Category Archives: General

What is California’s Tab for 1,2,3-TCP Groundwater Contamination?

On July 18, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a drinking water standard for the regulation of the contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP).  The Division of Drinking Water set the standard for TCP at 5 parts per trillion (ppt) as a maximum contaminant level.  If public water systems exceed the standard, they will be required to notify their customers and take corrective action.  Based on recent actions taken by the City of Bakersfield to correct their TCP problems, the total tab for California’s public water systems will exceed $4 billion.

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Changes in North Dakota’s Water Laws Potentially Open up More Water Supply for Hydraulic Fracturing

While many areas of the United States are recovering from drought conditions, there is one area which is headed deeper into extreme drought: the Northern Plains. While a series of storms in May and June caused widespread flooding and damage in Oklahoma, these storms largely missed the Dakotas and Montana. According to the most recent US Drought Monitor as of August, Montana and North Dakota were the only states in the US that had any exceptional drought. Currently, 99.59% of the Roughrider State is in some form of drought, and 43.84% of the state faces either extreme or exceptional drought. At the beginning of the calendar year, only 6.13% of the state had some form of drought, and there was no drought more severe than “abnormally dry,” the least severe drought designation.

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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