Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends
Environment & Science

California Drought News: Workers leaving, water pumping, and desalinating

Industry advocates
Industry advocates "joke" when they tell Poseidon that the success of desalination as an enterprise hinges on the success of the company's plant in Carlsbad. (Photo: Rendering of Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif.)

Friday's news is wondering whether Slip 'N Slides are kosher under urban water use restrictions. But first, let's head out of the city for a little while.

Even in years when rain falls and the Sierra mountains hold a snowpack that will water almonds and onions, cattle and cantaloupes, Huron's population swells and withers with the season. These days in Huron — and Mendota and Wasco and Firebagh and all the other farmworker communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley — even the permanent populations are packing up. (Los Angeles Times)

Several stories about developments that impact some water rights holders and not others point to the inequities in a system that can't quite ask everyone to conserve.

The water board does not require monitoring or meters for users whose rights date back a century or more, or who have rights to draw from a waterway adjoining their land. Rights holders have successfully defeated legal and legislative efforts to strengthen California's oversight, said Andy Sawyer, an attorney with the [State Water Resources Control] board. (Associated Press)
For the plant to be a success and copied in other parts of the state, Poseidon will have to deliver high-quality drinking water at the price promised — and not cause unexpected impacts to the environment such as fish die-offs. "It's a test case," said Ron Davis, executive director of Cal Desal, an industry advocacy group. "We like to tease them: Only the entire future of desal is riding on this project. No pressure." (San Jose Mercury News)

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