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 Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said Monday.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area, while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other, non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump says he ‘freed’ showers and sinks. He didn’t

President Trump has added a false claim to his pitch to “suburban women” — maintaining that his administration already has delivered on his promises to speed up dishwashers and improve sinks and showers. … But no new products are on the market because of changes, and no proposals have fully made their way through the regulatory process.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley residents urge the state for action on the Salton Sea

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Opinion: Resetting the mission for WIFIA

The WIFIA Loan Program recently announced that it has reset the interest rates on two undrawn loan commitments originally made in mid-2018. The fixed rate on a $135 million loan to Orange County Water District and a $614 million loan to San Diego Public Facilities Financing Authority (PFFA) were reset downward from about 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, to around 1 percent… Is this a big deal?

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Groundbreaking study finds 13.3 quadrillion plastic fibers in California’s environment

The report from UC Santa Barbara found that in 2019 an estimated 4,000 metric tons – or 13.3 quadrillion fibers – were released into California’s natural environment. The plastic fibers, which are less than 5mm in length, are primarily shed when we wash our yoga pants, stretchy jeans and fleece jackets and can easily enter oceans and waterways.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfire smoke can spread toxics to water, soil, and elsewhere

Wildfires leave behind more than scorched earth and destroyed homes: Rising smoke plumes can contain chemicals that disperse not only into the air but in soil, water, indoor dust, and even wildlife. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of more than 100 chemicals that can cause cancer and other ailments, is one of those ingredients.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Major earthquake retrofit work complete at Lake Merced pump station

It all started with a 2002 state law demanding quake-resilient water delivery. Nearly $5 billion later, San Francisco has retrofit the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, just now crossing the finish line on the shore of Lake Merced.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the district boundaries, including the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and infrastructure

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.  

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Rep. Garamendi comes out against Scott Dam removal

Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the northern half of Lake County, on Friday submitted a formal comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing removal of Scott Dam on the Eel River at Lake Pillsbury and demanding that Lake County have an equal seat at the table for determining the future of Potter Valley Project and the lake.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation in Ukiah Valley is imminent. Here’s what you need to know

Right now, the Mendocino County Sustainable Groundwater Agency is writing up a groundwater sustainability plan for the basin. The plan will regulate groundwater in the Ukiah Valley basin for the first time ever, and will define how water is managed in and near Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Ukiah for perpetuity.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Oakland’s McClymonds High School safe to return to, months after chemical scare, district says

Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school first closed in February, just weeks before classroom instruction was halted because of COVID-19.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Delta Cross Channel gates to close for five days starting Tuesday, Oct. 20

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to temporarily close the Delta Cross Channel gates at 4 p.m. on Oct. 13. The closure is related to a lower Mokelumne River pulse flow to help prevent adult fall-run Chinook salmon from being diverted off their migratory route… The gates are scheduled to re-open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA delivers roadmap to achieving voluntary agreements to state officials

ACWA on Oct. 15 submitted “A Roadmap To Achieving the Voluntary Agreements” to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top members of his Administration that calls on the state to take the necessary steps to re-engage on Voluntary Agreements regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its tributaries.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in State Water Project

A team of scientists from the California Department of Water Resources are working with federal and state partners to embrace the challenge of overseeing the implementation of one of the most complex endangered species permits in California history.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Just how bad is California’s water debt problem? The state isn’t sure

A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue losses for water providers across the state.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Mary Nichols may be EPA’s next boss. Here’s her vision

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols yesterday outlined her vision for EPA over the next four years. And it starts with science.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FEMA ends policy favoring flood walls over green protections

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Executive order aims to conserve land, biodiversity

A new California Biodiversity Collaborative will help determine how to carry out an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom aimed at conserving 30% of California’s land and marine areas by 2030—and agricultural organizations said they would participate to assure the collaborative recognizes stewardship efforts carried out on the state’s farms and ranches.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump makes water demand of farms priority for new office

President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. … The first priority set out by the executive order is increasing dam storage and other water storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the West in particular. That includes California’s Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest agricultural water district.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: The devastating implications from rollbacks of the Clean Water Act

A critical piece of the Clean Water Act, known as Section 401, allows states and tribes to work with the federal government to ensure that rivers are protected and that projects meet the needs of local communities. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency recently created new rules for how states and tribes can use their authority under Section 401.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Developing groundwater allocations: Findings and recommendations

At the 3rd annual Western Groundwater Congress in September, Dr. William Blomquist, professor of political science and more at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, gave a presentation of ongoing research with Dr. Christina Babbitt, California Groundwater Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund looking at how other groundwater basins have developed groundwater allocations.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA hired consultants to counter staff experts on fluoride in water

At a trial over fluoride regulations this summer, EPA eschewed its own experts, hiring an outside company often deployed by corporations to deny and downplay chemicals’ health impacts. … Testifying for EPA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Exponent Inc. cast doubt on studies that underpin federal regulation of lead and mercury, even as the agency’s own scientists said new research does indeed warrant a review of fluoride’s neurotoxic effects.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

PFAS used by many industries warrant controls, scientists say

A subset of so-called forever chemicals, used to make thousands of industrial and consumer products, can’t be deemed “low-concern” despite chemical manufacturers’ arguments, a group of international scientists said in a paper released Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am, Marina open to meeting on desal project ‘solution’

California American Water and Marina city officials are in the process of setting up talks on the company’s desalination project after exchanging letters over the past several weeks.

Aquafornia news The Press

Department of Water Resources calls for the community’s input

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently launched an environmental justice community survey to gather input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey, entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from communities that may be disproportionately affected by the proposed project.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Delta Cross Channel gates to close for five days starting Tuesday, Oct. 13

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to temporarily close the Delta Cross Channel gates at 4 p.m. on Oct. 13. The closure is related to a lower Mokelumne River pulse flow to help prevent adult fall-run Chinook salmon from being diverted off their migratory route… The gates are scheduled to re-open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Setting ‘good fires’ to reduce the West’s wildfire risk

Prescribed burning … targets brush, grasses, and other accumulated vegetation, along with dead and downed trees, to improve ecosystem health and reduce the fuels that power wildfires. … “We’re trying to encourage a cultural shift in our relationship with wildfire,” says Sasha Berleman, a fire ecologist who runs a prescribed burn training program based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Fire isn’t going away, so let’s change how we’re living with it.”

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday Top of the Scroll: House Democrats ask CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic

To protect public health, Reps. Harley Rouda of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its authority under the Public Health Service Act to prohibit water utilities from shutting off service to customers who are behind on their bills… Water industry groups point to several reasons why a national moratorium would be problematic.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet. That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less water.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley. Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a well and has a history of water contamination….construction is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It is the state's first recipient under the program.]

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Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Supervisors discuss Corning area groundwater levels

Tehama County Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday … on groundwater levels and well depths following reports of south county wells going dry. … The majority of the calls come from areas west of Interstate-5 as far as Rancho Tehama, where at least two people have reported wells going dry. A few others have reported declining groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California water probe finds PFAS in majority of tested wells

Sixty percent of California’s public water supply wells that were tested for so-called forever chemicals contain those compounds, according to research that the State Water Resources Control Board released Wednesday. The findings … shed new light on the presence of PFAS contamination and areas that could be vulnerable based on proximity to known sources like airports and landfills.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

Water providers in California face myriad challenges in sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their customers while protecting the natural environment. In this blog post, I explore the stresses that surface and groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s retail water agencies. 

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: In California, Latinos more likely to be drinking nitrate-polluted water

Environmental Working Group analyzed California State Water Resources Control Board data on the San Joaquin Valley communities with nitrate levels in drinking water meeting or exceeding the federal legal limit. We found that almost six in 10 are majority-Latino. Latinos are also a majority in Valley communities with nitrate at or above half the legal limit, which is linked to increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California tightens reporting for rocket fuel chemical in water

The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to thyroid conditions. The unanimous vote from the State Water Resources Control Board is the first step toward tightening California’s drinking water standard, currently set at 6 parts per billion. The chemical has been found in 27 counties throughout California…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship… One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa “Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work together.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid water bills a “pending disaster” the state is trying to head off

If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave” of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems, it has to get a picture of current impacts… Which is why the State Water Resources Control Board directed staff on Tuesday to begin a survey of California’s nearly 3,000 community water systems.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Redwood City salt ponds subject to environmental protections, judge rules

A federal judge ruled Monday that a sprawling collage of salt ponds in Redwood City is subject to protection under the Clean Water Act — going against a previous decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that would have eased development along the bay.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation comes to Ukiah; local Groundwater Sustainability Agency introduced plan last week

Landowners with access to underground water have been able to pull as much water, at any rate, any time, and for any reason without worrying about protocols or following government rules. That is about to change. Last Tuesday, local officials and environmental engineers introduced an outline for how to sustainably manage and regulate groundwater in the region.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Utility Dive

California’s Salton Sea offers chance for US battery supply chain, despite financial, policy challenges

Developing a lithium industry in California’s Salton Sea, an area that experts think could supply more than a third of lithium demand in the world today, could help set up a multi-billion dollar domestic supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Court: California mine operator must pay for $32M cleanup

EPA and California may recover $32 million in cleanup costs from a massive hazardous waste spill in the Sierra Nevada foothills that released toxic amounts of arsenic into local groundwater supplies, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. In a divided ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the United States and California were not liable for the costs of cleaning up the Lava Cap Mine Superfund site in Nevada City, Calif.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District candidates address funding, climate

Three first-time candidates and a 16-year incumbent are vying for two seats on the Marin Municipal Water District board in the November election.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House lawmakers call for school PFAS protections

Dozens of House lawmakers asked the Trump administration Monday to demand protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in school drinking water.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Raising Shasta Dam is an even worse idea than we knew

Reclamation has identified a significant seismic risk problem at Shasta Dam that may preclude the enlargement of Shasta Dam in a safe manner. … In addition … modeling disclosed by Reclamation to NRDC (see last page of this link) indicates that enlarging Shasta Dam would reduce the water supply for State Water Project contractors by an average of 14,000 acre feet per year.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated with dangerous compounds like benzene… 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada dam changes give rare trout new life 115 years later

U.S. and tribal officials are celebrating completion of a $34 million fish bypass system at a Nevada dam that will allow a threatened trout species to return to some of its native spawning grounds for the first time in more than a century. Construction of the side channel with fish-friendly screens is a major step toward someday enabling Lahontan cutthroat trout to make the same 100-mile journey — from a desert lake northeast of Reno to Lake Tahoe atop the Sierra — that they did before the dam was built in 1905.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site

NASA announced plans Friday to clean up a Cold War-era rocket fuel testing site in Southern California — plans that have upset residents who say the space agency and the Trump administration have punted any responsibility for a full cleanup and will leave most of the area contaminated.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Opinion: An aqueduct to San Diego is worth studying

San Diego County Water Authority is looking into the possibility of building a pipeline (aqueduct, more accurately) to get its water directly from the Imperial Valley instead of indirectly through the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) in Los Angeles. SDCWA and MWD have a history of litigation about how much MWD can charge for transporting water from Lake Havasu through MWD’s Colorado River Aqueduct to reservoirs in northern San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Can steelhead trout return to the L.A. River?

Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a freeway.

Aquafornia news The Current

Blog: Supporting reintroduction of Sacramento winter-run Chinook to the Battle Creek watershed

The day the gates closed on the Shasta Dam in 1943, approximately 200 miles of California’s prime salmon and steelhead spawning habitat disappeared. Although devastating for all four distinct runs of Central Valley Chinook salmon, the high dam hit the Sacramento winter-run Chinook the hardest.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Mojave Pistachios, Searles Valley Minerals file lawsuits vs. Indian Wells groundwater agency

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority faces two lawsuits, from a major local farm operation and Searles Valley Minerals, over water rights filed this week in the aftermath of the passing of a controversial groundwater replenishment fee and a fallowing program.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Support of Poseidon’s desalination at stake in water board election

For years, the Orange County Water District has expressed interest in buying the desalted water, provided Poseidon receives the necessary regulatory permits. But the water district’s appetite for the controversial project could be in jeopardy after Nov. 3, if two board members who support the project are upset in their reelection bids and replaced by Poseidon skeptics.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has been all uphill. The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012,

Aquafornia news KCET

Mercury in our waters: The 10,000-year legacy of California’s gold rush

If you look closely in the waters of Deer Creek, near Nevada City, Calif., something strange may catch your eye; lying in globules amongst the gravel is quicksilver, or liquid elemental mercury. Carrie Monohan, head scientist for the Sierra Fund, lives next to Deer Creek, and became concerned about mercury contamination in the waterways when she pulled liquid mercury from the water in a turkey baster.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: The desal project is much needed

It would be an understatement to say our community has a lot on its plate these days. Between the wildfires, COVID-19 and its impact on human lives, not to mention our local economy, it’s hard to imagine having more issues requiring our focus. And yet one of the most important issues facing our community – our water supply – is in a critical stage and needs public engagement and attention.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Pre-election meltdown at Montecito Sanitary

Some call it a “quiet revolution.” Others, a “hostile takeover.” Either way, on the heels of a severe drought, a group of wealthy Montecitans, many of them members of the Birnam Wood and Valley Club golf courses on East Valley Road, will gain control over all aspects of water policy on November 3 and for the foreseeable future in this exclusive enclave of one-acre lots and large estates.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Pure Water Soquel addresses water woes

A letter posed an excellent question to the Soquel Creek Water District – a question that comes up often in the community. To paraphrase: with the Mid-County groundwater basin in a state of critical overdraft, why is development that adds water users to the already over-burdened water system allowed to continue?

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Clean, reliable water: How to get a seat at the table for groundwater planning

Healthy communities need clean, reliable water supplies. That is why your thoughts, and ideas need to be shared with local water agencies as they create plans that map out how groundwater will be managed for the next 50 years.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the Central Valley Water Board’s Irrigated Lands Program

Runoff and other discharges from agricultural lands affect water quality by transporting pollutants including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts, pathogens, and heavy metals from cultivated fields into surface waters. … Sue McConnell is the manager of the Central Valley Board’s Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  At the September 15 State Water Board meeting, she gave an update on the implementation of Order WQ-2018-0002, hereafter referred to as the ‘petition order’.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Walker Lake: Legal saga continues with endgame in question

According to river flow data, there is currently almost no water flowing into Walker Lake, a common condition. Today, where the riverbed meets the lake is an ooze of mud. The lake is all but biologically dead. But a decades-old public trust lawsuit made a move forward in its glacial process through federal courts last week, and advocates are hopeful Walker Lake, a cornerstone of the regional economy and ecology, can one day be revived.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How groundwater managers can avoid the courts as they divvy up water

One of the biggest challenges to implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act hovers around this two-part question: Who gets to pump groundwater and how much do they get to pump? Or, put another way, who must cut their groundwater use and by how much? [Please note Oct. 20 webinar.]

Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Madness and arrogance” forced lawsuit against desert groundwater agency

Two lawsuits accusing the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority of ramming through a plan that ignores water rights and, according to one plaintiff, is intended to “destroy agriculture” were filed this week. At issue is a controversial $2,000-per-acre-foot fee that would be charged to certain groundwater users over a five-year period. That money is intended to raise $50 million to buy Central Valley water and, somehow, bring it over the Sierra Nevada to replenish the overdrafted desert aquifer.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Farms over-pump Madera groundwater, private wells go dry

The land east of Madera has changed in the 25 years since Rochelle and Michael Noblett built their home… There are more houses, more irrigated agriculture and less grazing land. There’s also been a significant decline in water availability, as the level of groundwater drops below what some domestic wells can reach. That’s why the couple was shocked when the county allowed a new irrigation well and almond orchard … in the midst of the most recent drought, even as private wells were going dry…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Connecting disadvantaged communities to clean, reliable water in East Valley

Only a few minutes away from our beautiful Coachella Valley golf courses and music festival locations, there are thousands of people living in conditions without access to clean water or reliable sanitation services. For these families, if something breaks in the private water system serving their home, they go without water.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Conflict over U.S.-Mexico water treaty escalates as farmers take La Boquilla Dam

Tensions between Mexico and the United States over water intensified this month as hundreds of Mexican farmers seized control of La Boquilla dam in protest over mandatory water releases. The protesters came from parched Chihuahua state, nearly 100 square miles of land pressed against the U.S. border, where farmers are opposing the delivery of over 100 billion gallons of water to the United States by October 24.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Hurtado makes splash as Newsom signs water bill

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature on legislation that will speed the permit process for low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking water for residents. Senate Bill 974 exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act…

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

After Clean Water Act change, uncertainty reigns over water protections

In June, the Trump administration’s new version of which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act took effect. The new rule is an about-face from the Obama-era regulations, and Arizona state regulators are trying to make sense of it.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County Water Authority sets agricultural water discount in exchange for reliability

Participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water, while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per acre-foot. Farmers who participate will receive a lower level of water service during shortages or emergencies. That allows the water authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits. In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water storage and supply reliability charges.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Anderson Dam: Project to drain major Bay Area reservoir begins

Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir will soon be nearly empty, and will stay that way for the next 10 years. Under orders from federal dam regulators, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will begin a project to drain Anderson Reservoir on Thursday, the first step in a $576 million effort to tear down and rebuild its aging dam.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: DWR is suing everyone for a blank check for a Delta tunnel

In the middle of a pandemic, an economic recession, and everything else that 2020 is throwing at us, in early August the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) filed a lawsuit against every Californian to authorize spending an unlimited amount of money … for an as yet undefined Delta tunnel project.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

‘Make noise’: Yurok Tribe water analyst discusses PacifiCorp’s new stance on Klamath dam removal

The day after Congress passed a bill that included potential consequences to PacifiCorp if it reneged on an agreement to remove four Klamath River dams, the Yurok Tribe’s senior water policy analyst urged people to “make noise in anyway that you can.”

Aquafornia news E&E News

Supreme Court: Water case offers window into Barrett’s jurisprudence

A low-profile 2018 Clean Water Act case could offer clues into how President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would rule on environmental issues. As a judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett joined — but didn’t write — the court’s decision in Orchard Hill Building Co. v. Army Corps of Engineers, which said the federal government had not provided enough evidence to support its finding that 13 acres of Illinois wetlands slated for development were in fact waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, subject to federal protection.

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Aquafornia news UC Davis News

Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy

Clean air, clean water and a functioning ecosystem are considered priceless. Yet the economic value of nature remains elusive in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy regulations and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts. A study published Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability incorporates those insights from sustainability science into a classic model of climate change costs.

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Will Gov. Newsom replace Poseidon desal project critic on Orange County regional water board?

There are mounting questions over whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will replace William von Blasingame — an Irvine resident first appointed to the regulatory seat in 2013 by former governor Jerry Brown — when his current term on the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board expires Sept. 30, ahead of his panel’s vote on the Poseidon Water Co.’s desalination proposal.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mexican governor, California mayor launch war of words over cross-border sewage spills

The mayor of Imperial Beach and governor of Baja California are in a public spat over cross-border sewage spills. Gov. Jaime Bonilla has held three separate press conferences this month demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing into the United States.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Study: Small farmers shortchanged by SGMA

When governor Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in September 2014, he said that “groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally.” With the first round of plans made available for public comment this year, it appears that, while the state certainly ceded control to local management agencies, those same agencies have prioritized the interests of big agriculture and industry over small farmers and disadvantaged communities.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

What we know about a plan to settle the Ventura River litigation

Some of the largest users of the Ventura River recently released their proposal to settle litigation and potentially stave off a water-rights adjudication. The plan includes multiple habitat restoration projects intended to help endangered steelhead trout, but largely avoids any changes to water use. Before it goes to a judge, however, other parties likely will weigh in, including the state.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Students kayak the Salton Sea to raise awareness about lake’s plight

Three Coachella Valley high schoolers kayaked across the Salton Sea Saturday to raise awareness about the social and ecological crisis unfolding as California’s largest lake continues to shrink and toxic dust from its shores pollutes the air.

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Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Alameda to seek wetland park funding

The proposed ecological wetland park at Alameda Point, known as DePave Park, is another step closer to becoming a reality. On Sept. 15, four members of the city council gave thumbs up to moving forward with seeking a $2 million grant to pay for a master planning process.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River to southwest Utah.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA’s Office of Water reorganizes

EPA plans to restructure its water office, one of several reorganizations announced by the agency in recent weeks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Walker Lake group to take water suit back to federal court

Lawyers representing Mineral County and the Walker Lake Working Group announced this week they intend to take a water rights case with broad implications back to federal appeals court to ask whether Nevada can adjust already allocated water rights to sustain rivers and lakes long-term.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion:  Water supply – the testimony that never was

Last week on these pages, you heard the President of California American Water explain their rationale for withdrawing their application for a desalination plant from the California Coastal Commission the day before their Sept. 17 hearing. What he didn’t tell you is that there is a feasible alternative project that has less environmental impact, is more socially just, and would be less costly to ratepayers

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

How worms and a parasite harm salmon on the Klamath River — and how a new data portal may help

The Klamath Basin used to be the third most important salmon-bearing watershed in the Pacific Northwest. Now, only a fraction of those runs remain. The multiple reasons for their decline are complex and interconnected, but they all have to do with how water moves through the system.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA to promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to overhaul the way communities test their water for lead, a policy change that will be pitched ahead of Election Day… But a draft of the final rule obtained by The New York Times shows the E.P.A. rejected top medical and scientific experts who urged the agency to require the replacement of the country’s six million to 10 million lead service lines…

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Water Board candidates differ on how to balance basin, protect ratepayers

Potentially the most important question popped up roughly halfway through the Indian Wells Valley Water District Board candidate forum Wednesday night. Hidden within a longer question was the key point: how do the candidates think the local water basin should be balanced and how do they plan to protect water district ratepayers while doing so?

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Why dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ are allowed in US drinking water

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates US drinking water, has been investigating PFAS since the late 1990s. … But despite the agency’s 20-plus years of information gathering, it still has not issued an enforceable nationwide standard on PFAS. The agency has failed to act even as more about the risks of the chemical group has become known…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday Top of the Scroll: California Democrats decry federal inaction in Congress’ first hearing on Salton Sea in 23 years

In a congressional hearing Thursday that starkly illuminated partisan divides, California Democrats called on the federal government to provide greater assistance in remedying environmental and public health crises at the Salton Sea. All but one GOP members were absent, and the one who did attend criticized the organizers for holding the hearing.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The Gulf hurricane is a call to action to protect Californians from catastrophic floods

No California communities are more shaped by water than those in the Delta.  Water surrounds communities like Stockton.  Water shaped our history and still shapes our economy, quality of life, culture, and is essential for a healthy environment.  And for our communities, water-related disasters are devastating. We see proof of that every day.

Aquafornia news Reuters

California outpaced Trump’s Forest Service in wildfire prevention work: data

While more than half of California’s forests fall under federal management, the U.S. Forest Service consistently spends fewer dollars than the state in managing those lands to reduce wildfire risks, a Reuters data analysis reveals. The relative spending by federal and state forest authorities undermines President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to blame deadly wildfires on a failure by California to clear its forests of dead wood and other debris.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Collaboration on the Colorado River between Mexico and the US brings benefits for both countries

At the September meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Laura Lamdin, an associate engineer in water resource management, gave a presentation on how the United States and Mexico built a collaborative relationship, the many accomplishments that have come as a result, and a look at the work currently in progress.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

With its beaches and creeks deemed ‘impaired,’ Santa Barbara takes steps to improve water quality

All of Santa Barbara’s beaches and creeks are designated as “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act. … The council voted 7-0 to send its proposed changes to stormwater runoff to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board… The list of changes are extensive, and are proposed over four tiers based on various types and levels of new construction development. They involve landscape changes and stormwater treatment for new impervious construction.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Colorado River Basin states request a better forum to resolve concerns with Lake Powell pipeline

In Utah, there is a significant effort underway to build a water delivery pipeline from Lake Powell to transport part of Utah’s Colorado River entitlement to Utah’s St. George area. As the federal environmental review for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah continues, Utah’s six fellow Colorado River Basin states weighed in as a group, cautioning that unresolved issues remain.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil extraction technique in the state that has been linked to hundreds of oil spills.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate Dems push resolution against Trump WOTUS rule

Senate Democrats unveiled a resolution today calling on EPA to maintain and strengthen the Clean Water Act, a direct rebuke of the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks.

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Lompoc to fix deficiencies in wastewater treatment system after EPA finds violations

The violations stretch from June 2015 to June 2020 and involve effluent discharges, monitoring and reporting, operation and maintenance, pretreatment, and fats, oils and greases, according to an administrative order on consent issued by EPA Region 9.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Torched towns beset by poisoned water

After a wildfire ripped through central California last month, residents in the Riverside Grove neighborhood in the Santa Cruz Mountains discovered another danger: contaminated water coursing through their pipes. Benzene, a chemical tied to cancer, leukemia and anemia, was detected in the town’s drinking water after 7 miles of plastic water piping was torched in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire south of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Revisions to drinking water standard tighten lead leaching allowance for plumbing products

Newly published changes to NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, the drinking water product standard required in the United States and Canada, further restrict the amount of lead that can leach from plumbing products, NSF International announced today.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How the loss of Ginsburg will affect the term ahead

The absence of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court this coming term is unlikely to change the outcome of two looming battles over water rights and Endangered Species Act records, but legal experts say her death will have a lasting impact on environmental jurisprudence at the nation’s highest bench.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Citing revenue shortfall, state water board raises fees

Emergency regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board will raise fees for water-quality and water-rights programs. Agricultural organizations criticized the action and its timing, but board members said the new fees would be needed to keep its programs solvent.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Pandemic prompts update on water-project bond funds

Responding to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on public-agency resources, the California Water Commission has adopted an emergency regulation, allowing applicants that were conditionally awarded money for water projects from the Proposition 1 water bond to apply for early funding.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: How SGMA and IRWM can utilize each other’s strengths

How does a region integrate Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a program mandated by state legislation, with Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), a voluntary collaborative effort, to implement regional water management solutions? … This article discusses how IRWM and SGMA share a similar approach…

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Reservoir-release pilot project in Colorado begins this week

Beginning Wednesday, Front Range water providers will release water stored in Homestake Reservoir in an effort to test how they could get water downstream to the state line in the event of a Colorado River Compact call….A compact call could occur if the upper basin states (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico) can’t deliver the 7.5 million acre-feet of water per year to the lower basin states (Arizona, California and Nevada), as required by a nearly century-old binding agreement.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Feds release environmental review for Friant-Kern Canal project

The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

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Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A clear warning about the Colorado River

A crisis could be approaching. The two giant reservoirs on the Colorado River are both below 50 percent of capacity. If drought causes even more drastic drops, the Bureau of Reclamation could step in to prioritize the making of electricity by the hydro plants at lakes Mead and Powell. No one knows what BuRec would do, but it would call the shots and end current arrangements.

Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: California water managers need more flexibility to move water when & where it’s needed most

For this reason, public water agencies and DWR have publicly negotiated amendments to their long-term water supply contracts in order to better plan the future of their local water supply portfolios. … The State Water Contractors applaud this coordinated and collaborative effort, which provides flexibility for single and multi-year non-permanent water transfers and exchanges.

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: New conservation plan benefits California steelhead—and irrigators, too

The Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan finalized this week includes commitments by the Stockton East Water District to improve conditions in the Calaveras River for steelhead. In turn, the Water District gets assurances that it can continue distributing water to irrigators and others without violating the Endangered Species Act….These changes will be implemented under the first plan of its kind in the Central Valley of California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Los Angeles accuses 45 of poaching at San Pedro tide pools

Hordes of people are descending on fragile Los Angeles-area tide pools to scrape starfish, mussels and other sea life from the rocks, city officials say. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office announced charges Thursday against 45 people accused of overfishing, fishing without licenses and taking restricted species at White Point Beach in San Pedro.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil: Companies profit from illegal spills; the state lets them

Along with being a global leader on addressing climate change, California is the seventh-largest producer of oil in the nation. And across some of its largest oil fields, companies have for decades turned spills into profits, garnering millions of dollars from surface expressions that can foul sensitive habitats and endanger workers, an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica has found….Under state laws, it’s illegal to discharge any hazardous substance into a creek or streambed, dry or not.

Aquafornia news Marketplace

Water enters futures market, allowing buyers to lock in prices

There is a new product allowing businesses in California — mostly farms and other agricultural businesses that rely on water — to lock in prices for water. But there are plenty of questions as to how this will actually work. To state the obvious, it’s just not that easy to transact in water. It’s not a block of gold, or even a barrel of oil.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Drought-hit Mexicans demand that water sharing with US ends

Protesters gathered on Sunday in drought-hit northern Mexico in an attempt to retain control of a dam key to government efforts to diffuse tensions over a water-sharing pact with the United States. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has been working to maintain a good relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, said on Friday that Mexico must comply with its obligations.

Aquafornia news DanvilleSanRamon.com

Six candidates vie for three seats on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District board

The Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board of Directors is one of the special districts set to appear on San Ramon Valley voters’ ballots during the Nov. 3 election, with six candidates vying for three at-large seats on the sewer board.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House panel to probe toxic wasteland in California lake

A House committee will meet Thursday to discuss the deteriorating public health crisis at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: Explaining California American Water’s decision to withdraw desalination application

After years spent developing this project and making adjustments to respond to stakeholder concerns, it became obvious that we needed to take more time to address objections raised by the community of Marina — namely that our project would be built in their backyard without them receiving any benefit from it.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate hearing spotlights new ESA rewrite proposal

The perennial push for a new and, some say, improved Endangered Species Act resumes this week when a Senate panel examines the latest ambitious rewrite.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better

President Trump dismissed evidence pointed to by California’s governor of climate change’s role in the state’s continuing wildfires during a Fox News interview on Sunday… The president went on during the interview to attack California over its water management policies, which he blamed on efforts to protect the Delta smelt…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Water wars at the Supreme Court: ‘It’s only going to get worse’

The U.S. Supreme Court kicks off its new term next month with a unique “original jurisdiction” water dispute—the likes of which could become more common as the climate changes. The justices are set to hear Texas v. New Mexico, virtually, on their first day of oral arguments Oct. 5. Here’s how original jurisdiction water cases work, what’s at stake this term, and what’s on the horizon.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Tule agency to charge farmers for pumping water

Farmers whose only access to water is pumping from their own well will get their first glimpse at what the state’s new groundwater management law will cost them next month. On Oct. 1, the East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency will hold a public hearing to discuss a groundwater extraction fee…

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA facilitates progress of national water reuse action plan

On Wednesday, at the virtual 35th Annual WateReuse Symposium, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated a “charrette” to identify challenges and map solutions to continue advancing the National Water Reuse Action Plan… “Water reuse must be a central theme in EPA’s efforts to meet 21st century demands for water,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Steelhead conservation plan on Calaveras River draws concern from fisheries advocates

A long-awaited habitat conservation plan for threatened Central Valley steelhead on the Calaveras River was approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Monday. Conservation groups say the plan was pushed through with minimal restrictions on Stockton East Water District (Stockton East), whose operations on the river have impacted fish populations for decades.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Regulators raise water quality fine to $6.4 million for Montage Healdsburg resort

Poor erosion control on the 258-acre site unleashed soils into streams of the Russian River watershed and put fish and other other aquatic wildlife at risk, regulators found, counteracting millions of dollars spent to improve habitat and restore imperiled, protected runs of salmon and steelhead…

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Conservationists split over Poseidon desal project’s potential to help Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Along a Huntington Beach coastline dotted with oil rigs and a power plant, one of California’s largest remaining saltwater marshes has been a source of pride for local environmentalists. But the marsh, known as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, is endangered despite a years-long struggle to pull together sufficient public funding for its upkeep.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bilingual SGMA video series to foster better understanding

State and local agencies are continuing to work to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. With SGMA’s far-reaching implications, Ph.D. candidate at UC Merced, Vicky Espinoza has created a bilingual video series to help provide a better understanding of the impact of SGMA and generate more engagement.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on beetles, climate change

When the Creek Fire exploded to 160,000 acres in just 72 hours, ripping through a jewel of the Sierra Nevada just south of Yosemite National Park, California and the world looked on in horror and surprise. But the stage had long been set for the megablaze, one of a half-dozen transforming millions of acres of Golden State landscapes to ash. Droughts supercharged by climate change dried out vegetation, aiding its transition into fuel.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump WOTUS rewrite could backfire, lawmakers warned

A top water regulator from New Mexico yesterday warned senators that hardrock mines, wastewater facilities and other industrial entities could face stricter environmental oversight as the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule takes effect.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water board must establish a state water budget that California can afford

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt writes that a “Grand Bargain” in California water is needed to end the “political culture of deferral” and allow major water projects to advance. On the contrary, what’s needed is an adult regulator that will make hard choices that water users refuse to make.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Meet the man who told Trump climate change is real

Wade Crowfoot, a California Cabinet secretary, didn’t plan on confronting President Trump on extreme heat and wildfires. Then Trump dismissed climate change.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Cal Am withdraws desal project bid

California American Water has withdrawn its Peninsula desalination project bid at the Coastal Commission on the eve of the commission’s special meeting, citing social and environmental justice issues.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California watchdog clears Costa Mesa Sanitary District of campaigning against Measure TT in 2016

A California Fair Political Practices Commission investigation has determined Costa Mesa Sanitary District officials did not spend ratepayer funds to actively campaign against 2016’s Measure TT, which sought to merge the sewer and trash service provider with Mesa Water District.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Citizens group begins deep dive in Napa Valley groundwater issues

The Napa County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee — 25 people appointed by the Board of Supervisors representing such interests as farming, wineries and the environment — was in action last Thursday with a Zoom meeting.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: A greater sense of urgency needed for crises at the Salton Sea

Responding to the lack of progress in 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered the California Natural Resources Agency to adopt a 10-year plan to implement projects to suppress the harmful dust and restore habitat. … But in the three years since the water board’s order, progress has been dismal, even though there is more than $350 million available to implement the plan.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council mulls options to treat PFAS water contaminants

The Pleasanton City Council made headway on plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet — if not exceed – future water quality standards earlier this month. In a unanimous vote Sept. 1, the council approved a $437,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare a basis of design report for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and rehabilitating the city’s groundwater wells…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fight over desalinization is now about environmental justice

This proposal by California American Water has become one of the most complicated and fraught issues to come before the California Coastal Commission, whose long-awaited vote on Thursday could determine not only the contentious future of water on the Monterey Peninsula — but also the role of government in undoing environmental inequity.

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Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate committee takes up Trump’s WOTUS rewrite

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear Wednesday from an Iowa farmer, a Florida developer and a New Mexico regulator, who are expected to discuss the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule and weigh in on the environmental and public health issues raised by rolling back water protections.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: Metropolitan Water District can do better for Southern California amid COVID

The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have taken action to protect ratepayers by implementing strong cost-cutting strategies to limit rate increases without sacrificing a safe and reliable water supply or the ability to plan for the future. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Why some in Nevada see Utah pipeline plan as ‘first salvo in coming water wars’

Lake Powell isn’t in Southern Nevada. Rather, it’s about four hours away by car in southern Utah. But some environmentalists say the water consumption of St. George, Utah, and neighboring communities could have a direct and deleterious impact on the Las Vegas water supply.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: Moving toward water supply security

The Monterey Peninsula is about to find out if a long-term water supply will become a reality on Thursday as California’s Coastal Commission is scheduled to hear the application for a permit to build the desalination source water wells. The Farm Bureau believes the permit is necessary to secure a reliable water supply for Peninsula residents and businesses.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Oasis Mobile Home Park once again found to have arsenic in its water

The beleaguered Oasis Mobile Home Park near Thermal, home to about 1,900 largely Spanish-speaking residents living in poor conditions, has once again found dangerously high levels of arsenic in its drinking water. On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served park management with an emergency order compelling them to provide residents an alternative source of water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Democrats press Warren Buffett to support dam removal

Top Democrats on Friday pressed billionaire Warren Buffett to intervene and support the country’s largest potential dam removal project.

Aquafornia news The Press

Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion moves ahead

A major expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir took a step forward with release of the final feasibility report by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that concluded the initiative is economically viable. The reservoir is owned and operated by the Contra Costa Water District, and the project will increase its capacity by more than 70% when complete.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican water wars: Dam seized, troops deployed, at least one killed in protests about sharing with U.S.

Mexico’s water wars have turned deadly. A long-simmering dispute about shared water rights between Mexico and the United States has erupted into open clashes pitting Mexican National Guard troops against farmers, ranchers and others who seized a dam in northern Chihuahua state.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

White House environmental review rule survives legal test

The White House’s rewrite of National Environmental Policy Act rules is set take effect as planned this month, after a federal judge on Friday declined to freeze the measure. The decision is a victory for the Trump administration’s efforts to speed up approvals for pipelines, oil and gas wells, highways, and other projects.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Opinion: Impact of new Indian Wells Valley Water District groundwater fees on customers

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority has taken actions recently with regards to fees that will affect customers of the Indian Wells Valley Water District. … It is my intent to provide context for how these fees will translate to your bill from the district.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Queen Creek water deal exposes Arizona’s most fundamental problems

Roughly a thousand acre-feet of water won’t make or break the Colorado River. But for many who live in counties that border the river, even losing a few drops of water to central Arizona poses a major threat to their way of life.

Aquafornia news Western Water

The Colorado River is awash in data vital to its management, but making sense of it all is a challenge

Dizzying in its scope, detail and complexity, the scientific information on the Basin’s climate and hydrology has been largely scattered in hundreds of studies and reports. Some studies may conflict with others, or at least appear to. That’s problematic for a river that’s a lifeline for 40 million people and more than 4 million acres of irrigated farmland.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Panel to question FERC picks on climate, infrastructure

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will this week consider a pair of nominations — one Republican, one Democratic — to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aquafornia news ASU Now

Blog: Arizona State University water policy expert addresses new concerns about state’s precious resource

The cuts are a plan to keep Lake Mead, a reservoir at the Arizona-Nevada boundary, functional. Water levels have precipitously dropped as a result of historic overallocation and a drought that started in 2000. … ASU Now checked in with Sarah Porter of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute on how these new developments will impact the Copper State and its residents.

Aquafornia news KJZZ Radio

Colorado River flow now part of caddisfly battle in Bullhead City

The idea was to lower the flows while temperatures were still warm enough to dry out the caddis larvae. That required buy-in from local merchants and the Bureau of Reclamation, local tribes and others. They were able to do it, and on Aug. 27, the first of two flow reductions took place. When the river dropped, people pitched in for a day of river cleanup.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Pleasanton City Council addresses water well issue

The Pleasanton City Council … unanimously approved a contract with Carollo Engineers in the amount of $437,374 to prepare a basis of design report for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) treatment and the rehabilitation of city-owned and -operated wells 5, 6 and 8.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Companies eager to ‘lock in’ Trump-era water rule exemptions

Coal miners, stone quarrying companies, and other businesses are rushing to lock down any exemptions to federal water jurisdiction for at least five years, under changes the Trump administration recently made to the nation’s water rule. … A decision that might in some instances have taken multiple site visits and nearly three years now can come as quickly as a day, the data show.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Forests: Lawmakers plead for federal help as Western fires rage

Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said yesterday they secured a public hearing on legislation to ease some regulatory hurdles for forest management projects… The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will take up the bill, S. 4431, next week. The “Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act,” would also allow the Forest Service to declare emergencies in certain areas affected by wildfire, allowing for restoration with less-extensive environmental review.

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Aquafornia news Voice of America

2 die in gunfight with Mexican police in US water transfer dispute

The Mexican National Guard said Wednesday that two people had died in a gunfight with military police near a protest at a dam that diverts water away from an area hit by drought to the United States. … The protest comes amid plans to divert more to the United States due to a “water debt” Mexico has accrued under a 1944 water-sharing treaty between the countries.

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Aquafornia news Water Environment Federation

Blog: Water utilities commended for transformational programming

The Utility of the Future Today recognition program celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from a traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

A basic primer on water quality regulation

In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), requiring local agencies to be formed and groundwater sustainability plans to be written for all groundwater basins subject to SGMA. Those plans must avoid six undesirable results, one of which is “significant and unreasonable” impacts to groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

News release: SFPUC extends popular emergency customer assistance program through end of year

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is extending its Emergency Residential Community Assistance Program, designed to help customers struggling to pay water, sewer and Hetch Hetchy power bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, which launched in May, was originally set to expire Sept. 4, but will now be expanded through the end of the year

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California Supreme Court holds public agencies may not categorically classify groundwater well permit approvals as ministerial

In Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus, the Court held that the County may not categorically classify all groundwater well permit issuances as ministerial decisions. Such a classification exempts well permit issuances from environmental review.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego County Water Authority seeks rate relief at MWD

With the recession and the COVID-19 pandemic causing economic havoc nationally and across Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority has adopted several cost-cutting strategies to reduce rate increases and it’s asking the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to do the same.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Progress on St. Helena dam removal ends years of daily fines

The pending removal of the Upper York Creek Dam has put a stop to a daily $70 fine that’s been levied against the City of St. Helena for almost eight years. Thanks to rapid progress on the long-awaited project, which will improve fish passage and restore habitat along York Creek, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended the $70 per day penalty the city has incurred since November 2012…

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: DWR releases draft guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

The Guidebook is designed to assist urban water suppliers with preparing UWMPs that are due to DWR on July 1. DWR also released its draft 2020 Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook related to long-term water supply and demand strategies for agricultural water planning.

Aquafornia news Oregon Public Broadcasting

Audio: Plan to remove 4 Klamath River dams may stall again

In 2010, tribes joined the company that owns the dams and other stakeholders in an agreement to remove the dams in 2020. The plan was later delayed to 2022, and now it may stall again because of a recent decision by federal regulators.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada officials raise concerns about proposed Utah pipeline to tap into more Colorado River water

Nevada officials raised numerous concerns Tuesday about a proposed project to pipe large quantities of Colorado River water roughly 140 miles from Lake Powell to southern Utah… Six of the seven states that use the Colorado River also sent a letter to federal water managers Tuesday asking them to refrain from completing project permitting…

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

The project proposes to cover 3,600 acres near the town of Ducor with enough solar panels to … provide 100% of the power needed for 180,000 homes… The Tulare County Farm Bureau did submit a letter reminding the board of the law’s intent to preserve farm land and not to create solar farms, but ultimately agreed the project would give landowners with sparse access to irrigation water options to make their lands profitable.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun environmental review for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head. … TCP (trichloropropane) is a carcinogenic leftover from a nematode pesticide made by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical that was liberally applied to Central Valley farmland from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Broad ‘fishnet’ PFAS testing worries industry, helps regulators

The test they want to use measures total organic fluorine amounts in water and can provide a broader picture of all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a sample instead of testing for one or a few substances at a time. By removing the need to test for individual PFAS, states may be able to speed up the process for regulating groups of the chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer.

Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Valley Water relocates threatened steelhead for upcoming dam retrofit

Though they are not native to the Anderson Reservoir, the steelhead population is in decline, making the local watershed particularly important to preservation efforts.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Americans back tough limits on building in fire and flood zones

Americans support far more aggressive government regulation to fight the effects of climate change than elected officials have been willing to pursue so far, new research shows, including outright bans on building in flood- or fire-prone areas — a level of restrictiveness almost unheard-of in the United States…in California and elsewhere, officials continue to approve development in areas hit by fires.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Scientists collect water quality data prior to wastewater treatment plant upgrades

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) is currently completing major upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. In anticipation of these upgrades, USGS scientists are gathering data to establish baselines for current nutrient levels and dynamics in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Coming home to the Klamath

Four aging dams on the Klamath River are coming down. Their completion between 1921 and 1964 brought hydroelectric power to Northern California. It also blocked hundreds of kilometers of fish habitat, causing Chinook salmon to effectively disappear from the upper river basin. But the removal of dams is no guarantee the fish will return, so a team of wildlife researchers hopes it can coax the fish to repopulate the river by exploiting a new discovery about salmon genetics.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desal plant on Monterey Peninsula is not the best option

Expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project is the best option for the Monterey region to meet its future water supply needs. Unfortunately, California American Water Co., a private water supplier, is discrediting the project in hopes of getting approval for their much more costly, oversized and environmentally harmful groundwater desalination project…

Aquafornia news The Packer

Opinion: Growers must solve California’s water challenges

I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues. Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps. The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Big Springs residents: Water trucking for illegal marijuana grows hasn’t stopped

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors discussed issues that Big Springs area residents are still facing regarding alleged privatized water sale for illegal marijuana grows. Despite an urgency ordinance prohibiting the trucking of water and a rally near one of the alleged extraction sites on Aug. 22, residents say they’re still noticing trucking going on.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona endorses GSC Farm LLC’s plan to sell Colorado River water to Queen Creek

Arizona’s top water regulator has endorsed a company’s proposal to take water from farmland near the Colorado River and sell it to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek. The plan, which still would require federal approval, has generated a heated debate about whether transferring water away from the farming community of Cibola could harm the local economy, and whether the deal would open the gates for more companies to buy land near the river with the sole aim of selling off the water for profit.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Muddy Petaluma River dredged with hopes of reviving once-thriving waterway

For the first time in years, boats will soon be able to travel freely again down the Petaluma River. … Once a vibrant waterway, Petaluma River is now silted in, full of mud. Lt. Colonel John Cunningham says the river hasn’t had a full cleaning by the Army Corps of Engineers for nearly 20 years.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Judge considers freezing ‘political’ environmental review rule

A federal judge took a no-nonsense approach Friday to a hearing on the White House’s rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, grilling conservation groups on how they’ll be harmed and chiding the Justice Department for glossing over the political motivations behind the rules.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Wheeler, Calif. Gov. Newsom clash over coal plant rule change

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and California Gov. Gavin Newsom clashed Thursday over the Trump administration easing restrictions on wastewater discharges from coal-fired power plants.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC sues to protect kids from perchlorate in tap water

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, seeks to overturn the Trump EPA’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of toxic perchlorate in our tap water. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler reached this decision even though his agency admits that toxic perchlorate is found in millions of Americans’ tap water…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California/Nevada Tahoe Science Advisory Council elevates efforts to protect and restore Lake Tahoe

Nevada and California joined forces last week at the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit to advance the states’ shared priorities to protect and restore Lake Tahoe. … There is a long history of collaboration between Nevada and California to restore and protect the spectacular natural treasure of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment. This spirit of collaboration was a pillar of the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA to pay for cleaning Mexican sewage mucking up U.S. beaches

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday the agency would pay for more water treatment south of the border, and work with San Diego to control trash coming into the United States from Mexico by way of the Tijuana River. Wheeler made the announcement during a visit to Southern California, a region long plagued by sewage, water, trash, and other contaminants flowing from Mexico.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump ‘anarchist’ order would hit cities’ enviro programs

President Trump’s memo that would stop the flow of federal dollars to “anarchist jurisdictions” could hamstring cash-strapped cities’ Superfund cleanups and other environmental programs.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Foster Farms accused of wasting water to kill chickens in drought-prone California

According to the 21-page complaint, Foster Farms’ Livingston, California, plant uses 3-4 million gallons of drinkable water daily, more than all the other water users in the rural city of 14,000 combined. The main reason, the Animal Legal Defense Fund argues, is Foster Farms’ water-intensive slaughter system.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California Supreme Court throws the barn doors open, finding that groundwater well permits aren’t necessarily ministerial

While the Court’s Opinion does not state that all well permits must undergo CEQA review, it narrows the grounds on which the ministerial exemption may apply. And since county well ordinances across the State comprise similar provisions, this ruling upsets the common practice of treating such permits as ministerial, not subject to CEQA.

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