In California water news this weekend …
GSAs shooting 50% on GSPs—DWR releases first GSP assessment results for high priority basins
“The wait is over for some Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs). The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the first Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) assessments for four basins yesterday, June 3, 2021. DWR approved the 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin in Salinas Valley and the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin. DWR determined both GSPs “satisf[y] the objectives of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and substantially compl[y] with the GSP Regulations.” By contrast, DWR issued “consultation initiation letters” to the Cuyama Valley Basin and the Paso Robles Area Subbasin, requiring certain deficiencies be corrected before the plan is approved. Both GSPs were deemed incomplete for deficiencies in their definitions of sustainable management criteria (SMC), including minimum thresholds and undesirable results, as required by SGMA and GSP regulations. … ” Continue reading at Brownstein Water here: GSAs shooting 50% on GSPs—DWR releases first GSP assessment results for high priority basins
Radio show: Journalist Lois Henry writes about why Corcoran is sinking in the NY Times
“The Kings County city of Corcoran is slowly but steadily sinking, as much as 11½ feet in some places over the last 14 years. Lois Henry, a journalist with SJV Water, recently wrote about it for the New York Times. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with her about how agriculture, and its reliance on groundwater, is to blame.” Listen to the show at Valley Public Radio here: Journalist Lois Henry writes about why Corcoran is sinking in the NY Times
California’s reservoirs face dangerously low levels
“The lack of significant rain this past winter is putting California’s reservoirs at dangerously low levels. Experts say this drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, which means the water is evaporating faster. “The levels in Folsom reservoir are also quite low but I’m hearing that the local water districts that depend on Folsom have enough groundwater capacity and enough access to remaining surface water to get through this year,” said Jay Lund with the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. “But some of them are starting to call for water conservation.” … ” Read more from Capital Public Radio here: California’s reservoirs face dangerously low levels
California faces worst drought in decades: ‘Economic disaster’
“After two consecutive dry years, the California drought is back. How bad is it? “This is the worst drought since 1977,” said Ernest Conant, the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s California regional director. California melon farmer Joe Del Bosque called it “an economic disaster.” “We can’t plant crops, we have no jobs, and there will be no food coming from this field this year,” he said. Pictures and numbers tell the story. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 93% of California and the Southwest are in an extreme or exceptional drought, meaning mandatory cutbacks are not far away. … ” Read more from Fox News here: California faces worst drought in decades: ‘Economic disaster’
Letter: Restore the Delta, others file protest over Temporary Urgency Change Petitions for the SWP and CVP
The letter states ” … Petitioners wish to apply criteria narrowly from state water law, and as administered by the State Water Resources Control Board. At a time when California has seen below normal to critically dry conditions in seven of the last ten years, it will not suffice to apply these criteria narrowly, because the public at large is affected. Specifically, the Petitioner’s statement that “the proposed change will not result in injury to any other legal users of water,” assumes incorrectly that the only important “legal users of water” are ones with propertied water rights. The phrase “beneficial users of water,” also has basis in state and federal water quality control law, therefore they are also legal users of water. Beneficial users may or may not possess water rights, and may be anglers, recreators, waders, scientists, artists, poets, locally drinking waterdependent, or any person drawn to waters of the Delta for any reason. Petitioners’ assumption that the actions of the projects under the TUCP will not harm other legal users of water is narrow and fatuous. … ”
74% of California and 52% of the Western U.S. now in ‘exceptional’ drought
“Drought conditions in California remain at record highs, with most of the state now classified in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, reflecting conditions across the Southwest, according to a new report from climate scientists. Much of the Bay Area and the northern Central Valley have been included in the most severe “exceptional drought” zone, along with much of southeast California, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported. The new projections, released Thursday, show that every acre of California is affected by dryness and that the entire Bay Area and around 74% of the state are at least in “extreme” conditions. In the Western U.S., that condition extends to about 53% of the region. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: 74% of California and 52% of the Western U.S. now in ‘exceptional’ drought
A ‘megadrought’ in California is expected to lead to water shortages for production of everything from avocados to almonds, and could cause prices to rise
“A megadrought in California is threatening to push food prices even higher. The state is already facing its worst water shortage in four years and the its driest season has only just begun, according to data from the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). As water levels continue to fall, farmers and ranchers will be unable to maintain key crops and feed livestock. As of Tuesday, nearly 75% of California was classified as in “extreme drought,” meaning the land does not have adequate water supplies to sustain agriculture and wildlife, according to the NIDIS. While farmers have come to expect and prepare for droughts, this year has already been much hotter and drier than previous ones. … ” Read more from the Business Insider here: A ‘megadrought’ in California is expected to lead to water shortages for production of everything from avocados to almonds, and could cause prices to rise
The Western drought is bad. Here’s what you should know about it.
“Much of the Western half of the United States is in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions. Conditions are especially bad in California and the Southwest, but the drought extends into the Pacific Northwest, much of the Intermountain West, and even the Northern Plains. Drought emergencies have been declared. Farmers and ranchers are suffering. States are facing water cutbacks. Large wildfires are burning earlier than usual. And there appears to be little relief in sight. … ” Read more from the New York Times here: The Western drought is bad. Here’s what you should know about it.
As wildfires decimate the giant sequoia, California faces unprecedented loss
“When wildfire tore through giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada last year, researchers estimated hundreds of the towering trees — maybe 1,000 — were killed. Now, almost nine months later, experts have revised that figure tenfold. A new draft report puts the toll at 7,500 to 10,600 trees — 10% to 14% of the world’s natural population. “The whole thing is surprising and devastating and depressing,” said Christy Bringham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and lead author of the report. The finding startled scientists because sequoias are adapted to thrive in fire, with bark that’s up to 2 feet thick, branches that reach above flames and cones that release seeds when exposed to a burst of heat. Still, as the effects of human-caused climate change and aggressive fire suppression have combined to drive bigger, more intense wildfires, these ancient giants are increasingly no match for the conditions ecologists are seeing on the ground. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: As wildfires decimate the giant sequoia, California faces unprecedented loss
In people news this weekend …
The Habitat Creator – Mary Kimball
“Much like a pinball, he was seemingly in constant motion whizzing from one side to the other. But, instead operating inside an arcade game, George Kimball was bouncing across Northern California delivering some of the best fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats Yolo County farmers had to offer. Perched in an old Dodge truck, he traveled to food co-ops, restaurants and grocers from Sacramento to Arcata. George was a farmer himself, but it was just the way it was done back then. In the 1970s, the small farming community was truly a community, and they all banded together to help ensure Yolo-grown products made it into the hands of their valued customers. It left a lasting impression on George’s daughter, Mary. “From a very young age I learned how all the pieces of the puzzle fit. I could see how all the farmers were able to come together to promote their products, to fix a problem or lend a hand when needed,” says Mary Kimball. … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Association here: The Habitat Creator – Mary Kimball
Don Galleano, winery owner and Western Municipal Water District board member, dies
“Longtime Western Municipal Water District board member Don Galleano has died. He was 69. Galleano, who died Wednesday, June 2, had served on the Western Municipal Water District’s board of directors since 2004, representing Eastvale, Jurupa Valley and Norco. “He was truly a water icon in California, treasured board member, and pillar of the community who was known for his historic relationships with the agricultural community and for being a big picture water thinker,” board President Brenda Dennstedt is quoted as saying in a water district news release. “His support will be missed tremendously, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” … ” Read more from the Press Enterprise here: Don Galleano, winery owner and Western Municipal Water District board member, dies
JIVE TALKING PODCAST: Ann-Carolin Flesch on water futures and sustainable water management
Ann-Carolin Flesch is a master student at the VU’s “Environment and Resource Management” program. She is currently writing her masters thesis on how water futures offer a new opportunity to deal with water scarcity in California. She interviewed me (David Zetland) on water pricing, markets, stewardship, and governance.
WATERING HOLE PODCAST: Featuring guest Matt Leider and host Johnny Amaral
The second episode of Friant Water Authority’s (FWA) new podcast, “The Watering Hole”, hosted by Johnny Amaral, Chief of External Affairs of FWA is now available on the FWA YouTube Channel, Apple, Spotify, Google, and Podbean. Matt Leider is a FWA board member representing Tea Pot Dome Water District and is also Vice President of Laux Management, Inc.In this episode, Johnny and Matt dive into California’s outdated water policies, possible solutions, and discuss Jason Phillips’ testimony during the Western Water Forum. Click here to listen or watch podcast.
WATER IS A MANY SPLENDOR’ED THING PODCAST: A Farm Workers Worry
Steve Baker writes, “California agriculture is a thirty-billion-dollar business that is very much dependent on the strong work ethics of the farmworker community. I met two farm workers in the Central Valley during the 2009 drought. I remember how that drought turned farms upside down across the western side of the valley. Farmworkers, Carlos and Rubin, realized the stark reality that when there is no water, there is no work. Ditches were dry and they didn’t know when more water would come. How does a farmworker and their family know if they will have employment next year? Water is a Many Splendor’ed Thing brings you another water relationship that has a personally significant impact to your life.” Produced by Steven Baker, Operation Unite® Bringing People Together to Solve Water Problems, Online at www.operationunite.co
WATER TALK PODCAST: Advancing water justice in underserved communities
A conversation with Dr. Angel Fernandez-Bou (UC Merced) and Dr. Jose Pablo Ortize Partida (Union of Concerned Scientists) about water equity issues and opportunities for improvement in California’s changing climate.
SF CIVIC PODCAST: SF Water Use Efficient, but State Restrictions Would be Challenging, Official Says
California is back in a drought, and in many parts of the state the drought is extreme. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, urban water use today is about 16% less than it was at the beginning of the state’s last drought because of continuing conservation. San Francisco’s residential water use is among the lowest among large cities in California, said Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for water for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Ritchie joined “Civic” to explain how the city sources and uses its water, and why it is fighting state restrictions on the use of Tuolumne River water.
JIVE TALKING PODCAST: Bruce Carter says prepare now to avoid water wars later
Bruce J. Carter has a Ph.D. in public policy and he’s written Water Wars: Sharing the Colorado river with Doug Cooper. Bruce received his B.B.A. from Savannah State University, his M.A. from Webster University, and his Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. Recently, he received his Executive Certificate from Harvard University in Public Policy: Social, Economic, and Foreign Policies, and an Executive Certificate from Cornell University Hands-on Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Simulations. For Bruce, writing is a form of political engagement. While serving in the U.S Military, Bruce has deployed around the world. Through his deployments, he began to understand how a person could write about the world’s problems compellingly and beautifully. Bruce currently lives in D.C. with his family. He acknowledges that his work is not about him. If you want a slice of life, look out the window. An author must look out that window, isolate one or two suggestive things, and embroider them together with life and fabrication to create a revelation.
In regional water news this weekend …
‘First in time, first in right’: Legal complexities surround water in Upper Klamath Lake
“The fringe group of irrigators and People’s Rights Oregon volunteers who plan to forcibly open the Klamath Project’s A Canal say the law is on their side when it comes to who’s entitled to the water in Upper Klamath Lake. As it turns out, the law may be on many people’s sides. Led in part by irrigators Dan Nielsen and Grant Knoll, the group is operating a “water crisis info center” on a plot of land adjacent to the canal headworks. The red-and-white tent, along with signs criticizing federal water management, are visible from Nevada Street. ... ” Read more from Channel 6 here: ‘First in time, first in right’: Legal complexities surround water in Upper Klamath Lake
Invoking past standoffs and talking about force, water activists muster in Southern Oregon
“Dan Nielsen was there 20 years ago during the last standoff between Klamath Basin farmers and the federal government — and he’s ready to do it again. “We came in here and took control. And then we got kicked out. And then we stayed on, we stayed right here,” said Nielsen, pointing his finger and jabbing downward to where he was sitting. “Right here” is a dirt lot adjacent to a fenced-in complex known as “A Canal,” which is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The series of control gates and channels allow bureau officials to control the water that flows into the irrigation canals that make up the federal Klamath Water Project. ... ” Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: Invoking past standoffs and talking about force, water activists muster in Southern Oregon
Protestors threaten to breach Klamath headgates
“Rising tensions in the Klamath Basin could soon come to a boil, as two Klamath Project irrigators announced earlier this week that they plan to lead the breach of the headgates of the federal irrigation project’s main canal and try to release water, likely triggering a standoff with the federal government. Klamath Project irrigators Grant Knoll and Dan Nielsen bought property next to the headgates in April for $30,000 and have set up camp on the site. They are staffing a red-and-white canvas tent with volunteers from the local branch of People’s Rights, a national organization formed in 2020 by property rights activist Ammon Bundy, and they’re trying to rally support. … ” Read more from the Capital Press here: Protestors threaten to breach Klamath headgates
The West can end the water wars now
Emma Marris writes, “In my experience, out here in the West, people are, by and large, aggrieved. This is not entirely their fault. Federal and state governments have made lots of promises to people in the West, or to their parents or grandparents. Some people were promised that their land would not be taken, while other people were promised free land. Some were told that they could withdraw water from this or that lake or river every year until the end of time, others that their right to hunt or fish on their territory would never be infringed. But the natural abundance those promises were based on has been squandered by generations of mismanagement. In the Klamath Basin, in Southern Oregon and Northern California, where I live, Klamath tribal members haven’t been able to exercise their “exclusive right of taking fish in the streams and lakes,” as protected in a 1864 treaty, for decades, because the fish keep dying. The water quality is just that poor now. And as the climate changes, water is no longer predictably available when it is needed most. … ” Read more from the Atlantic here: The West can end the water wars now
How could low water levels at Lake Oroville signal risk for Butte County’s rural communities?
“Lake Oroville, focal point for Northern California water and growing many regional crops, could hit a record low after years of critical drought, threatening local water resources and the regional economy. The year 2020 was the third driest on record for state precipitation, and heading into the 2021 summer, many north valley regions experienced temperatures in the triple digits through Memorial Day weekend. The California Drought Monitor now shows Butte County in an exceptional drought, the highest possible level of drought measured by factors like extreme water shortages, low irrigation deliveries, drying wells and high water prices. As for the drought impacts on surrounding rural areas, DWR Interstate Resources Manager Jeanine Jones said Friday small water systems like Butte County’s are at a higher risk for having issues during drought because fractured rock water sources typically have much lower yields and storage than those drilled in the valley floor. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: How could low water levels at Lake Oroville signal risk for Butte County’s rural communities?
Dozens of Orland wells have already dried up
“Many across Orland are asking one thing: where’s the water? For one long-time farming family, they haven’t seen water levels this low in years. “Our tank is empty,” Staci Buttermore said. “Absolutely done. We are now hauling water.” But they are not alone. Dozens in the area are experiencing the same problem: little to no water. ... ” Read more from Action News Now here: Dozens of Orland wells have already dried up
Federal officials seek input for Ackerson Meadow restoration
“Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest are seeking commentary from the public on their plan to restore wetlands in the Ackerson Meadow, which they said have been drained as a result of a century of domestic water diversion. The plans include a complete fill of the gullies developed over the last century by ranchers and agriculturalists who utilized water flow, or the installation of manmade beaver dams to partially restore the wetlands. Ackerson Meadow and South Ackerson Meadow, which were donated to Yosemite National Park in 2016, make up the largest mid-elevation meadow complex in the park. … ” Read more from the Union Democrat here: Federal officials seek input for Ackerson Meadow restoration
Drought emergency: Marin County residents falling short of water conservation goal
“As the Bay Area and California face a major drought, water conservation efforts are falling short so far, according to water officials in a North Bay county. The Marin Water District is asking customers to cut back on usage by 40%. But for this past week, customers of the only cut their consumption by 11%. “It takes some time to change behavior. And we know that people are hearing the message. We believe that conservation levels will ramp up,” said Jeanne Mariani-Belding, spokesperson for Marin Water. ... ” Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Drought emergency: Marin County residents falling short of water conservation goal
Congressman plans legislation to recognize struggling Native American tribe in Mono Lake Basin
“They were expert hunters, gatherers and basket weavers who lived for thousands of years on a trade route over the Sierra Nevada connecting them with the rest of California. The modern history of the Mono Lake Kutzadika Paiute people is told mostly through economic hardship, displacement and a 150-year fight for federal recognition as a distinct Native American tribe — a step needed to establish a sovereign land base to call home. Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) on Saturday ventured into their lunar-like ancestral landscape of bizarre craggy formations, dormant volcanoes and jagged peaks and delivered good news during an emotional meeting with leaders of the tribe whose members have dwindled from 4,000 to 83. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Congressman plans legislation to recognize struggling Native American tribe in Mono Lake Basin
LADWP partners with the U.S. Forest Service to clean up Grant Lake Reservoir
“Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) proudly partnered with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to clean up National Forest System lands at Grant Lake Reservoir in Mono County. The clean-up effort, which also included installing signage to ensure current fire restrictions and sustainable recreation practices are observed, was meant to prepare the area for the upcoming summer recreation season. As one of the largest lakes in the June Lake Loop at 1,100-acres, Grant Lake Reservoir is popular with visitors for a variety of recreational activities in the area, such as fishing and motorized watersports. It also boasts impressive views of the Eastern Sierra. Amid the pandemic, Grant Lake Reservoir drew record numbers of people over the past year, some of whom left trash, human waste, and other debris. ... ” Read more from LA DWP here: LADWP partners with the U.S. Forest Service to clean up Grant Lake Reservoir
Malibu: Adamson House erosion continues as state works to find solution
“Let’s hope it’s not too late to save Malibu’s Adamson House—the coastal gem near the Malibu Pier that’s not only a designated California Historical Landmark, but also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The beachfront house, which sits on six acres of century-old landscaping and is now owned by the state, is unfortunately falling victim to erosion action that’s pulling soil away from the front lawn of the property. Almost exactly two years ago, the ongoing erosion caused the loss of several 100-year-old trees, an outdoor shower and some beach stairs. Now, erosion also threatens the Surfrider Beach wall separating the beach from the parking lot and highway. … ” Read more from the Malibu Times here: Malibu: Adamson House erosion continues as state works to find solution
Chino Hills settles suit by posting water reports
“As a result of a lawsuit settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for not submitting water conservation reports required by the state for three consecutive years, the City of Chino Hills has begun filing annual reports on its website. Beginning March 30, the city also began posting the annual volumes of potable (drinking) water and recycled water used by city facilities. … ” Read more from the Chino Hills Champion here: Chino Hills settles suit by posting water reports
Column: Imagine no Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park
Columnist Steve Lopez writes, “If you have any questions about how the plants and animals of Southern California’s deserts are faring as the Earth gets hotter and drier, Jim Cornett is a good bet to have the answers. Roadrunners, palm trees, snakes, Joshua trees — Cornett has studied them all and written more than 40 books. But the 72-year-old ecologist, who fell in love with the desert as a schoolboy and is still on his honeymoon 60 years later, was stumped one day in April near the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. It was just past noon when Cornett came upon a rat’s nest built into the base of an ocotillo, a spindly, long-stemmed plant with Kelly-green leaves and lipstick-red flowers that bloom in spring. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Imagine no Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park
Sparks fly again between IID and Chad Mayes over Coachella Valley power
“The Imperial Irrigation District and Assemblyman Chad Mayes, I-Rancho Mirage, are caught in a power struggle again in the Coachella Valley, but may be inching toward common ground. IID provides electricity service tonearly 100,000 Coachella Valley households and businesses, but its board is solely made up of Imperial County representatives — a situation Mayes and others see as unfair. Mayes’ latest legislation, AB 1021, aimed at forcing Coachella Valley representation on the IID board, passed 73-1 in the Assembly on Tuesday and moved to the state Senate. ... ” Read from Desert Sun here: Sparks fly again between IID and Chad Mayes over Coachella Valley power
Poway’s $69.5 million water infrastructure project to be funded by future bond
“The City of Poway’s water infrastructure improvement program is estimated to cost about $69.5 million, with the cost intended to be spread over water customers for generations to come. The program’s estimated costs were discussed at the Poway City Council meeting Tuesday night. The council, minus Mayor Steve Vaus, who was absent, received an update on the program and approved with a 4-0 vote issuing a reimbursement resolution. The resolution allows the city to reimburse itself for capital project expenditures that occur more than 60 days prior to a debt issuance without losing the ability to be a tax-exempt bond issuance, said Aaron Beanan, director of finance. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Poway’s $69.5 million water infrastructure project to be funded by future bond
In-Depth: $10 million effort to assess San Diego’s aging dams
“The City of San Diego plans to spend $10 million to carefully assess the structural needs of its aging dams, which are among the oldest in California. San Diego has nine dams that play an important role in the city’s water supply. By 2022, four will have stood for a century or more. Only three of the nine dams are rated in “satisfactory” condition by the state. The comprehensive assessment will span five years, giving city officials an itemized forecast of future repair needs and costs. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: In-Depth: $10 million effort to assess San Diego’s aging dams
Possible sewage contamination closes Tijuana Slough shoreline
“The ocean shoreline at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State Park was closed Saturday due to contaminated sewage water that may be moving north into the U.S., county water authorities said. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality issued the contact closure for the ocean shoreline Saturday. … ” Read more from Channel 10 here: Possible sewage contamination closes Tijuana Slough shoreline
Along the Colorado River …
Arizona: Key regional water resource back online
“One of the Southeast Valley’s priceless water-storage facilities is up and running again after more than a year. Reactivation of the Granite Reef Underground Storage Project (GRUSP) comes just as Arizona braces for cutbacks in its supply of Colorado River water – the first time in history that such restrictions will have been imposed. GRUSP is owned by Salt River Project, which has supplied water and electricity to the region for more than a century, and by several cities – Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe among them. The facility sits in the Salt River bed about four miles downstream from the Granite Reef Diversion dam. ... ” Read more from SanTan Sun News here: Arizona: Key regional water resource back online
Commentary: Pinal farmers are facing water shortages. Shouldn’t they be growing less thirsty crops?
Opinion columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “Why do Pinal County farmers keep growing alfalfa and cotton, two relatively water-intensive crops, particularly when their water supply is being so heavily cut? It’s a common question. Most farmers know they need to grow more drought-adapted crops as their Colorado River water evaporates and growing seasons become even hotter and drier. But farmers can’t plant lower water use crops that they can’t sell. Any crop they grow needs a market. And there are well-established markets for cotton and alfalfa – crops that produce higher yields in central Arizona than in most other places in the world. That’s why Bridgestone’s effort to help farmers grow guayule is so important. … ” Read more from the Arizona Republic here: Commentary: Pinal farmers are facing water shortages. Shouldn’t they be growing less thirsty crops?
Dry times, dire consequences: Poor runoff adds to water woes
“Ordinarily this time of year, the Colorado River would be raging on its way through Mesa County, swollen with runoff from melting mountain snow. As of mid-day Friday, though, the U.S. Geological Survey gauge at Cameo was recording a relatively calm river flow — 4,840 cubic feet per second, compared to an average 12,700-cfs flow there for that date. Flows near the Colorado-Utah border were 5,860 cfs, a bit more than a third of average for that date. … A continuing drought in western Colorado and beyond is having both in-state and more regional implications. … ” Read more from the Grand Junction Sentinel here: Dry times, dire consequences: Poor runoff adds to water woes
In national water news this weekend …
Worsening droughts could increase arsenic exposure for some Americans
“More than half of the continental US is currently experiencing some level of drought, and about a quarter is in severe drought or worse. In recent years, the western and southwestern US has been in a seemingly continual state of reduced rainfall and snowpack. Droughts have many well-known, potentially catastrophic consequences, from crop failures to water shortages to wildfires. Yet they can also have more direct human health impacts by not only affecting how much water there is, but also the quality of that water. Recent research from the US Geological Survey (USGS) suggests that droughts, particularly the prolonged kind happening in parts of the US, could increase the risk of harmful arsenic exposure for people that rely on well water. … ” Read more from Popular Science here: Worsening droughts could increase arsenic exposure for some Americans
What we know about water may have just changed dramatically
“Water is weird – and yet so important. In fact, it is one of the most unusual molecules on Earth. It boils at a temperature it shouldn’t. It expands and floats when it is in the solid-state. Its surface tension is higher than it should be. Now, new research published in the journal Nature has added one other equally strange property to water’s list of oddities. The implications of this new revelation could have a remarkable impact on all water-related processes from water purification to drug manufacturing. Stephen Cronin, professor of electrical and computer engineering at USC Viterbi, and Alexander Benderskii, associate professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, have showed that when water comes into contact with an electrode surface all its molecules do not respond in the same way. This can dramatically affect how well various substances can dissolve in water subject to an electrical field, which in turn, can determine how a chemical reaction will occur. And chemical reactions are a necessary component in how we make…everything. ... ” Read more from USC Viterbi School of Engineering here: What we know about water may have just changed dramatically
Water scarcity will require agriculture to tap ‘unconventional’ sources like seawater, wastewater
“Though 97% of the Earth is covered in oceans, humanity’s water needs are met by less than 1% of the planet’s total water, in the form of aquifers or snowpack-fed rivers. We pump it from the ground, treat it, drink it or spray it on our crops, and dispose of it. With a population expected to exceed 10 billion by 2050, and water scarcity a critical challenge of our time, it’s time to rethink that model. Colorado State University is a founding partner in a $110 million U.S. Department of Energy research network, called the National Alliance for Water Innovation, focused on treatment and reuse technologies for nontraditional source waters like municipal wastewater, seawater, brackish (salty) water, water produced as a byproduct of oil and gas drilling, meat and dairy processing wastewater, and agricultural drainage water. … ” Read more from Colorado State University here: Water scarcity will require agriculture to tap ‘unconventional’ sources like seawater, wastewater
Hydro news: EPA signals intent to walk back Clean Water Act 401 Rule; Clean Water Act 401 waiver cases update
“Citing numerous “concerns” with the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 water quality certification rule enacted by the Trump Administration in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Notice of Intention to reconsider and revise the rule. EPA’s notice states that the new rule will be “better aligned with the cooperative federalism principles that have been central to the effective implementation of the Clean Water Act” and is “responsive to the national objectives outlined in President Biden’s Executive Order 13990.” ... ” Read more from the National Law Review here: Hydro news: EPA signals intent to walk back Clean Water Act 401 Rule; Clean Water Act 401 waiver cases update
Biden administration moves to reverse Trump endangered species rollbacks
“The Biden administration is taking aim at Trump-era rollbacks to endangered species protections, though environmental advocates have raised concerns about how long their actions could take. In a statement on Friday, federal agencies said they would “initiate rulemaking in the coming months” to either rescind or revise Trump-era rules that lessened protections for these species, or reinstate pre-Trump language that provided additional protections for endangered animals and plants. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to working with diverse federal, Tribal, state and industry partners to not only protect and recover America’s imperiled wildlife but to ensure cornerstone laws like the Endangered Species Act are helping us meet 21st century challenges,” said Martha Williams, the principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in a statement. … ” Read more from The Hill here: Biden administration moves to reverse Trump endangered species rollbacks
SEE ALSO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to Propose Regulatory Revisions to Endangered Species Act, press release from US FWS