The Sacramento River. Retrieved from: LA Times
“One thing stood out in the pile of documents released Thursday detailing state plans to replumb California’s water hub: Construction could start on the massive project before water managers know whether it will work as intended.
“The still-evolving proposal, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and the federal government, is designed to partially restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta environment and halt reductions in delta water exports.
“But uncertainty over the volume of future water deliveries is likely to linger for years as government scientists try to nail down how much water imperiled salmon and smelt need in the delta.
“This plan does not include any guarantees for water supply deliveries,” said Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources.
“Proponents also don’t know whether restoring about 100,000 acres of habitat in the much-altered delta will produce the desired effect of bolstering fish and wildlife populations.
“But state officials argue that doing nothing will guarantee the continued deterioration of the delta ecosystem, and with it, additional cuts to southbound water deliveries.”
Read more: LA Times
Retrieved from: New York Times
“SEVILLE, Calif. — Like most children, the students at Stone Corral Elementary School here rejoice when the bell rings for recess and delight in christening a classroom pet.
“But while growing up in this impoverished agricultural community of numbered roads and lush citrus orchards, young people have learned a harsh life lesson: “No tomes el agua!” — “Don’t drink the water!”
“Seville, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water. It is the grim result of more than half a century in which chemical fertilizers, animal wastes, pesticides and other substances have infiltrated aquifers, seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the tap. An estimated 20 percent of small public water systems in Tulare County are unable to meet safe nitrate levels, according to a United Nations representative.
“In farmworker communities like Seville, a place of rusty rural mailboxes and backyard roosters where the average yearly income is $14,000, residents like Rebecca Quintana pay double for water: for the tap water they use to shower and wash clothes, and for the five-gallon bottles they must buy weekly for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.
“It is a life teeming with worry: about children accidentally sipping contaminated water while cooling off with a garden hose, about not having enough clean water for an elderly parent’s medications, about finding a rock while cleaning the feeding tube of a severely disabled daughter, as Lorie Nieto did. She vowed never to use tap water again.”
Read More: New York Times
Retrieved from: CNN
“A dry and mild spring led Don Villwock, like all of Indiana’s corn and soybean farmers, to plant two weeks early this year. He was hopeful for a bountiful Labor Day harvest.
“But the rain didn’t fall and June brought blistering heat.
“Now, as punishing drought grips the Midwest, Villwock, 61, walks his hard-hit 4,000 acres in southwest Indiana in utter dismay.
“Where there should have been tall, dark green, leafy plants, there now stand corn stalks that are waist high or, at best, chest high. They are pale in color and spindly. Fragile. Tired.
Pull back an ear’s husk and you find no kernels, he says. With temperatures rising above 95 degrees, the pollen starts to die.
“It’s emotionally draining,” he said. “The crop got out of the ground very well. We were so optimistic. But maybe a few of us were counting our eggs before they were hatched.”
“The costs of America’s worst drought in 24 years is obvious to Villwock, who has been farming for four decades. They are not so apparent to American consumers — at least, not yet.”
Read more: CNN
Santa Cruz residents sign petitions to put the desal plant up for a vote crowd into India Joze restaurant Sunday. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel)
“SANTA CRUZ – Organizers of a ballot measure designed to put a planned desalination plant to a vote are set to begin circulating petitions around the city.
“About 100 people attended a kickoff party Sunday for a drive to place a measure on the November ballot that would require Santa Cruz city leaders to obtain voter approval before the desal plant is built.
“If passed by a majority of city voters, the measure would amend the city’s charter to ensure the city “does not approve, permit or fund a desalination plant without voter approval.” The amendment also would bar the city from incurring debt for the controversial project.
“Rick Longinotti, a desal opponent and member of the initiative’s steering committee, told the crowd assembled at India Joze restaurant that they would need about 5,500 signatures, or about 15 percent of city voters, by May to get on the ballot. Sunday’s event served to sign up petition volunteers.
“The measure, dubbed the Right to Vote on Desalination, does not take a position on whether a desalination plant is a good idea, he said. But he believes voters should be able to decide.”
Read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel
“Ford enters 2012 with plans to further reduce the amount of water used to make vehicles and continue showing efficiency is not only inherent in its vehicle lineup, but also in its manufacturing practices.
“A new goal calls for Ford to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30 percent globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009.
“Ford is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically.
“Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
“Ford’s latest water reduction initiatives are designed to build on the success the company has had with its Global Water Management Initiative that launched in 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, Ford reduced its global water use by 62 percent, or 10.5 billion gallons. That’s the equivalent of how much water 105,000 average American residences use annually, based on figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“If Ford meets its goal of reducing the amount of water used by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 cubic meters in 2000 to approximately 3.5 cubic meters in 2015. One cubic meter is equal to 264.2 gallons of water.”
Read more: PR Newswire
Retrieved from: MichiganRadio.org
“Mercury is a neurotoxin. The Environmental Protection Agency says mercury can be especially harmful for babies and kids. Mercury can affect their developing brains and harm their memory, attention, language and motor skills.
“Mercury is naturally-occurring. Volcanoes emit mercury and so do hot springs, like the ones in Yellowstone National Park.
“But the EPA points out… the largest manmade source of mercury emissions in the U.S. comes from coal-burning power plants.
“Joel Blum is a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan. Blum says when power plants burn coal, mercury is emitted as a gas.
“In order to become toxic, it has to be transformed into a particular form known as methylmercury which is something that happens in the environment.”
“So… mercury falls from the atmosphere, and is converted to methylmercury in the water. That toxic form builds up in fish… and it can build up in us when we eat fish.
“But for years… there’s been a big debate about where that mercury goes when it’s released from a power plant smokestack.
Read more: Michigan Radio
Retrieved from: MedicalXpress
“The implications are unclear — researchers did not look for whole living bacteria, just for dead fragments of their genetic material — but experts are concerned. Superbugs have developed resistance to almost every kind of antibiotic. They are building resistance faster than science can create new drugs. Many of them are deadly.
“Timothy LaPara and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, testing water pouring from a modern water treatment facility in Duluth, found genes of drug-resistant bacteria in the discharge. Most American cities do not have facilities as good as Duluth’s, but no one knows for sure how much worse the situation may be at those facilities because it has not been measured.
“This is not a trivial thing to miss,” said Ellen Silbergeld, professor and editor-in-chief of Environmental Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Silbergeld said LaPara shows the situation is more troubling than many had thought.
“The best-known superbug is MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which even has been found in the locker room of a National Football League team but usually picked up in hospitals. It is sometimes defeated by massive doses of multiple antibiotics, but not always.
“A new superbug, Clostridium difficile, which can cause a fatal colon inflammation, now is on the rise. Two antibiotics work for that bug most — but not all — of the time. A quarter of patients relapse and some will die.”
Read more: MedicalXpress
Retrieved from: MMWD
“The Marin Municipal Water District will challenge a judge’s ruling that the district’s desalination project environmental impact report is flawed, which essentially voided the project.
“The water district board voted Wednesday in a closed session to appeal a Marin Superior Court decision that determined the environmental analysis of the proposed San Rafael desalination plant was not prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
“The North Coast Rivers Alliance was joined by several other parties in the lawsuit challenging the desalination project.
“In her August opinion, Judge Lynn Duryee said she was concerned the environmental impact report didn’t properly describe the environmental setting near the project nor fully assess its impact on marine species.
“Water district lawyers argued that assessments were done during peak seasons and that a more comprehensive study would be done — as required by state and federal officials — once the project moved forward.
The judge went on to write that the desalination plan is “unnecessary because water conservation costs nothing, has no negative environmental effects and is more effective than the (desalination) project.”
Read More: Marin Independent Journal
“On several occasions members of the Santa Cruz City Council have expressed the sentiment that desalination should be a last resort. Other strategies to make better use of existing resources should be employed first. On Tuesday at 7pm, the Council has the opportunity to put that intention into practice. To do so they will need to put the brakes on desal spending and direct their Water Department to implement alternatives first.
“The Water Department is asking the City Council for more money for the desal project. This time it’s a half million for a consultant to guide the permitting process for the desal project. According to Bill Kocher, head of the Water Department, $12.5 million in City, Soquel Creek Water District and state taxpayer money has already been spent on the desal project. It’s time for the Council to draw the line. Money for the permitting process should wait until a decision has been made whether to approve the project. And that decision will happen after an Environmental Impact Report is complete.
“The second decision Council will make on Tuesday is whether to include three key strategies in the City’s 5-year Urban Water Management Plan. Even people who are committed to the desalination project should have no objection to water exchanges with Soquel Creek District; water-neutral growth policy; and more resources for conservation.
“If the Council approves funds for desal permitting and fails to adopt the three strategies for making better use of our existing water resources, I will be supporting a ballot initiative that will put the decision on the desalination project in the hands of the voters. -Rick Longinotti.”
Read more: Desal Alternatives
Retrieved from: KSBW.com
“MONTEREY, Calif. — The former director of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency Board of Directors is in hot water.
“Stephen P. Collins was charged with 33 felony counts and six misdemeanors on suspicion of profiting off water contracts he handed out while serving as the Monterey County water board’s director.
“Collins appeared in court Wednesday for arraignment on the charges against him; but the hearing was continued until Nov. 30 without Collins entering a plea. Prosecutors asked Collins to be held on $10,000 bail, but Collins’ attorney Juliet Peck successfully argued that he is not a flight risk and Judge Timothy Roberts agreed, allowing Collins to go free.
“District Attorney Dean Flippo announced the charges against Collins, 57, at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“The conflict of interest charges against Collins stem from his handling of a desalination project, called the Regional Project.”
Read more: KSBW.com