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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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,’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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…
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.
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
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.) …
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.