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 Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a key test on his embrace of a new California water tax

Newsom has embraced an idea that has previously failed to gain traction in Sacramento: new taxes totaling as much as $140 million a year for a clean drinking water initiative. Much of it would be spent on short- and long-term solutions for low-income communities without the means to finance operations and maintenance for their water systems. … But the money to change that — what’s being called a “water tax” in state Capitol circles — is where the politics get complicated.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

EPA vows national action on toxic ‘forever’ chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday unveiled what officials called a historic effort to rein in a class of long-lasting chemicals that scientists say pose serious health risks. But environmental and public health groups, some lawmakers and residents of contaminated communities said the agency’s “action plan” isn’t aggressive enough and that the EPA should move more quickly to regulate the chemicals in the nation’s drinking water.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Business Wire

Three new directors join Metropolitan board

Three new directors representing the cities of Fullerton and Santa Ana, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency were seated today on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Costs for Pure Water project are rising – by billions

Back in 2015, the city of San Diego expected it would get about a third of its drinking water from recycled sewage within 20 years and could do so for about $3 billion in construction costs. Now, the city is looking to spend no less than $4.8 billion and perhaps as much as $9 billion on the project, according to city financial documents, including previously undisclosed internal estimates from the Public Utilities Department.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: Upgrading the water grid

In September of 2018, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the report, “Managing Drought in a Changing Climate: Four Essential Reforms”, which asserted there are five climate pressures affecting California’s water… The report recommends four policy reforms: Plan ahead, upgrade the water grid, update water allocation rules, and find the money.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

City won’t say how $3b Pure Water project will affect customers’ bills

San Diego is in the midst of spending roughly $3 billion on a massive new water treatment system, but city officials can’t or won’t tell customers how that will affect their water bills. New water recycling plants will eventually purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water. In December, Voice of San Diego asked the city to estimate how much customers’ bills will increase because of the Pure Water project. The city, after weeks of delay, finally declined last week to offer any estimate because “there is no simple calculation” they could perform.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Water District lawsuit jeopardizes future projects

The Santa Clara Valley Water District made a grave miscalculation in suing the State Water Board over the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. By alienating the remnants of the environmental community who have supported them in recent years, they are jeopardizing future projects and funding measures that will require voter approval.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Governor’s budget targets safe drinking water, wildfires, healthy soils

Governor Newsom’s first proposed state budget, released earlier this month, addresses several critical water and natural resource management challenges. Here are highlights from his plans to mitigate problems with safe drinking water, improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires, and encourage healthy soils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase drought resilience.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

California Water Service asks for rate hike

Water customers in Chico and Oroville could soon be paying more. California Water Service is asking the Public Utilities Commission to approve a rate hike. … Cal Water says the extra revenue is needed to improve infrastructure, including replacing water main piping.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Alameda County Water District proposing 8 percent rate hike

The Alameda County Water District is proposing to raise customers’ bills 8 percent over the next two years to cover infrastructure costs as well as salary increases, benefits and pensions for its employees. The district also wants to create an emergency pricing schedule that kicks in during water shortages, such as in droughts.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Farms, more productive than ever, are poisoning drinking water in rural America

One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nitrate concentrations rose significantly in 21% of regions where USGS researchers tested groundwater from 2002 through 2012, compared with the 13 prior years. … “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff,” says David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Contamination found in streams following Camp Fire

State water quality officials cautioned the public not to drink or cook with untreated surface water from streams throughout the Camp Fire burn area after bacteria and other contaminants were detected in water samples. … Laboratory analyses of surface water samples found concentrations of bacteria (E.Coli), aluminum, antimony and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceeded water quality standards for drinking water.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gov. Newsom unveils $144 billion budget

The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.

Aquafornia news The Detroit News

Bill would declare PFAS chemicals hazardous substances under Superfund law

A bipartisan bill in Congress would designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund program, allowing federal agencies to clean up sites contaminated by harmful fluorinated compounds. Health officials have said continued exposure to certain PFAS chemicals in drinking water could harm human health. Studies link exposure to developmental effects on fetuses, cancer and liver and immunity function, among other issues.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Gavin Newsom visits Stanislaus County to talk safe drinking water

A day after proposing a tax on drinking water, Gov. Gavin Newsom took a “surprise” road trip to meet with Stanislaus County residents in a community known for having unsafe wells. Newsom and his cabinet made their first stop at the Monterey Park Tract in Ceres, where he held a roundtable discussion with people who for years had to use bottled water for drinking and cooking because their community’s two wells were long-contaminated with nitrates and arsenic.

Related articles

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Newsom proposal wants to tax drinking water

Tackling what promises to be a controversial issue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on drinking water Thursday to help disadvantaged communities clean up contaminated water systems. Newsom’s plan for a “safe and affordable drinking water fund,” included in the new governor’s first budget proposal, attempts to revive an idea that died in the Legislature last year.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

As snowpack declines, cloud seeding takes off in Colorado

Cloud seeding has existed for decades, and has significant traction in other western states such as California, Idaho and Wyoming. Colorado has only recently joined the cloud seeding game as the state’s snowpack has declined and the Colorado River runs dry.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Women’s future careers in water topic of Cuyamaca event

This month’s second annual Cuyamaca College Center for Water Studies “Women in Water – Exploring Career Pathways” symposium will provide a good opportunity for women and girls to learn about a career in the field. Cuyamaca’s Center for Water Studies opened in the fall of 2018. A renovated complex with new classrooms, it also has a water quality analysis laboratory and a workshop, and offers related skills-based courses. Last year’s event drew nearly 200 participants. This year’s all-day conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lawsuit over microplastics in Nestle water thrown out

Los Angeles resident Cindy Baker claimed in her April 2018 federal class action lawsuit that the Switzerland-based company intentionally and recklessly concealed facts about the quality and purity of its Pure Life purified water. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said in a seven-page order that Baker’s concerns about water quality and microplastics in Nestle water should be addressed by the Food and Drug Administration, not by the courts.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR Finalizes Groundwater Basin Prioritizations

The announcement finalizes prioritization of 458 basins, identifying 56 that are required to create groundwater sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. For most basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015. Fifty-nine basins remain under review with final prioritization expected in late spring.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: 2019 Will Be a Big Year for Water

At stake is an important rule that defines which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. It’s also poised to be a year of reckoning on the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland. And it could also be a landmark year for water management in California, with several key issues coming to a head. 

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

A Moonshot for Solving America’s Water Crisis

A government-funded five-year, $100 million effort to develop technologies around water desalination is seen as the best hope in generations for making the technology accessible.

Aquafornia news NBC News

After the fire: Blazes pose hidden threat to the West’s drinking water

As more people build homes in fire-prone areas, and as climate change and other factors increase the frequency of fires, there is a growing risk to life and property throughout the West — and a lesser known risk to the region’s already endangered water supply. At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump asks Supreme Court to resolve groundwater fight

At issue is the proper interpretation of the law’s central provision barring the discharge of “any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source” without a permit. The term navigable waters, broadly defined as “waters of the United States,” does not generally include groundwater.

Aquafornia news Washington Post

Communities confront the threat of unregulated chemicals in their drinking water

Calls for the federal government to regulate polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been unsuccessful. Last year the Trump administration tried to block a study urging a much lower threshold of exposure. Harvard University researchers say public drinking-water supplies serving more than 6 million Americans have tested for the chemicals at or above the EPA’s threshold — which many experts argue should be far lower to safeguard public health.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tiny community has tried for 20 years to force Southern California Edison to fix water system

For two decades, the Hutchinsons and their neighbors in this rural enclave of Banning Heights tucked above the I-10 freeway have fought to have Southern California Edison repair a century-old system that carries water down the San Gorgonio mountains to their homes.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Central Californians concerned about BLM fracking plan in five counties

Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a scoping report on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development on approximately 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate lands on tribal and privately held lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Aquafornia news ABC30.com

Sanitation concerns shut two areas in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park officials say Hetch Hetchy and Mariposa Grove are now closed from lack of available restrooms and the impact of human waste as a result of the government shutdown.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Madera Tribune

Contamination idles drinking water wells in Madera

Some drinking-water wells on the northeast side of Madera are being idled or abandoned because of fluctuating water levels and significant plumes of groundwater contamination by the agricultural chemical DBCP, a powerful pesticide suspected to cause sterility and cancer.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: 2019 will be the Year L.A. Starts to Wean Itself from Imported Water

There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.

Aquafornia news Texas Public Radio

Research supports claims that teeth worsen without fluoridated water

When the water was still fluoridated in Juneau, Alaska, kids on average had about 1 1/2 cavity-related procedures per year. After fluoride was gone, that went up to about 2 1/2 procedures a year. And that got expensive.

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

State water boards release annual report

The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News Release: Environmental Impact Study Released on Klamath Dam Removal

The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.

Other Event

CANCELED: U.S. EPA Hearing on Waters of the U.S. Rewrite

CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters. 

Kansas City, Kansas
Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump rule would limit EPA’s control over water pollution

The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a talking points memo from the Environmental Protection Agency that was distributed to White House allies this week.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Did gas, homeless people and sick kids kill California’s water bond?

California voters on Tuesday rejected a water bond for the first time in almost 30 years, disregarding pleas from its backers that the money would fix crumbling infrastructure, bring clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and kick-start badly needed environmental restoration projects.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pope: Safe drinking water is a human right, not merchandise

Pope Francis has affirmed that access to clean water is a human right and that it’s “enormously shameful” that millions of people get sick and die each year for lack of it.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

2018 Election: Voters reject stricter rules for oil, gas, and mining

Losses by green groups in Alaska, Colorado, and Montana contributed to a 2018 election in which water-related policies and funding were on the ballot in at least a dozen local and state initiatives. In two other high-profile decisions, voters in Baltimore backed a first-ever municipal ban on privatization of a city water utility while Californians uncharacteristically rejected an $8.9 billion bond for water projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works takes over long-criticized Compton water district

State officials on Wednesday removed the elected board and general manager of a water district that for years has been accused of serving brown, smelly water to its customers in Compton. With a 22-page decree, the State Water Resources Control Board abolished Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member board of directors and ousted its manager.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco officials to test tap water across the city after Sunset District pesticide scare

A San Francisco woman who tested her tap water with a store-bought kit and got a positive reading for pesticides, then posted the results to social media, has prompted the city to step up water testing not just near her home in the Sunset District but across the city. Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission insisted Tuesday, for the second day in a row, that municipal supplies are safe to drink.

Aquafornia news NPR

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘You just don’t touch that tap water unless absolutely necessary’

Americans across the country, from [BarbiAnn] Maynard’s home in rural Appalachia to urban areas like Flint, Mich., or Compton, Calif., are facing a lack of clean, reliable drinking water. At the heart of the problems is a water system in crisis: aging, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds to pay for upgrading it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Board members who gave Compton residents brown water are fighting to keep their jobs

A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival. The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water tax fails in California Legislature

An effort to impose a “voluntary” water tax on residents to pay for safe drinking water projects died in the Legislature on Friday. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said “a piecemeal funding approach” to the problem “won’t work.”

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Is help on the way for Californians whose tap water is tainted?

Karen Lewis knows about water problems. The 67-year-old lives in Compton, where the water coming out of her tap is tinged brown by manganese, a metal similar to iron, from old pipes. The water is supplied by the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … Now, in the wake of the state’s prolonged drought and the notorious water crisis in Flint, Mich., a number of new solutions have been proposed in California, including a consumer water fee that people could decline to pay.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Is your drinking water dangerous? In some parts of California, it could be.

Five years ago, California became the first state in the nation to recognize the human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water. Today, we look at how the state is working to ensure that right and where the biggest concerns for Californians are.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Legislative fights still hanging; Dirty water protests

Families across California unhappy about the condition of their drinking water will hold protests at the Capitol each day until the end of session. They are calling on the Legislature to pass Senate Bills 844 and 845.

Aquafornia news NPR

Beer, drinking water and fish: Tiny plastic is everywhere

Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what’s out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it’s thrown away, it doesn’t just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Few California school districts have tested water for lead, even though it’s free

As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead. That’s because two-thirds of the state’s 1,026 school districts have not taken advantage of a free state testing program to determine whether the toxic metal is coming out of the taps and, if so, whether it exceeds federal standards.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Toxins turning up in dozens of public water systems

Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets and fast-food wrappers. … Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, recalls how he used to assure people that the local public water was safe. That was before testing showed it had some of the highest levels of the toxic compounds of any public water system in the U.S.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Navy failed to alert San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show

The U.S. Navy knew as far back as 1993 that the tap water at its former shipyard in San Francisco contained dangerous amounts of lead, but didn’t tell local officials, visitors or people who worked there, including hundreds of police employees stationed at the site since 1997.

Aquafornia news NPR

Which water is best for health? Hint: Don’t discount the tap.

You can buy water with electrolytes, minerals or completely “purified.” You can buy it with the pH changed to make it alkaline. You can purify your own tap water or even add nutrients back into it. … As it turns out, scientists say that most tap water in the U.S. is just as good as the water in bottles or streaming out of a filter.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

More evidence of nitrate cancer risk in drinking water

The U.S. drinking water standard for nitrate was set decades ago at a level to prevent infant deaths. But recent research suggests that the standard, decided in 1991, is out of date. Scientists are accumulating evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s nitrate limit may need to be lowered because it does not account for potential long-term health damage, including the risk of cancer, that harms people into their adult years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Flint water crisis prompts call for more federal oversight

A federal watchdog is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water systems nationally and respond more quickly to public health emergencies such as the lead-in-the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Related Article: 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US prosecutors: Water company illegally dumped toxic waste

The California company that sells Crystal Geyser bottled water has been charged with illegally disposing of arsenic-tainted wastewater, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The charges don’t allege that CG Roxane LLC sold tainted water, but that it illegally shipped and disposed of the toxic waste filtered from well water.

Vexed by Salt And Nitrates In Central Valley Groundwater, Regulators Turn To Unusual Coalition For Solutions
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Left unaddressed, salts and nitrates could render farmland unsuitable for crops and family well water undrinkable

An evaporation pond in Kings County, in the central San Joaquin Valley, with salt encrusted on the soil. More than a decade in the making, an ambitious plan to deal with the vexing problem of salt and nitrates in the soils that seep into key groundwater basins of the Central Valley is moving toward implementation. But its authors are not who you might expect.

An unusual collaboration of agricultural interests, cities, water agencies and environmental justice advocates collaborated for years to find common ground to address a set of problems that have rendered family wells undrinkable and some soil virtually unusable for farming.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Agency that delivered brown, smelly water to customers should be dissolved, board rules

Residents of working-class neighborhoods in Compton and Willowbrook have long fought an uphill battle against their local water district, which over the years has been accused of mismanagement, nepotism, bad service and, most recently, sending brown, smelly water through their taps. Still, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District managed to stay in business.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Regulators will soon know a lot more about algal toxins in US drinking water

Authorities in Salem, Oregon, lifted a drinking water advisory on July 3 that had been in place for children and the elderly since Memorial Day weekend, when algal toxins were discovered in the city’s water system. How many other water systems are at risk from the toxin-producing scum that grows in rivers and lakes, particularly in the warmer months?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Customers sue embattled Compton water district over discolored water

Frustrated by discolored drinking water pouring from their taps, four Compton residents filed a class-action lawsuit late Monday against their water provider, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … It comes days before a crucial decision by county oversight officials on whether to dissolve the small public water district.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Abolishing a water district isn’t easy — even when it’s accused of nepotism, mismanagement and delivering brown water

For its litany of problems, it’s been hard to kill the tiny Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … Across California, there are about 3,000 water agencies, remnants of an archaic system that until about two decades ago allowed anyone with a water source that could serve 15 or more people to seek a permit to create a community water system. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Bottled water tab at a California prison has hit $46,000 a month

California’s corrections department is spending $46,000 a month to buy bottled water for inmates and staff at a prison in Tracy where it opened a state-of-the-art water treatment plant eight years ago.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Nestlé granted new three-year water permit in California

The U.S. Forest Service has granted Nestle a new three-year permit to continue operating its bottled water pipeline in the San Bernardino National Forest.  The agency announced the decision Wednesday, saying the permit has been offered to the company “with measures to improve the watershed’s health” along Strawberry Creek.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US allows Nestle to keep taking water from California forest

U.S. officials offered Nestle, the maker of Arrowhead bottled water, a three-year permit on Wednesday to keep taking millions of gallons of water from a national forest in Southern California — but with new restrictions designed to keep a creek flowing for other uses.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Official for Compton water district is suspended after reports of fake supporters at town hall

The general manager of a small public agency under fire for delivering brown, smelly water to parts of Compton and Willowbrook has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, the water district board’s attorney announced Thursday night.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Brown, smelly water sparks concerns and allegations of a political ruse

Residents of Compton have complained about brown, smelly water coming out of their taps for more than a year. And when officials began talking about dissolving the troubled local water district, the area’s congresswoman scheduled a town hall meeting so community members could weigh in.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘Water tax’ debate continues after California budget passage

The California budget doesn’t include it, but Gov. Jerry Brown is not done pushing for a new charge on water users, which would fund clean drinking water in rural areas of the state that currently have unsafe tap water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

At a meeting about brown water pouring from taps, congresswoman says people were paid to speak out in favor of water district

At a town hall Monday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán alleged that people were paid to pose as residents to speak out in support of an embattled water district, marking a strange twist in the ongoing controversy over discolored water pouring out of taps in Compton and Willowbrook.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Dozens of water systems consolidate in California’s farming heartland

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the nation, an estimated 150,000 people are stuck living with contaminated drinking water. … The good news: Help is available to many of these small community water systems, provided they can merge with a neighboring utility that has clean water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drinking water tax dies in budget compromise

A proposed tax on California’s drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Friday as part of the compromise on the state budget. Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act,” which would have taxed residents 95 cents a month to raise millions for cleaning toxic wells.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Environmental groups, Forest Service settle Nestlé water permit lawsuit

In what conservation groups are calling a major win, environmental activists and the U.S. Forest Service have reached a settlement in a legal fight over the permit that allows Nestlé to pipe water out of the San Bernardino National Forest to bottle and sell it.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The chemical industry scores a big win at EPA

The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: 360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Are you one of them?

An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to a McClatchy analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board. … Now, after years of half solutions, the state is considering its most comprehensive actions to date. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Legislature to enact a statewide tax on drinking water to fix wells and treatment systems in distressed communities. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Straws. Bottle caps. Polyester. These are the new targets of California’s environmental movement.

More than half a dozen bills aimed at plastic pollution were introduced in Sacramento this year alone — by both coastal legislators and more moderate inland colleagues who see the potential damage not just in oceans but also rivers, lakes and the state’s water supply. No one, they said, wants to drink a glass of water and wonder if they’re also downing a glass of plastic.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Pruitt promises action on rising threat from contaminants in water systems

Soaring numbers of water systems around the country are testing positive for a dangerous class of chemicals widely used in items that include non-stick pans and firefighting foam, regulators and scientists said Tuesday. The warnings, and promises by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt of official action to confront the related health risks, came in a summit with small-town and state officials increasingly confronting water systems contaminated by the toxic substances.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé bottled water controversy becomes campaign issue in California race

The controversy over Nestlé’s bottled water operation in the San Bernardino National Forest has prompted a review of the company’s federal permit, a lawsuit and an investigation by California regulators. Now, Nestlé’s continued piping of water out of the San Bernardino Mountains has become an issue in a congressional campaign.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A California volcano once obliterated a forest and propelled ash 280 miles. Experts say it offers a warning.

Lassen Peak had been rumbling for days. Glowing hot rocks bounded down the slopes. Lava was welling up into a freshly created crater. Then, on this day 103 years ago, it exploded in a way California would never forget.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Is your drinking water clean in Merced County?

Advocates gathered in Merced, and similar demonstrations were held around the state, according to advocates, to get elected officials to support Senate Bill 623, which aims to provide a stable source of funding to implement California’s Human Rights to Water, Assembly Bill 685 from 2012.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego fighting alone for $400,000 to cover water testing for lead at schools

San Diego is the only city in California seeking state reimbursement for testing the toxic lead levels in water at local schools, which has cost the city’s water agency more than $400,000. … The requirement, which came in response to a national outcry over lead in drinking water at schools in Michigan, immediately prompted complaints from water agencies that it was an unfunded mandate by the state.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California considers charge on utility bills to create safe water fund

Gaps in funding for water treatment are a major problem in California. Water providers operate independently, relying virtually entirely on customer fees to cover costs. For agencies with scale, money and access to quality water sources, this model works well. But absent those resources, contamination persists for years without resolution.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

After deadly wildfire, a new problem for Santa Rosa: contaminated water

When a wildfire leveled a whole neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California, in October, it was just the first disaster for this Wine Country city. A second disaster is now unfolding after chemical contamination was detected in the city’s drinking water following the fire.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin school fountain closed amid lead contamination tests

Testing is in progress at schools throughout Marin for lead in drinking water, and one fountain has been shut down because of contamination. The testing is being conducted in accordance with Assembly Bill 746. It requires campuses built before Jan. 1, 2010, to receive the testing for lead contamination by July 2019.

One Year In, A New State Policymaker Assesses the Salton Sea, Federal Relations and California’s Thorny Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: State Water Board member Joaquin Esquivel

State Water Resources Control Board member E. Joaquin EsquivelJoaquin Esquivel learned that life is what happens when you make plans. Esquivel, who holds the public member slot at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento, had just closed purchase on a house in Washington D.C. with his partner when he was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago to fill the Board vacancy.

Esquivel, 35, had spent a decade in Washington, first in several capacities with then Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and then as assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. As a member of the State Water Board, he shares with four other members the difficult task of ensuring balance to all the uses of California’s water. 

Aquafornia news Western Water

Researchers aim to give homeless a voice in Southern California watershed

A new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.

Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed
NOTEBOOK: Assessment of homeless water challenges part of UC Irvine study of community water needs

Homeless encampment near Angel StadiumA new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.

The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Most California schools OK for lead levels in drinking water; thousands yet to be tested

Less than 1 percent of recent drinking water samples at California’s public schools showed elevated lead levels. But thousands more campuses still need to be tested, state officials said last week. A new law, AB 746, took effect in January requiring those tests at public schools over the next 16 months.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Porterville gets water, some regret it

Norma Sanchez took a quick break from watering her East Porterville front yard, bent the garden hose and reflected on years of being without reliable water.  Now, she has water, pressure and along with it problems with the new delivery system residents waited so long to get.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California AG launches environmental justice unit focused on poorer communities

Besides challenging federal deregulation, the Bureau of Environmental Justice will prioritize pollution cases that threaten public health, [California Attorney General Xavier] Becerra said. The attorneys will seek to compel businesses and government agencies to clean contaminated drinking water, reduce exposure to lead and other toxins and prevent illegal waste discharges in communities burdened disproportionately by pollution.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Nestlé takes issue with state report on water extractions in San Bernardino Mountains

With the comment period now over, state officials have begun their review of 30 separate filings in response to an investigation of Nestlé’s withdrawal of millions of gallons annually from springs in the San Bernardino National Forest for its Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water brand of bottled water.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Seven cities, districts support Mercer-Fraser cannabis project appeal

Seven cities and community services districts have backed the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District’s appeal of a controversial Mercer-Fraser Company project that seeks to build a cannabis manufacturing facility along the Mad River near Glendale.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Here are the places that struggle to meet the rules on safe drinking water

To ensure that tap water in the United States is safe to drink, the federal government has been steadily tightening the health standards for the nation’s water supplies for decades. But over and over again, local water systems around the country have failed to meet these requirements.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé says it’s entitled to keep bottling water from national forest

Nestlé is disputing the findings of an investigation by California water regulators, arguing the company is entitled to keep piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest — even more water than it has been bottling and selling in the past few years.

Aquafornia news The Porterville Recorder

Phase II of East Porterville water project complete

A partnership of state and local agencies working to help homeowners affected by California’s multi-year drought finished connecting 755 homes to a safe, reliable, permanent water supply. All households participating in the East Porterville Water Supply Project have now been connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water system.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Attorneys general sue Trump administration over water rule

Eleven Democratic state attorneys general on Tuesday sued President Donald Trump’s administration over its decision to delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of wetlands and small waterways protected by the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

State gives Nestlé, environmentalists and individuals more time to comment about water withdrawals

The deadline for filing comments about the State Water Resources Control Board’s controversial ‘Report of Investigation’ for Nestlé’s water mining in the San Bernardino Mountains has been extended to Feb. 9, from Thursday, Jan. 25, allowing environmental groups, individuals and Nestlé more time to perfect arguments in an effort to shape the direction of the final report.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s proposed budget reveals water, climate priorities

Fro California Governor Jerry Brown and his administration, 2017 was a water year to remember, and one that would figure into the drafting of the state’s 2018-19 budget, which was released early this month. The $190 billion proposed spending plan names California’s drought and the “extreme natural events of 2017” as determining factors in how the cash was divvied up.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Pot project prompts drinking water contamination concerns

The governing board for Humboldt County’s main water supplier is set to decide Wednesday whether to appeal the construction of a Glendale cannabis edibles and concentrates manufacturing facility that would be located near one of its drinking water pumps on the Mad River.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Trump’s EPA aims to replace Obama-era climate, water regulations in 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will replace Obama-era carbon and clean water regulations and open up a national debate on climate change in 2018, part of a list of priorities for the year that also includes fighting lead contamination in public drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

‘Raw water’ is the latest health craze. Here’s why drinking it may be a bad idea.

Hold your canteen under a natural spring and you’ll come away with crystal clear water, potentially brimming with beneficial bacteria as well as minerals from the earth. … But by shunning recommended water safety practices, experts warn, raw water purveyors may also be selling things you don’t want to drink — dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites that can make you sick.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nestlé warned it lacks rights to some California water

Nestle, which sells Arrowhead bottled water, may have to stop taking millions of gallons of water from Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest because state regulators concluded it lacks valid permits. The State Water Resources Control Board notified the company on Wednesday that an investigation concluded it doesn’t have proper rights to about three-quarters of the water it withdraws for bottling.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé appears to be taking too much water from California forest, regulators say

California water regulators told Nestlé that the company doesn’t appear to have valid water rights for all of the water it’s been piping out of the San Bernardino National Forest and selling as bottled water. Regulators at the State Water Resources Control Board notified Nestlé of their findings following a 20-month investigation, recommending the company limit its use of water from the namesake source of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water unless it can show it has valid rights for all of the water it’s been taking. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

UN expert connects U.S. water and sanitation struggles to poverty

As Congress debated a tax cut that would transfer an enormous amount of wealth from America’s poor and middle classes to its rich, a United Nations expert was visiting people already pushed over the edge by poverty.  … [Philip] Alston’s findings also reflect how the widening gap between rich and poor in the United States worsens the country’s challenges for drinking water access, sanitation, and health.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

EPA chief defends spending on travel and soundproof booth

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Thursday defended his frequent taxpayer-funded travel and his purchase of a custom soundproof communications booth for his office, saying both were justified. Pruitt made his first appearance before a House oversight subcommittee responsible for environmental issues since his confirmation to lead EPA in February.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Instead of that $5 water bottle at airports, filling stations

Remember the days when you could just bring a bottle of water from home to the plane? The days before airport security, which allows you to carry liquids only in containers of 3.4 ounces or less? Until recently, your only options were a fountain, probably with low water pressure, or a $5 bottle of water from the cafe near your gate.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress passes defense spending bill that includes perfluorinated chemicals health study

Recognizing widespread public concern over drinking water contamination, Congress approved a five-year, $7-million study of the human health consequences of perfluorinated compounds, a class of chemicals that came to national prominence in the last two years amid detection in the water of hundreds of communities, households, and military bases.

Aquafornia news KCRA Channel 3

Lead, arsenic, copper found in drinking water at some NorCal schools

Water tests at school drinking fountains across Northern California found dangerous levels of lead and other metals, prompting school officials to shut down the fountains. However, thousands of schools across California have not participated in a state-funded program to test their drinking water, according to an investigation by KCRA 3.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Stanford study probes psychological resistance to recycled water

Stanford researchers have found that Californians’ views on recycled water depend heavily on how that water is eventually used. The study, which appeared in the August 2017 issue of Water and Environment Journal, revealed that psychological resistance to using treated effluent can be reduced, to some extent, by explaining the treatment process to people and informing them of an existing program in Orange County.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Extreme level of lead at San Francisco school gym fountain, among 30 taps failing test

A growing list of schools across the state are posting high levels of lead flowing out of faucets after the water crisis in Flint, Mich. — in which corrosion of pipes led to leaching of lead into the city water supply — led California officials to push for testing, especially in schools.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Lead contamination found in water at Oakland schools

Children at an Oakland elementary school have been exposed to water with lead levels four times higher than allowed under federal guidelines, test results obtained Thursday by The Chronicle show. … The district began testing school taps in August in advance of new state requirements, but the results have not been well-publicized. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Next to Nestlé’s bottled water pipeline, a creek trickles

At the end of an unpaved road that snakes through the San Bernardino National Forest, you come to Strawberry Creek, which flows down from the mountains through a rocky canyon. Head upstream and you’ll clamber over boulders and through the brush until you arrive at a fork in the creek.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Water north of Santa Rosa may not be drinkable for days amid Tubbs Fire

Residents in the Larkfield area north of Santa Rosa were urged not to drink tap water there for the foreseeable future, as the devastating Tubbs fire ravaging the region has damaged storage tanks and a pumping station, officials said Monday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

FDA reversed its position on Nestlé bottled water, documents show

The federal government has strict rules about water that can be bottled and sold as “spring water,” and regulators recently changed their position on whether the water that Nestlé pipes out of the San Bernardino National Forest meets those requirements. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint—where water is undrinkable

Despite having endured lead-laden tap water for years, Flint pays some of the highest water rates in the US. … But in a town [Evart] of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Cow feces and an E. coli scare

Greg Loe didn’t have to look hard to figure out how E. coli probably got into this small town’s [Butte City] drinking water supply. In late May, a routine E. coli test came back positive.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

1,741 districts violated drinking water rules in 2016

Public drinking water systems in California violated state and federal regulations more than 4,700 times in 2016. This database contains every violation from that year.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Gatorade pays California $300,000, settles anti-water complaint

Just because drought-ravaged California has spent years urging residents to conserve water doesn’t mean it wants people to actually stop drinking the stuff. When a Gatorade cellphone game suggested doing just that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a complaint accusing the popular thirst-quenching drink’s maker of false advertising.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Deep drought stirred action on California’s right to water

Though the nation’s first state law to assure the human right to safe water and sanitation was enacted in California in 2012, not much happened immediately afterward. The law existed in a dormant state, like a seed waiting for a storm. The storm eventually came, but, as it happened, it was a lack of rain that brought the seed to flower.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California’s clean-water-for-all experiment begins to deliver

Hundreds of thousands of California residents, perhaps as many as one million of the 39 million people in the state, do not have safe drinking water or toilet facilities.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Banned pesticides from illegal pot farms seep into California water

Toxic chemicals from illegal marijuana farms hidden deep in California’s forests are showing up in rivers and streams that feed the state’s water supply, prompting fears that humans and animals may be at risk, data reviewed by Reuters show.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Billions are drinking water contaminated with plastic — and US has it the worst, study finds

If you drink tap water, you’re probably also ingesting potentially dangerous microscopic plastic fibers. And you’re not alone: That’s likely the case for billions of people across the world, according to a new study from Orb Media.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé faces questions about Arrowhead bottled water as officials investigate

Nestled in thick brush high in the San Bernardino Mountains, bunker-like structures protrude from the rocky slopes. Built with stone and concrete and secured with metal doors and padlocks, these vaults are connected to a series of stainless steel pipelines that run down the mountainside like veins.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Environmental groups win documents related to Nestlé operations in San Bernardino National Forest

Environmental groups seeking to stop Swiss-based Nestlé from pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino National Forest, for little more than $500 a year, have prevailed in an effort to obtain documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California towns tackle nitrate pollution with local solutions

Porterville, California, a town of about 50,000 people, lies nestled at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near the gateways to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It’s an idyllic setting, but in the nearby rural communities of East Porterville, Poplar, Terra Bella and Ducor, many residents get their drinking water from private wells that are rarely tested for contaminants.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Did McClellan Air Force Base poison their water? Lawsuits revive neighborhood fears

The [McClellan] Air Force has consistently denied that toxins have escaped the base boundaries and contaminated drinking water supplies, but a series of new lawsuits by two area water districts seeking $1.4 billion in damages has renewed concerns among some who spent years drinking water from area pipes and wells.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Undermanned EPA delays action on lead in drinking water

Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration kills push to ban bottled water in national parks

The Trump administration’s latest environmental rollback is an unusual one, but with a familiar feature: It benefits big business. The National Park Service announced Wednesday that, effective immediately, it will no longer allow parks to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, which have long been criticized for littering lakes and forests.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Drinking lead—why California may force all schools to test their water

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water. Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Billionaire helping to get funds for San Joaquin Valley clean water

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley. … Steyer met with about a dozen water advocates at the nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in downtown Fresno who urged him to throw his clout behind Senate Bill 623. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

McClellan base polluted drinking water supply, districts say

In a sweeping legal fight that could affect drinking water supplies for thousands of Sacramento-area residents, two water districts near the old McClellan Air Force Base are suing the federal government for $1.4 billion to clean up the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium from the area’s groundwater supplies.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill

A bill making its way through the state Legislature is seeking to improve quality and access to drinking water quality by creating a new state fund, but some local entities are opposing how the bill plans to raise money for this goal.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin, other U.S. water supplies targeted by advocacy group over safety

Marin’s utilities were among nearly 50,000 public water systems examined in the nationwide study by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group. The group acknowledged that Marin and other water suppliers meet government standards, but it says the water frequently contains contaminants in concentrations that exceed levels scientists say pose potential health risks over the course of a lifetime.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco Bay Area

‘Insidious’ drinking water carcinogen has California water customers facing rate hikes

More than one million people across 16 California counties have excessive levels of a potent carcinogen in their drinking water, and customers are now facing huge rate increases to help pay for water agencies’ compliance with newly-adopted standards. … Beginning January 2018, all drinking water in the state will be required to have TCP levels of no more that 5 parts per trillion (ppt).

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Clean water plan for long-suffering San Joaquin Valley towns derailed

Fresh Sierra mountain snowmelt would make a better drink of water for rural Tulare County folk who currently rely on wells tainted by fertilizers, leaky septic systems and decades-old pesticide residues. Nobody argues with that here in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The problem is obtaining even a tiny fraction of the average 1.7 million acre-feet of Kings River snowmelt that heads mostly to farm fields each year.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

State Water Board sets limit for cancer-causing chemical

California took its first step Tuesday toward addressing a dangerous, cancer-causing chemical that 1 million residents across the state could be drinking in harmful amounts. The State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously to implement a maximum contaminant level in drinking water for a chemical known as 1,2,3-TCP, used primarily as a degreasing solvent and pesticide ingredient.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Getting to the roots of California’s drinking water crisis

If you ask Californians who live in communities with unsafe drinking water how bad things are, they will tell you in no uncertain terms that the situation is a crisis. But unlike the nation’s most visible water crisis in Flint, Michigan – where 98,000 people were drinking water tainted with high lead levels for two years before the full story came to light – California’s drinking water problems do not exist in one central location or involve one culprit contaminant. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley replacement water program expected to cost farmers $1 million in first year

It’s expected to cost area agri-businesses about $1 million to provide bottled water to lower-income Salinas Valley residents whose water supply has been contaminated by nitrates in the first year of a pilot program.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Break in California levee system could contaminate Bay Area drinking water supply (with video)

A five year survey released by the California Department of Water Resources reveals half of the levees that guard California cities from a major flood don’t meet modern standards, and if a levee were to break in the wrong place, it could cut off the drinking water supply to the Bay Area for months or even years.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Effort to ban plastic water bottles in national parks would end under budget deal

At the behest of the International Bottled Water Association, Congress is preparing to approve a must-pass budget bill that includes language aimed at restoring the sale of water in disposable plastic bottles in all national parks. For nearly six years, national parks have had the option of banning bottled-water sales as a way to reduce plastic litter and waste management costs.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

California proposes strict limit on toxic chemical in drinking water

California regulators are proposing a strict limit on a toxic man-made chemical that has contaminated water supplies throughout the state, particularly in its vast agricultural heartland. California would be the second state, after Hawaii, to establish a threshold for the former pesticide ingredient and industrial solvent known as TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Activists: ‘This is everyone in California’s water. And an international corporation is stealing it’

A little after 1 p.m. Sunday, a steady stream of cars began pulling off Highway 18 at Lake Gregory Drive, parking on the south side of the highway and their occupants darting across during breaks in traffic to take up their posts on a dirt lot next to Grotewolds Carpet Station.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Vacaville sued over ‘Erin Brockovich’ contaminant in water supply

The city of Vacaville is facing pressure to clean up its water supplies after an environmental group sued this week over the amount of chromium-6 in groundwater. … Vacaville is among several California cities that have been wrestling with the carcinogen since 2014, when the state adopted the nation’s first chromium-6 rules.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

EPA says Fresno water complies with federal lead rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the city of Fresno that its water system continues to comply with state and federal rules over lead in the drinking water supply.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California set to regulate carcinogen in water for decades

Carlos Arias is asked by many residents in the small town of Del Rey, California, if the water is safe to drink. He is the district manager of Del Rey’s community services district, which is tasked with providing drinking water and other services to its 2,000 residents. … Del Rey, in Fresno County, is one of dozens of communities in the San Joaquin Valley with wells that contain 1,2,3-trichloropropane.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco’s pure drinking water to get a new ingredient

San Francisco’s famously pure High Sierra water is about to be served with a twist. Starting next month, city water officials will begin adding local groundwater to the Yosemite supplies that have satiated the area’s thirst since the 1930s and made the clean, crisp water here the envy of the nation.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

After controversy, Stockton’s water safer

In the end, the much-maligned chloramines did their job. One year after the city of Stockton began treating the north side’s drinking water with the new chemical, levels of a cancer-causing byproduct have plummeted nearly 70 percent, on average, and are now well within federal standards.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

One year later, Erin Brockovich’s twin tunnels promise mostly empty

Erin Brockovich parachuted into Stockton one year ago to condemn the city’s use of a common method to treat the drinking water. But sitting on a stage before a raucous crowd of 1,200, in the heart of a region deeply opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels, the celebrity activist won enthusiastic applause when she accepted a new challenge.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Millions of Dollars Needed to Help Low-Income Ratepayers with Water Bills, State Water Board Told
Five million Californians have affordability issues

A statewide program that began under a 2015 law to help low-income people with their water bills would cost about $600 million annually, a public policy expert told the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) at a meeting last week.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

More than 100 attend Twin Peaks meeting on Nestle’s water withdrawals

More than 100 people, both from mountain communities and the valley below, attended a public meeting Sunday to discuss Nestle Waters North America’s controversial withdrawal of spring water from a remote canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Bottled water proposal collides with opposition in California community

Nestled among the soaring peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains, the community of Forest Falls spreads out alongside Mill Creek, which cascades down from the rugged slopes and flows through a boulder-strewn canyon on its journey toward the valley below.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Sacramento State shuts off water fountains, sinks after high lead levels found

The high lead levels were found by students and professors working on a research project during their tests of 449 sinks and fountains on the campus over a three-day period earlier this month.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California announces voluntary lead testing in schools

California schools can receive free lead testing for their drinking water under a new short-term initiative meant to address safety concerns. … The  initiative announced by the State Water Resources Control Board keeps lead testing at schools voluntary.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California schools can now ask water supplier to test for lead on campus (with audio)

California schools can now ask their water supplier to test for lead on campus. … Flint, Michigan served as a warning to everyone on the dangers of lead in the water system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Orange County children’s dental clinic closed after bacteria found in new water system

Orange County health officials have ordered the closure of a children’s dental office in Anaheim after lab tests found bacteria in its new internal water system, which had replaced a system blamed for an earlier outbreak of bacterial infections.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California’s small water utilities struggle with safety

Californians relying on small water utilities to bring drinking water into their homes, or who work or go to school in places providing their own water, are far more likely to be exposed to lead, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Nestlé’s permit for taking water from San Bernardino Mountains challenged

Three environmental and community-based groups have given their notice of intent to appeal a federal court’s ruling allowing a subsidiary of Nestlé to continue to remove millions of gallons of water annually from the San Bernardino National Forest.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Twin tunnels: City of Stockton warns of harm to drinking water

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels could harm the quality of Stockton’s drinking water to the extent that water rates would need to be doubled or tripled, a city official testified on Thursday. … [Bob] Granberg’s brief testimony on Thursday came as the state board holds extensive hearings to determine if any water users with legal rights — including Stockton — would be harmed by the operation of the tunnels.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Discolored water: Testing of Fresno pipes underway at Virginia Tech

A university professor in Virginia is conducting tests on pipe and water samples from Fresno in search of solutions to discoloration and lead contamination issues in tap water in northeast Fresno.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Watchdog: EPA delayed for 7 months in Flint water crisis

The Environmental Protection Agency had sufficient authority and information to issue an emergency order to protect residents of Flint, Michigan, from lead-contaminated water as early as June 2015 — seven months before it declared an emergency, the EPA’s inspector general said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

How California is learning to love drinking recycled water

Would you rather drink a cup of recycled wastewater or advanced purified water? Actually, that’s a trick question – both terms are often used to talk about the same thing. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestle can keep piping water from national forest, despite permit that is 28 years out of date

A federal judge has ruled that a permit allowing Nestle to pipe water out of the San Bernardino National Forest is valid, despite the fact that the permit listed 1988 as the expiration date and was never renewed.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno wants to pay two experts to tackle its rusty-water problem

The city of Fresno wants to hire two national experts on corrosion in municipal water systems to reduce the odds that discolored-water problems now plaguing northeast Fresno will repeat themselves when a new water treatment plant opens in 2018.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Too many California towns have arsenic in tap water, group says

An environmental group said Monday that 55,000 people statewide are at risk of drinking tap water contaminated with arsenic, and many of the communities are poor, mostly Latino towns in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquapedia background

Potable Water

Potable water, also known as drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for consumption.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Primary Drinking Water Regulations establish maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for various contaminants

Aquapedia background

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria as Indices

Directly detecting harmful pathogens in water can be expensive, unreliable and incredibly complicated. Fortunately, certain organisms are known to consistently coexist with these harmful microbes which are substantially easier to detect and culture: coliform bacteria. These generally non-toxic organisms are frequently used as “indicator species,” or organisms whose presence demonstrates a particular feature of its surrounding environment.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After years without water, taps are turned on in East Porterville

Tania Ramirez stepped into her family’s front yard Friday morning, leaned down toward a pipe protruding from the garden, and twisted a spigot. For the first time in three years, water came pouring out.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Wary residents hear Fresno’s update on water problems

A noted national expert in water-system engineering said Fresno still has considerable work ahead of it as it deals with persistent water problems in the northeast part of the city.

Aquafornia news NPR

Where lead lurks and why even small amounts matter (with audio)

Lead problems with the water in Flint, Mich., have prompted people across the country to ask whether they or their families have been exposed to the toxic metal in their drinking water, too.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno water complaints were hidden from city officials, Mayor Ashley Swearengin says

A former Fresno water plant operator used a private email server and cell phone to hide complaints of discolored or tainted water from his bosses, city officials said Thursday. … The complaints also were not made public to the state, which is required under state law.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno enlists experts to investigate northeast water concerns

Two recognized experts in drinking water contamination and water chemistry – including the professor who led the investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Mich. – are working with the city of Fresno to find solutions to the corrosion of galvanized residential plumbing in the northeast part of the city.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Study: Chemicals from firefighting foam in drinking water (with audio)

A study by UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers finds a firefighting foam containing highly fluorinated chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many of the nation’s military bases, airports and industrial sites.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno advances ban on galvanized water pipes, tougher reporting rules

The city of Fresno is banning the use of galvanized pipe for plumbing in new construction and remodeling projects as signs point to the venerable material as a prime culprit in concerns over discoloration and lead contamination of water in homes across northeast Fresno.

Aquafornia news Washington Post

What we’re doing to the environment may be costing us our drinking water

The human footprint on the environment may have affected one of the Earth’s most precious resources – our drinking water– in a major way throughout the last century, according to new research.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lee Brand wants loans, rebates to aid Fresno residents with tainted water

Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, who is campaigning to be the city’s next mayor, is proposing two major policy initiatives after a large number of residents, almost exclusively in his northeast district, have complained about discolored and tainted water.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno places water chief on administrative leave; probes reporting discrepancies

The chief of Fresno’s water operations has been placed on administrative leave over discrepancies in the reporting of water quality issues. … The action is related to an ongoing controversy over problems with discolored water in several hundred homes in northeast Fresno and issues of lead contamination in water coming from residents’ faucets in several dozen homes.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California to set legal limit on probable carcinogen in water (with audio)

The California State Water Resources Control Board will soon set a maximum contaminant level for 1,2,3 Trichloropropane, or 1,2,3 TCP.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno broadens notifications for discolored-water investigation

The pounding of a jackhammer rattled through an otherwise quiet northeast Fresno neighborhood Monday morning as plumbers dug up one resident’s water line.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Toxic algae is blooming more often in lakes, reservoirs. Does that threaten drinking water?

In California, cyanotoxins have become more of a problem amid the drought and the same toxin that shut down Toledo’s water supply has been detected in lakes, reservoirs and streams across the state. But because standard treatment processes usually get rid of cyanotoxins, water officials say it’s unlikely a similar crisis would unfold here.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Sprouts subject of nationwide Nestle protest

Activists arguing that Nestle’s bottling of water from the San Bernardino National Forest is illegal due to a long-expired permit gathered Saturday at Sprouts Farmers Market locations across the U.S., including one in La Quinta, in order to protest the chain’s sale of Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California eyes recycling wastewater for drinking

The state is currently investigating whether it is feasible to develop standards for direct potable reuse, which would allow treated wastewater to be sent direct to customers for drinking without first being stored in a reservoir or aquifer.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County proposal to let landowners use hauled-in water worries environmentalists

Los Angeles County is considering a controversial plan to spur housing development in rural unincorporated areas by allowing property owners to haul in drinking water if no other source is available.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Capitol officials find lead in 2nd House office building

U.S. Capitol officials have found elevated levels of lead in the water at a second House office building.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno searches for answers on discoloration, lead in water

A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes, causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead contamination – to flow from their household faucets. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno expands investigation for lead, discoloration in city water

Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to every water customer in the northeastern area of the city, substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as well as lead contamination in about 40 homes.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators

Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water – and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers about why and what to do about it, those answers are in painfully short supply.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

The Dig: Investigating the safety of the water you drink

I’ve [T. Christian Miller] received a lot of questions about applying investigative reporting techniques to figuring out whether your water is safe — the stuff in your taps, the stuff in your rivers, the stuff at the beach. … The difficulty is partly due to the complexity of the topic. Water is not simple.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

New arguments added to case over Nestle’s water permit in San Bernardino Mountains

Because Nestle North American Waters did not provide requested information, its permit related to water withdrawals in the San Bernardino National Forest has lapsed, plaintiffs contend in a brief filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Riverside. 

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Groundwater sales initiative gathers over 2,000 signatures in ballot bid

A ballot initiative created by a group of concerned citizens aims to alter groundwater management in Siskiyou County. Chapter 13 of the Siskiyou County Code governs the withdrawal and transport of groundwater, and section 3-13.301 does not allow the unpermitted transport of water from the county; however, “commercial water-bottling enterprises” are exempt from requiring such a permit. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Drinking water warning issued for nonstick chemical

Teflon and related brands Gore-Tex, Scotchgard, and Stainmaster — all prized for their water-repelling, stain-protecting, and mess-preventing attributes — seem to contain magical properties. … Last month, seven years after it issued the first health guidelines for PFOA/PFOS in drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowered the recommended level in drinking water to 0.07 parts per billion combined.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Federal judge wants more details before ruling in Nestle lawsuit

A federal judge Monday said he needed more information before he can determine if the government has erred in allowing Nestle to continuously withdraw millions of gallons of water annually from Strawberry Creek — 28 years after the company’s permit expired.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Activists protest Nestle bottling as court hears lawsuit

Activists who are challenging Nestle’s bottling of water from a national forest attended their first hearing in federal court on Monday, arguing the Forest Service has violated the law by allowing the company to continue piping out water using a permit that lists an expiration date of 1988.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

State says it’s looking into Nestle water rights in San Bernardino Mountains

The state Water Resources Control Board has launched an investigation into Nestle’s water rights in the San Bernardino National Forest, adding a new layer of scrutiny to the growing public outcry into the water bottler’s operations during a drought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Residents in Tulare County community open taps to clean water

Matheny Tract residents can finally open their taps to clean water. … In March, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Tulare to merge its water system with Matheny Tract under a new law.

Commands