Category Archives: General

The Use of Eminent Domain in California to Take Over Private Water Companies Part II: Changes in Citizen Sentiment Complicate the Process

In my last post, I wrote about how Apple Valley, a community in San Bernardino County began an eminent domain proceeding to take over Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVR), a private water utility in the town. At the time of the passage of the resolutions of necessity in November 2015, the town’s citizens seemed ready and willing to embark on a protracted process to gain local control over the water system. A poll that the town conducted around the time of the resolutions of necessity determined that 70% of the population supported a takeover of the water system. The continued cost increases, drought surcharges and the desire for local control seemed to unite the citizens around the need for eminent domain proceedings. Continue reading

Is there more water than we thought in California? Part I: The “find” and the challenges the state would face to use these resources

Could California have a lot more water supplies than anyone expected? It is an intriguing theory that caught some significant press attention last month, including an in-depth article in The Washington Post. Scientists at Stanford contend that California has vast amounts of water trapped deep underground at depths of 1,000 to 10,000 feet below parts of the Central Valley.  Their calculations estimate that California has approximately 2,700 cubic kilometers of freshwater at these depths, which equates to about 2.22 billion acre-feet! (For conversion of cubic kilometers to acre-feet, each cubic kilometer of water is about 810,714 acre-feet.) Continue reading

Earthquakes and Fracking in Oklahoma Part II: Dynamic Challenges and Potential Solutions

In the first part of my series on earthquakes and fracking in Oklahoma, I wrote about the correlation between hydraulic fracturing activity in the state and the increased frequency of earthquakes. As more injection wells came online in the state to dispose of the produced fluid from fracking operations, the state saw a vast increase in the number of earthquakes, primarily centered around north-central Oklahoma. While scientists are still determining why the earthquake activity is centered in certain parts of the state, they are almost certain that there is at least some correlation between injection well operations and increased seismic activity. But what can Oklahoma do to slow or stop the frequency of these earthquakes? I will address the issue in this post. Continue reading

Earthquakes and Fracking in Oklahoma Part I: What is Causing all the Shaking?

At 1:04 AM on the morning of June 10th, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake hit Borrego Springs, CA, in eastern San Diego County. The earthquake along the San Jacinto Fault triggered hundreds of smaller aftershocks and residents as far away as Los Angeles could feel the shaking. I live approximately 100 miles away from the epicenter, and it woke me up. The earthquake caused renewed discussions among seismologists and the media about whether “the big one” will hit any time soon. We expect earthquakes in Southern California, but when we talk about Oklahoma, it is not a place that usually comes to mind when we think of active earthquake regions in the United States. However, just one day before the magnitude 5.2 quake in California, Oklahoma experienced 3 earthquakes, the largest of which was a magnitude 3.7. These earthquakes in Oklahoma are not an isolated incident. Continue reading