NEWS WORTH NOTING: Delta Counties say single tunnel proposal no better than two; New Water Tracker maps water for birds and people; New groundwater treatment project will help L.A. reduce dependence on imported water

Delta Counties say single tunnel proposal no better than two

From the Delta Counties Coalition:

The Delta Counties Coalition issued the following statement in response to the Brown Administration’s announcement that it has again re-packaged its plan for shipping Delta water southward:

“The tunnel approach doesn’t address California’s most pressing water needs, whether it’s one tunnel or two,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli. “Far better, more cost-effective alternatives exist. This current Administration isn’t willing to meaningfully consider viable alternatives to the tunnels which would improve the state’s water system at a substantially lower cost. This should be of great concern to all Californians.”

“No details of a single tunnel proposal exist and this option lacks even basic study,” said San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller. “The environmental review and planning for Twin Tunnels can’t just be substituted for a full review of a single tunnel proposal. It’s not just half the project.”

“In order to analyze a one-tunnel alternative, we would need to know the details, which do not exist,” continued Supervisor Karen Mitchoff. “The size, location, number of intakes, and operational guidelines all matter — including the very big question of how much water would it take?”

For more information regarding the DCC and its ideas for fixing California’s water issues, please visit sharedwatersolutions.com.

New Water Tracker maps water for birds and people

Satellite imagery helps managers keep water in wetlands

As a drier than average winter forecast affects California, it is increasingly important for water decision makers to know where water is on the land.  This helps them decide how to allocate water across wetlands, wildlife refuges, and agricultural wetlands, to benefit wildlife and human communities. Point Blue Conservation Science and partners have just released the Water Tracker, an easy-to-use online system that uses satellite imagery to give federal, state, and local decision makers and planners the accurate information they need to guide water delivery.  You can find it at pointblue.org/watertracker.

The Water Tracker, updated every 16 days, displays on a map where open surface water is in the Central Valley.  Agencies and managers can quickly and easily get a picture of where the water is and isn’t, allowing them to decide the best places to add water for the millions of waterbirds that rely on the Central Valley.  This is especially useful during times of drought, when there are not enough flooded wetlands and croplands for wildlife habitat.  Informed decisions like this will help ensure migratory birds have habitat when and where they need it most.

“The Water Tracker has the potential to replace previous and less efficient methods of tracking landscape level wetland habitat availability, which will lead to improved understanding of where to focus limited water supplies, where to invest in new conservation lands, and how to strategically manage existing refuge and conservation resources,” said Rachel Esralew, a Hydrologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

With over 95% of California’s Central Valley wetlands lost to development and agriculture, multiple demands for water in the state, and a need for sufficient suitable habitat for waterbirds, the Water Tracker is timely and useful for guiding water decision making. The Water Tracker can also help answer important questions about the impact of droughts and floods on the land, and help answer wildlife and human health questions such as how West Nile Virus control efforts have affected birds.

In a warming climate, extreme drought is forecast to become more of the norm for California, making it harder and harder to meet the many demands for water in the state. Getting current and accurate science into state and regional decision making is critical for sustaining healthy ecosystems and human communities into the future. The Water Tracker is a new tool in the toolbox for water managers and decision makers, one that helps paint a picture of water needs across California’s Central Valley. You can find it at www.pointblue.org/watertracker.

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About Point Blue Conservation Science:

At Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue), we advance nature-based solutions to climate change, habitat loss, and other environmental threats for wildlife and people. We work hand-in-hand with land, ocean, and wildlife managers to improve conservation outcomes and spearhead solutions guided by science. With more than 160 scientists as well as a growing team of educators and habitat restoration specialists, Point Blue assesses and addresses real-world environmental challenges every day.  Visit Point Blue at www.pointblue.org.

New groundwater treatment project will help L.A. reduce dependence on imported water

From the LA DWP:

Mayor Eric Garcetti broke ground today on the North Hollywood West Groundwater Treatment Project, a $92 million project to clean up and restore the use of groundwater as a safe, high-quality source of drinking water in the San Fernando Valley. He was joined by Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Paul Krekorian as well as officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the California State Water Resources Control Board.

The North Hollywood West site, the first of four planned remediation projects in the San Fernando Valley, is expected to be completed by early 2020. The remediation of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin advances two key goals of the Mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn — reducing the purchase of imported water by 50% by 2025, and producing 50% of L.A.’s water supply locally by 2035.

“Water is our most precious resource — and creating a more resilient, self-reliant Los Angeles means increasing the amount of water we source locally,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The decontamination of this historic groundwater basin is a critical step in achieving our goals to reduce our dependence on imported water, so Angelenos will always have access to healthy, clean drinking water.”

If clean, the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin is an aquifer that can provide drinking water to more than 800,000 Angelenos. Currently, parts of the Basin are contaminated by industrial pollution dating back to the 1940s.

“A local, clean and reliable water supply for the San Fernando Valley is long overdue,” said Councilmember Nury Martinez. “For too long, Valley residents have borne the environmental burdens of the city’s progress. Decades of development have contaminated the Valley’s groundwater, forcing families to rely on more costly sources from outside the city. We need to do right by our families, and by the environment. The North Hollywood West Groundwater Treatment Project will finally allow residents to access the water under their own feet, and help ensure a clean and reliable water supply for the Valley well into the future.”

Today’s groundbreaking takes place on the 24th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, further highlighting the importance of investing in a reliable local water supply that will increase water availability in the case of natural disasters.

“This is such a high-value project for the people across the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, District 2. “For too long, we haven’t been able to utilize the San Fernando Groundwater Basin because of contamination and pollution. With the North Hollywood West Groundwater Treatment Project, Los Angeles will finally be able to take full advantage of this groundwater resource.”

LADWP was recently awarded a $44.5 million Prop.1 grant from the State Water Quality Control Board to help fund construction for the North Hollywood site and is applying for nearly $200 million more to construct three additional remediation projects in the San Fernando Valley. All four remediation projects are expected to be operational by 2022.

“By cleaning up the San Fernando Valley Aquifer through projects like this, we are remediating years of pollution by heavy industry in the Valley to restore our ability as your water utility to use water from the vast and valuableSan Fernando Valley Aquifer. The Prop 1 funding for this project will be matched by our own funds, entrusted to us by our ratepayers, to accelerate major infrastructure projects.  With this project we are demonstrating how we are putting their ratepayer dollars to work, while also keeping their rates low,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wright.

 

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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