Topic: Energy and Water

Overview

Energy and Water

Water and energy are interconnected. A frequent term to describe this relationship is the “water-energy nexus.”

Energy for Water: Energy is needed to store water, get it where it is needed and also treat it to be used:

*  Extracting water from rivers and streams or pumping it from aquifers, and then conveying it over hills and into storage facilities is a highly energy intensive process. The State Water Project (SWP) pumps water 700 miles, including up nearly 2,000 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains. The SWP is the largest single user of energy in California. It consumes an average of 5 billion kWh per year. That’s about 2 to 3 percent of all electricity consumed in California
*  Water treatment facilities use energy to pump and process water for use in homes, businesses and industry
*  Consumers use energy to treat water with softeners or filters, to circulate and pressurize water and to heat and cool water
*  Wastewater plants use energy to pump wastewater to treatment plants, and also to aerate and filter it at the plant.

Different end uses require more electricity for delivery than others. Water for residential, commercial and industrial end-use needs the most energy (11 percent), followed by agricultural end-use (3 percent), residential, commercial and industrial supply and treatment (3 percent), agricultural water supply and treatment (1 percent) and wastewater treatment (1 percent), according to the California Energy Commission.

Water for Energy: Water is used to generate electricity

*  Water is needed either to process raw materials used in a facility or maintaining a plant,or to just generate electricity itself.

Overall, the electricity industry is second only to agriculture as the largest user of water in the United States. Electricity production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, accounting for 39 percent of all freshwater withdrawals in the nation. Coal, the most abundant fossil fuel, currently accounts for 52 percent of U.S. electricity generation, and each kWh generated from coal requires withdrawal of 25 gallons of water.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Citizens committee files to stop Oroville Dam re-licensing, says DWR is untrustworthy

The Feather River Recovery Alliance has filed a motion to intervene with the Department of Water Resources’ pending application to re-license operation of the Oroville Dam. … The motion requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reopen the licensing process that was conducted over a decade ago, and prior to the community becoming aware of safety concerns at the Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Battle lines are drawn over oil drilling in California

The state is moving to ramp down oil production while Washington is expediting it. State officials are taking a closer look at the environmental and health threats — especially land, air and water contamination — posed by energy extraction, while Washington appears to have concluded that existing federal regulations sufficiently protect its sensitive landscapes as well as public health.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Future of Potter Valley power project could hinge on options for dam at Lake Pillsbury

CalTrout has identified Scott Dam, which impounds Eel River water in Lake Pillsbury, as one of five aging dams it considers “ripe for removal,” especially in the wake of PG&E’s license surrender. There is, however, a potential middle course backed by Friends of the Eel River, a Eureka-based nonprofit that has long called for the dam’s removal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New LADWP commissioner works for a company that markets water and power

Nicole Neeman Brady serves as principal and chief operating officer at L.A.-based Renewable Resources Group, which … is in the business of developing energy and water projects, raising the potential for conflicts of interest if the company seeks to do business with LADWP while Neeman Brady serves on the board.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA

During days when solar panels feed more energy into the grid than utilities want to buy, the projects would use the excess power to pump water from Walker Lake or Pyramid Lake into the newly constructed reservoirs. Once there, the water would sit as a giant pool of potential energy. When demand for power increased at night as solar production waned, the water could be released downhill and run through a power plant.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Opinion: What’s next for Potter Valley Project?

Exactly what the Potter Valley Project will look like in the future is not set in stone. The partnership is committed to identifying solutions that meet the needs of the communities and wildlife affected by the project’s operations.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA sued over oil waste dumping in aquifer near Pismo Beach, California

The Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the agency wrongly allowed oil waste to be dumped into a San Luis Obispo aquifer and ignored impacts to the California red-legged frog and other endangered species.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Climate change could double greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater lakes

Small shallow lakes dominate the world’s freshwater area, and the sediments within them already produce at least one-quarter of all carbon-dioxide, and more than two-thirds of all methane released from lakes into our atmosphere. The new research, published in the journal PNAS, suggests that climate change may cause the levels of greenhouse gases emitted by freshwater northern lakes to increase by between 1.5 and 2.7 times.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: No new California fracking without scientific review, Newsom says

In a victory for critics of California’s oil drilling industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday stopped the approval of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the permits for those projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists. Newsom also imposed a moratorium on new permits for steam-injected oil drilling, another extraction method … linked to a massive petroleum spill in Kern County over the summer.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

With new deal, Palo Alto banks on recycled water for drought protection

Seeking to fortify the city against future droughts, the Palo Alto City Council endorsed on Monday a long-term agreement with Santa Clara Valley Water District and Mountain View to build a salt-removal plant in the Baylands and then transfer the treated wastewater south.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Millions of gallons of oily water have surfaced in a Kern County oil field, and more keeps coming

Since July, at least a half dozen surface expressions have been reported into the state spill report database, including one in early November, totaling more than 2.7 million gallons of oil, water and mud. … Under strengthened state regulations, these surface expressions became illegal only in April of this year. But that doesn’t mean the public knows about all of them or how close they occur to communities…

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Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Poop to power: Highland sewer plant to generate electricity, opportunity

A $32.6 million addition to a water treatment facility rising out of the ground under giant cranes will turn waste into electricity, and provide education, jobs and more to an underserved community, according to the East Valley Water District. A co-digester added to the Sterling Natural Resource Center project will turn sewage and food waste into three megawatts of power per year, enough to power about 1,950 houses.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: Climate impact of hydropower varies widely

Hydropower is broadly considered to be much more environmentally friendly than electricity generated from fossil fuels, and in many cases this is true. However, a new study reveals that the climate impact of hydropower facilities varies widely throughout the world and over time, with some facilities emitting more greenhouse gases than those burning fossil fuels.

Aquafornia news CityLab

Under Newsom, oil well approvals are going up

As Donald Trump’s administration pushes to expand oil extraction in California, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed bill after bill limiting the practice. … But since taking office in January, Newsom’s own department of energy management has approved 33 percent more new oil and gas drilling permits than were approved under Newsom’s predecessor Jerry Brown over the same period in 2018

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

End could be near for Kilarc Reservoir, a popular fishing spot

PG&E said Thursday that a small powerhouse at the reservoir had been shut down since a canal at the reservoir had been damaged during last winter’s storms. The utility has determined that the costs to repair the canal “outweigh the economic benefit of (power) generation at the Kilarc powerhouse.”

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Potter Valley Project water coalition makes strides toward two-basin solution

A local coalition formed in the hopes of maintaining the most important aspects of the Potter Valley Project is making progress toward a two-basin solution, Janet Pauli told the Ukiah City Council at its last meeting.

Aquafornia news City Watch

Opinion: Unsustainable California

The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

Drilling boom adds stress to U.S. Western water supplies: report

About 60% of federal oil and gas drilling leases offered since 2017 are located in areas that are at risk of shortages and droughts, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Wind and solar can save the planet — can they save our water supply, too?

Hydropower facilities store water in reservoirs in order to release it in a constant flow and produce energy consistently. If wind turbines and solar panels, paired with battery storage, took the pressure off of these facilities to fill the needs of the grid during a drought, more of that water could be released downstream for agricultural use, preventing further groundwater depletion.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

High on hydroelectricity

The Mojave Water Agency on Thursday cut the ribbon on its Deep Creek Hydroelectric Clean-Energy System, a project that produces electricity from California Aqueduct water and replenishes the groundwater in the Victor Valley.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

JPA formed to govern East County water purification program

The creation of the JPA marks a key milestone in moving forward the project that will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water.

Aquafornia news North Bay Bohemian

Saving salmon: Will overhauling Scott Dam save native fish?

Today, annual salmon runs in Eel River that once may have totaled a million or so adults consist of a few thousand. Lamprey eels, too, have dwindled. Now, there is serious talk of removing Scott Dam, owned by PG&E since 1930. For fishery proponents, such a river makeover is the optimal way to revive the Eel’s salmon runs.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Opinion: Long-term reliability and resilience requires investment

El Dorado Irrigation District has been making preparations for these power shutoffs since 2018. After analyzing areas in our system that would need to be bolstered in the event of large-scale power outages — pump stations or other facilities without backup power — we asked the EID Board of Directors to approve $800,000 to purchase generators that could be utilized across our 220-square-mile service area.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California water providers fight wildfire outages with generators

California water providers are buying up generators and asking customers to cut back on showers during the intentional power outages by electric utilities trying to avoid sparking wildfires…

Aquafornia news Huffington Post

Fed up with PG&E, California mayors pitch customer-owned power co-op

In a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission shared Tuesday, the mayors and city supervisors argued that PG&E ― beset by massive bankruptcy and public outrage over its role in deadly wildfires and mismanaged forced power outages ― would function better as a customer-owned utility than a business focused on paying dividends to its shareholders.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Offshore drilling: Leaking ‘legacy’ oil wells pollute Calif. beaches, stir fears

Drillers punched hundreds of shallow wells in the California seafloor off Santa Barbara County at the turn of the 20th century — only to abandon them in the early 1900s. … But the oil has lingered. It leaks from the orphaned wells and seeps from the ocean floor naturally off the Santa Barbara coast… It leaves tar on the beach and a sheen on the waters. Environmentalists worry about damage to the ecosystem and threats to public health…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Feds’ California water project must charge customers equitably

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can’t charge Central Valley Project power customers disproportionately more than water customers in order to fund its environmental efforts, the Federal Circuit said Nov. 6. The law requires the Bureau to charge customers in proportion to what they pay to fund the network of dams, reservoirs, canals, and water power plants as a whole, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said.

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Why desalinating water is hard — and why we might need to anyway

In places like San Diego and Dubai, where freshwater is scarce, humans turn to machines that pull the salt out of seawater, transforming it into clean drinking water. … Many researchers are working to improve the technology so it can reach more people — and address climate change without contributing to it.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Supplemental EIR clears way for fracking, oil drilling in Santa Barbara County

A supplemental environmental impact report on hydraulic fracturing released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found no significant impacts, and plans for leasing 1.2 million acres for oil and gas development in eight counties, including Santa Barbara County, will not change.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: A fresh look at the future of hydropower requires that we see clearly its past and present

The record of the hydropower industry on America’s rivers and streams is not one of protecting and preserving natural ecosystems. It is, in fact, exactly the opposite.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds push to open 1 million acres to fracking in California

The Trump administration unveiled a plan to open another million acres in California to oil and gas development and fracking, one day after being sued by conservationists for similar plans in a different part of the state. The Bureau of Land Management released its environmental analysis Thursday concluding that hydraulic fracturing and oil and gas extraction in counties located in the south state do not conflict with the land management goals of the agency.

Aquafornia news Vox.com

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

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

Aquafornia news High Country News

Is renewable energy’s future dammed?

Just outside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a year-round, mineral-rich spring turns the Little Colorado River a vivid turquoise. This final stretch, about 10 miles from the river’s confluence with its larger relative, is one of the West’s spectacular waterways, with bright water flowing below steep red-rock cliffs. But the view will change dramatically if a Phoenix-based company builds a proposed hydropower project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: No heat, no light? Not so bad. No water? Much worse

When the lights went out this week, Susan Illich of Sebastopol didn’t just lose power. She also lost water. That’s because, like thousands of residents in Sonoma County, she relies on a private well that operates with an electric pump. … “Water puts out fire,” she said. “My basic rights to fend off fire that could have killed me and my pets and damaged my home was obstructed.”

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Environmental prosecutions drop to lowest level in decades

Prosecutions of environmental crimes dropped to historic lows under the Trump administration last fiscal year and one legal expert believes that could endanger public health. “There’s a risk that unenforced violations could lead to fires, leaks, spills, and contamination,” said Ethan Elkind, climate program director at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Green groups sue Trump administration over California drilling plan

Two environmental groups sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over its plan to open up more than 720,000 acres (291,370 hectares) of federal land in California for oil and gas development.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Opinion: Big if it works: New system aims to pull water right out of the sky

Called WEDEW (wood-to-energy deployed water), it is a collaboration between Skysource and ALL Power Labs and uses local biomass gasification… It converts the biomass into biochar, hot humid air and electricity. Water is condensed out of the hot humid air in a process that mimics the way clouds are formed (the hot humid air hits cold air and forms droplets of rain) and stored in a tank

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Klamath River Compact Commission boosts visibility

Prior to a commission meeting earlier this year, the Commission hadn’t met since 2010, according to Curtis Anderson, commission member representing the California side of the river. … “We’re seeing if we can be helpful by at least providing information and providing an opportunity for people to raise concerns concerning the Compact itself,” Anderson said.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Electric vehicles: How lithium could be California’s next ‘gold rush’

The salty gunk and steam passing through the maze of pipes can produces up to 55 megawatts of electricity. It comes from under the shores of the Salton Sea, a man-made lake in the far southeastern desert of California. Benson, chief operating officer of the geothermal power producer EnergySource, pointed to a white shipping container, where fiberglass tanks are being used to pull lithium out of the same brine from the sandstone depths.

Aquafornia news E&E News

The new weapon in the war over dam removal: Economics

The decadeslong Pacific Northwest salmon war may be nearing the end. But it’s economics, not fish, that could be the demise of four dams at the center of the fight. The dams on the Lower Snake River — besieged by conservationists and biologists for killing fish — are now battered by falling prices for renewable energy, skyrocketing replacement costs for aging turbines and a growing tab for environmental mitigation.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Manure, trash and wastewater: U.S. utilities get dirty in climate fight

Nationwide, more than a dozen utilities have started developing renewable natural gas production through partnerships with farmers, wastewater treatment plants and landfill operators, while nine have proposed price premiums for customers who choose it as a fuel, according to the American Gas Association.

Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Opinion: Klamath dam removal is not a partisan issue

Today’s noisy partisan divide concerns me and makes the thought of meaningful collaboration across parties seem impossible. However, the largest river restoration project in history, spanning the California-Oregon border, tells a hopeful story offering a blueprint for political, conservation and economic progress.

Aquafornia news California Globe

Is water and power rationing California’s future?

Tuesday, another text message warning came in from Pacific Gas & Electric that power outages are imminent. Again. Couple that with a same-day heads-up message from the El Dorado Irrigation District that when the power is out, they cannot pump water to homes and businesses, and California is feeling more like an emerging market economy in a developing nation.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The world can make more water from the sea, but at what cost?

Desalinated seawater is the lifeblood of Saudi Arabia, no more so than at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, an international research center that rose from the dry, empty desert a decade ago. … Desalination provides all of the university’s fresh water, nearly five million gallons a day. But that amount is just a tiny fraction of Saudi Arabia’s total production.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

Aquafornia news Axios

The water crisis U.S. cities don’t see coming

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. … Still, with only a handful of exceptions, “water systems aren’t designed to focus on health, they’re focused on cost-containment,” says Seth Siegel, whose book “Troubled Water,” released this month, examines the precarious state of water infrastructure in the U.S.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

BLM authorizes Swan Lake land use for pumped storage project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a right-of-way grant (ROW) Wednesday that allows for the construction of various facilities on 711 acres east of Klamath Falls, according to a news release. … The ROW grant is part of the Swan Lake North Hydro LLC proposal to develop a 393.3-megawatt hydropower generating facility…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

White House nears infrastructure permitting changes

The White House has begun reviewing a plan to change the way it issues environmental permits for infrastructure projects. If the proposal is finalized, it could speed up National Environmental Policy Act reviews for roads, bridges, ports, pipelines, power lines, Internet trunks, and water systems.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Santa Barbara County board of supervisors votes to approve resolution opposing oil drilling

The Santa Barbara County board of supervisors is taking a stand against the Trump administration. The resolution was sponsored by First District County Supervisor Gregg Hart in response to the Trump Administration’s plan to open more than one million acres of lands throughout the coastal and interior regions of central California to new oil drilling and fracking.

Aquafornia news KQED News

New Chevron crude spills emerge in Kern County oil field

Thousands of gallons of crude petroleum began spouting out of the ground near a part of Chevron’s steam injection well network in a Kern County oil field over the weekend … in the same area where a larger uncontrolled release of 234,000 gallons of oil has taken place since August.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Aging dams, forgotten perils

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Critical U.S. infrastructure is dilapidated and unsafe. Regulation is week, and enforcement is weaker. Everyone agrees on the need for action, and climate change will only make the problem worse. but no one seems to do anything about it. Sadly, this has become a familiar story. Take dams for instance.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor signs bill limiting oil, gas development

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed a law intended to counter Trump administration plans to increase oil and gas production on protected public land. The measure bars any California leasing authority from allowing pipelines or other oil and gas infrastructure to be built on state property. It makes it difficult for drilling to occur because federally protected areas are adjacent to state-owned land.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Groups oppose plans to dam Little Colorado River

Alicyn Gitlin, conservation coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, said the project would threaten an endangered species, interfere with the Grand Canyon’s already degraded hydrology and damage sites held sacred by two Arizona tribes.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

East Valley Water District adds renewable energy to Sterling project

Working to “Make Every Source a Resource” and striving toward a more sustainable future, East Valley Water District Board of Directors approved the addition of state-of-the-art co-digester technology at the Sterling Natural Resource Center during the Sept. 11 board meeting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lithium will fuel the clean energy boom. This company may have a breakthrough

Efforts to extract lithium at the Salton Sea could unite environmentalists — who decry the destructive evaporation ponds used to produce the metal in South America — and national security hawks, who are loathe to rely on other countries for a mineral poised to play a key role in powering the U.S. economy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Trump forcibly expands oil and gas drilling in California. Will Newsom fight back?

The majority of California’s elected leaders oppose Trump’s plans. A majority of Californians also believes the state should ban the dangerous practice called “fracking,” which injects poisonous, cancer-causing chemicals deep into the ground.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Learn about a new source of water coming to Oceanside

The city of Oceanside is offering tours to experience Pure Water Oceanside, an innovative program that will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. Pure Water Oceanside will produce enough water to provide more than 32% of the city’s water supply, or 3-5 million gallons per day.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hydro company proposes to dam Little Colorado River

Pumped Hydro Storage LLC is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the sites east of Grand Canyon National Park over three years. None of it will move forward without permission from the Navajo Nation. Navajo President Jonathan Nez said he’s been briefed by tribal economic development officials about the proposals — but hasn’t talked with anyone from Pumped Hydro Storage.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration opens California to new oil drilling; possibly Bay Area, too

The Trump administration’s latest effort to dramatically boost oil and gas production is landing in California, with the Interior Department on Friday opening up 720,000 acres between the Bay Area and Fresno to potential drilling.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey project nears finish line with ceremony

The project is the first of its kind to tap agricultural run-off among a variety of wastewater sources for conversion into potable, drinking water that would represent about a third of the Monterey Peninsula’s new drinking water supply.

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Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Environmental bill’s veto sparked surprise

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a major environmental protection bill angered and surprised environmentalists – and left some wondering what happens next.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Environmentalists push for removing dam along Colorado River

Environmental groups that have long pushed to bring down a huge dam along the Colorado River are suing the federal government, alleging it ignored climate science when approving a 20-year operating plan for the dam near the Arizona-Utah border.

Aquafornia news Kern Valley Sun

Army Corps of Engineers speaks on dam failures

Anthony Burdock, Project Manager for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project, presented a program outlining catastrophic dam failures and how those failures were used to mold the dam safety regulations that now govern the nation’s dams, including Isabella Dam.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California fines Chevron $2.7M for Cymric oil spills in Kern County

California on Wednesday fined Chevron more than $2.7 million for allowing an oil spill at the Cymric Oil Field in Kern County that lasted 113 days and covered almost an acre of a dry streambed.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Citizens advisory commission created in response to Oroville Dam crisis

The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting an inaugural public forum designed to address issues related to the Oroville Dam, according to a press release from the CNRA. 

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Farming the sun:’ As water goes scarce, can solar farms prop up the Valley?

On the Changala family farm in Tulare County, the past and future are separated by a dirt road and a barbed-wire fence. On the south side sits a wheat field. On the north, a solar farm, built three years ago, sending electricity to thousands of Southern Californians. Alan Changala sees little difference between the two.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

In major move, Utah pulls most hydropower out of Lake Powell pipeline

Utah’s proposed Lake Powell pipeline will cost less to build and be easier to permit under a decision announced Wednesday to cut major hydropower components from the controversial project that would move 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water to St. George.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Federal study finds oilfield activity lowered groundwater quality in western Kern

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey concludes oilfield activity has lowered the quality of groundwater in western Kern County, making it saltier and possibly affecting nearby irrigation sources but not harming drinking water.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

A river runs through them

A plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River – one of the most ambitious river restoration projects ever attempted – is either mocked or praised depending on the audience. It will expand salmon habitat or destroy a fishery. The only certainty is that lives will change forever.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fish-killing gas plants were set to close. California may save them

It’s been nearly a decade since California ordered coastal power plants to stop using seawater for cooling, a process that kills fish and other marine life. But now state officials may extend the life of several facilities that still suck billions of gallons from the ocean each day.

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Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: New $100m innovation hub to accelerate R&D for a secure water future

The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies and for treating nontraditional water sources for various end uses.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Water haulers decry state regulation

The regulation called for a particulate matter filter on diesel engines based on the vehicle’s model year. The filters can be used for up to eight years, but they had to be installed by Jan. 1, 2014. … “Our whole town of Acton and Agua Dulce are basically going to be out of water with no means to get water to you guys,” Amber Demyen, owner of Acton Water Co. …

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit voids geothermal leases on sacred tribal land

In a decision hailed by some as a victory for tribal rights and ecological preservation, the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld voiding 40-year lease extensions for geothermal energy production on 26 plots of California land deemed sacred by Native Americans.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How long before these salmon are gone? ‘Maybe 20 years’

Some 45,000 to 50,000 spring-summer Chinook spawned here in the 1950s. These days, the average is about 1,500 fish, and declining. And not just here: Native fish are in free-fall throughout the Columbia River basin, a situation so dire that many groups are urging the removal of four large dams to keep the fish from being lost.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Newsom administration quietly stalls fracking permits

The administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a de-facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing while it studies permitting procedures for the politically controversial oil well-completion technique better known as fracking.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: State Water Board authorizes major recycled water project

Efforts to increase recycled water use in California got a significant boost this week with the State Water Board’s issuance of an order authorizing the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s program to deliver an average of 45 million gallons per day of recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant …

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Round Valley Tribes join two-basin solution effort for Potter Valley Project

The Round Valley Indian Tribes announced this week that they have signed an agreement to join with users of both the Eel River and Russian River to seek a “Two-Basin Solution” for the re-licensing of the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project, which diverts water from the Eel River into the Russian River.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin assemblyman seeks to reform agency regulating oil, gas

Assemblyman Marc Levine’s bill to reform state energy extraction regulation has been approved by the Legislature. The legislation … would require state oil and gas extraction regulators to put public health and the environment ahead of increased industry development.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California regulators press Chevron for data on Cymric oil spills

Despite new California regulations banning surface spills in the state’s vast oil fields, at least eight spills connected to Chevron have occurred in just one Kern County oil field since the new rules took effect in April, state regulators say. The ”surface expression” spills have spewed more than 1.26 million gallons of oil and wastewater in five months, with some still not contained.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news E&E News

Hydropower giant Bonneville Power is going broke

The Bonneville Power Administration, the independent federal agency that sells the electricity produced by the dams, is careening toward a financial cliff. BPA is $15 billion in debt, facing a rapidly changing energy market increasingly dominated by wind and solar and a desperate need to maintain aging infrastructure that’s expected to cost $300 million to maintain and upgrade by 2023.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Atwater wins $63 million in water pollution suit against oil giant Shell

A jury has ordered Shell Oil Company to pay the City of Atwater a total of $63 million in damages in a groundwater pollution suit. The decision, reached Friday after a four-month trial in Merced County Superior Court, awarded Atwater $53 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, according to a news release from the city.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource

Water users in the Colorado River Basin have survived the drought through a combination of water storage infrastructure and voluntary actions to protect reservoir storage and water supply. Adoption of drought contingency plans this summer, developed over years of collaborative negotiation, takes the next step by implementing mandatory action to reduce risk and protect limited water supplies.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Boost seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration with ocean water

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Continued oil leaks prompt expert study, new violations for Chevron

State regulators have taken the rare step of placing an entire oil field under technical scrutiny following continued, uncontrolled releases of oily fluid at Chevron Corp. operations near McKittrick.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Oil spill risk cited in fight over San Francisco Bay dredging plan

A major oil spill in one of the nation’s most economically important waterways could become more likely unless a plan to dredge two San Francisco Bay channels less frequently is reconsidered, lawyers for the state of California and a conservation group argued in court Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Valley green leader

What Public Works Director Mark Houghton touts as “Manteca’s own refinery” is now converting methane gas generated at the wastewater treatment plant along with food waste to produce compressed liquefied gas. And in doing so, Manteca is well on its way to effectively wiping out all CO2 impacts the wastewater treatment process creates and then some.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Environmentalists slam Chevron, state regulators over Kern County oil releases

Environmental groups are calling for increased scrutiny of California’s oil and gas industry after learning that more than 50 million gallons of crude oil flowed out of the ground in an uncontrolled release near a Chevron facility in Kern County over the last 16 years.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Researchers press California to strengthen landmark climate law

The researchers — many of whom have been active in the program’s rule making and have challenged the agency before — argue in the working paper that the emissions reductions in California’s offset program are inherently uncertain. In some cases, they wrote, the rules create “perverse incentives” toward increasing planet-warming gases.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State launches probe into oil field spills – including one that’s been flowing since 2003

State oil and gas regulators say they’re launching an investigation of operations in a Kern County oil field after a series of large, uncontrolled crude petroleum releases near Chevron wells — including one that has continued on and off for more than 16 years and may have spewed out more than 50 million gallons of crude oil.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State says it has no idea how long it will take to clean up Chevron’s Kern County oil spill

While the massive release of crude petroleum from a Chevron oil well near the town of McKittrick seems to have ended, the timeline for hauling away soil contaminated by the spill is unclear. “The full extent of the required site remediation is not known at this time and will be fully scoped with appropriate regulatory agencies,” said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife…

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Kern spill renews oil production controversy

California has long been a top producer of oil. But that may change. Some hope that change will accelerate under Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has called for a decrease in the demand and supply of fossil fuels. A recent massive spill in Chevron’s Cymric oilfield in Kern County, about 35 miles west of Bakersfield, prompted a major regulatory shakeup and could bolster that view.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

How Private Capital is Speeding up Forest Restoration in the Sierra Nevada that Benefits Water
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: A bond fund that fronts the money is expediting a headwaters restoration project to improve forest health, water quality and supply

District Ranger Lon Henderson with Tahoe National Forest points toward an overgrown section of forest within the Blue Forest project area. The majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada forest is awe-inspiring, but beneath the dazzling blue sky, there is a problem: A century of fire suppression and logging practices have left trees too close together. Millions of trees have died, stricken by drought and beetle infestation. Combined with a forest floor cluttered with dry brush and debris, it’s a wildfire waiting to happen.

Fires devastate the Sierra watersheds upon which millions of Californians depend — scorching the ground, unleashing a battering ram of debris and turning hillsides into gelatinous, stream-choking mudflows. 

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

Lake County throws hat in ring on Potter Valley Project

The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved an amended resolution Tuesday that will open the door for Lake County to join a group vying to take over responsibility for the Potter Valley hydroelectric project.

Aquafornia news CleanTechnica

Farm to solar field transformations come with controversy & compromise

Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back. However, the shift from farm to solar is controversial — it can alter the pastoral landscape and take some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production at a time when the global population is soaring.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Preparing California’s rivers for a changing climate

California’s rivers and streams have experienced enormous changes over the past 150 years, and a warming climate brings new challenges. We talked to Ted Grantham—a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about the state of the state’s rivers.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Proposal would allow oil companies to inject wastewater into aquifers

California regulators are negotiating an agreement with two major oil companies that would allow them to keep injecting millions of gallons of wastewater into potential drinking water and irrigation supplies in the Central Valley for three years.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Marina Coast sues Monterey County, Cal Am over desal plant approval

Arguing that Monterey County officials improperly ignored new groundwater impact information and a viable, even preferable recycled water alternative, Marina Coast Water District has sued the county and California American Water over the county’s narrow approval of Cal Am’s desalination plant permit.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

SMUD set to buy PG&E’s only hydroelectric powerhouse on the American River for $10.4 million

In a joint statement, the local utility providers announced that the Chili Bar Hydroelectric Project — a dam, reservoir, spillway and powerhouse that generates electricity north of Placerville on the South Fork of the American River — would be changing hands after SMUD’s board of directors voted Thursday evening to greenlight the purchase.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Fracking has less impact on groundwater than traditional oil and gas production

Conventional oil and gas production methods can affect groundwater much more than fracking, according to hydrogeologists Jennifer McIntosh from the University of Arizona and Grant Ferguson from the University of Saskatchewan.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Could this be a ‘golden goose’ for Yuba County?

For five decades, PG&E paid for and operated the Colgate Powerhouse in exchange for the revenue generated by the hydroelectric generation. But now, instead of tens of millions of dollars flowing out to the utility, that agreement has expired and the revenue, potentially as much as $30 million per year, is flowing back into the Yuba Water Agency.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil regulators shortcut permit process, records show

Under U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and California regulations, when oil companies want to use “cyclic steam” blasting or steam flooding, they’re required to submit an “underground injection control,” or UIC, application to state regulators. But state employees said at least 12 ”dummy” project folders appear to have been used over the past several years to wrongly issue permits, including by high-ranking supervisors.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

River flood terraces have cleaned up Napa’s oily industrial past

An estimated 147,000 cubic yards of polluted soils were shipped to regional landfills and replaced with clean dirt. In 2004, the Regional Water Quality Control Board declared the cleanup finished and began overseeing the monitoring. Now Napa’s oil industry row pollution legacy is officially gone…

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

EPA plans to rewrite Clean Water Act rules to fast-track pipelines

The proposed changes to Clean Water Act permitting rules, announced Friday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would limit the amount of time states and tribes can take to review new project proposals… It also would limit states to considering only water quality and allow the federal government to override states’ decisions to deny permits for projects in some situations.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State agency hopeful Chevron’s massive Kern County spill is finally over

State regulators say they’re cautiously optimistic that a major release of crude oil from a Chevron well in Kern County — an episode that has continued for three months — is finally over.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Sites Reservoir needed for reliable water future

A flexible, reliable water supply is essential to California’s economy and to the job creation and job security goals of California’s working families. … Of all the projects vying for California’s attention, the proposed Sites Reservoir in Northern California offers the most tangible benefits.

Aquafornia news The Press

New Delta tunnel project begins taking shape

Opponents of the twin tunnels breathed a collective sigh of relief in April when Gov. Gavin Newsom put a formal end to the California WaterFix project, but that action also called for the assessment of a single-tunnel project in the Delta. The first major step in that direction took place last week when the Department of Water Resources (DWR) initiated a series of negotiations with public water agencies that participate in the State Water Project (SWP)…

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Dam spillway near San Luis Obispo County has significant cracks, is ‘unsafe for use,’ state says

It turns out that the same structural problems that caused the failure at Oroville Dam in February 2017 also exist at the spillway of San Antonio Dam, just two miles north of Lake Nacimiento and above the community of Bradley.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Lawsuit threatens Arroyo Grande Oil Field aquifer exemption

The Center for Biological Diversity is threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its decision earlier this year to exempt portions of the Arroyo Grande Oil Field from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am seeks three-year rate increase starting in 2021

California American Water is seeking to raise its Monterey area average customers’ bills by nearly 18 percent over a three-year period from 2021-2023. … Under the proposal, the “average” Cal Am customer would see their monthly rates increase from about $89.40 to $105.42 over the three-year period.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Ultra-thin layers of rust generate electricity from flowing water

There are many ways to generate electricity — batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams, to name a few examples. …. And now there’s rust. New research conducted by scientists at Caltech and Northwestern University shows that thin films of rust — iron oxide — can generate electricity when saltwater flows over them.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California may be first to compel water suppliers to notify customers of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’

Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Wednesday to decide on a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to require water suppliers who monitor a broad class of toxic “forever chemicals” to notify customers if they’re present in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Study: El Niño has outsize economic effect on California

The findings of Tom Corringham and Daniel Cayan, both of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, confirm the connections between extreme weather events and El Niño…

Aquafornia news GreenBiz.com

Ratings giant Moody’s buys big chunk of California climate-risk data firm

It is seen as a major move from one of the world’s biggest credit ratings agencies that could have a significant impact on how seriously climate risk factors are viewed by financiers. Based in California, Four Twenty Seven scores physical risks associated with climate-related factors and other environmental issues, including heat stress, water stress, extreme precipitation, hurricanes and typhoons, and sea-level rise.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers are planting solar panels as water supplies dry up

The silvery panels looked like an interloper amid a patchwork landscape of lush almond groves, barren brown dirt and saltbush scrub, framed by the blue-green strip of the California Aqueduct bringing water from the north. … Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Can we reuse polluted water? Yes, add bacteria

A team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) is developing a microbe-based system that could remove toxic compounds from oilfield produced water so it can be reused in other water-intensive sectors such as agriculture and energy production.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Bringing climate projections down to size for water managers

Hydrologists are creating watershed-scale projections for water resources managers and tools that managers can use to plan for the effects of climate change.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Researchers develop technology to harness energy from mixing of freshwater and seawater

Researchers from Stanford University have developed an affordable, durable technology that could harness energy generated from mixing freshwater from seawater. Outlined in a new paper … they suggest that this “blue energy” could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent.

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Aquafornia news Sunset Magazine

California’s winter rains ended the drought—and now summer means epic rafting

We asked California rafting experts to tell us how winter and spring rain will affect summer rafting—and where you should head out on the water.

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Aquafornia news KCET

Spill draws attention to steam-based oil extraction

When the news broke, in the second week of July, that nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water had spilled into a dry creekbed from an oil production facility in Kern County, it sounded rare and dramatic. But the spill was unique only in its magnitude. In the oil fields of the San Joaquin Valley, spills and seeps of oil, wastewater and oil-laced wastewater are as common as the wind storms that episodically blanket the Valley with dust.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks comments on plan to ensure San Luis Reservoir water reliability

The Bureau of Reclamation and Valley Water released draft environmental documents for public comment on the San Luis Low Point Improvement Project, which addresses water delivery interruptions and proposes to maintain reliable and cost-effective water supply.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Trinity River restoration project a collaborative success

During a recent trip to the Trinity River, I learned about the many challenges facing its salmon and steelhead populations. … A holistic approach to habitat restoration doesn’t rely on a single silver bullet solution, but applies a comprehensive set of actions that rely on collaboration

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

At Chevron oil spill, Newsom calls for greater industry oversight

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in the Central Valley on Wednesday for a firsthand look at one of the largest oil spills in California history, vowed to go beyond the state’s already aggressive efforts to curtail the use of fossil fuels and seek a long-term strategy to reduce oil production.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Oxnard proposal for new oil wells fails to get supervisors approval

Siding with environmental groups and outspoken Oxnard residents, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted not to approve a plan to add four new oil wells at an existing drilling site. … It was a big win for environmentalists and south Oxnard activists who are opposed to drilling, pesticides and industrial uses near residents. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Modernizing water infrastructure is crucial to achieving California’s energy goals. Here’s why

Thoughtfully implementing state law that requires local water users to bring groundwater use to sustainable levels within the next two decades will … result in withdrawal of large amounts of land from agricultural production and the loss of economic benefits. But we can repurpose those lands to support large scale storage and solar, as well as other renewable energy technologies that can help decarbonize our electric grid and create new jobs in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Chevron injected steam near well work before oil leak near McKittrick

Chevron records show the large, McKittrick-area oil leak … probably originated with an idle well being worked on at the same time the company was injecting high-pressure steam just 360 feet away, a combination that industry people say should not have been performed simultaneously in such close proximity and which possibly contributed to the release.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito water rate study on desal deal with Santa Barbara gets delayed

A long-awaited Montecito Water District rate study, planned for release this May, will not be finished until later this year, officials said this week. The study can’t proceed until the district finishes negotiating the terms of an agreement for buying into Santa Barbara’s desalination plant.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California cities ask Newsom to remove hurdles for PG&E assets

Cities such as San Francisco want to buy assets from the bankrupt electricity provider to control the power supply for their communities. An amendment inserted late in the legislative process makes those purchases more difficult by subjecting them to the approval of state regulators.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After 800,000-gallon spill, Chevron site is still leaking oil

On the same day Sen. Dianne Feinstein chastised Chevron Corp. for keeping an 800,000-gallon spill outside Bakersfield “under wraps,” California officials confirmed Thursday that the site was once again seeping a hazardous mix of oil and water.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

Photos: Major crude spill at Chevron well site in Kern County

State oil and gas regulators have released a series of photos of a Kern County well site where about 800,000 gallons of crude oil and water have spilled from a Chevron well site.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: An opportunity to restore fish abundance on the Eel River

The Eel River—once home to the state’s third-largest salmon and steelhead runs, all of which are now listed as threatened―may see the return of healthy fisheries in coming years. A unique opportunity to remove a dam that blocks fish from reaching spawning habitat has arisen. We talked to Curtis Knight, executive director of CalTrout, about the situation.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: EBMUD warns customers they’ll need to cut water use during fire-prevention power outages

If PG&E has to shut off power in the East Bay to prevent wildfires from igniting and burning homes, residents will be strongly urged to severely reduce their water use during the emergency. That’s because their main water supplier, the East Bay Municipal Utility District, may have its power cut off, too, and be forced to rely on 29 emergency backup generators.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation awards $5.1 million in research for new ways to desalinate and treat water

The Bureau of Reclamation announced that 30 projects will receive $5.1 million from the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program to develop improved and inexpensive ways to desalinate and treat impaired water.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California refuses to enlist clean, cheap hydropower in fight against climate change. It makes no sense

For years, the people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley have been trying to get hydropower recognized for what it is: the original source of clean electricity. Our efforts have been stymied by people who feel entitled to decide what is, or isn’t, green enough. That’s why I have begun the process of modifying our state Constitution to recognize safe, abundant, carbon-free hydropower as a reliable source of renewable energy in our fight against climate change.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

State orders Chevron to ‘take all measures’ to prevent further leaks of oil, water near McKittrick

California’s top oil regulator, losing patience with Chevron’s response to the uncontrolled release of thousands of barrels of oil near McKittrick, has ordered the company to “take all measures” to make sure petroleum, water and steam do not resume rising to the surface after previous efforts to stop the flow there proved temporary.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Opinion: Megadroughts and desalination — another pressing need for nuclear power

Only 15 out of the thousands of desalination plants operating today worldwide are powered by nuclear. A small one is at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in California, slated to be closed soon. The plant could power several huge desalination plants for decades that could desalinate its own cooling water, removing the most commonly stated problem with the plant.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Rafting adventures on California’s rivers

Your perfect river might be one where you float gently along on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft. No problem. California has got it all when it comes to river rafting, from gentle half-day float trips for first-timers and mellow family adventures to adrenaline-pumping, white water, multi-day thrillers.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton biofuel firm fined $401K for dumping industrial wastewater into city sewers

American Biodiesel also admitted to tampering with monitoring devices and methods that are designed to detect clean water standards. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, employees’ tampering was done with the purpose of underreporting acid and pollutant levels and volumes that otherwise would have exceeded figures allowed by the city’s regulations.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil and water in Kern County canyon

The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua, with the last flow Tuesday. … Chevron reported that 794,000 gallons of oil and water have leaked out of the ground where it uses steam injection to extract oil in the large Cymric Oil Field about 35 miles west of Bakersfield.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California Senate Bill 1 a dangerous over-reaction

Proponents have said SB 1 will keep Trump from delivering more water to farms, thereby harming endangered fish. That sentiment is exactly what makes SB 1 so dangerous. It relies on the worn-out trope that California’s water issues boil down to “farms versus fish.”

Aquafornia news E&E News

Climate, NIMBY concerns drive move to floating power plants

Climate-conscious local and state officials are increasingly embracing electricity sources that float on water, as they seek ways to convert their least-coveted spaces into hubs of electricity. This summer alone, developers broke ground on California’s largest floating solar project, located on a wastewater treatment pond in Sonoma County.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Groups urge Newsom to fire oil and gas regulators, citing conflicts

Two consumer groups are calling on California’s governor to freeze all new oil drilling permits and to clean house at the agency that issues them, after the organizations uncovered records showing that top state regulators and engineers held investments in Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Valero and other petrochemical giants.

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Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water. But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In an era of extreme weather, concerns grow over dam safety

It is a telling illustration of the precarious state of United States dams that the near-collapse in February 2017 of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, occurred in California, considered one of the nation’s leading states in dam safety management.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Dam opening sparks moment to reflect

On the last Saturday in June, a road in Butte County was opened. That in itself isn’t anything unusual. Roads are opened and closed regularly around here. But it was the significance of this road that makes it a remarkable occurrence. It was the road over Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Power plants create giant water battery

The Lake Hodges facility near San Diego, a relatively small 40 megawatt generating station, is one of 40 pumped storage facilities around the United States, and its operator says it is helping the state meet its ambitious goals. San Diego is planning a larger system at another site, the San Vicente reservoir, again using two water sources at different elevations.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Reporter

Opinion: Make the drilling moratorium permanent

Here in Oxnard, we are also at a crossroads regarding the safety of our water. In February, scientists from the United States Geological Survey found that groundwater near the Fox Canyon aquifer system in eastern Oxnard was contaminated in an area of steam injection oil production … The USGS found thermogenic gases — byproducts of oil drilling — in groundwater wells near oil operations.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years

The unusually wet winter (with an assist from new Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan water reduction rules) has substantially reduced the near-term scare-the-crap-out-of-me risks on the Colorado River for the next few years, according to new Bureau of Reclamation modeling.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Oroville Dam reopens to public after spillways rebuilt

Oroville Dam is officially back open to the public two years after it was forced to close due to the failure of the dam’s main and emergency spillways. People can now walk and bike the more than one-mile-long road across the dam crest. Public vehicles will still not be allowed.

Aquafornia news Power Magazine

A clean sweep for invasive mussel biofouling

The rapid proliferation of the quagga mussel has major implications for power plant reliability. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installed a groundbreaking solution at Parker Dam in Arizona that virtually eliminated the invasive species from hydropower cooling systems.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

It will take as many as 13 water years exactly like this one to erase the impacts of long-term drought in the West, Colorado River District engineers say.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal project appeal headed to Coastal Commission next month

Cal Am, two members of the Coastal Commission and two local appellants are challenging the Marina city Planning Commission’s March 7 denial of a coastal development permit for the $329 million desal project, including seven slant source water wells and associated infrastructure

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California regulators approve PG&E power outages to prevent more wildfires

California regulators have approved allowing utilities to cut off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers to avoid catastrophic wildfires like the one sparked by power lines last year that killed 85 people and largely destroyed the city of Paradise.

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Fracking: Inside a BLM report, environmental impacts, and the public’s response

This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t known about the technique’s impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego’s climate goals require more investment in energy storage

The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.

Aquafornia news Cloverdale Reveille

Coming together for the Potter Valley Project

Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma Water — announced  they will be signing a project planning agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Aberdeen is said to buy water plant for more than $1 billion

An affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments has agreed to buy the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California for more than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. A transaction could be announced as soon as this week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: No, we shouldn’t pump desert groundwater near Joshua Tree to help store electricity

The plan calls for pumping 8 billion gallons of water in the first few years, and more than 30 billion gallons over 50 years, from the aquifer adjacent to, and connected with, the one beneath neighboring Joshua Tree National Park. … A better use for the land, which ceased to be mined more than 30 years ago, would be to return it to the fold and make it part of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Will Arroyo Grande Oil Field add 481 new oil wells? It just cleared a major hurdle

Sentinel Peak Resources has cleared an environmental hurdle that could allow it to move forward with years-old plans to increase drilling in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field — but whether it will or not is still up in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency granted Sentinel Peak Resources an aquifer exemption on April 30, exempting portions of the aquifer under the oil field from protections guaranteed by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

FERC finds Premium Energy’s application ‘patently deficient’

Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s growing demand for recycled water has ripple effects

Wastewater agencies produce highly treated water that is increasingly being reused as a water supply. While it’s still only a small portion of overall water use, the use of recycled water has nearly tripled since the 1980s―and is continuing to rise as water agencies seek to meet the demands of a growing population and improve the resilience of their water supplies.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

PG&E wants to make a massive investment in weather stations. Here’s why

California’s rich landscape of rolling hills and steep canyons has potentially hundreds of thousands of microclimates, which makes fire prediction an incredible challenge. That’s why PG&E wants to build a dense network of weather stations, which they hope will illuminate the humidity, wind speed, and temperature of Northern California’s varied landscape.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Group declares Orcutt oilfields contaminated drinking water wells

A presentation by the U.S. Geological Survey to California water boards has surfaced that reveals contamination in the groundwater around the Orcutt oilfield, the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara claims. The advocacy group released the information on Tuesday, stating that “federal scientists found evidence of oil-field fluids in groundwater underlying the nearby Orcutt oil field.”

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Are big dams renewable energy? California Democrats split

In an effort to combat climate change and reduce smog, former Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed a landmark law that requires California’s utilities to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. But hydroelectric power from large dams doesn’t qualify as renewable, because of another state law, passed nearly 20 years ago, that aimed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. That’s not right, says State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Hundreds bash Trump’s oil fracking plan: ‘This battle does not end tonight’

A public meeting erupted into an impassioned rally in San Luis Obispo Wednesday night as activists and local residents took turns bashing a federal plan to resume leasing public land in Central California to new oil and gas drilling, including fracking.

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Public hearing on fracking in Valley not recorded – ‘I feel like the process is rigged’

The majority of the dozens of commenters at the meeting spoke out against the analysis and the prospect of increased fracking in the region, expressing concerns about air pollution, drinking water quality, and climate change. … Tempers at the meeting also flared for what many attendees viewed as a lack of accountability from the BLM. The agency did not record the meeting, instead inviting attendees to submit written comments online, electronically, and only in English.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Domino droughts: How droughts travel across continents

Could a drought in California be linked to a drought in the Midwest? A recent Stanford-led study published in Geophysical Research Letters finds that regions may fall victim to water scarcity like dominos toppling down a line.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Huntington Beach desalination plant: How it might have been operating by now

The slower timeline for Huntington Beach resulted in it facing new, stricter regulations and additional delays. The controversial plant still needs two major permits, opponents remain steadfast and a recent water-supply study raised questions about the cost and need for the project.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: What’s behind California’s lawsuit against Westlands, raising Shasta dam?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public Water Now appeals Monterey County’s Cal Am desal approval

The organization best known for backing a public takeover of Cal Am’s local [Monterey Peninsula] water system filed an appeal of the Planning Commission’s narrow approval of a permit for the 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desal plant north of Marina and associated infrastructure. The appeal argues the desal project proposal fails to properly address several key details, including groundwater rights, and calls for the county to require a supplemental environmental review before considering the proposal.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County eyes role in Potter Valley project

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to investigate becoming a stakeholder in the Potter Valley project, a massive water development in the Eel and Russian river basins. … The idea is to protect the Russian River’s water supply for Potter Valley residents while mitigating the effects of the Scott Dam on Eel River fish populations.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: An abandoned mine near Joshua Tree could host a massive hydropower project

An abandoned iron mine on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park could be repurposed as a massive hydroelectric power plant under a bill with bipartisan support in the state Legislature. … The bill could jump-start a $2.5-billion hydropower project that critics say would harm Joshua Tree National Park, draining desert groundwater aquifers and sapping above-ground springs that nourish wildlife in and around the park.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Before there was a New Melones Dam: A look back at efforts to save the Stanislaus River

Members of Friends of the River and the Sierra Club are planning a presentation on a controversial episode in Mother Lode history, when activists unsuccessfully tried to prevent flooding of a raftable section of the Stanislaus River by rising water levels in New Melones Reservoir in the 1970s and 1980s. … The event is scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday this week at Tuolumne County Library, 480 Greenley Road in Sonora.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Activists speak out against fracking on federal land in California

Kern’s oil industry took a pass Tuesday on a public hearing focused on the environmental impacts of fracking, handing the day to dozens of anti-oil activists who convened in downtown Bakersfield to rail against the technique and the threat of climate change. … The event was one of three hearings the BLM is hosting as part of its plan to reopen federal land in California to oil production.

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Aquafornia news KGET TV

Bureau of Land Management to hold meeting on White House proposal to expand oil drilling, fracking

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield office is set to hold a meeting Tuesday over a White House proposal that would expand oil drilling and fracking on more than a million acres of public land across the state. … The proposal includes 40 new wells over the next 10 years on roughly 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate — land where the surface is owned privately, but the mineral rights beneath the ground are managed by the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Interior Department pulls support from Klamath dam removal project

Recently-appointed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has rescinded a letter of support that Obama-era Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wrote in 2016. … Matt Cox is with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the non-profit formed to implement the dam removal agreement. He says rescinding Jewell’s letter has no legal effect.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Take action now to protect Central Coast public lands from fracking

On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to promote increased oil and gas development… Then, in April 2019, in response to the President’s order, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed opening up more than 1 million acres of public land in California’s Central Valley and southern Central Coast to oil and gas production.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

San Diego water board updates, renews Carlsbad desalination plant permit

Poseidon Water, owner of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, has received an updated permit from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (SDRWQCB) governing the desalination plant’s discharges into the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, the permit includes structural and operational changes to provide greater protection for marine life and water quality.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Officials: Rule change needed to keep water flowing to fight wildfires

California agencies have appealed to air pollution control officials to change the rules after backup generators failed and water stopped pumping as wildfires burned last year. They said they need more time to test and maintain diesel-operated generators that power water facilities during a fire. Because of air pollution concerns, the agencies are limited to testing the diesel-powered generators as little as 20 hours per year in some cases.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Fundraiser focuses on stopping Klamath dam removal

Halting plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River was the theme of a well-attended fundraising event hosted May 4 by the Siskiyou County Water Users Association. Guest speakers, including Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Siskiyou County Supervisor Brandon Criss, former Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams and Attorney James Buchal, author of “The Great Salmon Hoax” discussed problems they foresee with dam removal which they believe is far from a done deal.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

As PG&E dumps Potter Valley project, new suitors line up

California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, and Sonoma Water have officially put a foot forward to explore a planning agreement for the project’s future. The coalition is championing a “two-basin solution” that could mitigate the effects of the Scott Dam on fish populations in the Eel River while ensuring that the Russian River basin doesn’t lose its water supply, which Potter Valley residents have relied on for over 100 years.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Groups reach agreement to find path forward for Potter Valley Project

California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission and Sonoma Water announced that they have entered into a planning agreement to explore pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project in the wake of Pacific Gas and Electric’s decision to withdraw from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing process for the project.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What does the Colorado River drought plan mean for California?

The DCP … provides assurance against curtailments for water stored behind Hoover Dam. This is especially important for the Southern California water agencies, whose ability to store water in Lake Mead is crucial for managing seasonal demands. Some significant challenges must still be addressed, however.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Marina, Coastal Commission staff disagree over Cal Am right to desal appeal

Coastal Commission staff on Monday reiterated to The Herald that Cal Am can appeal the city’s denial under the state’s Coastal Act because the city charges an appeal fee. They called the city’s own rules “internally inconsistent” and noted the Coastal Act’s regulations supercede local ones.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

How LADWP uses two lakes to store energy like a giant battery

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has turned two big lakes into a monster battery capable of storing enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes. It involves using the excess wind and solar power L.A.’s renewable energy sites produce during the day to pump water from Castaic Lake uphill 7.5 miles to Pyramid Lake.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Central Coast may be opened to new oil and gas extraction

More than 725,000 acres of Central Coast land could be opened up for oil and gas extraction under a new plan led by the Trump administration. But due to local regulations — and economic realities — Santa Cruz County land appears unlikely to be affected even if the plan is approved.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo to use Nacimiento water to generate electricity

The California Energy Commission is offering the city of San Luis Obispo a $3 million loan to build a 261-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system as well as a 264-kilowatt hydroelectric generation system — both located at the city water treatment plant on Stenner Creek Road behind Cal Poly. By generating its own power at the treatment facility, SLO could earn savings of $266,863 annually compared to its current power bill.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Storage is essential for California to achieve 100% green energy without blackouts

Counter-intuitively, the same environmental groups that have championed the state’s climate goals want to kill all pumped storage instead of evaluating each project on its own merits. … Come hell or high water, there is no way that we can get to 100% renewable resources, which, by nature, are intermittent and unreliable, without adequate storage.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California may go dark this summer, and most aren’t ready

The plan by PG&E Corp. comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts.

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