Anyone who has been on Balboa Island during a hard rain knows the streets can flood. The city of Newport Beach is considering replacing the island’s 1930s-era drainage system with several automated below-ground pumps. That would save on labor and costs associated with manually opening the tide gates at the end of streets and sending out portable pumps and slicker-clad city workers to dump excess storm water into the bay.
“Already five years behind schedule and about $12 million over budget, a new pump station to prevent flooding in Seal Beach still hasn’t been finished – and won’t be for another six months, say county officials. …
“The pump station and a new water basin were originally intended to keep Seal Beach from getting flooded again after the overwhelming rains of January 1995.”
“So here’s what we know: For nearly 10 years, the Orange County Water District has waged a complex legal war to force businesses to pay more than $200 million to clean up contamination that it insists threatens drinking water.”
“Falcons and hawks trained and flown by Adam Chavez of San Juan Capistrano evidently have succeeded – at least for now – in scaring away sea gulls blamed for polluting the beach with their droppings in recent years. The birds hung out by the hundreds at a freshwater pond at the mouth of a Poche flood-control channel.”
“It’s the start of the planting season for strawberries, a dwindling crop in an increasingly urbanized county. … The persistence of local strawberry fields is explained in part by simple economics: Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a pound of berries than, say, a pound of oranges.
“As Orange County heads into another season of dry vegetation and fire-stoking winds, fire officials will rely on a time-tested method to gauge the danger: clipping samples of wild vegetation and, back at headquarters, measuring how much moisture they hold.
“But a new effort by a research team that includes Chapman University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena could eliminate the leg work – and catapult fire-risk assessment into the 21st century.”
“Homeowners associations, with their large common areas, are a big draw on water supplies. Recognizing that, the county’s water wholesaler and individual water districts offer programs designed to help associations and their residents reduce outdoor water use.”
The Orange County Water District’s board on Thursday will consider whether to launch negotiations with a company that wants to build a power plant capable of generating up to 300 megawatts of energy on the same plot of land where Anaheim city officials want to open a park that would serve community sports leagues.”
“Judge Nancy Wieben Stock’s spacious courtroom is brimming with lawyers. … A quick count finds 38 lawyers in the room, plus 10 more participating via conference call. They have assembled for a status conference in a lawsuit formally known as Orange County Water District vs. Sabic Innovative Plastics et al., and commonly referred to as ‘the south basin case.’”
“The next earthquake to strike near San Francisco could siphon the flow of drinking water to Orange County for years.
“It doesn’t have to be a huge earthquake – a magnitude 6.0 or more. It just has to hit near a labyrinth of lakes and channels carved out of Northern California between the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, where most people take their boats for the weekend and farmers work the sandy soils on a series of islands that dot the channels of fresh water.