Application Deadline: October 15th, 2017 11:59PM
#1 Contaminated water
Huge swaths of Houston are submerged in water — as much as 30 percent of Harris County, which includes the city and surrounding towns. In addition to the floods, which will take time to recede, the water also poses problems from contamination.
Experts say all sorts of chemicals are likely to be in the water.
“Pick a toxin, that’s going to be in the water,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Oil and grease and chemicals.”
Houston is a major center for the oil and gas industry, adding to those worries. Continue . . .
The City of Beaumont’s main intake water pump station August 31st, 2017
The water trickling out of some Beaumont faucets is being rerouted from a different water processing plant, Mayor Becky Ames said.
“It’s OK to flush and bathe with but we’re asking people to refrain from trying to fill up big containers,” Ames said. “It helps build the pressure.” The boil water notice will be in effect for the foreseeable future, Ames said. Continue . . .
By Kevin Reilly
Erin Brockovich, the famous environmental activist and fighter for clean water, explains why people are seeing their drinking water turn different colors. It’s not just Flint, Michigan, that’s suffering: there are more than 200 sites with lead levels higher than Flint. Following is a transcript of the video.
I’ll get pictures from all over the US, and they’re, like, why is my water coming out brown or yellow or orange?
Part of that is because we’ve been adding ammonia to our systems, which makes the water more caustic.
I think that we’ve taken it for granted that when you turn on your water, it’s just there. It’s a huge process. Water is complicated. We have to run it from one point to your tap through miles and miles of distribution systems.
I think we have some 18 million miles of lead pipe. So when you have caustic water running through it, it causes the pipes to corrode. And so all the lead and the iron and the manganese in those pipes leaches out in the distribution system and ends being delivered to your tap. Continue . . .
When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water
Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.
Nor is this an isolated situation. Tests have turned up harmful levels of lead in water fountains and taps at other schools in San Diego and Los Angeles, where the district long ago decided to identify, flush and fix or seal hundreds of contaminated fountains. And in the wake of the much-publicized toxic lead contamination of water in Flint, Mich., a Reuters report revealed dozens of California neighborhoods in which tested children showed elevated levels of lead—a neurotoxin that causes developmental disorders and brain damage. No amount of lead in humans is considered safe. Continue . . .
By Giana Magnoli
Applications for water wells in Santa Barbara County have been approved as long as people met the technical requirements, but the Board of Supervisors this week signaled support for changing to a discretionary process for non-agricultural wells that are on parcels already served by a water agency.
The supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to pursue making permits discretionary for non-agricultural well applicants in unincorporated areas who are already served by a water agency, and requiring flow meters to monitor how much is pumped from those wells. Continue . . .
Only in Montecito would one hear the term “well shaming” — the act of publicly accusing a neighbor’s private water well of sucking up the area’s groundwater supply.
The Santa Barbara County Supervisors took up this matter on Tuesday, albeit not just for Montecito estates, known for their lush grasslands. In a split vote, they imposed discretionary review for all water-well permits in areas served by a municipal water district, with an exception for agriculture use. Continue . . .
By Aubrey Bettencourt
Flint, Michigan, and its 100,000 citizens exist in one universe; California’s Central Valley and its population of nearly a million cling to survival in another. Both have economic woes. Both suffer a deadly water supply made toxic with lead. Continue . . .
How climate change could threaten the water supply for millions of Californians
By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow
When it comes to California and climate change, the predictions are staggering: coastal airports besieged by floodwaters, entire beaches disappearing as sea levels rise. Continue . . .
Why go for desal when California has cheaper options?
By Heather Cooley – Special to The Bee
While winter rains have refilled California reservoirs and dumped near-record snow on the mountains, communities across the state are wisely seeking ways reduce their vulnerability to future droughts. One option some are considering is seawater desalination.
Tapping the vast ocean seems like a promising solution, and proponents often tout Australia and Israel, which have adopted this technology. We agree that California should look at experiences in other parts of the world. But we need to have all the facts and make the right decisions for our communities.
For example, Israel didn’t turn to desalination until it had first dramatically cut production of water-intensive crops such as cotton, invested in urban conservation and efficiency far beyond what California has achieved, and massively expanded wastewater treatment and reuse. Continue . . .
In the wake of the recent drought, desalination of ocean water continues to be a central topic in California water debates.
Some coastal communities were particularly hard hit by the drought, including a large swath of the central coast that is among the last regions in the state still suffering from drought conditions. Desalination seems to hold the potential for limitless, drought-proof supplies, but the reality is far more complex. Desalination comes with the obvious downsides of very high capital costs and energy consumption, not to mention the high cost of operation and maintenance.
The potential impacts on ocean ecosystems have generated controversy and delays. In addition, communities are only starting to tap alternative sources, such as recycled wastewater and storm water, that have the potential to be less costly and more sustainable in the long-term. The decision whether to build a coastal desalination plant should be based on a consideration of all of these factors for each community. Continue . . .
By A.G. Kawamura – Special to The Bee
For generations now, California farmers have fed America and the world. As a third-generation California farmer, my family is proud of the produce we have helped put on the table.
But that legacy of plenty could be in jeopardy for the next generation. A new UC Berkeley report commissioned by the Southern California Water Committee concludes that for decades, environmental regulations have been severely limiting the amount of water available for agriculture. Overregulation is pushing us toward perhaps the greatest water loss ever in California – an average of 1.3 million acre-feet of water each year. That’s enough to irrigate 400,000 acres of farmland, or sustain more than 10 million Southern California residents for a year.
No matter the weather, the state’s current water system cannot capture and store enough water when it’s available – water that could be used to balance residential use, environmental practices and food production. If this trend is allowed to continue, we will see a significant decrease in available farmland, an increase in food prices and an even tougher future for family farmers. Continue . . .
A new poll finds Americans are more concerned about their drinking water than they are about any other environmental issue.
The U.S. population appears to be more concerned with polluted water than it has been in over a decade, just as the Trump administration is rolling back water protections.
According to a new Gallup poll, 63 percent of respondents said they worried “a great deal” about pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent of overall respondents also said they were concerned about pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
The percentage of respondents with water concerns is at its highest level recorded in Gallup’s annual environmental poll since 2001. That number also surpasses the percentage of respondents who are concerned with the four other environmental issues included in the poll — air pollution, climate change, the loss of tropical rainforests and the extinction of plant and animal species. Continue . . .
By Jessica Diaz
The conclusion of California’s five-year drought was undeniably dramatic. The recent Sierra snowpack survey by California’s Department of Water Resources showed water content 196 percent above the long-term average. The 2017 water year was the wettest on record for Northern California. And in April, the governor lifted California’s declaration of drought emergency.
Yet this immediate-term relief should not obscure the stark reality: California suffers a long-term deficit in water supply. The state’s population is projected to increase from an estimated 39 million in 2016 to 52.6 million by 2060. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects that by 2030, California will face 5 million acre-feet of total unmet water demand in an average year, and even more in a dry year. This is equivalent to the average annual use by 10 million households. Continue . . .
And most of those violations in 2015 went unpunished
Many utilities are struggling to consistently deliver safe drinking water, and the problem seems primed to get even worse.
That’s the dire message in a new analysis of federal drinking water violations released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.
The analysis found that water systems cited for at least one violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015 serve nearly 77 million people —about one-quarter of the U.S. population — in all 50 states. Perhaps more troublingly, the vast majority of the violations carried no formal repercussions. Continue . . .
Proposed cuts to a number of federal programs would make efforts to fight toxic algal blooms more difficult.
It’s been a disturbing scene on a number of southern California beaches of late.
In recent weeks, hundreds of dead and sick seabirds, sea lions and other marine mammals have been washing up on the beaches in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The cause of the die-off is believed to be domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by a massive algal bloom that has formed in waters just off the coast.
Some of the water Santa Barbarans are receiving in their homes now comes from the ocean.
On Tuesday, the city announced that water from its revamped desalination plant has entered the distribution system and is going out to customers.
“Initially, desalinated water production will be intermittent until the start-up and testing phase is completed,” the city said in a statement. Continue . . .
Rodney Loehr knows a thing or two about water. He knows how crucial and how precious it is because he grew up with very little, in the arid American Southwest. Raised with a great respect for this precious natural resource, and understanding first-hand the consequences of its absence, Rodney developed something of an obsession with water issues. His persistent interest in water has led him down the entrepreneurial path he’s now on. Continue . . .
Four Properties Test Far Above Health Standards
By Tyler Hayden
Dangerously high levels of copper have been detected in the plumbing systems of three upscale condominium complexes in downtown Santa Barbara, prompting city officials to caution some residents against drinking and cooking with their tap water, and triggering a dizzying blame game over who is responsible for causing and solving the health hazard.
Through interviews and public records requests, The Santa Barbara Independent has identified the properties as Sevilla (formerly Chapala One, located at 401 Chapala St.), Paseo Chapala (105 W. De la Guerra St.), and One Twenty One (121 W. De la Guerra St.). City officials confirmed a fourth affected property sits somewhere along Chapala Street, but said they could not reveal its exact address as doing so would mean unlawfully disclosing private water user information. Continue . . .
Big thanks to everyone for coming on down and visiting AquaViable™ Solutions, Inc. at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival 2017! This past April 22nd-23rd in Alameda Park!
We appreciate the public showing of support.
We will continue to popularize atmospheric water generation (AWG) technology throughout the South Coast of California.
We hope to see y’all there next year!
Let There Be Water
Cachuma Half Full Thanks to Winter Rains
By Nick Welsh
“With the reservoir at Lake Cachuma now half full thanks to winter rains, deliveries to the South Coast water agencies have started back up for the first time in two years. Water managers are hedging their bets, however, against the prospect of more dry years; they’re taking 40 percent of normal deliveries over the next six months and another 40 percent for the six months after that.” Continue . . .
Water Systems in Early Days
Santa Barbara’s Padres Faced Water Shortages
“Santa Barbarans realize that water is a precious and, at times, scarce commodity. An enduring theme of this community’s history has been the search for an adequate water supply — from the building of the Royal Presidio aqueduct to the construction of the desalinization plant. The outstanding early relic of this search is the remains of the water system of the Old Mission.” Continue . . .
Lawn Watering Ban Lifted
But Officials Caution Drought Is Far from Over
By Nick Welsh
“City water planners Joshua Haggmark and Kelly Dyer cautioned that the drought is far from over but agreed that residents had earned a respite from the “drought fatigue” caused by six of the hottest, driest years on record.” Continue . . .
By Amy Graff
“Satellite photographs from the NASA Earth Observatory show the striking difference in California’s drought-ravaged landscape after ceaseless storms soaked the state at the start of 2017.
These images taken from space reveal the dramatic changes that have unfolded across the state between 2014, amid the a multi-year drought, and winter 2017, a season marked by record rain- and snowfall.” Continue . . .
Meet with experts and find the help you need to rapidly advance your idea from prototype to production. This is a tremendous opportunity for non-engineers, novice engineers and advanced engineers to rub shoulders with corporate sponsors Microchip, Arduino, Arrow and more to learn about rapid prototyping. Continue . . .
SANTA BARBARA — More than four inches of rain pounded the red-tiled roofs of this coastal enclave one day last month. Waves damaged a scenic pier. Historic pine trees fell, crashing into vehicles. The airport closed. The county jail relocated 200 inmates. Residents evacuated three apartment buildings. Six vacation cabins and 15 vehicles were swept down a river in a nearby canyon.
And yet, Santa Barbara remains one of the last, and perhaps worst, remnants of California’s historic drought. Continue . . .
U.S. Documentary; 87 minutes.
The history of California is written in water, and in the shady deals that allow a few to control it, director Marina Zenovich shows in her fact-packed documentary “Water & Power: A California Heist.”
In the middle of a four-year drought, Zenovich goes to the towns of East Porterville and Lost Hills, amid the rich croplands of the San Joaquin Valley, where locals can’t get clean tap water. However, in the corporate agribusinesses near those towns, there’s plenty of water to grow almonds, pistachios and pomegranates. Continue . . .
Dry spells come and go in California, where the difference between a wet and dry year often depends on how much precipitation the state gets from just a few storms during winter.
During the period of recorded water history, California’s most significant statewide droughts were 1929-34, 1976-77, 1987-1992, 2007-09 and the recent five-year drought, according to the state department of water resources. The 2007-09 drought was was the first for which a statewide emergency was declared. Continue . . .
Gibraltar Reservoir Poses Serious Water Quality Problems
By Nick Welsh
Choirs of frogs can now be heard singing in South Coast creeks, a sonic manifestation of the heavier than average rainfall gracing Santa Barbara’s South Coast. The good news is that the City of Santa Barbara’s Gibraltar Reservoir spilled last week and remains full, and the amount of water in Lake Cachuma has doubled since the New Year. Continue . . .
Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy.
He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate. Water rushed down a canal and flooded hundreds of acres of vineyards — even though it was wintertime. The vineyards were quiet. Nothing was growing.
“We started in February, and we flooded grapes continuously, for the most part, until May,” Cameron says.
Cameron was doing this because for years, he and his neighbors have been digging wells and pumping water out of the ground to irrigate their crops. That groundwater supply has been running low. “I became really concerned about it,” Cameron says.
So his idea was pretty simple: Flood his fields and let gravity do the rest. Water would seep into the ground all the way to the aquifer. Continue . . .
First step is to line up enough storms to trigger runoff into Lake Cachuma, water authorities say
By Sam Goldman
The Central Coast could almost be confused with the Pacific Northwest this week, as storms line up to drop much-needed rain on the parched region.
California as a whole is in the midst of the wettest winter since the beginning of its long, record-breaking drought.
The first band of what forecasters predict will be the region’s most powerful storm in a decade continued to pummel Northern California on Sunday, causing flooding throughout the region and prompting evacuations in Sonoma County and parts of neighboring Nevada.
Emergency officials voluntarily evacuated 650 homes in the low-lying communities of Monte Rio and Guerneville in Sonoma County as the Russian River continued to rise Sunday evening. The river is expected to peak at noon on Monday and will probably remain at or above flood levels through Tuesday morning, officials said. Continue . . .
By Paul Rogers
As 2016 wound down, California entered its sixth year of drought.
But every part of the state wasn’t created equal. Northern California experienced significant drought relief during the year, while Southern California continued to be mired in historically arid conditions.
The reason? A much-anticipated El Niño brought substantial storms during the spring to the north, giving Bay Area cities and communities across Northern California their best rainfall totals in five years. San Francisco rainfall was 98 percent of the historic average. San Jose was a healthy 100 percent, and Oakland 80 percent.
But the storms largely missed the parched south.
City is connecting the West Padre Pump Station to the water main on Castillo Street, so desalinated water can be moved uphill from sea-level facility
By Sam Goldman
Construction began Monday to connect Santa Barbara’s water main to an upcoming pump station as the city prepares to reactivate its desalination plant.
For up to the next two weeks, crews will be out between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the 2100 block of Castillo St. between Los Olivos and Padre streets connecting the water main to the Padre Pump Station at 310 W. Padre St., city officials said.
During those times, crews will be utilizing the parking lane for the construction, which will be accompanied by sidewalk closures and no-parking signs. The roadway will be open, perhaps with the occasional delay when crews move their heavy equipment, and neighbors’ water service will not be affected, the city said. Continue . . .
Santa Barbara County water agencies rely on supplemental water purchases delivered through the State Water Project system during the drought
By Melinda Burns
After five years of the worst drought on record in Santa Barbara County, the only waterfall for miles around is the one gushing out of a pipe at Lake Cachuma, cascading over a mud terrace that used to be underwater.
The waterfall arrived here via the California Aqueduct, and it’s virtually the only supply left anymore in Cachuma, the main reservoir for the county’s South Coast.
The lake last spilled in April 2011 and has dropped now to historical lows. Continue . . .
Four-Mile Pipe Would Help Move State Water
By Nick Welsh
The Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board (COMB) took the first step toward approving the construction of a $6 million “straw,” a new four-mile-long pipe that might be needed to transport water delivered via the State Water Project from the northern end of Lake Cachuma to the intake tunnel and customers. It’s yet another exceptionally expensive form of insurance area water agencies are seeking should the drought persist.
Lake Cachuma is already down to what’s known as the “dead pool,” the absolute minimum required by the federal government — which owns the dam — to justify calling it a lake. That minimum also allows state water deliveries — the only supply keeping South Coast faucets flowing — to make it from where it’s currently dumped to a $5 million emergency barge installed so that what little water remains in the “lake” can be pumped up and into the intake portal. Continue . . .
By Nick Welsh
With Lake Cachuma 93 percent empty and the Gibraltar Reservoir 100 percent gone, the Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban lawn watering. The new prohibition goes into effect January 1. In addition, the council adopted a resolution calling for 40 percent conservation as opposed to the 35 percent goal now in effect. In the meantime, the city’s refurbished desalination plant is scheduled to begin operation late this coming March. Continue . . .
The Goleta Water District finalized an agreement Thursday to truck recycled water to Montecito, according to Assistant General Manager David Matson.
The district, in its partnership with the Goleta Sanitary District, is producing three times as much recycled water as is being sold to customers.
Goleta currently offers trucking for local customers who aren’t connected to the recycled water pipeline system, and now that service can be offered to Montecito Water District customers. Continue . . .
Operations Now Scheduled to Begin Mid-March
By Nick Welsh
The start-up date for Santa Barbara’s desalination plant has been pushed back again, this time to mid-March 2017. City water czar Joshua Haggmark notified the Water Commission of the latest delay at a meeting last week, prompting Commissioner Barry Keller to comment afterward, “Things have gone from worse to Worcestershire.”
According to Haggmark, construction crews recently connected two stretches of underwater pipeline, which he termed a “major milestone” and something “we were nervous about.” Haggmark also said the desal plant has been successfully hooked up to the power grid and should begin receiving actual seawater sometime in mid-December. After pumping starts, a 40-day “maturation” process is required, during which time the media of the water filtration membranes are biologically cured. Haggmark stressed that the engineering and construction process is highly complex, adding, “There’s still a lot of vulnerability out there.” Continue . . .
By Vincent Casey
At a conference in London recently I once again heard a question I’ve been asked on countless occasions: ‘If people can get access to mobile phones why can’t they get access to safe water?’
According to this January 2016 Afrobarometer survey covering 35 African countries, 93% of respondents said there was a mobile phone service in their area and only 63% said there was piped water. This does not mean that all survey participants had mobile phone or water services, nor does it mean the survey results are representative of access in poorer African countries. The survey acknowledges that real access totals are likely to be far lower. Continue . . .
By Paul Rogers
SACRAMENTO — California’s top water guzzlers — the people who use tens of thousands of gallons more than their neighbors to keep lawns bright green during serious droughts — could soon be hit with higher water bills and their names made public if the drought continues.
A law signed late Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown requires retail urban water suppliers with more than 3,000 customers to put in place rules that define “excessive water use” and impose them during drought emergencies. Continue . . .
By Peter Gleick
I know, you’re tired of the drought. Tired of hearing about it, tired of trying to squeeze a little more savings out of your garden and indoor water use, tired of processing bad news about dying fisheries, drying wells, suffering farmers and dead trees.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A vast majority (82 percent) of consumers report they are concerned about trace levels of emerging contaminants in drinking water, such as pesticides and herbicides (87 percent), prescription drugs (34 percent) and detergents (24 percent), according to a new survey from NSF International, a global public health and safety organization.
Emerging contaminants include some prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, flame retardants, detergents and new types of herbicides and pesticides, which have been detected at trace levels in drinking water. Although the health risks associated with trace levels of emerging contaminants are not yet well understood, their presence in drinking water at even low levels has many consumers concerned. Continue . . .
In this economy, building owners and managers are always looking for ways to control costs and reduce operating expenses. As dramatic increases in water and sewer bills have been realized, with more on the way, water conservation has become a very hot topic. Especially now that 70% of the Southern tier of the United States, together with countries that make up two-thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. By combining higher prices with lower availability, and you’ll discover the need for healthy water conservation has reached critical mass. Continue . . .
By Ivan Penn
Why shell out extra bucks for bottled water when you could get tap water for free? Is bottled water cleaner?
In the Tampa Bay area, it turns out, it is.
Chemical tests arranged by the St. Petersburg Times were conducted on seven brands of bottled water and on the tap water from three cities, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Zephyrhills. The results were consistent: The municipal waters contained higher levels of harmful contaminants and metals than their bottled counterparts. Continue . . .
By Dr. Jennifer Landa
Bottled water has become a bit of a trend – specific brands with unique shapes that tell the world a little something about you. While your bottle of water might make you appear to be a purveyor of optimal hydration, it is also a red flag that you may be exposing your body to an onslaught of chemicals.
In a recent study by German researchers, nearly 25,000 chemicals were found lurking in a single bottle of water. Many of these chemicals mimic the effects of potent pharmaceuticals inside your body, according to the study published in the journal PLoS One. Continue . . .
By Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese
The drought is costing California about $2.7 billion this year, according to a new UC Davis study, although the statistics suggest the state’s overall economy can withstand the impact.
In their latest estimate of the four-year drought’s economic effects, professors at the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences said Tuesday the drought has reduced seasonal farm employment by 10,100 jobs this year. When indirect job losses are thrown in, including truck drivers, food processing workers and others partially dependent on farming, the impact on payrolls comes to 21,000. Continue . . .
By Pamela Martineau
California’s state climatologist issued a statement today cautioning that an El Niño winter this year is far from certain and even if a wet winter were to arrive it likely would not end the state’s drought. Continue . . .
AquaViable Solutions, Inc. is proud to be part of the soon to open Impact Hub community on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara! We look forward to a rewarding experience as we move forward with our mission to increase access to Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) technology in drought stricken California. We anticipate moving into our new downtown Santa Barbara location within the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
“We provide a remarkable space for productive work, a driven community that resides at the intersection of technology and social good, and a diverse selection of programming and mentoring to equip our members with the tools they need to develop their idea.
Our community helps entrepreneurs and businesses consider the social and environmental impact of their business practices, while also pushing philanthropists and non-profits to become self-sustaining through collaboration and more efficient business models.”
Big thanks to everyone for coming on down and visiting AquaViable™ Solutions, Inc. at the Community Environmental Council’s annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival! This past April 16th-17th in Alameda Park!
We appreciate the public showing of interest for AquaViable’s water machines, which make water from humidity in the air – providing most pure and secure drinking water in the world, on the spot, without any water connection.
We will continue to be exhibiting atmospheric water generation (AWG) technology and conducting market research on the South Coast of California.
We hope to see y’all there next year!