water

A California enters its sixth year of drought, journalist Charles Fishman says that residents aren't doing nearly enough to adapt to the "new normal" in a state that is becoming increasingly dry. Fishman, who is the author of the book "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water" is speaking in Bakersfield on Thursday October 27th at the CSUB Icardo Center at 7:00 PM as part of the culminating event of the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern community read. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

While the City of Fresno tries to figure out what to do about discolored water at some homes in Northeast Fresno, some residents there are already taking drastic steps, including repiping their homes.

On a normal day, the first thing you notice when you enter the home of Faith and Buzz Nitschke is the dozens of antique clocks quietly ticking away.

But that is not the case on this day.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The city of Fresno now says complaints about discolored water in Northeast Fresno were being diverted for years to the private email account of the former surface water treatment plant manager. That is one of the findings of an investigation into why the problems went untreated for more than a decade.

The first reports of rust colored water began rolling in shortly after the treatment plant opened 2004.

But the issue did not gain steam until residents began connecting on social media earlier this year.

The City of Fresno is getting the first round of results from expanded testing of discolored water in the northeastern part of the city. Dozens of homes have tested positive for high levels of lead.

Early test results of nearly 300 homes found 41 had fixtures that tested positive for levels of lead above the level considered safe set by the EPA. 

Another 71 homes also had levels of lead, but they were below the EPA threshold. 

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

Widespread concern in northeast Fresno about rusty water that can contain elevated levels of lead is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor's race, while the city continues to maintain that its water is safe to drink.

Speaking in separate events within minutes of each other, mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea exchanged comments today about the city's response to the problem, both past and present. 

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.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The state estimates that over a million Californians lack access to safe drinking water. After 15 years with arsenic contamination, one small Kern County community took the struggle for clean water into its own hands--in a campaign that could serve as a role model for others.

It’s recess at El Camino Real Elementary School in Arvin and the courtyard is packed. Kids play tag and tetherball, and laughter echoes throughout the yard.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Farmers in the western part of the San Joaquin valley will receive 5% of their water allocation from the Central Valley Project. That's the word from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

If it’s an April fool’s joke, farmers, water managers and Fresno County leaders aren’t laughing.

After two years of zero percent allocation, the Bureau announced that this year, despite El Nino conditions, many growers on the valley’s west side, will only get five percent of their promised water.

Farmer Sal Parra says the announcement is a gut punch.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition FM89's Ezra David Romero reports that a popular energy drink will soon be off the shelves of one of the largest grocery store chain in the state, Save Mart. Fresno Bee Reporter John Ellis also joins the program to chat about California politics. Later in the program VE Host Joe Moore speaks with Tim Johnson with the Rice Association.

US Bureau of Reclamation

Just two years ago California voters approved a water bond that set aside billions to pay for new water storage. Now a new group backed by many of the valley’s most influential farmers says that’s not enough to build new dams and expand existing ones.

State Water Project Estimates Most Deliveries Since Drought's Start

Mar 17, 2016
CA Dept Water Resources

Cities and farmers who rely on the State Water Project will receive the most water they’ve received since 2012. The California Department of Water Resources announced today that it plans to meet 45 percent of requests for deliveries.

It’s a major increase from December, when the state planned to fulfill only 10 percent of requests. Paul Wenger with the California Farm Bureau says it is welcome news. But he and other farmers are hoping the federal Central Valley Project will be able to meet requests.

California Experiencing "Miracle March" With Rain And Snow

Mar 16, 2016
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The northern Sierra has seen nearly double the average precipitation since the beginning of March. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, one of the state’s top water managers says it’s definitely a “Miracle March.”

Proposed Ballot Initiative Would Divert High Speed Rail and Water Bond Money

Mar 16, 2016
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A proposed California ballot initiative would reallocate more than $10 billion from the High Speed Rail project and the 2014 water bond to instead fund water storage projects. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, the measure would do much more than that.

Opponents of the proposed initiative would seem to be strange bedfellows, some Republican lawmakers who have long fought for water storage projects, environmentalists, and some farmers. Jay Ziegler with the Nature Conservancy says the measure is an attempt to misguide voters.

Delta Smelt Populations Plummet

Mar 8, 2016
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

This is the worst year in history for populations of the tiny threatened fish that’s often on the frontline in California’s water wars. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has found a mere handful of Delta smelt in its January and February trawls.

The department caught seven fish in January and six in February. UC Davis fish biologist Peter Moyle says catches have historically been in the hundreds.

Leaders of the City of Fresno have officially broken ground on one of the biggest public utilities projects in city history.

Although trucks are already working on the 58-acre site in southeast Fresno, city leaders celebrated the start of the nearly $200 million project Wednesday by signing a section of the 6-foot diameter pipe that will carry water from the Kings River to the plant.

Once the surface water treatment plant is fully operational it is expected to deliver as much as 80-million gallons of drinking water a day to the city.

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