Topic: Drinking Water

Overview

Drinking Water

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

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Opinion: California must change course to avoid water shortages

Californians have recently endured increasingly aggressive wildfires, rolling power outages, and smoke-filled air for days. Unless the state government changes course, we can add water shortages to this list. … However, the dirty little secret is that 50 percent of California’s water supply is used for environmental purposes and is ultimately flushed out into the Pacific Ocean, 40 percent goes to agriculture, and only 10 percent goes for residential, industrial, commercial, and governmental uses.
-Written by Daniel Kolkey, a former judge and former counsel to Governor Pete Wilson and board member of Pacific Research Institute.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2020

More than 30 states actively regulate oil and gas development with a variety of practices and rules designed to reduce health, safety and environmental impacts. … Colorado approved new, nation-leading well integrity rules designed to prevent oil and gas wells from leaking methane to the atmosphere, befouling groundwater resources and causing explosions that can harm workers and communities. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: San Francisco – Save the river you drink from

San Francisco rightly prides itself on being an environmental leader. Given this deep commitment to protecting the environment, the city’s water agency — the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission — should be a leader in smart, sustainable water policy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. But Mayor London Breed now has a once-in-a-decade chance to turn the SFPUC in a new direction by appointing a progressive, visionary new general manager who reflects the city’s values. San Francisco’s Bay-Delta ecosystem and the Central Valley rivers that feed it are in steep decline…
-Written by John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association, and Kate Poole, the water lead for the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Marina Coast Water District under fire for rates, spending practices

Former U.S. Rep. Sam Farr is calling for the Marina Coast Water District to be investigated for fiscal mismanagement and merge with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, even as the district is involved in a lawsuit that has successfully challenged its water rates and could have implications for the entire Ord Community.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

At dawn of Biden administration, opportunities for water systems

President Joe Biden has made his priorities clear: subduing the pandemic, economic recovery, climate action, and racial equity. … Climate has received top-billing within the president’s environmental agenda, but water infrastructure and water systems could also see their status lifted. Some observers are hopeful that the new administration and the Democratic Congress will uncork federal water spending that has been steady but flat in recent years. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dupont, 3M win dismissal of California water utility’s PFAS suit

3M Co. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. shook off a California water utility’s claims that they contaminated the state water supply with PFAS after the Central District of California found the utility failed to establish jurisdiction. Golden State Water Co. alleges that the companies “directed and instructed” intermediaries and end users of their products to dispose of them in a way they should have known may cause contamination. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Lightning Complex Fires also seriously damaged drinking water systems

As the CZU Lightning Complex fire bore down on Gail Mahood’s tree-shrouded Felton neighborhood last August, she gathered what possessions she could and fled. … Thankfully, fire crews saved the little community of 20 or so houses, stopping the blaze within a half-mile of Mahood’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the pipes that delivered drinking water from a spring just up the hill were completely destroyed.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water. Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources Control Board this year. Scott Coffin, a researcher with the agency, visits with an overview of the issues with microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Low income communities drowning in water debt, new California Water Board survey finds

Low income communities across the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state are being hit hard by rising water and utility debt according to a recent survey released by the California Water Board.  Michael Claiborne, an attorney with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, says residents are having to decide which essential service to pay for amid a global pandemic. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Will Kamala Harris champion water justice for California?

A month before she began campaigning for the second-highest political position in the United States, now-Vice President Kamala Harris briefly turned her attention to a small town with a big drinking water problem. “Utterly unacceptable that in 2020, we still can’t guarantee clean water to communities across America. It’s a fundamental human right,” Harris said in a July 9 tweet about the town of Earlimart in California’s Central Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gearing up for long-term water use efficiency

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that ACWA member agencies are highly skilled at delivering essential services to their customers even during the most unexpected and unprecedented times. As we gear up for the new year, our members continue to impress with their collaborative and coordinated efforts on vital issues affecting California water management, including the implementation of additional long-term water use efficiency strategies to increase resiliency in dry years. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California residents owe $1 billion in water debt. Shutoffs coming?

In a time of record-breaking unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians owe an estimated $1 billion in unpaid water utility bills. With reduced revenue, hundreds of water utilities are at high risk of financial emergency. The State Water Board estimates at least 1.6 million households have an average of roughly $500 in water debt — a crisis that could lead to a wave of families facing water shutoffs, liens on their homes or other collection methods. … Data show Black and Latino households are disproportionately affected. 

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Aquafornia news The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Boulder Weekly

Tribal leaders engage Colorado Senator Bennet to ensure universal access to clean water on reservations

Lorelei Cloud is a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, a relatively small tribe of 1,500 members, 1,000 of which live on the tribe’s reservation covering a little more than 1,000 square miles south of Durango abutting the border with New Mexico. Cloud’s experience is not uncommon in tribal homes across the country, as nearly 48% of them — representing more than half a million people — do not have “access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water or basic sanitation,” according to a 2017 congressional report. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Water bill debt soars during pandemic, prompting fears of future shutoffs

Tens of thousands of Bay Area residents financially impacted during the COVID-19 crisis now face tens of millions of dollars in unpaid water bills, prompting both long-term financial and public health concerns. That’s the conclusion of a new a report released Thursday by the non-profit public policy organization SPUR, and that looming potential crisis has experts concerned about vulnerable customers. 

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Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Millions of people drinking groundwater with pesticides or pesticide degradates

 A study of groundwater that feeds public drinking water supply finds pesticides in 41% of supply wells (and a handful of freshwater springs). Two-thirds of that 41% contain pesticide compounds per se, and one-third contain pesticide degradates — compounds resulting from biotic (or abiotic) transformation of pesticides into other compounds.

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning, we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Vast coalition calls on Biden to impose national moratorium on water shutoffs

A broad coalition of organizations is urging Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mandate a national moratorium on water and other utility shutoffs on day one in the White House, in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 and ease the financial burden on struggling Americans. … Only eight states – California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin – and the District of Columbia currently have moratoriums in place, but even these don’t include debt forgiveness programs.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Clean water plans need more public involvement, activists say

The stage is finally set for years of talking to be translated into actual clean drinking water for potentially thousands of San Joaquin Valley residents. But activists fear the effort will flop before the curtain rises if more isn’t done to engage the people who are drinking that water. The issue is nitrate, which is  rife the valley’s groundwater and considered dangerous for infants and pregnant women.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

‘Water is Life’ student art contest opens for Redondo Beach kids

West Basin Municipal Water District announced its 2021 “Water Is Life” art contest is now open for Redondo Beach student submissions. The annual art contest from West Basin recognizes student creativity and innovation throughout its service area. Student artists help inspire their communities to support water conservation as a way of life by creating thought-provoking water-smart pieces of art. Submissions are due via regular mail or email by March 19.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Sunlight powers portable, inexpensive systems to produce drinking water

The U.S. Department of Energy will soon announce semifinalists for its Solar Desalination Prize. The goal: a system that produces 1,000 liters of usable water for $1.50… Such systems could surmount a big downside of reverse osmosis: it typically desalinates only half of the input saltwater, and the solution left behind eventually builds up enough salt to clog the membrane…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Turning the page on a disruptive year in the water world

Last year was one for the record books, with the pandemic, a statewide wildfire emergency, ongoing drought, and a lingering recession roiling California’s water landscape. These crises have exacerbated longstanding inequities in access to water services, and made it that much harder to accomplish important work to improve the resilience of the state’s water system and vulnerable ecosystems. Yet despite all the setbacks, the essential work of providing drinking water and wastewater services proceeded without a hitch—to which we all owe water workers a debt of gratitude.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

STPUD seeks input on groundwater management plan

The South Tahoe Public Utility District is seeking input as they update the groundwater management plan for the greater South Lake Tahoe area. Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for more than 90% of the public and private water systems located throughout this area. Seeking input from beneficial uses and users of groundwater ensures the region’s Groundwater Management Plan assess current groundwater conditions, reflects local groundwater concerns and offers an appropriate long-term management plan to ensure our community has a sustainable source of clean water supply.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: After decades of inequity, this woman is bringing long-overlooked voices to California’s land and water decisions

Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

California Attorney General Becerra joins multistate effort to hold polluters accountable under the clean water act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday, as part of a 12-state coalition, submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arguing that its new draft guidance misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund… In the comment letter, the coalition argues that the EPA’s draft guidance tips the scales in favor of polluters by providing them with additional arguments to avoid regulation under the Clean Water Act, contravenes the purpose of the Act, and conflicts with the Court’s decision in County of Maui.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Kaweah Water Foundation to host safe drinking water public workshop series in January 2021

The newly formed Kaweah Water Foundation will be hosting a series of Safe Drinking Water public workshops in January 2021 for residents within Tulare County.  The workshops will focus on nitrates in the Kaweah area and short-term drinking water solutions for community water systems and domestic well users.

Aquafornia news KMVU Fox 26 Medford

Water advisories for California town continue

A small California town is dealing with a water system that’s not working. Out of the three community wells in Hornbrook, two stopped pumping water and a third quickly ran out. As of Monday, the water is back on, but residents say there is still a boil water notice.

Aquafornia news Civil Engineering Source

Response team investigates wildfire damage to buried Paradise drinking water infrastructure

Communities are only just beginning to understand how their buried drinking water infrastructure can be damaged or compromised during wildfires. A response team led an investigation into the damage sustained to Paradise’s drinking water infrastructure and came to some surprising conclusions.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Doheny desalination plan met with caution, delays

As it enters its 20th year of planning and preparation, a desalination plant proposed near Doheny State Beach continues to be met with delays and uncertainty. In mid-2018, officials were predicting that the operation could be turning ocean water into drinking water as soon as 2021. Now, the project will be doing well to simply win all required permits by the end of next year.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Plastic pipes a water contamination risk after fire, data shows

Wildfires in California have been brutal in recent years, not only torching millions of acres of forest but also blazing through developed areas with vicious force… Because these fires are now burning where people live — or, people are living where the fires are — new hazards to health and infrastructure have emerged in the ashes. Among them is the contamination of drinking water…

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

California groups seek $1.5B in spending on wildfire prevention

A group of agriculture, timber and environmental organizations is asking the state to commit to spending up to $1.5 billion on wildfire prevention programs in the next year. Representatives from those groups said Wednesday that bureaucratic red tape and funding issues have held up needed fire prevention projects to prevent the types of deadly wildfires California has endured the past five years.

Aquafornia news Meeting of the Minds

Blog: Building resilience & addressing inequities in small, underperforming drinking water systems

California has many small systems compared to other states. However, California has about the same percentage of underperforming small systems with problems delivering safe water as most other states. Thus, the lessons learned from characterizing and solving the problems in California may be transferable to other regions, nationally and internationally.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Don’t fall for fossil fuel propaganda

The consequences of climate change do not impact all Californians equally, and here in the San Joaquin Valley, community members and agricultural workers are on the frontlines of the air pollution, water scarcity and increased heat that are inextricably tied to climate change.  Our health, well-being and future prosperity depend on enacting meaningful solutions to accelerate the transition off of polluting fuels.
-Written by Blanca Escobedo, a policy advocate for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. 

Aquafornia news CNN

America’s new water safety challenge is biofilm, CDC study says

The United States has some of the safest drinking water in the world. But its water supply is facing a new challenge — a slimy growth inside pipes that is encouraging outbreaks of illness responsible for over 7 million illnesses and 6,000 deaths every year. That’s the disturbing finding of a new analysis of waterborne disease from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was 10 years in the making.  

Aquafornia news Ensia

From Alaska to Florida, harmful PFAS compounds pollute water at multiple sites in every state

More than 200 million Americans may be drinking PFAS-contaminated water, research suggests. As studies continue to link exposures to a lengthening list of potential health consequences — including links to Covid-19 susceptibility — scientists and advocates are calling for urgent action from both regulators and industry to curtail PFAS use and to take steps to ensure the compounds already in the environment stay out of drinking water.

Aquafornia news TBNewsWatch.com

California city finds early success solving its pinhole water leak problem

The city of Folsom has experienced a significant decrease in pinhole leaks in copper water pipes in local residences since adding orthophosphate to the water system. This past summer, Folsom experienced what residents dubbed “a pinhole leak apocalypse.” Water leaks in homes developed nearly 1,400 times. On the recommendation of consultants, the city started adding orthophosphate to the water treatment system in October. Folsom’s environmental and water resources director, Marcus Yasutake, says it’s had the desired effect.

Aquafornia news Coachella Valley Water District

Press Release: Estrada reappointed to California’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund advisory group

Cástulo Estrada, vice president of the board of directors of Coachella Valley Water District, has been reappointed to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group, as announced by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Plastic pipes are polluting drinking water systems after wildfires – it’s a risk in urban fires, too

When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard. Our testing has now confirmed a source of these chemicals, and it’s clear that wildfires aren’t the only blazes that put drinking water systems at risk.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Unsafe water more common in communities of color

In this video, Elizabeth Martinez, of Lideres Campesinas—and a resident of Kern County, California—talks about the fears and challenges of living in a county with a long history of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Michele Roberts of Environmental Justice Health Alliance and NRDC’s Kristi Pullen Fedinick highlight their analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that confirms there is unequal access to safe drinking water, based most strongly on race.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Much of California’s water wells are contaminated with chromium-6. Could a costly fix be coming?

California has yet to comprehensively deal with pervasive chromium-6 contamination, but that may soon change.  The State Water Resources Control Board held public workshops this week as it moves into what might be one of the final phases of the process of regulating the contaminant. They looked specifically at the costs of cleaning up the problem after the board published more data and analysis of the extent of chromium-6 contamination last week. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Toxic tap water in Latino towns is a legacy of racist policies, California officials say

In the San Joaquin Valley, agricultural runoff from fertilizer and manure leaches into groundwater, contributing to some of the highest levels of nitrate pollution in community water systems in the country. A new report shows Latino neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by elevated levels of nitrate, which advocates say is a result of a historic pattern of racist policies at every level of government.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

Pure Water project may receive $6 million for construction

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior is planning to recommend a $6 million grant award for the construction of the Pure Water Oceanside project. Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a local source of potable drinking water. Currently, the city imports about 85% of its water from hundreds of miles away at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news SciTech Daily

Columbia researchers warn: several U.S. populations and regions exposed to high arsenic concentrations in drinking water

A new national study of public water systems found that arsenic levels were not uniform across the U.S., even after implementation of the latest national regulatory standard. In the first study to assess differences in public drinking water arsenic exposures by geographic subgroups, researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health confirmed there are inequalities in drinking water arsenic exposure…. Community water systems reliant on groundwater, serving smaller populations located in the Southwest, and Hispanic communities were more likely to continue exceeding the national maximum containment level, raising environmental justice concerns.

Aquafornia news KNPR

For the West’s drinking water, wildfire concerns linger long after smoke clears

For many communities in the West, the water that flows out of kitchen faucets and bathroom showerheads starts high up in the mountains, as snowpack tucked under canopies of spruce and pine trees.  In high alpine ecosystems, climate change has tipped the scales toward drier forests, lessened snowpack, hotter summers and extended fire seasons.  Wildfires don’t just cause problems while they’re burning. For municipal drinking water systems, fires are felt for years after they’re snuffed out. 

Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Time’ names its Kid of the Year: Water-testing scientist Gitanjali Rao

Gitanjali Rao, a Colorado teenager who invented a mobile device to test for lead in drinking water, is Time’s Kid of the Year for 2020. The magazine announced the award Thursday, citing Rao’s ability to apply scientific ideas to real-world problems — and her desire to motivate other kids to take up their own causes.

Aquafornia news Westside Connect

Work progressing on Newman water project

Work is proceeding on construction of a new well, booster pump station and million-gallon storage tank on the western reaches of Jensen Road north of the city [of Newman]. The $10 million project to upgrade Newman’s municipal water system has been in the works for about a decade.

Aquafornia news The National Law Review

Blog: California water district PFAS lawsuit

The California water district PFAS lawsuit is significant not only because it is one of the largest PFAS lawsuits filed to date by a water district, but also because it is one of the first times that a consumer product manufacturer is being targeted for PFAS cleanup costs.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Orange County water districts file massive lawsuit over PFAS contaminants

Eleven Orange County water agencies have joined in a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from DuPont, 3M and others whose carcinogenic chemicals have leached into groundwater aquifers and forced the closure of more than three dozen wells in the central and northern parts of the county.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside News

Common pipe alloy can form cancer-causing chemical in drinking water

Rusted iron pipes can react with residual disinfectants in drinking water distribution systems to produce carcinogenic hexavalent chromium in drinking water, reports a study by engineers at UC Riverside.   Chromium is a metal that occurs naturally in the soil and groundwater. Trace amounts of trivalent chromium eventually appear in the drinking water and food supply and are thought to have neutral effects on health. Chromium is often added to iron to make it more resistant to corrosion.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Addressing water affordability in urban California

In the midst of the pandemic and recession, the cost of delivering safe drinking water continues to rise across California, creating a crisis of affordability for water users and a revenue problem for water suppliers. PPIC talked to Robert Shaver—board chair for the California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) and general manager of the Alameda County Water District—about how the state’s largest public water agencies are thinking about this issue.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Now based in California, 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur Meena Sankaran is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Years-long struggle for safe water to end at Coachella Valley elementary school

Children and staff at Westside Elementary School in Thermal have had to rely on bottled water due to issues from an aging well. But change is here. Thanks to a $880,155 grant from the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, a consolidation project recently broke ground, granting Westside Elementary access to the Coachella Valley Water District and a reliable source of clean water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California is making progress on safe water for all, but work remains

A first-of-its kind law set up a new fund and program to improve access to safe and affordable drinking water in communities like East Orosi. … But according to a new report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the road ahead is long — and expensive.

Aquafornia news Politico

Friday Top of the Scroll: How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

“Probably water allocation and climate change would be the two big pivots and increased opportunity for collaboration between California and the federal government after 4 years of conflicts and really outright warfare,” said Rick Frank, a former California chief deputy attorney general. He is now a professor at UC Davis law school.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Calif. county sues Dow Chemical, Shell over TCP pollution

Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural fields, laced with a toxic chemical.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Biden’s EPA Expected to pass limits on some ‘forever chemicals’

The EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set regulations on “forever chemicals” in water and other areas, but not to restrict the entire group of thousands of the substances, attorneys said in recent interviews.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

The surprising connection between West Coast fires and the volatile chemicals tainting America’s drinking water

After fires marred the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz, in August, the local water district issued a “Do Not Drink Do Not Boil” notice to residents. Volatile organic compounds including benzene, residents were warned, could be seeping into the water system — just as the toxic chemicals did in Santa Rosa and Paradise, California, in the wake of wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

Aquafornia news Legislative Analyst's Office

Report: Expanding access to safe and affordable drinking water in California

Despite federal and state water quality standards, over one million Californians currently lack access to safe drinking water. This is primarily because these residents receive their water from systems and domestic wells that do not consistently meet those established standards….Our review finds that SWRCB has shown positive progress in its initial year of administering the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund and implementing SB 200. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

Blog: AWWA offers PFAS updates on research, drinking water evaluation and treatment

AWWA has released three new resources about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to support water systems’ information needs and ability to educate the public and policy makers about issues related to PFAS in drinking water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Drinking water: Experts distrust the tap, but prefer it to bottles

There could be lead in your tap water. There could be PFAS in your bottled water. Microplastics might be in both. Do you choose neurotoxic heavy metals or carcinogenic “forever chemicals”? That’s the predicament facing Americans every time they take a drink of water. … There are no EPA or FDA standards for microplastics in drinking water, though California decided to start monitoring for microplastics by 2021.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

1,4-dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

Water monitoring data collected in 2010–15 show that more than 7 million people in the US across 27 states had utility-supplied tap water that had detectable 1,4-dioxane, according to the Environmental Working Group. The problem of 1,4-dioxane pollution isn’t unique to the US. However, the US situation reveals a number of regulatory barriers. There is no federal limit on 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. And getting it out of water is challenging.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

California water board orders mandatory solution to East Orosi water situation

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news Water Online

Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. said its investigation of benzene contamination in the water supply of fire damaged areas such as Paradise, California has determined that the cause is not from pipe made from high-density polyethylene, but was from the burned-out environment.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Who in the U.S. is in ‘plumbing poverty’? Mostly urban residents, study says

Even in the wealthiest countries, basic water services are not universal. At least 1.1 million people in the United States do not have hot and cold water running water in their house and a shower or tub for bathing, a new study finds. This “plumbing poverty” is highest in cities and most acute in those like San Francisco that have the greatest income inequality.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water, and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

“As temperatures rise, climate change compounds the already difficult circumstances of vulnerable communities, increasing inequities related to access to clean water, clean air and socioeconomic opportunities” said J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, climate scientist at UCS and co-author of the guide.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Improving drinking water safety, access, and consumption in the U.S.

A brief review of the evidence comparing current trends in drinking water intake in the U.S. to requirements across age and racial/ethnic groups reveals that most people do not drink enough plain water. While fluids can come from a variety of sources, there are many benefits of choosing water over sugar-sweetened beverages.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

‘It’s gone to the ground’: Big Basin Water Co. struggles to recover from fire

If plastic pipes or tanks are melted, or even just heat up, or loose pressure, drinking water can become contaminated. In the case of Big Basin Water Co., the system lost water pressure and much of its infrastructure was destroyed. That triggered the State Water Resources Control Board and the Big Basin Water Co. to put a Do Not Drink, Do Not Boil water advisory into effect.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Erin Brockovich issues call to action

Erin Brockovich, the longtime California water advocate, called for people around the country to “show up” to their local governments and demand cleaner water, speaking at a National Press Club event Friday.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

Pipes could release toxic chromium into tap water

A new study shows that the carcinogen hexavalent chromium can slip into drinking water when commonly used chlorine disinfectants corrode cast-iron water distribution pipes.

Aquafornia news PBS NOVA

Toxic synthetic “forever chemicals” are in our water and on our plates

Launched in a post-World War II chemical boom, PFAS have slowly made their way into water systems around the country. They flow through reservoirs and faucets and bleed into aquifers and irrigation systems that sustain crops and livestock that end up on our plates.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Report: Solutions for underperforming drinking water systems in California

California passed the Human Right to Water in 2012, acknowledging that every resident has a right to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Both large and small water systems struggle to provide safe drinking water; however, small systems face the greatest challenges.

Aquafornia news California State University San Marcos

Blog: Ask the expert: The scarcity of water

Kristine Diekman is a professor of art, media and design at Cal State San Marcos, where she teaches media theory and production, and sound studies. She’s also a media artist working in documentary and experimental film, new media and community-based media. Since 2014, Diekman has been working on a digital media project, “Run Dry,” which tells the story of the water crisis in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Supporters of Santa Clara Valley Water District clean water measure raise nearly $340K

A clean water and flood protection measure that would extend an existing Santa Clara Valley Water District program indefinitely has nearly $340,000 in its campaign coffers. A bulk of donations have come from unions, the construction and engineering sectors and political action committees, according to the latest financial statements filed with the state.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Wildfires can spark widespread contamination of public water supplies

More than 8,300 blazes have scorched four million acres (and counting) in California this wildfire season—doubling the state’s previous record, set just two years ago. … This trend not only presents immediate dangers to  people but can have toxic consequences for the local water supply that can persist long after the smoke clears.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and their struggle to remain connected to the most precious resource—water. This digital media project combines short documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Oakland’s McClymonds High School safe to return to, months after chemical scare, district says

Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school first closed in February, just weeks before classroom instruction was halted because of COVID-19.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA hired consultants to counter staff experts on fluoride in water

At a trial over fluoride regulations this summer, EPA eschewed its own experts, hiring an outside company often deployed by corporations to deny and downplay chemicals’ health impacts. … Testifying for EPA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Exponent Inc. cast doubt on studies that underpin federal regulation of lead and mercury, even as the agency’s own scientists said new research does indeed warrant a review of fluoride’s neurotoxic effects.

Aquafornia news Stat

As wildfires ravage the West, contaminated water raises health concerns

Some neighborhoods in California and Oregon are already witnessing benzene levels that exceed state and federal permissible limits as evacuees return to ‘do not drink/do not boil’ warnings. “The number of water systems that we expect to see impacted could be the highest yet,” says Daniel Newton, assistant deputy director of California’s Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “It is a concern.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley. Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a well and has a history of water contamination….construction is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It is the state's first recipient under the program.]

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

Water providers in California face myriad challenges in sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their customers while protecting the natural environment. In this blog post, I explore the stresses that surface and groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s retail water agencies. 

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California tightens reporting for rocket fuel chemical in water

The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to thyroid conditions. The unanimous vote from the State Water Resources Control Board is the first step toward tightening California’s drinking water standard, currently set at 6 parts per billion. The chemical has been found in 27 counties throughout California…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship… One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa “Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work together.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House lawmakers call for school PFAS protections

Dozens of House lawmakers asked the Trump administration Monday to demand protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in school drinking water.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has been all uphill. The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012,

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated with dangerous compounds like benzene… 

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Connecting disadvantaged communities to clean, reliable water in East Valley

Only a few minutes away from our beautiful Coachella Valley golf courses and music festival locations, there are thousands of people living in conditions without access to clean water or reliable sanitation services. For these families, if something breaks in the private water system serving their home, they go without water.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA to promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to overhaul the way communities test their water for lead, a policy change that will be pitched ahead of Election Day… But a draft of the final rule obtained by The New York Times shows the E.P.A. rejected top medical and scientific experts who urged the agency to require the replacement of the country’s six million to 10 million lead service lines…

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Torched towns beset by poisoned water

After a wildfire ripped through central California last month, residents in the Riverside Grove neighborhood in the Santa Cruz Mountains discovered another danger: contaminated water coursing through their pipes. Benzene, a chemical tied to cancer, leukemia and anemia, was detected in the town’s drinking water after 7 miles of plastic water piping was torched in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire south of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Legislation will provide environmental justice to protect communities from toxics

Communities like ours are called environmental justice communities. That’s an elaborate way of saying that – among other things – our children are suffering from asthma at abnormally high rates because they literally don’t get clean air to breathe. Our communities don’t all have safe drinking water, they don’t have parks to play and exercise in and, worst of all, they are surrounded by a high concentration of industries that have been allowed to emit toxics for too long.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Last minute loan keeps drinking water projects afloat

Drinking water advocates had fretted the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, intended to help struggling water systems in mostly poor, rural areas, would fall victim to the pandemic-flattened economy. But a last minute loan from the Underground Storage Tank Clean-Up Fund will ensure SAFER receives its full $130 million — at least this coming fiscal year.

Aquafornia news KAZU Radio

Santa Cruz County drinking water takes a hit after wildfire

The CZU Lightning Complex Fire badly damaged seven and a half miles of water supply lines made of polyethylene, a plastic, in northern Santa Cruz County. That triggered the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, State Water Resources Control Board, and Santa Cruz County Health Department to issue a Do Not Drink - Do Not Boil water advisory for over 3,000 households in Northern Santa Cruz County in late August.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Blog: Wildfires can leave toxic drinking water behind – here’s how to protect the public

We recommend issuing “Do Not Use” orders in the wake of major fires to protect the public before water testing results are available. We believe it is acceptable to use water for fire fighting and toilet flushing, but not for purposes that involve ingestion, skin exposure or inhalation, such as bathing or cooking.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

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

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District rebuilds after ‘most expensive disaster in history’

Emergency repairs are underway after a historic fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains wreaked havoc on the San Lorenzo Valley’s water infrastructure. The CZU August Lightning Complex fire caused an estimated $11 million in damage to pipes, meters, mains, tanks and other San Lorenzo Valley Water District infrastructure and equipment, according to District Manager Rick Rogers.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Construction on major Valley water projects close to beginning

A multimillion dollar water project in the heart of Northridge is on the fast track to becoming a reality. The Aliso Creek-Limekiln Creek Restoration Project at Vanalden Park is aimed at reducing pollutants in city waters by treating stormwater and urban runoff from Aliso and Limekiln creeks and an open channel storm drain.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

CZU fire aftermath points to emerging threat for California: water contamination

Drivers entering town these days pass a sign with an urgent message: Do not drink or boil the tap water in your home. It may not be safe. This town in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the latest California community to grapple with water problems because of a wildfire.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC sues to protect kids from perchlorate in tap water

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, seeks to overturn the Trump EPA’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of toxic perchlorate in our tap water. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler reached this decision even though his agency admits that toxic perchlorate is found in millions of Americans’ tap water…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump ‘anarchist’ order would hit cities’ enviro programs

President Trump’s memo that would stop the flow of federal dollars to “anarchist jurisdictions” could hamstring cash-strapped cities’ Superfund cleanups and other environmental programs.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Thursday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate a chemical linked to fetal and infant brain damage. The agency announced in June it would not regulate perchlorate even though it estimated up to 620,000 people could be drinking water with a concerning amount of the chemical. 

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Zone 7 unveils new ozone treatment system

Zone 7 Water Agency is now treating its water supply with ozone, replacing chlorine as the main disinfecting treatment and “enhancing quality of finished water” for customers, officials announced on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Toxics agency overhaul ordered by California Legislature

California’s beleaguered Department of Toxic Substances Control could at last get an overhaul under a bill heading to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom. … If approved, the bill would impose a per ton waste generation fee, increase facility fees, add an ombudsman position, and take other actions. Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D), who authored the bill, said it would also raise $22 million to help stabilize the department’s finances.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In a California landscape defined — and divided — by water, a single issue unites people who live in the Delta: Digging in against the tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s never-ending water wars.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Opinion: Why fixing the nation’s water crisis and combating a pandemic are linked

The San Joaquin Valley in California has the highest rates of drinking water contamination and the highest amount of public water systems with maximum contaminant level violations in the state. … The most recent contamination occurred in the city of Tulare, where local government buildings received a boil-water notice after a test of county wells found coliform bacteria.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Dow Chemical, Shell sued by South Pasadena over TCP contamination

The suit filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges the companies knew or should have known that the chemical, known as 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, is toxic and renders drinking water unsafe.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Saltwater intrusion at North Marin wells reaches historic high

North Marin Water District has struggled for decades with periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion resulting from the wells’ proximity to Tomales Bay, but the problem is especially dire this summer as freshwater becomes scarce.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for water security

In a comment article published in Nature Sustainability, the researchers are urging policy makers across the world to focus on behavioural change, knowledge promotion and investment in water infrastructure.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: California Legislature kills bill to protect kids from lead

On Thursday, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee defeated a bill that would reduce the amount of lead leached from faucets and fixtures to no more than 1 microgram of lead – five times less lead than faucets are designed to leach today.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside News

Blog: Water contaminant could have neurotoxic effects on children

Manganese isn’t considered a major water contaminant in America, but a new study is taking a closer look at whether it should be.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Blog: California’s cap-and-trade program pays for clean water fund

Last year, California passed a law establishing a fund for safe and affordable drinking water. Using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, it allocates up to $130 million to solutions each year for a decade.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

A pair of water associations are teaming up to urge the EPA to use all its regulatory tools to safeguard drinking water as it decides whether to allow new chemicals into U.S. commerce.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

California childcare centers get $6.1 million to test for lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued $6,137,000 in grants to assist the California Department of Social Services with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in childcare centers.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Erin Brockovich has not slowed down

Twenty years ago, Erin Brockovich was released, and the brash, unvarnished legal assistant turned activist at the heart of the film … had the surreal experience of becoming a household name almost overnight. “Let me be the first to tell you that life takes an interesting turn when your name becomes a verb,” the real Erin Brockovich writes in the introduction to her new book, Superman’s Not Coming.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

A pair of water associations are teaming up to urge the EPA to use all its regulatory tools to safeguard drinking water as it decides whether to allow new chemicals into U.S. commerce. The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), which represents state, tribal, and territorial water agency officials, recently joined the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, which represents publicly owned metropolitan drinking water suppliers, to routinely flag their concerns about new chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

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

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Lindsay to spend thousands to clean city’s water

Last week at the Lindsay City Council’s July 28 meeting, city services and planning director Michael Camarena presented a feasibility study. He noted that the city’s water system has been out of compliance with the Stage 2 disinfection byproduct rule for total trihalomethanes and five haloacetic acid maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA conference: Chair Esquivel and Director Nemeth discuss their plans for 2020

At the ACWA’s virtual conference held last week, the second keynote speaker session featured Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources. Here’s what they had to say.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Blog: Bridging the water access gap through COVID-19 relief

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, guidance around how to control the virus’s spread has become a steady drumbeat: Wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, and stay home. Implicit in these recommendations is the assumption that households have safe and clean running water and indoor plumbing.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

News release: Trump administration invests $462 million to modernize water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities

The Trump Administration Monday announced that the United States Department of Agriculture is investing $462 million to modernize critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure across rural America.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Clean water advocates hoping to safeguard SAFER funding

The state is peppered with failing small water systems, many serving low-income communities without the resources to repair them. … That’s where the new Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program comes in.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA announces significant step in effort to reduce lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule to reduce lead in plumbing materials used in public water systems, homes, schools and other facilities. This action marks a significant milestone in implementing the Trump Administration’s Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Wildfires can poison drinking water: Here’s how communities can be better prepared

Both the Tubbs and Camp fires destroyed fire hydrants, water pipes and meter boxes. Water leaks and ruptured hydrants were common. … After the fires passed, testing ultimately revealed widespread hazardous drinking water contamination. Evidence suggests that the toxic chemicals originated from a combination of burning vegetation, structures and plastic materials.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lithium in drinking water linked to lower suicide rates

A compilation of studies conducted between 1946 and 2018 show that areas with high concentrations of lithium in public drinking water had “correspondingly lower suicide rates,” according to a news release. … The study was published Monday in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

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

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

At a meeting this month where the State Water Resources Control Board adopted its first spending plan for what was supposed to be a $130 million-a-year investment for the next decade, Chairman Joaquin Esquivel acknowledged that the economic downturn could set California back.

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Aquafornia news CBS Sunday Morning

Without water

Black and Latino Americans are twice as likely as White Americans to live without running water. Take East Orosi, a mostly Latino community surrounded by the fertile orchards of California’s Central Valley. To look around you’d think that water is pretty plentiful … and it is, for big agriculture. But in a neighborhood where most of those who work those fields live, there’s no central water main.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Central Valley could get federal aid for drinking water crisis. Will Trump support it?

Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water — if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure package currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California microplastics in drinking water definition adopted

The California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has adopted a definition for “microplastics” that will be used in testing of drinking water… While this development is currently focused on the testing of drinking water in California, the Board and others expect that it will form the basis of future efforts to quantify and address microplastics in the environment.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California plans to cut detection level for perchlorate in water

Water suppliers in California currently must test for perchlorate in drinking water down to 4 parts per billion. The State Water Resources Control Board said it plans to cut that level to 2 parts per billion and then again down to 1 part per billion in 2024.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: It’s time to deliver on the human right to water

California stands on the cusp of getting critical SB 200 funds flowing through communities that have waited too long for water justice and are also among those hit hardest by COVID-19 and the resulting economic loss and strain. Last week, the State Water Board adopted its implementation plan for the fund, also called the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Racism is fueling disparities in access to safe water

Safe water is a human right. Yet, in 2020, the United States remains divided between those with the privilege of having clean, running tap water and those who don’t. As we reckon with systemic racism, our fight for safe and affordable water cannot be disentangled from the fight for justice.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford water expert discusses slowdown in federal regulation of drinking water

Federal regulators have moved to delay assessment and action on chemicals that could contaminate drinking water. Richard Luthy explains how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and individual states approach waterborne threats.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

News release: Study aims to bolster California’s safe-water efforts at child care facilities

Efforts to ensure safe drinking water for children need further support to reach their intended audience, according to an analysis of California’s mandate requiring child care facilities to test their water for lead, known as AB 2370.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US

The question of whether and how much to regulate these persistent chemicals in drinking water has spanned the administrations of US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. “This is a multi-administration failure to take action on PFOA and PFOS and on the broader class of PFAS chemicals that may pose health effects,” says Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group…

Aquafornia news The Hill

350 facilities skip reporting water pollution under temporary EPA rule

A total of 352 facilities, including fossil fuel companies, water treatment plants and schools, made use of the EPA’s relaxation of Clean Water Act requirements, according to a list the agency shared with The Hill. … Environmentalists are raising alarms over the number of facilities that aren’t monitoring their pollution levels, saying the damage could last well beyond the Aug. 31 expiration date of the temporary policy.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

US children who drink water from private wells at higher risk of lead exposure

American children whose homes rely on private wells for drinking water are 25% more likely to have high lead levels in their blood than those with access to regulated community water services, according to new research.

Aquafornia news Bay City News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: $130M California commitment to safe drinking water

An ambitious spending plan to shore up hundreds of failing and “at risk” California water systems won approval Tuesday from a key state regulatory agency. In a unanimous vote, the State Water Resources Control Board authorized a plan to spend up to $130 million in fiscal year 2020-2021 through the newly created Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting water demand

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed massive health and economic burdens on communities around the world, and no sector of society is going untouched, including the vitally important water sector. The full extent of impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the water sector are still emerging, but one area that has come to the fore is the effect on municipal water demand.

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Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Santa Barbara seals 50-year deal to sell water to Montecito

Signing off on a historic deal with its wealthiest — and thirstiest — neighbor, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-0 to ship a supply of the city’s drinking water to Montecito every year for the next 50 years, rain or shine.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Action News Now.com

California budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District

The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise Irrigation District to help sustain it following the devastating Camp Fire. The funding is considered critical to providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. The money was not included in the Governor’s May revise budget proposal but was included in the final spending plan.  

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Report finds Zone 7 drinking water exceeded standards in 2019

Tri-Valley residents might be happy to know the quality of their drinking water met, and often exceeded, all state and federal standards last year, according to the 2019 Annual Consumer Confidence Report for the Zone 7 Water Agency.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A glimpse at California’s new $202-billion state budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law key provisions of a new state budget, a spending plan that seeks to erase a historic deficit while preserving service levels for schools, healthcare and social services. … Elsewhere, the budget adds four more years of additional CalFresh benefits for those who live in communities without reliable access to safe drinking water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

$10.8M grant will fund environmental justice efforts in downtown, south Stockton

The California Strategic Growth Council selected Stockton alongside the cities of Oakland and Riverside to be a part of the Transformative Climate Communities Program… The grant will provide these neighborhoods with access to clean water, fresh fruits and vegetables and clean air to breathe, Mayor Michael Tubbs said.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Water may not flow in Dos Palos for 3 days due to algae problem

The City of Dos Palos is shutting down water for its residents for at least three days to treat after its water treatment plant became clogged with algae. The city says water is currently being used faster than it can be treated and sent out, so residents should prepare for water to stop flowing.

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Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault

After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of Water Resources has selected this project for the draft recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Woodland report shows water quality remains high

The report, recently released by the city, shows minimal, or “zero,” levels of cancer-causing chemicals and dissolved solids that were present as little as four years ago when the city relied on well water. Today the city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which it is treated and delivered to homes and businesses.

Aquafornia news California State University

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Q&A: Ex-EPA staffer on leaked water research, ‘insane’ regs

Thirty-four years ago, Ronnie Levin’s research on lead in drinking water sounded the alarm for many Americans about risks lurking in their tap water. As the Trump administration propels forward a new rule, Levin is still fighting to make sure communities, especially the most vulnerable, have safe drinking water. … What’s at stake, she says, is the health of some of the most vulnerable communities in the nation.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA announces that Oasis Mobile Home Park has clean water

The park’s 1,900 residents have been without a permanent drinking water source for months, after the EPA announced last summer that the park’s well water contained nearly 10 times the permissible level of arsenic, a toxic metal.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: COVID-19 pandemic and need for clean water at rural homes

As the world continues to grapple with the most devastating public health crises in modern history, the San Joaquin Valley has been hit particularly hard, resulting in mass disarray. Small rural regions and underserved communities are now experiencing threefold the challenges that existed prior to the pandemic.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years

For the first time in five years, Seville residents can safely drink and cook with the water that flows from their taps. The small agricultural community of about 500 nestled at the scenic base of the Sierra Nevada has been ground zero for Tulare County’s water crisis for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news CV Independent

Infrastructure on the way: State funds projects to bring safe water and fire protection to two east valley communities and a Thermal elementary school

After nearly six years of work by Castulo Estrada, the rest of the Coachella Valley Water District board and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the water district announced in early May that the State Water Resources Control Board had approved two construction grants, totaling about $3.3 million. The funds will be used to complete three projects that will bring safe, reliable water service and fire protection to two disadvantaged communities and one elementary school in the eastern Coachella Valley.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Tiny bugs can clean valley drinking water but at what price?

If you have a small, drinking water system in the Central Valley that’s full of nitrates, and there are plenty, a company has some bugs to sell you. Specifically, a company called Microvi is looking for a demonstration project in the valley to show that its “biological denitrification” process is feasible for small systems.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

After coronavirus, office workers might face unexpected health threats

Stagnant plumbing systems in emptied commercial buildings could put returning employees at risk of Legionnaires’ and other illnesses.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances.

Aquafornia news Village News

LAFCO approves public vote for Fallbrook-Rainbow detachment

When the proposal for the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and annex to the Eastern Municipal Water District is heard by San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, a public vote will follow any LAFCO board approval.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

SFPUC offering reduced rates for certain residential customers during pandemic

Rates will be reduced by 35 percent for sewer bills, 30 percent for Hetch Hetchy public power utility bills, and 15 percent for water bills for those who have a SFPUC residential account under their name, have experienced income loss due to COVID-19 or the resulting shelter-in-place order, and a maximum income under 200 percent of the area median income.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be part of coronavirus response package

Access to water must be included as part of the next major federal legislative package. We cannot expect to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic without water for handwashing and basic sanitation.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA opts against limits on water contaminant tied to fetal damage

The decision by Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA, appears to defy a court order that required the agency to establish a safe drinking-water standard for perchlorate by the end of June…[S]tates like California and Massachusetts regulated the chemical in the absence of federal action.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Dems’ HEROES Act includes billions for utility, ratepayer assistance

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives released the HEROES Act, the latest proposed relief package to address the COVID-19 pandemic… The proposal includes $1.5 billion in funding for water ratepayer assistance to help struggling households pay their water and sewer service bills. Also included in the legislation is $375 billion to be distributed to municipalities to cover revenue shortfalls as a result of the pandemic, which may help alleviate the strain on some clean water agencies.

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Aquafornia news Water Quality Association

News release: Guidance on bringing water treatment systems back online

The guidelines, part of WQA’s coronavirus resources, suggest actions water treatment professionals can take as part of an overall recommissioning plan for commercial, industrial, manufacturing or retail businesses shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document also can be used as a resource by restaurant and coffee shop owners, small businesses and retail establishments, and even homeowners.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Lomita receives grant to remove chemical from drinking water

A grant of up to $2 million will allow Lomita to install a filtration system that removes a potentially carcinogenic chemical from its drinking water, allowing the community to resume using groundwater instead of more expensive imported supplies. The small city had taken its sole well offline last year and drained its 5 million gallon reservoir after the levels of benzene discovered in its groundwater exceeded state drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA’s independent science board, critics push for stronger lead rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to address lead in water isn’t as aggressive as it could be, the agency’s independent Science Advisory Board, as well as outside groups, said Monday. … In its latest report, the board came out against the proposed trigger level, saying it “adds unnecessary complexity resulting from having to make lead management decisions” while not enacting stricter limits that recognize there is no safe level of lead.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Cal Water gives businesses tips before they open their doors to the public

Cal Water Quality Manager, Loni Lind says water that has been sitting in building pipes can damage the water and bring bacteria. To properly flush start from running the faucet closest to the water meter and move outward to the farthest faucet.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: California must keep small water systems from failing

In a pandemic when hand-washing could be a matter of life or death, everyone must have access to clean water as a public health issue and a basic human right. But what if you can’t afford your water bill?

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Water quality issues, safety concerns are significant drags on water utility customer satisfaction

According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study released today, 25 percent of Americans say they never drink their tap water, setting the stage for a serious set of customer satisfaction challenges on the part of regional water utilities.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Regulating microplastics in drinking water: California retains its vanguard status

The California State Water Resources Control Board is poised to become “the first regulatory agency in the world to specifically define ‘microplastics in drinking water.’”

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Data show millions at risk of water shutoffs during COVID-19

Despite the incomplete data, based on the examples gathered below from several states and cities, all signs point to millions of people nationwide at immediate risk of shutoff or already shutoff. The numbers are certain to grow as the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 continues.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Major water infrastructure bills move ahead in Senate, House

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gathered the last few comments on Friday on its plans to move two mammoth water infrastructure packages this year. … At the same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is gearing up to introduce its own big water bill, which should come by month’s end and be marked up over the summer, according to a committee aide.

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Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California allocates $5 million for lead testing in child care centers

The State Water Resources Control Board has executed an agreement to provide approximately $5 million in grant funds for testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at licensed Child Care Centers in California.

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Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Clean water in a time of coronavirus: Tackling the crisis in California

In many areas of the Central Valley and Central Coast, decades of intensive agriculture has resulted in groundwater too polluted to drink, and wells that have gone dry from over-pumping. More than one million people in these regions lack a source of clean water in their homes. This is a hardship even in the best of times, but it puts communities at extremely high risk during this time of crisis.

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Some 1 million residents of California farmworker communities have relied for years on bottled water because their tap water is tainted with nitrate and other agricultural pollutants. Now, as stores ration water to prevent hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, these residents are relying on friends and family, or driving many miles to bigger towns in search of water

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Protective gear in low supply for U.S. water utilities

Utilities are reporting in industry surveys that they are low primarily on the specialized N95 masks that block viruses and other tiny particles. If the virus rampages throughout a utility’s work force the way it has in meat-processing facilities in Colorado, Iowa, and South Dakota, it could jeopardize the treatment and delivery of drinking water and the proper handling of sewage and stormwater.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Senate water bills need more funding due to pandemic: Witnesses

Two bipartisan draft water infrastructure bills unveiled this week by the Senate environment committee are a good start but will need even more funding in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, water agencies and other groups said Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego mayor thanks water treatment plant employees

Following efforts to increase safety measures throughout all City departments to stop the spread of COVID-19, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer toured the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant on Friday to observe increased safety protocols. He also thanked City employees as they continue to deliver safe, reliable water to over 1.4 million San Diegans.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Coronavirus: More members of Congress support water aid

The number of supporters in Congress for utility assistance in the next Covid-19 package continues to grow. One hundred ten Democratic members of the House and Senate sent a letter today to congressional leaders, requesting financial aid to utilities and the people they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Blog: COVID-19 is a chance to invest in our essential infrastructure workforce

As federal, state, and local leaders look to provide economic relief, they must pay special attention to the support and protection of our current infrastructure workforce. Additionally, this moment offers an opportunity that we may not see again anytime soon: the chance to jumpstart long-term infrastructure careers for millions of prospective workers nationally.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Democrats, nonprofits urge Congress to help keep water flowing

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were urged Tuesday to include at least $12.5 billion in stimulus funds to help people struggling to pay their water and sewer bills. Congress is preparing another stimulus package that will include billions of dollars to improve the nation’s aging water and sewer infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Western Municipal Water District

News release: Western Municipal Water District declares local state of emergency

Today’s declaration of a local emergency grants general manager, Craig Miller, increased flexibility to make critical operational decisions and acquire vital financial, material, and human resources to support business continuity. This action ensures the essential water and wastewater (sewer) services that Western provides remain as reliable as ever.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As cities suspend shutoffs, water access and hygiene at front of coronavirus response

Governments at all levels are beginning to review water access policies and inequalities that inhibit public and personal efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. Those policies include restoring water service to homes where water had been disconnected, suspending new water shutoffs, and installing public handwashing stations to serve residents who are experiencing homelessness.

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