Topic: Stormwater

Overview

Stormwater

Stormwater runoff has emerged as a primary water quality issue. In urban areas, after long dry periods rainwater runoff can contain accumulations of pollutants. Stormwater does not go into the sewer. Instead, pollutants can be flushed into waterways with detrimental effects on the environment and water quality.

In response, water quality regulators use a range of programs to reduce stormwater pollution including limiting the amount of excess runoff and in some cases recapturing freshwater as well.

Typical stormwater runoff pollutants include:

  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides/Herbicides
  • Heavy Metals
  • Oil and grease
  • Bacteria/viruses
  • Sediment
  • Construction Waste
  • Trash
Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Price of water 2019: Even without federal infrastructure deal, cities continue to invest

In the third year of the Trump administration, Congress and the White House have repeatedly discussed a multi-trillion dollar investment in the country’s roads, dams, levees, telecommunication networks, power grids, drinking water pipes, and sewage treatment plants. Neither side has agreed on such a plan, and a deal seems out of reach at the moment.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Class-action suit accuses Reno of causing flood damage

A trial began last week in the suit, filed in 2017, claiming the city pumped, diverted or discharged excess storm water into the normally dry bed of Swan Lake, which overflowed during the winter of 2016-17. It says the flood was exacerbated by unchecked development in the area, where street paving eliminated ground that normally would have absorbed rainfall and snowmelt…

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

9 photos of the LA River before and after it was paved in 1938

The Los Angeles River is on the verge of a new era. In the few years since the flood control channel was reclassified as a “navigable waterway,” the region has re-embraced its oddball amalgam of concrete and nature, which winds roughly 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley out to the ocean in Long Beach. A $1-billion-plus plan to restore 11 miles north of Downtown LA is (slowly) working its way through federal approvals.

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Aquafornia news Encinitas Advocate

San Dieguito’s SWPPP interns represent ‘the next generation of stormwater advocates’

Through the BCK Program’s SWPPP internship, which stands for Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program, students are working with industry professionals to study the problem of runoff pollution leaving their school sites and prevent some of the negative impacts it can have on the surrounding environment.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Amethyst Basin dedicated

The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert, was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10 years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

5 things to know about McKinley Park water vault

Construction has started on an underground water vault at McKinley Park in Sacramento. The vault, which will be built underneath the George “Butter” Cole baseball field, will hold rain and wastewater during big storms when the combined sewer system is at capacity. The goal is to reduce flooding.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Amethyst Basin dedicated

The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert, was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10 years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Supervisors approve $15 million contract with state for Middle Creek Restoration Project

The long-running Middle Creek Restoration Project, which is designed to massively reduce sedimentation and nutrient load in order to improve Clear Lake’s health, took another step forward this week. … The contract provides $15 million – or $5 million per year for three years – for the purchase and maintenance of properties as part of the Middle Creek Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

County presents green infrastructure workplan

San Mateo County officials are moving forward on a green infrastructure plan that aims to transform the urban landscape and storm drainage systems. The plan will help the county transition from relying solely on traditional drain infrastructure, which allows stormwater to flow directly into drains and bodies of water, to a more environmentally friendly model that disperses runoff to vegetated areas and collects it for nonpotable uses.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Water Board places 10 county agencies on notice to clean up San Diego River

The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies, including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water quality.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump EPA releases blueprint for stemming Tijuana River pollution that routinely fouls San Diego beaches

Shorelines in South Bay San Diego will never be fully immune from the sewage and chemical pollution that flows north from Mexico over the border through canyons and the Tijuana River. However, beach closures triggered by contaminated stormwater and Tijuana’s leaky sewer system can be dramatically reduced… That was the message last week from President Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which released the most comprehensive blueprint to date…

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Anderson Valley Unified Schools unveil new water management DROPS project

Anderson Valley Unified School District on Tuesday held its public opening ceremony to celebrate new gardens and rainwater catchment systems designed to improve the district’s stormwater pollution prevention infrastructure.

Aquafornia news NPR

After Paradise, living with fire means redefining resilience

Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of canyon.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Freak mud flows threaten our water supplies, and climate change is raising the risk

Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: CDFW awarded $8.5 million to expand nutria eradication operations

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today was awarded $8.5 million in funding over three years by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy to expand its nutria eradication operations.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage flows from Tijuana completely shutter Imperial Beach shoreline

A beach closure that has been in place for months for the southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: More floods are coming

In retrospect, it’s clear: We’ve misunderstood how rivers work. They don’t follow wishful parameters of the Army Corps of Engineers’ 100-year flood guidelines, or the routes we’ve penciled in between levees, or even the climatic expectations of the past. A national program that presumes we can choreograph today the floods of tomorrow is fundamentally flawed. It’s time to recognize that the rivers will have their way. Therefore we need to get out of the way.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sierra snowpack levels much higher than average due to late-season wet weather

Northern California rain and snow levels have soared with record wet weather in May, leaving the Sierra with higher-than-normal snowpack levels and pushing several reservoirs toward full capacity.

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Aquafornia news SFGate.com

The science behind why California has been soaked by storms this May

By late spring, the Pacific jet stream is typically rushing over the Northwest, but this year its trajectory never shifted to the north and remains over California, hurling storms from the Pacific Ocean onshore. Jon Gottschalck, chief of the operational prediction branch at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the reason for the jet stream’s wayward activity are complicated, but he and his colleagues at NOAA think El Niño is definitely at play.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Feds to provide flood aid for roads, but not for Russian River residents

Residents whose homes were flooded will not be eligible for financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because state officials determined the amount of damage was insufficient to qualify.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Bill proposed to cut toxic cigarette waste

A new bill introduced by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson … would effectively ban traditional cigarettes through its prohibition on the sale of tobacco products that have single-use filters. … Cigarette butts constitute about a third of all the trash found on California’s beaches

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Russian River’s seasonal dam coming down again amid heavy rain, runoff

Two days of above-average spring rainfall in the North Bay have forced Sonoma County officials to begin deflating the seasonal dam across the Russian River, an about-face that comes less than a week after the rubber dam was fully inflated to serve the region’s drinking water system.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Health of Napa County watersheds takes centerstage

Napa County’s latest watershed symposium came at a time when tensions are high over how to protect trees and reservoirs in the area’s mountains. Close to 200 people from various backgrounds came to Copia on Thursday for an A-to-Z look at what’s happening in the watersheds. Scientists, elected officials, wine industry members and citizen activists all attended.

Aquafornia news The Argonaut

A ‘culture of noncompliance’

The agency charged with monitoring water quality standards throughout the Greater Los Angeles region found that local cities have committed more than 2,000 water quality violations within a five-year period, but the violators suffered little if any consequences.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to coral records

A new category of El Niño has become far more prevalent in the last few decades than at any time in the past four centuries. Over the same period, traditional El Niño events have become more intense. This new finding will arguably alter our understanding of the El Niño phenomenon. Changes to El Niño will influence patterns of precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Reforestation project along the scenic byway in eastern Madera County makes progress; Reforesting the French Fire burn scar

Reforestation will improve watershed conditions by restoring severely burned areas to forested conditions, reducing sedimentation and turbidity, and improving water quality for downstream users. It will also improve habitat by providing stabilization that reduces erosion of stream banks and meadows.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news KUNC

There’s dust in Colorado’s record-setting winter snowpack

Snowpack in every part of Colorado’s high country is sporting layers of dust, according to a new statewide survey of the state’s winter accumulation. … Dust is darker than snow. Just like a black T-shirt on a sunny day, it absorbs more sunlight, causing what’s underneath it to heat up more rapidly.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Los Angeles’ urban-runoff projects expand, but dirty-water violators go unpunished, says NRDC report

While the state agency responsible for policing Los Angeles County’s polluted urban and stormwater runoff boasts significant progress in its monumental task, a National Resources Defense Council report this week criticizes the water-quality panel for lackluster enforcement.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Years into Tijuana sewage crisis, California senators call for federal help

A group of Democratic senators and San Diego County-based congressional representatives sent a letter to multiple federal agencies Tuesday urging them to address sewage runoff in the Tijuana River … Local and state officials as well as environmental activists have decried the condition of the Tijuana River for years, which regularly causes beach closures along the county’s coastline, particularly after heavy rain.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Regional water board must address L.A.’s runoff problem

Every day, an estimated 100 million gallons of runoff contaminated with various pollutants flows through L.A.’s massive storm drain system to foul our rivers, creeks and, ultimately, our coastal waters. … Today, NRDC urged the Newsom Administration to encourage the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to address this serious public and environmental health threat.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Grandfather’ of natural treatment systems: HSU professor emeritus to be honored with environmental award

The development of the Arcata Marsh as an integral part of wastewater treatment in Arcata was the primary focus of two professors at Humboldt State University, George Allen and Robert Gearheart, who developed a process that uses what was a former salt marsh as a means to treat sewage that is then discharged into Humboldt Bay. On May 7, Gearheart … will be honored by the Environmental Law Institute at its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Fixing Swan Lake’s ‘nightmare’ flooding in Reno won’t be cheap or easy

Tracy Hall says she’s lucky to have friendly neighbors who allow her to live in an RV on their property while water laps at a temporary barrier on the edge of her property. But Hall and others are tired of the disruption to their lives that started more than two years ago when the formerly dry lake in Lemmon Valley filled with stormwater runoff and urban effluent.

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index-Tribune

February rains inflicted $23 million in damage to Sonoma County roads

The February storms that swelled the Russian River to its highest level in more than two decades did $23 million in damage to Sonoma County roads, including more than 100 landslides and slipouts, leaving county crews and contractors with a Herculean repair job that will take months to complete.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

North Chico residents irate over flooding issues

Frustration was evident, whether it was from a flooded homeowner or a government agency trying to explain its processes during Wednesday’s “listening session” regarding flooding in north Chico. … Despite the anger, there seemed to be some progress, whether it was the cleaning of Rock Creek west of Highway 99 by the Rock Creek Reclamation District, or more property owners funding efforts themselves. Lucero suggested that property owners could pay more into the existing county service areas set up for drainage maintenance.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A new reality for federal flood insurance

The National Flood Insurance Program provides coverage to more than 5 million households and small businesses across the United States, including more than 229,000 in California. The program has been hard hit by payouts from major flood disasters in recent years and is heavily in debt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which houses the program, has recently announced significant changes. We talked to Carolyn Kousky, a flood insurance expert at the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania … about the program.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Oakwood may send sewage to Manteca treatment plant

Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Newsom declares emergency in Santa Cruz and seven other counties for storm damage

The latest declaration will provide aid to local governments from the state’s Office of Emergency Services and directs Caltrans to request federal assistance. In addition to Santa Cruz County, the declaration will affect Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Mariposa, Napa, Solano and Tuolumne counties.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Drought Resistance Outreach Program for Schools rain garden celebrated at Ukiah High

Prior to the installation of the system, the rain garden was hardpan dirt, allowing all the rainwater—contaminated and polluted with oil, gas, sediment, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers—to drain directly into Orrs Creek and the Russian River. The new garden is 3- to 5-feet deep and composed of carefully constructed layers of soil and rock, allowing the water to be cleaned mechanically and biologically filtering the biocontaminants.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

North Chico flooding focus of listening session

Residents in north Chico say they have never seen flooding like the deluge that came their way this year, and they want to know how to stop it. Storm water from Rock Creek and Keefer Slough surged into their backyards, front yards, and in some cases into their homes. It crept into orchards and overtook Highway 99, north of Chico and continued westward.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Chris Orrock and the Sierra snowpack

Chris Orrock of the California Department of Water Resources joins the podcast to chat with John Howard and Tim Foster about what this wealth of snow means for California’s water reserves and flood dangers, and the implications for wildfires later in the year.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Opinion: Now is the time to weigh in on proposed Clean Water Rule

Now EPA and the Corps want to hear directly from members of the public — including farmers, ranchers, landowners and others who may be subject to regulation — to make sure the new Clean Water Rule provides clear and easily understood guidelines. But with the comment period on the proposed new rule closing on April 15, there’s no time to lose.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

This is why Hermosa Beach scrapped a large stormwater infiltration project, potentially costing it $3.1 million in grant funding

Hermosa Beach City Council has scrapped a large stormwater infiltration project slated for the southern end of city’s greenbelt, after more than a year of opposition from residents. City officials will look for a new home for the project, meant to ultimately reduce bacteria in the Santa Monica Bay, but could potentially forfeit nearly $3.1 million in grant funding from the State Water Resources Board.

Aquafornia news The Eastsider

New Lincoln Heights park provides green space and cleans water, too

On Saturday officials held a grand opening ceremony for the $44-million Albion Riverside Park — the city’s newest greenspace. The triangular six-acre site next to the L.A. River at Spring Street includes playing fields, walking trails, restrooms, playgrounds, parking and an outdoor fitness center. But the park will also do double-duty as a giant filter to clean storm drain water before it flows in the adjacent L.A. River.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Deficiencies and fixes for Knights Landing Levee Basin presented to Yolo supervisors

The town of roughly 1,000 people is located in the north-east part of the county and surrounded by active waterways. It has flooded multiple times in the past. Goals of the study included reducing the risk of flooding while enhancing habitat restoration and providing safe access to the river, according to Sabatini’s presentation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway could be used next week after storm hits. Is it ready?

Water may cascade down Oroville Dam’s rebuilt spillway next week for the first time since a massive crater formed in its nearly half-mile long surface two years ago — a major milestone in the saga that triggered the evacuation of 188,000 people and a $1.1 billion repair job to the country’s tallest dam. A storm forecast to hit this week is expected to fill Lake Oroville to the point that state dam operators might need to open the spillway gates…

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Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

The sea beneath us

In places like Oakland, flooding will occur not just at the shoreline, but inland in areas once considered safe from sea level rise, including the Oakland Coliseum and Jones Avenue, where [UC Berkeley professor Kristina] Hill and her students now stood, more than a mile from San Leandro Bay. In fact, she added, rising groundwater menaces nearly the entire band of low-lying land around San Francisco Bay, as well as many other coastal parts of the U.S.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As Trump tries to roll back clean water rules, California seeks stronger protections

The Trump administration and California are at odds over what water bodies should be protected from new development. Each is pursuing its own regulatory policy.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Long-sought creek restoration in Pescadero takes major step

By allocating $1 million last week toward a creek restoration project set to rejuvenate threatened and endangered species and reduce flooding in Pescadero, county officials locked in funding needed to begin a dredging effort experts expect will give the Butano Creek a chance to reset.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done

But the river remains an unpredictable force, one that could give rise to even more destructive floods in an era of increasingly extreme weather, experts say. … County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins has her sights on the opportunities to tame floodwaters in the river’s middle reaches, starting near Windsor and upstream, where it broadens and meanders more freely in a floodplain less constricted by roads and other development.

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Southern California Water Providers Think Local in Seeking to Expand Supplies
WESTERN WATER SIDEBAR: Los Angeles and San Diego among agencies pursuing more diverse water portfolio beyond imports

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad last December marked 40 billion gallons of drinking water delivered to San Diego County during its first three years of operation. The desalination plant provides the county with more than 50 million gallons of water each day.Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.

In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)

Western Water Gary Pitzer Groundwater Education Bundle Gary Pitzer

Imported Water Built Southern California; Now Santa Monica Aims To Wean Itself Off That Supply
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Santa Monica is tapping groundwater, rainwater and tighter consumption rules to bring local supply and demand into balance

The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) treats dry weather urban runoff to remove pollutants such as sediment, oil, grease, and pathogens for nonpotable use.Imported water from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on imported water.

Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s, Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Passionate comments open Napa Planning Commission’s watershed protection debate

This is among the hottest of Napa County’s hot potatoes. That’s because it strikes such nerves as possible, further constraints on new vineyard development in local hills and a perceived need in some quarters to do more to protect water quality in local reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Thomas Fire debris trucked from basin to beach

Since the rainy season began in earnest in January, County Flood Control has been operating almost constantly to keep its debris basins clear and ready for the next onslaught. Much of the accumulating debris is due to 2017’s Thomas Fire, which burned more than 280,000 acres in the back- and front-country behind Montecito, Carpinteria, and the western part of Ventura County.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Less talk, more action: It’s time to get serious about floodplain management

Many no longer recall the Great Midwest Flood despite its record-breaking precipitation, flooding and $13 billion price tag. Sure, 1993 seems like a long time ago, but I believe the reason the flood has left most people’s memory is because, over the last 25 years, the nation has experienced one devastating, record-breaking flood after another. Our memories are diluted by the frequency of such events.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Bay Area forecast: Atmospheric river to bring heavy rain

A powerful “atmospheric river” storm is expected to pummel Northern California starting Tuesday night and deliver heavy rain, gusty winds, downed trees, power outages and rough driving conditions Wednesday and Thursday. … The storm should bring up to 5 feet of new snow in the Sierra Nevada, forecasters said. The National Weather Service announced flash-flood and high-wind warnings for the Bay Area, along with Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Newport ponders major drainage upgrade for flood-prone Balboa Island

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.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

When the levee breaks: A new approach to managing rivers

Early last year, construction started on a $90 million project to build seven miles of setback levees and floodplains to protect Hamilton City from floods on the Sacramento River. … The new barriers are much farther from the riverbanks—as far as a mile away in places. In some respects, the concept is absurdly simple: During heavy rains or spring snowmelt, rivers need room to expand; moving levees back from riverbanks provides it. Setback levees not only reduce the need for newer and larger dams and levees, but also restore the natural habitat. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘A crisis of sewage’: California lawmakers seek funding for the polluted New River

For decades, the New River has flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border carrying toxic pollution and the stench of sewage. Now lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento are pursuing legislation and funding to combat the problems. “I feel very optimistic that we’re going to be able to get some things done on the New River issue,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Contamination found in streams following Camp Fire

State water quality officials cautioned the public not to drink or cook with untreated surface water from streams throughout the Camp Fire burn area after bacteria and other contaminants were detected in water samples. … Laboratory analyses of surface water samples found concentrations of bacteria (E.Coli), aluminum, antimony and some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceeded water quality standards for drinking water.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build

Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif. Currently, the city partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the city to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Pacific storm threatens Northern California with blizzard, mudslides

Another Pacific storm was set to hit California on Wednesday, bringing a threat of mudslides to the site of the deadliest wildfire in state history and a rare blizzard warning in the Sierra Nevada. An evacuation warning was in place into Thursday morning for Pulga, a canyon community in Northern California. Its neighbor, the town of Paradise, was virtually incinerated two months ago by the Camp Fire that killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 15,000 homes. 

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Aquafornia news National Law Review

California is one step closer to a comprehensive update of CEQA guidelines

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has spent five years drafting a comprehensive update to 30 sections of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines. Several changes to the Guidelines address two hot button topics: global climate change and statewide affordable housing shortages. Many of the changes will significantly alter the application of CEQA to future projects.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Rain may put Southern California burn-scar area at risk for mudslides by Saturday

A storm will slide into Southern California with soaking rain by the weekend, putting burn-scar areas at a renewed risk for life-threatening flooding and mudslides. People living near or downhill of the Creek, La Tuna, Thomas, Woolsey and Whittier burn areas should make sure they stay up to date on the latest forecast and heed all evacuation issues that are ordered by local officials.

Aquafornia news California Water Resources Control Board

State water boards release annual report

The tenth annual performance report evaluates what the state water boards do and how the environment is responding to its actions. The report presents numerous performance measures for specific outputs and outcomes.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: 2019 will be the Year L.A. Starts to Wean Itself from Imported Water

There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.

Aquafornia news California Water News Daily

Michael Montgomery selected as new executive officer, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).

 

Other Event

CANCELED: U.S. EPA Hearing on Waters of the U.S. Rewrite

CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters. 

Kansas City, Kansas
Aquafornia news High Country News

Two countries, one border and their shared pollution

Cross-border water pollution between Tijuana and South San Diego is not new, but in recent years, the problem has grown worse. The reasons are complicated: There is Tijuana’s topography, with its steep hillsides and canyons that drain towards the border; the factories that get away with illegal dumping; the city’s rapid population growth, aging wastewater infrastructure and inadequate garbage collection. In the U.S., funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency have prevented improvements to the Borderlands’ sewage system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

PG&E agrees in settlement to protect San Francisco Bay from chemical runoff from utility poles

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to protect San Francisco and Humboldt bays from runoff of dangerous chemicals on utility poles in a settlement with an environmental group. … The suit said oil and wood waste from poles stored at the yards washed into the bays, damaging the environment and endangering human health and wildlife.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

When Water Worries Often Pit Farms vs. Fish, a Sacramento Valley Farm Is Trying To Address The Needs Of Both
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: River Garden Farms is piloting projects that could add habitat and food to aid Sacramento River salmon

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a refuge like the ones that were lowered into the Sacramento River at Redding to shelter juvenile salmon.  Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.

And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County votes to put new property tax before voters to clean storm water

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to place a property tax before voters in November to raise money for projects to capture and clean storm water. The measure would allow the county to levy a tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable space” on private property.

Headwaters Tour 2018

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.

Headwaters tour participants on a hike in the Sierra Nevada.

We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state. 

GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

EDITOR’S NOTE: Assessing California’s Response to Marijuana’s Impacts on Water

Jennifer BowlesAs we continue forging ahead in 2018 with our online version of Western Water after 40 years as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.

State regulators, in the last few years, already had been beefing up their workforce to tackle the glut in marijuana crops and combat their impacts to water quality and supply for people, fish and farming downstream. Thus, even if these impacts were perhaps unbeknownst to the majority of Californians who approved Proposition 64 in 2016, we thought it important to see if anything new had evolved from a water perspective now that marijuana was legal.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz innovators track stormwater for cities

Taxpayers may not realize it, but they foot the bill as their city or county complies with new state regulations to improve the health of local streams and waterways. Nicole Beck, 49, a UC Santa Cruz alum with a doctorate in aquatic chemistry, is marrying science and software to help city and county staff get information to make better decisions on where to focus their limited resources.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Panel recommends changes to two-decade-old EPA water affordability guidelines

In a highly anticipated report, a panel chartered by Congress to advise public agencies on effective governance recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revise how it appraises financial burdens when communities are required to upgrade water and sewer systems.

Headwaters Tour 2019
Field Trip - June 27-28

Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality. 

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

One of the first projects in Los Angeles County to capture storm water being built in Long Beach

The thousands of miles of concrete channels diverting street water from the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers represent the last major water project in Los Angeles County, built almost 100 years ago. On Thursday, Dave Sorem, owner and vice president of Mike Bubalo Construction Co., showed off the first of a second wave of street-water projects that elevate what is essentially water pollution into a drinkable water source.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New beach closures issued from Tijuana River sewage

Precipitation carrying tainted water through the Tijuana River into the Pacific Ocean triggered beach closures Tuesday evening from the international border to Seacoast Drive in Imperial Beach. … The pollution from stormwater runoff adds to spills from aging pipes and potentially hazardous discharges from the deteriorating San Antonio de Los Buenos sewage treatment plant in Punta Bandera, located about six miles south of the border.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Cleaning up human waste is cheapest way to improve health of region’s beaches, report finds

It’s been thought for decades that stormwater runoff is the major source of bacterial pollution in the county’s rivers, bays and beaches — triggering swimming advisories up and down the region’s shoreline for 72 hours after it rains. However, the greatest source of dangerous pathogens flowing from these urban waterways into the ocean may actually be coming from human waste.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles awarded $4 million to capture more rainwater on streets

Bioswale projects on medians and other surfaces along a handful of the east San Fernando Valley’s major roadways could be pulling double-duty soon to help conserve rainwater, while adding more greenery, thanks in part to a $4 million grant from the state’s coastal and waterway conservancy.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Oakland targeted in bid to cut trash flow into San Francisco Bay

Despite spending millions of dollars over the years on garbage cleanup, Oakland has the Bay Area’s worst record for limiting the rubbish that pollutes creeks, lakes and the bay, according to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. The flow of waste violates mandates set by the board to reduce storm drain litter this year by 70 percent compared with 2009, a goal that Oakland is far from meeting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

With just a drip of funding for stormwater capture, Los Angeles County weighs property tax

Looking to tap property owners, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved moving forward with a plan to consider a parcel tax to help fund an ambitious stormwater capturing system to bolster local drinking water supplies. … The county and its 85 cities are required to develop programs to build stormwater capture and clean-up projects as part of Federal Clean Water Act compliance. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

When it rains, Los Angeles sends billions of gallons of ‘free liquid gold’ down the drain

During one of this winter’s frequent storms, sheets of rainwater spilled from roofs, washed across sidewalks and down gutters into a sprawling network of underground storm drains that empty into the Los Angeles River channel.

Other Event

WELL 2018 Annual Conference
Water, Weather and Warning! Is your community prepared for extreme weather events?

Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.

Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life. 

The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why water regulations are spurring action on tackling homelessness

California has nearly one quarter of the nation’s homeless people – the most of any state by far – and thousands of them live in the Bay Area. … Under a new resolution by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, trash from homeless encampments now falls under the stormwater permit that requires Bay Area cities and counties to get storm drains virtually trash-free by 2022.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The race to turn stormwater from gray to green

Newly passed bills in California are helping turn attention to green infrastructure projects that can help cities take advantage of stormwater to replenish groundwater, increase water supply and decrease water pollution.

Aquapedia background

Runoff

Runoff is the water that is pulled by gravity across land’s surface, replenishing groundwater and surface water as it percolates into an aquifer or moves into a river, stream or watershed.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tujunga Spreading Grounds will soon store 5 billion of gallons of stormwater

Under the $29-million expansion plan launched Monday, officials said the groundwater recharge facility will double in capacity by 2018, helping ween Angelenos off increasingly expensive and unreliable imported water.   

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego facing $4.6 million water pollution fine

Local water quality officials proposed on Tuesday fining San Diego $4.6 million for allegedly allowing private construction sites to pollute sensitive waterways, including the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Lake Tahoe marina remains closed after 15-plus years of violations

Another Memorial Day came and went this year, but the marina at Meeks Bay Resort didn’t open for a third straight season — this time due to a high concentration of pollutants, an issue that apparently has been a concern for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Nevada settles EPA stormwater complaint (with audio)

The state of Nevada will pay $120,000 to settle a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency complaint about storm water runoff pollution in Reno.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Los Angeles looks for extra water down its alleys

Of the roughly 300,000 acres in the city of Los Angeles, more than 2,000 are alleyways that cut through city blocks. And because they’re mostly paved, they do little to capture one of the city’s most prized resources: water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton port seeks grant for ditch project

Stockton port officials hope to turn a storm water ditch into a native plant wetland that will help clean the runoff before it reaches the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Yolo County groundwater recharged by March Miracle storms

With this year’s storms helping to refill the Sacramento region’s lakes and reservoirs, local water district officials and state regulators are diverting and percolating stormwater from Cache Creek into the Yolo County canal system to recharge groundwater supplies used by local farmers, city residents and UC Davis.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose agrees to $100 million pollution cleanup program to reduce trash, sewage spills

Settling a major lawsuit from environmentalists, San Jose city officials on Tuesday agreed to spend more than $100 million over the next decade and beyond to reduce tons of trash that flows into creeks and San Francisco Bay, repair miles of leaking underground sewage pipes and clean stormwater contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County moves toward water fee for new developments, looks at stormwater funding

Los Angeles County will consider new water-saving requirements for developers and look at tax options to pay for future drought planning under a pair of measures adopted Tuesday.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Los Angeles County cities have a $20 billion storm water cleanup bill but they want help

For nearly four years, cities in Los Angeles County have voiced complaints that permits required to rid toxic chemicals and bacteria from storm water imposed staggering costs that could bankrupt smaller cities. On Tuesday, two state senators from Sacramento heard their cries.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Catching storm runoff could ease droughts, but it’s no quick fix (with audio)

Stormwater is starting to get some serious attention in California, as the state’s drought enters a fifth year. … In Walnut Creek, behind a ranch-style home, landscape designer Ryan Kelsey is helping people do that—at least in the short term, and on their own properties.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A behind-the-scenes battle to divert L.A.’s storm water from going to waste

[Eric] Batman reveled in El Niño’s long-overdue rumbling. His job, as senior civil engineer for the [Los Angeles] county Department of Public Works, is to keep as much rain as possible from escaping to the ocean.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Storm Water, long a nuisance, may be a parched California’s salvation

After a year in which Californians cut water use by 25 percent, storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California’s relationship with its intricate water network.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Booms turn back trash from stormwater runoff in Long Beach waters

A long arm across Rainbow Harbor prevented piles of detritus from landing on local shores and floating into the sea earlier this month, when heavy rains soaked the region and sent tons of trash and debris downstream from cities along the Los Angeles River and into Long Beach.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stormwater floods Modesto almond orchard in experiment to restore aquifer

In an effort to restore California’s desperately depleted ancient aquifers, scientists are testing an approach that seizes surplus winter rain and delivers it to where it’s most useful: idle farms and fields.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Capturing every drop of EL Niño runoff

With recurring drought and the promise of a wet winter, water officials have a new appreciation for storm runoff.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

As rain pummels California, some see a way to fight drought

The State Water Resources Control Board approved a broad plan Wednesday for capturing more rain. The regulator is launching a road show this month to explain how it will dole out $200 million for projects to collect rain, part of a $7.5-billion water bond voters approved in November 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Looming rains could turn L.A.’s roadside trash into safety hazard

[Los Angeles] City officials say the flood that hit Bernal Avenue on Oct. 19 was triggered, in part, by a mattress, plastic bags and other garbage that clogged nearby catch basins.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union Tribune

Controversy over new stormwater pollution program

At a meeting that lasted all day, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new program focused on incentivizing jurisdictions to create innovative plans for cleaning up local watersheds.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: While South Carolina floods, U.S. wrestles with urban stormwater

Among the devastating effects of the low pressure storm system that pummeled South Carolina over the weekend was the heavy damage the record-breaking rains caused to water transport and treatment infrastructure, and the release of a tide of contaminated stormwater.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Little drops of stormwater could add up

By some estimates, hanging onto more stormwater—as opposed to just cleaning it so it doesn’t wash pollutants into rivers, aquifers and the ocean—could supply a city such as Los Angeles with a third to half of the water it needs annually – and reduce demand for water from up here.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

Plants really do clean pollution from stormwater

You might have seen them around new buildings and roadways: little basins and ditches, planted with various small growing things. They’re designed to stop crud from washing into the gutters and down the storm drains. 

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Orange County’s plans to turn rainwater into a resource (with video)

With California four years into a drought and water sources scarce, engineers, environmentalists and water officials today see stormwater not as a threat, but as a wasted resource.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles DWP to unveil plan to capture storm runoff

It may not rain much in Los Angeles County, but when it does, a single storm can send up to 10 billion gallons of water surging into a vast network of storm channels with a single destination: the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Stormwater capture: California’s untapped supply (with audio)

The Paseo is an alley at the end of the street. She [Eileen Alduenda] and ecologist Chris Solek know a lot about how water moves through this [San Fernando] valley when it rains.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought keeps Bay Area beaches cleaner, for now

California’s drought has a silver lining: Water is cleaner at beaches all over the state because there’s little pollution runoff, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s plan to capture stormwater could be state model

Amid a worsening drought, California water officials adopted new rules Tuesday aimed at capturing and reusing huge amounts of stormwater that have until now flowed down sewers and concrete rivers into the sea.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard

Blog: Now or never — It’s time for State Board to require stormwater capture and help California mitigate the drought

California is at a critical moment in deciding how we’ll deal with stormwater in Los Angeles … and beyond. Next Tuesday, June 16, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) will consider whether or not it will uphold the current stormwater permit for Los Angeles County, which was last renewed in 2012.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

$40-million stormwater project targets polluted runoff at LAX

Millions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from Los Angeles International Airport will be treated and cleaned before washing into the Pacific Ocean or working its way into L.A.’s groundwater basin, according to an agreement signed Thursday by city and airport officials.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

From the gutter: How your litter ends up in the ocean

Even on a dry day, tens of millions of gallons of dirty water dumps into the ocean through the [Los Angeles County] region’s vast storm drain system.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

San Diego’s creeks and rivers have unhealthy levels of bacteria and other pollutants

The region’s creeks and rivers had unhealthy levels of pollutants last year, the environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper said in a report Wednesday. … To analyze water quality, the organization took 3,301 measurements from nine of the 11 watersheds in the county.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Drought Watch — Treating stormwater as a resource

This weekend, the Southland got some much needed rain. … Unfortunately, too much of this stormwater simply ran straight into local rivers and the ocean, picking up numerous pollutants along the way. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers will examine ways to capture stormwater (with audio)

Recycling stormwater runoff could help provide more water during the drought.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Survey seeks to reduce storm water pollution

The North Coast Stormwater Coalition is seeking input regarding public knowledge of storm water and water pollution.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cleaning up water by running it through dirt

Storm runoff can be toxic to aquatic life, but a new study suggests a simple and relatively inexpensive solution …

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

First-ever comprehensive report details huge San Diego infrastructure funding gaps

The areas with the largest gaps between needed and available funding are stormwater upgrades, street lights and sidewalks.

Aquafornia news NPR

Building Sponge City: Redesigning Los Angeles for long-term drought (with audio)

For thousands of years, city planners have engineered water into submission — think aqueducts. …And so there’s a call now to build cities like sponges.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

San Diego beaches close to swimmers after polluted runoff from heavy rains

The Silver Strand State Beach and Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge is closed to water contact activities because of polluted runoff after heavy rains, authorities announced Sunday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Using rocks to let the water flow

When water hits pavement and blacktop, the water is whisked away to storm drains and does not soak into the soil. Also, these quick flows contribute to pollution in rivers and streams, the State Water Board explains in a series of seven short videos …

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

4 things Southern California is doing to capture stormwater, and 1 we’re not (with audio)

Billions of gallons of water have fallen on Los Angeles County since last week. And much of that  kept right on going — out into storm drains, lost to the sea. Couldn’t we actually use that water? Yes, and we do.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: Federal agencies support Virginia’s innovative market-based approach to improving water quality in Chesapeake Bay

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today [Dec. 16] joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack, Mike Boots of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Commonwealth of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a private investor and an Appomattox, VA, farmer to recognize an innovative, market-based nutrient trading program run by Virginia to improve the water quality of Chesapeake Bay.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Stormwater floods wastewater system in Sonoma Valley and Penngrove

Thursday’s deluge caused sewage spills in four areas of Sonoma Valley as well as one location in Penngrove, Sonoma County Water Agency officials said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Cause identified in big San Francisco sinkhole

A day after heavy rains opened up a massive sinkhole in San Francisco’s Richmond District, the city on Thursday continued with efforts to repair the 20-by-20-foot crater, while revealing it was caused by water flowing from a broken storm drain line.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Storm runoff: Stay out of the ocean, health officials warn

Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange counties are asking surfers and swimmers to stay out of the ocean because of the bacteria, debris and trash that washed into the water from this week’s storms.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: Organizations pledge support, align resources with Urban Waters Federal Partnership

A broad coalition of 27 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including The Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and The Conservation Fund has pledged to support the Urban Waters Federal Partnership as it works to restore waterways and revitalize communities across the country. … Many urban waterways have been polluted for years by sewage, runoff from city streets, and contamination from abandoned industrial facilities.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Rain drops for a second day on parched California

Hours of downpours brought California some relief from a devastating drought and produced few of the problems such as flooding and mudslides that the long-awaited storm had threatened – at least so far.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Los Angeles leaders learn water-saving lessons from Australia

When TreePeople’s Andy Lipkis returned from Australia last week, he couldn’t get out of his head the response people had when he told them most of the rain that falls in Los Angeles escapes to the sea.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Scientists study stormwater, deadly to salmon

Just hours into the experiment, the prognosis was grim for salmon that had been submerged in rain runoff collected from one of Seattle’s busiest highways. … The research being conducted by scientists with NOAA, Washington State University and U.S. Fish and Wildlife offers a promising solution to stormwater pollution, a major problem for Puget Sound and other streams and lakes in the nation.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Commentary: Plastic bag ban under well-funded attack

These out-of-state interlopers are pouring millions of dollars into the effort to undo what the Governor and Legislature have just accomplished to reduce the plastic bags littering our neighborhoods, clogging our waterways and polluting our beaches and oceans and harm wildlife.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

26-home sustainable community to break ground in San Luis Obispo

Construction is under way on a 26-home sustainable community in San Luis Obispo. … The site has been built with local water issues in mind as well: There will be an on-site storm water management and “rain-store” retention system …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Just how bad is your dog for the environment?

Dog poop does contain nutrients — the kind that, when washed down storm drains into streams and the ocean, fuel toxic algae blooms that suck up oxygen and turn coastal habitats into dead zones.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Dry-weather runoff — A new source of water for drought-stricken California?

Even without rainfall, the gutters, channels and storm drains of Los Angeles County pulse with about 330 million gallons of water every day.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: EPA provides technical assistance to five communities for integrated planning of stormwater and wastewater projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing $335,000 in technical assistance to five communities to help them develop components of integrated plans for wastewater and stormwater management.

Publication

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource
Published 2007

Problems with polluted stormwater and steps that can be taken to prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as “nuisance” runoff into a water resource is the focus of this publication, Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource. The 16-page booklet, funded by a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board, includes color photos and graphics, text explaining common stormwater pollutants and efforts to prevent stormwater runoff through land use/ planning/development – as well as tips for homeowners to reduce their impacts on stormwater pollution.

2014 Santa Ana River Watershed Conference

The 6th Annual Santa Ana River Watershed conference was held October 14, 2014 at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside.

The event was convened by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) and coordinated by the Water Education Foundation.

What is One Water One Watershed (OWOW)?

OWOW is an innovative Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) planning process being developed within the Santa Ana River Watershed.

Product

Colorado River Facts Slide Card

This card includes information about the Colorado River, who uses the river, how the river’s water is divided and other pertinent facts about this vital resource for the Southwest. Beautifully illustrated with color photographs.

Video

Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods (DVD)

This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past, present and future of flood management in California’s Central Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand. Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan for the Central Valley.

Video

Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Product

Go With the Flow: A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Message

This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12 about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.

Video

Groundwater Quality: Managing the Resource

This 15-minute video explains in an easy-to-understand manner the importance of groundwater, defines technical terms, describes sources of groundwater contamination and outlines steps communities can take to protect underground aquifers. Includes extensive computer graphics that illustrate these groundwater concepts. The short running times makes it ideal for presentations and community group meetings. Available on VHS and DVD.

Maps & Posters

Delta Sustainability Map
Published 2006

This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.

The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2013

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Environmental SWAT Team Tests Runoff to Nab Polluters

From the Los Angeles Times:

“[Lara] Meeker, who heads the environmental group’s DrainWatch program, is overseeing a special corps of volunteers called Storm Water Assessment Teams — or SWAT — who fan out across the region to collect water samples in an effort to force polluters to clean up.”

Read more from the LA Times

 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Lake Elsinore: Flood Control Construction In Progress

From The Riverside Press-Enterprise:

“When Bob Cullen took a job with the Riverside County Flood Control District, his supervisors put him to work immediately on the proposed Arroyo del Toro channel in Lake Elsinore.
Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Want to Buy in a Flood-prone Area and Still Get Insurance? Thank Uncle Sam.

From the Los Angeles Times:

“We all — well, most of us — know that global warming means a higher risk of coastal flooding, particularly in low-lying areas susceptible to increasingly intense storm systems.
Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources (DWR)

DWR Spotlight: Safeguarding Fish and Agriculture

From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):

“To preserve agriculture, flood protection and wildlife habitat, the Knaggs Ranch project completed this month will help determine if floodplains doing double duty growing rice and other crops can also be used as nurseries for salmon.”

Read more from the DWR Spotlight, and view photos

 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

No Easy Fix on Flood Insurance, But Options Exist

From the Associated Press:

“There’s no easy fix for the National Flood Insurance Program, now drowning in a $24 billion sea of red ink.

“But experts and advocates say Congress does have some options that could make the troubled program financially stable, more affordable and more effective at motivating change in communities built too close to the water.”

Read more from AP

 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Flood Insurance Still on the Rise Despite New Law

From the Associated Press:

“Earlier this month, Congress sought to ease their fears of sky-high premiums by rolling back a 2012 reform ending the government’s costly practice of offering subsidized insurance for older homes and businesses in flood zones. The president signed the bill Friday.”

Read more from AP

 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California Drought Dilemma: Drain Anderson Reservoir to Make Dam Safe in Earthquakes?

From the San Jose Mercury News:

“As California’s historic drought worsens by the day, Silicon Valley’s main water provider faces a difficult choice: Risk catastrophic flooding if a major earthquake strikes its largest dam — or drain billions of gallons of water from the reservoir behind it to make repairs.”

Read more from the San Jose Mercury News

 

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Cannella Pushes Salinas River Bill

From The Salinas Californian:

“A bill introduced into the California Legislature on Monday by a state senator would streamline the regulatory process for Salinas River channel-clearing projects.”

Read more from The Salinas Californian

 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Many a Rain will Come and Go Before Flood Control Project Along Sacramento River is Complete

From the Chico Enterprise-Record:

“Glenn County residents are in a celebratory mood after recent approval of $8.6 million in federal funds for the J Levee.

“However, it will still be years until the estimated $52 million project is complete.”

Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record

 

 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Consultant Hired to Plan Phoenix Lake Expansion Project

From the Marin Independent Journal:

“A $600,000 consultant will conduct geotechnical studies and preliminary design work for expansion of Phoenix Lake into both a reservoir and runoff retention basin as part of ambitious plans to control flooding in the Ross Valley.”

Read more from the Marin Independent Journal

 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Obama to Sign Relief from Flood Insurance Hikes

From the Associated Press:

“President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bipartisan bill relieving homeowners living in flood-prone neighborhoods from big increases in their insurance bills.

“The legislation, which cleared Congress on Thursday, reverses much of a 2012 overhaul of the government’s much-criticized flood insurance program after angry homeowners facing sharp premium hikes protested.”

Read more from the Associated Pres

Aquafornia news Washington Post's Post Politics blog

Blog: U.S. Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill

From the Washington Post’s Post Politics blog:

“The Senate voted 72 to 22 Thursday to pass a flood insurance bill that will roll back sharp premium increases to homeowners that were implemented as part of a federal overhaul of the flood insurance program.”

Read more from the Washington Post blog

 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record's Alex Breitler Environment blog

Blog: Failure to Fund

From the Stockton Record’s Alex Breitler Environment blog:

“California is failing to provide adequate funding for small rural drinking-water systems, flood protection projects, and stormwater and wastewater services, the PPIC concludes in its latest study, released tonight [March 12].”

Read more from the Stockton Record’s Environment

Aquafornia news Contra Costa Times West County Times

El Cerrito’s Rain Garden Concept Will Be Sprouting Elsewhere

From the Contra Costa Times West County Times:

“An innovative project installed by the city to cleanse storm water naturally before it reaches San Francisco Bay is serving as an inspiration for a similar, but larger project planned for El Cerrito and six other East Bay cities.”

Read more from the West County Times

 

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Salinas River: a Flowing Mish-mash of Needs

From The Salinas Californian:

“Two things became clear halfway through a Regional Water Board meeting in Salinas Thursday morning: Everybody wants to cooperate but factions often have differing and passionate views on how to clear the Salinas River channel to prevent flooding.

“Presentations by the Regional Quality Control Board staff, The Nature Conservancy and a coalition of farmers and farming interests all complemented each other in seeking collaboratively to find ways to address flood protection along the 94-mile stretch of river while providing safe habitat for endangered

Aquafornia news [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat

Editorial: Farming Deserves Special Consideration for Flood Insurance

From the [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat:

“We’re getting there, but there should still be extra consideration for farms and agriculture infrastructure in floodplains. …

“What you should have in floodplains is not cities, but farms. And of course, if you have farms, you have to have equipment, some structures, some homes.

Aquafornia news

House Votes to Curtail Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

From the McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau:

“The House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote of 306-91 Tuesday night, agreed to limit premium rate increases under the National Flood Insurance Program.

“The bill must still pass the Senate or be reconciled with a version of flood insurance legislation that the chamber approved in January.”

Read more from McClatchy

 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Three Days After Rain, Beach Water Can Still Make Swimmers Ill, Study Says

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Wait three days after it rains before going into the ocean.
Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: On Los Angeles River Restoration, It’s Time to Think Bigger

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Over a period of several decades, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encased the Los Angeles River in concrete to protect the region against the kind of flooding that had surprised and damaged the city in the 1930s — but also, crucially, to withstand the rare but even more torrential floods that were known to sweep across the basin every generation or so.”

Read more from the LA Times

 

Aquafornia news

House Plans Vote to Limit Flood Insurance Increases

From the McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau:

“House Republican leaders have cleared the way for a floor vote on a bill that would roll back portions of a 2012 overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, offering hundreds of thousands of property owners relief from sharp premium hikes.”

Read more from McClatchy

 

Aquafornia news [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat

2014 Levee Work Will Be ‘Unprecedented’

From the [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat:

The 2014 levee construction season is shaping up to be like nothing the region has ever seen.

“And the main event of the summer will be the Feather River West Levee Project.”

Read more from the Appeal-Democrat

 

Aquafornia news

Commentary: San Diego’s Stormwater Bill — $4 Billion

From U-T San Diego, in a commentary by Dan McSwain:

“California’s quest for clean water is about to get very, very expensive.

“Last week San Diego officials alerted Wall Street that regulations designed to scrub pollution from urban runoff could cost $4 billion over the next 17 years. …

“Nobody really knows the price tag of California’s new standards, which some experts say are impossible to meet at any cost.”

Read more from U-T San Diego

 

Aquapedia background

Stormwater

For all the benefits of precipitation, stormwater also brings with it many challenges.

In urban areas, after long dry periods rainwater runoff can contain heavy accumulations of pollutants that have built up over time. For example, a rainbow like shine on a roadway puddle can indicate the presence of oil or gasoline. Stormwater does not go into the sewer. Instead, pollutants can be flushed into waterways with detrimental effects on the environment and water quality.

Aquapedia background

Lake Tahoe

World-renowned for its crystal clear, azure water, Lake Tahoe straddles the Nevada-California border, stretching 22 miles long and 12 miles wide and hemmed in by Sierra Nevada peaks.

At 1,645 feet deep, Tahoe is the second-deepest lake in the United States and the 10th deepest in the world. The iconic lake sits 6,225 feet above sea level.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Every Last Drop — Drought Has More People Exploring Idea of Harvesting Rainwater

From the Stockton Record:

“Twenty-one billion gallons of rain fall on Stockton any given year, and most of us are content to let it green up our lawns and then swirl down our storm drains.

“Not Eric Firpo, who has connected a series of improvised rain barrels to the roof of his midtown Stockton home.”

Read more from the Stockton Record

 

Aquafornia news

U.S. Senate OKs Reversing Flood Insurance Hikes, But Obama Opposes, House Prospects Uncertain

From the McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau:

“The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to delay steep increases in homeowners’ federal flood insurance premiums, which were put in place less than two years ago to stabilize the federal flood insurance program.”

Read more from McClatchy

 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Frustrated Watsonville Homeowners Find Little Relief at Flood Insurance Presentation

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

“A large crowd of homeowners came to a meeting with a federal flood insurance representative armed with questions.

“Few appeared to like the answers.”

Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel

 

Aquafornia news

Blog: A High-Tech Approach to Watershed Management

From Greenversations, An EPA Blog About Science Matters, in a post by Marguerite Huber:

“EPA researchers studying green infrastructure (using vegetation, soil, and other naturalistic techniques to reduce stormwater runoff) collaborated with colleagues in the Agency’s New England office (EPA Region 1) to develop a new public-domain software app called the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST).

“The goal of the tool is to help water resource managers and planners identify cost effective, sustainable green infrastructure options for their local jurisdictions.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Federal Officials Announce Lower Flood Risk for 3,500 South Sacramento Area Homes

From The Sacramento Bee:

“About 3,500 south Sacramento area homes considered to be at high risk for flooding will shed that designation in May because of flood control projects on two creeks, federal and local officials announced Wednesday.”

Read more from The Sacramento Bee

 

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Urban Runoff Assessment Waits for Rains

From The Salinas Californian:

“Garden patches at the Boronda Crossing Shopping Center have a big job. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, the plants and rock form a bioswale — in effect, a filter — intended to reduce pollutants in rainwater runoff from entering creeks, estuaries and the Monterey Bay.”

Read more from The Salinas Californian

 

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert blog

Blog: House Approves Bill with Funds for Sacramento Flood Protection

From The Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert blog:

“The massive spending bill the House of Representatives passed Wednesday includes $72 million for Sacramento flood-protection efforts.”

Read more from Capitol Alert

 

Aquafornia news the Ukiah Daily Journal

New Stormwater Rules Take Effect in Mendocino County

From the Ukiah Daily Journal:

“New regulations designed to reduce the amount of construction waste polluting local waterways are being imposed this year in Mendocino County.”

Read more from the Ukiah Daily Journal

 

Aquafornia news

Blog: Buyouts — A Solution for Flood-Prone Neighborhoods?

From Alex Breitler’s Environment blog, the Stockton Record:

“The Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, says we should buy out flood-prone properties threatened by climate change.”

Read more from Breitler’s Environment blog

 

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Valley Residents Asked to Weigh In On Flood Work

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

“The region may be in the grip of an epic drought, but the Sonoma County Water Agency wants people to think about the possibility of flooding.”

Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

 

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