Topic: Water Quality

Overview

Water Quality

Water quality in California is regulated by several state agencies, including the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and its nine regional boards, which enforce clean water laws and the Department of Public Health.

Water quality concerns are also often involved in disputes over water rights, particularly in situations involving endangered species or habitat.

The State Water Board administers the Clean Water Grant Program that funds construction of wastewater treatment facilities. The State Water Board also issues general permits for municipalities and construction sites that try to prevent contaminants from those sources from entering municipal storm sewers.

Drinking water standards and regulations are developed by federal and state agencies to protect public health. In California, the Department of Public Health administers the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates drinking water quality in the United States.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA bypassed its West Coast team as feud with California escalated

When the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Andrew Wheeler, accused California of allowing “piles of human feces” on city streets to contaminate sewer systems … the accusations, contained in a Sept. 26 oversight letter, had been developed without the knowledge of the California-based staff, which would normally issue such notices. Instead, it was put together by a small group of political appointees in Washington assigned specifically to target California, according to three current E.P.A. officials.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Water vending businesses tap into customer fears over water quality

Water vending machine companies compete aggressively to sell water outside of supermarkets and pharmacies at an incredible markup. The industry is only lightly regulated – last year the California Department of Public Health inspected just two machines in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California leads lawsuit against rollback of endangered species protections

The lawsuit … argues that the changes undertaken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are unlawful. Endangered species protections are bedrock environmental law, and California leaders warned that less protection will leave threatened species at risk of extinction. California is leading the suit along with Massachusetts and Maryland. Altogether, 17 states have signed on, along with New York City and the District of Columbia.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom should sign SB 1 into law. Without its environmental protections, Californians will suffer

At least 85 different federal laws and regulations affecting California have been weakened or undermined by the Trump administration since January 2017. … That’s why I, along with many proponents, believe that Senate Bill 1 would safeguard our state …

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County’s western pond turtle: A reptile in trouble

The western pond turtle in Butte County is currently shaking in its shell, due to habitat alteration and introduced species that are killing off the local reptile. … The turtle is being evaluated for listing as threatened or endangered, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Controversial water legislation heads to California Assembly floor

Senate Bill 1 is seen as a pre-emptive strike by California lawmakers before the Trump administration ushers in new biological opinions to alter water deliveries through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

How Private Capital is Speeding up Forest Restoration in the Sierra Nevada that Benefits Water
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: A bond fund that fronts the money is expediting a headwaters restoration project to improve forest health, water quality and supply

District Ranger Lon Henderson with Tahoe National Forest points toward an overgrown section of forest within the Blue Forest project area. The majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada forest is awe-inspiring, but beneath the dazzling blue sky, there is a problem: A century of fire suppression and logging practices have left trees too close together. Millions of trees have died, stricken by drought and beetle infestation. Combined with a forest floor cluttered with dry brush and debris, it’s a wildfire waiting to happen.

Fires devastate the Sierra watersheds upon which millions of Californians depend — scorching the ground, unleashing a battering ram of debris and turning hillsides into gelatinous, stream-choking mudflows. 

Aquafornia news ABC23 Bakersfield

Cal Water working on new regulation to keep water flowing when power goes off

Cal Water needs power in order to meet state and federal water quality standards. But meeting those standards got more difficult for Cal Water. The California Public Utilities Commission gave power companies the ability to turn off the power to prevent wildfires after last year’s deadly wildfires in Paradise, California.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: What water is covered by the Clean Water Act?

Waters covered by the Act, called “jurisdictional waters,” are determined by the language of the Act and by court decisions and administrative rulemakings interpreting that language. Ongoing rulemaking efforts by the Trump administration, coupled with several recent court decisions, make defining jurisdictional waters very difficult.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: A diverse Delta: Integrating social and natural sciences

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been extensively studied in terms of its biology, chemistry, and physics, but this wealth of data leaves out a crucial piece of the puzzle: people.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: Across U.S., eruptions of toxic algae plague lakes, threatening drinking water and recreation

Microcystins are poisonous toxins that can form in blooms of blue-green algae. In recent years, algae blooms – actually microscopic bacteria called cyanobacteria – have erupted in hundreds of lakes nationwide, putting at risk Americans whose drinking water comes from those lakes, or who swim, ski or fish in them.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: California leaders finally stepped up on clean, affordable water. One small water district explains this challenge

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed long-overdue legislation to dedicate up to $130 million a year to provide clean, affordable drinking water to more than 1 million Californians who still lack access to this vital resource. … The Seeley County Water District, located in Imperial County approximately 20 miles from Mexican border, is one of these communities.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

New EPA lead standards to give utilities wide latitude

A forthcoming EPA overhaul of standards for lead in drinking water will essentially ban partial lead pipe replacement, in which part of a lead pipe is removed but another part is allowed to remain, Bloomberg Environment has learned.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa’s water quality scores high, amid struggles in other California regions

Where Napa’s water quality is concerned, no news may be good news. A three-year analysis of the city’s water sources showed reservoirs meeting all federal and state limits on a variety of contaminants, a recently released report states.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: The crisis lurking in Californians’ taps: How 1,000 water systems may be at risk

As many as 1,000 community water systems in California may be at high risk of failing to deliver potable water — one out of every three — according to a previously undisclosed estimate by senior officials at the California State Water Resources Control Board… With little oversight, they face problems ranging from bankruptcy to sudden interruptions in water capacity, to harmful toxins being delivered through taps.

Aquafornia news ABC7 News

Volunteers on horseback inform residents on upgrades to water system serving Compton, Willowbrook

Compton’s equestrian community had riders on horseback going around the neighborhood, handing out flyers with information to residents who live in the old Sativa Water District… “We’ve really tried to hit the outreach hard to make sure the folks understand what we’re doing…” Russ Bryden, administrator of L.A. County Public Works, said.

Aquafornia news The Press

State of California reconsiders changes in Franks Tract

The initial objectives of the restoration project were to: improve habitat for the Delta smelt, reduce saltwater intrusion, reduce submerged aquatic weeds and reduce invasive non-native fish species that feed on native fish. Carl Wilcox, a CDFW policy advisor explained the objectives are now more broad and include accommodations for recreational and economic activities that are key to the region’s residents.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Should cap-and-trade funds be used to solve California’s water crisis? That depends

California Influencers this week answered one or both of the following the questions: What are your thoughts regarding Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature’s decision to use money from the state’s cap-and-trade funding to improve drinking water for at-risk Californians? How can California best provide safe and clean water for all of us?

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at danger level: Public urged to avoid water contact

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. DWR increased the advisory from warning to danger after detecting an increased amount of microcystins.

Aquafornia news California Health Report

Opinion: State water agreement is a victory for health equity

Moving forward, we have an opportunity and an obligation to build on this agreement by addressing the barriers that confront small water systems that often have the most difficulty delivering safe, clean water. As advocates and organizers work to ensure that investments go to the communities with greatest needs, the public health community has the responsibility to step forward and align itself with the struggle for water as a human right.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Public urged to stay out of water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels

Visitors are being encouraged to stay out of the water at Mission Bay due to high bacteria levels. On July 17, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health issued an alert for the Bonita Cove part of the Bay that stated: “Bacteria levels may exceed health standards. Avoid water contact in the advisory area.” In addition to Bonita Cove, visitors are being told to not enter the water at Leisure Lagoon.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Lawmakers brawl over PFAS riders

House Democrats are at odds with the White House, Senate Republicans and each other over provisions in defense policy legislation that aim to address toxic chemicals found in drinking water. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS … have been linked to thyroid issues, birth defects and other health problems.

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Cañada Cove residents without drinkable water

Residents in the Cañada Cove neighborhood started their Independence Day holiday with some unexpected news: Water would be turned off for about 12 hours. Five days later, the water is flowing again, but they still cannot drink it.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Local water providers have racked up dozens of violations

Regulators have issued dozens of water-quality citations to over 100 different San Diego water providers in the past five years, according to state and county records. Most violations were issued to small districts, which can have a harder time maintaining and upgrading equipment.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards $3 million for restoration projects

Each of the selected projects strike at the heart of the Sierra Nevada watershed improvement program, SNC’s large-scale restoration initiative designed to improve ecosystem and community resilience in the region.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Runoff collects bacteria before flowing into ocean

To find out what’s in Southern California’s oceans, Spectrum News 1 went below the streets of Los Angeles into a storm drain to track the flow of water. We’re diving into a question scientists are facing: what is in L.A.’s water?

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

After more than a decade, Lanare’s water is finally safe to drink

The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

CDC warns swimmers about ‘Crypto,’ a parasite that can live for days in pools

Federal public health officials are urging people to take precautions to protect themselves against a microscopic parasite that can live for days in swimming pools and water playgrounds and cause severe intestinal problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report last week about the increased number of outbreaks caused by the fecal parasite Cryptosporidium…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Mexican waters eyed as source to save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news California Health Report

California environmental group warns of high arsenic levels in two bottled water brands

An Oakland-based environmental health group is threatening to sue the manufacturers and retailers behind two bottled water brands for failing to warn consumers about allegedly high levels of arsenic in their products.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Report: One in five California schools found detectable levels of lead in drinking water

Nearly one in five California schools found detectable levels of lead in the drinking water, according to recent data from the State Water Board. … Monday was the deadline, under a 2017 law, for local water districts to test school drinking water for lead. CBS13 found there is still no testing data for at least 100 schools in our area, but many local schools tested well above the limit.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Reuse of treated wastewater could save water for other needs

The 2018-19 Solano County grand jury concluded that if treated wastewater could be used to irrigate crops that saved water would help meet the water needs of a growing population. … The grand jury also had recommendations on plant efficiency and taking advantage of other renewable energies and plant output, such as using wind and solar power for plant operations…

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: The connection between homelessness and water is gaining attention under California human right to water law and water quality concerns

A homeless camp set up along the Sacramento River near downtown Sacramento. Each day, people living on the streets and camping along waterways across California face the same struggle – finding clean drinking water and a place to wash and go to the bathroom.

Some find friendly businesses willing to help, or public restrooms and drinking water fountains. Yet for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater Gary Pitzer

As Californians Save More Water, Their Sewers Get Less and That’s a Problem
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Corrosion is evident in this wastewater pipe from Los Angeles County.Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought when water districts were required to meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

Aquafornia news High Country News

See where PFAS pollution has been confirmed in the American West

Because the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate PFAS chemicals, states are left not only to research and track them, but also to develop regulations to clean up already dangerous levels of pollution. And, according to recent data from the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, the West isn’t doing a great job.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax millions of residential water users and others while California enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. For example … many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults. … So I was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on March 20, 2019.

Aquafornia news Adventist Review

U.S. teens walk miles to raise funds for water

The Del Mar Mesa community in San Diego, Calif., has clean running water. Given this fact, the sight of nearly 20 girls in an affluent neighborhood carrying buckets of water up a ravine was out of the ordinary, to say the least. “What we’re trying to do is represent what African women do on a day-to-day basis: the fact that they have to travel several miles — several hours — to just get water,” said Emma Reeves, an 18-year-old high-school senior…

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

‘Stop the Poop’ rally protests coastal pollution at the border

A local advocacy group held a rally Sunday morning calling on the federal government to stop the pollution of coastal waters caused by untreated sewage from the Tijuana River Valley.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be a priority for this legislative session

It is hard to fathom how the fifth-largest economy in the world can settle for letting public water systems serve up contaminated water. How will our economy continue to grow and how will we attract new businesses and new workers if the state can’t provide a basic human need?

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers, Trump agencies set for clash over chemicals in water

The chemicals, commonly abbreviated as PFAS, are used in items ranging from food wrappers and Teflon pans to raincoats and firefighting foam. … Members of Congress have introduced at least 20 bills this session to address PFAS in some form, a record number and a sign of the growing concern.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage flows from Tijuana completely shutter Imperial Beach shoreline

A beach closure that has been in place for months for the southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River.

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Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Speakers plead for Santa Maria to resume putting fluoride in water

Dentists and public-health advocates are speaking out against the city of Santa Maria’s decision to stop adding fluoride to local tap water, calling the supplement a vital step for good oral health. After hearing pleas at the start of the meeting Tuesday night, the City Council asked staff to include the possible restoration of fluoride as part of budget deliberations set for June 18.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Senate rejects proposed tax on water bills

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

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Aquafornia news CSUN Today

CSUN students help link communities with clean water

CSUN students and faculty have long contributed to California’s efforts to ensure access to clean drinking water, efforts that have intensified during the recent multi-year drought. A group of students in CSUN’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies is helping in these efforts.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

City to reluctantly extend water line to rural park

City water will be flowing to yet another community living in county jurisdiction with the state forcing the City Council’s Monday action to supply water service to the privately owned Ceres West Mobile Home Park. … The park, which was approved by the county in 1969, had limited options to supply drinking water to its residents because water from an on-site well exceeds state limits for arsenic and nitrates.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘Flint Is everywhere’: California farmworkers confront a tainted water crisis

Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state’s iconic environmental law

Inside the Capitol’s corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, CEQA is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state’s housing crisis. … New Gov. Gavin Newsom, to fulfill his hyper-ambitious quota of new housing construction, has called for fast-tracking judicial CEQA review of housing, similar to that granted sports teams building stadiums. But the act’s environmentalist defenders are pushing back.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: A new water tax? California has a $21 billion surplus, use that instead

Clean water is important, and there are a million people in the Central Valley without access to it. But do we need a new tax to pay for it? Maybe we don’t. Just last week, a state Senate budget subcommittee eliminated Gov. Newsom’s recommendation for a water tax and replaced it with a $150 million continuous appropriation from the General Fund.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Pinpointed: Water officials name alleged culprit of TCE contamination near airport

A nearly four-year investigation into how a chemical known to cause cancer showed up in more than a dozen rural wells by the San Luis Obispo County Airport has finally concluded with an alleged culprit. Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board investigators say that Noll Inc., a machine shop on Thread Lane, is responsible for the trichloroethylene (TCE) leak…

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Fundraiser focuses on stopping Klamath dam removal

Halting plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River was the theme of a well-attended fundraising event hosted May 4 by the Siskiyou County Water Users Association. Guest speakers, including Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Siskiyou County Supervisor Brandon Criss, former Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams and Attorney James Buchal, author of “The Great Salmon Hoax” discussed problems they foresee with dam removal which they believe is far from a done deal.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Unsafe drinking water is bad enough: But what if you’re the one tasked with fixing it?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Uproot dysfunctional SF Bay protection agency

The commission, created in 1965 and comprised of 27 members appointed primarily by state and local officials, is supposed to protect the environmental health of the bay. If they won’t take their job seriously, Gov. Gavin Newsom, legislative leaders and local officials should replace them with people up to the task.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Golden Gate Bridge district releases environmental report on $2M marsh restoration project in Corte Madera

On a former tidal marsh in Corte Madera that’s blanketed with bay mud and overgrown with invasive grasses, Golden Gate Bridge officials are planning a $2 million restoration project that would bolster habitat for an endangered bird species displaced by the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. The district has released the results of an environmental study of the proposed project and is accepting comments on the report until May 26.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus leaders support bottled water as alternative for small water systems

Stanislaus County will ask the state to consider use of bottled water as a permanent alternative for small public water systems that are in violation of safe drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news Stanford Earth

Toward safe and reliable drinking water for all Californians

California struggles to deliver safe drinking water to millions of residents. The challenges – often complex issues at the interface of human, legislative, technical, and geological dimensions – resist easy answers. Stanford experts explored possible ways forward at a recent panel discussion in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California Today: What’s all this about a water tax?

Gov. Gavin Newsom has made repairing hundreds of failing drinking-water systems in California a big priority since taking office, giving fresh momentum to an entrenched problem the state’s leaders have long struggled to resolve. But his proposed solution — a $140 million yearly tax raised in part through fees on urban water districts — has raised eyebrows in a state where residents already feel overtaxed.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek Water board advances Live Oak treatment site

Locking in a $3.2 million sale price, the Soquel Creek Water District board will enter an initial five-month “option to purchase” agreement to buy a nearly 2-acre parcel in Live Oak. The purchase option period … is designed to give district officials time to survey the 2505 Chanticleer Ave. land, assessing its ability to serve as home to the proposed Pure Water Soquel plant.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California Central Coast, Bay Area to open for oil & gas drilling

A more than five-year moratorium on leasing land in California for oil and gas development will be coming to an end with a May 9 Interior Department plan to open up about 725,000 acres across the state’s Central Coast and the Bay Area for drilling. The decision comes just two weeks after the Trump administration released its plan to reopen more than 1 million acres of public land and federal mineral estate in eight counties in Central California to fracking.

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Aquafornia news Consumer Reports

Looking for info about bottled water quality? Good luck

Unlike tap water, there is no public repository of information for consumers to look up the quality of their favorite bottled water brand and see whether it is free of contaminants. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require companies to submit test reports each year for review… And while several states receive test results each year as part of the permitting process bottlers go through to sell their product, those are often available only through public records requests.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Reforestation project along the scenic byway in eastern Madera County makes progress; Reforesting the French Fire burn scar

Reforestation will improve watershed conditions by restoring severely burned areas to forested conditions, reducing sedimentation and turbidity, and improving water quality for downstream users. It will also improve habitat by providing stabilization that reduces erosion of stream banks and meadows.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Millions for climate, environmental priorities in Newsom’s May budget

The new funding includes about $250 million for climate-related programs, thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program, and $75 million to fund an assessment of wildfire protection plans. … Newsom also defended a controversial tax on water bills that would fund programs to rebuild broken or degraded drinking water infrastructure in some of the state’s poorest communities.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must make drinking water safe for all consumers

No family should have to live in a community in which the water that comes from their taps puts their children’s health at risk. Over the last several years, the state has authorized millions of dollars for emergency actions and one-time patches, but has shied from doing what’s necessary to sustainably solve this problem.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Trump vs. California, the state is winning nearly all its environmental cases

California’s lawsuits have targeted the administration’s policies on immigration, healthcare and education. But nowhere has the legal battle had a greater impact than on Trump’s agenda of dismantling Obama-era environmental and public health regulations. In its rush to delay, repeal and rewrite rules it considers unduly burdensome to industry, the administration has experienced significant setbacks in court.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels

Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. … Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California reports one of the highest levels across the military, at 8 million parts per trillion.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Oakland Unified: Lead in tap water issue taken care of

After years of public outcry and the discovery of dozens of lead-tainted drinking water taps throughout the city’s public schools, Oakland Unified has tested every single drinking water tap at its schools, and is fixing or replacing those with dangerous lead levels.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Toxic drinking water in California prisons costs taxpayers millions

An inmate’s death in Stockton from Legionnaires’ disease marks the third time in four years the rare form of pneumonia has struck California’s state prisons – and has laid bare a history of contamination and other problems plaguing water supplies in the corrections system.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

County board backs small water system treatment rules on temporary basis

County supervisors backed an ordinance that would regulate alternative water treatment options for contaminated small water systems on a trial basis amid public concerns regarding the potential cost and complexity of the proposed rules.

Aquafornia news CNN

Contaminants in California tap water could result in over 15,000 additional cancer cases, study says

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime. These contaminants include chemicals such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health.

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Aquafornia news Tracy Press

Opinion: The case for SB1

Senate Bill 1 … would encourage state agencies, such as regional water quality control boards, Fish & Wildlife, the Air Resources Board, and CalOSHA, to resist Trump administration rollbacks by allowing them to consider applying federal standards for protection in effect as of January 19, 2017, the day before Donald Trump took office, and maintain them in case he is re-elected next year.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah still making repairs after winter flooding

The city of Ukiah is still making repairs to infrastructure damaged in last winter’s storms, the most urgent of which are needed at the facility it uses to deliver drinking water to its residents.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA Proposes Weaker Standards on Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water

After pressure from the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly weakened a proposed standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans and that have been commonly used at military bases.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

How Silicon Valley provides the blueprint for cleaning up our drinking water

The presence of groundwater contamination in Silicon Valley in the 1980s destroyed the narrative that high-tech was a clean alternative to the industrialization of the Northeast and Midwest. But the central concern of residents now dealing with the effects of contaminated drinking water was what to do next. Local activism offered a path forward.

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Stockton prison begins treating contaminated water

California prison officials have started treating water with chlorine following tests that showed a dangerous bacteria was present in water throughout several facilities in Stockton.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As Bay Area heats up, Gov. Gavin Newsom warns of coming wildfire danger

As temperatures soared to summertime levels across the Bay Area, Gov. Gavin Newsom was at Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay hills Tuesday to warn that wildfires don’t only threaten California’s rural regions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

The 80 homes that make up Tooleville nestle against the mighty Friant-Kern Canal, thousands of gallons of fresh water flowing each day past the two-street town. But none of that water can help Tooleville’s decades-old problem of contaminated water, chronicled at the start of this decade in a three-part series by The Bee on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. Nearby Exeter might, though, giving a rise of newfound hope.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Endangered wetlands offer vital wildlife habitat and, often, a reason to fight about coastal development

In Orange and Los Angeles counties, more than 90 percent of the estuaries, lagoons and other coastal waters that existed in the 19th century have been lost to roads, buildings and other development. But what remains provides a crucial habitat for resident animals and migrating birds, including several endangered species.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Legionnaires’ disease found in adjacent California prisons

Legionnaires’ disease bacteria that killed one inmate and sickened another is more widespread than expected in a California state prison, officials said Wednesday, citing new test results. Preliminary results found the bacteria in the water supply at a prison medical facility in Stockton and at two neighboring youth correctional facilities… The bacteria weren’t detected in the Stockton city water supply, though the city supplies water to the state facilities.

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Zone 7 breaks ground on $110 million treatment plant project

Tri-Valley residents can expect better tasting and smelling water from the tap when the expansion and upgrades at the Zone 7 Water Agency Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant are completed. The decade-plus plan to increase capacity and improve water conditions at the plant in eastern Livermore finally broke ground at a ceremony last week…

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Trump administration’s cold water war with California turns hot

Federal and state water managers have coordinated operations of the CVP and the parallel State Water Project for many decades. … But this intergovernmental water policy Era of Good Feeling (relatively speaking) has come to a sudden and dramatic end with the ascension of the Trump Administration.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Court orders EPA to reevaluate Obama-era power plant wastewater rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled on Friday that the EPA’s 2015 power plant wastewater pollution rule was not stringent enough, siding with environmentalists. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan ruled in favor of various environmental groups that portions of the wastewater rule regulating legacy wastewater and liquid from impoundments were “unlawful.”

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farm leaders advocate on Capitol Hill

The California Farm Bureau delegation met last week with more than 20 members of the California congressional delegation, with a particular emphasis on members newly elected in 2018. They met with U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, two days before the Senate confirmed his appointment as the Cabinet’s newest member. For the first time in several years, they conducted a briefing for congressional staff members, to describe key issues facing California farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Imperial Beach residents march for clean water

Fed up neighbors in Imperial Beach are taking action over the pollution problem. The coastline in South County has been plagued by sewage spills coming from Mexico for years. … After spending the morning cleaning the sand, neighbors took to the streets to demand clean water. Holding signs, and repeating protest chants, demonstrators marched on the Imperial Beach Pier and then held a rally.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Vernal pools: Rains bring to life mini-ecosystem

Alongside auto wrecking yards and shipping centers off state Route 905, a pop-up world has emerged with some of the strangest creatures to swim in six inches of water. Here aquatic plants grow next to cacti, and animals that have waited for decades in the dust come to life. In this Otay Mesa preserve are some of San Diego’s vernal pools, fleeting water bodies that appear and vanish over the course of a season.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Passionate comments open Napa Planning Commission’s watershed protection debate

This is among the hottest of Napa County’s hot potatoes. That’s because it strikes such nerves as possible, further constraints on new vineyard development in local hills and a perceived need in some quarters to do more to protect water quality in local reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Connecting the drops in watershed management

The interrelated nature of water issues has given rise to a management approach that integrates flood control, environmental water, and water supply. The Yuba Water Agency manages its watershed in this kind of coordinated manner. We talked to Curt Aikens, the agency’s general manager, about the lessons they’ve learned from this “integrated management” approach.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

EPA, California consider regulation of chemicals found in ski gloves and frying pans also showing up in us waterways

Politicians and environmentalists are ratcheting up the pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to take the first step in regulating drinking water contaminated with a toxic, long-lasting family of chemicals called PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Filling a glass with clean water from the kitchen tap.Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Explore ecological challenges facing the Salton Sea on our Lower Colorado River tour Feb. 27-March 1

On our Lower Colorado River Tour, Feb. 27-March 1, we will visit this fragile ecosystem that harbors 400 bird species and hear from several stakeholders working to address challenges facing the sea, including managers of the Imperial Irrigation District, the Salton Sea Authority and California’s appointed “Sea Czar,” assistant secretary on Salton Sea policy Bruce Wilcox.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Contamination found in streams following Camp Fire

State water quality officials cautioned the public not to drink or cook with untreated surface water from streams throughout the Camp Fire burn area after bacteria and other contaminants were detected in water samples. … Laboratory analyses of surface water samples found concentrations of bacteria (E.Coli), aluminum, antimony and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceeded water quality standards for drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Farms, more productive than ever, are poisoning drinking water in rural America

One in seven Americans drink from private wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Nitrate concentrations rose significantly in 21% of regions where USGS researchers tested groundwater from 2002 through 2012, compared with the 13 prior years. … “The worst-kept secret is how vulnerable private wells are to agricultural runoff,” says David Cwiertny, director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination.

Aquafornia news UC Davis California Water Blog

Blog: Improving public perception of water reuse

Technology already exists to treat reused water to levels meeting or exceeding health standards. But adequate technical capacity is not sufficient. Water reuse can trigger revulsion, especially when water is reused for drinking or other potable purposes. This note explores outreach and engagement strategies to overcome the “yuck factor” and achieve public support for water reuse.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: The global race for groundwater speeds up to feed agriculture’s growing needs

Wells are going dry and there are few long-term solutions available — a common stopgap has been to drill deeper wells. This is exactly what happened in California’s Central Valley. The recent drought there prompted drilling of deeper and deeper water wells to support irrigated agriculture. Groundwater supplies around the world are being threatened by excessive pumping, but drilling deeper wells is not a long-term solution. A better solution is to manage water use and avoid excessive declines in groundwater levels. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gov. Newsom unveils $144 billion budget

The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Newsom proposal wants to tax drinking water

Tackling what promises to be a controversial issue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a tax on drinking water Thursday to help disadvantaged communities clean up contaminated water systems. Newsom’s plan for a “safe and affordable drinking water fund,” included in the new governor’s first budget proposal, attempts to revive an idea that died in the Legislature last year.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Government shutdown having major impact on wildfire prevention efforts in California, officials say

Every winter, forest managers in places like California take a step back, analyze their budgets and plan on how to deal with the next fire season. But the government shutdown has shuttered a lot of those efforts, because federal lands like the U.S. Forest Service— which has been furloughed since December 22 — plays a huge role. For example, crews in Redwood National Park are “just sitting on their hands,” according to University of California fire advisor Lenya Quinn-Davidson in Humboldt County, because they can’t work on federal land during the shutdown.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California is one step closer to a comprehensive update of CEQA guidelines

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines. Several changes to the Guidelines address two hot button topics: global climate change and statewide affordable housing shortages. Many of the changes will significantly alter the application of CEQA to future projects.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

California regulation would broaden wetlands rules

Saying it will continue to protect environmentally sensitive waterways such as wetlands in California, even if federal protections on waters of the U.S. are limited, the State Water Resources Control Board has unveiled a final draft on how it plans to regulate dredge-and-fill activities in the state.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news NBC News

After the fire: Blazes pose hidden threat to the West’s drinking water

As more people build homes in fire-prone areas, and as climate change and other factors increase the frequency of fires, there is a growing risk to life and property throughout the West — and a lesser known risk to the region’s already endangered water supply. At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: 2019 Will Be a Big Year for Water

At stake is an important rule that defines which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. It’s also poised to be a year of reckoning on the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people and 5.5 million acres of farmland. And it could also be a landmark year for water management in California, with several key issues coming to a head. 

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

Women Leading in Water, Colorado River Drought and Promising Solutions — Western Water Year in Review

Dear Western Water readers:

Women named in the last year to water leadership roles (clockwise, from top left): Karla Nemeth, director, California Department of Water Resources; Gloria Gray,  chair, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Brenda Burman, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner; Jayne Harkins,  commissioner, International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico; Amy Haas, executive director, Upper Colorado River Commission.The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.

These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.

We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:

Aquafornia news Washington Post

Communities confront the threat of unregulated chemicals in their drinking water

Calls for the federal government to regulate polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been unsuccessful. Last year the Trump administration tried to block a study urging a much lower threshold of exposure. Harvard University researchers say public drinking-water supplies serving more than 6 million Americans have tested for the chemicals at or above the EPA’s threshold — which many experts argue should be far lower to safeguard public health.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Central Californians concerned about BLM fracking plan in five counties

Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a scoping report on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development on approximately 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate lands on tribal and privately held lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News Release: Environmental Impact Study Released on Klamath Dam Removal

The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.

Aquafornia news ABC30.com

Sanitation concerns shut two areas in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park officials say Hetch Hetchy and Mariposa Grove are now closed from lack of available restrooms and the impact of human waste as a result of the government shutdown.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

State water boards release annual report

The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Big Northern California water deals will trickle down to San Diego

Prompted by the collapse of fish populations, the State Water Resources Control Board is trying to prevent humans from totally drying up these rivers each year. The regulators’ lodestar for how much water the rivers need is the amount of water a Chinook salmon needs to migrate.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monterey Mushrooms accused of polluting Morgan Hill creek

The Bay Area’s largest mushroom grower faces a $67 million lawsuit, accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure, according to officials with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Other Event

CANCELED: U.S. EPA Hearing on Waters of the U.S. Rewrite

CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters. 

Kansas City, Kansas
Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Carr Fire erosion: Crews work to protect Shasta County creeks from rain

A crew was out this week spreading grass seed and straw on hillsides in west Redding to prevent erosion where the Carr Fire burned last summer. So far the California Conservation Corps crew has finished spreading erosion control on about 20 acres out of a planned 1,640 acres where work is planned.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tainted romaine lettuce traced to at least 1 California farm

Officials said a water reservoir at Adam Bros. Farms in Santa Barbara County tested positive for the bacterial strain and the owners are cooperating with U.S. officials. Officials from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not determined how the water reservoir — which is used to irrigate lettuce — became contaminated.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ongoing spill in Mexico flooding Tijuana River with millions of gallons of raw sewage

The equivalent of more than six million gallons a day of raw sewage has been spilling into the Tijuana River since Monday night, according to federal officials. The U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, said Tuesday that counterparts in Mexico informed the agency that the cause of the sewage leak was a ruptured collector pipe.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

The polluted New River poses a hazard on U.S.-Mexico border

The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence.  The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Carr Fire damage continues to threaten water supplies

More than three months after the Carr Fire was contained, the burned out hillsides the deadly blaze left behind continue to pose a threat to water quality in western Shasta County. The barren fire-scarred hillsides could cause drinking water quality problems for communities that rely on water from Whiskeytown Lake, according to a report written for the Shasta County Public Works Department.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide

The Trump administration is poised to roll back Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams, following through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers to rewrite an Obama-era rule limiting pollution.

Related Articles:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump rule would limit EPA’s control over water pollution

The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a talking points memo from the Environmental Protection Agency that was distributed to White House allies this week.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

This river is too toxic to touch, and people live right next to it

The Río Nuevo flows north from Mexico into the United States, passing through a gap in the border fence.  The murky green water reeks of sewage and carries soapsuds, pieces of trash and a load of toxic chemicals from Mexicali, a city filled with factories that manufacture products from electronics to auto parts.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

McGuire tackles crabbing, whale entanglement issues at committee hearing

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire hosted a hearing of the joint committee on fisheries and aquaculture this afternoon, discussing the Dungeness crab season and the issue of whale entanglements. “Domoic acid levels in the Pacific this year have been trending upwards, especially in Northern California,” McGuire said at the start of the hearing, held at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Michigan local health authorities wary of septic bill mandates without funding

In the waning weeks of the two-year legislative session, Michigan lawmakers and local health departments are negotiating revisions to two bills that would alter the state’s sanitary code for septic tanks and other household wastewater treatment systems. Changes are expected to expand the number of septic inspections in order to identify leaking or broken systems that pollute waters and pose disease risks.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Utah, US to launch study on mining pollution in Lake Powell

Utah and U.S. government officials will launch a study this month to determine the extent of mining pollution in Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Off-the-charts air pollution only one of California’s fire hazards

The plumes of smoke from the fire, which has burned 141,000 acres in Northern California, get the most attention, but the Camp Fire is leaving other environmental hazards in its wake: toxic ash from burning homes, polluted water, and burning Superfund sites. … “Anything that’s affecting the air quality will eventually affect water quality,” Los Angeles Waterkeeper Executive Director Bruce Reznik told Bloomberg Environment.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

2018 Election: Voters reject stricter rules for oil, gas, and mining

Losses by green groups in Alaska, Colorado, and Montana contributed to a 2018 election in which water-related policies and funding were on the ballot in at least a dozen local and state initiatives. In two other high-profile decisions, voters in Baltimore backed a first-ever municipal ban on privatization of a city water utility while Californians uncharacteristically rejected an $8.9 billion bond for water projects.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works takes over long-criticized Compton water district

State officials on Wednesday removed the elected board and general manager of a water district that for years has been accused of serving brown, smelly water to its customers in Compton. With a 22-page decree, the State Water Resources Control Board abolished Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member board of directors and ousted its manager.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Newport Beach gets $1.7 million for trash-scooping water wheel, the 2nd in the U.S.

Upper Newport Bay will be the second spot in the nation to install a water wheel that collects trash and debris from upstream waterways. On Thursday, Oct. 25, Newport Beach Mayor Duffy Duffield went to Santa Cruz and received a $1.7 million grant from the California Ocean Protection Council to fund the Newport Bay Water Wheel Project. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Gila River tribe gets OK to develop water quality standards

The Gila River Indian Community has received federal approval to develop its own water quality standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the decision Tuesday.

Related News Release:

Aquafornia news KPBS

California unveils plan to address rapidly rising acid levels in ocean waters

California officials unveiled a plan Thursday that calls for the state to begin taking concrete steps to deal with an ocean that’s getting more acidic. Ocean acidification is a growing problem that researchers say is only expected to get worse as climate changes impact local ocean waters.

Related News Article:

Related News Release:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Dungeness crab season nears in California, but toxins pose a familiar threat

With the state’s recreational Dungeness crab season scheduled to start Nov. 3 and the commercial season Nov. 15, the California Department of Public Health has released preliminary test results on Dungeness crab for domoic acid, the neurotoxin that caused delays in two of the past three crab seasons in the Bay Area.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco water safe to drink — tests after scare in Sunset show no pesticides

Independent lab tests ordered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission found no evidence of pesticides in San Francisco’s drinking water, the agency announced Thursday. The SFPUC collected and analyzed 21 water samples following a minor panic last week after several residents in the Sunset District complained that their store-bought water-testing kits yielded positive results for the herbicides Atrazine and Simazine. Their concerns were amplified over social media.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco officials to test tap water across the city after Sunset District pesticide scare

A San Francisco woman who tested her tap water with a store-bought kit and got a positive reading for pesticides, then posted the results to social media, has prompted the city to step up water testing not just near her home in the Sunset District but across the city. Officials at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission insisted Tuesday, for the second day in a row, that municipal supplies are safe to drink.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Controversy over Klamath River dam removal persists as approval nears

From the air, Iron Gate Reservoir stretches for miles like a long green banner behind Irongate Dam. … State water quality officials posted signs around the lake in June warning people that coming in contact with the cyanobacteria in the algae can cause sickness in people, pets and wildlife.

Aquafornia news EdSource

New California law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

A law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will expand California’s requirement to test water in schools for lead to day care centers and pre-schools that serve nearly 600,000 children. The law marks the first time California’s day care centers have been required to test for lead in water. Only two other states require both K-12 schools and day care centers to do such testing.

Aquafornia news NPR

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘You just don’t touch that tap water unless absolutely necessary’

Americans across the country, from [BarbiAnn] Maynard’s home in rural Appalachia to urban areas like Flint, Mich., or Compton, Calif., are facing a lack of clean, reliable drinking water. At the heart of the problems is a water system in crisis: aging, crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funds to pay for upgrading it.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Scientists uncover genetic basis for toxic algal blooms

Despite decades of research, the trigger that causes algal blooms to begin poisoning their environment has long confounded scientists. Now, researchers from Scripps and UC San Diego have found the genetic underpinning of domoic acid, a harmful neurotoxin. … In California, closures due to toxic blooms have become increasingly common. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

In Senate PFAS hearing, government officials say regulatory response will take years

Despite pleas for immediate action from Michigan and New Hampshire residents who live in communities with PFAS-contaminated groundwater, officials from multiple federal agencies testified at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing that regulatory responses and health studies will take years to complete.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Board members who gave Compton residents brown water are fighting to keep their jobs

A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival. The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Is your drinking water dangerous? In some parts of California, it could be.

Five years ago, California became the first state in the nation to recognize the human right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water. Today, we look at how the state is working to ensure that right and where the biggest concerns for Californians are.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Toxic pesticides found at most illegal California pot farms

Nine of every 10 illegal marijuana farms raided in California this year contained traces of powerful and potentially lethal pesticides that are poisoning wildlife and could endanger water supplies, researchers and federal authorities said Tuesday. … California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who leads the nation’s largest marijuana eradication program, said state drug agents last week found gallons of carbofuran being added to irrigation water at an illegal site in northwestern California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Tax on California water revived to clean up drinking water — but it’s voluntary

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are rebooting an effort to pass a new tax to attack unsafe drinking water in California. But there’s a twist: The proposed tax on water bills would be voluntary, increasing its chances of success among skittish lawmakers in an election year.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State water board won’t vote next week on controversial river flow plan

The State Water Board is making it clear that it won’t vote next week on a much-disputed proposal to require higher river flows for improving water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. Felicia Marcus, who chairs the water board, said in a letter Wednesday to the California Natural Resources Agency that final action will be taken at a board meeting later.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Few California school districts have tested water for lead, even though it’s free

As students head back to class across California this month, many will sip water from school fountains or faucets that could contain high levels of lead. That’s because two-thirds of the state’s 1,026 school districts have not taken advantage of a free state testing program to determine whether the toxic metal is coming out of the taps and, if so, whether it exceeds federal standards.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blue-green algae at a dangerous level at San Luis Reservoir

The Department of Water Resources issued a warning on Friday for those visiting San Luis Reservoir in Merced County: Don’t go in the water. This is based on the potential health risks associated with cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, blooms that accumulate into mats of scum and foam floating on the surface and along the shoreline.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Appeals court tells EPA to stop sales of harmful pesticide

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days. … As a result of its wide use as a pesticide over the past four decades, traces of chlorpyrifos are commonly found in sources of drinking water. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water regulators help target black market marijuana farmers

After Riverside County deputies raided an unlicensed cannabis farm in the small, unincorporated community of Aguanga, they found nearly 3,000 plants growing scattered between the brush. The tip that led Sgt. Tyson Voss and his team to that illicit farm last month came from a source you might not expect: the Cannabis Enforcement Unit of the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Navy failed to alert San Francisco to tainted shipyard water, documents show

The U.S. Navy knew as far back as 1993 that the tap water at its former shipyard in San Francisco contained dangerous amounts of lead, but didn’t tell local officials, visitors or people who worked there, including hundreds of police employees stationed at the site since 1997.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Hot weather, land abuses fueling algal blooms in Western waters

This summer has witnessed an explosion of algae problems in Western water bodies. Usually marked by a bright green mat of floating scum, the blooms are unsightly and unpleasant for water lovers. More concerning are potentially toxic cyanobacteria often produced by the algae, which can be deadly to pets and livestock and cause illnesses in people.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Diamond Valley Lake to reopen after month-long closure for blue-green algae

Boating, fishing and hiking will be allowed again at Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet starting Friday, July 27 — more than a month after it closed because of an algal bloom outbreak. Water quality tests confirmed the potential health effects of a large bloom of blue-green algae had diminished, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said in a Wednesday, July 25, news release.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Poll shows surprising GOP tilt toward environmental issues in California

Proposition 3, an $8.9 billion bond on the November ballot for a range of water projects, has support from 58 percent of California’s likely voters, with 25 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided, the poll indicates.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Toxic algae bloom at ‘dangerous’ level in Lake County

The Lake County Department of Public Health is urging boaters and recreational users to avoid contact with water in Lake County due to a recent bloom of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. The algae, which is seasonal, is currently active in all three sections of the Lake — Lower, Oaks, and Upper.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Flint water crisis prompts call for more federal oversight

A federal watchdog is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water systems nationally and respond more quickly to public health emergencies such as the lead-in-the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Related Article: 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: New EPA acting chief signals more inclusive approach

Andrew Wheeler, the new acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, signaled a more inclusive approach at the agency, telling staffers roiled by months of ethics allegations against his predecessor, “You will find me and my team ready to listen.” … When President Donald Trump called him last week about the job change, the president told him to “clean up the air, clean up the water, and provide regulatory relief,” Wheeler said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Agency that delivered brown, smelly water to customers should be dissolved, board rules

Residents of working-class neighborhoods in Compton and Willowbrook have long fought an uphill battle against their local water district, which over the years has been accused of mismanagement, nepotism, bad service and, most recently, sending brown, smelly water through their taps. Still, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District managed to stay in business.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Regulators will soon know a lot more about algal toxins in US drinking water

Authorities in Salem, Oregon, lifted a drinking water advisory on July 3 that had been in place for children and the elderly since Memorial Day weekend, when algal toxins were discovered in the city’s water system. How many other water systems are at risk from the toxin-producing scum that grows in rivers and lakes, particularly in the warmer months?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Customers sue embattled Compton water district over discolored water

Frustrated by discolored drinking water pouring from their taps, four Compton residents filed a class-action lawsuit late Monday against their water provider, Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … It comes days before a crucial decision by county oversight officials on whether to dissolve the small public water district.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Pruitt is out, handing EPA reins to former coal lobbyist

Bowing out after months of scandals, Scott Pruitt is turning the Environmental Protection Agency over to a far less flashy deputy who is expected to continue Pruitt’s rule-cutting, business-friendly ways as steward of the country’s environment. … EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, will take the helm as acting administrator starting Monday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Bottled water tab at a California prison has hit $46,000 a month

California’s corrections department is spending $46,000 a month to buy bottled water for inmates and staff at a prison in Tracy where it opened a state-of-the-art water treatment plant eight years ago.

Headwaters Tour 2018

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.

Headwaters tour participants on a hike in the Sierra Nevada.

We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state. 

GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Progress on environment could slow on Supreme Court without Kennedy

The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy next month is likely to reshape the high court to the detriment of the environment, legal experts say, potentially limiting progress on such issues as climate change and clean water, even in California, where leaders have long pursued an environmental agenda independent of Washington.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pruitt acts to yield some EPA power over mining, development

Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is proposing surrendering some of his agency’s veto power over waste discharges near waterways by mining and development. In a memo released Wednesday by the EPA, Pruitt directs the agency to study renouncing part of its authority under the half-century-old Clean Water Act to veto permits that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or states grant to allow dumping waste into waterways.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Official for Compton water district is suspended after reports of fake supporters at town hall

The general manager of a small public agency under fire for delivering brown, smelly water to parts of Compton and Willowbrook has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, the water district board’s attorney announced Thursday night.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Suppressed study: EPA underestimated dangers of widespread chemicals

A major environmental health study that had been suppressed by the Trump administration because of the “public relations nightmare” it might cause the Pentagon and other polluters has been quietly released online. … PFAS [perfluoroalkyl substances] compounds are proving to be pervasive in public water systems and around military bases across the country.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

At a meeting about brown water pouring from taps, congresswoman says people were paid to speak out in favor of water district

At a town hall Monday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán alleged that people were paid to pose as residents to speak out in support of an embattled water district, marking a strange twist in the ongoing controversy over discolored water pouring out of taps in Compton and Willowbrook.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Groundwater overpumping boosts arsenic in California aquifer

In California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley, excessive pumping of groundwater has resulted in subsidence, damaging crucial infrastructure, including roads, bridges and water conveyance.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought, heavy rains leave Lake Tahoe with historically bad water clarity: Study

Water clarity in Lake Tahoe reached a record low annual average in 2017 due to a historic drought, record-breaking precipitation and warmer-than-usual lake temperatures, according to a new study.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Dozens of water systems consolidate in California’s farming heartland

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the nation, an estimated 150,000 people are stuck living with contaminated drinking water. … The good news: Help is available to many of these small community water systems, provided they can merge with a neighboring utility that has clean water.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The chemical industry scores a big win at EPA

The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians approve measure to fund parks, conservation

California voters have approved a ballot measure allowing the state borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects that proponents say will help ensure access to clean drinking water. Proposition 68 — one of five statewide measures on the ballot — passed Tuesday with 56 percent of the vote.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why emergency drought assistance will be needed in California for years

With the help of emergency funding requested by Assembly member Joaquin Arambula (D-Kingsburg), whose largely rural district is in the [San Joaquin] valley, the emergency water supply program will likely continue another year at a cost of $3.5 million. Also included in the emergency relief efforts is $10 million to address failing domestic wells and septic tanks, and $10 million for the Drinking Water for Schools Program that funds treatment solutions for schools that struggle with contamination.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Should cruise ships be allowed in marine sanctuaries?

In October 2002, the cruise ship Crystal Harmony anchored outside Monterey Harbor, ferrying more than 900 passengers ashore for the day before continuing on its way to Acapulco, Mexico. Later that night, 14 miles off the pristine coastline of Big Sur, the 790-foot-long ship dumped 36,400 gallons of sewage, gray water and oily waste into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

Local, federal leaders join to fight aftermath of marijuana grows on public lands

Illegal marijuana grows hidden within public lands can be detrimental to the environment and families living close by. Now, local and state leaders are taking a stand. Law enforcement agencies have joined with experts to highlight the damage that marijuana grows have on national forests, the wildlife that inhabit them, and the streams and waterways that flow through them.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: 360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Are you one of them?

An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to a McClatchy analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board. … Now, after years of half solutions, the state is considering its most comprehensive actions to date. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Legislature to enact a statewide tax on drinking water to fix wells and treatment systems in distressed communities. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Illegal pot grows spread deadly pesticides, other hazards, despite change in law

The legalization of cannabis in California has done almost nothing to halt illegal marijuana growing by Mexican drug cartels, which are laying bare large swaths of national forest in California, poisoning wildlife, and siphoning precious water out of creeks and rivers, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Straws. Bottle caps. Polyester. These are the new targets of California’s environmental movement.

More than half a dozen bills aimed at plastic pollution were introduced in Sacramento this year alone — by both coastal legislators and more moderate inland colleagues who see the potential damage not just in oceans but also rivers, lakes and the state’s water supply. No one, they said, wants to drink a glass of water and wonder if they’re also downing a glass of plastic.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: New restoration effort would give big boost to Lake Tahoe watershed

Conservationists in the Lake Tahoe region are celebrating the acquisition by the Tahoe Resource Conservation District of a 206-acre property, Johnson Meadow, in South Lake Tahoe. The property is a key piece of the puzzle for conservation groups who are working to restore the Upper Truckee River watershed and help improve Lake Tahoe’s famous clarity, which has been on the decline in recent decades.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Pruitt promises action on rising threat from contaminants in water systems

Soaring numbers of water systems around the country are testing positive for a dangerous class of chemicals widely used in items that include non-stick pans and firefighting foam, regulators and scientists said Tuesday. The warnings, and promises by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt of official action to confront the related health risks, came in a summit with small-town and state officials increasingly confronting water systems contaminated by the toxic substances.

Aquafornia news CNN

EPA blocks CNN, Associated Press journalists from attending Pruitt speech

Journalists from CNN, the Associated Press and E&E News, a publication that covers energy and environment issues, were barred by the EPA from entering the event, which was focused on harmful chemicals in water. A handful of other reporters from other news organizations, however, were allowed inside the event for Pruitt’s opening remarks after having been previously invited by the agency the day before.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump administration names former oil spokesman as EPA chief for West Coast

The Trump administration on Friday named Mike Stoker, a Santa Barbara County attorney and former oil company spokesman who some credit with coining the “lock her up!” chants against Hillary Clinton at the Republican Convention in 2016, as the new West Coast head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Stoker will lead the U.S. EPA Region 9 office, which is based in San Francisco.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Concerns swell over Trump’s proposed end of funding for beach water-quality tests

Concerns are growing over the Trump administration’s plans to eliminate ocean quality grants used by coastal communities to determine whether the water poses a hazard to beach goers. The EPA stopped requesting the $10 million in annual funds in 2013, saying that states, counties and cities were adequately equipped to continuing the monitoring on their own.

Aquafornia news KCRA Channel 3, Sacramento

Prop. 68 promises billions for California parks, clean water

Supporters argue that Prop. 68 is good for parks and good for improving water quality statewide. … Critics like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, believe the debt payments on the bond will be anything but small.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Head of federal water agency overseeing efforts to combat Tijuana sewage steps down

The top United States official at the international agency charged with overseeing efforts to stem ongoing water pollution in the Tijuana River Valley stepped down on Friday. The departure of Edward Drusina, former commissioner of the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, or IBWC, comes as the agency continues to face legal attacks from South Bay cities that routinely shutter beaches due to pollution from south of the border.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Is your drinking water clean in Merced County?

Advocates gathered in Merced, and similar demonstrations were held around the state, according to advocates, to get elected officials to support Senate Bill 623, which aims to provide a stable source of funding to implement California’s Human Rights to Water, Assembly Bill 685 from 2012.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego fighting alone for $400,000 to cover water testing for lead at schools

San Diego is the only city in California seeking state reimbursement for testing the toxic lead levels in water at local schools, which has cost the city’s water agency more than $400,000. … The requirement, which came in response to a national outcry over lead in drinking water at schools in Michigan, immediately prompted complaints from water agencies that it was an unfunded mandate by the state.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California considers charge on utility bills to create safe water fund

Gaps in funding for water treatment are a major problem in California. Water providers operate independently, relying virtually entirely on customer fees to cover costs. For agencies with scale, money and access to quality water sources, this model works well. But absent those resources, contamination persists for years without resolution.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Pressure mounts to solve California’s toxic farmland drainage problem

Many Americans know the name Kesterson as the California site where thousands of birds and fish were discovered with gruesome deformities in 1983, a result of exposure to selenium-poisoned farm runoff. Thirty-five years later, it is one of the oldest unresolved water problems in the state.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Latest Western Water examines how California strives to protect water amid a ‘green rush’ of legal cannabis

Western Water writer Gary Pitzer explored how California water regulators are trying to address the impacts on water quality and supply from this newly regulated industry, how federal officials are approaching it and what other states that have legalized marijuana have done. And he addressed the question that remains on many minds: Will growers that have operated in the shadows for years accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California voters will consider two water bonds this election cycle

Two different water bonds are set to appear on the California ballot this election season, after a $9 billion measure gathered enough signatures to qualify in November, according to the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District fined $360,000 over sewage discharge

The city of Oakland and East Bay Municipal Utility District must pay more than $360,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing untreated sewage into the San Francisco Bay, officials said Tuesday. In 2014, EBMUD and seven East Bay communities it serves, including Oakland and Berkeley, paid $1.5 million in civil penalties for past sewage discharges.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California voters should expect to decide on an $8.9-billion water bond in November

A proposal to borrow $8.9 billion for improvements to California’s water quality systems and watersheds and protection of natural habitats is eligible for the statewide ballot in November, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced in a press release Wednesday.

Commands