Topic: Drinking Water


Drinking Water

Finding and maintaining a clean water supply for drinking and other uses has been a constant challenge throughout human history.

Aquafornia news San Clemente Times

Cost analysis for desalination presented to SCWD board

Ocean desalination has been named as one of the South Coast Water District’s top priorities—even more so as California undergoes an unprecedented water shortage. In 2008, a Pilot Ocean Desalination Project was first initiated at Doheny State Beach, and the facility operated successfully for 21 months between 2010 and 2012. Subsequent to this effort, the District has proceeded with planning for an Ocean Desalination Facility. 

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Drought on Mendocino Coast: State Water Board amends curtailment orders to expedite water deliveries

To expedite the delivery of much-needed drinking water to coastal Mendocino County residents whose wells have gone dry, the California State Water Resources Control Board has amended its previous curtailment orders to allow the city of Ukiah to draw water from the Russian River for emergency supplies. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

County’s fracking lawsuit also targets other oilfield regulatory actions

The lawsuit Kern County filed this week against Gov. Gavin Newsom is aimed at not only ending his de-facto ban on fracking but also at easing state regulatory constraints on at least two other oilfield techniques common locally. As part of its larger argument that the Newsom administration has overstepped its constitutional authority, Monday’s petition for a writ of mandate in Kern County Superior Court asserts Newsom had no right in 2019 to place a moratorium on high-pressure cyclic steaming or require extensive “area of review” analyses prior to approval of underground injections.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Water begins flowing to the coast due to new county program

Water has begun trickling from Ukiah to Fort Bragg, and the county’s main task going forward is to scale up hauling to meet demand. The city of Fort Bragg announced Sept. 9 that it had received its first 5,000-gallon delivery of water from Ukiah and is expected to receive 10,000 gallons per day that will allow Fort Bragg to resume outside water sales after halting them in mid-July. The two certified water haulers on the coast can resume their water sales, too…

Aquafornia news Orange County Water District

News release: Orange County Water District receives award for pilot testing program removing PFAS chemicals from water

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been named an American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) 2021 award winner in its annual Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science competition, for launching the nation’s largest per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pilot testing program. OCWD received an Honors Award in the research category for advancing state of the art environmental engineering or science practices. 

Aquafornia news Pro Publica

Reporting on climate injustice in one of the hottest towns in America

Thermal’s farmworkers earn, on average, between $15,000 and $17,499 a year, and they struggle to access clean drinking water and cool their homes adequately in the 110+ degree summer heat. Every year the housing authority is on high alert for heat-related deaths. Pedro Nicolas, a community leader and undocumented immigrant living in Thermal, told reporters his family slept in the hallway in the center of their trailer during the summer; because of the trailer’s lack of insulation, that was the coolest place in the house.

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Aquafornia news Water News Network

News release: Water infrastructure project to begin in Poway

Construction will start soon on the first of three projects to increase the reliability of drinking water for Poway water customers now and generations to come. Two water storage tanks will be built as part of a temporary bypass project. During construction access to some amenities at Lake Poway will be impacted. The ballfield at Lake Poway will be closed beginning Monday, September 20 for the construction of two tanks, each with the capacity to store 1.4 million gallons of treated water. 

Aquafornia news Fox 10 - Phoenix

‘A godsend’: Monsoon rains fill water catchments across Arizona, bringing relief to wildlife

For years, trucks have hauled thousands of gallons of water nearly every day to 3,000 water catchments throughout Arizona to help keep wildlife hydrated during the drought. That work still continues, but Mother Nature has been a huge help in recent weeks. … The constant monsoon rains have filled nearly every Arizona water catchment to its brim.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County CA towns unable to solve drinking water crisis

The longer it takes for two new wells to be dug in Cantua Creek and El Porvenir in western Fresno County, the deeper in debt the towns are mired. Now, with the drought, those well projects are in a race against dropping groundwater levels as farmers, cut off from surface water supplies, are leaning more heavily on the aquifer. The well projects started in 2018 and aren’t scheduled to be completed until sometime next year.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council approves water rate hikes for PFAS treatment funding plan

Pleasanton water ratepayers can expect a bigger water bill in the future after the Pleasanton City Council unanimously approved a funding plan for final design of the city’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and wells rehabilitation project on Tuesday. … City officials are currently proceeding with the estimated $46 million project’s final design to address the detection of PFAS — synthetic chemicals found in common household items like paint and known to be harmful to humans — in the city’s wells. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Emergency water starts flowing to Mendocino Coast communities

Emergency water shipments have begun making their way to desperate consumers on the Mendocino Coast, a result of collaborative efforts by county and city officials from Ukiah and Fort Bragg. But the rollout is starting slowly, and Mendocino County officials are still working to recruit haulers with the right kind of tankers to meet the demand. Only one truck hauling 5,000 gallons a trip is working at the moment, with enough time in a day to make two deliveries from the water source in Ukiah to Fort Bragg, according to county Transportation Director Howard Dashiell.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State seeks public comments on draft groundwater management principles and strategies related to drinking water well impacts

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board have developed draft groundwater management principles and strategies to better anticipate and minimize the impacts of drought on drinking water wells. Developed in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s April Executive Drought Proclamation, the principles and strategies provide a framework for State actions to proactively address impacts on groundwater-dependent communities as droughts become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change. 

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

BLM is removing more than 700 horses from public lands in Colorado, citing exceptional drought

The Bureau of Land Management is rounding up more than 700 horses living on public land in northwest Colorado, a sharp reduction of a herd that officials say is too large and roaming in dangerously dry conditions. Over the last week, contractors have used helicopters to corral mustangs living in the Sand Wash Basin, which includes 155,000 acres of public land managed by the federal agency in the northwest corner of the state.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California bill to reduce toxic PFAS exposures passed by legislature

The California Legislature took an important step to protect Californians from toxic, “forever” PFAS chemicals by passing Assembly Bill 1200 (Ting) today. Having previously passed on the Senate floor 36-0, the bill now goes to the Governor. AB 1200 would help make our food and our environment safer by banning the use of toxic, “forever” PFAS chemicals in paper-based food packaging.

Aquafornia news American Society of Civil Engineers

Blog: Desalination offers great promise, requires further research, panelists say

With much of California and other western U.S. states experiencing significant drought, the need to pursue further advancements in desalination has never been greater. This was a central theme of an Aug. 11 webinar, titled “Discussion on Desalination — Treatments, Research, and the Future,” conducted by the WateReuse Association. Historically, desalination has been viewed as a separate component within the water sector, but that perception is changing, said Peter Fiske, Ph.D., the executive director for the National Alliance for Water Innovation and one of three presenters featured during the webinar. 

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Ukiah plans to resume drawing water from Russian River to help coast

The city of Ukiah has been relying primarily on groundwater, recycled water and conservation to get through the drought and hasn’t been exercising its right to water from the Russian River, which is experiencing historic low flows. That’s about to change now that the city has agreed to help the coast through the drought.

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Aquafornia news Water and Wastes Digest

The surprising places PFAS are being found

In the last five years, the environmental problem known as PFAS has become mainstream public knowledge and a growing public concern.  Aided by popular movies, books, and environmental advocates, including dozens of recently-formed citizen action groups, many have now heard of PFAS — shorthand for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — and are familiar with one or more potential health consequences from prolonged exposure to these chemicals — e.g., cancer, immune system malfunctions, hypertension, thyroid and kidney disease.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Family’s death in Sierra National Forest, near Yosemite, still a mystery

[A] day of hiking in the Sierra National Forest, even with the demanding switchbacks and triple-digit heat, would not have been unusual for Jonathan Gerrish and Ellen Chung, husband-and-wife transplants from San Francisco who had recently become parents to a little girl, Miju, during the coronavirus pandemic. But the trek would be the family’s last: Search teams found all three of their bodies on Aug. 17 … The Forest Service had previously posted warning signs about potentially toxic algae blooms in the area.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought takes toll on Central Valley farmworkers

For decades, farm labor has kept unincorporated communities alive throughout the Central Valley. But the drought is making it hard to stay. The dearth of essential resources — clean water, adequate housing and fair employment wages — has crippled towns that are easily overlooked and triggered a slow exodus to bigger places.

Aquafornia news MSN

After this desert city faced dry taps, California rushed through emergency water funding

For months, the city of Needles has endured not just scorching hot weather but the possibility that its single water well could fail, a potentially life-threatening risk for this Mojave desert community of 5,000 residents. Yet over recent weeks, word arrived that state officials — flush with billions of dollars in surplus tax revenue — intend to hand over $2 million to pay for a new well that could be operational later this year. City officials are now breathing easier…

Aquafornia news

New research: Rare earth elements and old mines spell trouble for Western U.S. water supplies

Rare earth elements are finding their way into Colorado water supplies, driven by changes in climate, finds a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Rare earth elements are necessary components of many computing and other high-tech devices, like cell phones and hard drives. But there is growing recognition that they can be hazardous in the environment even at low levels of concentration.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Drought emergency: Dry conditions sending wildlife into East Bay neighborhoods

The drought emergency in the Bay Area is not only affecting humans, but also wildlife. From turkeys strolling along streets, to wild pigs appearing on surveillance video digging up yards, bone dry conditions in the hills has sent thirsty wildlife into neighborhoods, particularly in the East Bay. Other creatures spotted in neighborhoods recently include mountain lions and even the occasional bear. Wildlife experts say its the season for these visitors. Dry hillsides causing wildlife to stroll to low lying areas to find food and precious water.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Study shows California groundwater quality threatened by drought

Researchers have suspected for years that drought conditions worsen groundwater quality, but a study published this week provides strong evidence proving the long-held assumption. While previous studies have focused on the risk of wells being overdrawn and run dry during drought, the study from the United States Geological Survey and the California State Water Resources Control Board is the first to directly link drought to deteriorating water quality on a regional scale. The study looked at 30 years of data from California’s Central Valley.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Can a historic Black town be revitalized?

Leaders from a newly formed revitalization task force joined California State Parks representatives last week in announcing a partnership to honor a piece of California Black history in the Central Valley. Randall Cooper, chief executive officer of the Global Economic Impact Group, which will lead revitalization effort, said the once-prosperous community of Allensworth was devastated by a series of racist decisions and policies and never was able to recover. … Water access was another hindrance to the town’s potential. … [W]hite farmers dammed the river and diverted the water, leaving Allensworth’s Black farmers high and dry.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Repeal of county law prohibiting private operation of desal plants set for Sept. 21 discussion

Monterey County is the only county is California with a law that prohibits private companies from operating new desalination plants. That law, passed in 1989, will be up for a potential repeal when the county’s supervisors meet on Sept. 21. The law has been thrust into the spotlight as Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp., a publicly traded, $11 billion Canada-based company, has proposed construction of what could be a massive regional desalination plant in Moss Landing.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

‘Wonderful’: Tooleville relieved in state’s force for water consolidation

Last week, the State Water Board finally intervened in the unincorporated area of Tooleville’s 20-year struggle to obtain the basic human right to clean drinking water with a letter to the city of Exeter and the Tooleville Mutual Nonprofit Water Association, giving the two parties six months to hash out terms for a voluntary consolidation of Tooleville to Exeter’s water system or face a mandatory order with much less cooperation.

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Aquafornia news CNBC

Companies investing in forest protection to secure water supplies

As wildfires tear across America’s West, the immediate risk is to life and property, but they will eventually affect water supplies. That’s one reason large corporations are beginning to help fund forest restoration in order to mitigate their water risk.  The water supply for many communities, including large cities, starts in mountains and national forests. In California, about 70% of the water either starts or flows through national forests, according to Forest Service estimates.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden’s team rushed to dump a Trump-era PFAS assessment

Trump-era EPA appointees engaged in “considerable political level interference” on an assessment for a controversial “forever chemical,” documents obtained by E&E News indicate. But the Biden administration wasted no time in yanking that document, moving to scrub the assessment of alterations made by political appointees and restore language advocated by EPA career scientists shortly after the president’s inauguration. At issue is a toxicity assessment for PFBS, part of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances family.

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Aquafornia news Patch

Dying Tule elk: Volunteers tote water to increase drinking supply

The historic drought in Marin County continues to affect a rare species of elk. Last weekend, nearly a hundred people carried water to replenish the drinking supply for tule elk at Point Reyes National Seashore that are dying in the drought conditions. Volunteers hiked six miles round trip on Saturday, carrying gallon jugs of water to provide the animals at Tomales Point with more to drink. The water drop was organized in part by TreeSpirit Project, Save The Elk, and In Defense of Animals.

Aquafornia news City of Santa Monica

News release: City receives significant grants to advance water self-sufficiency projects

The City of Santa Monica’s Department of Public Works, Water Resources and Engineering Divisions have successfully secured multiple grants, totaling over $45 million, to fund various water self-sufficiency projects to diversify and increase Santa Monica’s local water supplies.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

How drought forced California to mandate drinking water consolidation for Tooleville

Life in Tooleville wasn’t easy before the latest drought. Residents of this tiny, two-road farmworker community, tucked into the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills in eastern Tulare County, have been living on bottled water since 2014 because its two wells are contaminated with hexavalent chromium. Then in July, one of those wells started to dry up, thanks to plummeting groundwater levels. State Water Resources Control Board officials agree Tooleville’s other well will likely hit sand in a matter of months.

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Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: City of Ukiah preparing to send water to the Mendocino coast

After the Ukiah City Council held a special meeting Monday, City of Ukiah officials announced Tuesday that they are preparing to deliver water to coastal communities such as the village of Mendocino. In a press release, Deputy City Manger said that the city staff are “working out planning, contracts and logistics to begin delivering water supplies by truck to coastal areas of Mendocino County.”

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Priced out and shut off: Tackling water affordability

Right now, Congress is debating needed investments in our water system decades in the making. While the Senate’s compromise bill passed earlier this month includes billions for lead pipe replacement and helping communities prepare for future drought and floods, the bill falls short of ensuring all families can turn their tap on and access safe, affordable water. … Some utilities are stepping up to help (both San Francisco Public Utilities and East Bay Municipal Utilities District have customer assistance programs) …
-Written by Michael McAfee, president and CEO of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute focused on advancing racial and economic equity, and Susana De Anda, co-founder and executive director of the Community Water Center, a nonprofit environmental justice organization based in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Time

Water rights activist Nicole Horseherder on sustainability

Nicole Horseherder lives in Hard Rock, Ariz., population 53. Hard Rock sits on the Black Mesa, which takes its name from the numerous coal seams running through the plateau in western Arizona.  Horseherder’s home has no running water, as it is prohibitively expensive to drill down to the nearest aquifer that has potable water. Twice a week, she drives her 20-year-old, three-quarter-ton GMC pickup—towing a 500-gal. tank mounted on a flatbed trailer—to a community well 25 miles away.  Coal and water have dominated Horseherder’s life and work for the past decade.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District scraps monthly billing idea

The Marin Municipal Water District has decided against switching from bimonthly to monthly billing cycles as a way to promote water conservation. At a meeting on Thursday, the district’s board decided the nearly $1.2 million in added costs yearly that would result from the change would be better spent on a larger effort to install wireless meters for all of its customers. … The idea to switch to monthly billing is not new, having been proposed and rejected in 2017 because of the costs. 

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Volunteers carry water for miles to help tule elk dying in Point Reyes drought conditions

Volunteers carried out an emergency water drop this weekend, trying to help the rare tule elk that have been dying in drought conditions on the Point Reyes National Seashore. Saturday afternoon, nearly a hundred people carried water three miles to a pond that is on the verge of drying up. The National Park Service is embroiled in a lawsuit over the elk, one third of the herd has died in the past year from lack of water or sufficient foliage to eat.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: The costs and ocean impacts of desalination

The Santa Cruz Water Department has the responsibility for providing clean safe water for all of its 96,000 customers located both inside and outside of the city limits, and also for planning ahead for future needs. Most readers will recall that about 15 years ago, in the wake of earlier droughts and water rationing, the City of Santa Cruz initiated an evaluation of a joint desalination project with the Soquel Creek Water District.
-Written by Gary Griggs, Santa Cruz Sentinel columnist. 

Aquafornia news The Concord Clayton Pioneer

Long-time water district board member an ­advocate for equality and the environment

Few people visit a public garden bearing their own name, but that was what Bette Boatmun experienced as she strolled through the drought-resistant, waterwise and blooming plants in the Bette Boatmun Conservation Garden last month. The Concord resident left more than her name when she retired from the Contra Costa Water District board of directors in December. Her legacy includes the historic Los Vaqueros Reservoir, guiding a community through two severe droughts, and nearly a half century of local and statewide governance.

Aquafornia news Water News Network

National awards for Pure Water San Diego’s John Carroll

John Carroll, the City of San Diego’s Pure Water Treatment Plant superintendent, received the 2021 Robert O. Vernon Membrane Plant Operator of the Year Award from the American Membrane Technology Association and the American Water Works Association. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to water supply improvement by an individual working at a membrane filtration, desalination, and/or water reuse facility. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Club

Blog: Help California’s drought by preparing to collect rainwater this winter

One fifth of electrical output in California is consumed by pumping and processing water. By collecting rainwater, we can reduce our carbon footprint, conserve California’s water resources, and decrease our water bill. … In Bermuda, every residence is required by law to have and maintain a cistern capable of storing enough rainwater to sustain a family of four for a year. The states of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia require all new construction to be plumbed for rainwater catchment and grey water recycling. As of 2017, 26 percent of the homes in Australia capture rainwater. 

Aquafornia news Patch, Campbell, CA

Santa Clara County limits water handouts for homeless residents

Some activists claim the county is no longer providing them water to take to homeless encampments—a service offered over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gail Osmer, an advocate for houseless communities, said throughout the pandemic she’s gotten multiple cases of water from the county Office of Supportive Housing to distribute. But earlier this month, she says the county refused to give her water, citing too many requests. In an email to Osmer, a county worker said water is only being given out during “inclement weather activations”—such as certain days with extremely hot temperatures.

Aquafornia news Water World

Calif. city of Needles’ receives $3M for drinking water

The California State Water Resources Board (SWRCB) has given the city of Needles $3 million for drinking water infrastructure, according to a press release. The funding will support a new drinking well and booster station. The City of Needles worst fears were realized In July when the only well that supplies the community with portable drinking water failed.  The city was able to identify the replacement part and repaired the well within 24 hours.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Coalition calls for California to require only near-lead-free faucets for sale 

Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, partnered with a coalition of community health experts Thursday, Aug. 26 to garner support for a proposed law that would cut the legal limit of lead leaching from plumbing fixtures for sale by more than half. Lead is a highly toxic metal especially dangerous to kids and youth whose body and brains are still growing. Even low levels can stunt children’s physical, intellectual and behavioral development, according to Alice Kuo, a professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UCLA. 

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Young American researcher wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize 2021

High schooler Eshani Jha from [Lynbrook High School in San José, California] received the prestigious 2021 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for research on how to remove contaminants from water. …. Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an international competition where students between the ages of 15 and 20 present solutions to major water challenges.

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Aquafornia news Barron's

Water is getting more expensive. That’s an opportunity

A drought in California has led to a spike in the state’s water prices, nearly doubling the value of futures contracts for the essential commodity this year and creating opportunities in water-related investments. As of Aug. 24, the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index, which represents the weighted average price of water-rights transactions across five major markets in California and is published weekly, has climbed by roughly 87% year to date to $923.54 per one-acre foot.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Tooleville wells nearly run dry, state begins consolidation with Exeter

Maria Olivera’s house sits on a dirt road that dead-ends at the Friant Kern Canal, the 152-mile aqueduct quenching the endless thirst of the San Joaquin Valley crops that feed the country. She’s called Tooleville home since 1974, where residents have been fighting to attain the basic human right to clean drinking water for the better part of two decades.

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Aquafornia news ESRI

Blog: Expediting water relief for the Navajo Nation

The heightened need for handwashing during the pandemic posed a challenge for the many homes without water. For many years, the rugged topography and remoteness of the Navajo Nation made piping water to homes challenging. Since 2003, IHS and a network of partners have reduced the number of Navajo homes without water access from 30 percent to 20 percent. New funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided the Navajo Area IHS with $5.2 million, targeted specifically to increasing water access on the Navajo Nation.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district appeals regulator’s decision

Monterey Peninsula water officials filed an appeal Friday with the full Public Utilities Commission after a single PUC judge dismissed a complaint filed against California American Water Co. asking the regulator to force the water retailer to purchase water from the Pure Water Monterey Expansion project.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

California Water Board to order water consolidation for Tooleville

The state of California took the first step to order and potentially pay for the city of Exeter in Tulare County to extend water service to hundreds of homes in a nearby town without safe and stable drinking water. For decades, the 340 residents of Tooleville have relied on contaminated groundwater as their main source of tap water….

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video - Advancing ecosystem restoration with smarter permitting

California’s ecosystems play an essential role in protecting the state’s water supply, minimizing unwanted flooding, and sequestering carbon—among many other benefits. But the unintended consequences of more than a century of water and land development—compounded by the impacts of a changing climate—are pushing many of these ecosystems to the breaking point. 

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Homes lose running water in Klamath basin as they compete with farmers, ranchers

Nearly 200 people in the Klamath Basin this summer reported their wells going dry. In response, local and federal emergency officials have delivered hundreds of the 2,500-gallon, igloo-shaped storage tanks that can hook up to people’s homes to get some water flowing through their pipes again. When someone’s well runs dry, they can first try and drop their pump deeper into their well. That’s the equipment that pumps water from the well into pipes that run into a building. 

Aquafornia news Planning and Conservation League

Blog: Introducing modernizing California water law

Summers are getting hotter. Rain and snowpack are disappearing, and water reserves are shrinking. This reduction of readily available, adequate water resources is creating a crisis that directly harms Californians and their environment. Studies have found that one million Californians do not have safe drinking water. In addition, during the last drought, about 3,500 domestic wells went dry and about 2,600 households were negatively affected by the lack of available water.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Woodville PUD awarded $2.2 million grant to improve quality of drinking water

The Woodville Public Utilities District will receive a state grant of more than $2.2 million to improve the quality of drinking water for its community. The grant was recently announced by the State Department of Water Resources as part of a program to support communities facing water supply challenges. The department announced the first round of funding which will eventually total $200 million through the Small Community Drought Relief Program. In the first round, 10 small water systems in Tulare, Siskiyou, Shasta, Lake and Kern Counties were chosen to receive $25 million. 

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: Dirty water – toxic “forever” PFAS chemicals are prevalent in the drinking water of environmental justice communities

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are toxic chemicals that have been linked to multiple serious health harms, such as cancer and developmental and reproductive harm. Unfortunately, PFAS are widely used in everyday products such as nonstick cookware, water-resistant clothing, and food packaging. Even worse, PFAS are very resistant to break down—and can accumulate to dangerously high levels in the human body. Monitoring shows that virtually all people residing in the United States have some level of PFAS in their bodies.

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Aquafornia news GV Wire

Fresno, Clovis battle drought with ‘purple pipe’ water. Toilet-to-tap next?

As the drought crisis worsens throughout California, Fresno and Clovis leaders, as well as residents, are answering the challenge. Both cities are recycling water through “purple pipe” systems to offset non-potable usages like landscape irrigation, cooling towers, and agricultural irrigation.  In addition, they are beginning to investigate “toilet to tap” systems already in use in Orange and San Diego counties.

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Aquafornia news Fox 10

Amid ongoing drought, water catchments across Arizona help keep wildlife alive

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the 1940s, sportsmen built water catchments in the desert in an effort to stabilize wildlife populations for hunting and fishing. More than 80 years later, the department now maintains hundreds of these catchments, filling them with millions of gallons of water every year, but they are doing so with a different purpose in mind: to keep wildlife in Arizona alive through the drought and dry monsoons.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought drains wells and dreams in Central Valley

Fourteen years ago, Heriberto Sevilla came across a ranch on the outskirts of Madera set among fields of stalk grass and bright wildflowers. Pepper trees dotted the meadow, and children played in the natural lakes created by heavy rains. It was the perfect place to raise a big family. … But then a darkness came over the little Eden the Sevillas had created. Amid two years of relentless drought, the well’s output slowly tapered off. The family was forced to buy gallons of precious water from the grocery store to take showers, clean dishes and cook. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Tucson Water seeking permit to discharge water with PFAS compounds into Santa Cruz River

Tucson Water plans to start discharging water containing low levels of PFAS compounds from its south-side water treatment plant into the Santa Cruz River in early October — if it gets a state permit for the discharge by then. The utility is building a pipeline to take the water from that treatment plant near Interstate 10 and Irvington Road to the river near Irvington. It also has submitted a permit application for the discharge to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. 

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Postcard from Thermal: Surviving the climate gap in eastern Coachella Valley

The first thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s really damn hot. Already, at this early date in our planetary crisis, 139 days a year are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Thermal. Over the next 30 years, temperatures will rise 4 to 5 degrees more, and by the end of the century, more than half the year there will be hotter than 95 and nearly a quarter will be hotter than 112. The second thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s a cartoonishly horrible expression of a moral and practical issue that exists, at some level, in every society on earth.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water officials balk at agreement with Cal Am

An agreement that would turn on the taps for recycled water for Monterey Peninsula residents hit a speed bump Monday when water officials balked at a clause that would require the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to support any California American Water Co. project, including desalination, should the recycled water fail to meet a promised amount. For Cal Am to purchase water from Monterey One Water’s Pure Water Monterey Expansion project, a water purchase agreement, or WPA, would need to be signed by Cal Am, Monterey One Water and the water district. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

California enacted a groundwater law 7 years ago. But wells are still drying up — and it’s spreading

Kelly O’Brien’s drinking water well had been in its death throes for days before its pump finally gave out over Memorial Day weekend. … Soon O’Brien learned that other wells were failing around her. She heard about one neighbor to the north, another to the east. The list kept growing: She started a Facebook group for owners of dry wells to share their woes and resources, and it grew to more than 665 members. 

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Aquafornia news Business Insider

Chlorine suppliers may be prioritizing pools over drinking water

Oceanside Water Utilities in California was days away from running out of bleach for its waste- and drinking-water treatment plants last month, Bloomberg Law reported on Monday. If chemical shipments didn’t return in time, the water supply for 170,000 people would be at risk. The Oceanside plant was one of 10 local systems from California, Utah, New Mexico, and New York that requested help from the US Environmental Protection Agency this week, according to Bloomberg.  

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

A well fixer’s story of the California drought

The well fixer and I were standing at the edge of an almond orchard in the exhausted middle of California. It was late July, and so many wells on the farms of Madera County were coming up dry that he was running out of parts to fix them. In this latest round of western drought, desperate voices were calling him at six in the morning and again at midnight. They were puzzled why their pumps were coughing up sand, the water’s flow to their orchards now a trickle.

Aquafornia news Patch

Benicia water bills could rise by 6.5%, wastewater bills by 3%

Benicia residents could see their water and wastewater bills increase following a recommendation by city staff. City council would have to ultimately approve it. On Aug. 11, 2021, staff at the City of Benicia publicly released their recommendations on the revised draft water and wastewater utility rate study. Of the four possible funding scenarios for each utility, staff is recommending city council select Water Scenario 3 and Wastewater Scenario 3 and is further recommending that Council consider a public hearing date in November.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water recycling impaired by Hyperion sewage disaster

Problems at a Los Angeles sewage treatment plant that caused a massive sewage spill into Santa Monica Bay last month have severely reduced the region’s water recycling ability, forcing officials to divert millions of gallons of clean drinking water at a time of worsening drought conditions. Even as California Gov. Gavin Newsom urges a voluntary 15% reduction in water usage, the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant‘s inability to fully treat sewage has forced local officials to divert clean drinking water to uses normally served by recycled Hyperion water.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Politics to blame for Point Reyes CA plan killing tule elk

A proposed management plan for Point Reyes National Seashore, drafted during Donald Trump’s tenure as president, is environmentally irresponsible, violates the public trust and should be rejected by President Joe Biden’s Interior Department. California tule elk once numbered 500,000 before being nearly extirpated by hunting, their habitat destroyed for cattle ranching. Restoring these iconic animals at Point Reyes, the only National Park where they are found, is a significant achievement we should celebrate.
-Written by Todd Steiner, wildlife ecologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network.​

Aquafornia news E&E News

Racial disparities afflict EPA drinking water funds

Congress is preparing to infuse a historic amount of money into the nation’s drinking water systems — but whether that money will meet President Biden’s environmental justice goals will largely fall into the hands of states unlikely to consider race or how accessible those funds are to struggling communities, according to a new report. The groundbreaking analysis released today reveals that, over the past decade, states have been less likely to spend money from EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program on smaller and more diverse communities. 

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Late nights, early mornings await Senate on infrastructure

Senators were laboring Sunday toward eventual passage of a  $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, resigned to stay as long as it takes to overcome Republican holdouts who want to drag out final votes on one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities. The bill has won widespread support from senators across the aisle and promises to unleash billions of dollars to upgrade roads, bridges, broadband internet, water pipes and other public works systems undergirding the nation. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How CA drought alters fate of tule elk herds in Point Reyes

California has big environmental problems to address — extreme drought, wildfires, species extinction — but the fate of a few herds of tule elk also invokes raw emotions more than four decades after they were reintroduced to Point Reyes National Seashore, about 100 miles from Sacramento. Now, climate change and extreme drought have added urgency to the dispute between environmentalists, the National Park Service, ranchers and indigenous tribal interests in this stunning part of the Northern California coast.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

More Klamath Basin wells go dry as groundwater decline persists

In July, the number of dry wells registered in Klamath County was at 84. A month later, that number has climbed to 185 as wells from the California state line all the way to Crescent and La Pine are getting low and going dry. There are likely more unregistered dry wells in Klamath County. The county watermaster’s office said they receive daily calls from well owners asking how to register. And the Modoc County Sheriff shared a PSA on Facebook explaining what to do if someone in that county is without well water.

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Aquafornia news Water Foundation

Blog: No easy scapegoats when drinking water systems fail

While recent commentary saddled the state with all the blame for the lack of drinking water in Teviston, local jurisdictions in the San Joaquin Valley must also accept responsibility. Small water systems are caught between the historic legacy of discriminatory policy, dropping groundwater levels caused by overpumping, and chronically failing water systems. Local governments have long resisted providing aid to these communities or initiating processes that could require nearby systems to provide water, particularly when those solutions may impact wealthier neighbors.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How did drinking water in northeast Fresno CA homes go bad?

In early January 2016, Fresno city officials began picking up on social media chatter among northeast Fresno residents who were concerned about rusty, discolored water coming out of their pipes. Starting Jan. 25, the city began testing the water in five homes around an area bounded by Chestnut Avenue on the west, Gettysburg Avenue on the south, Willow Avenue on the east and Copper Avenue to the north. Test results showed everything checked out fine, including pipes between the water main and the homes. However, the tests did find iron, zinc, copper and in a few of the homes, lead.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Point Reyes elk: Judge denies request for emergency food, water

A federal judge has denied a request by environmental groups to require the Biden administration to immediately provide food and water for the largest herd of tule elk in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The groups, represented by Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Clinic, allege the National Park Service failed to provide adequate resources at the Tomales Point Tule Elk Preserve, which lost 152 elk between the winters of 2019-2020 and 2020-21. The herd is now below 300 animals.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula well failed, allowing saltier water to mix with drinking water

Monterey Peninsula water officials are breathing a sigh of relief after a monitoring well in the Seaside Basin picked up increased salt levels, prompting concerns that an underground reservoir of potable water was being infiltrated by seawater. But it turned out the salts were from a failed well casing that allowed saltier shallow water from the Dune Sands to enter into the well and cross-contaminate the deeper body of water called the Paso Robles Aquifer that is tapped for drinking water. 

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Aquafornia news Politico

Colorado River: A watershed moment

A “mega-drought” across the Southwest will force the federal government to declare a water shortage on the Colorado River this month. The decision would be historic for the watershed, which serves 40 million people in seven states: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. The river system provides irrigation that turns desert into farmland and is an important source of drinking water and hydroelectric power.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Spanish engineers extract drinking water from thin air

A Spanish company has devised a system to extract drinking water from thin air to supply arid regions where people are in desperate need. The machines use electricity to cool air until it condenses into water, harnessing the same effect that causes condensation in air-conditioning units.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Infrastructure bill recognizes climate change is a crisis

The bipartisan infrastructure deal struck this week provides new money for climate resilience unmatched in United States history: Tens of billions of dollars to protect against floods, reduce damage from wildfires, develop new sources of drinking water in areas plagued by drought, and even relocate entire communities away from vulnerable places. But the bill is remarkable for another reason. For the first time, both parties have acknowledged — by their actions, if not their words — that the United States is unprepared for the worsening effects of climate change and requires an enormous and urgent infusion of money and effort to get ready.

Aquafornia news Ensia

In arid U.S. West, water agencies look to direct potable reuse

San Diego is just one city among many in the country’s most arid regions facing the ongoing threat of long-term drought. Western water agencies continue working to not only conserve water, but to also reuse as much wastewater as possible, including from the stable supply [Direct Potable Reuse] promises. As San Diego discovered decades ago, making DPR a reality entails — along with regulatory and permitting changes — trying to overcome the “yuck factor.” Today, despite its “toilet-to-tap” hurdle, San Diego is now intent on becoming the first city in California to convey treated effluent directly from factory to faucet.

Aquafornia news KQED

Gripped by drought, Marin considers desalination, water pipeline over the Richmond Bridge

As the drought deepens across the West, coastal cities are considering whether or not to filter ocean water as a solution to their water woes. In the Bay Area, Marin Water is mulling plans to draw its drinking water from the San Francisco Bay. Reservoir levels in Marin County are at historic lows this year, and water leaders are calling for a 40% reduction. So far the county has reached a 23% reduction, says Cynthia Koehler, president of the agency’s board of directors.

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Aquafornia news Capital and Main

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ suspected at oil sites across California

At least 162 oil refineries and other petroleum-holding facilities in California have likely stored or used materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of synthetic chemicals that persist indefinitely in the environment and are linked to severe illnesses, according to state water regulators. The California State Water Resources Control Board sent a letter to facility operators in March ordering them to submit work plans evaluating the presence of the toxic compounds at their facilities, including areas where PFAS are stored or disposed of and the potential ways the chemicals could have contaminated soil, surface water, storm water and groundwater …

Aquafornia news Press Banner

SLVWD will shift approach for nonpayment

Even after the pandemic subsides, the San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) will not turn off customer’s water supply for nonpayment. SLVWD Manager Rick Rogers in an interview said the board has “a strong position that we should not be turning people’s water off for nonpayment. It’s a fundamental right, but we also have to pay our bills.” SLVWD, Rogers said, will no longer issue a 48-hour tag for nonpayment. Instead, the district will, once a year, move any outstanding bills onto residents’ property tax bills.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California toxics law: Few water cases, but millions for lawyers

Thirty-five years ago, California voters approved a landmark law meant to halt exposure to dangerous chemicals in drinking water and everyday products like food, flip-flops, and face shields. Decades later, the water cases are few and far between—while hundreds of product lawsuits bring in millions of dollars annually for plaintiffs’ attorneys, some of whom represent environmental groups focused only on this law. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: OEHHA issues highly anticipated draft public health goals for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water

Last week, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released draft public health goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. OEHHA’s announcement is several years in the making and is relevant for water purveyors and municipalities providing other related services such as wastewater treatment because PHGs are used to create enforceable drinking water standards and remediation goals for groundwater contamination. 

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Beacon

MCCSD board reviews penalties

At the monthly Mendocino City Community Services District meeting the board discussed the ground water management ordinance penalty options for constituents who do not comply to the permitting and monitoring requirements. The board also continued to discuss options for drought mitigations. The Ground Water Extraction Permit Ordinance 2020-1 that passed in April of 2020 reiterated the district’s authority to compel any property owner within district boundaries to obtain a ground water extraction permit and install a meter, monitor their water usage and report it monthly to MCCSD.

Aquafornia news California Water Law Journal

Legal analysis on groundwater contamination: Punitives may come to those who wait

California’s courts routinely impose punitive damages awards against polluters that knowingly release hazardous substances which contaminate groundwater. But California has been slow to follow the nationwide trend favoring punitive damages awards against polluters that knowingly fail to remediate their past hazardous releases before those releases spread and cause greater harm.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Newly introduced bill aims to increase access to clean water in tribal lands

A bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate aims to provide billions of dollars to improve access to clean water in tribal lands. One of the senators who introduced the bill, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., wrote in the foreword of a report about tribal water access within the Colorado River Basin that one estimate states 48% of households within tribal lands lack clean water or sufficient sanitation.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

House passes PFAS Action Act, but there’s one problem

Last week, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish national drinking water standards for regulating harmful forever chemicals, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that are linked to kidney, liver and other health problems. … The bill now awaits consideration in the U.S. Senate. There’s just one problem, however, as the collective water sector opposes the bill.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Opinion: Who’s bearing the water burden in Healdsburg?

How are we messaging to our summer guests about our Climate Emergency? About our town’s precious, empty Russian River watershed? Is this a teachable moment for these privileged travelers who come from places of Water Security? We should all be True Believers in Climate Change. Effective June 8, 2021, Healdsburg’s Stage Three mandatory conservation seeks a 40% reduction in water use citywide with additional, restrictive rules: 74 gallons per resident per day; No irrigation; Hand watering only; Planting is prohibited; $1,000 fine per day…the city means business! -Written by Brigette Mansell, former Healdsburg mayor. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Podcast: What’s up with the fierce drought in the West

Today we launch Drought Week, a five-part series looking at how water shortages across the West are profoundly changing life. We’ll swoop around, from Oregon to the Sonoran Desert, from cities to national parks, from Joshua trees to lawns. To start Drought Week, it’s only natural — pardon the pun — that we take the bigger view first with our Masters of Disasters, the L.A. Times reporters who focus on natural calamities. So get your five-gallon buckets and put them next to you when you shower, ’cause things are serious right now.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Another valley town on the brink of going dry

The small, rural community of Tooleville is on the brink of going dry after one of its two wells went down Friday morning. It’s the second community in Tulare County to suffer water problems in the last two months as California struggles through the grip of a devastating drought. The only well in the town of Teviston, also in rural Tulare County, broke down June 9 leaving residents there dry until the pump was fixed July 16.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Helix Water District moving forward with water shutoffs

Helix Water District, which provides water for much of East County, will reinstate late fees starting in August and renew water shutoffs on Oct. 1. The utility’s governing board voted 4-1 on Wednesday to support staff’s decision to bring back late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment. Customers suffering financial hardship had been given a grace period during the pandemic. The district currently has 546 accounts in arrears for a total of more than $470,000. Helix officials say that 475 of those accounts are residential.

Aquafornia news Chemical and Engineering News

California drafts safe limits for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water

In a draft report, California says only extremely low levels of two toxic “forever chemicals” are safe for humans to drink in water. A July 22 draft report from the California Environmental Protection Agency would set a science-based safe level­—called a public health goal—of 0.007 part per trillion for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 1 ppt for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The two compounds are the two most common per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—a group of environmentally persistent synthetic molecules—found as contaminants in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thousands of Central Valley farmers may lose access to surface water amid worsening drought

Forced to reckon with a worsening drought, California’s water regulators are preparing to forbid thousands of farmers from tapping into the state’s major rivers and streams. It’s an extraordinary step — and one that regulators didn’t take during the last drought, which was considered one of the worst on record. The State Water Resources Control Board on Friday released an “emergency curtailment” order that would cut thousands off from rivers and streams in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Officials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems

Lawmakers and experts on Wednesday warned of gaping cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical water sector amid escalating attacks against a number of U.S. organizations. … [C]oncerns came during a committee hearing on cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure that zeroed in on concerns around water and wastewater treatment facilities. Cyber threats have soared in recent years, including recent ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure such as Colonial Pipeline, and the water sector has not been immune.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News

Lawsuit: San Diego excess water fees

A class action lawsuit was filed against San Diego and its public utilities department on Wednesday, alleging that residential and commercial customers were overcharged in fees to make up for shortfalls from industrial wastewater dischargers.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

What’s a guzzler, and how does it help Siskiyou County’s wildlife in a drought?

As humans struggle with the drought, wildlife has an even harder time adapting. Siskiyou County’s deer, elk, bear, bobcat, mountain lion and bird populations are in danger as creeks dry up and lakes evaporate into hot air. That’s where guzzlers come in. These large plastic or aluminum water collection devices – 240 of them – are scattered throughout the Klamath and Shasta-Trinity national forests in Siskiyou County. When it rains, water is collected in the tanks … which allows thirsty wildlife to step down and reach the water.

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Aquafornia news NPR

Without enough water to go around, farmers in California are exhausting aquifers

A lot of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that you see in grocery stores come from California. Growing them takes a huge amount of water, which is a huge problem when the state is in the middle of a drought. California’s farmers are pumping most of that water from underground aquifers. They can’t keep doing that, though, especially as the climate changes. NPR’s Dan Charles has the story.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: Forever chemicals – California unveils health goals for contaminated drinking water

California took a major step towards regulating dangerous “forever chemicals” in drinking water by proposing new health limits for two of the most pervasive contaminants. State environmental health officials recommended goals of one part per trillion and less — a minuscule amount 70 times smaller than the federal government’s non-binding guideline for drinking water nationwide.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: House votes to order EPA to limit chemicals in water

The House on Wednesday approved a bill setting deadlines for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement drinking water regulations for so-called forever chemicals. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly called PFAS, are widely used, man-made compounds that are found in manufacturing and consumer products like Scotchguard, flame-resistant materials, nonstick cooking surfaces and firefighting foam used on military bases since the 1940s.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Not quite at 2015 level, but Tule River low

When it comes to the water year this summer, it could be referred to as a season on the brink. Tule River Water Master David De Groot announced on Monday water from the Tule River began to be run off over this past weekend. … De Groot said the water runoff will last 30 days through mid-August. He added the Tule River’s flow was just at 15.6 percent of normal …  the lowest level the lake will be at since the dire drought of 2014-2015.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Questions remain after apartment tenants tap into fire line during water main break

The water is back on at a South Bay apartment complex, but a big question remains: what was in the pipes from which tenants obtained gallons and gallons of water to use in their bathrooms and kitchens and possibly to drink? Tenants at the Foxdale Apartments were without water from Saturday until Monday after a buried water main broke. During that time, some tenants tapped into an emergency fire sprinkler supply line to get water.

Aquafornia news PBS News Hour

Thousands of wells could go dry in California as most of the state experiences extreme drought

One day last month, water in the community of Teviston, about 66 miles south of Fresno, suddenly stopped flowing.  The town’s services office fielded calls from residents who said their taps ran dry, and when city leaders opened their own faucets, nothing came out. Soon, officials realized  that the town’s main well had stopped working. … [T]he water level below the community has been dropping for the last 14 years, and two different wells had already failed.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water officials reluctantly agree to pay for buy-out study

Officials with the Monterey Peninsula water district begrudgingly agreed Monday to pay for a feasibility study requested by an intergovernmental body that has control over the future of the district’s plan to take over California American Water Co. The board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District during its regular meeting Monday approved up to $70,000 to pay for a study that was in effect ordered by the Local Agency Formation Commission…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Teviston CA has a new pump in well, running water restored

After over a month of transporting water from nearby towns and delivering bottled water to residents, the rural Tulare County community of Teviston had running water again Monday. Teviston’s only well broke down in early June, leaving hundreds of residents without running water. Teviston Community Services District board member, Frank Galaviz, said that the well is “back online” in an interview on Monday with The Bee. … In total, Teviston residents went without running water for two to three weeks, said board President Martin Correa. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Lawmakers, Biden officials vow action on PFAS

Lawmakers and regulators are increasingly mobilizing behind efforts to crack down on so-called forever chemicals as pressure to find a solution swells to a fever pitch. At an inaugural conference pegged to issues around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, EPA Administrator Michael Regan vowed to “follow the science” on the chemicals and offer a strong federal partner to local governments. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Needles, California fights drought along the Colorado River

Rick Daniels lies awake at night worrying about a rusty contraption in a forlorn field, littered with discarded pipes and fire hydrants. It is the only water pump in Needles that meets state water quality standards, running 23 hours a day to keep up with demand, according to Daniels, the city manager. That’s a thin margin in one of America’s hottest cities, an urban speck in the desert near California’s border with Arizona. If this lone pump fails, 5,000 residents face the ultimate risk of taps running dry, as temperatures soar past 120 degrees …

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Drought: Marin vets options for desalination, water pipeline

Marin Municipal Water District announced Friday that it has found a potential vendor for temporary desalination plants and four Central Valley water suppliers that could transfer water to the county through a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The emergency water projects are being explored based on forecasts that the majority of Marin residents could run out of water by July 2022 if the upcoming winter is as dry as last year’s. The district serves about two-thirds of the county including 191,000 residents in central and southern Marin. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Monday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid utility bills? California will pay $2 billion to stop shutoffs

Official estimates of unpaid water and energy bills accumulated during the pandemic verge on $2.7 billion, affecting a few million Californians — and those figures have been growing rapidly. The state has so far prioritized rent relief — keeping people housed — over utilities relief. [O]f the $158 million distributed as of July 16, less than $40,000 had gone to utilities relief. Utility debt makes up about 6% of all assistance requested so far. On July 11, lawmakers revealed a plan to use one-time federal relief money to address the debt. … But it doesn’t extend current shutoff moratoria past Sept. 30. 

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Amid Sacramento’s highest temperatures, water needed for city’s unhoused population

The shade in Cesar Chavez Plaza provides a refuge for people during the rising, record-breaking heat in downtown Sacramento. Staying cool is critical during a heat wave — as is staying hydrated.  But for Sacramento’s over 5,000 unhoused people, accessing that drinking water isn’t always straightforward.  And while Sacramento has 297 drinking fountains, they don’t always provide cold water, for example.  Jeffrey Milner, who is unhoused, said he’s gotten water from people near the downtown library branch and from people giving away water at Cesar Chavez. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Folsom CA adds new housing despite drought, climate change

On the surface, the city of Folsom would seem to be water rich. Perched at the foot of Folsom Lake, where snowmelt funnels into the Sacramento Valley, the city taps into large intake pipes plumbed deep into Folsom Dam’s inner face to send cool water to nearby homes and businesses. That easy access is turning into a mirage. After two dry winters, the reservoir has shriveled to its second-lowest level for July in nearly 50 years. It’s lower than it was in July 2014 and July 2015, when the last drought was raging, California ordered mandatory water cutbacks, and Folsom residents had to swallow a 32% reduction in usage.

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Aquafornia news GV Wire

In first Valley visit, U.S. senator gets pushed on farm water

Alex Padilla made his first official visit to the Central Valley as U.S. Senator, holding several discussions about water. Padilla, along with other elected officials, held a media availability at his only public event of the day — a tour of the Dos Palos water treatment plant. There, he spoke about the need to upgrade infrastructure for drinking water, as well as water for farmers. Padilla says the infrastructure bill being debated in the Senate will help with water, especially in underserved areas.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Cheap cybersecurity defenses exist, but they’re not reaching water utilities who need them

Super Bowl weekend was the headline event last winter in Tampa, Florida, where the mood was giddier than usual, given that the hometown Bucs had advanced to the championship. But two days before the big game, an incident just a few miles west of Raymond James Stadium temporarily stole the show. A hacker gained remote access to a water treatment plant in the town of Oldsmar. The intrusion on February 5 lasted only a few minutes — just long enough for the hacker to raise the concentration of lye in the water by a factor of 1,000. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

It’s not just water supply: drought harms water quality, too

Extreme heat and wildfires are engulfing the [West] amid a historic drought that scientists think may be the region’s worst in at least 1,200 years. In response, some drinking water systems are beginning to grapple with maintaining both water supplies and water quality as they deal with potential legal and regulatory concerns. … California contracted with the U.S. Geological Survey to study the link between drought and water quality … Some systems saw increases in nitrates, arsenic, and uranium …

Aquafornia news Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal

Law Review: “A Clean Water Act, if you can keep it”

The Clean Water Act has traveled a successful but tortuous path. From combustible beginnings on the Cuyahoga River; through the Lake St. Clair wetlands; to reservoirs near the Miccosukee; and eventually discharged (or “functionally” discharged) off the Maui coast. With each bend, the nearly fifty-year-old Act has proven to be not just resilient, but among our most successful environmental laws. Much of that success stems from an effective enforcement structure that focuses more on treating pollutant sources rather than just impaired waters.
–Written by Sean G. Herman, an attorney with Hanson Bridgett LLP and an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University School of Law.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fault system that produced 6.0 quake poses big dangers

While much of California’s earthquake risk has been historically focused on the San Andreas fault and places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, quakes are capable of causing significant destruction in the state’s Sierra Nevada and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … UCLA experts warned in 2014 that a major earthquake sending destructive shaking to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could potentially destroy aging levees, causing flooding and drawing in saline water from San Francisco Bay — which would contaminate one of the state’s key water supply systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Newsom’s oil regulators deny new fracking permits, but industry is pushing back

California denied 21 oil drilling permits this week in the latest move toward ending fracking in a state that makes millions from the petroleum industry but is seeing widespread drought and more dangerous fire seasons linked to climate change. … Fracking involves injecting high-pressure water deep underground to extract oil or gas from rock. Critics say it can pollute groundwater and contributes to climate change.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District outlines future plans

Slowly but surely, the San Lorenzo Valley community is rebuilding itself after the CZU Lightning Complex fire. Its water district is no exception. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District lost all of its water intake infrastructure at the Lyon Water Treatment Plant in Boulder Creek, built in 1994 with the purpose of treating surface water coming from many streams on the Empire Grade mountain. About 50% of the water stored at the plant was lost as well. All of the 1,600 acres of the watershed were affected by the wildfire.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Save our water’: Meet the rain harvesters taking on the US West’s water woes

The American west has a sprawling network of dams, reservoirs and pipelines that brings a supply of water to its cities and farms. But overexploitation and a two-decade dry spell have put a severe strain on the resources, with reserves dwindling to historic lows in some areas. The situation will only get worse in the coming decades, warn scientists, as surging populations will boost freshwater demand and a hotter, drier climate will bring deeper droughts and more erratic precipitation patterns. …[N]ew water-sourcing approaches are also needed. One such is rainwater harvesting. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water Act would keep water clean and affordable

California has a long history of treating public water as a commodity instead of a human right and entrusting it to industries that fail to manage it responsibly. Water is a public trust resource that needs protection. The federal Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act would put water systems back in the hands of the people who depend on it for life and livelihood. This bill [S. 11] would set aside $35 billion annually to shore up drinking and wastewater systems. It would ensure no one lacks access to water because they can’t afford it. 
-Written by Alexandra Nagy, California director for Food & Water Watch.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Q&A: EPA’s top water official on Biden’s climate, equity goals

Radhika Fox vividly remembers growing up in rural India without running water or flushing toilets. The newly confirmed head of EPA’s Office of Water lived with her grandmother while her parents finished their medical training in New York City. “When the monsoon season came, the roads flooded because they were mud,” Fox said in a recent interview. “At least our little village was an oasis unto its own.” Fox said it’s an “incredible dream and honor” to serve as the first woman of color in the role of assistant administrator at EPA’s Office of Water after such “humble beginnings.”

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Orange County launches first water plant to remove PFAS toxins

A year-and-a-half after Orange County began shutting down groundwater wells because of PFAS contamination, the first treatment plant to remove the carcinogens is up and operating in Fullerton, with two dozen more to be built throughout the north and central parts of the county. Miniscule quantities of PFAS, a family of chemicals used for waterproofing and stain-proofing among other uses, have been found to be toxic…

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Aquafornia news WIRED

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: A massive water recycling proposal could help ease drought

Lake Mead, which provides water for 25 million people in the American West, has shrunk to 36 percent of its capacity. One rural California community has run out of water entirely after its well broke in early June. Fields are sitting fallow, as farmers sell their water allotments instead of growing crops, putting the nation’s food supply in peril. As the West withers under extreme drought, legislators in the US House of Representatives have introduced HR 4099, a bill that would direct the Secretary of the Interior to create a program to fund $750 million worth of water recycling projects in the 17 western states through the year 2027.

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Aquafornia news The Center Square

Fitch: low river levels likely to increase Arizona water bills

The expected water cuts from the Colorado River as a result of the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) will likely mean higher water utility rates, according to Fitch Ratings. The U.S. Congress passed the DCP in 2019 to protect water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead which provide water to Colorado River basin states. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, and Mexico entered into the DCP, which mandates how water cuts will occur when the lakes drop to certain levels, called tiers.

Aquafornia news Fox 2 KTVU

Major renovations begin on Anderson Dam tunnel project; reservoir can’t be used for 10 years

Major renovations will begin Wednesday on the Anderson Dam tunnel project in Santa Clara County.  The project will require the reservoir to be drained – and it will be unable to be used for 10 years. The timing is not great as California remains in a drought but water officials say this is a vital project for flood protection that will protect the public for years to come. The reservoir can hold more than 300,000 gallons of water and is the water district’s largest drinking water reservoir.

Aquafornia news ABC 10

Sacramento offering more rebates for water conservation

If you’re a Sacramento homeowner, the city is now offering twice as much money for you to conserve water. According to a press release, the city’s Department of Utilities announced it is doubling its River Friendly Landscape rebates while funding is available. The program includes: Turf conversion, which doubled from $1.50 to $3 per square foot of grass replaced. Irrigation upgrades of up to $800 for new sprinklers or smart irrigation controllers. Installing a smart controller in the home. 

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin’s abandoned desal plan looms over drought crisis

The Marin Municipal Water District, facing the possibility of running out of water next summer, is scrambling to plan for two emergency projects to keep the taps flowing in case of another dry winter: a temporary desalination plant and a pipeline across San Francisco Bay. But nearly 11 years ago, the district chose not to build a desalination plant that could have supplied as much as 60% of its current yearly potable water demand — though at a high price. The district, which serves 191,000 residents in central and southern Marin, had been exploring desalination since the early 1990s and has tested two pilot desalting sites.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: SB 222 would establish CA Water Affordability Assistance Fund

California is answering the call to keep the tap open to millions of people who have fallen behind on their water bill payments through a recent $1 billion investment from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The timely assistance comes amid serious economic fallout from the pandemic that caused record unemployment and left 1.6 million households drowning in water debt. At the same time, some small water systems are struggling to keep the water flowing due to lost income from unpaid bills. The governor’s plan addresses both problems, for now. But what happens next year?
-Written by Sen. Bill Dodd (Napa) and Sen. Lena Gonzalez (Long Beach).

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

State still hasn’t fixed Porterville drinking water crisis from the last drought. Will residents go dry again?

The epicenter of dry wells during California’s last devastating drought was undoubtedly Porterville. The small Tulare County town saw wells go dry en masse in its unincorporated east side. It became a national headline as the media descended. Amid the glare of tv cameras, the state pledged to help and agreed to build three new wells. Five years have gone by, the state is in the grip of another drought and Porterville is walking a tightrope as the state connected more than 755 new homes to the city’s water system but only built one new well.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

State finds deficiencies in Paso and Cuyama basin plans

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) published its first reviews of local groundwater sustainability plans as part of a 2014 state law regulating groundwater—and two Central Coast aquifers are included in the initial wave of feedback. DWR reviewed and found “deficiencies” in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin and Cuyama Valley Groundwater Basin sustainability plans—declining to give final approval to either.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Santa Rosa orders residents, businesses to reduce water use by 20%

The Santa Rosa City Council approved mandatory water-use restrictions for its residents and businesses starting Thursday, becoming the sixth city in Sonoma County to cut back on water. The motion to approve the water-shortage contingency plan — which mandates residents and businesses reduce water use by 20% — passed with five ayes… A persistent lack of precipitation has put most of the Bay Area in the worst drought category.

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Aquafornia news Congressional Research Service

Controlling lead in public drinking water supplies

Communities may face a range of issues associated with aging water infrastructure, including elevated lead levels in tap water. Because of lead’s toxicity, even at low levels, reducing lead exposures from drinking water and other sources remains a public health priority. Other sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and contaminated soil and dust from deteriorated lead-based paint. Nationally, the phaseouts of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint, along with regulatory controls and technical changes, have reduced lead exposures. 

Aquafornia news Truthout

Explosive growth of toxic algae threatens water supplies across US

With a vast portion of the United States coping with exceptional drought this summer, conditions are ripe in many places for harmful algal blooms, bringing additional threats to already-stressed water systems and increased health risks for communities. The blooms are in large part fueled by phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from industrial agricultural operations, which provide a feast of nutrients for cyanobacteria — a group of aquatic, photosynthetic bacteria that grow out of control and overwhelm their ecosystems in the presence of excess nutrients.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: Delta adapts – Creating a climate resilient future

The time to act is now. Climate change is already altering the physical environment of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Delta), and we will continue to experience its effects through hotter temperatures, more severe wildfires, and prolonged droughts. Over the long term, climate change in the Delta is expected to harm human health and safety, disrupt the economy, diminish water supply availability and usability, shift ecosystem function, compromise sensitive habitats, and increase the challenges of providing basic services. Many of these impacts will disproportionately affect vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Report: Groundwater overhaul could threaten drinking water of more than a million Valley residents

As drought settles over the San Joaquin Valley, a new report warns of other circumstances that could result in entire communities losing drinking water. More than a million Valley residents could lose their public water in coming decades under the sweeping groundwater legislation known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), according to the paper published earlier this month by the non-profit Pacific Institute. Signed into law in 2014, SGMA aims over the next two decades to reduce California’s groundwater deficit by balancing water pumped out of the ground with the amount replenished.

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Aquafornia news Transportation Today

Reps. DeFazio, Pallone announce details of $715B surface transportation and water infrastructure bill

U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced Thursday new details of the $715 billion INVEST in America Act, which is scheduled to be sent to the House floor this week. The bill, the congressmen said, will create jobs, rebuild and reimagine the country’s roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater infrastructure, as well as the drinking water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

A California town is without running water amid drought

This is how California’s water crisis is going these days: The only functioning well in the rural community of Teviston broke in early June, leaving more than 700 residents without running water as temperatures in the Central Valley soared to triple-digits in a drought. … Teviston residents are relying on limited bottled water for necessities such as staying hydrated, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Some residents, like Galaviz, are traveling to neighboring towns to stay with family or friends to shower and wash clothes.

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Blog: 9 ways to clean up plastic waste from the world’s rivers

The Clean Currents Coalition – a global network of local projects – is on a mission to clean up the world’s rivers, using scientific solutions to address the problem of plastic waste … Pollution doesn’t respect international boundaries, making plastic waste in the Tijuana River Estuary, which forms the border between the US and Mexico, everyone’s problem. As the river is the sole source of clean drinking water for many people, California and Mexico-based environmental non-profit WILDCOAST, has erected a “Brute Boom” across the Los Laureles Canyon to collect debris. 

Aquafornia news The Signal

SCV Water honored for PFAS water treatment project

SCV Water’s response to removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in the local groundwater supply received top honors as the Best Environmental Project from the American Public Works Association (APWA) — High Desert Branch. … PFAS chemicals are manmade and can cause adverse health effects. Officials recognized the opening of the plant, which is adjacent to the William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball fields, in early October. The $6 million facility restores up to 6,250 gallons of water per minute. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: EPA publishes instructions for water utilities to obtain chemicals in short supply

Many water utilities face challenges from a nation-wide shortage of chlorine and other chemicals for water and wastewater treatment and are struggling to locate necessary supplies or alternative sources. The Environmental Protection Agency administers a program under Safe Drinking Water Act section 1441 that allows water agencies to obtain priority access to these chemicals.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Giant rock wall built across Delta river to protect California’s water supply

For the past three weeks, construction crews working 24 hours a day have been stacking boulders across a river in eastern Contra Costa County, building what may be California’s biggest defense yet against the drought: a nearly 800-foot-long rock wall. The state’s emergency project, which was wrapping up Thursday, is designed to prevent San Francisco Bay’s salty flows from pushing into the coveted freshwater supplies of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Water levels in the delta’s rivers and sloughs have dropped after two dry years, putting water for almost 30 million Californians at risk of saltwater intrusion. The plan is to keep the wall up until November…

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Orosi one step closer to clean water as Tulare County moves to become administrator

East Orosi is one step closer to achieving clean drinking water, a basic human right that is denied to many of California’s disadvantaged communities, particularly in the rural San Joaquin Valley. Last Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to take steps to become the manager of the small agricultural community’s water board. That means the town of about 500 will soon have the financial resources and technical know-how to gain clean water.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

U.S. Department of Homeland Security reporting chlorine shortage in California

Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported a chlorine shortage in California that may affect some ACWA member agencies’ operations. An electrical failure at Westlake Chemical in mid-June caused the chlorine supply disruption to water and wastewater facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and parts of California. Today, state and local utilities attended a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Security Division and Region 9 to express their concerns relating to the chlorine shortage and shipments.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

California drought is causing some tap water to taste like dirt

A muddy flavor in your tap water lately may not be the product of your imagination.  An algae bloom is causing water sourced from the Sacramento and American rivers to impart a “musty” taste to tap water. The bacterial bloom generates something called geosmin, which is harmless for consumption but is easily detectable due to its earthy smell and taste. 

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Tulare County takes over East Orosi water system

Help may be on the horizon for the about 700 residents of East Orosi dependent on bottled water. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has directed county staff to begin negotiating the scope of work and a budget … to take control of the East Orosi Community Services District public water system. … East Orosi’s water has been plagued with nitrates from fertilizers and coliform bacteria since at least 2003, for which their water system has been cited for violating the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) both contaminants dozens of times.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Lawsuit: Point Reyes negligent in tule elk die-off

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday is alleging the Point Reyes National Seashore was negligent in its wildlife management and violated federal law after more than 150 tule elk died in a park preserve last year. … Environmental groups and activists allege the Tomales Point elk died because of a lack of drinking water. Park staff said there were adequate water sources within the enclosure when the population decline occurred.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Sacramento drinking water tastes ‘earthy’ because of California drought

Something is off about Sacramento’s water. It smells and tastes a little “earthy,” residents are saying — an effect of compounding climate change crises: extreme heat, little to no precipitation and a historic drought that has gripped the region for the better part of a decade. Up and down the state of California, rivers, streams and reservoirs are drying up. In Sacramento, that has led to an increase in the concentration of geosmin in its drinking water, one of two organic compounds that give soil its characteristic smell.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Ensuring safe drinking water for California’s Native American communities

California is home to 109 federally recognized tribes—more than any other state—and several more are petitioning for federal recognition. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is responsible for regulating water quality on tribal lands, while the State Water Board regulates water quality for other water systems. According to USEPA’s ECHO database, 88 tribal water systems in California serve more than 160,000 people. Unfortunately, some Native American communities lack access to safe drinking water. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

California water shortages: Why some places are running out

In Los Angeles, people have been hearing about the dangers of drought for decades. But in this land of infinity pools and backyard putting greens — better suited for rattlesnakes and scrub — water never seems to run out. Yet little Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, which gets a bountiful 38 inches of rain in an average year and sits near the headwaters of the Russian River, has been devastated by this year’s drought. Each resident has been told to use no more than 55 gallons per day — enough to fill a bathtub and flush a toilet six times. … When it comes to the impact of drought, location is key.

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Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

San Elijo’s water reclamation facility named ‘Plant of the Year’

The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s water reclamation facility near San Elijo Lagoon on Manchester Avenue in Encinitas was named “Plant of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association, the agency announced today. The award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness and superior plant performance amongst wastewater agencies across California.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News release: Forty-two percent of public water supply wells in California’s San Joaquin Valley vulnerable, finds new report

Forty two percent of shallow wells supplying water to community water systems in California’s San Joaquin Valley are vulnerable to going partially or fully dry under the state’s minimum thresholds, finds a new report from the Pacific Institute. Most impacted wells are shallower, and tend to be in disadvantaged communities.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

This giant ‘inland ocean’ is Southern California’s last defense against drought

Mechanical engineer Brent Yamasaki set out amid the recent blistering heat wave to take stock of the giant dams, pumps and pipes that support Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, the largest storehouse of water in Southern California…. water availability in Southern California “is expected to remain relatively stable over the next few years,” says Deven Upadhyay, the MWD’s chief operating officer. “Diamond Valley Lake is a key part of that forecast….”

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water wells going dry in Madera County

On Sunday evening, a well motor failed in a Madera Ranchos community water system that serves around 1,000 homes. Last week, another well pump stopped working in Parksdale, southeast of Madera. Neither community has lost water service. Both are experiencing low pressure. Madera County Public Works runs both water systems. From Madera Acres to the Bonadelle Ranchos, private wells are running dry at an alarming rate. Self-Help Enterprises, an organization that supports communities with water challenges, has been tracking the problem.

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Aquafornia news The Independent

Zone 7 commits $2 million for PFAs water treatment facility

Zone 7 directors have approved spending $2 million to design a facility to treat potential human health threats in Cope Lake’s water should chemicals accumulate above legally acceptable levels. Those chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs and PFOAs), which are found in consumer products, such as cookware, food packaging and stain repellents. They make their way into drinking water sources.

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Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Water system maintenance causes concerns among some San Mateo County residents

Routine maintenance repairs on a portion of water system pipes along Cordilleras Creek left some San Mateo County residents concerned water was being wasted as the state enters a drought. … The Cordilleras Creek, one of two creeks running through Redwood City, also cuts through Redwood High School where [Redwood City resident Rudy] Tureillo works as a custodian. Typically the creek is “bone dry,” Tureillo said, but starting Wednesday, June 9, staff at the school noticed it was flowing strong.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Cyberattack on Bay Area water supply: ‘No specific threat to public safety’

A hacker accessed the computer system of a Bay Area water treatment plant in January and deleted programs the plant used to treat drinking water, a senior intelligence official confirmed Thursday. NBC News first reported Thursday that the unidentified hacker used a former plant employee’s username and password to gain entry to the unidentified Bay Area water treatment facility on Jan. 15.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As a hot, dry summer begins in California, more water wells are failing

In this blistering year in California, drinking water wells are going dry in increasing numbers, rekindling memories of the historic drought of 2012 to 2016, when more than 2,600 wells across the state stopped producing water. So many wells went dry in 2014 in the town of East Porterville that Tulare County supplied portable public showers. California is not yet to that level of emergency…. But because the trend lines do not look promising, government agencies and nonprofit groups are preparing for a difficult summer in which thousands of wells could fail.

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Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Low river levels to blame for ‘earthy’ taste to Sacramento tap water, city says

Does your tap water taste a little off right now? Sacramento city leaders say the drought is probably to blame. The city says they have been recently getting some calls with people reporting an “earthy” taste to their tap water. Some people have also been reporting an off smell as well.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California drought: Morgan Hill imposes mandatory water restrictions

Unlike most Bay Area cities, Morgan Hill gets 100 percent of its water from underground wells. And that’s a big reason why the city became the first in Santa Clara County to issue mandatory water use restrictions. … The mayor said he enjoys his green grass as much as the next person, but said mandatory watering cutbacks to just two days a week and only in the early morning or late evening hours mean it won’t look lush for long.

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Aquafornia news Sen. Bill Dodd

News Release: Sen. Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bill Clears Committee

Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help hundreds of thousands of Californians who have fallen behind on their water bills and are at risk of being disconnected from water service cleared a key committee on Wednesday. … Sen. Dodd’s legislation comes as the State Water Resources Control Board heard results of a survey that found water debt in California climbed to about $1 billion. The survey estimated 12% of California households are behind on their water bills with an average debt of $500 per household. 

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Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Blog: Where does LA’s water come from?

Los Angeles is a pretty hot and dry place, and in fact, California is suffering from increasing impacts of drought, so how does the water we use every day get here? Let’s take the journey your water takes from the source to your mouth with these 5 things to know:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Salinity management: Putting Southern California’s water supply on a low sodium diet

While the saying, “too much of a good thing,” sounds pleasant at its core, water managers take that very seriously when it comes to managing salt, or salinity, in the water supply. Water managers across California are responsible for providing a clean and safe drinking water supply, and salinity management plays a critical role in the quality of water that is provided to communities. While salt is composed of natural elements commonly found in soil and water, how is salinity managed to support a diversified water resource portfolio? 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Water quality legislation attracts bipartisan support

President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative proposes to invest $111 billion in rebuilding and modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as funding other water quality-related priorities, including addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies.  Legislation proposed in both the Senate and House of Representatives in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) reflects a bipartisan effort to translate the President’s goals into national policy.

Aquafornia news Sun Gazette

Tooleville water tainted with unregulated contaminant

 Instead of turning on the faucet to fill her pots to cook dinner, Maria Olivera turns to her drums of state issued water sitting next to the stove at her home in Tooleville. … Tooleville spans all of two dusty dirt roads at the edge of the Friant-Kern Canal, where the blue hue of flowing water is just out of sight over raised levees. Along with it, the basic human right of having clean drinking water. Nitrates from farming fertilizers have rendered the water undrinkable in Tooleville, and the community is dependent on biweekly water deliveries.

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Aquafornia news Food and Water Watch

Blog: Drilling California dry – An analysis of oil and gas water usage during the Newsom Administration

As California suffers from a major drought and enters a climate change fueled wildfire season, oil and gas operators continue to use hundreds of millions of gallons of freshwater for drilling operations annually. It’s a vicious symbiotic cycle: fracking and drilling contribute to climate change and suck up finite water resources, then drought and wildfires worsen from climate change.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Can the US survive California’s drought?

The drought facing the Western United States is bad. Really bad. It’s become worse faster than the last one. As more of the United States suffers from drought conditions and water supplies are diminishing, water demands are rising. Smaller water supplies combined with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and other effects of climate change pose an enormous threat by creating a feedback loop that exacerbates drought conditions and increases wildfire risk across the United States. 

Aquafornia news Newsweek

Verizon, Southern California water supplier among those hit in suspected Chinese hack

Verizon and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California were two high-value targets hit by a suspected Chinese-backed hack that was first brought to the public’s attention in April, the Associated Press reported. Pulse Connect Secure networking devices are used by many companies and governments to allow secure remote access to their networks and those were the targets of the hacks. The Chinese government was suspected of backing the hacks, but China has denied any role.

Aquafornia news Water Online

New toolkit arrives just in time for HAB season

With harmful algal blooms (HABs) being forecast to increase, in part due to the effects of climate change, more water systems can expect to face problematic cyanotoxin conditions more frequently and for more days per year. In its efforts to mitigate the negative effects of such increases, the U.S. EPA has enhanced its information resources for water utilities by issuing a new Cyanotoxins Preparedness and Response Toolkit.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California must use budget surplus to fix water problems

As California plunges into another “historic” drought, people across the state are worried about water shortages. But the last drought never really ended for some Californians, like residents of East Porterville that still have emergency water storage tanks in their front yards. With the state’s current financial surplus, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund drought preparedness and water safety in communities that have lived for decades with shallow and contaminated drinking water wells, inadequate water treatment, and other infrastructure failures…
-Written by Carolina Garcia, a resident of Tombstone Territory, and Sandra Chavez, a member of the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks

When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was hacked in 2018, it took a mere six hours. Early this year, an intruder lurked in hundreds of computers related to water systems across the U.S. In Portland, Oregon, burglars installed malicious computers onto a grid providing power to a chunk of the Northwest. … All three drive home a point long known but, until recently, little appreciated: the digital security of U.S. computer networks controlling the machines that produce and distribute water and power is woefully inadequate, a low priority for operators and regulators, posing a terrifying national threat.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Joshua Tree closes trail for bighorn sheep during drought

It’s so dry at Joshua Tree National Park in southern California that a trail has been shut down to make sure bighorn sheep have access to water. Thirsty bighorn sheep need surface water to survive. As the drought becomes more extreme in Joshua Tree, herds have relied more on a spring near 49 Palms Trail. … To help make sure the bighorn sheep have the access to water they need, park officials are shutting down the 49 Palms Trail to all tourists.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

PFAS, emerging contaminants & how polluters are paying municipalities for water remediation costs

Toxic manmade chemicals, like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,2,3-Tricholoropropane (TCP), are showing up in water systems across the US. It’s not new, but it has become more common, as municipalities are now increasing mandatory testing due to new state and federal regulations. … TCP was tagged as a carcinogen in 1999 by the state of California which lead to the strictest state MCL level in the country at 5 ppt. One ppt is the equivalent of one drop of impurity in 21 million gallons of water – in other words, TCP is very toxic.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Shocking water news in Arizona, Tucson should lead to more action

The problem, as always, is that water keeps flowing from the tap. Every other indicator is telling us we should be in red alert right now about Arizona’s climate and water situation. But when we turn the valve, even on these blazing days, drinkable water flows. It’s a luxury in this season and this place. And it makes it easy to turn away from the news. But we shouldn’t. 
-Written by Tim Steller.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close

A large oilfield wastewater disposal pond near Buttonwillow will likely close this summer, and its operator and last remaining customer will together pay $645,000 in penalties and fees, under a recent court settlement that further restricts a decades-old practice that has become a focus of regional water quality regulators. The accord concludes a 2019 lawsuit that accused facility owner Valley Water Management Co. and Colorado-based oil producer Sentinel Peak Resources of dumping fluid containing harmful chemicals above a reservoir that provides local drinking and irrigation water.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Park Service installs water troughs at Point Reyes to help tule elk survive drought

Creeks and springs at Point Reyes National Seashore haven’t completely dried up but they’re looking parched enough that park staff set up three large troughs last week to ensure tule elk herds get enough water to make it through what could be an unprecedented drought. The 250-gallon troughs at the south end of the Tomales Point Tule Elk Reserve will stay in place at least until rains return next winter, National Park Service officials said.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Sen. Padilla proposes bill to clean up toxic chemical on military bases

Military bases across California, including some in San Diego, have tested positive for a toxic chemical. A bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla attempts to find the money to finally clean up the legacy of PFAS. The Department of Defense has known for decades that a chemical found in aviation fire fighting foam contains potentially toxic polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which has been linked to cancer when found in groundwater, Padilla said.

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Aquafornia news ABC News

Erin Brockovich: the real story of the town three decades later

Despite inspiring an Oscar-winning movie, the story of Hinkley, California, did not have the Hollywood ending viewers may have expected. Hinkley’s story shot Erin Brockovich to stardom and she has continued to crusade for access to safe water. Hinkley is a small southern California community in the Mojave Desert. Since the 1950s, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric has operated a natural gas pumping station. Until 1966, the company used a chemical called chromium 6 to prevent rust. The toxic chemical eventually seeped into Hinkley’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors create standalone water agency

During the budget hearings on June 8, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proposal for a standalone water agency to combat water insecurity in Mendocino County. This water agency will immediately focus on the local drought emergency and work on other water-related projects, such as water curtailment and groundwater management, in the future.

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Aquafornia news KCBX

San Luis Obispo reports safe water quality, no health standard violations; here’s what it means

San Luis Obispo’s 2020 Water Quality Report shows zero violations of health regulations. Jason Meeks is the supervisor of the city’s water treatment plant. He has been working in water and wastewater for nearly 22 years. Meeks said one of the most important things for city residents to know about the 2020 Water Quality Report is that it only shows substances that were detected in the water.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: How better data can help California avoid a drinking water crisis

[During the last drought], small rural communities reliant on shallow wells — many of them communities of color — were among the most affected. More than 2,600 households reported losing access to water because their wells went dry between 2012–16. (That number is likely an undercount as reporting was voluntary.) Much has changed however since the 2012–16 drought. Drought reporting systems such as MyDryWaterSupply are available today, and better data on domestic well depths and locations, as well as groundwater levels, aid our understanding of drought risk. 
-Written by Rich Pauloo, co-founder of the Water Data Lab; and Alvar Escriva-Bou, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Last summer’s massive wildfires bring heavy metals to this year’s spring runoff

In unburned forests, the spring runoff is a glorious, annual event. But not this year. [U.S. Forest service ecologist Liz] Roberts and other forest experts know that the runoff will carry an array of frightening heavy metals and ash-laden sediment generated in the burned soils, posing danger to the people of Glenwood Springs, who rely on Grizzly Creek and its neighbor just to the west, No Name Creek, for drinking water. 

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Aquafornia news Capital and Main

Can California avoid another toxic waste disaster?

For decades, large red-hot furnaces cooked the lead from smashed batteries at the Exide plant, just seven miles from Downtown Los Angeles, spouting plumes of toxic air that settled on and contaminated thousands of homes. … In the years since, the facility has been cited repeatedly for serious compliance problems. According to a former DTSC senior scientist’s review of public records, at least four are responsible for soil and groundwater contamination that the department has or should have known about for years or even decades. 

Aquafornia news California Land Use and Development

Blog: Water district rate increases violated Proposition 218

A court of appeal invalidated a water district’s adopted rate increases, concluding that the district failed to meet its burden under Proposition 218 of establishing that the increases did not exceed the cost of providing the water service. … Following a hearing, the Board of Directors of the Florin County Water District voted to increase its water rates by 50 percent. Data presented by staff at the hearing showed that revenues would exceed expenditures in each of the four years following the rate increase, culminating in a net profit of almost $1.4 million in the fourth year.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Blog: Low-income water assistance program formally launched

The White House last week announced the official launch of the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) housed at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This program is the first of its kind designed to provide funding to help low-income households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their water and wastewater bills. According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the available federal funds, which total $1.138 billion, were secured as part of the federal COVID-19 relief spending in December 2020 and March 2021.

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Aquafornia news UC Riverside

News release: A new water treatment technology could also help Mars explorers

Ateam led by UC Riverside engineers has developed a catalyst to remove a dangerous chemical from water on Earth that could also make Martian soil safer for agriculture and help produce oxygen for human Mars explorers. Perchlorate, a negative ion consisting of one chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms, occurs naturally in some soils on Earth, and is especially abundant in Martian soil. As a powerful oxidizer, perchlorate is also manufactured and used in solid rocket fuel, fireworks, munitions, airbag initiators for vehicles, matches and signal flares. It is a byproduct in some disinfectants and herbicides. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Drought – Mandatory water restrictions coming to Santa Clara County

In a major sign of California’s worsening drought, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider announced Monday that it is moving forward with plans to declare a water shortage emergency and to urge cities and water companies that serve 2 million residents in and around San Jose to impose mandatory water restrictions. The move will be the first time since the historic drought of 2012 to 2016 that Santa Clara County residents will face mandatory restrictions as the county becomes the most populous area in California to impose such severe measures.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water bonds plug spending holes

As California responds to yet another drought and prepares for a future of greater climate extremes, securing funding to boost the water system’s resilience is a top priority. One go-to funding source over the last two decades has been state general obligation bonds. In dollar terms, GO bonds play a relatively small role in water system spending, yet they punch above their weight when it comes to filling critical gaps. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Two California districts have America’s best tasting tap water, but they’re not in the Bay Area

San Franciscans are pretty proud of their tap water.  Sourced from the Hetch Hetchy watershed in Yosemite National Park, the complex supply system of reservoirs, tunnels, pipelines, and treatment systems stretching from the Sierra to San Francisco is uniquely almost entirely gravity fed. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission even boasts on its site that their water is “among the purest water in the world.” So the 2.7 million residents who benefit from the supposed crème de la crème of tap water may be surprised to learn that the water coming out of the faucets in SoCal has been named the best tasting tap water in America, on qualities including odor and “mouth feel.”

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s MWD wins best U.S. tap water at global tasting contest

In victories that make the state’s drought even crueler, two Southern California water districts have won the top prizes for best tap water in the U.S. at an international tasting contest. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished first and Santa Ana took second place for the nation’s Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia. Those two competitors finished first in the category in 2008 and 2018, respectively. Third place went to the Southwest Water Authority of Dickinson, in North Dakota.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

Worsening droughts could increase arsenic in well water

Recent research from the US Geological Survey (USGS) suggests that droughts, particularly the prolonged kind happening in parts of the US, could increase the risk of harmful arsenic exposure for people that rely on well water. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the baseline quality of your drinking water may have been set in stone, literally. Arsenic is a common groundwater contaminant, largely because of local geology. In Maine, for instance, the formation of the Appalachian Mountains and volcanic activity came together to concentrate arsenic and other metals into cracks inside the bedrock…

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: State Water Board’s “SAFER Summer Series” to engage communities in developing drinking water solutions

Aiming to inform the general public and stakeholders alike about its program to bring safe drinking water to the nearly 1 million Californians who lack it, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is launching a series of virtual workshops called the “SAFER Summer Series” over the next two months.

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR releases first assessments of initial Groundwater Sustainability Plans

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its first assessments of groundwater sustainability plans developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).   DWR has completed its assessment and approved plans for the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin in Santa Cruz County and 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin in Monterey County.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Adel Hagekhalil would be a good step forward for the MWD

Adel Hagekhalil is an inspired choice to be the next general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the agency that delivers the water ultimately used by half of the state’s population. He’s an engineer, a consensus builder and a champion of the movement to integrate management of different types of water — drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, environmental water — in order to reduce costs and use precious resources more efficiently. He may be exactly what the MWD needs at this point in its history…