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 Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Redheaded Blackbelt

Blog: Overturned fuel tank at cannabis grow leads to over $100,000 fine and more

Two out-of-state men were ordered by a judge to pay $117,373 in restitution for water pollution violations stemming from an overturned fuel tank that released an estimated 760 gallons of diesel into Rock Tree Creek, a tributary of the Eel River.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Radhika Fox appointed to lead EPA’s Office of Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water. Fox was a Day One Presidential Appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration. She will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

California to impose first statewide rules for winery wastewater, marking new era

Hundreds of California wineries will for the first time be governed by statewide wastewater processing rules, a change from the long-held, regional approach that could increase production costs for wineries and protections for waterways while providing consistency for vintners across the state. The move toward a statewide regulatory framework, a five-year effort championed by industry leaders, was finalized this week by the State Water Resources Control Board, which approved an order setting up guidelines for wastewater processing at most of the more than 3,600 bonded wineries in the state. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dupont, 3M win dismissal of California water utility’s PFAS suit

3M Co. and E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc. shook off a California water utility’s claims that they contaminated the state water supply with PFAS after the Central District of California found the utility failed to establish jurisdiction. Golden State Water Co. alleges that the companies “directed and instructed” intermediaries and end users of their products to dispose of them in a way they should have known may cause contamination. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time …The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. One stark example from the study of rapid color change is Lake Mead along the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Lightning Complex Fires also seriously damaged drinking water systems

As the CZU Lightning Complex fire bore down on Gail Mahood’s tree-shrouded Felton neighborhood last August, she gathered what possessions she could and fled. … Thankfully, fire crews saved the little community of 20 or so houses, stopping the blaze within a half-mile of Mahood’s home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the pipes that delivered drinking water from a spring just up the hill were completely destroyed.

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Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water. Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources Control Board this year. Scott Coffin, a researcher with the agency, visits with an overview of the issues with microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Low income communities drowning in water debt, new California Water Board survey finds

Low income communities across the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state are being hit hard by rising water and utility debt according to a recent survey released by the California Water Board.  Michael Claiborne, an attorney with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, says residents are having to decide which essential service to pay for amid a global pandemic. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Will Kamala Harris champion water justice for California?

A month before she began campaigning for the second-highest political position in the United States, now-Vice President Kamala Harris briefly turned her attention to a small town with a big drinking water problem. “Utterly unacceptable that in 2020, we still can’t guarantee clean water to communities across America. It’s a fundamental human right,” Harris said in a July 9 tweet about the town of Earlimart in California’s Central Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Western Slope Now

Colorado River District funds first Western Slope water project after passage of 7A

The Colorado River District’s Board of Directors finalized a new program that will fund Western Slope water projects and approved funding for the program’s first-ever project. The Partnership Project Funding Program will fund multi-purpose water projects on the Western Slope in five project categories: productive agriculture, infrastructure, healthy rivers, watershed health and water quality, and conservation and efficiency. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Justice

News release: Agricultural developer agrees to pay clean water act fines, mitigate impacts to sensitive streams and wetlands

A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty, preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River located in Tehama County, California, the Justice Department announced today.  Roger J. LaPant Jr. purchased the property in this case in 2011 and sold it in 2012…

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gearing up for long-term water use efficiency

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that ACWA member agencies are highly skilled at delivering essential services to their customers even during the most unexpected and unprecedented times. As we gear up for the new year, our members continue to impress with their collaborative and coordinated efforts on vital issues affecting California water management, including the implementation of additional long-term water use efficiency strategies to increase resiliency in dry years. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California residents owe $1 billion in water debt. Shutoffs coming?

In a time of record-breaking unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians owe an estimated $1 billion in unpaid water utility bills. With reduced revenue, hundreds of water utilities are at high risk of financial emergency. The State Water Board estimates at least 1.6 million households have an average of roughly $500 in water debt — a crisis that could lead to a wave of families facing water shutoffs, liens on their homes or other collection methods. … Data show Black and Latino households are disproportionately affected. 

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Aquafornia news The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Millions of people drinking groundwater with pesticides or pesticide degradates

 A study of groundwater that feeds public drinking water supply finds pesticides in 41% of supply wells (and a handful of freshwater springs). Two-thirds of that 41% contain pesticide compounds per se, and one-third contain pesticide degradates — compounds resulting from biotic (or abiotic) transformation of pesticides into other compounds.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Blog: Sacramento Superior Court rejects State Water Board’s attempt to apply Water Quality Control Plan to waters not covered by the Clean Water Act

The Sacramento County Superior Court recently issued a final decision in San Joaquin Tributaries Authority v. California State Water Resources Control Board, finding that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is not authorized to adopt a state-level water quality control plan for waters that are not classified as waters of the United States. As a result, the State Board is prohibited from applying the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (Inland Surface Waters WQCP) to wetlands that do not meet the federal definition of waters of the United States.

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning, we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

LA has plan for network of waterways in the land of cars

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County officials released their preliminary master plan for the river “reimagined” to support both ecosystems and people who live along [the LA River's] 51-mile corridor. … The long-awaited plan — the result of five years of input from community residents, organizations and people like renowned architect Frank Gehry — will provide a foundation as the region balances its duty to protect properties from flooding with the need for more access to natural environments.

Aquafornia news Kings River Conservation District

News Release: KRCD joins over 200 organizations urging President-elect Joe Biden to address aging water infrastructure

A national coalition of over 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts urged President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leadership to address aging Western water infrastructure in any potential infrastructure or economic recovery package. Kings River Conservation District was among the organizations to sign on to the letter.

Aquafornia news Patch

LA River master plan focuses on water quality, parks access

Eco-friendly projects designed to improve water quality and increase access to parks while addressing social issues in surrounding communities are among the goals of an updated master plan to revitalize the Los Angeles River, released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Sierra Magazine

Another hurdle cleared, Klamath dams closer to coming down

After years of negotiations and agreements, roadblocks, renegotiations, and new agreements, dam removal on the Klamath river is closer than ever to becoming a reality. With almost all of the bureaucratic hurdles overcome, four of the six dams on the Klamath are slated to be removed by 2024, restoring fish access to the entire river. If carried out as planned, it will be the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States,  opening up 400 river-miles of habitat to salmon, trout, and eels, for the first time in decades. The Yurok Tribe and Klamath River Renewal Corporation hope it will also mean a return to a healthy river…

Aquafornia news UC California Naturalist

Blog: Have you heard the story of Lake Cahuilla?

The building of dams on the Colorado River has forever changed the ebb and flow, flooding, drying and renewal cycle of what was once Lake Cahuilla, changing its character and changing its name to the Salton Sea. Entrepreneurs once thought that the Salton Sea would become a sportsman’s mecca, providing fishing, boating, and waterskiing experiences like no other. There were a few decades where that dream seemed to be true. Then it wasn’t.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Salton Sea habitat project breaks ground near New River

Construction began this week on a 4,110-acre wetlands project on the Salton Sea’s playa near the mouth of the highly polluted New River, the California Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday. Called the Species Conservation Habitat Project, the $206.5 million plan will build ponds and wetlands along the small delta to provide wildlife habitat and suppress dust. The final design includes 340 additional acres of coverage as compared to older projections, and work led by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. is expected to be finished by 2024.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Clean water plans need more public involvement, activists say

The stage is finally set for years of talking to be translated into actual clean drinking water for potentially thousands of San Joaquin Valley residents. But activists fear the effort will flop before the curtain rises if more isn’t done to engage the people who are drinking that water. The issue is nitrate, which is  rife the valley’s groundwater and considered dangerous for infants and pregnant women.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Pendulum swings in Clean Water Act regulation

The regulatory pendulum is expected to swing toward stricter Clean Water Act enforcement, though experts say the Biden administration’s changes probably won’t be immediate. Farmers and environmentalists have been in a political tug-of-war over the law’s scope for years, largely due to ambiguous legal interpretations of the statute. While Democrats will now have power over Congress, their majority is too slim to make changes to the law, said Don Parrish, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s senior director of regulatory relations.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

‘Water is Life’ student art contest opens for Redondo Beach kids

West Basin Municipal Water District announced its 2021 “Water Is Life” art contest is now open for Redondo Beach student submissions. The annual art contest from West Basin recognizes student creativity and innovation throughout its service area. Student artists help inspire their communities to support water conservation as a way of life by creating thought-provoking water-smart pieces of art. Submissions are due via regular mail or email by March 19.

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Aquafornia news Financial Times

In California, a journey to the end of the road

I came to the Salton Sea as part of the research for a new book about the ecology and psychology of abandoned places, an investigation into how nature can adapt and recover in the long shadow cast by human activities. It had taken me to some of the world’s most eerie, ravaged and polluted sites — from the disaster zones of Chernobyl and Montserrat, to former frontlines in Cyprus and Verdun, Detroit’s blighted neighbourhoods and a Scottish island whose last residents left in 1974. The Salton Sea — its seaside resorts left landlocked by shrinking waters, its boats rotting in the bowls of dry marinas — felt a fitting final destination.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

California Attorney General Becerra joins multistate effort to hold polluters accountable under the clean water act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday, as part of a 12-state coalition, submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arguing that its new draft guidance misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund… In the comment letter, the coalition argues that the EPA’s draft guidance tips the scales in favor of polluters by providing them with additional arguments to avoid regulation under the Clean Water Act, contravenes the purpose of the Act, and conflicts with the Court’s decision in County of Maui.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Nevada environmental agency funds water projects in Tahoe

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that $1 million in Clean Water Act grant funds provided by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency will be used to complete 11 projects, including two in Lake Tahoe, to reduce “nonpoint source pollution” and improve water quality across the state.

Aquafornia news Vox

Why the American West is fighting for water protections

Since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, the assumption has been that all waterways are protected from pollution… But the Trump administration has managed to successfully chip away at environmental protections in the US, including actions like 2020’s implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The rule redefined which waterways are under the jurisdiction of and protected by the Clean Water Act, omitting many wetlands and non-perennial water sources, which means some areas of the country are impacted more than others. 

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA muddies the water on permitting discharges to groundwater ‎and what the Biden administration will likely do about it

The EPA did issue a draft guidance memorandum relating to the County of Maui decision, notice of which was published in the Federal Register on December 10, ‎‎2020. However, instead of clarifying the seven criteria stated by the Court in County of ‎Maui or the application of those criteria, the EPA took seven and half pages to state ‎three truisms and added an additional criteria not stated in the Court’s decision ‎bringing the total number of factors to consider in determining whether a discharge to ‎ground water is the functional equivalent of a discharge to navigable waters to eight.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

What lurks beneath: PG&E and water board reach draft settlement over water flushed back into ocean from Diablo Canyon power plant

PG&E has agreed to pay $5.9 million to a local nonprofit as part of a tentative settlement between the company and water regulators that resolves a long-running investigation into Diablo Canyon Power Plant and its cooling system’s impact on the marine environment. The draft settlement is the result of more than 20 years of investigation and monitoring at the nuclear power plant site. 

Aquafornia news KQED

Groundwater beneath your feet is rising with the sea. It could bring long-buried toxins with it

Rising seas can evoke images of waves crashing into beachfront property or a torrent of water rolling through downtown streets. But there’s a lesser-known hazard of climate change for those who live along shorelines the world over: freshwater in the ground beneath them creeping slowly upward. For many Bay Area residents who live near the water’s edge, little-publicized research indicates the problem could start to manifest in 10-15 years, particularly in low-lying communities like those in Oakland, Alameda and Marin City.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Arizona unveils draft legislation to create surface water protections

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public feedback on its draft legislation to establish a set of regulations to protect surface water statewide. The changes implemented by the Trump administration earlier this year dramatically curtailed the list of waters that fall under the Clean Water Act, excluding a vast number of streams, washes and creeks from federal pollution protection. Importantly for arid Arizona, ephemeral waters – those that only flow after rain or snow – are no longer protected.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA’s Clean Water Act groundwater guidance says little, will likely be rescinded

EPA’s recent draft guidance memorandum on applying the Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund provides little clarity for determining when a release to groundwater is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge such that it requires an NPDES permit. Instead, the guidance largely stresses how the Maui decision did not fundamentally change permitting under the Clean Water Act, while explaining how permit writers might consider system design and performance in assessing functional equivalence.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Plastic pipes are polluting drinking water systems after wildfires – it’s a risk in urban fires, too

When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard. Our testing has now confirmed a source of these chemicals, and it’s clear that wildfires aren’t the only blazes that put drinking water systems at risk.

Aquafornia news The Appeal-Democrat

Yuba Water to meet with State Water Board regarding issues in lawsuit

Representatives from the Yuba Water Agency plan to meet with members of the State Water Resources Control Board to discuss certain requirements imposed by a recent water quality certification that is expected to cost the agency anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion to implement in order to continue operations along the Yuba River, which resulted in Yuba Water filing a lawsuit in both state and federal court in November.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

State water officials levy $6.4m fine against luxury resort

The company behind a luxury resort and residential project near Healdsburg is facing a $6.4 million fine over dozens of alleged water quality violations involving streams that feed into the Russian River, according to state water officials. 

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Assemblyman Adam Gray is stripped of committee chairmanship

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, said he was removed from the chairmanship of the Governmental Organization Committee over the No. 1 issue in his district — water. The Merced Democrat lost a previous committee assignment because of his opposition to State Water Board proposals to take flows away from agriculture and other water users on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Bureau of Reclamation looks to possible end of Paradox desalination project

A highly effective but problematic Colorado River desalination project in western Montrose County’s Paradox Valley could come to an end due to the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s difficulty finding an acceptable means of continuing it.

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Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Montage Healdsburg resort developer fined record $6.4 million for water violations

State water quality regulators have fined the developer of Montage Healdsburg, the ultra-luxury resort set to open Saturday, more than $6.4 million for environmental violations tied to hotel construction during the stormy winter months of late 2018 and early 2019.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: EPA issues guidance on groundwater releases in wake of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published guidance on how to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. The guidance provides some clarity as to when a discharge to groundwater is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge from a point source into navigable waters.”

Aquafornia news Valley News

Study shows promising solutions for water quality improvements in Lake Elsinore

The Lake Elsinore & San Jacinto Watersheds Authority recently wrapped up a one-year study that evaluated the Lake Elsinore fishery and identified potential solutions to improve the lake’s ecosystem and overall water quality in Lake Elsinore.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Steps to cool the climate will improve water quality, too

While much of Washington remains mired in partisan gridlock, there is new cooperation in two areas critical to managing climate change: reducing carbon emissions from agriculture and shifting to electric vehicles.  This is obviously good news for the climate, and it will help protect the quality of rivers, streams and coastal waters across the United States. It turns out that what’s good for the climate pays dividends in clean water.
-Written by Jeff Peterson, a retired senior policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news SciTech Daily

Columbia researchers warn: several U.S. populations and regions exposed to high arsenic concentrations in drinking water

A new national study of public water systems found that arsenic levels were not uniform across the U.S., even after implementation of the latest national regulatory standard. In the first study to assess differences in public drinking water arsenic exposures by geographic subgroups, researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health confirmed there are inequalities in drinking water arsenic exposure…. Community water systems reliant on groundwater, serving smaller populations located in the Southwest, and Hispanic communities were more likely to continue exceeding the national maximum containment level, raising environmental justice concerns.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Edison pleads to water code crime, will pay $3.5 million

Southern California Edison has pleaded no contest to a criminal violation of the California Water Code and will pay $3.5 million in civil penalties after dumping massive amounts of dirt and rock into Mission Creek during an unpermitted grading project along Spyglass Ridge Road [in Santa Barbara County]. 

Aquafornia news The Press Enterprise

Fish restocked in Lake Elsinore to improve water quality

Lake Elsinore is being restocked with fish — the latest in continuing efforts to help improve the lake’s water quality and ecosystem. Early Friday, Dec. 4, the lake was stocked with bluegill, black crappie, striped bass and redear sunfish. The species were chosen after a year-long population study found that some types of fish — including channel catfish, largemouth bass, silverside minnows and mosquitofish — were overpopulating the lake.

Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Time’ names its Kid of the Year: Water-testing scientist Gitanjali Rao

Gitanjali Rao, a Colorado teenager who invented a mobile device to test for lead in drinking water, is Time’s Kid of the Year for 2020. The magazine announced the award Thursday, citing Rao’s ability to apply scientific ideas to real-world problems — and her desire to motivate other kids to take up their own causes.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Aquatic toxicity plan will upgrade protections for fish, other aquatic life

The State Water Resources Control Board approved a comprehensive plan to ensure lab testing and analysis for toxicity in waterways are completed using the same protocols and standards statewide. This will help address toxicity in California’s waterways and significantly improve protections for fish and other aquatic life.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. … A new study led by researchers at the University of Nevada Reno demonstrates for the first time that meadows throughout the region are both gaining and losing carbon at high rates.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rescues underway for rare species marooned by wildfire

Just weeks after the Bobcat fire ravaged the San Gabriel Mountains, state and federal biologists are racing to salvage as many federally endangered species as possible before storms could inundate the animals’ last outposts with mud and debris. … “This may be the last time in my life that I see wild mountain yellow-legged frogs in the last best place for them,” said biologist Robert Fisher…

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water. Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial, according to a number of water advocates and analysts. Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.

Related article:

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

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

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Here’s how wildfires could affect the water in Lake Oroville

The North Complex Fire has burned a large portion of Lake Oroville’s watershed. This could lead to hazardous water quality after winter rains run all of that sediment into the lake and the effects could last decades. However, how water quality could be affected by the fire is still largely unknown.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

SCV Water awarded $10 mil in grants

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency received $10.5 million in grants from the California Department of Water Resources to fund five local projects related to recycling and water-quality improvements.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA hired consultants to counter staff experts on fluoride in water

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

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

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

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

Aquafornia news YubaNet.com

Study: Climate change could deliver more sediment and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes research articles and commentaries providing a broad understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.

Aquafornia news E&E News

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump ‘anarchist’ order would hit cities’ enviro programs

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

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

California childcare centers get $6.1 million to test for lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued $6,137,000 in grants to assist the California Department of Social Services with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in childcare centers.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Clean water advocates hoping to safeguard SAFER funding

The state is peppered with failing small water systems, many serving low-income communities without the resources to repair them. … That’s where the new Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program comes in.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein bill would reduce border pollution, improve water quality

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

DOJ limits Clean Water Act enforcement overlap with states

Some outside lawyers lauded the move for protecting against excessive enforcement, while others warned that the policy could let some polluters off easy. It’s the latest example of the Trump administration setting new rules for federal environmental enforcement.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Central Valley could get federal aid for drinking water crisis. Will Trump support it?

Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water — if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure package currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Long Criticized For Inaction At Salton Sea, California Says It’s All-In On Effort To Preserve State’s Largest Lake
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Dust suppression, habitat are key elements in long-term plan to aid sea, whose ills have been a sore point in Colorado River management

The Salton Sea is a major nesting, wintering and stopover site for about 400 bird species. Out of sight and out of mind to most people, the Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and surrounded by clouds of choking dust.

The sea’s problems stretch beyond its boundaries in Imperial and Riverside counties and threaten to undermine multistate management of the Colorado River. A 2019 Drought Contingency Plan for the Lower Colorado River Basin was briefly stalled when the Imperial Irrigation District, holding the river’s largest water allocation, balked at participating in the plan because, the district said, it ignored the problems of the Salton Sea.  

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

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

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

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Racism is fueling disparities in access to safe water

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

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

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

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

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

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

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

Aquafornia news The Hill

350 facilities skip reporting water pollution under temporary EPA rule

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

Aquafornia news USGS

News Release: Food web dynamics influence mercury movement in Colorado River, Grand Canyon

A new study describes how food web dynamics influence the movement of mercury throughout the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. This new research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners represents one of the first times that the movement and fate of mercury has been traced through an entire food web.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Southern California beaches get good water quality marks — at least in the summer

With Southern California beaches largely open again — and Los Angeles beaches expected to reopen after a timeout for the three-day holiday weekend — you might find latest Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card on water quality reassuring when you head back to the ocean.

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Report finds Zone 7 drinking water exceeded standards in 2019

Tri-Valley residents might be happy to know the quality of their drinking water met, and often exceeded, all state and federal standards last year, according to the 2019 Annual Consumer Confidence Report for the Zone 7 Water Agency.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Lake Tahoe-area forests, wildlife preserved in $14 million deal

he Northern Sierra Partnership, a coalition of land trusts based in Palo Alto and funded in large part with donations from Silicon Valley technology leaders, purchased the 2,914 acres located about two miles north of Truckee. The purchase is part of a multi-year effort to protect 100,000 acres or more between Lake Tahoe and Mount Lassen for wildlife, public recreation and water conservation.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault

After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of Water Resources has selected this project for the draft recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Woodland report shows water quality remains high

The report, recently released by the city, shows minimal, or “zero,” levels of cancer-causing chemicals and dissolved solids that were present as little as four years ago when the city relied on well water. Today the city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which it is treated and delivered to homes and businesses.

Aquafornia news CV Independent

Infrastructure on the way: State funds projects to bring safe water and fire protection to two east valley communities and a Thermal elementary school

After nearly six years of work by Castulo Estrada, the rest of the Coachella Valley Water District board and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, the water district announced in early May that the State Water Resources Control Board had approved two construction grants, totaling about $3.3 million. The funds will be used to complete three projects that will bring safe, reliable water service and fire protection to two disadvantaged communities and one elementary school in the eastern Coachella Valley.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In California, a push grows to turn dead trees into biomass energy

As forests in California and the Western U.S. are hit by rising numbers of fires and disease outbreaks related to climate change, some experts argue that using dead and diseased trees to produce biomass energy will help to restore forests and reduce CO2 emissions.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Supreme Court: Kavanaugh takes cues from Scalia in groundwater ruling

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of six justices who said permits are required if the pollution at issue amounted to the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge (Greenwire, April 23). But instead of just signing onto the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, Kavanaugh penned his own concurrence saying he agreed with the majority opinion “in full.”

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Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego mayor thanks water treatment plant employees

Following efforts to increase safety measures throughout all City departments to stop the spread of COVID-19, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer toured the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant on Friday to observe increased safety protocols. He also thanked City employees as they continue to deliver safe, reliable water to over 1.4 million San Diegans.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point With An Uncertain End
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Voluntary agreement discussions continue despite court fights, state-federal conflicts and skepticism among some water users and environmental groups

Aerial image of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaVoluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state regulators.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Anticipating coronavirus spread, groups seek to scale up handwashing and hygiene efforts

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, handwashing and hygiene are swelling in urgency and support, even though the message being delivered is not new.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Dam tweaks yield results

The return of rainbow trout to Calaveras Creek marks a milestone in an ongoing, multi-agency restora-tion of Alameda Creek, which drains more than 600 square miles of the East Bay. Much of the watershed is heavily developed and modified, especially the northern reaches in and around Pleasanton and Livermore.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Silicon Valley water district employee tests positive, CEO and other leaders self-quarantine

An employee at Silicon Valley’s largest water district has tested positive for coronavirus, and at least eight other employees, including CEO Norma Camacho, were in self-quarantine as a result. … The employee is not involved with the treatment or delivery of drinking water, and that service continues uninterrupted, officials at the district, also known as Valley Water, said Monday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Monday Top of the Scroll: L.A. city officials: Tap water still safe to drink, even as coronavirus spreads

Those who live in the city of Los Angeles don’t need to stockpile bottled water in the midst of growing fears about the spread of COVID-19, city officials urged Thursday. The L.A. Department of Water and Power reminded residents that their tap water is safe to drink, even as the coronavirus spreads.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

San Bernardino schools and East Valley Water District open career pathway

The new career prep program was created out of a partnership between the school district and water district that is linked to the development of East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural Resource Center water recycling plant now under construction across Sixth Street from the high school.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation may follow clarified clean water jurisdiction

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a long-awaited new rule redefining the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Agencies state that their so-called Navigable Waters Protection Rule will improve and streamline the regulatory definition of WOTUS.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration eyes changes to environmental enforcement

The White House issued a notice [Thursday] seeking input on efforts to “reform enforcement” — a potential boon for the energy industry. … [Thursday's] memo, which appears in the Federal Register, states that federal enforcement has ballooned in recent decades but protections for defendants has not.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The nuts and bolts of the Central Valley Salts program

At a breakfast event hosted by the Water Association of Kern County shortly after the amendments were adopted, a panel discussed what the new program from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board means for dischargers in the Central Valley. The panel speakers were Clay Rodgers, Assistant Executive Officer at the regional water board; Tess Dunham, an attorney with Somach Simmons & Dunn; and Richard Meyerhoff, a water quality specialist with GEI Consultants.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Santa Maria to begin large-scale restoration project in riverbed

The city of Santa Maria is set to begin a native-plant restoration project on about 150 acres of city-owned land in the Santa Maria Riverbed, a spokesman announced Wednesday. The work is slated to begin this week, east of the Highway 101 bridge.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Douglas E. Beeman

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK-Our 2019 articles spanned the gamut from groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency to collaboration and innovation

Smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire as viewed from Lake Oroville in Northern California. Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River. 

These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed them.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom wants $220 million more for Salton Sea action plan in new budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include an additional $220 million for the Salton Sea Management Program, a 10-year plan to reduce the environmental and public health hazards plaguing the communities that surround the fast-drying body of water.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Creating a safe harbor on the ranch

In the shadow of Mount Shasta lies the Butte Creek Ranch, its alpine meadows carpeted in grass sprinkled with wildflowers and bordered by forest. … For over 160 years, this summer scene has played out for six generations of the Hart family. … Recently, the Harts guaranteed the continuation of this legacy by working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan that balances their land use with conserving the rich natural resources of Butte Creek.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Wildfire’s impact on water quality

As an appointee to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Newsha Ajami has worked with local, state and federal agencies to monitor and ensure water quality in areas affected by wildfires. Ajami is director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, and co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a National Science Foundation engineering research center based at Stanford. She discussed wildfire’s threat to water quality with Stanford Report.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

California and Nevada scientists study nitrogen pollution in dryland watersheds

Nitrogen pollution, largely from burning fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and wildfire can reduce drinking water quality and make air difficult to breathe. Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, we will soon have a better understanding of how much nitrogen arid ecosystems can absorb before they produce negative effects.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA lead proposal, derided as weak, may be sneakily strong

A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions, water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all water utilities across the country to inventory the location of all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Do too many CA products have Proposition 65 warning labels?

Environmental advocates say the law has compelled companies to quietly make their products and emissions less toxic. But some economists who are critical of government regulation argue the law has gone too far, plastering the state with warnings so ubiquitous that they’ve become meaningless to most consumers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How racism ripples through California’s pipes

And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston… Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CityLab

Under Newsom, oil well approvals are going up

As Donald Trump’s administration pushes to expand oil extraction in California, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, has signed bill after bill limiting the practice. … But since taking office in January, Newsom’s own department of energy management has approved 33 percent more new oil and gas drilling permits than were approved under Newsom’s predecessor Jerry Brown over the same period in 2018

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Opinion: Now that a public buyout of Cal Am has been declared feasible, is it doable?

According to a 111-page analysis by a group of financial consultants and bankers released on Nov. 6, not only is a buyout of the behemoth Cal Am feasible, it would also cause the cost of water to drop significantly if the water utility was replaced by a public agency.

Aquafornia news U.S. Green Building Council

Blog: Deploying on-site water reuse in California and nationwide

How do we mitigate the “yuck factor” that many people have about reclaimed water use, when it’s been proven safe and effective elsewhere? These concerns were discussed at GreenerBuilder 2019, USGBC’s conference in the Pacific region, hosted in San Francisco, where industry experts from across the state led a panel discussion on tactics to improve onsite water reuse.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Broken pipes. Complex funding applications. The water challenges facing California’s disadvantaged communities.

California might have the fifth largest economy in the world, but many people in the state’s disadvantaged communities feel like they are living in a third world country because they don’t have safe, clean and affordable drinking water.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Climate Change and Water Resources Gary PitzerDouglas E. Beeman

As Wildfires Grow More Intense, California Water Managers Are Learning To Rewrite Their Emergency Playbook
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their customers

Debris from the Camp Fire that swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise  in November 2018.

By Gary Pitzer and Douglas E. Beeman

It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems and upend an agency’s finances.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Lessons From the Flames: Advice From Water Managers Who Have Lived Through Disaster

California water managers who have lived through a devastating wildfire and its aftermath have shared key lessons from their experiences.

Aquafornia news KQED

A year after the Camp Fire, locals are rebuilding Paradise

On a secluded corner of Marywood Drive in Paradise sit two vacant lots, side by side. The empty space used to hold single-family residences surrounded by Ponderosa pines. That was until the November 2018 Camp Fire — California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire — leveled the Butte County town and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. Now, one year later, these lots are being rebuilt by two Paradise natives, Christine and Dave Williams, who bought the properties after the fire.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court leans toward expanding Clean Water Act to protect oceans from wastewater

Supreme Court justices, both conservative and liberal, appeared skeptical Wednesday of a Trump administration argument that the federal Clean Water Act should not apply to sewage plant wastewater that flows into the ground and eventually seeps into federally protected waters, such as rivers or oceans. The case from Hawaii has emerged as a major test of the federal anti-pollution law’s scope …

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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.

Related article:

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 Sierra Nevada Forest Restoration in a Way 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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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 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.

Headwaters Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - August 6

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. 

Participants joined us as we guided them on a virtual journey into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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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 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 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 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.

Related articles:

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.

Related articles:

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 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 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 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 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.

Related articles:

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.

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