, dumped about 6 million cubic yards (5 million cubic meters) of rock and debris across California Highway 1 on May 20, 2017.
Just as Carpinteria was finishing its draft ocean adaptation report, the State of California put out some gloomy news: Sea-rise levels were now expected to rise 10 feet by 2100, not 5 feet. Carpinteria will be holding an all-residents-invited workshop on February 12 to discuss the findings and possible solutions.
Even with the onslaught of rainy weather, the U.S. Drought Monitor states San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County remain in a moderate drought. On Wednesday, the UC Cooperative Extension held a workshop in Solvang titled “Weather, Grass, and Drought: Planning for Uncertainty.”
The sewer rate increases approved for Morro Bay will go into effect in July, despite opposition from a group that earlier claimed it got enough protest signatures to stop the rate hike. Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins clarified in a recent report that the protest was unsuccessful and the measure will go into effect with customers seeing the additional charge on their August bill.
Plains All American Pipeline has applied for permits to rebuild a 124-mile pipeline across the Central Coast of California, a project that would enable ExxonMobil to reopen offshore production that stopped after Plains’ existing pipe caused an oil spill near Santa Barbara in 2015.
A new $50 million California American Water pipeline is officially in use. According to Cal Am engineering manager Chris Cook, the pipeline began conveying water from the Carmel River to the Seaside basin as part of the aquifer storage and recovery program last week, allowing the company to start reversing the historic flow of water from northward to southward and save money and energy in the process.
A partnership between Monterey One Water and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, the project is designed to produce up to 3,500 acre-feet of highly treated water per year to the Peninsula for injection into the Seaside basin and later extraction and use by California American Water for its Peninsula customers. … The recycled water project is a key part of the proposed replacement water supply portfolio for the Peninsula to offset the state water board’s Carmel River pumping cutback order.
By this time next year, 21 critically over-drafted groundwater basins in California must submit plans to the state’s Department of Water Resources for how to bring their basins back into balance. With this major deadline looming, it’s crunch time for water managers and their consultants – some of whom will begin releasing draft plans in the next six to eight months seeking required public comments.
The strongest Pacific storm of the season will lash California through Saturday with high winds, feet of Sierra snow, and heavy rain that could trigger flash flooding, debris flows and rockslides. If that wasn’t enough, another colder storm is waiting in the wings behind this first system.
Any day now, eel-like parasites with sucker mouths will wiggle up San Luis Obispo Creek and build underwater nests in the creek bed to spawn. … These ancient, jaw-less fish, which look like something out of a bad horror movie, are called Pacific lampreys. This is the third year in a row that the lampreys are in San Luis Obispo. That’s after they suddenly vanished for nearly a decade, leaving scientists bewildered.
Go deep into one of California’s most pressing issues – groundwater – by visiting an extensometer that measures subsidence, an active aquifer storage and recovery well, a recycling facility that recharges water into the ground and more.
Water well owners in Sonoma County may get billed for their annual water usage under a proposed water-conservation plan up for discussion next week at a community meeting in Santa Rosa. The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is hosting the Jan. 30 meeting to hear feedback on its proposed “groundwater sustainability fee,” which would provide funding to support the new agency.
The rainwater collection system is broken at the environmental research station on a remote, rocky Pacific island off the California coast. So is a crane used to hoist small boats in and out of the water. A two-year supply of diesel fuel for the power generators is almost gone. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel ordinarily would help with such problems. But they haven’t been around since the partial federal government shutdown began a month ago…
From 1,000 feet above, you can see surf pounding long sequences of seawalls and riprap rocks protecting homes, the ocean sometimes appearing to threaten structures, despite the installed barriers. Where there are cliffs with no homes, the waves gnaw away at the bluffs, moving the beaches at their base farther inland. The extreme king tides of the past few days occur only once or twice a year, but they offer a glimpse of what normal tides will be eventually be doing daily as the result of rising sea levels.
Even in the depths of winter it’s easy to bite into a plump blackberry or a delicate red raspberry, thanks to Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company. In late 2018, I traveled to the Pajaro Valley, west of Santa Cruz, for a tour of a Driscoll’s research facility, which provided an eye-opening view into how this family-owned company has become an agriculture leader selling berries every month of the year, and why they are so committed to water conservation.
California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula desalination project is in the midst of another critical phase even as a Carmel River pumping cutback order milestone requiring the start of construction looms later this year. … The city of Marina is on schedule to consider the project’s coastal development permit application covering mostly proposed desal plant feeder slant wells on the CEMEX sand mining plant by mid-March, according to a senior city planning official.
One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nitrate concentrations rose significantly in 21% of regions where USGS researchers tested groundwater from 2002 through 2012, compared with the 13 prior years. … “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff,” says David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.
A group of Lake Nacimiento residents is suing Monterey County for $120 million, claiming officials ignored the needs of recreational users by releasing more water from the reservoir than necessary. The lawsuit, filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in Paso Robles, alleges the county agency has mismanaged the reservoir and “operated the lake in a manner that renders it almost unusable by property owners and visitors for recreation.”
More than ever, water’s true value as a finite and precious resource is starting to be realised, and a growing number of investors are paying attention. There are plenty of examples of water risk. Campbell Soup Company took a hit in its quarterly earnings recently, due to an acquisition of a California fresh food company that was pummeled by the California drought.
Locally, the primary impacts of climate change on people can broadly be broken into four categories: sea level rise, drought, flood and wildfire. The good news is, work and planning are already well underway to mitigate impacts, though it’s hard to say how much of an effect the measures will have, and how much those agencies – and their constituents – will be willing to spend on them. But this much is clear: Local, state and federal agencies are taking climate change seriously, and treating it like the potentially existential threat that it is.
California’s new governor looked at the rainfall and saw millions of dollars in uncollected water taxes going right down the drain. In one of his first moves as chief executive, Newsom declared that he wants to tax the state’s drinking water, in order to give poor people access to safe and affordable water. I guess this is his idea of trickle-down economics.
Learn from top experts at our annual Water 101 Workshop about the history, hydrology and law behind California water as well as hot topics such as water flows, the Delta, disadvantaged communities and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. For the first time, the workshop offers an optional groundwater tour the next day
The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.
The announcement finalizes prioritization of 458 basins, identifying 56 that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.
Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a scoping report on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development on approximately 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate lands on tribal and privately held lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.
At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, a panel of experts discussed emerging issues as agencies work to develop their plans to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which became law in California in 2014.
The USDA estimates gross cash receipts for the dairy industry to be down 9 percent from the previous year but estimates poultry receipts to be 7 percent higher. After several years of strong production, gross receipts for tree fruit and nuts are expected to be slightly lower. Likewise, vegetable gross receipts are expected to be down slightly, though consumption remains stable.
During severe winter storms, Cold Springs Creek above Montecito turns into a torrent of mud, uprooted trees and shed-size boulders as it drains three square miles of sheer mountain front. The only thing protecting the people, homes and businesses below is a low dam that the Army Corps of Engineers built in 1964 at the mouth of the creek’s canyon, forming a basin between the steep banks to catch the crashing debris.
This 2-day, 1-night tour offers participants the opportunity to learn about water issues affecting California’s scenic Central Coast and efforts to solve some of the challenges of a region struggling to be sustainable with limited local supplies.
In the process of removing the San Clemente Dam in 2015, workers created a pristine route for the Carmel River, complete with step pools and nicely arranged boulders. Winter floods have since transformed the river route into anything but pristine, but the “messy” course has been good for the native steelhead.
In the wake of filing lawsuits in state Supreme Court challenging approval of the California American Water desalination project approval, the Marina Coast Water District and the city of Marina have both filed petitions with the state Public Utilities Commission for rehearing of the desal project application.
In a widely anticipated move, the city of Marina and the Marina Coast Water District filed lawsuits last week in state Supreme Court challenging the California Public Utilities Commission’s approval of California American Water’s desalination project.
After six and a half years of review, the state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved a permit for California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, including a North Marina desalination plant.
In a sign of how seriously the state Public Utilities Commission is taking the debate over the future of water supply on the Monterey Peninsula, all five commissioners attended a CPUC oral argument hearing on California American Water’s proposed desalination project in San Francisco on Wednesday. Several of those who attended the hearing said three of the five commissioners asked a number of questions of the parties to the desal project proceeding, and all five appeared “engaged and interested” in the issue.
In a major development for California American Water’s long-sought desalination project, the California Public Utilities Commission has issued a proposed decision recommending approval of the proposal known as the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.
After a protracted legal battle, a California Public Utilities Commission ruling has been issued requiring California American Water to release by this week unredacted [Monterey] county Water Resources Agency invoices for work on the long-defunct regional desalination project at the heart of a $1.9 million settlement agreement between the two.
Spurred by drought and a major policy shift, groundwater management has assumed an unprecedented mantle of importance in California. Local agencies in the hardest-hit areas of groundwater depletion are drawing plans to halt overdraft and bring stressed aquifers to the road of recovery.
Protect Monterey County, the organization that backed a 2016 anti-fracking ballot initiative called Measure Z, announced it filed an appeal this week challenging a judge’s ruling that invalidated part of the ordinance.
Several parties including the Monterey Peninsula mayors regional water authority have called for delaying California American Water’s proposed Marina desalination plant for a year or more to allow pursuit of a proposed Pure Water Monterey recycled water expansion and continued settlement talks in an attempt to avoid litigation.
More than half of a $173.5 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award to California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades will be designated for the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project.
On Thursday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration special agent Don Tanner confirmed the investigation will be conducted into the incident involving the spill of up to 4.9 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the bay from the Monterey One Water treatment plant.
An investigation will be conducted into the failure of a computer warning system at the Monterey One Water regional treatment plant which allowed millions of gallons of untreated sewage to flow into the Monterey Bay for more than eight hours late Friday night and early Saturday morning. According to Monterey One Water General Manager Paul Sciuto, the investigation began Monday morning and will be conducted by the consulting firm Pinnacle ART.
Taxpayers may not realize it, but they foot the bill as their city or county complies with new state regulations to improve the health of local streams and waterways. Nicole Beck, 49, a UC Santa Cruz alum with a doctorate in aquatic chemistry, is marrying science and software to help city and county staff get information to make better decisions on where to focus their limited resources.
The joint ground-mapping pilot project is designed to help Soquel Creek Water District and the County of Santa Cruz locate sandy soil areas to install collection basins and dry wells for easier passage for stormwater runoff to return to underground aquifers.
Attorneys on all sides began presenting their cases on the first day of the Measure Z trial on Monday, arguing over whether the voter-approved initiative establishing some of the nation’s toughest oil and gas restrictions is preempted by federal and state authority. … They [oil industry attorneys] argued the Measure Z campaign had misled voters into believing the central issue was fracking and water protection without fully addressing other aspects of the initiative.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors of the Water Resources Agency approved up to $500,000 for state-mandated emergency repair work to the county-owned Lake San Antonio and Lake Nacimiento dam spillways dubbed “minimum requirements” to allow the dam spillways to continue operating, with additional, classified assessments still being finalized that could result in further repairs.
It’s not every day that logging practices are put to use to restore salmon habitat. But for the past two weeks along the foggy, redwood-strewn banks of San Vicente Creek that’s exactly what has been taking place.
A number of challenges facing the proposed Interlake Tunnel project, including resistance from landowners near Lake Nacimiento, have delayed the proposal again by about six months. … The tunnel proposal calls for connecting Nacimiento and neighboring Lake San Antonio, in Monterey County, to allow water diversion from the former to the latter during higher flow periods.
Tommy Williams rips through an Alka Seltzer packet, dropping the antacids into a bucket of water teeming with juvenile steelhead trout. He has several minutes to work before the anesthetizing effect wears off and the fish wake up.
Western monarch butterflies, which crowd trees along the California coast every winter and flush them with color, have declined so dramatically since the 1980s that the species will likely go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done, scientists said Thursday in a population study of the treasured creatures.
A plan to enhance steelhead trout rearing and holding habitat in the Carmel River Lagoon by placing tons of organic materials in the waterway is on schedule to come to fruition on Sept. 20 after nine years of preparation.
One little bird is raising big hopes for the re-wilding of a special species. A fuzzy gray condor chick — the first-ever “second generation” wild-born condor in a long and hard recovery plan for the endangered birds — has been discovered in a redwood tree in Big Sur.
The coastal town of Davenport, gateway to the new Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument and home to 100 households, may be running out of water. The problem started in February when storms damaged the water intake at San Vicente Creek that provided the town with water.
It’s expected to cost area agri-businesses about $1 million to provide bottled water to lower-income Salinas Valley residents whose water supply has been contaminated by nitrates in the first year of a pilot program.
State Public Utilities Commission officials are seeking input on whether to conduct new hearings on California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project to address a number of issues, potentially including an updated project demand forecast and desal plant sizing evaluation that could lead to a smaller initial plant that could be more easily expanded as demand grows in the future.
Lauded as a model for regional collaboration and innovation, and even the “wave of the future” for the rest of California, the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project was universally praised by a group of dignitaries at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.
Machine Gun Flats Lake sits placidly in a natural depression on what was once an Army training area. It is one of about 45 vernal pools on Bureau of Land Management land on Fort Ord, teeming with life after an exceptionally wet rainy season, and a welcome sight after years of drought.
A California American Water official argued the company’s desalination project can secure key permits and approvals within six months of certification of the final project environmental review document and start construction shortly afterward, despite a series of delays involving the draft report and the prospect of seeking a critical permit from the city of Marina.
Mineral rights and royalty owners have filed a new lawsuit against Monterey County, challenging voter-approved Measure Z, which establishes some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on oil and gas operations in the state’s fourth-largest oil-producing county. … Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and wastewater injection into aquifers will still be prohibited during the stay.
A Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary representative said the latest delay involving California American Water’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project — a 30-day extension of the public comment period on the project’s draft combined state and federal environmental review document — could push back finalization of the report by a month.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a letter to the California Department of Conservation expressing their concerns about a proposal to expand the boundaries of an aquifer where oil-production wastewater is being injected.
ARkStorm stands for an atmospheric river (“AR”) that carries precipitation levels expected to occur once every 1,000 years (“k”). The concept was presented in a 2011 report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intended to elevate the visibility of the very real threats to human life, property and ecosystems posed by extreme storms on the West Coast.
A new ruling issued by a state Public Utilities Commission member has indicated the full commission likely wouldn’t consider approval of California American Water’s Monterey Peninsula desalination project until March 2018, four months after company officials had hoped, and suggested that consideration could be delayed even further.
Lake Cachuma, a giant reservoir built to hold Santa Barbara County’s drinking water, has all but vanished in California’s historic drought. It reached an all-time low this summer — 7 percent capacity, which left a thick beige watermark that circles the hills framing the lake like an enormous bathtub ring.
With the passage of Measure Z, which has captured nearly 56 percent of the vote so far, Monterey County would become the first oil-producing county in California to ban fracking and expansion of risky oil operations. … Monterey County, which ranks fourth statewide in oil production, becomes the sixth county in California to ban fracking.
Outgoing Rep. Sam Farr addressed a 23-member panel bringing together local representatives from four counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, municipal flood control staff members and the two candidates running to replace him on Nov. 8, Casey Lucius and Jimmy Panetta.
The good news for humans and other mammals, said UC Santa Cruz professor Raphael Kudela, is that the stink and clingy nature of the foamy water at beaches around Monterey Bay is the worst of it, because the algal bloom is not producing a toxin.
Mired in drought, expectations are high that new storage funded by Prop. 1 will be constructed to help California weather the adverse conditions and keep water flowing to homes and farms.
At the same time, there are some dams in the state eyed for removal because they are obsolete – choked by accumulated sediment, seismically vulnerable and out of compliance with federal regulations that require environmental balance.
Backers of a new Monterey Bay desalination project think they have found a fix for the environmental problems posed by most seawater intakes: Instead of drawing seawater from the beach, they plan to draw from the one of the world’s deepest marine canyons.
In what local water activist Ron Weitzman promises is a precursor to further litigation, the Water Ratepayers Association of the Monterey Peninsula has filed suit against the state Coastal Commission and Monterey County seeking to halt California American Water’s slant test well program for the proposed desalination plant project.
Promised state funding for the increasingly costly Interlake Tunnel project in legislation backed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has been cut by 60 percent to $10 million, potentially risking long-term project financing.
In an effort to help maintain the balance between freshwater habitat and flood protection, the Monterey County Resource Management Agency brought in special crews to work at the Carmel Lagoon area Monday.
Local architect Cove Britton is seeking to correct what he contends are inaccuracies in preliminary flood insurance rate maps that could negatively affect his clients and their neighbors in tony Pleasure Point. … Three years ago, homeowners from Oregon to Maine complained about map inaccuracies, according to Pro Publica, an investigative journalism nonprofit that found money for FEMA’s map project was cut by Congress.
About 100 people, from stakeholders and supporters to dignitaries and politicians, came out to the former site of the San Clemente Dam on Monday to celebrate the removal of the dam and Carmel River Reroute Project.
Reversing course on conducting a series of impact studies, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to place a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas well stimulation techniques on the fall ballot.
Backers of a proposed initiative aimed at banning fracking and other oil and gas exploration practices announced Thursday their petition signatures have been verified and deemed sufficient by the Monterey County registrar of voters just days after the Board of Supervisors ordered impact studies on the initiative.
A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.
When fully implemented, SGMA is expected to effectively administer groundwater pumping, though it remains to be seen if some of the damage done to aquifers is irreparable. Without SGMA, however, there is no hope for management.
The group Protect Monterey County delivered 16,108 signatures Wednesday to the Monterey County Elections Department in support of putting an initiative on the November ballot to ban fracking and dangerous oil production practices in the county.
Hoping to expand on similar bans already in place in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Mendocino counties, environmentalists on Tuesday launched a ballot campaign to prohibit fracking in Monterey County, setting the stage for another expensive battle with the oil industry over the controversial drilling technique.
More than five years after the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District was barred from collecting a user fee on California American Water bills to pay for Carmel River mitigation and other work, the California State Supreme Court ruled the state Public Utilities Commission had no authority over the fee.
California American Water’s latest Monterey Peninsula water supply project cost estimates show a larger desalination plant would cost the same as previous estimates, but a smaller desal plant would be more expensive. That would potentially squeeze the cost of a supplemental recycled water project unless it qualifies for grants and low-cost financing.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an amended water recycling agreement between the county Water Resources Agency and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency, the primary backer of the groundwater replenishment project also known as Pure Water Monterey.
A critical source water agreement for the proposed Monterey Peninsula groundwater replenishment project, and expanded North Monterey County agricultural irrigation, is headed to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday after the county Water Resources Agency board blessed it Monday.
A groundwater replenishment project aimed at providing the Monterey Peninsula with potable recycled water continued to forge ahead of California American Water’s desalination project during a state Public Utilities Commission hearing Monday.
California American Water is expected to resume pumping from its stalled Monterey Peninsula desalination project test slant well operation by early November after the Coastal Commission gave its unanimous approval Tuesday.
Saltwater intrusion challenges nearly every town and farm district in California that borders the Pacific. Many have been fighting back the ocean for generations. Bulletin 52, the first state report to document the salt problem in the Salinas Valley, a farming center just south of Watsonville, was published in 1946.
A more thorough, joint environmental review of the oft-delayed Monterey Peninsula desalination project by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the state Public Utilities Commission will likely take about a year to draft and finalize, according to representatives of both agencies.
This week, the BBC and PBS are showcasing the success story of Monterey Bay in a series of live prime-time television events called “Big Blue Live.” … As a member of the Santa Cruz City Council in the 1980s, I [California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird] was part of a regional effort to designate the Monterey Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary.
Facing another delay on California American Water’s desalination project, the Monterey Peninsula regional water authority weighed in this week on the major reasons for the delay — the apparent Geoscience conflicts of interest and the stalled test well operation.
California American Water officials have acknowledged using patented slant well technology by Geoscience president Dennis Williams in the Monterey Peninsula desalination project after previously denying it.
Santa Barbara City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $55 million to reactivate a mothballed desalination plant that could provide the city with nearly a third of its drinking water.
In order to sort out an apparent conflict of interest and its fallout, the state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday extended the public review period for California American Water’s latest desalination project’s draft environmental impact report by nearly three months.
California American Water and a group of experts will be asked to prove regional agricultural irrigation pumping caused most, if not all, of the decrease in north Marina groundwater levels that halted pumping of the Monterey Peninsula desalination project’s test slant well last month.
Soquel Creek Water District leaders are looking at purchasing a new piece of water main-flushing technology as one of several potential water-saving projects that they could fund through fees paid by new district development permits.
Santa Barbara, known for its landscapes fed by coastal fog, has always had a cautious relationship with water. And its history of conservation may hold lessons for other upscale communities such as Beverly Hills and Rancho Santa Fe being forced to slash their hefty water consumption because of the drought.
For the second time in less than a month, Monterey Peninsula business leaders are seeking a legal and technical analysis of California American Water’s desalination project in an effort to sniff out any issues that could potentially further delay or derail the proposal.
The decision, approved in a 3-2 vote, aligned with results of a recent [Soquel Creek Water] district phone survey of 300 customers, 90 percent of who said they were already doing everything they could to conserve water and who were less supportive of mandatory water rationing and penalties.
For nearly 25 years, the desal plant has sat unused. That’s about to change. As nearby beachgoers swam, sailed and paddle boarded on an overcast morning last week, Santa Barbara officials showed off those tanks and pumps, describing their plan to turn seawater into drinking water.
California American Water submitted a draft petition to the state water board last month aimed at delaying the deadline for reducing its river water pumping by four years from the end of 2016 to 2020. It promised to meet a series of milestones including completion of a desalination plant capable of providing a replacement water source for the Peninsula by the new deadline.
Reclamation has released for public review environmental documents for the proposed zebra mussel eradication project for San Justo Reservoir, the Hollister Conduit and the San Benito County Water District’s distribution system. The proposed treatment is to use potash which has been shown to be effective in killing zebra mussels.
An oil company has sued to block San Benito County’s voter-approved fracking ban in a move that could affect the growing trend of California cities and counties’ efforts to stop the controversial oil drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing.
In drought-ridden California, many water bills are calculated using a basic principle: The more water a customer uses, the higher the rate. It’s a strategy water districts employ to boost conservation.
This winter, a large sandbar planted itself in front of the Salinas River, not an unusual phenomenon on waterways throughout the Central Coast. But as the waters rose behind it — threatening and, once heavy rains hit, eventually flooding crops — county water officials could not push the wall of sand aside.
The first step toward finding solutions to long-standing groundwater overdraft in the Pajaro Valley was to acknowledge the problem and agriculture’s contribution to it, said Miles Reiter, chairman and CEO of Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates Inc.
A state Public Utilities Commission judge will allow public debate over the proposed regional desalination project settlement agreement between California American Water and Monterey County later this month, delaying the commission’s scheduled review on Thursday.
After resisting disclosure, Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority president Jason Burnett released a draft proposal late Tuesday aimed at delaying a state-ordered cutback in pumping from the Carmel River by four years.
This handbook provides crucial background information on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, signed into law in 2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The handbook also includes a section on options for new governance.
The enterprise has been known locally as the California Flats Solar project and Arizona-based First Solar is building the facility. It was given the thumbs up from the county planning commission in January. It is expected to get final approval from Monterey County Supervisors on Tuesday.
After receiving nearly 160 percent of normal rainfall in November and December — thus causing Santa Cruz to suspend mandatory water rationing for residential customers — the driest January on record stands as a stark reminder of how vulnerable the water supply is to nature’s mood swings.
With December’s deluge now a distant memory and a bone-dry, unseasonably warm January coming to a close, even a wet February and early spring likely won’t help the historic drought conditions affecting Monterey County and the rest of the state, according to a National Weather Service expert.
A year after forming a special panel to evaluate future water supply options, the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday agreed to extend the group’s timeline for making recommendations and increase spending for a facilitator to guide the work.
From building a tunnel connecting two south county reservoirs to clearing the Salinas River and dealing with its half-century-old river diversion permit to managing the Salinas Valley groundwater basin — not to mention the promise of a recently approved $7.5 billion state water bond — Monterey County and its water resources agency are facing an unprecedented number of crucial water-related issues.
Although Soquel Creek Water District officials pulled the plug last year on a $3 million mandated conservation program, the agency soon will roll out some components of the initiative designed to reverse groundwater overdraft.
Santa Barbara County water agencies announced Friday that they will receive $2 million in state funding for a pumping project at Cachuma Lake — a source of drinking water for 220,000 people on the southern central coast — where water levels have dropped precipitously low.
Residents are getting a sample of Santa Cruz County’s summer-like weather this weekend as temperatures are expected to reach into the 70s. … The weather is the latest stage of the unseasonably warm and dry weather hovering around as California enters its fourth year of drought.
Deadlines for meeting a new state mandate to balance the overdrafted Salinas Valley groundwater basin are years away, but Monterey County water and agricultural industry leaders are calling for the local process to begin immediately.
A split Marina Coast Water District board decided to resume its previous quest for a desalination plant, with a goal of providing a new potable water supply within two years to new development in Fort Ord, including Monterey Downs.
Last year, as drought gripped California, [Javier] Zamora’s bills for water and the electricity that runs the pump at his well skyrocketed. But this year, he invested in a new irrigation system that’s dramatically cutting his costs and water consumption.
The plan, which would establish the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument, could bring national attention to the bucolic oceanfront land along Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Davenport. … On Feb. 12, Bruce Babbitt, who served as U.S interior secretary under President Bill Clinton, will travel to Santa Cruz for a free public event at 6 p.m. at the Kaiser Permanente Arena to kick off the campaign and answer questions.
California’s drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns for most communities, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.
The coastal tourist town of Cambria, located just below Big Sur and adjacent to Hearst Castle on California’s central coast, will begin pumping about 300 gallons a minute of treated water into the local aquifer this week. The new water source is part of a controversial emergency solution—built just this fall—to keep the community from running dry.
For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay. That’s where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.
The Carmel River had just begun flowing after the recent rains, prompting Lorin Letendre and several others to hike up to a ridge above the San Clemente Dam in Monterey County this past week to see the surging stream. … The new river channel will allow workers to take down the dam structure next year without worrying about a catastrophic mudslide.
Is it over? We’re not talking about the storm that hit Northern California and the Central Coast Thursday, inspiring apocalyptic media coverage and leading to store shelves being stripped of flashlight batteries and tarps.
The deluge meteorologists warned about, deemed to be the strongest to hit Monterey County in seven years, arrived and it delivered floods, road closures, power outages and plenty of rain throughout Thursday.
Ahead of a storm that is expected to drench the Monterey Bay region, Santa Cruz officials announced Monday the temporary lifting of mandatory residential water rationing and fines in favor of maintaining voluntary conservation at drought-driven levels.
Testimony concluded on Friday in the regional desalination project trial in San Francisco Superior Court, with a preliminary ruling not expected until February. … In a separate suit, Cal Am is seeking to relocate a Sacramento County Superior Court challenge filed by Marina Coast seeking to halt the company’s slant test well project for its current desal proposal, asking a judge to move the case to Monterey County.
If you were plotting the epicenter of a daring trend or gathering the vanguard for a revolutionary charge, San Benito County might not be the first place you’d start. … But after a stunning election victory, residents of this farming region find themselves on the sharp edge of a growing movement to ban hydraulic fracturing via local voter initiatives.
A proposal to deliver wastewater from a Toro-area community services district to the regional treatment plant for recycling could be a key part of any Monterey County Board of Supervisors approval of the Ferrini Ranch development.
Construction is under way on a 26-home sustainable community in San Luis Obispo. … The site has been built with local water issues in mind as well: There will be an on-site storm water management and “rain-store” retention system …
Officials with the Cambria Community Services District plan to flip the switch Nov. 15 on a $9 million desalination plant that will provide the community with a desperately needed new supply of drinking water.