Photo retrieved from: www.cleanwaternetwork.org
“The organizations, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Florida Clean Water Network, and the Androscoggin River Alliance, say EPA is ignoring blatant violations of this important protection and thereby encourages states to violate it, pointing to two recent cases: In Florida, EPA has dithered for nearly a year without action. In Maine, the administrator resigned due to a parallel state law which has since been weakened while EPA stayed silent.
The federal Clean Water Act bars appointment of any state decision-maker on pollution discharge permits who “has during the previous two years received a significant portion of his income directly or indirectly from permit holders or applicants for a permit.” Nonetheless, at least two states have recently done just that. Both conflicted environmental nominees were confirmed and then challenged by environmental groups; one was ousted and one remains but in both cases EPA remained on the sideline.
Nearly a year ago, on February 23, 2011, PEER and Florida Clean Water Network filed a legal complaint with EPA that Herschel Vinyard, Florida’s environmental secretary, and another top appointee should be legally barred from issuing water pollution permits due to Vinyard’s prior employment on behalf of shipyards.”
Read more: examiner.com
Photo retrieved from: www.latimes.com
“The Current Court Ruling
On Jan. 18, 2012 the State Appellate Court ruled that the trial court: 1) had authority to allocate future storage in the Central Basin; 2) had jurisdiction over water transfers between the Central and nearby West Coast Basins; and 3) was not prohibited from appointing a “watermaster” over unused space in the Central Basin. The court additionally ruled that the Central Basin Water District might also be able to serve as “watermaster.”
The defendants — the cities of Cerritos, Downey and Signal Hill — contended: 1) their costs would be increased if others were given the right to lease unused capacity in the Basin; 2) over-drafting of the Basin could result if new “wet water” was not put in first; and 3) there was a threat the appointed watermaster could try to merge the Central and West Coast Basins. The Central Basin did not want a proverbial “shotgun marriage” to result over the issue of renting a room to the unwanted bastard child of unused basin capacity.
Presumably, the above issues can be heard and adjudicated now that the jurisdictional issues have been clarified.
The timing of this case has enormous implications for what is happening statewide. The Delta Stewardship Council appointed by the State Legislature is about to put into place widely encompassing laws that could usurp powers from local water districts. Local water agencies would no longer be able to do anything that adversely impacted the Sacramento Delta. The Delta is where Southern California gets most of its imported water supplies. Conceivably, local water departments might not be able to issue any new water permits or “will serve” letters to real estate developers if that meant using more imported Delta water.”
Read more: Cal Watchdog
Chattahoochee river. Retrieved from: www.southernenvironment.org
“Communities in Alabama and Georgia that share the Chattahoochee and Coosa river basins have come to depend on a certain level of flows in dry times and wet times. When we are experiencing plentiful rainfall, those communities know how much river flow they can expect to receive, just as they know how much river flow they can expect in dry times. Economic and environmental expectations and investments in Alabama communities have been based on those historical flow amounts.
As a result of explosive growth, Atlanta-area communities have greater needs for water. One way to meet those needs is for those communities to invest in reservoirs and other infrastructure to store water in times of heavy rainfall. But Atlanta-area communities have not followed that path. Instead, they have relied almost exclusively on increased use of water from two large federal reservoirs — Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona — to meet increased water demand. Those reservoirs were built with federal tax dollars and, therefore, do not belong to Georgia. The problem is that Atlanta’s increased usage of those reservoirs removes water from the system that otherwise would have flowed to downstream communities.”
Read more: ajc
Photo retrieved from: www.haaretz.com
“The French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee published an unprecedented report two weeks ago accusing Israel of implementing “apartheid” policies in its allocation of water resources in the West Bank.
The Israeli Embassy in Paris had no foreknowledge of the report and thus did not refute it or work to moderate it. Foreign Ministry officials called the incident “a serious diplomatic mishap.”
The report said that water has become “a weapon serving the new apartheid” and gave examples and statistics that ostensibly back this claim.
“Some 450,000 Israeli settlers on the West Bank use more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians that live there,” the report said. “In times of drought, in contravention of international law, the settlers get priority for water.”
The author of the report was Socialist Party MP Jean Glavany, who in the past served as agriculture minister under French President Lionel Jospin and as cabinet secretary for President Francois Mitterrand.”
Read more: IOA
Mekong river. Retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com
“Numerous rivers are being dammed for power production as Laos pursues its vision to become the “Battery of Asia”, and about 90% of this power is for export to Thailand and Vietnam.
Obviously Laos is not the only country growing in this region, and the demand for electricity is understandably strong. But the “Land of a Million Elephants” is becoming the “Land of 50 Dams” and that affects us all. This is because the dams are on the tributaries and water catchments of the great Mekong River. Indeed, according to the Mekong River Commission, nearly one-third of Thailand is actually in the Mekong River basin. The current dams in the Mekong basin produce around 1,600 megawatts yet the potential is estimated at 30,000 MW. And with around 60 million people depending on the Mekong for food, water, and transport the number of people directly linked to the river is huge _ approximately the same as the population of Thailand itself. And these dams will have an uncertain impact on this important inland fishery.
Electricity is vital for economic growth and it is vitally important for countries to have very reliable sources of high-quality power to drive their economies forward. But not all electricity has to be used in an inefficient way, and by getting serious about energy efficiency, the demand growth can be reduced. And this will mean that fewer dams are needed on the precious Mekong and its basin. Countries such as Thailand and Vietnam getting more strict about energy efficiency will better preserve the region’s key river.”
Read more: Bangkok Post
Retrieved from: www.ucdavis.edu
“For the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one common point of agreement is that the estuary – which is critical for water delivery to nearly two-thirds of California – is facing serious challenges that must be addressed.
In 2006, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan was created to establish a process that would bring stakeholders together to forge an agreement on a path forward. This was not simply meant to be a path that led from bureaucratic process to bureaucratic process. It was meant to find a final, long-term solution to our water issues.
The Delta faces numerous stressors, including municipal wastewater and industrial discharges, invasive species, predation, power plant diversions, urban and agricultural runoff, diversions and in-Delta pumping, and ocean conditions, among others. The BDCP is an effort to address these in a more comprehensive way. It is one of the largest habitat conservation and restoration projects of its kind ever undertaken in the United States. In conjunction with ecological restoration, BDCP will also provide a more reliable supply of water to nearly 25 million Californians, as well as millions of acres of highly productive farmland in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Read more: Sacramento Bee
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
In 2007, Argentinians – fearful the Botnia paper mill would cause pollution – protested on a bridge on the border with Uruguay. Retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk
“Policy experts believe access to water is the issue with the most potential for stoking conflict. The problem is likely to be exacerbated by climate change, because most of Latin America’s major river basins are shared and water disputes rapidly assume a political character.
Friction between Bolivia and Chile over the Silala river illustrates how water disputes can touch raw historical nerves. Similarly, long-standing border tensions between Nicaragua and Honduras have been complicated by the impact of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which changed the flow of the Negro river.
Hydroelectric power also cranks up strains. The potential for dams on the Usumacinta river has been a historic focus of tension between Mexico and Guatemala, and opponents of Brazilian mega-dams on the Madeira river warn they will also affect Bolivia and Peru.
Strains in the La Plata river basin are likely to escalate as development fuels rapid growth. The proposed Hidrovía project to straighten the Paraguay-Paraná rivers for better navigation to landlocked Bolivia and Paraguay also threatens the Chaco-Pantanal wetlands.
Pollution stirs this volatile mix, as in the Botnia case. On the other side of Uruguay, at its border with Brazil, biocides and fertilisers used in rice paddies have contaminated run-off into the Patos-Mirim lagoon system, stoking water quality disagreements.
Migration resulting from land exhaustion or climate change is another major potential source of conflict, especially if it brings into contact peoples with pre-existing tensions. The migration of 300,000 peasants from El Salvador to Honduras in search of land in the 1960s helped to spark the brief but bloody “Soccer War” of 1969.”
Read more: The Guardian
Photo retrieved from: www.santacruz.com
“The council unanimously agreed to join a study with regional water agencies for swapping supplies, an idea explored but abandoned 21 years ago. In recent years, however, the county had laid the groundwork for a new study funded by a state grant that will evaluate trading water between Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley and the Soquel Creek Water District.
Vice Mayor Don Lane saw the move as consistent with efforts to study alternatives to a desalination plant that could transform 2.5 million gallons seawater for potable use each day.
“We are pulling out all the stops,” Lane said. “Every idea that might have some benefit to our water system, including desal and including conjunctive use [or swaps], are all worthy of our consideration.”
The idea is that Santa Cruz, a largely surface-water system, would provide excess water from the San Lorenzo River in winter to be delivered first to the Scotts Valley Water District then to Soquel Creek Water District, with the understanding that the groundwater-based Soquel Creek district may return some water during drought periods. The city would be paid for the water it treats and transfers.”
Read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Photo retrieved from: www.texastribune.org
“Droughts are tricky to manage. Their effects vary significantly from place to place, so local authorities generally assume primary responsibility for drought management. Different counties or cities not only get different amounts of precipitation, but they also may draw from different sources of water, below the ground or in reservoirs or rivers.
Droughts often do not get the attention accorded to other natural disasters. They are slower-moving and lack the drama of, say, a hurricane, earthquake or a tornado. Wildfires, exacerbated by drought, are also more spectacular. Gov. Rick Perryvisited West Texas fire devastation in April.
Currently Perry has “no tours … scheduled at this point” of drought-stricken areas, according to Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the governor. Perry’s most publicized drought move was to call for prayers for rain over the Easter weekend. Frazier says that the governor is “always being briefed” on the latest on the drought situation.
The federal government usually takes the lead on disaster aid, after a request from the state, and this drought is no exception. Last month the Department of Agriculture declared nearly all Texas counties disaster areas so that farmers and ranchers statewide can apply for low-interest loans for relief. ”
Read more: Texas Tribune