Water pollution spreading in the Valley

A plume of toxic chemicals under the San Fernando Valley has expanded so much in recent years that city officials have had to close dozens of water wells and may have to stop drawing local water altogether unless a massive $850 million cleanup effort is undertaken.

The plume of contaminated water has now grown to about 2 miles wide and 7-10 miles long, and the Department of Water and Power has been forced to close a growing number of wells, said Pankaj Parekh, the DWP’s director of water quality.

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San Gabriel Valley: Plan to recycle sewage into drinking water coming undone

Support for a long-planned project to recycle sewage water for drinking purposes is disappearing, with three key players in the project bowing out.

For more than two years, local water agencies have boasted a plan to provide much-needed relief to the region’s perpetual water shortage by building a $210 million plant to purify sewage water and make it drinkable.

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Gov’s pick for delta council backs out ures

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s picks to oversee the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pulled of the confirmation process Friday after environmental groups raised concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

Richard Roos-Collins of Berkeley said he was resigning from his appointment to the Delta Stewardship Council. The Senate Rules Committee had not yet approved his appointment.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/07/03/1994373/govs-pick-for-delta-council-backs.html#ixzz0srFmlAHM

Chemist urges state to approve soil fumigant

The chemist who developed what environmentalists insist is a dangerous poison for use on California crops urged the state last week to approve his concoction so that farmers can produce the kind of disease- and bug-free fruit that consumers expect.

Jim Sims, the organic chemist who owns the patent for methyl iodide, says that California growers have to use the fumigant if they are going to continue feeding the nation.

“It is absolutely necessary to continue agriculture in this state, and that is what is at stake,” said Sims, who worked in the plant pathology department at UC Riverside for 40 years until his retirement in 2004. “I think methyl iodide can be used safely.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/04/BA6I1E8BEA.DTL#ixzz0srCwlz85

Boxer, Fiorina and the Delta

U.S. Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina argues that water shortages in California’s farm country are indicative of wider economic challenges facing California, and that if elected she would try to loosen environmental restrictions on Delta water pumping.

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A spokesman for incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer counters that her efforts to make it easier to buy water and to increase supplies without bending environmental rules are sufficient.

Dan Walters: What’s next for water bond?

It appears certain that the $11.1 billion water bond, the centerpiece of a historic water policy agreement championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be removed from the November ballot.

Concerned that the bond measure would be rejected by angry, recession-battered voters, Schwarzenegger and the Legislature’s water policy leaders agreed last week that it should be postponed at least until the 2012 election – much as an earlier high-speed rail bond issue was postponed until it could win passage.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/07/05/1995484/dan-walters-whats-next-for-the.html#ixzz0spI0C9FO

Monterey area looks to sea for drinking water

By the end of 2014, most people on the Monterey Peninsula are likely to fill their glasses with water siphoned from the ocean and stripped of salt.

If switching from a predominantly freshwater-fed system to a sea-fed system within four years seems aggressive – well, it is. But water utilities in the area don’t have much choice.

In the wake of a November “cease and desist” order by state regulators requiring Monterey County’s main water purveyor to slash its diversions from the Carmel River 70 percent by 2016, an ambitious regional desalination project has emerged as the best – and arguably only – way to slake the thirst of about 100,000 customers on the peninsula.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/04/BABQ1E83RF.DTL#ixzz0spHJJrU2