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 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…

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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.

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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 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.

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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 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.”

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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 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…

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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. 

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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 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.

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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 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 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 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.

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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.

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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 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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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 Mt. Shasta Herald

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

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

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

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

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

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump pushes legal limits with virus disaster declaration

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

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

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

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news Daily Californian

Addressing arsenic problems in rural California

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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

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

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Groups bring suit over secret approval process for PFAS chemicals

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

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

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

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

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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 Maven's Notebook

Infrastructure: What’s on tap for California

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

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA

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

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA seeks to expand federal role in water reuse

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

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

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

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

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

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

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

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

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

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

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

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

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Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

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

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

Aquafornia news Village News

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

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

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

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

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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

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

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

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

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

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Coronavirus state of emergency halts water shutoffs in Salinas

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

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Aquafornia news Ecology Law Quarterly

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

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

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Lawyer writes of defending the Colorado River

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

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

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

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

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

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

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

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

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

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Trump’s attack on California salmon fishing jobs

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana River sewage pollution shutters beaches as far north as Coronado

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

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump administration presses cities to evict homeowners from flood zones

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

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

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

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

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

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

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

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Report predicts how water losses will hit SJ Valley

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

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Controversial Walker Lake hydropower proposal wins preliminary permit

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

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

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

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

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Cuyama Valley carrot growers get the stick

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

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

$446 million Klamath dam removal budget submitted to FERC

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

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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

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

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria community meets on the future of oil drilling

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

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: State Water Contractors stand with Trump administration

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

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: The fate of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

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

Aquafornia news KPBS

California wants feds to address cross-border sewage

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

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California wants limit for Erin Brockovich chemical in water

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

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Study: Water restrictions to mean billions in lost farm revenue

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

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Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Feds ink deal with water district tied to Bernhardt

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

Aquafornia news FactCheck.org

Trump spins California’s water conservation rules

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

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

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California Natural Resources Agency lays out Salton Sea mitigation goals

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

Aquafornia news Associated Press

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

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

Aquafornia news JD Supra

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

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

Aquafornia news CBS News

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

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

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

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Aquafornia news The Hill

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

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news Laguna Beach Independent

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

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

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

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Aquafornia news Plumas News

Letter lets state know where Plumas stands on watershed concerns

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA handling multiple PFAS-related criminal investigations

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

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

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

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

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin group joins fight over Clean Water Act changes

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

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Revamped lead rule ignores concerns raised in EPA memo

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

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bernhardt fires back at Newsom over California water lawsuit

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

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

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

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

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Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

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

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

Aquafornia news The Recorder

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

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

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

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

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

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Toxic Superfund cleanups decline to more than 30-year low

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

Aquafornia news The Hill

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

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

Aquafornia news KUNC

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news E&E News

What remains in high court’s environmental lineup

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

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: About that water fluoridation debate …

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California sues Trump administration again — this time over water

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

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Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA closer to regulating PFAS in drinking water

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

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Aquafornia news The Revelator

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

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

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

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

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

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

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

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Aquafornia news Valley Economy

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

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

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

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

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

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Presidential candidates talk water infrastructure at Las Vegas forum

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

Aquafornia news The Hill

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

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

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Salmon Cannon company presents in Siskiyou

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

Aquafornia news KPIX

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am rate increase proposal set for local public hearings

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

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

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

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Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada City water customers get more time to pay bills

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

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