Environment

News about energy and the environment

Study: Water Windfall Beneath California's Central Valley

Jun 28, 2016
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, researchers say that doesn’t mean accessing the groundwater will be cheap or easy.

Researchers at Stanford University found what they call a “water windfall” deep beneath the Central Valley. Stanford Earth Science Professor Rob Jackson is the report’s co-author.

Kern County Fire Department

(Editorial Note: This is an evolving story likely to have updates.)

(update 6/27 5:38 p.m.)

Fire crews are making progress today on what is being called the most destructive wildfire in Kern County history, and some residents are beginning to return home.

The Erskine Fire has burned more than 45,000 acres and has destroyed 200 homes near Lake Isabella. It also killed two people.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Valley Air District is asking the federal government to do more to help clean up the air in Central California. 

The district has submitted a petition to the U.S. EPA asking the agency to adopt more stringent national standards for cleaner trucks and trains.

The district’s executive director Seyed Sadredin says despite on-going local efforts to reduce ozone and particulate pollution, meeting the newest federal health standards would require reducing fossil fuel emissions by another 90 percent. And that he says isn’t something the district can’t do alone.

Ezra Romero/KVPR

Residents in a valley community with one of the highest concentrations of dry wells will soon be getting some relief.  For years, residents in East Porterville have watched their wells dry up in the drought forcing them to rely on water delivery and tanks.

Now, the state of California is offering to pay to hook up the tiny unincorporated community to the much larger city of Porterville.

Eric Lamoureux with the Office of Emergency Services says the state will make an initial $10 million dollar investment to begin hooking up the roughly 1,800 homes in East Porterville.

Jim Milbury / NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region

Before Friant Dam was built in the 1940s to store water for farms and cities across Central California, Chinook Salmon called the San Joaquin River home. The infrastructure project severely slowed flows on the river and the salmon went extinct. Now more than sixty years later salmon are slowly being reintroduced into the river, but some people say it’s just too late for the fish to thrive again here. Their reasoning?  Climate change.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The City of Fresno has held a ceremonial groundbreaking on a new public transit system designed to bring faster, more convenient bus service on two major commercial corridors.

The Bus Rapid Transit line is a proposal nearly two decades in the making.

Officially known as ‘The Q’, the new rapid transit buses are designed to more swiftly carrier riders north and south on Blackstone and east and west on Kings Canyon Boulevard.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new national ranking of American cities shows Fresno is no longer in last place when it comes to providing access to public green space. 

The City of Fresno moved up one spot from dead last to second to last in a ranking of the 100 largest US cities when it comes to public access to parks. Adrian Benepe is Senior Vice President with the group behind the ranking, The Trust For Public Land. 

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors is not accepting a study about possible development in a 5-thousand acre area along the San Joaquin River north of Fresno. Opponents saw the study as a first step toward commercial development along the river bottom.

The so-called ‘Friant Corridor Feasibility Study’ was intended to be a first look at potential places for development from the north edge of Fresno to the Community of Friant.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

The control tower of the Terminus Dam at Lake Kaweah is currently full of more than 90 feet of water. The flooded tower has crippled the dam’s ability to release water.

At some point on Sunday, April 24th, a water value in the control tower broke and water began pouring into the tower, which controls the release gates on the Terminus dam.

It wasn’t until the next day when the flooding was even noticed and by then the tower was quickly filling.

Friday, divers began swimming into the tower to seal the valve and begin inspecting the damage.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The lightning sparked Rough Fire burned last year for more than five months consuming over 150,000 acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada. Now after a wet winter the charred forest is slowly coming back to life. And the first signs of growth are the tiniest of seedlings that’ll become the world’s largest trees.

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