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 The Sacramento Bee

Water park open during COVID-19 to lose permit: California officials

WaterWorks Park in Redding opened on June 5 in violation of California’s coronavirus rules and “repeated direction” not to do so, according to the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency. It has continued to operate since then — sparking a nearly two-months long battle with health officials.

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Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: New study finds PFOA is carcinogenic: What are the California Prop. 65 implications?

A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may result in the listing of PFOA under California’s Proposition 65 as a carcinogen. Here’s what that could mean for the explosion of litigation related to the chemical substance throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Trump talks up his rule-cutting, but courts saying otherwise

Trump’s deregulatory victories have been shrinking in number as courts uphold many of the lawsuits filed by states, environmental groups and others in response to his administration’s sometimes hastily engineered rollbacks.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior may shift projects to former Bernhardt client

Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in the San Joaquin Valley … is seeking ownership of 1,034 miles of buried pipeline, multiple pumping plants and canals, and two field offices. The Bureau of Reclamation confirmed it is moving forward with the transfer.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Admitting failure on water, the Monterey Peninsula will beg state officials for a new deadline

Almost exactly 25 years after being ordered to stop illegally pumping water from the Carmel River, the Monterey Peninsula will have to beg state officials for another extension. On July 20, the board of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District voted unanimously to send a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board acknowledging the failure to make progress on developing a new water supply.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

As flood season settles in, experts shed light on dam safety problems

U.S. dam safety frameworks have helped to prevent major calamities, but the May collapse of the 95-year-old Edenville Dam in Michigan illustrates that key failure risks remain—often involving many causes, according to a study of dam safety risk assessments by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Aquafornia news The Log

Public urged to avoid water contact at Pyramid Lake due to algal bloom

An algal bloom at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County has the Department of Water Resources (DWR) warning the public not to swim or participate in any other water-contact recreation or sporting activities due to potential adverse health effects. However, DWR said boating at the lake is still allowed.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

EchoWater California megaprojects

The nearly $2-billion EchoWater project aims to meet a 2010 requirement issued by California and local authorities. They have called for cleaner discharge into the Sacramento River by 2023 from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. With 21 projects, the EchoWater program’s largest components are now under construction and, despite complexities, remains on track to complete major work in 2022.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Report says California groundwater sustainability plans are inadequate

The grim report by the Water Foundation, a charitable organization based in California that is focused on clean, reliable water for people and nature, predicts the groundwater sustainability plans written by the various districts in the San Joaquin Valley will not achieve what SGMA purports to do – that is, sustainably manage groundwater resources.

Editors Note: The Water Foundation is not affiliated with the Water Education Foundation.

Aquafornia news PR Newswire

News release: Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board staff recommends approval of permit for Huntington Beach desal project

On Wednesday, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a staff report recommending approval of a tentative order making amendments to and renewing its operating permit first issued in 2006 for the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Setting sustainable groundwater management criteria: It’s easy, isn’t it?

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 3rd annual GSA Summit, a panel reviewed how the process went for the groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources earlier this year, focusing on four of the six sustainable management criteria: water levels, water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: FERC continues trend finding state water quality certification waiver

At the June 18, 2020 and July 16, 2020 Commissioner meetings, FERC issued a combined five orders continuing its trend of finding that a state has waived its Clean Water Act section 401 authority for failing to issue a water quality certification within one year from receiving the request for certification.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: 21 state attorneys general sue over new Trump water rule

Attorneys general in 20 states [including California] and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Tuesday, alleging that new federal rules undermine their ability to protect rivers, lakes and streams within their borders. They say that new final rules issued last week by the Environmental Protection Agency alter a practice dating back more than 30 years giving state governments the authority to review, block or put conditions on federally permitted water projects.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Court of Appeal holds that Imperial Irrigation District landowners only have a right to water service, not individual rights to district-held water

On appeal, the court held that the District’s water allocation methodology in the “equitable distribution plan” was reasonable and not an abuse of discretion, and that Abatti and the other farmers in IID only hold an interest in, or right to, water service.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Monterey Mushroom, Inc. to pay $1.2m for unauthorized wastewater discharges to tributaries of Elkhorn Slough

Between Jan.8, 2017 and April 19, 2017, the company discharged 4,634,245 gallons of process wastewater and/or polluted stormwater from two mushroom growing facilities located in Royal Oaks into the tributary. The wastewater contained ammonia, excessive nutrients, and suspended and floating material, which can harm water quality and aquatic habitat.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California settles fight over hoarded dam water

As part of a settlement reached with fishing and environmental groups, the California State Water Resources Control Board says it will increase transparency and conduct heightened evaluations when deciding water quality standards and flow limits for the state’s critical waterways. … Environmentalists celebrated the deal as a “landmark settlement” that stands to boost protections for fish by improving water quality in the Sacramento River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Vacaville dodges lawsuit over chromium 6-tainted water wells

A federal judge on Monday squashed environmentalists’ bid to punish a Northern California city for delivering drinking water tainted with the carcinogen that prompted the film “Erin Brockovich.” The environmental group California River Watch sued the city of Vacaville over its water supply in 2017, claiming it was violating federal hazardous waste laws…

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Opinion: Nevada should challenge Utah’s move for a Lake Powell pipeline

Legal scholars believe that the Lake Powell pipeline would likely violate the 1922 Colorado River Compact as a transfer of upper basin water (WY, UT, CO, NM) for lower basin use (CA, NV, AZ). The lower basin has priority, and the compact arguably prohibits transfers from the upper to lower basin absent explicit congressional authorization

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California plans to cut detection level for perchlorate in water

Water suppliers in California currently must test for perchlorate in drinking water down to 4 parts per billion. The State Water Resources Control Board said it plans to cut that level to 2 parts per billion and then again down to 1 part per billion in 2024.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California microplastics in drinking water definition adopted

The California State Water Resources Control Board (Board) has adopted a definition for “microplastics” that will be used in testing of drinking water… While this development is currently focused on the testing of drinking water in California, the Board and others expect that it will form the basis of future efforts to quantify and address microplastics in the environment.

Aquafornia news KUSI News

Mayor pro tem: Tijuana corruption audit result in Imperial Beach sewage crisis

Imperial Beach Mayor Pro Tem Paloma Aguirre joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss a new report claiming that an audit done by Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft and contributed to raw sewage and hazardous pollutants ending up in the Tijuana River.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Gold Rush-era mercury mine closed in 1972 is still contaminating

Nearly half a century after a Gold Rush-era quicksilver mining operation shut down in Northern California, mercury continues to flow into a nearby creek, and federal officials blame the mine’s state landmark status for cleanup delays. … By the time the mine closed in 1972, it had produced more than 38 million pounds of mercury. Today, the site is a remote ghost town 135 miles southeast of San Francisco

Aquafornia news E&E News

FERC throws wrench into major dam-removal project

The country’s largest dam removal project was thrown into question last week when federal regulators refused to let the current owner fully transfer the impoundments to a nonprofit to carry out the demolition.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

River report card grades freshwater health risks in Los Angeles County

Heal the Bay today released the annual River Report Card, which assigns water quality color-grades of Red, Yellow, or Green for 28 freshwater sites in Los Angeles County based on observed bacteria levels in 2019.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

More clashes in Mexico over repaying U.S. water debt

Farmers once again clashed with Mexican military forces Sunday to protest releases of water from a dam to repay a water debt owed to the United States. … Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico owes the United States about 415,000 acre-feet yearly that must be paid by Oct. 24. Mexico has fallen badly behind in payments from previous years and now has to quickly catch up on water transfers.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Long criticized for inaction at Salton Sea, California says it’s all-in on effort to preserve state’s largest lake

Out of sight and out of mind to most people, the Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and surrounded by clouds of choking dust.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Water quality agency fines Phillips 66 refinery, again, for polluting Bay

State water regulators have issued a $285,000 penalty against the Phillips 66 refinery for releasing millions of gallons of industrial wastewater into San Pablo Bay early last year. The penalty is the 11th issued in the last 17 years against the Houston-based oil company. Its refinery sits on the bay shore in Rodeo, just south of the Carquinez Strait and Vallejo.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Could “angel investors” buy a piece of the Friant-Kern Canal?

An investor funding proposal that could substantially increase the Friant-Kern Canal’s historic flow capacity is gaining interest among the Friant Water Authority’s member districts.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unpaid bills spiking at some water utilities

Several state legislators have asked the Governor to extend his order prohibiting water shutoffs for nonpayment to even the smallest water utilities.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

New petition demands water be put back in Kern River in Bakersfield

“The people of Bakersfield need a flowing river — with water in a thriving river parkway, quality of life in Bakersfield will be significantly improved,” says the petition, posted recently by local resident Jonathan Yates on Change.org.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves groundwater extraction fee hike

Local water users will pay higher groundwater extraction fees to close the gap between estimated and actual costs associated with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The fee increase was approved on Thursday by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop seeks discharge of treated wastewater into San Joaquin River

The City of Lathrop wants to secure a permit that will allow for the discharge of treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. And last week they agreed to spend more than $400,000 to take steps towards achieving that longstanding goal.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Trump slashed a major environmental rule. That’s just the beginning

On Wednesday, President Trump achieved a longstanding goal in weakening environmental protection: The administration significantly narrowed the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act… But the rest of this year will be unlike anything we’ve seen yet as the president pushes to deliver on his 2016 campaign pledge to essentially “get rid of” the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: It’s time to deliver on the human right to water

California stands on the cusp of getting critical SB 200 funds flowing through communities that have waited too long for water justice and are also among those hit hardest by COVID-19 and the resulting economic loss and strain. Last week, the State Water Board adopted its implementation plan for the fund, also called the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Pandemic and surging summer heat leave thousands struggling to pay utility bills

There are significant health risks associated with falling behind on bills and getting disconnected from utilities, said Diana Hernández, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and these risks are amplified by the extreme temperatures caused by climate change.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Federal decision leaves future of Klamath dam removal unclear

After four years of review, FERC granted the transfer of the license for the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate dams (collectively known as the Lower Klamath Project) to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, a nonprofit that would carry out the dam removal. But it requires PacifiCorp, the utility that currently operates the dams, to remain on the license, too.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. And while SGMA legislation requires disadvantaged communities to be a stakeholder in all planning documents, such communities were largely absent from newspaper reports.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Racism is fueling disparities in access to safe water

Safe water is a human right. Yet, in 2020, the United States remains divided between those with the privilege of having clean, running tap water and those who don’t. As we reckon with systemic racism, our fight for safe and affordable water cannot be disentangled from the fight for justice.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Environmentalists fear oil company bankruptcy could strand SoCal’s idle wells

The owner of more than 2,000 idle oil wells in Southern California declared bankruptcy this week, raising fears among environmentalists that those wells might never be properly sealed. … As those old wells sit idle and unsealed, they present a potential pollution hazard to drinking water underground and people living nearby.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado water officials create first-ever regulations for ‘forever chemical’ PFAS

The state’s Water Quality Control Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to enact a policy to put new limits on per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS. The class of chemicals is a common ingredient in everything from nonstick pans to foam used to smother flames from jet fuel. 

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Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California wineries take note: State water board releases draft general order for winery process water

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board released proposed requirements for winery process water treatment along with the draft California Environmental Quality Act Initial Study and Mitigated Declaration for public comment. The proposed order will apply statewide, and includes requirements to ensure winery operations will not adversely impact water quality.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump’s environmental permitting update to spark legal frenzy

States and environmental coalitions are set to wage multiple challenges to President Donald Trump’s overhaul of federal requirements for environmental permitting, setting up long-term regulatory uncertainty and the potential for a checkerboard of rules across the country. Trump unveiled the plan Wednesday, replacing Nixon-era rules for how federal agencies conduct reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news Water Talk Podcast

Audio: Water reform in California institutional ecosystems

A conversation with UC Davis doctoral researchers Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos and Jess Rudnick about water governance, institutional reforms, equity, and participation in California.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Wave of PFAS consumer class actions to come?

Two putative class actions recently filed in the Northern District of California—Ambrose v. Kroger Co. and Nguyen v. Amazon.com, Inc. —preview a new theory of consumer claims relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford water expert discusses slowdown in federal regulation of drinking water

Federal regulators have moved to delay assessment and action on chemicals that could contaminate drinking water. Richard Luthy explains how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and individual states approach waterborne threats.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA scales back requirements for pesticide testing on fish

A wide range of public health and animal rights advocates support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce pesticide testing on animals. But an environmental group is concerned the agency is overlooking a systemic failure to control the chemicals in the environment.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Fight over Gualala River logging plan heads to federal court

A five-year battle over plans to log in the remote Gualala River flood plain has taken a big step up with a powerhouse environmental group’s declaration to take the case to federal court, alleging the commercial tree harvest would harm protected fish, frogs and birds.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How permitting slows ecosystem recovery and climate resilience projects

Ecosystem restoration projects in California require permits, just as development projects that can harm the environment do. … We talked to Letitia Grenier — an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center research network and a senior scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute — about how to improve the permitting process.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

News release: Study aims to bolster California’s safe-water efforts at child care facilities

Efforts to ensure safe drinking water for children need further support to reach their intended audience, according to an analysis of California’s mandate requiring child care facilities to test their water for lead, known as AB 2370.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Forest Service: Water activities prohibited during Karuk Tribe’s world renewal ceremonies

The Karuk Tribe is set to hold its World Renewal Ceremonies in Six Rivers and Klamath national forests from July through late September. In honor of these long-standing tribal traditions, outsiders will be prohibited from entering the water or launching watercraft during the ceremonies, the U.S. Forest Service has announced in a press release.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Nixon signed this key environmental law. Trump plans to change it to speed up pipelines, highway projects and more

The president’s plan to streamline the National Environmental Policy Act … would make it easier to build highways, pipelines, chemical plants and other projects that pose environmental risks. … But the proposed changes also threaten to rob the public, in particular marginalized communities most affected by such projects, of their ability to impact decisions that could affect their health, according to many activists.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: 30-year permit granted for complex habitat conservation plan for the Santa Ana River wash

A vision first formed in the early 1990s finally came to fruition when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District authority to manage a long-awaited project that will benefit water, environmental, economic and community interests in the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

EPA challenged on limiting state veto power under water act

The EPA is facing two separate challenges from environmental groups over its water rule that narrows the ability of states to veto energy infrastructure projects such as oil and gas pipelines if they adversely affect water quality.

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Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Opinion: State water board trying to drain away Merced County’s chief supply

Less than a week before Christmas in 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board held a single public hearing in our community. The topic? Draining our community’s water supply and sending it to the Bay Delta.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news KXTV

Stockton to switch to ‘owner-only’ utility bill system

The new “owner-only” system means that new utility accounts in the city using city services can only be opened in the name of the property owner—this includes homeowners and owners of apartment properties. … The Stockton City Council opted for the new ordinance after a Jan. 2018 council meeting addressing unpaid bills. Delinquent payments were prompted by billing issues with Stockton’s dual water service providers–the city of Stockton and Cal Water.

Aquafornia news UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Podcast: Water reform in California institutional ecosystems

A conversation with UC Davis doctoral researchers Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos and Jess Rudnick about water governance, institutional reforms, equity, and participation in California.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

Why limiting PFAS in drinking water is a challenge in the US

The question of whether and how much to regulate these persistent chemicals in drinking water has spanned the administrations of US presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. “This is a multi-administration failure to take action on PFOA and PFOS and on the broader class of PFAS chemicals that may pose health effects,” says Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Tribes critical of rushed meeting with federal officials

While farmers lauded Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman’s historic joint visit to the Klamath Basin on Thursday, area tribes expressed concern that their perspective on water issues had not been adequately heard.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Location, location, location: New tool shows where groundwater recharge will maximize benefits

With support from EDF, four UC Santa Barbara graduate students have developed a new mapping tool for California’s Central Valley to identify the best locations for groundwater recharge to secure these bonus benefits. The tool, called Recharge for Resilience, is available online and also can be downloaded by users with more technical expertise.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Governor says Baja used water as a piggy bank. Critics worry about his bigger plan

Baja California’s new governor, Jaime Bonilla, says he is battling to clean up widespread corruption that for years ate away at the state’s water agency. Even Bonilla’s critics acknowledge the corruption and the failing water system, which results in frequent sewage spills that foul Tijuana and San Diego beaches.

Aquafornia news The Hill

350 facilities skip reporting water pollution under temporary EPA rule

A total of 352 facilities, including fossil fuel companies, water treatment plants and schools, made use of the EPA’s relaxation of Clean Water Act requirements, according to a list the agency shared with The Hill. … Environmentalists are raising alarms over the number of facilities that aren’t monitoring their pollution levels, saying the damage could last well beyond the Aug. 31 expiration date of the temporary policy.

Aquafornia news Black Voice News

In response to the state audit, West Valley Water District said . . .

The West Valley Water District published a response to the findings of the California State Auditor in mid-June to help neutralize public criticism over its findings; and to share efforts under the stewardship of the Board’s new President Channing Hawkins…

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County-wide agency proposed to deal with all water issues

Napa County’s water world is a blur of agencies serving busy cities and remote, rural subdivisions, prompting a new study to recommend a degree of unity… Among the big ideas is forming a countywide water district. There are smaller ideas too, with opportunities for collaboration in different ways.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s pollution regulators go toe-to-toe with Trump. Watchdog says they come up short

A California environmental advocacy group urged the state’s air pollution regulator and agriculture department to do more for minority communities in an annual report card it published last week. That report card, compiled by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, issued environmental justice grades to eight agencies, with a statewide C average.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Local groups pause Tijuana sewage lawsuits, but solutions are still far off

The city of Imperial Beach, environmental advocacy group Surfrider Foundation and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board agreed to put down their proverbial legal swords for a period of 12 months while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency puts a stack of cash to work on the decades-long sewage issue plaguing the Tijuana River watershed.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Humpback chub ‘alien abductions’ help frame the future of the Colorado River

Researchers in the Grand Canyon now spend weeks at a time, several times a year, monitoring humpback chub, which has become central to an ecosystem science program with implications for millions of westerners who rely on Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Fremont Weir upgrade successfully balances need for infrastructure and ecosystem preservation

The Fremont Weir Adult Fish Passage Modification Project, which began modified operations in January of 2019, successfully allowed thousands of migrating fish to pass between the Sacramento River and Yolo Bypass in its first year of operations.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

After lengthy legal battle, Pasadena groups victorious at Devil’s Gate Dam

Pasadena conservationist groups secured a major victory on Tuesday when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement agreement, ending a protracted legal battle centered on the removal of 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment from the Devil’s Gate Dam and its potential environmental impacts.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California governor accuses big US companies of water theft

An independent audit of Baja California’s water agency alleges that former employees of the utility colluded with international corporations to defraud the state out of at least $49.4 million… Local and international corporations — including such well-known U.S. names as Coca-Cola, FedEx and Walmart — for years took water for their Mexican factories, retail stores and distribution centers without fully paying for it…

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: Interior officials tour Klamath Basin, promise solutions

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman promised to seek a resolution to the decades-long water conflicts in the basin after meeting with growers, local water officials and other affected parties.

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Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Protecting the Clean Water Act

Decades of environmental protection is threatened to be undone by the recent Trump Administration Executive Order to roll back regulations from the Clean Water Act to speed up energy projects. The proceeding EPA rule-making procedures make it easier for owners of hydroelectric dam projects to bypass state oversight and environmental accountability. Without legislative protection, our waterways are under threat.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

GSA Summit: Lessons learned from the 2020 Groundwater Sustainability Plans: Perspectives from critically overdrafted basins

At the Groundwater Resources Association Third Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit held online in June, a panel of managers from four of the critically overdrafted basins reflected on the hard work of developing and adopting a groundwater sustainability plan.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Opinion: NEPA suspension, infrastructure bill put wetlands at risk

Rollbacks of the Clean Water Act and the executive order to suspend the National Environmental Policy Act are meant to save costs and cut red tape. However, Jeremy Schewe, professional wetland scientist, explains these efforts will ultimately lead to far greater expense to business, society, and the planet, especially when combined with the House proposed infrastructure stimulus package.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: California moves toward smart and efficient water heating

California has just adopted an energy code specification for grid-friendly and super-efficient water heaters that will help decarbonize buildings and the electric grid while saving Californians money on their utility bills.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Ruling avoids additional CVP supply cuts

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd of the Eastern District of California, who is based in Fresno, denied environmental groups’ request for an injunction that would have required the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the CVP, to reduce water allocations as needed to manage water temperatures in the Sacramento River below Shasta Dam. The groups sought more cold water for spring- and winter-run chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Should farmers meter their wells now for SGMA?

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act closing in on growers throughout California, there are many questions. One big one: should growers go ahead and put a meter on their pumps?

Aquafornia news ProPublica

How a PG&E contractor with a sketchy past made millions after California’s deadliest fire

Within weeks of Bay Area Concrete losing its battle before the Hayward Planning Commission, PG&E had hired the company to build and run a dump outside of Paradise, 180 miles to the north. Trucks began dumping potentially toxic slurry at the disposal site, which did not require environmental review as an emergency project and helped speed cleanup operations.

Aquafornia news Kronick

Blog: Court of Appeal reaffirms State Water Board’s authority to regulate unreasonable use through emergency regulations and curtailment orders

On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the State Water Resources Control Board’s (“State Water Board” or “Board”) authority to regulate what it deems to be an unreasonable use of water, in this case through adoption of emergency regulations establishing minimum instream flow requirements to protect migration of threatened fish species during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Without agreements on water, California needs to set new objectives and protections for the Delta

For more than a decade, California’s governors have pushed for “voluntary agreements” to establish rules for water diversions by major urban and agricultural water districts, and to redress their environmental impacts. Voluntary agreements crumbled recently, after the state’s largest water districts walked away from the table.

Aquafornia news Office of the Attorney General

News release: Attorney General Becerra criticizes Trump order instructing federal agencies to circumvent critical environmental review processes

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today led a multistate coalition in expressing opposition to President Trump’s recently signed executive order instructing federal agencies to use emergency authority to bypass critical environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Cross-border sewage lawsuits halted in California for EPA action

The state of California, city of Imperial Beach, and the Surfrider Foundation have agreed to a 12-month stay in litigation over cross-border sewage flowing in from Mexico while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focuses work on the Tijuana River Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada mulls EPA reversal of Obama era drinking water rules

The Trump administration has decided a chemical with a notorious legacy in Nevada will not be regulated in drinking water, but state officials say the reversal of the Obama-era policy shouldn’t result in any decline in drinking water standards across the state.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal district court denies environmental plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction as to Shasta Dam operations

On June 24, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied the preliminary injunctive relief requested by a coalition of fishery and environmental groups regarding the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s operations of Shasta Dam and Reservoir, and related temperature management actions on the upper Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lack of perchlorate standard paves way for Superfund slowdown

The EPA’s decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water will slow Superfund cleanups, especially in the majority of states that lack their own restrictions on the chemical, environmental attorneys said. The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that it wouldn’t set an enforceable limit for perchlorate, a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Appellate court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek

On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources Control Board lawfully adopted emergency regulations and curtailment orders … in 2014 and 2015 during a period of severe and persistent drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Opinion: Cal Am is blocking the Pure Water Monterey expansion

It seems some are willing to wait forever for a new water supply. After 25 years of failure, they still trust Cal Am to come up with a solution. But the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is clearly done waiting. Last Monday, the district board withdrew its support for Cal Am’s proposed desal plant.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Imperial County hits feds with pollution violation notice

As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

St. Helena City Council awards $3.2 million contract for York Creek dam removal

The St. Helena City Council awarded a $3.2 million contact Tuesday to an Arcata firm to remove the Upper York Creek Dam. McCullough Construction will be charged with notching the dam, restoring the creek’s aquatic habitat, and removing an illegal barrier to fish passage that the city first agreed to remove in 2006.

Aquafornia news KSBY

‘This is unacceptable.’ Paso Robles leaders demand action to clean up riverbed

Local and state leaders are sounding the alarm to get the green light to clear the Salinas Riverbed of dry brush and vegetation. … This comes after a fire Monday in Paso Robles which started in the riverbed and quickly moved into a neighborhood destroying two homes and badly damaging nine others.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Water District offers rebates

The Palmdale Water District has rebates to help customers who would like to save water by converting their thirsty lawns into water-wise landscaping. The District may provide up to $2,000 in cash rebates for replacing lawns with xeriscaping as part of the 2020 Water-Wise Landscape Conversion Program

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Losing Carrizo

Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawsuit challenges Trump administration waterway protection rollback

The Environmental Protection Agency has again been sued over its rollback of Obama-era waterway protections. On Thursday, the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of four other environmental groups, sued the agency, claiming that the new rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act and “disregards” science “without any rational, let alone ‘reasonable,’ explanation.”

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

St. Helena City Council declares Phase I water emergency

The St. Helena City Council declared a Phase I water emergency on Tuesday after a critically dry rainfall season. Phase I prohibits customers from adding landscaping and appliances that will increase water use, limits the watering of ornamental landscapes or turf to two days a week, prohibits the use of potable water to irrigate landscaping between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and imposes other conservation measures.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Local reps slam water board for delaying Salinas River work after destructive fire

Two days after a Paso Robles vegetation fire escaped the Salinas Riverbed and destroyed two homes, 35th District Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham slammed regional water officials in a letter alleging that regulators had “stymied” city efforts to clear the river of flammable vegetation.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s 21st century megadrought

A recent paper on climate change in California and the West has been in the news and raising concerns. Based on extensive analysis of tree ring data—a good measure of summer soil moisture—the authors postulate that most of the region is in an unfolding “megadrought” that began in 2000 and is the second worst in the past 1,200 years. … If the state is in a megadrought, it means a great deal. We should plan accordingly.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next, while other states have had more informal discussions.

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Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

How protecting birds can save Western rivers

The American Southwest provides a last stronghold for the yellow-billed cuckoo, which was officially listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened in 2014. This February, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a list of proposed protected areas that trace the curls and curves of rivers and streams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, and Utah.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: A Trojan horse with a state water grab inside

With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in 2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Conservation

Blog: Balancing California’s water future

California’s groundwater – a critical resource in times of drought – is disappearing faster than we’re replenishing it. Our underground savings accounts are tapped, and we face a host of challenges like land subsidence, storage capacity loss and, most importantly, a dwindling water supply for California’s dry times.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes, environmentalists sue to stop rollback of Clean Water Act protections

A coalition of tribal governments, environmentalists and labor advocates has sued to stop implementation of a new federal rule that weakens protections for streams and wetlands. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which which took effect on Monday, rolls back clean-water regulation of intermittent waterways, arroyos and washes.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes action to stop use of certain PFAS in products and protect american consumers

As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, EPA is issuing a final rule giving the agency the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before they could be manufactured, sold, or imported in the United States.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups challenge Trump water rollback

The suit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club, other environmental groups, and a number of tribes, argued the Trump administration erred in removing protections for wetlands and streams that result from rainfall.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Gavin Newsom hands out fracking permits to connected driller

On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana Airport gets water back after paying outstanding bill to Baja California

Passengers and employees at the Tijuana international airport no longer have to use outside portable restrooms because the company that operates the facility on Monday paid about $1.5 million in outstanding water bills, according to the governor. A Baja California state water agency shut off services at the airport last week over the years-long billing dispute.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Saving California’s crayfish

Living in cold streams fed by underground springs, the Shasta crayfish is California’s last native crayfish. Listed as endangered in 1988, the once prolific crayfish have declined over the past 20 years to the point where only about 500 individuals remain. But a project jointly developed by the Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company could change the fate of the crayfish.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump water rule halted in Colo., can take effect elsewhere

A federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for a nationwide injunction of the rule. Hours later, a federal Judge in Colorado agreed to freeze the federal rule within that state. The California court’s decision is a major blow to environmentalists and states that had hoped to block the Navigable Waters Protection Rule across the country before it takes effect Monday.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Scott River notice of water unavailability

With dry conditions resulting in low flows and threatening the survival of coho salmon, the State Water Board today sent notices of water unavailability to110 junior water right holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging them to stop diverting.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Filling Trump void, California steps in to protect birds, wetlands

California officials have parried federal moves with actions of their own — a state law enshrining protection for migratory birds and a new state regulation setting definitions that expand protection to smaller wetlands and seasonal waterways. California’s responses are yet another maneuver in the feud between Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Key PFAS regulatory standards set in california

In support of California’s efforts to investigate and evaluate the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has released interim final Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) for two key prevalent PFAS compounds…

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

City Planner: storm drains are a vital part of Mount Shasta’s water system

Mount Shasta is a community that prides itself on clean water. In the past when water-related issues have come before City Council, meetings are often crowded to the point of overflowing. It is surprising, then, that one of the most important water topics in our city receives so little attention. I’m talking of course about Mount Shasta’s storm drain system.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California and EPA tussle over water quality protections

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg presided over a lengthy and combative hearing that featured attorneys from the state of California making the case that the Trump-era EPA acted contrary to its fundamental mission when it exempted ephemeral streams and wetlands from protections afforded by the Clean Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Bond Buyer

California water district says it was already fixing problems cited in audit

West Valley Water District, California, officials say they have made great strides toward fixing issues outlined in an audit State Controller Betty Yee released. The controller’s report, released Friday, outlined lapses in controls for operations, financial reports, assets and proper use of public funds in an audit that covered the period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018 at the Rialto-based water district.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Revised national standard tightens lead leaching limits for new drinking water fixtures

Effective Thursday, the national consensus standard for plumbing devices, known as NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, was revised to require, by January 1, 2024, that manufacturers of faucets and fountains that dispense drinking water meet limits five times more protective for lead leaching than the current standard. … Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), the trade association for the industry, tells us that its members are already gearing up to get their products certified…

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer

The water agency is close to finishing a water transfer agreement with Westlands Water District. The agreement will call for selling up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings counties.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin

EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage. The agency in a final action today said it determined perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act…

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: State Water Board approves plan to provide $1.2 billion in loans for infrastructure projects

On June 16, the State Water Board adopted planning and funding documents for the clean water and drinking water state revolving fund programs for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and a total of more than $1.2 billion in potential new funding. All projects are directly related to protecting or improving public health, water quality or both.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Politico

Video: America’s environmental future: The water solution

On Monday, June 15, POLITICO held a virtual deep-dive panel discussion on the policies and legislation needed at the state, regional and federal levels to meet the water needs of Western states and secure long-term solutions at a time when the attention and resources of local and state leaders are consumed by the pandemic crisis.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California microplastics definition sets stage for investigation

California’s top water regulator on Tuesday approved a definition of microplastics in drinking water, setting the stage for the state to investigate the extent of contamination from the tiny plastics that have been found in fish, waterways, and other habitats. … The action makes California the first government in the world to define microplastics in a drinking water regulation…

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Aquafornia news WaterOperator.org

The Lytton Tribe manages government-to-government wastewater agreements

The Tribe has been working with Sonoma County to develop 147 housing units as well as a resort and winery. Now that this ongoing development can be performed on land officially held in trust by the U.S. federal government, the Tribe is no longer subject to local land use restrictions. As such, the Lytton Tribe must assess all potential options to best meet future wastewater needs. Collaboration with their Windsor neighbors as well as an environmental assessment identified two primary options…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Nevada water order kills real estate project

Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful of spring-fed desert pools…

Aquafornia news KUNC

For now, no border wall for Arizona tribe’s Colorado River stretch

President Trump’s wall now stretches along 200 miles of U.S.-Mexico borderland. Progress hasn’t slowed during the coronavirus pandemic; in some places it’s even accelerating. But there’s a tiny swath of tribal land on the Colorado River where that’s not the case.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: What’s the dam problem with deadbeat dams?

California’s dams are aging and many will require expensive reconstruction or rehabilitation. … We examined the National Inventory of Dams (NID) to assess the state of California’s dams.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Groundwater Management Act was groundbreaking, but it needs an update

Rural communities are grappling with the challenge other parts of Arizona faced in the past: the need to conserve groundwater for future generations.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County taps citizens for groundwater sustainability plan

Supervisors won’t be creating the plan on their own. The state requires them to consider various interests, such as well owners, public water systems, the environment and surface water users. Thirty-seven people applied for a 25-person groundwater advisory committee. That meant supervisors on Tuesday had to make choices.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana sewage runoff prompts county to extend beach closure to Imperial Beach

Water pollution from Tijuana sewage runoff has once again shuttered the Imperial Beach shoreline. The County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health on Saturday extended north the existing beach water-contact closure area at the Tijuana Slough shoreline to now also include the Imperial Beach shoreline.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Environmentalists see regulatory, funding gaps amid Clean Water Act rollback

Although the Clean Water Act will still protect heavily used waterways in Nevada, including the Colorado River and the Truckee River, it excludes many wetlands and most seasonal streams. As a result, the rule has set off a flurry of legal challenges from environmental groups. And in recent months, several Democrat-led Western states, including Colorado, California and New Mexico, have sued the Trump administration to challenge the final rule. Nevada has not joined those suits.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: The past, present and future of California’s groundwater

The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, granted the state official oversight authority of groundwater. … A new paper published in Society and Natural Resources, examines how the state’s ongoing involvement helped shape current policies by looking at the 120-year history of California’s role in groundwater management…

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Water Agency

News release: Third driest year on record leads to reduced Russian River flow request

The Sonoma County Water Agency filed a Temporary Urgency Change Petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce Russian River minimum in-stream flows this summer. With the Ukiah region facing its third driest water year on record, Lake Mendocino’s water supply is projected to reach critically low levels due to dry conditions and reduced water transfers from the Potter Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Could the answer to groundwater resources come from high in the sky?

A new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Audit slams Rialto water district over no-bid contracts, excessive spending, hiring practices

A state audit released Thursday slammed the embattled West Valley Water District in Rialto for entering into millions of dollars in no-bid contracts, improper hiring practices and excessive spending on travel, lodging and meals by board members.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Farmers to get more water, but not enough

Tulare County farmers will get more water than expected from a dry winter but far less than needed to avoid depleting an aquifer that is already drying up. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project announced the Friant Division … will receive 60% instead of 55% of its Class 1 water supply thanks to improved hydrologic conditions and the forecasted snowmelt runoff in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: San Diego and Tijuana announce plans to improve Tijuana River water treatment

Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities. The international river has been a longtime problem for residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades, often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural habitats along the river.

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Aquafornia news Gold Country Media

City of Folsom talks transfer sale of excess water

“In short, the city is looking to sell/transfer up to 5,000 acre-feet of water in 2020. This water is in excess to what the city would need to meet demands in 2020 and would not impact any existing customers north or south of Highway 50…” said Christine Brainerd, city of Folsom communications director. … The city retains the rights to the water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

State Water Board: Update on SGMA implementation

At the State Water Board’s meeting on June 2nd, Natalie Stork, unit chief for the Groundwater Management Program at the State Water Board, and Craig Altare, chief of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Review section at the Department of Water Resources, updated the board members on how implementation is going so far.

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Concern over ‘forever chemical’ PFAS is high, but remedies remain remote

Once prized as a key ingredient in fire retardant foam, non-stick pans and many everyday items, a synthetic chemical’s appearance in public water supply wells raises questions of how to protect the public from unknown health hazards.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation confirms water supply to Klamath Project

Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project are breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday it will not further reduce this year’s water allotment, which is already less than half of demand. … On the other hand, tribal members that depend on ample salmon runs for their way of life argue the runs will continue to suffer in warm, low rivers without enough flow for them to migrate and spawn.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Understaffed and ‘struggling,’ Central Valley Water Board trims programs

While the budget for next year has yet to be passed, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board is already taking drastic steps to prepare for a significant reduction in staffing. Farmers could face a potential fallout further down the road. “All told, the board is looking at around a 30 to 35% reduction in productivity,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer for the regional board, during a meeting Thursday.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Delta dispute casts shadow on water supplies

With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state and federal governments on managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley water districts take aim at each other’s groundwater plans

There is no tougher playground than California’s water world. Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

PFAS cleanup backers face unexpected foe: Water utilities

PFAS chemicals have invaded the nation’s water supply, thanks mostly to discharges from manufacturers and the use of firefighting foam by the military. Utilities are concerned about being stuck with major expenses if the compounds are declared “hazardous” under the federal Superfund law. They have also resisted efforts in Congress to push what they see as overly broad enforcement limits on PFAS in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Brownstein Water

Blog: EPA’s new Clean Water Act Section 401 certification rule limits tribal water permit power

The new rule issued by EPA allows federal agencies to limit the time frame within which tribes or states are allowed to review and issue conditions on applicable federal permits to less than the one-year limit provided for under the CWA. The new rule also provides that under Section 401, tribes and states are only able to impose conditions related to “water quality requirements.”

Aquafornia news Smart Water Magazine

PFAS forecasted to drive $12.1 billion in water utility spending over next decade

Mounting public concerns and new state regulations in the U.S. are compelling water & wastewater utilities to address health risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a class of pervasive chemicals found in drinking water and wastewater biproducts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Department of Water Resources

News release: Roberto Salmón, Mexican commissioner, steps down from position with International Boundary Waters Commission

In his time with the commission, which has the responsibility for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico, the two nations have taken huge steps forward in assuring that commitments to the primary binational water agreement in the Southwest – the 1944 Mexico-U.S. Water Treaty – were faithfully upheld.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation: Considerations for the regulated community

The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in this litigation provides a road map for the legal and regulatory challenges ahead for the regulated community and agencies implementing Clean Water Act programs that rely on the definition for “Waters of the United States” aka WOTUS. The following provides insights as to how to support a strong Clean Water Act with the new WOTUS definition.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Something in the water: Pollutant may be more hazardous than previously thought

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine, report on the mechanism that perchlorate uses to impact and damage normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The findings, they say, suggest that an acceptable safe concentration of perchlorate in drinking water is 10 times less than previously thought.

Aquafornia news E&E News

What Trump’s permit order means for NEPA, energy and race

Amid a public health crisis that has crashed the economy, President Trump last week ordered his administration to accelerate permitting for major projects — sparking blowback from critics who say it will inflict damage on communities of color he’s accused of ignoring as thousands protest across the country against police brutality and injustice.

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

The government is scaling back water quality protections. These surfers are picking up the slack

In 1984, a small group of California surfers were fed up with the development and water pollution at their favorite break, Malibu’s Surfrider Beach. They took their environmental concerns to California State Parks officials — and prevailed. The Surfrider Foundation was born.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Q&A: Ex-EPA staffer on leaked water research, ‘insane’ regs

Thirty-four years ago, Ronnie Levin’s research on lead in drinking water sounded the alarm for many Americans about risks lurking in their tap water. As the Trump administration propels forward a new rule, Levin is still fighting to make sure communities, especially the most vulnerable, have safe drinking water. … What’s at stake, she says, is the health of some of the most vulnerable communities in the nation.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: The great divide: California communities battle for rights to water

An ongoing struggle between two communities less than a mile apart illustrates the challenges California faces as it tries to deliver clean, affordable drinking water to more than 1 million residents without access to what the state has called a “basic human right.”

Aquafornia news Roseville Today

Placer County Water Agency approves consolidation with Dutch Flat

The Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors approved an agreement allowing the Dutch Flat Mutual Water Company (Dutch Flat Mutual) to consolidate with PCWA… The agreement allows for the extension of PCWA’s distribution system into the Dutch Flat community, effectively connecting current Dutch Flat customers to PCWA’s Alta Water System.

Aquafornia news NetworkWorld

Startup lands $100 million to build floating data centers

Now while the idea of water cooling is hardly new, I was a little flummoxed at Nautilus’s strategy, especially since its first data center will be based in Stockton, California, a city repeatedly voted one of the worst places to live, and the Calaveras River that runs through the town is filthy. There’s a method to the madness, though.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Equal representation on a critical water board is denied due to political fighting

Thousands of people in Marina are being blocked from full representation on the board of a regional water agency, a casualty of a larger battle over the water future of the Monterey Peninsula. The agency is Monterey One Water, and it is responsible for treating sewage.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Leading water associations urge EPA to expedite regulation of PFAS

The National Ground Water Association and eight of the country’s leading drinking water organizations are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move expeditiously as it evaluates drinking water standards for two per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump uses ‘emergency’ to speed up infrastructure projects

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday calling on federal agencies to use emergency powers to “accelerate” infrastructure projects on federal lands as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. The order urges the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense departments to use emergency powers under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act to speed projects through the approval process.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA makes ‘contorted’ legal argument for permit rule

EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that originally granted states that oversight power.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water rights 101

California water law is complex, governed by both state and federal law, part property law and part environmental law. The system incorporates a traditional water rights riparian system with the appropriative system found elsewhere in the West with the result being confusion that often leads to more questions than certainty.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State, feds in talks over water

California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects, a top state official says. The talks are proceeding after Gov. Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

In a dry year, Valley water sales get an extra dose of scrutiny

As California navigates a critically dry water year, many business-as-usual elements are getting a second look. One such transaction is a proposed water sale by the Merced Irrigation District. The district … filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board in March to transfer as much as 45,000 acre-feet of water to a bevy of water districts across the state.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Rosamond Community Services District puts limits on starting water, sewer service accounts

The twin policies, unanimously approved by the Board, are intended to stabilize the district’s revenues by cutting down on nonpayments. Especially in light of new state laws that make it more difficult to collect on delinquent accounts, the district has been looking at means to better secure its revenue stream from water and sewer accounts.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

New front opens in fight over the Lake Powell pipeline

The water rights behind the proposed Lake Powell pipeline are not actually coming from the project’s namesake lake, but rather from the major reservoir upstream on the Green River. Now, Utah water officials’ new request to overhaul those rights has handed opponents a fresh opportunity to thwart the proposed pipeline just as federal officials are about to release a long-awaited environmental review of the $1.2 billion project…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Conservative states defend water rule from California-led suit

Georgia, West Virginia, and 21 other states moved to intervene in litigation in order to help defeat challenges to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule—a joint regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that narrows the types of wetlands and waterways subject to federal Clean Water Act restrictions.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Our community will have a voice in proposed hydro-electric storage project near Joshua Tree

The proposed Eagle Mountain project went through nearly 10 years of regulatory review, mostly under the Obama administration, with deep investigations of potential impacts and subsequent requirements for some of the most stringent mitigations ever placed on a project. … The one hitch for us? We, the very communities who will be impacted by this project have no real voice.

Aquafornia news BNamericas

Mexico poised to breach 75-year water treaty with US

Under the 1944 treaty, the US is committed to sending 1.5mn acre-feet of water from the Colorado River basin to Mexico in 12-month periods, which represents 10% of the river’s average flow, according to the US Congressional Research Service. Meanwhile, Mexico must send 1.75mn acre-feet in five-year cycles from the Rio Grande’s six major tributaries that cross its territory.

Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Petaluma River watershed plan scheduled for state review

A plan to set new restrictions on the levels of bacteria in the Petaluma River Watershed is nearing the next stage of approval. At a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board … will consider a plan meant to cap and reduce the amount of bacteria getting into the Petaluma River Watershed.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump administration looks to fast track logging on public lands

The proposals from the Bureau of Land Management would eliminate a 15-day protest period afforded to the public to comment on timber sales and other forest management decisions. BLM said the comment period they are proposing to cut is repetitive, as people can already submit their thoughts when a project is undergoing review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

States, Democrats want federal help to clean up old oil wells

Fossil fuel companies going bankrupt in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to leave behind thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and some congressional Democrats are calling for a federal program to ensure they’re cleaned up. There are 56,000 known abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S., leaking methane and other air and water pollutants, said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) …

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: EPA limits states and tribes’ ability to protest pipelines and other energy projects

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Monday curtailing the rights of states, tribes and the public to object to federal permits for energy projects and other activities that could pollute waterways across the country. The move … upends how the United States applied a section of the Clean Water Act for nearly a half century.

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Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

Action on revised lead and copper rule scheduled for this summer

The proposed rule revision represents the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. The proposal includes changes for lead tap sampling, corrosion control treatment, lead service line replacement, consumer awareness and public education, new requirements for community water systems to conduct lead in drinking water testing, and public education in schools and childcare facilities.

Aquafornia news Windsor Star

Opinion: California trial may determine fate of fluoridated water

Likely hanging in the balance is the future of artificial water fluoridation in the U.S. with shock waves possibly to be felt in countries which still add synthetic fluoride agents to their drinking water. The plaintiffs comprise a coalition of citizens’ groups, while the defendant is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue is the potential health risks posed by artificial water fluoridation.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

FERC issues declaratory order finding waiver of state Clean Water Act authority

On May 21, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued another order finding that the California State Water Resources Control Board waived its authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to issue a water quality certification in the ongoing relicensing of Yuba Water Agency’s Yuba River Project.

Aquafornia news 60 Minutes

Raw sewage flowing into the Tijuana River brings toxic sludge to California

The term “crisis on the border” typically refers to immigration issues or drugs being smuggled into the country. But it has one more meaning, as we discovered, when we went to the border in early February: tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage that spill every year into the Tijuana River on the Mexican side and flow across the border right into Southern California, polluting the land, air, and sea.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom’s environmental budget cuts escalate tensions with California activists

Administration officials said the state must make painful choices to keep funding intact for core environmental regulatory and safety programs. They also point out that the governor is proposing to boost spending for wildfire preparedness by $90 million and would preserve funding to enforce new clean drinking-water rules.

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Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Trump administration seeks uranium mining near Lake Casitas and approves oil drilling in Carrizo Plain National Monument

The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will require additional action before taking effect, such as changes to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

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

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Aquafornia news The Log

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

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

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Dry year, court decision disappoint Klamath salmon advocates

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

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Aquafornia news Escalon Times

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

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

Aquafornia news CalMatters

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion remains afloat

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

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

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

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

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Local leaders discuss next steps for Paradise Irrigation District funding

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

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

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

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

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

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

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

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Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California should lead the nation in controlling agricultural pollution

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

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Lean but still green

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