Archive for May, 2011
The Interior Department released a report this week that assesses climate change risks and how these risks could impact water operations, hydropower, flood control, and fish and wildlife in the western United States. The report to Congress, prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation, represents the first assessment of risks to future water supplies across eight major river basins, including the Colorado, Rio Grande and Missouri river basins.
The report, required by Congress under the SECURE Water Act of 2009, shows several increased risks to western United States water resources during the 21st century. The SECURE Water Act Report, with fact sheets highlighting climate challenges and impacts in the eight western river basins, is available online at: www.usbr.gov/climate
National Academy of Sciences Report: California’s draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan incomplete; needs better integration to be more scientifically credible.
Agencies seeking to build a water tunnel beneath the crucial Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have unclear goals and have not considered the effect on endangered fish species, a report says. A proposal to build a large
water tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is incomplete, confused and plagued by a number of scientific gaps despite years of study, according to a National Research Council report.
The ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections, an authoritative international assessment says.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s top water official revealed Tuesday that the administration is backing away from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to build giant tunnels diverting Sacramento River water around the Delta.
A federal judge on Wednesday gave the U.S. government two additional years to finish an updated plan to protect the threatened Delta smelt.
A good year is quickly turning into an outstanding one on the Colorado River, where the snow keeps falling and water forecasters keep boosting their predictions. The surface of Lake Mead is now expected to rise about 30 feet over the next nine months, 10 feet more than estimates made one month ago.
The good news for Lake Mead now has some numbers attached to it. Las Vegas’ main source of drinking water is expected to swell with almost 12.5 million acre-feet by October, according to new projections released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The San Joaquin Valley’s Republican Congressional Delegation unveiled legislation to restore the flow of water to beleaguered communities in the world’s most productive and highly valued agricultural region.
The bill, titled the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, is a comprehensive regional solution to government-imposed water shortages. It places into statute the 1994 agreement known as the Bay-Delta Accord, which received bipartisan support and praise. That agreement promised to end regulatory uncertainty and assured a reliable supply of water for communities, farms and the environment.
The latest development in the ongoing debate regarding federal jurisdiction over waters is the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of draft guidance addressing the scope of Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction. (Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act.) The CWA applies only to waters that are “waters of the United States” and the question of which waters Congress intended to come within that description has been the subject of much disagreement and several recent United States Supreme Court cases, including Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006). The draft guidance, jointly developed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), attempts to clarify the reach of CWA jurisdiction.
Board members at the Metropolitan Water District decided to take another month to review cutting financial incentives for customers in San Diego County. Agency officials were considering the move because the San Diego County Water Authority has sued the Los Angeles-based water wholesaler claiming that its rates are unfair. Under a 2004 provision, MWD can cancel financial incentives offered to buyers that challenge its rates in court.
The Camp Pendleton desalination project in California is one of nine advanced water treatment and reuse projects in three US states selected for feasibility-study funding by the Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation commissioner Michael Connor announced the nine studies for funding on 9 May 2011. Funded under the WaterSMART Title XVI Water Reclamation & Reuse Program, the projects are located in California, Oklahoma, and Texas, and will receive a total of US$ 1,176,760 from WaterSMART, which will result in a total of US$ 4.9 million available to help fund the studies.
The big melt is on. After topping out near record levels in early April, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada has started to recede, state officials said Monday, beginning to trickle into California’s streams and reservoirs and promising the first ample supply of water in years.
Sunne Wright McPeak, president of the Delta Vision Foundation.
Mother Nature has smiled upon California this spring, with a bounty of rainfall and snowpack that pulls the state back from the brink of a water emergency that could match the budget crisis. This fortunate turn of events gives us yet another opportunity to restore our Golden State and put in place long-term solutions to responsibly manage our water resources. While Gov. Jerry Brown rightly declared the drought is over, no one should be lulled into thinking that the water crisis has ended.
Agencies representing a majority of the water delivered in California have sent a letter voicing “grave concern” with the most recent draft of the Delta Plan, released March 18.
State workers can’t set foot on Delta farms to start designing a controversial canal or tunnel to divert water south, a Stockton judge has ruled.
After more than a decade of public debate, Southern California water officials are considering Mexico for controversial desalination plants. With efforts to build large-scale ocean desalination plants along the coast of California taking longer than anticipated, Southern California water agencies are looking more seriously at financing a desalination plant across the border in Mexico.
The Obama Administration released a national Clean Water Framework on April 27, 2011, that affirms its comprehensive commitment to protecting the health of America’s waters. The framework recognizes the importance of clean water and healthy watersheds to our economy, environment and communities, and emphasizes the importance of partnerships and coordination with states, local communities, stakeholders, and the public to protect public health and water quality, and promote the nation’s energy and economic security.
Bay Area utility companies have done such a good job conserving water that they are now getting a huge reward: a likely rate increase of at least 47 percent to help make up for the lost revenue in San Francisco’s water system.
A bipartisan group of 170 U.S. representatives wrote Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Assistant Secretary of the Army’s Civil Works agency Jo-Ellen Darcy to voice strong concern about the agencies’ efforts to expand the regulatory scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) term “waters of the United States.”
Property owners in the northern half of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have approved a tax increase to defend their water rights in case the state pushes ahead with a plan to build a new tunnel or canal around the estuary.