Topic: Regulations — California and Federal

Overview

Regulations — California and Federal

In general, regulations are rules or laws designed to control or govern conduct. Specifically, water quality regulations under the federal and state Clean Water Act “protect the public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water and serve the purposes of the Act.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: No water shutoffs in California amid coronavirus, Newsom says

Californians won’t have their water turned off due to unpaid bills during the coronavirus crisis, and those who already had it turned off will have their service restored, under action taken Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor’s directive comes in response to calls from environmental justice organizations for assistance to low-income residents facing mounting financial pressures.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Arizona is sinking. The combination of groundwater pumping and warmer temperatures is shrinking aquifers and lowering water tables. … Today, where subsidence is worst, groundwater pumping isn’t even monitored, and big agricultural and anti-regulatory ideologues try to stymie any efforts to keep tabs on how much water is being pumped.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation issues new three-year plan for Klamath River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has issued a new three-year operating plan for the Klamath River, dedicating more water for endangered salmon while avoiding a “worst case scenario” for farmers and ranchers. In exchange, a local tribe and fishing groups agreed to suspend a lawsuit filed against the agency in 2019…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Kern County Water Summit: The magic water wand

If you had a magic wand that could give you unlimited funding, could change any law, write any new law, and/or modify any regulation, what would you do to improve California’s water? That was the question posed to panelists at the 2020 Kern County Water Summit.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Garcetti authorizes shutting off utilities to nonessential businesses violating Safer at Home

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he’s authorized the Department of Water and Power to shut off service to nonessential businesses that continue to operate despite the strict Safer at Home restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the latest move in an effort to impose social distancing as coronavirus cases and deaths surge across Los Angeles County and California.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Hoopa Tribe strikes at Interior’s coveted Westlands Water District corporate deal

The Hoopa Valley Tribe applauded Fresno County Superior Court’s refusal to validate a proposed contract between Westlands Water District and the Bureau of Reclamation. … The contract would have allocated up to 1,150,000 acre-feet of water annually to Westlands, most of which would be imported from the Trinity River, which has sustained the Hupa people since time immemorial.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State water agencies expect water use reporting to continue as normal as California shelters in place

On March 19, 2020, California issued Executive Order N-25-20, a statewide shelter in place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly altering operations of both state agencies and private businesses. … Importantly, the Division of Water Rights continues to require all surface water users to submit annual reports to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline for reporting 2019 water use.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California eyeing regulation of 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water

California is moving closer to setting a drinking water limit for the solvent 1,4-dioxane, which EPA has said is a likely carcinogen. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced Friday it was working to set a public health goal for the emerging contaminant.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Freshwater species are disappearing fast — this year is critical for saving them

We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine. The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA’s relaxed enforcement amid virus draws mixed state reaction

State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. … The California Environmental Protection Agency said its enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA memo.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Water shutoffs in sharp focus amid coronavirus outbreak

The advice is simple and universal: Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But for millions of people across the country, that’s not simple at all: They lack running water in their houses due to service shutoffs prompted by overdue bills.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

No, you can’t get COVID-19 from San Francisco tap water

Bottled water is disappearing from grocery shelves almost as fast as toilet paper, but there’s no shortage of water in California. There’s plenty flowing right out of your tap. And it’s germ-free and perfectly safe to drink. You can’t get COVID-19 from tap water.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Depletion of interconnected surface waters: Not that simple

Sierra Ryan is a water resources planner with the County of Santa Cruz. In this presentation from the Groundwater Resources Association‘s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Ryan tells the story of how the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency balanced the various perspectives, authorities, and interpretations of the DWR regulations in writing the portion of their Groundwater Sustainability Plan that pertained to the depletion of interconnected surface water.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Klamath River Renewal Corp. calls dam removal a ‘bright spot’

The COVID-19 virus outbreak is affecting us all, whether we live in a big city or rural Siskiyou County. The economy is grinding to a halt and governments are planning a massive response to keep money flowing to small businesses and employees – the lifeblood of the entire economy. It is through this lens that I encourage Klamath Basin residents to view Klamath River Renewal Corp.’s dam removal and river restoration project as an economic bright spot.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper Klamath and Lost River subbasins.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Nation’s biggest water supplier isolating staff over virus

The nation’s largest treated water supply district is isolating workers, reducing the number of on-site employees, and giving its executive director broad powers, in the wake of stay-at-home orders and health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is also recasting technology upgrades to focus more on laptop than desktop computers so that staff can work at home during this outbreak and future emergencies.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated San Joaquin Valley farmland

The report by David Sunding and David Roland-Holst, professors at University of California, Berkeley, estimates that one-fifth of cultivated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley will be permanently lost as groundwater plans take hold and water supplies are severely restricted.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump pushes legal limits with virus disaster declaration

President Trump has become the first U.S. president to declare a health epidemic a “major disaster” in his recent decisions to approve requests for that designation from the governors of California, New York and Washington in their battles against COVID-19. … Trump’s determinations could open the door for FEMA to step into a wide range of future events including droughts, extreme cold weather and the contamination of drinking water.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

California now requires storm water permits for certain business licenses: Here’s what you need to know

In an effort to reduce the amount of pollution entering surface waters, the state of California requires industries with an identified potential of discharging pollutants in storm water runoff to obtain and implement an industrial storm water permit. A new state law, effective Jan. 1, requires applicable businesses to provide proof of coverage under the industrial storm water permit in order to obtain or renew their business license with a city or county.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s official: Two North County districts want out of County Water Authority

The water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas of North County have officially filed applications to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority, an unprecedented move with potential financial implications for almost all water customers in the county.

Aquafornia news Daily Californian

Addressing arsenic problems in rural California

Arsenic is one of the most toxic elements in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed, and under certain geochemical conditions, it dissolves into groundwater, which then gets pumped out for human use. Arsenic presents the highest cancer risk of any regulated carcinogens among drinking water contaminants when the risk from each is ranked at its maximum allowable concentration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

David Orth gives his observations on how SGMA implementation is playing out in the San Joaquin Valley

David Orth is the principal of New Current Water and Land, which offers strategic planning, program implementation, and water resource development services. At the California Irrigation Institute’s 2020 Annual Conference, he gave his observations having watched Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) form and develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Groups bring suit over secret approval process for PFAS chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed hundreds of new PFAS chemicals to enter commerce under the Toxic Substances Control Act since 2006, continuing to do so in recent years even as new research about the dangers of PFAS emerges.

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

Fact sheet: State-required treatment process removes viruses, including COVID-19

California’s comprehensive and safe drinking water standards require a multistep treatment process that includes filtration and disinfection. This process removes and kills viruses, including coronaviruses such as COVID-19, as well as bacteria and other pathogens.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Infrastructure: What’s on tap for California

At the 2020 Kern County Water Summit, California Water Commission Chair Armando Quintero spoke about the role of the commission, gave an update on the Water Storage Investment Program and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and spoke of their new role defined in the water resiliency portfolio.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA

Central Valley farmers may soon have another crop to sell along with almonds, tomatoes and peppers — the groundwater beneath their land. Proposed groundwater markets have popped up in just about every groundwater sustainability plan filed with the state Jan. 31.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Significant progress being made in implementing the state’s groundwater law

I remember being surprised when attending a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting and I first saw a schematic that visually depicted the various levels of groundwater underneath one of the Central Valley’s numerous subbasins.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA seeks to expand federal role in water reuse

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its National Water Reuse Action Plan to promote more water reuse in the U.S. William M. Alley, director of science and technology for the National Ground Water Association, says the plan focuses on low-hanging fruit and states and associations will likely remain the leaders and innovators in water reuse.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

California Public Utilities Commission: Certain services won’t be shut off due to inability to pay

California residents who are not able to pay their water, sewer, energy or communications bills during the state’s novel coronavirus state of emergency will not be at risk of having their services shut off, the California Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Coronavirus doesn’t jeopardize tap water

Bottled water has been disappearing from store shelves as fast as toilet paper. And, like toilet paper, there’s no practical reason to stockpile bottled water. “People need to stop hoarding water,” said Damon Micalizzi of the Municipal Water District of Orange County. “Your tap water is regulated more strictly than any bottled water you buy.”

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally. The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has announced that they are set to voluntarily shut down 13 additional wells in compliance with new state PFAS regulations, officials said Friday. The levels of PFAS found are above the state-mandated response level, according to Kathie Martin, public information officer for Santa Clarita Valley Water.

Aquafornia news Village News

Opinion: Let’s understand the case for detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority

As a new Fallbrook resident, I attended the recent Fallbrook Community Forum. I was impressed with the openness, friendliness, dedication and commitment of the participants. The experience led me to join the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce. I wish my enthusiasm extended to the proposal for our community to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: New science or just spin: Science charade in the Delta

To the extent that new science requires new approaches in the Delta, existing new science indicates that restoration of the Delta will require more water to be left in the Delta, not less.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says

Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt is speaking out about widespread problems of excessive groundwater pumping in rural areas of Arizona, saying the state Legislature should give counties and communities the power to protect their rapidly declining aquifers. Babbitt appealed for action during a visit this week to the Willcox area, where heavy pumping for farms has led to falling water tables and left a growing number of families with dry wells.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Borrego Valley’s strategy for a negotiated resolution under SGMA

Groundwater is the sole source of water supply for the valley; there isn’t any surface water or imported water available. After decades of excessive pumping, the Borrego Groundwater Basin is considered critically overdrafted and dramatic reductions in pumping – up to 70% by the latest estimate – will be needed to reach sustainability.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: DWR CEQA proceeds with tunnel proposal independent experts deem “impractical”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is soliciting public comment on the scope of environmental review for a revised Delta tunnel project despite prior findings of independent technical experts that a key project proposal is “impractical,” stating that it “does not recommend” further study.

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Coronavirus state of emergency halts water shutoffs in Salinas

Both water companies that serve Salinas will halt all water shutoffs during the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Salinas has a large population of hospitality workers that commute to the Monterey Peninsula daily; the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus as health officials urge “social distancing” and the closure of large gatherings. As such, many residents may find themselves short on funds as the pandemic wears on.

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Aquafornia news Ecology Law Quarterly

Salmon lessons for the Delta smelt: Unjustified reliance on hatcheries in the USFWS October 2019 biological opinion

As discussed below, in the case of west coast salmon, the scientific evidence is clear that the replacement assumption has proven faulty as the total abundance of salmon declined at the same time the propagation and release of hatchery salmon has expanded.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Lawyer writes of defending the Colorado River

If corporations can have the rights of people under the law, why not rivers? The question made sense to Will Falk, and he answered it yes. Falk is a lawyer, and he got to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit. So he spent time along the river, in something of a conversation with it. Falk tells the story in his book How Dams Fall.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Arizona working to define and protect its waterways cut from Clean Water Act

Arizona does not currently have a comprehensive program to protect its surface water quality. The state is now faced with the task of creating one following a change to federal law. The Trump administration unveiled its final rule in January redefining which waterways are regulated under the Clean Water Act, known as “Waters of the U.S.” Under this rule change, the vast majority of Arizona’s creeks and streams will not be protected.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A reality check on groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley

This year marks a new phase in California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). At the end of January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their first groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region. … This post addresses key questions about groundwater budgets.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Trump’s attack on California salmon fishing jobs

The new rules allow the federal Central Valley Project to kill 100 percent of baby winter run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam for three years running.  Chinook salmon live for three years, so authorizing the Bureau of Reclamation to kill every endangered winter run for three years amounts to an extinction plan for this species.  

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage pollution shutters beaches as far north as Coronado

Beaches were closed on Tuesday from the Mexico border to Coronado as rain flushed sewage-contaminated runoff from Tijuana into the San Diego region. “Things have gotten worse than ever,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump administration presses cities to evict homeowners from flood zones

The federal government is giving local officials nationwide a painful choice: Agree to use eminent domain to force people out of flood-prone homes, or forfeit a shot at federal money they need to combat climate change.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Without $175M levee upgrade, thousands in Manteca, Lathrop would need flood insurance

While the bulk of the $175 million goes toward addressing seepage issues along San Joaquin River levees, a dry levee in southwest Manteca plays a key role in making sure potential breaks along the San Joaquin south of RD-17 or levee failures on the Stanislaus River don’t flood portions of either city.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

District Court judge reaffirms decision to deny water for Las Vegas pipeline

A District Court judge has once again scuttled the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to obtain and pump rural groundwater about 300 miles from eastern Nevada, prompting one Clark County commissioner to call on the water authority “to look in a different direction.”

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Report predicts how water losses will hit SJ Valley

San Joaquin Valley farmers say they hope a newly released report will capture the attention of Californians about the potential impact of water shortages in the region. The report, released last week, said water shortages could cause 1 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland to be fallowed and cost as many as 85,000 jobs.

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Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Orcutt Hill oil company ordered to reduce polluted runoff, pay $115K to watershed fund

A settlement was reached Wednesday in a federal lawsuit filed by an environmental group accusing Pacific Coast Energy Co. of illegally discharging polluted water from an Orcutt oil facility into northern Santa Barbara County waterways and threatening endangered species.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

State water contractors pick sides in lawsuit over Trump’s water boost

Because the State and Federal water managers coordinate operations of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, the State Water Contractors argue that dumping the biological opinions governing those operations and restarting the process would create “uncertainty in water supply availability, potentially affecting the [State Water Contractor] members’ water supplies from the SWP.”

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Controversial Walker Lake hydropower proposal wins preliminary permit

A proposal to pump water out of Nevada’s fragile Walker Lake to generate hydropower to sell in California won preliminary approval from federal regulators. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit and granting priority to file for the proposed Walker Lake Pumped Storage Project.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Own up to bringing water to farmers and help put food on American families’ tables

While the current federal administration has prioritized ensuring food security in the long run, state leadership, current and in the recent past, has continually attacked farmers. An attack on our farmers is an attack on our food supply.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Congress calls on Nestle to answer for its water-bottling practices in California and beyond

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are demanding international food giant Nestlé answer for its water-bottling practices, including in California where it pumps from the San Bernardino National Forest for its Arrowhead brand.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

If agriculture in the valley is going to survive, water leaders need to get cozy with new ideas and new allies. And, yes, that means environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Cuyama Valley carrot growers get the stick

The Cuyama Valley is the driest agricultural region in the county; the valley floor gets just a little more rain than the Sahara. Yet for the past 75 years, this high desert region has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale — first alfalfa, and now carrots, a $69 million annual crop. … Now, to the rescue — belatedly — comes the state Groundwater Sustainability Act of 2014…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay Delta Committee: Update on the voluntary agreements post-Trump and an update on the State Water Project contract amendment for Delta conveyance

It was a busy time for California water issues last month when Trump visited the San Joaquin Valley, signed the Record of the Decision on the biological opinions which govern the operations of the state and federal water projects (along with another Presidential memo), which was promptly followed by the state filing of a lawsuit the next day. … So not surprisingly, the voluntary agreement was top of the agenda the following week at the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria community meets on the future of oil drilling

People on both sides of the oil argument met Wednesday night in Santa Maria, sharing their opinions about the future of oil drilling on the Central Coast. The meeting was one of 10 that the California Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) is hosting.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: State Water Contractors stand with Trump administration

If you live in Southern California or Silicon Valley, you might be surprised to learn that your local water district (a member agency of the State Water Contractors) is siding with the Trump Administration, and defending Trump’s plan to increase water diversions, despite the widespread acknowledgement that this plan is likely to drive salmon and Delta smelt extinct.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: The fate of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is now “the law of the land (state)” and as such there will be restricted agricultural groundwater pumping throughout the San Joaquin Valley…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

$446 million Klamath dam removal budget submitted to FERC

In a Feb. 28 filing, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, formed to shepherd the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River in Northeern California and Southern Oregon, submitted key budget information to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … This filing is another concrete step toward implementing the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), removing the dams and restoring a free-flowing Klamath River, KRRC officials said.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

California wants feds to address cross-border sewage

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board issued an investigative order in February that requires more monitoring of sewage-tainted cross-border flows. The order requires the International Boundary and Water Commission to monitor more than a dozen locations over an 18-month period.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Robert Moses, the Colorado River, and the tragedy of the anticommons

I have long argued that a robust governance network, both formal and informal, around the management of the Colorado River provides the necessary conditions for managing the problems of the river’s overallocation and the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change. … But as we approach the negotiation of the next set of Colorado River management rules – a process already bubbling in the background – it is not hard to see how my thesis could break down.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California wants limit for Erin Brockovich chemical in water

The State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday adopted its 2020 priorities, which include setting a maximum contaminant level of the heavy metal, also known as chromium-6. A proposed rule setting the limit could come in early 2021.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Study: Water restrictions to mean billions in lost farm revenue

The study by economists David Sunding and David Roland-Holst at UC Berkeley examined the economic impact of two types of restrictions to water supplies for ag: on groundwater pumping as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and future reductions in surface water due to regulatory processes by the state and federal government.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Feds ink deal with water district tied to Bernhardt

The Trump administration on Friday awarded a permanent water delivery contract to the country’s largest agricultural district, brushing aside environmentalists’ concerns about California’s uncertain water future in the face of climate change. At issue is irrigation water that flows through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project to the Westlands Water District, a Rhode Island-sized agricultural powerhouse and former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Anderson Reservoir draw-down planning on deck as FERC notice forces action

Valley Water in Santa Clara, Calif., doesn’t fully agree with a Feb. 20 directive from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drain its Anderson Dam as the water district waits to begin upgrades to the structure near the Calaveras Fault.

Aquafornia news FactCheck.org

Trump spins California’s water conservation rules

In criticizing California for how it has managed its water supplies, President Donald Trump falsely said that residents “very shortly” will “get 50 gallons” of water to use a day. That’s a distortion of two state water laws, which set efficiency targets for water agencies, not individuals.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Westlands Water District gets permanent U.S. contract for massive irrigation deliveries

The Interior Department on Friday awarded the nation’s largest farm water district a permanent entitlement to annual irrigation deliveries that amount to roughly twice as much water as the nearly 4 million residents of Los Angeles use in a year. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the federal project, also signed permanent contracts on Friday with a handful of municipal districts that it supplies.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California Natural Resources Agency lays out Salton Sea mitigation goals

The California Natural Resources Agency this week released its Salton Sea Management Program annual report, which trumpeted the first completed dust suppression project and set ambitious goals for upcoming mitigation efforts. The report lays out an aggressive target of 3,800 acres on which the agency hopes to complete efforts to tamp down dust by the end of 2020 to catch up with its long-term benchmarks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

U.S. considers recycling more wastewater, including from oil and gas fields

Some environmental groups eye the effort suspiciously, fearing the Trump administration will use the project to allow businesses to offload hazardous wastewater in ways that threaten drinking water sources and otherwise risk public health. Businesses including oil and gas developers have urged the Trump administration to allow them more ways to get rid of their increasing volumes of wastewater.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California files challenge to federal decisions governing operation of California water projects

California’s complaint challenges the biological opinions issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s EIS and record of decision completed pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news CBS News

‘I can’t even’: Emails reveal EPA officials’ reaction to Trump rant on toilets, showers

When the top official overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program first heard President Donald Trump’s rant about toilets that must be flushed a dozen times and modern faucets that provide only drips of water, she was at a loss for words.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Without water we can’t grow anything’: Can small farms survive California’s landmark water law?

The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency’s budget

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before lawmakers Thursday to defend a budget that would bring the agency to its lowest funding level in years. As with previous Trump administration budgets, lawmakers are expected to ignore the proposed 26 percent cut to the agency, one of the steepest in the budget.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Military may be bound by state laws on ‘forever chemicals’

The Pentagon may be forced to follow new state environmental pollution standards for a family of manmade “forever chemicals” that may have been spilled at hundreds of military sites in the U.S., Defense Secretary Mark Esper told lawmakers. Esper was pressed Wednesday at a House Armed Services Committee hearing over the military’s use of widely used firefighting foam containing chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that never degrade.

Aquafornia news Laguna Beach Independent

Laguna Beach moves to hike sewer rates in wake of Thanksgiving spill

A sewage spill that occurred a day before Thanksgiving last year prompted the Laguna Beach City Council to move forward with a one-time sewer rate increase Tuesday that will account for the financial fallout. Pending the result of a protest vote by ratepayers, the 10% increase ups bills for single-family homes to $800 annually, or $66.67 per month. The hike could take effect as early as July 1.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Everything you need to know about California’s historic water law

This year marks the first big deadline for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), as dozens of agencies complete initial plans to protect overdrafted water resources. Here’s what you need to know:

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Aquafornia news Plumas News

Letter lets state know where Plumas stands on watershed concerns

Plumas supervisors reminded the state that the best way to protect natural resources is by not depleting them, especially when other natural resources are available, such as the Pacific Ocean. Supervisors encourage the state’s Natural Resources Agency to support developing technology to promote practical ways to use ocean water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA handling multiple PFAS-related criminal investigations

The EPA is involved in multiple PFAS-related criminal investigations, the agency said Wednesday, adding another knot to an already complex legal landscape for “forever chemicals.” The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged the probes in a new progress report on its 2019 PFAS Action Plan.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Water is life. It’s also a battle. So what does the future hold for California?

Scientists say climate change will bring more unpredictable weather, warmer winters and less snowpack in the mountains. These challenges and some ideas for remedies are outlined in a new plan, called the California Water Resilience Portfolio, released by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January to a mix of praise and disappointment. Below, an explanation of the state’s water development — as well as the challenges, today and tomorrow, of providing water for California’s people, places and things.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin group joins fight over Clean Water Act changes

Joining 12 other conservation groups from throughout the country, the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network alleges the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not attempt to weigh the potential impacts to endangered species when it removed millions of acres of waterways and habitat from Clean Water Act protections in January.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Silicon Valley is roiled by feds ordering draining of reservoir to reduce quake risks

A federal order to drain Silicon Valley’s largest drinking water reservoir has thrown the region into disarray, with multiple agencies pointing fingers at each other and some local leaders fearful their cities could run out of water, not this summer but the following one.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Revamped lead rule ignores concerns raised in EPA memo

EPA proposed its revamp of the Lead and Copper Rule last fall. That revision addresses many elements of the regulation then-acting Region 5 Administrator Robert Kaplan critiqued. But it does not follow one key recommendation: that the agency establish health-based limits on lead in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bernhardt fires back at Newsom over California water lawsuit

The future of the complicated network of waterways and canals that supplies millions of Californians with water daily could be murky at best, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt warned Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom in a letter Monday.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: California governor’s water negotiations leave no one behind, senator says

Recently, Governor Newsom announced his framework and support for Voluntary Settlement Agreements (VSAs) — a monumental effort that could bring to an end the conflict and litigation over water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. With great hope and guarded optimism, I applaud the governor’s efforts…

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Feds order Santa Clara County’s biggest reservoir to be drained due to earthquake collapse risk

In a dramatic decision that could significantly impact Silicon Valley’s water supply, federal dam regulators have ordered Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, to be completely drained starting Oct. 1. The 240-foot earthen dam, built in 1950 and located east of Highway 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose, poses too great of a risk of collapse during a major earthquake, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates dams, has concluded.

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Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Tehachapi City Council OK’s sewer, water fees for new development

Officials in the city of Tehachapi approved new water and sewer fees — in case new housing developments start moving in — to support the construction of infrastructure that can’t quite support projected growth in the next 10 years.

Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California takes the lead in regulating PFAS chemicals in drinking water

California finds itself once again taking the lead by setting regulatory standards stricter than the rest of the nation. At issue is the nearly ubiquitous presence of certain PFAS chemicals in drinking water, a problem being addressed to varying degrees by many states and federal regulators.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA moves to limit financial pressure on ‘forever chemical’ manufacturers under cleanup law

A proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would absolve the nation’s manufacturers of cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from broad financial responsibility for cleaning up their product as it leaches into the water supply across the country. The class of chemicals known as PFAS, which are noted for their persistence in both the environment and the human body, are used in a variety of nonstick products.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As Western coal plants close, what happens to their water?

Coal-fired power plants are closing, or being given firm deadlines for closure, across the country. In the Western states that make up the overallocated and drought-plagued Colorado River, these facilities use a significant amount of the region’s scarce water supplies. With closure dates looming, communities are starting the contentious debate about how this newly freed up water should be put to use.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feds reimburse California for Oroville Dam repairs, but expensive new work possible

The federal government has reversed itself and agreed to reimburse California for most of the $1.1 billion it cost to repair Oroville Dam after its spillways failed three years ago.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California Fish and Game ends striped bass population mandate, allowing decline

The decision ends a 1996 policy that committed the state to sustaining a population of about 1 million striped bass in the Delta and other California waterways. They’re voracious, nonnative predators that can weigh as much as 60 pounds. They’re especially popular among anglers. It’s unclear exactly how many striped bass are in the state, but the number is believed to be fewer than 300,000.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Trump wading into California’s water policy with phony answer

President Trump believes he “got it done” in fixing California’s troubled and contentious water system. What he actually produced is another wrecking-ball delay and a lawsuit to try to halt his lopsided solution.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

What remains in high court’s environmental lineup

By this summer, the justices will have decided a case that could more clearly establish the scope of the Clean Water Act and a challenge that could more firmly define states’ role in federal Superfund cleanups. The court has so far been slow to issue opinions while Chief Justice John Roberts was spending half of his days at impeachment trial proceedings across the street on Capitol Hill.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: About that water fluoridation debate …

There was recently a discussion in the Arcata City Council about the proposed elimination of fluoride from water delivered to homes. … There is a lot of scientific research about this subject which is summarized below.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Groups urge Newsom to work with feds on water

Farm groups are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to work with the federal government on water deliveries even as California followed through Thursday on its threat to sue to nullify biological opinions that could bring increases in surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Toxic Superfund cleanups decline to more than 30-year low

The federal government wrapped up cleanups at six Superfund sites around the country in the 2019 budget year, the fewest since three in 1986, EPA online records showed. The Superfund program was born out of the 1970′s disaster at Love Canal in New York, where industrial contaminants poisoned groundwater, spurred complaints of health problems and prompted presidential emergency declarations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration reverses itself, will pay California for Oroville Dam fixes

The state Department of Water Resources said Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to cover approximately $300 million in repair costs the agency had previously denied. … All told, the state now expects to be reimbursed for approximately $750 million of the $1.1 billion cost of the crisis…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California sues Trump administration again — this time over water

A day after President Trump visited the Central Valley to celebrate a boost in water for California farms, state officials sued to block the additional water deliveries. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in a lawsuit filed Thursday, maintains that new federal rules designed to increase pumping from the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta fail to protect salmon and other endangered fish in the delta estuary.

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Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Proposed changes to San Diego County landscape ordinance would reduce water use by 40%

This is an approximate 24% reduction in residential water use, and a 7% reduction for non-residential water use from today’s levels. This will be implemented through the existing permit review process and any project that requires a building, grading, or discretionary permit and would result in more than 500 sq/ft new irrigated landscaping (ex. permitting for new addition, new garage) would be subject to this water allowance.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA closer to regulating PFAS in drinking water

The EPA has made an initial determination that it will eventually set legal limits for levels of two key PFAS chemicals in drinking water, the agency announced Thursday. … That announcement could still be months away.

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Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Trump administration’s clean water rollback will hit some states hard

But the effects of removing this “environmental safety net” won’t be felt equally. States with fewer local protections and resources will suffer the most — as will their people and wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”

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Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta voluntary agreement costs soar from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion

In the latest update, the cost of implementing the voluntary agreements has soared by over $4 billion to a whopping $5.3 billion. Governor Newsom failed to mention the enormous and growing costs in his oped praising the voluntary agreement framework.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Nearly half the country working on PFAS rules as EPA drags feet

More states are stepping up to protect people from drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals” in the absence of federal enforcement. Twenty-three states are writing their own guidance, regulations, or legislation that would address drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

On eve of Trump visit, critics ask why Newsom hasn’t fought president’s water moves

During President Trump’s visit to California this week, the commander in chief who campaigned on a pledge of shipping more water to Central Valley farms plans to stop in Bakersfield to boast about a promise kept. … But what confounds some who are worried that Trump’s water plan could undermine the environment is how little the state has done to stop Washington.

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Presidential candidates talk water infrastructure at Las Vegas forum

While all presidential candidates, including President Trump were invited to participate in the event, only Joe Biden, Tom Steyer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Pete Buttigieg took the stage to discuss their outlook on infrastructure issues.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups plan to sue over Trump rollback of Obama waterway protections

A coalition of environmental groups informed the Trump administration Tuesday that it would sue over a major rollback of water protections designed to replace the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers

Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news KPIX

San Jose residents say it took months to be notified of tainted well water

11,000 households in San Jose’s Willow Glen and Williams Road neighborhoods received letters in the mail beginning in late January from the San Jose Water Company warning that the wells that provide them with drinking water tested positive for elevated levels of per-flouro-octane sulfonic acid, known as PFOS.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am rate increase proposal set for local public hearings

Cal Am’s request calls for raising water rates to increase revenue by about $8.4 million in the Monterey district to cover new capital investment, increased labor costs, and higher administrative and operations expenses, driving the “average” local customer’s bill from about $89.40 to about $105.78 over the three-year period from 2021-2023.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans

While Trump will be in town Wednesday to discuss agriculture issues with local farmers, as of Friday the Kern County Farm Bureau remained in the dark about the president’s visit, and the Kern County Republican Party similarly had not been informed of Trump’s plans. … A White House statement released to the media said Trump’s Bakersfield visit would focus on efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states.

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Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada City water customers get more time to pay bills

The changes, mandated by Senate Bill 998, mean customers will have at least 60 days to settle their bill before becoming delinquent. The changes also require water utilities to provide written notice at least seven days before service discontinuation, which must contain information on how to avoid an interruption of service as well as procedures for contesting or appealing a bill.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: It’s time for Gov. Newsom to take a firm stand to protect the Delta

It’s time for Gov. Gavin Newsom to own up on water policy. He can either play nice with a roughshod plan from President Trump to divert crucial water flows or craft his own blueprint that balances both wildlife and California’s economy.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Local water supplies impacted by new state guidance on PFAS

Though sampling indicated levels of PFOS and PFOA in a couple of local sources of water, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District is currently not producing drinking water from impacted sources. EVMWD is evaluating options to meet these new regulations including importing water to offset local supplies and in the long term, considering construction of treatment systems if water sources exceed state mandated response levels.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Salmon Cannon company presents in Siskiyou

Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou County have continued fighting to keep the dams in place. Many of those dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about an alternative fish passage technology the association believes could “make it possible” for the dams to remain.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Headwaters to Floodplains Initiative

Recently, the Department of Water Resources launched a new safety initiative called Headwaters to Floodplains, which applies an integrated regional watershed management approach to the realm of flood management. … At the January meeting of the California Water Commission, Mike Mierzwa from DWR’s Office of Floodplain Management briefed the Commission members on the new initiative.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Costa, Cox vote to OK subpoenas to probe Valley water boost

Reps. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and TJ Cox (D–Fresno) joined fellow Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee to grant wide-ranging subpoena power to the committee’s chair, Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.)… A key inquiry likely to be explored by Grijalva … is to dig into the Trump administration’s issuance of new biological opinions governing the Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump heads west, with California water in mind

President Trump will splash into California’s perpetually roiled water world next week when he drops by the southern San Joaquin Valley city that’s home to his biggest House booster and proximate to some of the state’s biggest dilemmas. With his expected visit to Bakersfield, Trump can affirm support for increased irrigation water deliveries, troll Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and reward House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in his hometown.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Toxic sites in Hoopa Valley awaiting cleanup as Trump’s EPA budget cuts loom

Celtor Chemical Works and the Cooper Bluff Mine are part of a priorities list for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program. The mine was formally added to the list last year, while the processing facility is scheduled for re-assessment after officials discovered more toxic waste linking back to it. But the Trump administration this week proposed reducing the EPA’s budget by 26%, cuts that would include $113 million slashed from the Superfund program’s allocation.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Thursday Top of the Scroll: How SGMA could impact area farmers

By the most conservative estimate, 500,000 acres of agriculture land are expected to go fallow in the San Joaquin Valley as SGMA is implemented over the next 20 years, [David] Orth said, while some studies say it could be as much as 1 million acres. Since this process is just starting in the Sacramento Valley, it’s unclear how the area might be impacted, but in general, north of the Delta is in better shape.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Federalism and Water under the Trump Administration: Has the Long Peace Come to an End?

The California Water Law Symposium is on my short list of not-to-be-missed events on my yearly calendar. … The keynote speaker was Clifford Lee, who recently retired from the California Attorney General’s office where for the past three decades, he has played a lead role in litigation on behalf of the state of California and has been directly involved in most of the cases that have shaped the relationship between federal government and the state of California as it relates to water management issues. 

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Groundwater sustainability cuts individual, agricultural use

Do you have something to say about the state-mandated sustainability plan that will limit individual and agricultural groundwater consumption in Merced County? The Jan. 31 deadline for local agencies to submit their 20-year sustainable groundwater management plan has passed, kicking off a 75-day public comment period before the Department of Water Resources reviews it.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

‘Framework’ aims to aid water agreements

In the coming weeks and months, the Newsom administration, water users and conservation groups will continue to refine a framework for potential voluntary agreements intended to benefit salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Experts criticize EPA lead and copper rule revisions

Experts and advocates on Tuesday criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to combat lead in the water supply, calling for the agency to require that service lines containing lead be replaced.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Sewage in creeks prompts lawsuits against Sunnyvale, Mountain View

A Bay Area environmental group has sued the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, saying they are in violation of the federal Clean Water Act for discharging raw sewage and polluted storm water into creeks, sending bacteria pollution to levels more than 50 times legal limits.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Former PG&E lawyer named new regional EPA chief in California

Days after the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed, the agency announced Tuesday that it would replace him with John W. Busterud, a former lawyer for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest electric power provider.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Company will help clean up Huntington Beach shores following settlement over industrial runoff, EPA says

The EPA announced Monday it has reached a settlement with Airtech International… For about four years, the EPA said, Airtech violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing industrial stormwater runoff to flow into the Bolsa Chica channel without a stormwater discharge permit from the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2019

Regulating the day-to-day details of an oil and gas operation can be a complex task, with both regulators and operators working hard to prevent leaks, explosions and other threats to worker safety, community health and the environment. … That’s why we track what states are up to on a consistent basis.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexican farmers take over dams to stop water payments to US

Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico and the United States are supposed to allow cross-border flows of water to each other, but Mexico has fallen badly behind and now has to quickly catch up on payments. … Mexico’s federal government dispatched National Guard officers to protect the La Boquilla dam Tuesday, but hundreds of farmers pushed and shoved them back hundreds of yards in a failed bid to take over the dam’s control room.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA loans Coachella water district $59 million for stormwater control project

The Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday signed an agreement for a $59.1 million loan to finance improvements to the district’s 134-mile stormwater system that drains into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom’s water plan offers chance to end water wars

Gov. Gavin Newsom has put forward a framework for managing water and habitat in the Delta and its watershed. As far as we can tell, no one is very happy with the framework—and that may be a good sign.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Stop farmers’ poisoning of Bay Area drinking water supply

The Central Valley Regional Water Board has issued a 25-year permit for toxic discharges of agricultural wastewater into the San Joaquin River and Bay-Delta… Fishermen and environmental groups have appealed the water board’s decision to the state of California, leaving the future of this permit uncertain.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Runoff from a Lake Forest development could lead to $9.1 million fine

A regional water regulator could impose a $9.1 million fine against developer Baldwin & Sons for letting more than 6 million gallons of storm water runoff trickle from the company’s construction project in Lake Forest into Aliso Creek in 2015 and 2016.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Has Newsom settled the water wars?

Last week, Newsom unveiled a compromise framework that would enhance flows through the Delta by up to 900,000 acre-feet a year and restore 60,000 acres of habitat for wildlife, particularly salmon, facing decline or even extinction due to the diversions.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State fines North Bay water agency over massive sewage spill

This week the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District agreed to the financial settlement over one of the district’s largest sewage spills in recent memory.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Reducing reliance on the Delta and improving regional self-reliance: Two sides of the same coin

One of the top priorities outlined in the Newsom Administration’s recently released draft Water Resilience Portfolio is reducing reliance on any one water source and diversifying supplies – key strategies for making our water supply systems more flexible, adaptable, and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump’s regional EPA chief in California is suddenly removed

The Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed from office Wednesday. No reason has yet been given for Mike Stoker’s dismissal. … Stoker’s tenure was mired in controversy. In 2018, a few months after he was appointed regional administrator, a “hotline” complaint was filed with the EPA’s inspector general regarding his infrequent visits to the region’s main office, in San Francisco.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program: A regional vision for coordinated monitoring

Luisa Valiela is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the watershed division of US EPA Region 9. Xavier Fernandez is the Chief of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board’s Planning and TMDL division. At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Ms. Valiela and Mr. Fernandez gave a joint presentation covering the goals and objectives of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program, the development process, and the Program Plan that will be released in early 2020.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems. It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

‘Forever chemicals’ trigger widespread closures of water wells

The state lowered the acceptable levels for two PFAS toxins in drinking water on Thursday, triggering the closure of wells throughout the California — including 33 in Orange County, which has been particularly plagued by the so-called “forever chemical.”

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Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Meet the Veteran Insider Who’s Shepherding Gov. Newsom’s Plan to Bring Climate Resilience to California Water
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Former journalist Nancy Vogel explains how the draft California Water Resilience Portfolio came together and why it’s expected to guide future state decisions

Nancy Vogel, director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program, highlights key points in the draft Water Resilience Portfolio last month for the Water Education Foundation's 2020 Water Leaders class. Shortly after taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom called on state agencies to deliver a Water Resilience Portfolio to meet California’s urgent challenges — unsafe drinking water, flood and drought risks from a changing climate, severely depleted groundwater aquifers and native fish populations threatened with extinction.

Within days, he appointed Nancy Vogel, a former journalist and veteran water communicator, as director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program to help shepherd the monumental task of compiling all the information necessary for the portfolio. The three state agencies tasked with preparing the document delivered the draft Water Resilience Portfolio Jan. 3. The document, which Vogel said will help guide policy and investment decisions related to water resilience, is nearing the end of its comment period, which goes through Friday, Feb. 7.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the water storage investment program

At the January meeting of the California Water Commission, staff updated the commissioners on the status of the projects in the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). Amy Young, the Commission’s WSIP Program Manager, updated the Commission on the program schedule going forward, recent activity by the applicants, and how the projects will be coming before the Commission.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s multibillion-dollar problem: the toxic legacy of old oil wells

Across much of California, fossil fuel companies are leaving thousands of oil and gas wells unplugged and idle, potentially threatening the health of people living nearby and handing taxpayers a multibillion-dollar bill for the environmental cleanup.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey gets final state OK

Pure Water Monterey has finally secured a critical final state approval and is poised to begin delivering potable recycled water to the Seaside basin by mid-February. After an all-day inspection of the $126 million recycled water project’s advanced water purification facility by a nine-member team on Tuesday, the state Division of Drinking Water signed off both verbally and by email.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom softens his fight against Trump in California water wars

The governor’s newest proposal signals Newsom may be softening his fight against Trump, but opening another battle. Newsom may have traded a court fight with Trump for a legal battle with the very environmentalists the Democratic administration has seen as allies.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Land bureau may exempt plans from environmental review

The Bureau of Land Management may stop studying how its long-term blueprints for millions of acres of public lands would affect the environment, according to a document shared with Bloomberg Environment. … The BLM may propose a land use planning rule that will “remove NEPA requirements from the planning regulations,” referring to the National Environmental Policy Act,

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation may follow clarified clean water jurisdiction

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a long-awaited new rule redefining the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Agencies state that their so-called Navigable Waters Protection Rule will improve and streamline the regulatory definition of WOTUS.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Ecologists see little difference between unimpaired and (truly) functional approaches to flow

From an ecologist’s perspective, river habitat and species population sizes and life histories were shaped by unimpaired flow patterns (including volume and natural variability) across seasons and years. Science from across the world, other regions in the US, and right here in California suggests that we can take some of that flow for other uses, but must preserve adequate volume and natural patterns of variation if we want native species to survive.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

California’s attorney general joins 18 states urging EPA for protection from “forever chemicals”

California’s Attorney General is part of a multi state coalition – urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect communities from what they say are dangerous chemicals. Attorneys General from 19 states, including California’s Xavier Becerra are urging the EPA to proceed with rulemaking to cover the entire family of PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Deadline arrives for critically overdrafted basins

Overpumping of groundwater has led to a variety of negative effects including reduced groundwater levels, seawater intrusion, and degraded water quality. It has also led to subsidence, which causes damage to critical water infrastructure. In some cases, years of overpumping have left entire California communities and farms without safe and reliable local water supplies.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Dairy farmer in Turlock area fined over manure rules

The valley’s massive dairy industry routinely mixes manure-tainted wastewater into the irrigation supplies for corn and other feed crops. The state requires that the volume not exceed what the crops can take up as nutrients.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California ag faces a decade of challenges

On the heels of a seemingly perpetual drought that has slowed surface water deliveries to a trickle and made water transfers complicated and expensive, Joe Del Bosque and other growers face new pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … The farm’s water costs have already more than doubled in the past 10 years…

Aquafornia news Daily Bruin

As UCLA construction ramps up, runoff management policies should do so as well

The 2016-2026 UCLA Student Housing Master Plan is ambitious, to say the least: four years of guaranteed housing for all undergraduate freshmen and two years of guaranteed housing for transfer students. … But the grandiose scale of this housing expansion is not being met with equal expansion of UCLA’s stormwater management facilities.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration eyes changes to environmental enforcement

The White House issued a notice [Thursday] seeking input on efforts to “reform enforcement” — a potential boon for the energy industry. … [Thursday's] memo, which appears in the Federal Register, states that federal enforcement has ballooned in recent decades but protections for defendants has not.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: The California Environmental Flows Framework

One of the major questions fish biologists are often asked is “how much water do fish need?” In 2016, a group of scientists from California Trout, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, with funding in partnership from the State Water Board, began to delve into this question and others.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Whose water is being carried by Trump’s latest environmental rollback?

When a Healdsburg winery leaked thousands of gallons of Cabernet into the Russian River last week, the jokes flowed, too. … But the spill coincided with a more sobering blow to clean water, coming to light the day the Trump administration announced it was ripping up expanded protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater adopted by the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As Iowa caucuses approach, where do Democratic candidates stand on water?

Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic presidential race as candidates react to rising public concerns about drinking water pollution, failing infrastructure, and the perceived inability of state and federal governments to fix the problems.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

California Coastal Commission staff asks Cal Am to postpone desal appeal

Coastal Commission staff has recommended California American Water withdraw and resubmit a coastal development permit application involving the company’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project, which would likely postpone a hearing on the desal permit and a pending appeal until September at the earliest.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

An effort to transform the Carmel River gets a critical stamp of approval

The multi-year, multi-agency effort to transform the lower landscape of the Carmel River into a natural floodplain took a massive step forward Jan. 28 when the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project’s final environmental impact report.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Less turf, fewer pools shrink per-home water use in Phoenix area

Large lawns and backyard pools were once common features of new homes in the Phoenix area, but not anymore. A recent study of single-family homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area showed that nearly two-thirds of homes do not have a swimming pool.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Groundwater plans are due in California, but the hard work is just getting started

January 31 is a big day for California water. It’s the day when 21 critically overdrafted groundwater basins must submit plans to the state for how they will bring their groundwater demand in line with available supplies over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Our voices are not being heard’: Colorado town a test case for California PFAS victims

When Wendy Rash was diagnosed in 2005 with a thyroid disorder, chronic fatigue and other ailments, her doctor couldn’t explain her suddenly failing health. … It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists tested the tap water they had been drinking and found it was contaminated with man-made chemicals known as per-fluorinated compounds, part of a family of chemicals called PFAS.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The nuts and bolts of the Central Valley Salts program

At a breakfast event hosted by the Water Association of Kern County shortly after the amendments were adopted, a panel discussed what the new program from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board means for dischargers in the Central Valley. The panel speakers were Clay Rodgers, Assistant Executive Officer at the regional water board; Tess Dunham, an attorney with Somach Simmons & Dunn; and Richard Meyerhoff, a water quality specialist with GEI Consultants.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Opinion: California industrial companies—your business license now depends on stormwater permitting

A new law in California took effect Jan. 1 and requires industrial business owners applying to a city or county for a new or renewed business license to demonstrate enrollment in a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permit, if it’s required. … Failure to comply will result in delay or denial of a business license, effectively prohibiting the business from starting its operations.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Trump rails against water-saving toilets and dishwashers. They work better than ever

Trump’s frequent allusions to a bygone era filled with superior appliances misses what is largely a story of American ingenuity and continued progress. Several manufacturers and trade groups said these items work better than ever today — while also using less water and power, the result of years of corporate investment and testing. Industries that might normally cheer reduced regulation say they don’t want government efficiency standards eased.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City’s legal notices to Ventura River users to be discussed at meeting

The public will get an opportunity to hear from the city of Ventura on Thursday about why it has sent out thousands of notices and summonses to those who use, pump or own property in the Ventura River watershed. The process started years ago after Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city was taking too much water from the watershed, officials said.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

California unlikely to benefit from new Navigable Waters Protection Rule

It is doubtful that the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide any benefits to California’s farmers and ranchers. Because of rules that the State Water Board established last year, California is unlikely to be affected by the recent federal regulation that replaces the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Opinion: Water plan should focus on the future, not the past

Time and time again seemingly well-intentioned initiatives and repeated attempts to develop a comprehensive water management solution have failed, despite cautionary tales. However, 2019 witnessed the horizon of a new initiative called the Voluntary Agreements that could do what few, if any, past plans, efforts, or reports could do – unite water management and develop collaboration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The final demise of unimpaired flows

The concept of unimpaired flows has endured (much longer than reasonable in my opinion). While it was argued that unimpaired flows would allow resource assessments to be founded on the “natural” hydrology of the stream network, this had fundamental drawbacks.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers welcome new federal rule on water quality

Farmers and ranchers expressed support for a new federal rule to protect navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule should offer certainty, transparency and a common-sense approach about how the rule would apply on the farm.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s USDA chief, unlike Trump, backed water efficiency

If President Trump wants to understand the risk of rolling back water efficiency standards that have been in place for almost 30 years, he can turn to a member of his own Cabinet. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has signed off on regulations that treat water-efficient toilets and shower heads as effective tools to save Americans from droughts and other risks.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Opinion: EPA’s new water rule is a mockery of science and the Clean Water Act

If the Trump administration’s own scientific advisory board, a host of biological societies, and scores of former government agency officials are disappointed, the rest of America should be fearful and angry.

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Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Ontario sets 0% water conservation goal

Despite growing concerns of a below-average rainfall season, the city of Ontario revoked mandatory conservation measures this week, setting a 0% water conservation target with state regulators. … The City Council approved the change from mandatory Stage 2 water conservation to voluntary conservation on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

News release: Climate report prompts proposed policy changes to protect San Francisco Bay and outlying areas

In an effort to aggressively combat the impacts of climate change on low-lying areas of the Bay Area, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board today proposed changes to the region’s Water Quality Control Plan to better protect shorelines from sea level rise, storm surges and flooding.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Court battles, 2020 election loom over Trump WOTUS rule

Trump administration officials took a victory lap after they unveiled their final revisions to Clean Water Act protections for waterways and wetlands. But the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, replacement rule that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers completed yesterday must now survive a possible Democratic win in the 2020 presidential election and an expected inundation of challenges in the courts.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump’s latest water policy exposes sharp divides

Democrats and environmental groups on Thursday admonished the Trump administration for issuing a rule they say sets protections for waterways back decades; however, it’s shaping up to be a huge win in GOP-leaning rural America as the Trump campaign eagerly courts farm country ahead of the 2020 election.

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Aquafornia news KCRW

Audio: Trump rolls back Obama-era water protections. How will that affect California?

Major water bodies will still be protected, but smaller ones that don’t flow year-round, especially in California and western states, will be open to pollution dumps. This change is good news for farmers and real estate developers. But environmental activists, and even the agency’s science advisers, disagree.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona’s water system for suburban growth heads toward ‘train wreck,’ Babbitt says

A water management district created by a 1993 state law that allowed massive subdivisions to spread into the outer suburbs of Tucson and Phoenix is now heading for a “train wreck,” warns former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA letting cities dump more raw sewage into rivers for years to come

The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists.

Aquafornia news Weekly Calistogan

There’s plenty of water: City of Calistoga updates its water element in general plan

Demand for water from 2002-2015 was down 36%, and demand for 2019 was only about half of what it was for 2015, city staff said at a planning commission meeting Jan. 22.

Aquafornia news Nossaman

Blog: Will long-awaited changes to NEPA materially alter federal environmental reviews?

While the stated purpose of the changes is to facilitate more effective and timely environmental review of federal agency actions, the practical impact of the proposed changes is far from clear. Below, we focus on some of the more significant substantive provisions of the Proposed Rule.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Birds in California’s desert are dying

These networks of habitat and water that run under and across our desert are essential to stop the loss of bird species diversity. These linkages, flowing through our communities, under our highways, bubbling up in the livestock allotments of our public lands or pulsing within renewable energy development zones, are not easily replaced. The loss and degradation of these connected lands and waters are contributing to the current crisis.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Groundwater Sustainability Plan evaluation and State Water Board intervention

A joint workshop hosted by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board provides details on how incoming plans will be evaluated and what State Water Board intervention might look like.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Voluntary agreements are a better plan for California

We are on the brink of a historic accomplishment in California water to resolve longstanding conflicts through comprehensive voluntary agreements that substitute collaboration and creative solutions for perpetual litigation. For anyone to abandon this transformative effort in favor of litigation would be a tragic mistake…

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

San Juan Capistrano City Council approves annexation agreement with Santa Margarita Water District

An annexation agreement between the Santa Margarita Water District and City of San Juan Capistrano was approved by the San Juan Capistrano City Council during a regular council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The agreement means the city’s water and sewer utility systems will be transferred to the water district.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey requests water for affordable housing

The City Council passed a resolution to make a formal request of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District that it allocate additional water to develop affordable housing. … Most of the Peninsula is under a moratorium for additional water hook-ups following the cease-and-desist order instituted in 1995 when the State Water Resources Control Board ordered California American Water to stop over-pumping the Carmel River…

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