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 Agri-Pulse

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Budget cuts for SGMA funding could hurt farmers later

The governor’s administration in January pitched ambitious proposals to help fund implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and cushion its impacts on farmers and local communities. In the May Revision of the budget, however, all but one funding allocation from an earlier proposition have been withdrawn.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Top officials at West Valley Water District kept quiet about HR director’s criminal charges, report says

For more than two months, top officials at the embattled West Valley Water District in Rialto knew their human resources director was fighting felony tax fraud charges, yet allowed her to continue working anyway, according to a confidential report obtained by the Southern California News Group.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: The COVID crisis is slashing California’s state budget. What does it mean for water management?

Governor Newsom’s May Revisions to the 2020-2021 state budget reflect … a $54.3 billion budget deficit and propose $18 billion in cuts to state expenditures. … This blog post provides a short summary of the proposed budget changes and their impacts on California water management.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

The gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side San Joaquin Valley farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent water pumping that the canal has lost 60% of its capacity. As of July 2018, it was estimated the canal is approximately 12 feet below the original constructed elevation.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Log

Poseidon Water’s desalination plan: Are there cracks in the armor?

Marine life mitigation, the need for desalinated water in Orange County and the overall merits of Poseidon Water’s plan to build a $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach were some of the main talking points of a 10-hour virtual workshop, held on May 15. Highlighting the marathon of a workshop: pointed questions about the merits of Poseidon’s proposal…

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Dry year, court decision disappoint Klamath salmon advocates

The Yurok Tribe and commercial fishing groups tried to convince a federal court that an emergency motion to increase flow in the river was necessary for the fish species. But Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied that motion last week. Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s vice chairman, says ocean conditions already are bad for the salmon.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Delta smelt on the verge: Efforts to save smelt have far-reaching impact

Two factors are believed to weigh heavily on the Delta smelt’s fate. The biggest is the reduction in fresh water in the Delta since water started flowing southward via the California Aqueduct in the 1960s. … The other threat to Delta smelt are larger fish particularly non-native striped bass and largemouth bass that were introduced to the Delta by man.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Blog: What’s at the heart of California’s water wars? Delta outflow explained

The latest dustup In California’s water wars, as noted in Dan Walters’ commentary, revolves principally around the federal government’s efforts to increase the amount of water supplied to farms and cities by the Central Valley Project, and a breakdown in cooperation between the state and federal government. It seems like everyone is suing each other. But what are they really fighting over?

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion remains afloat

A Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal has narrowly survived another attempt to shelve it indefinitely even as the main recycled water project struggles with operational and cost issues that have further postponed its water delivery date and hampered its capacity.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego region on track to receive $15 million for water projects

Several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision this summer. Money for the projects has been recommended by DWR, which will make the awards after a public comment period. In San Diego County, the funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Local leaders discuss next steps for Paradise Irrigation District funding

Guaranteeing a second year of backfill funding from the state for Paradise Irrigation District will take “tough negotiations” with the governor’s office, local lawmakers and leaders said in press conference Tuesday morning. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget proposal reverts $7.3 million originally set aside for PID to the general fund, amid other cuts related to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far… Unfortunately, in today’s highly politicized federal climate, it is unlikely that an effective solution to this problem will emerge from the U.S. EPA – at least not at the moment. So efforts by state regulators are particularly important.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Lean but still green

Drive through new developments across the Capital Region like East Sacramento’s McKinley Village or Folsom’s Folsom Ranch … and one will see a distinctly different landscape than ones installed just 10 years ago. Low- to medium-water-use plants are surrounded by bark mulch with little or no grass, irrigated primarily with a drip system.

Aquafornia news E&E News

States lead court fight against Trump. They’re winning

The Trump administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda has run full-speed into a blockade set by Democratic attorneys general. Led by New York and California, the states have challenged virtually every effort by EPA and other agencies to walk back Obama-era rules like the Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Rule.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon

The City of Ripon is now part of the South San Joaquin Groundwater Sustainable Agency. The Ripon City Council recently approved the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, partnering with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Escalon.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: When life dries up: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time

The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000 acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The local water agencies served by the project say they may not have water to send to farms beyond next month.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

States are reopening from coronavirus shutdowns. What happens to frozen utility payments?

When states began issuing stay-at-home orders and millions of Americans lost their jobs due to COVID-19, governors in dozens of states temporarily barred utility companies from shutting off gas, water, electricity and even internet. … But as states move to reopen, those moratoriums will end, and advocates are already warning that many households won’t have enough money to resume paying their utility bills, much less repay their deferred bill.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

North-south water transfer lawsuit filed

A local non-profit is suing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a Southern California water district, over a long term water transfer program. AquAlliance works to protect the Sacramento River watershed. It is the main plaintiff in a lawsuit that charges the proposed transfer would send too much water out of Northern California and would cause severe impacts on area communities, farms, and the environment.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

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

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news Thomson Reuters Foundation

Closed bathrooms afflict U.S. homeless in coronavirus lockdown

For homeless Americans, the coronavirus crisis has worsened a problem that has blighted them for years; the steady closure of the country’s public bathrooms. Health officials say frequent hand washing is the best way to fight the spread of COVID-19, but homeless campaigners warn that lockdown closures have left hundreds of thousands of rough sleepers without access to soap and water.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thousands of run-down US dams would kill people if they failed, study finds

More than 15,000 dams in the US would likely kill people if they failed, and at least 2,300 of them are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to recent data from the federal government’s National Inventory of Dams.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Company plans dams in canyon next to Little Colorado River

When a Phoenix company floated a proposal last year to build two hydroelectric dams on the Little Colorado River, it faced an outpouring of opposition. … Taking note of the criticisms, the two businessmen who run the company have pivoted to a different approach. They propose to move the project off the Little Colorado River to an adjacent canyon to the east, where they would build four dams. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Water authority gives up 30-year proposal to pump groundwater to Las Vegas

The Southern Nevada Water Authority voted Thursday to withdraw all pending groundwater importation applications, return a right-of-way associated with groundwater importation plans to the Bureau of Land Management and take other actions to move the multibillion-dollar groundwater development project — sometimes referred to as the water pipeline project — into “indefinite deferred status.”

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Less water could sustain more Californians if we make every drop count

As a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, as well as director of a National Science Foundation center to re-invent urban water supply (known as ReNUWIt), Richard Luthy he has spent decades studying the state’s metropolitan areas. In a new journal article, he argues that California cities can no longer rely on their three traditional water-coping strategies: over-drafting groundwater, depleting streams and importing water from far away.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump uses virus to permanently suspend rules on industry

Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s EPA transition team in 2016, told E&E News that the agency had already consulted with the White House on possible rules to freeze under this order. … He provided possible targets, including provisions of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Anti-regulatory groups are now preparing ideas to submit to the administration, he said.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Survey: Poll reveals public support for voluntary agreements

ACWA retained Probolsky Research to conduct a bilingual statewide survey of 900 California voters during March. The results showed that a majority of respondents ­­­– 62% – support Voluntary Agreements as an approach under development by a coalition of California interests including cities, conservation organizations, farmers and state and federal agencies.

Related article:

CalMatters Opinion: State water board must act to protect the Bay-Delta and California’s fishing industry 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: PFAS limits in drinking water to take more than a year, EPA says

The EPA won’t be able to set drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals in the next year, agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Opinion: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways….In California alone, more than a quarter million residents in largely agricultural areas are served by water systems with degraded groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Judge rejects Trump administration attempt to toss endangered species lawsuit

A federal judge has rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to dismiss a challenge to its rollback of endangered species protections, ruling late Monday that the 17-state lawsuit can proceed. The August rule significantly weakens protections under the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing economic factors to be weighed before adding an animal to the list and limiting how aspects such as climate change can be considered in listing decisions. It also weakens protections for threatened species that are at risk of becoming endangered.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump EPA’s targeting of San Francisco pollution may bring investigation

The nation’s environmental watchdog may investigate federal enforcement of water policy in California after Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of “irregular” interference targeting San Francisco, according to a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

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

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Drones and data privacy for water utilities

Although drones have the ability to increase efficiency and decrease costs in the water and wastewater industry, entities utilizing drones are now required to comply with new federal laws enacted as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: States seek to freeze Trump water rule as effective date looms

A 17-state coalition on Monday asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule while they spar with government lawyers over its legality. The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers published the rule in April, and it officially takes effect June 22, tightening the federal definition for the types of wetlands and waterways the Clean Water Act covers.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Developments in regulating PFAS in water

Recently, I participated in the Environmental Law Institute’s Master Class, PFAS: From Common Use to Concern … which included a discussion of the environmental and human health impacts of PFAS contaminated waters, as well as the best approaches to regulate, establish and enforce cleanups and safe drinking water standards. … Some of the main take-aways from our presentation included:

Aquafornia news Village News

LAFCO approves public vote for Fallbrook-Rainbow detachment

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

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In California, a push grows to turn dead trees into biomass energy

As forests in California and the Western U.S. are hit by rising numbers of fires and disease outbreaks related to climate change, some experts argue that using dead and diseased trees to produce biomass energy will help to restore forests and reduce CO2 emissions.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Will groundwater sustainability plans end the problem of dry drinking water wells?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their 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, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Settlements reached in lawsuits alleging manufacturer contaminated groundwater in El Cajon

The lawsuits concern the alleged contamination via manufacturing process materials stored by Ametek, which manufactured aircraft engine parts for more than 20 years at 790 Greenfield Drive in El Cajon. Plaintiffs allege the materials contaminated groundwater, soil vapor and indoor air at nearby properties.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump’s water jurisdiction rule: What’s all the fighting about?

The Trump administration’s long-anticipated water jurisdiction rule has already drawn a half-dozen legal challenges since its April release, with more on the way. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule narrows which types of wetlands and waterways trigger federal Clean Water Act oversight, replacing interpretations by Obama-era officials and earlier administrations. … Here’s a breakdown of key legal arguments:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Regulators express concerns about Huntington Beach desalination project

The Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach could be facing rough waters ahead, as several regulatory officials on Friday expressed concerns over the controversial plan.. During a Regional Water Quality Control Board workshop held online, three of the agency’s six board members persistently pressed local officials about the need, consumer cost and environmental harm of the $1 billion project.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

After rolling out $19b in cuts, Calif. seeks funds for Trump water lawsuit

On the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $19 billion in budget cuts to his 2020-2021 budget, two of California’s environmental protection agencies filed a request to fund a lawsuit against the Federal government over its boost in water supplies sent to the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

New park? Climate catalyst fund? On hold in Newsom budget

Facing uncertain revenues in the year ahead, state officials said they would prioritize programs aimed at improving air quality in disadvantaged communities, providing safe and affordable drinking water and improving forest health and fire protection.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Sinking lands, damaged infrastructure: Will better groundwater management end subsidence?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their 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, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA opts against limits on water contaminant tied to fetal damage

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California sues EPA for suspending pollution enforcement during coronavirus pandemic

California, along with eight other states, sued the Trump administration Wednesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to stop requiring companies to monitor and report air and water pollution during the coronavirus pandemic.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom proposes huge cuts to California environmental programs in latest budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom used his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday to outline an austerity budget with deep cuts to cover a massive $54.3 billion deficit. Newsom’s proposal includes major cuts to environmental programs, including a $681 million slash in spending for environmental protection compared to last year, and a $224 million cut to the state’s natural resources department.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Opinion: After losing several key battles over water, Delta advocates see hope in the last option remaining: The law

The conflict over California water, often compared to a war, rather resembles a geological process. As along an earthquake fault, surface spasms come and go. The latest twitch is an injunction momentarily halting some Trump Administration water plans. But the underlying pressures are a constant. They never stop exerting themselves.

Aquafornia news Civil & Structural Engineer

Engineers and wetland scientists face challenges with regulatory changes to Clean Water Act

This year’s changes to the Clean Water Act have made the already-challenging work of scientists and engineers in water planning and management exponentially more difficult. Questions abound, from jurisdictional issues to definitions and classifications, as a result of the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” which, among other things, removes federal protections from ephemeral waterways.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Central Valley Flood Protection Board: Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District feasibility study

The 2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan’s Investment Strategy looked at … retooling the Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District to provide a small continuous funding stream for ongoing expenditures of the flood management system. At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, consultants discussed the upcoming feasibility study.

Aquafornia news The Hill

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

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

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Judge temporarily blocks Trump’s California water plan

A judge issued a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits brought against the administration by California’s Natural Resources Agency and Environmental Protection Agency and by a half-dozen environmental groups. The order bars the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation until May 31 from going ahead with expanding the amount of water it pumps from the San Joaquin Delta through the federal Central Valley Project.

Related article:

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA: Agency leans on 1870s ‘housekeeping’ law to block science

Critics say EPA’s justification for using the rule is legally flimsy, whether the housekeeping law applies to it or not. The agency’s gambit highlights the lengths to which the Trump administration will go, critics say, to cement the president’s anti-regulatory agenda ahead of a possible second term, or to try to tie the hands of subsequent administrations.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How reliable are Groundwater Sustainability Plans?

In principle, evaluating the adequacy of these plans to achieve sustainability should also be simple: Does the anticipated reduction in pumping plus increase in recharge equal or exceed the basin’s long-term rate of overdraft? In practice, however, it’s not so simple.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The Trump administration is reversing nearly 100 environmental rules. Here’s the full list

Calling the rules unnecessary and burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other businesses, his administration has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks, and rolled back many more rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Going with the flows

Professor Jennifer Harder is the co-director of the Water & Environmental Law program at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. Prior to becoming a full-time professor in 2015, Harder practiced law for a decade as an attorney and partner with Downey Brand in Sacramento. Comstock’s spoke with Harder about water issues affecting the Capital Region and California.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: Judge throws water on California bid to slow Delta pumping

During the marathon hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd hinted the environmental groups’ requests for a ruling by May 11 will be a tall task. Not only is the case complex and involves dozens of parties, he said the chaos caused by the pandemic is impeding the court’s ability to move swiftly.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

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

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Crops grown with oilfield water OK’d by water quality board

The recycled oilfield water, blended with regular irrigation water, was tested for more than 140 chemical compounds. And 13 different crops — some grown with the oilfield water, some not —showed no uptake of potentially hazardous chemicals from oil production methods.

Aquafornia news NOAA Marine Debris Program

Blog: No silver bullet: Addressing shotgun wad debris in San Francisco Bay

The survey data indicated that shotgun wads, the plastic piece inside a shotgun shell that separates the shot from the powder, are one of the top ten most commonly found plastic items on all surveyed beaches. These shotgun wads likely come from waterfowl hunting, year-round shooting ranges, and target shooting fields along the San Francisco Bay and Delta.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: 22 environmental groups and 19 jurisdictions file suit in three district courts challenging the 2020 WOTUS rule

Last week, environmental groups, states, and cities filed three complaints in differing federal district court challenging The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States, which was published in the Federal Register on April 21, 2020, and is currently scheduled to become effective on June 22, 2020.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California appeals court revives water pollution lawsuit

A California appellate court has revived a lawsuit Wednesday from the city of Riverside who claim Black & Decker and several other companies contaminated the local drinking water with chemicals used to make explosive cartridges, flares and rocket fuel.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Term 91 curtailments expected; other water rights curtailments unlikely

During the May 5, 2020 State Water Resources Control Board Meeting, Staff and Board members provided an update on prospective water rights curtailments for 2020.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Water rate hike in rural town becomes tax battle royale

A referendum challenging a rural northern California town’s water rate hike rests on whether the California Supreme Court considers it a tax or a fee. Since 1911, California’s constitution has exempted “tax levies” from the people’s referendum. It’s an exemption that Dunsmuir, a town of about 1,600 residents in Siskiyou County, is trying to apply to its aging water system.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Federal and state evolving PFAS regulations and standards

PFAS are ubiquitous and can be found in a variety of everyday products, including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, cookware, paints, and fire-fighting foams. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that exposure to at least some PFAS “can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans.”

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California regulator adopts safe drinking water plan

California’s top water regulator adopted a plan Tuesday that will guide the state in identifying and helping communities that don’t have access to safe drinking water. The State Water Resources Control Board plan will help the state determine how and where to fund projects over the next decade.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: How to waste $1 billion in less than a minute

Why would a public agency support an unnecessary and risky billion-dollar desalination plant and let a private utility profit hundreds of millions of dollars at the public’s expense? Here’s the story.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop extends grace period for water cutoffs

The City of Lathrop assured residents impacted by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that it would not turn off municipal water to individual homes through the months of March and April for non-payment. And it appears  those assurances will now run through at least the end of May as public health officials and municipalities grapple with the realities of the pandemic and the impacts to local communities.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KCET

Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say

These activists say farmers unfairly dominated groundwater sustainability meetings and ultimately steered the planning process in their favor. If the plans are accepted and implemented, they warn, farmers will keep pumping water at unsustainable rates. “All the plans we’ve looked at are going to cause wells to go dry,” said Amanda Monaco, the water policy coordinator for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability…

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Delta Blues

The battle over water has been fought to a standstill, but there’s hope that science and technology will make voluntary agreements by all sides possible.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

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

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Why State Water Contractors sued California over restrictions on water deliveries

For us, better science is the only path that can achieve those two important goals. Unfortunately, as the state completed its new permitting effort at the end of March, a decade of research was largely ignored in favor of political objectives that impose unjustified restrictions on the State Water Project …

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Lawsuits fly amid state, federal changes in California water delivery and use

Environmental groups in California on April 29 challenged in court the state Dept. of Water Resources decision not to include a proposed 40-mile tunnel in its most recent environmental assessment needed to reauthorize long-term operation of the State Water Project—a 700-mile system of dams and aqueducts that moves water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to areas in the south.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California, 15 other states sue over new rule diluting protections for nation’s waterways

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses President Trump and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of illegally exposing waterways to pollution and development by rolling back a key provision of the Clean Water Act.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news E&E News

California agencies sue state as irrigation war escalates

California water agencies yesterday sued the state over endangered species protections they claim threaten their ability to provide water to more than 25 million residents and thousands of acres of farmland. … At issue is water shipped from California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta east of San Francisco, south via the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, canals and aqueducts.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Cal Water requests a delay in rate changes

The water utility that serves Chico and Oroville said in a press release that it was asking for the delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company wants to postpone all rate increases and says it is “committed to deferring other bill increases during 2020.”

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Restore the Delta webinar on voluntary agreements

In mid-April of 2020, Restore the Delta hosted a webinar where they discussed the history of water planning and the voluntary agreements, including their numerous concerns. … Before addressing the main topic of the webinar, Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parilla noted that there are many in the Delta who aren’t on the webinar due to lack of reliable internet service in rural communities, affordability issues, and/or lack of access to devices.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

South Bay leaders call for emergency repairs to Tijuana sewage system

South Bay leaders are once again calling for action to fix cross border pollution. … Tuesday, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina told FOX 5 that the Tijuana sewage system has collapsed and is spewing about 60 million gallons of untreated sewage each day in the river.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom faces multiple lawsuits over California water compromise

From the moment he took office, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wanted to bring peace to California’s water wars. But now, more than a year later, most of the warring factions are united against his plan for governing the Delta. Three of the most powerful groups in California water sued the state this week over Newsom’s two-month-old plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers push for inclusion of ‘forever chemical’ regulation in future stimulus bill

A group of more than 80 members of Congress is pushing for the inclusion of provisions to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals in future stimulus legislation dealing with infrastructure. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are also sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in both the environment and the human body.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Coronavirus causes delay in EPA’s rule for managing wastewater

The EPA has been too busy responding to the deadly coronavirus to work on its long-awaited proposal to manage huge volumes of pathogen-infested sewage and stormwater during heavy rains, the agency’s top wastewater official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Environmental groups sue EPA over Clean Water Act rollback

Two separate coalitions of environmental advocacy groups filed litigation on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Some Klamath Project irrigators protest Reclamation’s use of water

Some Klamath Project water users on Sunday and Monday protested the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s use of water at the Link River Dam, at one point voicing plans to stay near the dam until Reclamation followed Oregon water law.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion environmental report rejected

A proposed Pure Water Monterey expansion at the center of a contentious debate over the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply hit a huge roadblock on Monday night, leaving its future in serious doubt.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Fair water

Fairness – or at least the perception of fairness – could play a determining role in the future of California’s groundwater, according to new research. The study, published in Society and Natural Resources, evaluated 137 surveys of Yolo County farmers to gauge their perceptions of fairness for groundwater allocation strategies and dispute resolution options.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Water shutoff protections become permanent

The mandated policy prohibits shutoffs for at least 60 days following a delinquency and requires water providers to give advanced written notice and make direct contact with the residents before service can be discontinued. It also requires water providers, such as cities, public utility districts and community water systems provide for deferred payments, alternate payment schedules, and an appeals process.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump opens floodgates, and acrimony swamps California

On the campaign trail in 2016, President Trump swung into California’s agricultural hub and vowed to deliver more water to the drought-ridden state’s farmers. … Three years into his administration, Trump is now opening the floodgate to deliver on that promise, setting up the most intense water war between the federal government and California in the state’s history.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Supreme Court ruling finds old, new middle ground on Clean Water Act’s application to groundwater

The Court decision introduces the concept of a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” as a guideline for when a point source discharge must obtain a permit. It cites the case of an injection well receiving pollutant discharge that then travels a few feet through groundwater into navigable waters as a clear case of “functional equivalent” to direct discharge.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona farmers ‘in limbo’ despite $10 million federal pledge

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved $10 million to help pay for water projects in the farmlands of central Arizona, where growers are bracing for their supply of Colorado River water to be shut off. But those funds, conditionally awarded this month by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, are still subject to negotiations between federal and state officials.

Aquafornia news The Atascadero News

Water company finds PFAS in five Atascadero wells

In February 2020, the Water Board adopted new, lower Response Levels for PFOA and PFOS of 10 ppt and 40 ppt, respectively. Four of wells previously sampled under the Water Board’s order now had had PFOA levels above this newly adopted Response Level of 10 ppt. Atascadero Mutual Water Company immediately took these wells out of service.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Recycled water project: Pure Water expansion report, conditional approval to be considered

Amid continuing debate over the role the proposed Pure Water Monterey recycled water project expansion will play in the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply, the proposal has reached a key stage. On Monday, the Monterey One Water board is scheduled to consider certifying a final supplemental environmental impact report for the expansion project…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Supreme Court: Kavanaugh takes cues from Scalia in groundwater ruling

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of six justices who said permits are required if the pollution at issue amounted to the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge (Greenwire, April 23). But instead of just signing onto the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, Kavanaugh penned his own concurrence saying he agreed with the majority opinion “in full.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California Water Quality Control Boards issue compliance extensions

On March 20, the California Water Boards issued guidance about complying with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. In short, the guidance directs regulated entities to “immediately” notify the Board if compliance is not possible and to seek appropriate relief. It has now been a month, and preliminary data about the extent to which regulated entities have sought relief is available.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand

Blog: After months of delay, the 2020 WOTUS Rule is finally published

Publication of the 2020 WOTUS Rule in the Federal Register is the final step in the Trump Administration’s repeal and replacement of the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule (“2015 WOTUS Rule”), issued under the Obama Administration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Water resources management in the Pajaro Valley Basin

The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency has been working toward sustainable management of the Pajaro Valley’s water resources. At the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, General Manager Brian Lockwood discussed the projects and programs the Agency is implementing as they work towards achieving groundwater sustainability.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Clean Water Act covers groundwater discharges, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected waters indirectly through groundwater. The case, County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, No. 18-260, concerned a wastewater treatment plant on Maui, Hawaii, that used injection wells to dispose of some four million gallons of treated sewage each day…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California should not build Temperance Flat Reservoir. The federal government should

With the realization that California has decades worth of opposition to building reservoirs on its record, it now makes sense to take the dam application, submitted and approved by them, to the federal government for help instead.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water availability for San Joaquin Valley farms: A balancing act

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their 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, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Related article:

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Trump’s rewrite is finalized. What happens now?

Publication starts a 60-day clock before the rule goes into effect and waves a green flag for an onslaught of lawsuits likely to be filed around the country. The litigation will undoubtedly run beyond Election Day, so the future of the rule likely depends on whether Trump wins a second term.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: When utilities shut off water for the poor, we are all at risk

This question has taken on greater urgency in the era of the coronavirus, when every neighbor touching the crosswalk signal, or coughing on their way to the grocery store, is a potential source of a fatal disease. To effectively flatten the curve, it’s not enough to wash your own hands. We need everyone in the community to do the same.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In new filing, Becerra seeks to halt Trump’s Valley water boost

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion Tuesday evening seeking to stop implementation of new Federal environmental guidelines aimed at boosting water supplies for the Central Valley and Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

White House moves to weaken EPA rule on toxic compounds

The Trump White House has intervened to weaken one of the few public health protections pursued by its own administration, a rule to limit the use of a toxic industrial compound in consumer products… Documents show the White House Office of Management and Budget formally notified the EPA last July that it was stepping into the crafting of the rule on the compound, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, used in nonstick and stain-resistant frying pans, rugs, and countless other consumer products.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

EPA finalizes rollback of water pollution safeguards

Pulling the plug on the eve of Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency eliminated critical pollution rules from the Obama era that had safeguarded at-risk ecosystems and drinking water across the country. The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, in the works since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, was finalized Tuesday.

Related article:

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Removing the novel coronavirus from the water cycle

Two researchers, Haizhou Liu, an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of California, Riverside; and Professor Vincenzo Naddeo, director of the Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division at the University of Salerno, have called for more testing to determine whether water treatment methods are effective in killing SARS-CoV-2 and coronaviruses in general.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California’s urban water suppliers must report monthly use

California’s 410 urban water suppliers will be required to report monthly use and conservation data to state regulators, under a resolution the State Water Resources Control Board passed Tuesday. The vote makes permanent a voluntary program that dates back to California’s devastating 2012-2016 drought.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California dam operators can’t dodge fish-endangerment claims

Federal and regional operators of Southern California’s Twitchell Dam lost their bid to dismiss claims the dam causes unlawful killing of endangered steelhead trout, but they won’t face an emergency injunction restricting their operations, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

150 ag and water groups call for water relief

Two separate letters sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress highlight the importance of providing support for enhancing water management, particularly in light of the tumultuous conditions created by COVID-19.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Baley v. United States: Water users in the Klamath Project petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari

On March 13, 2020, water users in the Klamath Reclamation Project (Project) petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Baley, et al. v. United States, et al. (Baley). The decision denied the water users’ takings claims for the 2001 Project water shutoff on water law grounds.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California water war re-ignited

President Donald Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom may have set aside their incessant squabbling over most issues to cooperate on the pandemic, but they are poised for showdown over who controls the state’s vital water supply.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Framework for agreements to aid health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a starting point with an uncertain end

Voluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. … Yet, no one said it would be easy getting interest groups with sometimes sharply different views – and some, such as farmers, with livelihoods heavily dependent on water — to reach consensus on how to address the water quality and habitat needs of the Delta watershed.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USBR forecasts “Tier Zero” shortage on Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections for the Colorado River’s water supply for the next two years. … Lake Mead is projected to fall into “Tier Zero” conditions for 2021 and 2022. That’s a new designation under the Drought Contingency Plan which requires Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take cuts in their water supply.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Dems call for state, feds to coordinate water rules

U.S. Representative T.J. Cox, Senator Dianne Fenstein and Represenatives Jim Costa, Josh Harder and John Garamendi on Thursday called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom to come up with a coordinated effort to manage the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Related article:

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point With An Uncertain End
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Voluntary agreement discussions continue despite court fights, state-federal conflicts and skepticism among some water users and environmental groups

Aerial image of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaVoluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state regulators.

Aquafornia news Science

Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers

Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population… Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups sue after EPA suspends enforcement of pollution monitoring due to coronavirus

Environmental groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a March memo signaling that the agency would not seek penalties against companies that do not monitor their pollution during the coronavirus outbreak.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Major blow to Keystone XL pipeline as judge revokes key permit

A federal judge in Montana ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend all filling and dredging activities until it conducts formal consultations compliant with the Endangered Species Act. The ruling revokes the water-crossing permit needed to complete construction of the pipeline, and is expected to cause major delays to the divisive project.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California says it will fill gaps in lax EPA enforcement

California’s top environmental agency said it would “fill any enforcement gaps” left by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision last month to relax oversight in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Water Power Magazine

Largest dam removal project in US takes further step forward

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation’s plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River in the US has taken a major step forward with the issuance of key documents from the California State Water Board. The plan – the largest dam removal project in the US – would re-open 360 miles of the Klamath River and its tributaries to salmon.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California moves forward with fishing ban in some rural areas to stem coronavirus spread

The California Fish and Game Commission’s unanimous vote over another teleconference will allow Charlton Bonham, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, to postpone the spring trout season, which opens April 25, in a few eastern Sierra counties at the request of local officials.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Helping dairy operators protect groundwater

Over the last 20 years, UC research has shown that dairies in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are potentially major contributors of nitrate and salts in groundwater. To maintain the quality of this irreplaceable natural resource, the California Water Resources Control Board has ramped up regulations to ensure that diary manure and wastewater application isn’t contaminating the aquifer.

Aquafornia news Western Water

With sustainability plans filed, groundwater agencies now must figure out how to pay for them

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years. Now, after submitting those plans to the state in January, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) must figure how to pay for them.

Aquafornia news Fisheries Podcast

Audio: New rule defines Waters of the United States

Our guests discuss what the WOTUS rule is and how it was developed, what was formerly protected under the Obama era rule and what water bodies and ecosystem services have lost federal protection under the new rule. They also discuss whether state level protections are sufficient and whether science backs the new rule (it doesn’t).

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA delaying some Superfund work to limit coronavirus spread

The Environmental Protection Agency issued guidance on Friday specific to Superfund cleanup actions. The agency’s regional offices have decided, and may continue to decide, to slow or stop some work because of social distancing restrictions, travel restrictions, and ill employees, the agency said in its memo.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lawsuits vowed as feds, California take divergent water routes

The state recently got a new permit for water delivery operations from its wildlife agency. In the past, that kind of authority came from adhering to federal rules. Now, with a dispute between the state and federal government over water management and endangered species act protections, the state issued its own permit. Critics of the state’s move say they plan to file lawsuits.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A well-intended coronavirus warning meets with anger

For weeks, a debate has been raging over whether going to the beach or swimming in the ocean increases your risk of catching or transmitting the coronavirus. The issue has rankled surfers, overwhelmed runners and bikers and confused anyone seeking the fresh air and freedom of California’s coast. So when a scientist last week suggested sea spray could possibly expose people to the virus, the controversy just exploded.

Related article:

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: California greenlights massive Klamath River dam removal

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history came one step closer to fruition this week, as California issued permits for breaching the four dams on the Klamath River. The State Water Resources Control Board issued a Clean Water Act certification and environmental assessment for the proposal to remove three dams in Northern California and one in southern Oregon.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cities are flouting flood rules. The cost: $1 billion

It’s a simple rule, designed to protect both homeowners and taxpayers: If you want publicly subsidized flood insurance, you can’t build a home that’s likely to flood. But local governments around the country, which are responsible for enforcing the rule, have flouted the requirements, accounting for as many as a quarter-million insurance policies in violation, according to data provided to The New York Times by the Federal Emergency Management Agency…

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Lawmakers urge Governor Newsom to reconsider incidental take permit

Several Congressional leaders sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom expressing disappointment in the decision to issue an incidental take permit for long-term operations of the State Water Project. … The letter was signed by Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Ken Calvert, Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa, and Paul Cook. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: West Coast salmon fishing and southern residents: Part 1

Southern Resident killer whales have long pursued the biggest and most nourishing Chinook salmon from coastal Pacific waters. Chinook salmon fishing is also a mainstay of the West Coast economy, generating nearly $72 million in income last year. Is there room for both? The answer is yes, with safeguards.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Eric Averett: Water allocation strategies in the context of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Eric Averett is General Manager with the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District, which is one of several water districts within Kern County. … In this presentation from the Western Groundwater Congress, Mr. Averett discusses how his district and Kern County have been grappling with how to establish groundwater pumping allocations.

Aquafornia news Truthout

As US reels from COVID-19, the PFAS pollution crisis is quietly growing

Now, as the nation reels from a fresh public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, new research suggests that more than 2,500 industrial facilities located in virtually every congressional district could be discharging PFAS into the air and water in the absence of federal regulations.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Water shutoffs are suspended, but the bills will still be due

Even though many utilities will not be shutting off water in the coming weeks and months, household water bills will continue to arrive. Residents are expected to pay those bills after the emergency orders are lifted. That could pose problems down the road for both individuals and utilities, argues Greg Pierce, associate director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water law symposium: The battle over the raising of Shasta Dam

At the 2020 California Water Law Symposium, a panel discussed the history of the project. Speaking on the panel was Chief Caleen Sisk with the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Doug Obegi with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Darcie Houck who is currently General Counsel with California Energy Commission, but formerly represented the Winnemem Wintu Tribe when she was in private practice.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Dozens of ag groups ask for regulatory pause during pandemic

Nearly 40 industry groups representing various agricultural commodities are asking for a regulatory pause as California addresses issues related to COVID-19. In a letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newsom, the group highlights a concern that multiple state agencies are advancing the regulatory process without adequate input from stakeholders.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Opinion: EPA moves toward setting drinking water PFAS health standard

The Environmental Protection Agency recently took a step toward enhancing protection of the country’s drinking water by issuing a preliminary determination to regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water (collectively PFAS).

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: The lawlessness of the Trump administration hits #CaWater

According to the Washington Post’s fact checker, as of January, 2020, President Trump had made 16,241 false or misleading claims during his first three years in office. Sadly, this lack of regard for truth seems to be trickling down and infecting the Trump Administration’s management of the federal Central Valley Project in California, one of the largest water storage and diversion projects in the country.

Aquafornia news PlanetWatch

Opinion: The low down on the EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

In a time when many people in the world are inside their houses to stop the spread of covid-19, it is easy to forget that good news still exists. The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Water Reuse Action Plan is a bit of good news. The Plan, announced on February 27, 2020, by EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler, prioritizes the use of recycled water.

Aquafornia news KQED News

After 9-month pause, California issuing fracking permits again

State oil and gas regulators have granted permits for hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling technique known as fracking, for the first time since last summer. The California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, last week issued permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil, for “well stimulation” work in two Kern County oil fields.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Stormwater capture is undervalued in California

Stormwater is the rain and other water that runs off of streets and sidewalks into nearby gutters or waterways. Communities throughout the western U.S. are expanding efforts to collect this valuable water resource. These projects range from capturing water from a single rooftop or driveway to developing large infiltration basins that recharge billions of gallons of water each year in groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Judge urged to close gates on federal water grab in California Delta

Taking advantage of recently approved rules, the federal government is quickly following through on President Donald Trump’s promise to quiet environmentalists and “open up the water” to California farmers. … The pumps in the south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta aren’t just whizzing during what will likely end up being classified a “critically dry” hydrological year, they are churning — and killing — endangered salmon during a critical migration period.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: It’s time to start a different conversation about water

Against the terrible news of a national emergency, it’s perhaps difficult to focus on our water situation. Recall that January and February were bone-dry; March and April bore us a couple of storms, but it was too little, too late. It was a very dry winter, overall. … That puts us in the position of another “do or die” year for precipitation next winter, an altogether familiar proposition in California. We all know: It rains a bunch all at once in some years, and then we go dry for a number of years after that.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation issues record of decision on long-term water transfer program

The water transfers could occur on an annual basis sending water from willing sellers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to water users south of the Delta and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Based on annual approvals, the transfers could occur through 2024. In addition, the transfers could occur by various methods, including groundwater substitution, cropland idling, reservoir releases and conservation.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered 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 examines how the plans propose to end overdraft.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Coronavirus: California could close some inland fishing areas

California is poised to close the spring sportfishing season in some counties in response to worries that anglers will spread COVID-19 to rural communities. The state’s Fish and Game Commission will meet via teleconference Thursday to decide whether to grant emergency powers to Charlton Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Groundwater management hearings set for late April

Registered voters who live in Mendocino have the opportunity and responsibility to decide the direction of groundwater management in Mendocino at two upcoming Mendocino City Community Services District Public Hearings scheduled for April 16 and 27.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

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

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

Aquafornia news Western Municipal Water District

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

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

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Tightening lead leaching standards for new drinking water fixtures

We have a legacy of lead in our pipes, our paint, and our soil. These are the most significant sources of human lead exposure and, therefore, draw most of the attention and resources because they are costly to fix. … For that reason, EDF has sought, as part of our larger efforts, to reduce the amount of lead that leaches from new plumbing devices such as faucets and fountains.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How do you study microfibers? Get creative

Three years ago, Dimitri Deheyn noticed intensely blue stringy shapes as he examined jellyfish samples through a microscope in his marine biology lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Monday Top of the Scroll: Blog: New state water regulations cause angst on all sides

A new set of water regulations aimed at protecting California’s native fish came down from the state earlier this week to near universal condemnation from both agricultural and environmental water folks. The regulations are contained in a 143-page “incidental take permit” issued by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife …

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Collaboration is the answer to California’s fishery and water supply challenges

Unprecedented efforts by leaders at the state and national level have led to the kind of cooperation that will provide valuable benefits to water users and the environment. I know because that’s what we’ve been doing in the Sacramento Valley for many years. The kinds of success we’ve achieved can be replicated in other parts of the state.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Fracking in California gets green light after 9-month pause; Aera Energy receives permits

California regulators on Friday issued fracking permits for the first time in nine months, saying federal scientists had given clearance for 24 permits to Aera Energy for oil well stimulation in Kern County. … Last July, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired the state’s oil and gas supervisor a day after The Desert Sun reported that the number of fracking permits issued during his first six months in office had doubled compared to the same period under his predecessor…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Sea-level rise: ‘It’s managed retreat.’ Calif. pushes homes back from ocean

An empty lot on a 70-foot-high bluff above the ocean seemed like the perfect place to build a house when the owners bought the parcel for $1.8 million. Now a state ruling means they’ll have to put the house farther away from the water, where they won’t see the shore. It’s a result of climate change and California’s response to it.

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 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.

Related article:

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 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 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.

Related article:

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.

Related article:

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.

Related article:

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.

Related articles:

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.

Related article:

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.

Related articles:

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.”

Related articles:

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.

Commands