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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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

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…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California geothermal plan released after leasing spike

One of the biggest indicators of renewed geothermal interest occurred Thursday when the Bureau of Land Management published a final environmental impact statement on a California geothermal leasing area that sat on the shelf for eight years. The statement is for the proposed designation of a 22,805-acre Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area north of Ridgecrest, Calif., and west of Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pledged to fix California water politics. Now he’s bogged down in the Delta

The Newsom administration appears to be a house divided on water, as competing interests pull it in opposite directions. The main flash point is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a threatened estuary and source of water for a majority of Californians.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Water regulators seek $4M fine for millions of gallons discharged at Healdsburg hotel, housing project

Nearly a year after construction was halted a second time at a large resort project at the north end of Healdsburg when water-quality regulators allegedly found millions of gallons of sediment-filled stormwater running off into Russian River tributaries, the agency announced it is pursuing a $4.9 million fine against the developer.

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 Monterey County Weekly

Desalination emerges as a possible solution for another Monterey County water challenge

The groundwater sustainability plan approved Jan. 9 features a slew of solutions like eradicating thirsty reeds invading the watershed, and proposed pumping limits that could lead to the fallowing of some farmland. Also envisioned are a “wall” against seawater and possibly a new desalination plant that would dwarf the project being pursued by the Monterey Peninsula’s water utility, California American Water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Committee: The Newsom Administration’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio

At the January meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Conservation and Local Resources Committee, Nancy Vogel, Director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program at the Natural Resources Agency, gave committee members an overview of the draft resilience portfolio.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To boost geothermal, Trump seeks rollback of desert protections

In step with President Trump’s push for more energy development in California’s deserts, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday it wants to transform 22,000 acres of public land in the southern Owens Valley into one of the largest geothermal leasing sites in the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California will be hit hard as Trump administration weakens clean water protections

Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday will announce the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands.

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Aquafornia news Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Small farmers wait for California’s groundwater hammer to fall

Farmers, large and small, are beginning to grapple with what the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act means for them. One by one, local sustainability plans are starting to go public. Many farmers expect to see cutbacks on pumping once the program is fully implemented in 2040.

Aquafornia news Bay Crossings

King Tides sound a pollution alarm in the Bay

Last month, high tides in San Francisco Bay washed up onto the shoreline of a large former pharmaceutical company in Richmond. A few hours later, the outgoing tide pulled contamination—including pesticides, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste—off the industrial land and into the Bay.

Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation approves rate increases, protest level not reached

The Santa Fe Irrigation District approved three percent water rate increases for the next three years at a Jan. 16 hearing. … The rate increases aim to help meet the district’s objectives to ensure equity across customer classes, encourage conservation and maintain financial stability as it faces challenges such as the rising costs of imported water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Controlled burns prevent California wildfires, study says. Why aren’t there more?

Landowners are afraid of going bankrupt if a prescribed burn escapes control, the interviewees told researchers. Meanwhile, state and federal workers see little praise for successful controlled burns, and face fears and possible backlash from a risk-averse public, wary of wildfire smoke and mishaps. The Stanford experts suggested those perceptions among the public aren’t accurate.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

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Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Supervisors extend state of emergency for marijuana-related problems

Siskiyou County supervisors last week supported Sheriff Jon Lopey’s assessment that illegal marijuana grows are detrimental to the health and well being of local residents and approved the extension of a local state of emergency through 2020.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom wades into decades-long bid to wring more water for California

The water portfolio lists over 100 actions and while many are forward-thinking and do things like improve drinking water quality, boost efficiency in urban and agricultural water use and favor voluntary water agreements instead of state mandates, it also endorses billion-dollar projects that flopped under past governors. The first draft was well received by farmers, water districts and others in California’s water circle, but critics are worried the innovative and cheaper options are already taking a backseat …

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Tulare County agency approves groundwater sustainability plan; Friant-Kern Canal among concerns

Now the hard work begins which includes determining just how much water growers can pump out of the ground. A big factor in deciding how much groundwater can be pump will be mitigating the decreased level of water in the Friant-Kern Canal, another major topic addressed at Friday’s meeting.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete their life cycle,

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Weed and water woes in the legendary Emerald Triangle

In the early days, these pot farms were small and scattered. But in recent years the industry has intensified. A wave of newcomers planted larger farms, using greenhouses and artificial lights to extend the growing season and yield up to three marijuana crops in a single year. The cannabis boom has polluted waters with fertilizers, fuels and pesticides, triggered erosion that buries the rocky habitats where salmon and trout spawn and grow, and drained streams of water in the dry season.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

East Valley Water District purchases additional generators

The East Valley Water District Board of Directors approved the purchase of three new standby generators in order to better enable the district to continue water service should Southern California Edison exercise its new Public Safety Power Shutoff program as a fire safety measure.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Nearly 500,000 Sacramento-area residents will be safer because of this Folsom Dam upgrade

Federal crews have begun a five-year effort to raise the height of the dam by 3.5 feet to increase flood protection for 440,000 downstream residents in metropolitan Sacramento,

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State senate candidates can’t escape the water wars. They disagree about high-speed rail

The territory encompassed by the 5th State Senate District has been a battleground for California’s complex water politics. So it’s not surprising the two Democrats and three Republicans running to succeed Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who is terming out this year, might tap dance around questions regarding Tuolumne and Stanislaus river flows and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Time’s up on groundwater plans: One of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained

The landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, requires some of the state’s thirstiest areas form local “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” and submit long-term plans by Jan. 31 for keeping aquifers healthy. Together, those plans will add up to a big reveal, as groundwater managers finally disclose how badly they believe their aquifers are overdrawn…

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bill would ban river water transfers to central Arizona

Under a new bill in the Arizona state Legislature, some water tied to land that borders the Colorado River could not be transferred into central Arizona. It comes after recent proposals to do just that.

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Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors blast plans to move Delta tunnel project forward

Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump hails WOTUS overhaul as critics call for investigation

President Trump yesterday touted his repeal of key Clean Water Act regulations as more than three dozen current and former government officials called for an investigation into the scientific basis of his forthcoming replacement rule.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Two Tulare County towns will be testing ground for ‘innovative’ arsenic-tainted water treatment

A $30,000 grant will bring together 20 high school students from Allensworth and Alpaugh to learn about safe drinking water, conduct hands-on testing of arsenic treatment, and present findings… The students will work with a UC Berkeley lab to test the technology, Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Santa Ana River Wash Plan aims to protect land and species

The conservation district is a special governmental entity that has been recharging the local groundwater aquifers for 100 years. The Wash Plan will implement water conservation, supply infrastructure, transportation and aggregate production while protecting threatened species.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump withdraws water supply rule amid environmental rollbacks

Speaking to the crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin, Texas, Trump said he would be withdrawing the Water Supply Act proposed in the final days of the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news Mad River Union

McKinleyville Town Center limits loosened to allow wetlands relocation, development

The committee voted to recommend a less stringent definition of wetlands for the Town Center area. The committee also recommended a policy that would allow the wetlands located on a vacant lot behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center to be reconfigured or even relocated. The recommendations have the potential to open up the property to more development…

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Fake rationing scare highlights California’s crazy water policy

Stamping out incorrect social-media information is like trying to halt those computer viruses that multiply bad files every time you close one. You can sometimes convince someone that the story isn’t quite right – only to see it pop up on myriad other feeds. … The specific story involved water rationing.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must stand up to Trump on latest attack on Delta

Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. … These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pajaro flood agency proposal considered by county board

Praising progress on a long-awaited Pajaro River flood prevention project, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors reviewed a proposed regional flood prevention agency that would oversee construction and operation of the $393.7 million initiative. By a unanimous vote, the county board directed staff to finalize a joint powers agreement at the center of the proposed Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency.

Aquafornia news Windsor Times

Larkfield sewer project groundbreaking

On Jan. 11 homeowners, administrators and local officials broke ground on the sewer project for the Larkfield neighborhoods, which had been leveled by the 2017 fires. The project has been a source of conversation and negotiation, as the homes had previously been on individual septic systems.

Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Ways to win the water wars

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, located just south of LAX, purifies water and injects it into the ground to act as a barrier between seawater and fresh groundwater. … But the idea is to one day recycle wastewater into drinking water and put it right back into the system. The industry is moving cautiously, though, given what you might call a considerable “ick” factor for the public.

Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration seeks input on water plan

As Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration attempt to establish a comprehensive and cohesive water policy for the state, officials are seeking public input on the draft water resilience portfolio released earlier this month. The document was issued in response to Newsom’s April 2019 executive order directing his administration to inventory and assess a wide range of water-related challenges and solutions.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol water, sewer rates to rise

In order to provide ongoing funding for Sebastopol’s water and sewer system, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved an increase to water and sewer rates at its Jan. 7 meeting. … The average ratepayer’s bill is expected to increase by $3 or $4 per month, according to Mayor Patrick Slayter.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Policy changes assist water patrons

Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill 998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Digging into levees: Homeless create unique safety issue for those living in Lathrop

Lathrop — like any other community — has a homeless problem. But unlike other communities, the homeless problem could imperil the community. That’s because a number of homeless in the Lathrop area have taken to digging holes into the base of levees designed to hold back the San Joaquin River at high water levels.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

GSP vote set for Jan. 16

After years of planning, discussion and debate, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board will vote on the adoption of the groundwater sustainability plan at its meeting Thursday. … The plan will provide a roadmap to bring the IWV groundwater basin into sustainability by 2040. That includes reducing pumping of the basin to a safe yield of 7,650 acre-feet per year…

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

The coming national water-quality crisis

New California testing guidelines that take effect this month are expected to reveal widespread groundwater contamination from the chemicals associated with Teflon.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use

The first question asked at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meeting on Friday represented the frustration of growers who are still facing the unknown. “It’s 2020,” the grower said, who went on to ask the board, referring to growers, “what can they pump?” The board is still working through the process on how much water growers can pump out of the ground.

Aquafornia news Politico

Trump set to gut water protections

The Trump administration is preparing to further dismantle environmental regulations by vastly reducing the reach of federal protections for streams and wetlands — delivering a major win for farmers, developers, miners and oil and gas producers.

Aquafornia news San Diego Reader

Why San Diego farmers worry about water

In December, the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District voted to begin detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority in order to join Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District. Will those left behind pay more as others tap new supplies? Questions are flying in Valley Center, where farms are the main customers, even as avocado turf keeps shrinking.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California eyeing lower standard for perchlorate in drinking water

Water suppliers across the state must test for perchlorate down to 4 parts per billion. In February, the board expects to seek comment on reducing that threshold down to 2 parts per billion…

Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: District to update water charge zones

Because zone changes have the potential to impact many well users, Valley Water conducted extensive stakeholder engagement on the preliminary study recommendations. … The board of directors agreed and directed our team to prepare the survey description to modify the two existing zones, and create two new zones in South County. The board will consider these changes in a public hearing later this year.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling

A move by the Trump administration to roll back landmark environmental policy intended to ensure vigorous scrutiny of federal infrastructure projects has struck alarm in the hearts of California conservationists, particularly those striving to safeguard North Coast waters from offshore energy exploration and production.

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Aquafornia news Bay City News

SF City Hall to swap out bottled water for tap under new pilot program

San Francisco city officials and employees will no longer be sipping bottled water, but instead tap water provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under a new pilot program announced Thursday. The program aims to install new reusable five-gallon containers at nine departments with offices within City Hall, filled with tap water from the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break… Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on California’s second-longest river…

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey finishes key water tests, delivery date delayed again

According to Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto, the best-case scenario now is the much-anticipated $126 million recycled water project would be able to start delivering water to the basin by early February, about a month later than the most recent previous estimate…

Aquafornia news Dana Point Times

Talking desalination dollars

South Coast Water District will gear up to undertake its next milestone for desalination: financing the project. On Thursday, Jan. 9, after press time, General Manager Rick Shintaku requested authorization from SCWD’s Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with Clean Energy Capital to conduct a cost analysis for the proposed desalination project.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona’s water supply a major issue for legislative session

Republican and Democratic Leaders of the Arizona House are again eyeing the state’s water supply as a major issue in the coming legislative session. GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Democratic Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez have both highlighted overpumping in the state’s rural areas as a major issue for lawmakers when return to work on Monday.

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Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Hi-Desert Water District looks at raising rates for Yucca Valley customers

Without raising rates to make 3 percent more revenue each year starting in 2020, Hi-Desert Water District would not have enough revenue to recover expenses in the next five years. … For residential customers who are in tier one (those who use the least amount of water), rates would go from $3.65 per hundred cubic feet in 2020, gradually up to $4.11 in fiscal year 2024.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water releases report on wells

The majority of groundwater wells drawing water for Santa Clarita Valley Water contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find. Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. 

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Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Opinion: District updates groundwater charge zones

Because the amount of groundwater pumped out far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development. By no means, however, would California go unaffected.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Judge: Modesto Irrigation District overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne issued his decision Dec. 30 in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Hobbs and Dave Thomas. Each sued the MID in 2016, and their lawsuits were combined into one. … Beauchesne ruled the subsidy was an illegal tax under California law because the MID had not sought voter approval for electric customers to subsidize irrigation water customers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Multiheaded hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate. So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA panel: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability. … At ACWA’s fall conference, a panel discussed the legal framework, different types of groundwater rights, lessons learned from existing groundwater production allocation programs, and potential pitfalls …

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests

More than 1.4 million children covered by California’s Medicaid health care program have not received the required testing for lead poisoning, state auditors reported Tuesday, and the two agencies charged with administering tests and preventing future exposure have fallen short on their responsibilities.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document’s proposed strategies. Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

While considerable progress has been made to improve flood management in the Central Valley, the vast region still faces significant flood risk. … It has been estimated that California needs to spend at least $34 billion to upgrade dams, levees, and other flood management infrastructure. Accomplishing these upgrades within 25 years would mean spending $1.4 billion per year—roughly twice the current level of investment.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County adopts plan to avoid pumping too much groundwater

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins. … Officials said the plan also lays out efforts to try to recharge groundwater — in other words, replace water sucked out from underground.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

Consistent with the science developed over the last three decades, the Newsom administration is pursuing comprehensive, watershed-wide solutions that address the numerous factors that limit the abundance of native fish in the Delta. These types of solutions are the ones that are most likely to achieve the state’s co-equal goals of the 2009 Delta Reform Act…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true

California will impose new limits on water usage in the post-drought era in the coming years — but a claim that residents will be fined $1,000 starting this year if they shower and do laundry the same day isn’t true. It wasn’t true when the state’s new conservation laws were enacted in 2018, and it isn’t true now — despite a recent report on a Los Angeles television station …

Aquafornia news Food Safety News

Opinion: Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks

One of the particular challenges we’ve faced with the Produce Safety Rule is ensuring that our standards for agricultural water are protective of public health and workable for farms of all kinds and sizes. After we finalized the rule, we heard from the produce community that some of the requirements were too complex, costly, and unworkable…

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Coastal Commission should approve CalAm desalination plant

Nobody likes to look out to the Pacific Ocean and see oil derricks on the horizon. That’s why California wisely banned new offshore oil drilling 50 years ago. But in Monterey County, coastal views are limited by a relic of a bygone era: a giant, industrial sand plant right on the dunes between Highway One and the ocean.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Industrial facilities may be denied business permits without proof of storm water coverage

California regulates storm water discharges from industrial facilities under the federal Clean Water Act through its Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP). … The IGP identifies which industrial facilities need to comply by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which is determined based on the primary purpose of the business. But what if an industrial facility does not recognize that it should seek IGP coverage, or simply chooses not to comply?

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the city of Long Beach’s practice of transferring surplus revenue from water and sewer utilities to its general fund is unconstitutional. … The practice has been carried out for decades, but in recent years, it has faced challenges in two separate lawsuits from residents.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A change of plans

Governor Newsom’s administration recently released a draft Water Resilience Portfolio plan… This plan also emphasizes diverse relatively precise policy initiatives for state agencies, often in support of local and regional water problem-solving and with some aspirations to bring state agencies together. It is a good read, clearly reflecting intense and diverse discussions over several months.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Over the next few weeks, all owners of any real property that overlies the watershed’s four groundwater basins, as well as users who take or could take water from the Ventura River, will receive a notification or summons about the court proceedings as part of an ongoing legal process and as required by the court.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage

A project in the Salinas Valley aims to remove contaminants like phosphate from the water at a lower cost using much less energy. … Partnering with the city of Salinas and the wastewater treatment facility, the project aims to remove phosphates efficiently and recycle water for groundwater recharge and irrigation water to farmers.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR and State Water Resources Control Board host SGMA workshops

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting educational workshops in January to assist local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies submitting Groundwater Sustainability Plans for DWR evaluation. GSPs for critically over drafted basins are due by January 31, 2020.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports

The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years. The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State agencies release draft water resilience portfolio

State agencies on Friday released a draft water resilience portfolio with a suite of recommended actions to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter. Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Del Rey Oaks’ new housing plan ignores impacts and lack of water supply, lawsuit says

One of the major problems LandWatch cites is a lack of water on former Fort Ord property which the city hopes to develop in the future, according to court documents. Two parcels, identified as sites 1 and 1A, are located over the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, considered overdrafted and already experiencing seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Creating a safe harbor on the ranch

In the shadow of Mount Shasta lies the Butte Creek Ranch, its alpine meadows carpeted in grass sprinkled with wildflowers and bordered by forest. … For over 160 years, this summer scene has played out for six generations of the Hart family. … Recently, the Harts guaranteed the continuation of this legacy by working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan that balances their land use with conserving the rich natural resources of Butte Creek.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California water cutbacks could take large area of farmland out of production

California is increasing regulations on groundwater. For many farmers in the state, it is a step too far. The law’s critics say it could lead to a loss of half a million acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley. As Kerry Klein of member station KVPR in Fresno reports, some farmers are so worried, they’re quitting.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior wordsmiths ‘habitat’ with eye on regulatory reach

The Interior Department is moving to formally define “habitat” in the Endangered Species Act, part of an anticipated second wave of changes to the bedrock conservation law under the Trump administration. … Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s NOAA Fisheries are overseeing the proposed revisions.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Residents sue to stop Riverside from spending water profits on other city services

Filed last week in Riverside County Superior Court, the class-action lawsuit alleges that Riverside is violating state Prop. 218 by overcharging ratepayers to generate excess water profits for purposes unrelated to providing water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

The Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Rainwater in parts of US contains high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

New data shows that rainwater in some parts of the US contains high enough levels of potentially toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to possibly affect human health and may, if found in drinking water, in some cases be high enough to trigger regulatory action.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district board to take next step on public water buyout effort

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for a potential public acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24 million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…

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Aquafornia news KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Placerville developer pays for illegal diversions

A Placerville development company that illegally discharged sediment and stormwater from its construction site has agreed to pay $171,000 in a settlement with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Groups fight against opening up 1 million acres for drilling, fracking

Environmental groups say they plan to fight a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for new oil and gas leases on more than 1 million acres in California. … The final supplemental environmental report released recently said the BLM found no adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing that could not be alleviated. Several groups and state officials, however, disagree and have called the analysis flawed.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA lead proposal, derided as weak, may be sneakily strong

A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions, water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all water utilities across the country to inventory the location of all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Which faucets and fixtures have the lowest lead levels? California asks plumbing manufacturers

The Board plans to make the compiled responses publicly available and encourage the 14,000 licensed child care centers in the state to buy new fixtures from those on the list when water testing indicates the fixture should be replaced.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s potty talk highlights flushing fight

When it comes to testing toilets, it turns out the appropriate substitute for human feces is miso paste. That’s what EPA uses to ensure that commodes earning its WaterSense efficiency label flush effectively. To earn the label, tank-type toilets currently must use 1.28 gallons or less of water per flush while eliminating 350 grams of miso paste, along with toilet paper. That may be news to President Trump…

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Federal cost analysis bolsters Pajaro River flood control efforts

During the 2019 Flood Prevention Authority Legislative Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented a cost-benefit analysis in support of what is estimated to be about a $394 million project, an effort which would reduce significant flood risk to the city of Watsonville, Pajaro in Monterey County and adjacent agricultural areas…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Rural development loan aids Sites Reservoir Project in California

In a recent exclusive interview, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Western Farm Press that the low-interest loan will help fund projects associated with the off-stream storage site in western Colusa County. … “The USDA is putting up almost $500 million in rural development funds,” Perdue said.

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