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January 1 is a traditional day on which new laws approved by the California legislature go into effect, and the Lege passed a whole lot of laws in 2014. As a fourth severe drought year looms, it’s no surprise that a lot of those laws pertain to water. We’ve described the most important here.
AB 148: Salton Sea Restoration
As written when first introduced, this law would have authorized feasibility studies to fund Salton Sea restoration efforts through developing the region’s geothermal and solar energy resources. Those provisions were stripped out of the bill, which now merely adjusts agency responsibility for the long-delayed restoration of the Salton Sea.
AB 2100 and AB 2104: HOA lawns fines
AB 2100 is an emergency measure that went into effect as soon as it was passed in February: Homeowners associations can no longer legally fine members for letting their lawns or other landscaping die in order to save water. AB 2104 clarifies the state law that allows HOAs, saying that they can’t legally forbid replacing lawns with more water-conserving plants.
SB 1168, SB 1319, and AB 1739: Groundwater Management
Until this last drought year, California had some of the least-stringent groundwater regulations in the country. A trio of bills passed in the last legislative session starts to change that. SB 1168 proclaims the state’s interest in regulating groundwater sustainably, creating local groundwater sustainability agencies and specifying that existing agencies now tracking groundwater reservoirs consider the effects of their use on surface water such as streams and lakes. Sb 1319 allows the state to classify individual groundwater basins according to the degree of their depletion, and to single out “probationary” basins that are severely overdrafted. AB 1739 allows the above-mentioned groundwater sustainability agencies to assess fees of water users, as well as fines on those who continue to overdraft groundwater in probationary basins.
In this technology spotlight interview, Wayne Ferriera (CEO of EcoloBlue) discusses the technology of water-from-humidity capture and how his company is working to spread this technology into mainstream use. Interviewer: Jeremy Riel, GE2 Team. Recorded 11/24/14 for the GlobalEd2 curriculum.
A day doesn’t go by where you do not hear something in the news about a water crisis, conservation effort, water fees/fines, or something else relating to water. What are some of the things people are saying?
“Especially this year, the worst drought year California has ever seen, it’s more important than ever to crack down on water theft,” Rep. Huffman
“When people think water is free, they use much more water than is necessary,” said Asit K. Biswas
“If the right to water was regulated in the constitution, we wouldn’t be caught up in this conflict,” David Díaz
“Sometimes, I take a bucket to the pump in my yard to get water forgetting that it is dry,” said Naomi Mhinga who is battling cancer and says that queuing for water trucks in the hot sun is exhausting.
“It was roughly 8-10 days after they drilled and started fracking that well, that we began to notice the smell and the taste,” Rivas says.
“Tucson Water does not fluoridate the water it delivers,” said Susanna Eden
“I hope they act fast because the poisoned water is ruining everything,” Singh said from his wheelchair.
“In that part of the city we have sewer and water infrastructure that in some cases is over 100 years old, and we’re going to need to deal with that,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell.
“It is almost a year after the chemical leak, and no meaningful action has been taken to improve the physical infrastructure of our water system,” said Karan Ireland
“Any water that you use for consumption, you need to bring that water to a rolling boil for one minute,” Director of the Office of Environmental Health, Leslie Royals said.
“From the time I can remember we didn’t have running water,” says Griffin. “I remember when I was seven years old and we had to go out and get water for doing dishes or washing clothes but we still couldn’t drink it.”
“The health of our iconic waterways and stewardship of America’s water resources are integral to our economic success as well as our quality of life,” said the businesses in a letter to be delivered to EPA officials tomorrow.