NEWS WORTH NOTING: Reclamation releases Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study; State Water Boards release tenth web-based performance report that showcases data storytelling; Nation’s largest seawater desalination plant delivers 40 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water

Reclamation Releases Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced today the release of the Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study that was conducted collaboratively with the member tribes of the Ten Tribes Partnership.

The study documents how Partnership Tribes currently use their water, projects how future water development could occur and describes the potential effects of future tribal water development on the Colorado River System. The study also identifies challenges related to the use of tribal water and explores opportunities that provide a wide range of benefits to both Partnership Tribes and other water users.

“We face a prolonged drought that represents one of the driest 20-year periods on the Colorado River in the last 1,200 years,” said Commissioner Burman. “This study is an important step forward that furthers our understanding of the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin and the actions we can take to collaboratively address them.”

While not all federally-recognized tribes in the basin are members of the Ten Tribes Partnership, the Partnership Tribes have reserved water rights, including unresolved claims, to potentially divert nearly 2.8 million acre-feet of water per year from the Colorado River and its tributaries. In many cases, these rights are senior to other uses.

The study is the outcome of a commitment between Reclamation and the Partnership Tribes to engage in a joint study to build on the scientific foundation of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, published by Reclamation in 2012.

“Reclamation recognized the need for additional analyses and work following the 2012 Colorado River Basin Study,” said Reclamation Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp. “Working together, the Ten Tribes Partnership and Reclamation have produced a valuable reference that is the first of its kind in the Colorado River Basin.”

The study highlights tribal observations and concerns, including lack of water security, incomplete distribution systems and regulatory and economic challenges to developing water systems in geographically diverse areas.

“In light of the importance of tribal water rights in the Colorado River Basin, the Partnership and Reclamation collaborated to contribute crucial tribal-specific information to the discussions regarding Colorado River management,” said Lorelei Cloud, Chairman of the Ten Tribes Partnership. “Without the hard work and dedication of Reclamation, tribal leaders, and tribal staff, this critical project would not have been possible.”

The Ten Tribes Partnership was formed in 1992 by ten federally recognized tribes with federal Indian reserved water rights in the Colorado River or its tributaries. Five member tribes are located in the Upper Basin (Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation and Navajo Nation) and five are in the Lower Basin (Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Quechan Indian Tribe and Cocopah Indian Tribe).

The study is available at: https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/tribalwaterstudy.html

State Water Boards Release Tenth Web-based Performance Report That Showcases Data Storytelling

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

The State Water Boards’ 10th annual Performance Report, the result of compiling and synthesizing massive amounts of data from fiscal year 2017-18, tells the ongoing story of water regulation throughout California and makes the information readily accessible for public scrutiny and accountability.

The recently released document, consisting of 160 report cards representing the work of the State Water Board and each of the nine regional boards, assesses a range of performance-based management programs aimed at achieving water quality measurements and improvements over the previous 12 months.

In an era of climate change, tightening water supplies, debates over habitat protection and the inevitable budgetary challenges, the Performance Report offers two major views for the public – the quality of California’s waters and the performance of the Water Boards in protecting them.

When the companion Accomplishments Report is released in early 2019, the two documents will strive to show the progress the Water Boards are making to protect and allocate California’s water resources.

To create these reports, a team of scientists, engineers and geologists at the State Water Board’s Office of Information and Analysis spent months wrangling data, crunching numbers and designing visuals that create a vivid, multi-dimensional picture for public consumption, complete with a new automated, open platform that incorporates digital storytelling.

One example of that data/storytelling synergy revealed itself on numerous occasions throughout 2018 with the marked increase of harmful algal blooms (HABs) outbreaks. HABs are known to kill fish and can be lethal to dogs that swim in waters with toxic algal blooms, so it is imperative that the public receive timely and accurate warnings.

A Water Board team collected HAB data from routine sampling and was able to turn it into information readily available to the public that allowed recreational water users to make safe and informed decisions.

Internally, assessments of goals and outcomes in the Performance Report help the Water Boards management teams shape new plans, with the aim of being more accurate with planning projections and more efficient and productive with outcomes.

Indeed, the general public can comb through the Performance Report and find a wealth of statistics.

Here are just a few examples. Collectively, staffers throughout the state oversaw more than 38,000 dischargers; processed about 500 individual permit actions; inspected more than 7,500 facilities; completed 2000-plus penalty and compliance actions and collected more than $20 million in liabilities; and adopted plans to address more than 25 “listings” for polluted waterways.

To learn more, check out the Performance Report here.

Key Details:

  • July 10, 2018 resolution by the State Water Board called for an open-access data platform
  • This is the 10th annual Performance Report; consisting of 160 report cards
  • The companion Accomplishment Report will be released in early 2019
  • The Office of Information and Analysis at the State Water Board creates these reports
  • All the data used to develop this report will be published as curated dataset(s) at the State of California’s open data portal located at http://data.ca.gov.

Nation’s Largest Seawater Desalination Plant Delivers 40 Billion Gallons of High-Quality Drinking Water

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Celebrates Third Anniversary with Ceremonial Toast

Project partners Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority gathered today at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant to celebrate delivering 40 billion gallons of drought-resilient drinking water to San Diego County during three years of commercial operations at the plant. The short ceremony included a proclamation by Supervisor Bill Horn marking Dec. 13, 2018, as Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant Day, and a ceremonial toast with desalinated water.

“It’s incredible what we’ve accomplished in three years,” said Sandra Kerl, deputy general manager of the Water Authority. “Since coming online in 2015, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant has met nearly 10 percent of the region’s water demand, and it will be a core water resource for decades to come.”

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant provides San Diego County with more than 50 million gallons of high-quality, locally controlled, water every day. It’s a foundational water supply for the county that minimizes the region’s vulnerability to drought or other water supply emergencies. The Carlsbad plant also is the largest, most technologically advanced and energy-efficient desalination plant in the nation.

“This pioneering project continues to be a shining example of innovation and a vital resource for the San Diego region,” said Poseidon Water CEO Carlos Riva. “We are proud of our role in the San Diego region and look forward to continued success and partnership with the community.”

The Carlsbad Plant is the result of a 30-year Water Purchase Agreement between the plant’s developer and owner, Poseidon Water, and the Water Authority for the production of up to 56,000 acre-feet of water per year. It is a major component of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to diversify the region’s water supply portfolio.

“To think that three short years ago we were here for the opening of plant operations, and today we are celebrating 40 billion gallons of water delivered is truly inspiring,” said Mayor Matt Hall of Carlsbad, who serves on the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Poseidon Water has been a remarkable partner not only by enhancing our region’s water supply reliability but also improving our regional quality of life by protecting and preserving our coastal environment.”

Poseidon Water and the Water Authority were joined at the event by former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer; Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, Mayor Pro Tem Keith Blackburn, Council Member Priya Bhat-Patel; and representatives from the offices of California Senator Patricia Bates, San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn and the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, among others.

The desalination plant sits on six acres next to the Encina Power Station on land owned by NRG, a Fortune 200 energy company. NRG is in the process of shutting down and decommissioning the power station, and the desalination plant will convert to an independent operation over the next few years. it will be the first desalination plant to comply with the 2015 California Ocean Plan Amendment to advance ocean water as a reliable supplement to traditional water supplies while protecting marine life and water quality. Additionally, Poseidon Water is protecting and preserving the coastal environment by preparing to take over NRG’s responsibilities as the steward of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and responsibility for its ongoing preservation.

For more information, go to the plant website, carlsbaddesal.com, or to the Water Authority’s website, sdcwa.org.

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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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