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2004 Around the U.S. Water News

 

December, 2004

New Arizona Department of Water Resources report shows continued water mining in Prescott area
Prescott Active Management Area residents continued depleting their groundwater supply last year, building on a mining situation that has been going on for at least eight years. The agency estimates that the AMA reduced the groundwater storage in its aquifer by 12,440 acre-feet or 4.1 billion gallons in 2003. One acre-foot generally fulfills the needs of three households.

Verde Valley Online _12/27/04

Prescott drops water-conservation incentive program
The city dropped a water-conservation incentive program that has been ineffective in getting residents to convert to water-saving devices.  Current homeowners were not switching to low-water landscaping or installing low-flow plumbing fixtures
Arizona Republic _ 12/24/04 (Logon required)


Audit spells out San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's costly missteps in managing the Hetch Hetchy water and power system
According to the second in a series of audits of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission by the Board of Supervisors' budget analyst, Hetch Hetchy management responded slowly to deregulation of California's energy market. Reaching from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, the aqueduct owned by San Francisco and run by the commission supplies drinking water to 2.4 million customers in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/22/04

Hernando County, Florida to spend $30 million to upgrade water and sewer services
Utility officials decided to increase the system's capital improvement budget for the next five years after county commissioners agreed to buy Florida Water Services for $44 million. The newly acquired system serves about 33,000 Spring Hill customers. The county's original utility system served more than 20,000 customers. The money will be used to build new wells to meet growing demand for water by new residents and businesses. It will also be used to upgrade water mains and to refurbish many of the county's sewer plants and sewer lines. Tampa Tribune/Hernando Today_ 12/19/04

Photo Essay: Sylvia G. Fuster, a Manhattan architect, spent years photographing the city's brass pipe inlets that give firefighters access to a building's fire-protection water supply. Her images, which are on view at OK Harris Works of Art in SoHo through Jan. 15, explore the way these street fixtures become gathering places or hitching posts and even seem to be watching us. New York Times_ 12/12/04 (logon required)

Land purchase to protect water
Conservation crusader LeeAnne Connolly doesn't wait for state officials to confirm they'll grant the town money for land preservation. She's already started a campaign to raise $123,200, which, along with the grant, will allow the town to buy 51 more acres of the former Topping Farm. Permanently shielding the parcel from development will protect the area's drinking water supply, said Connolly.   People may "think clear drinking water is in unlimited supply, but it's not. Once it's gone, it's gone forever," Connolly said.  

The Republican (logon required)_ 12/5/04

Blackfeet Protest Exclusion From Study

Vice Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Council, Pat Thomas, said the council should have been involved in a federal study of ways to increase the water supply in north-central Montana.  The report found that of the three river systems in the area - the Milk, Marias and St. Mary rivers - only the Milk River is short of water to meet current needs. It found that the best way to improve the water supply and meet current and future needs is to rehabilitate the St. Mary Diversion, which is on the Blackfeet reservation.  

The Havre Daily News _ 12/3/04

November, 2004

Plan to pump more fresh water from California's San Joaquin-Sacramento river delta pits Central Valley farmers against delta farmers and environmentalists

The delta supplies water for 22 million Californians as far south as Los Angeles and irrigates millions of acres of Central Valley farmland. At the center of the current controversy is the state-operated Harvey O. Banks pump, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The linchpin in California's Byzantine plumbing system, it currently sucks more than 4 billion gallons of water a day out of the delta. The proposal would increase its pumping limit by up to 25 percent.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 11/30/04

Milford, Massachusetts sets up scam-blocker system to protect residents during installation of new water meters

Thieves impersonating water department workers stole from residents in other towns. Milford's 2,300 replacement water meters will be installed by appointment only. Milford, Massachusetts, Daily News_ 11/22/04

Poll: Most in Arizona favor tying new rural construction to water supply

The survey, conducted last month by the Behavior Research Center, shows that 61 percent of those asked want legislation to prevent construction in areas where it has not yet been proven there is an adequate water supply to support that development. Only 32 percent were opposed, with the balance unsure. Capitol Media Services/Arizona Daily Sun_ 11/2/04

Water divides Lawrence, Indiana mayor and city council

Members of the council touched off the firestorm with an unexpected maneuver late last week to take control of the city's water utility from Mayor Deborah Cantwell. Over the weekend, Cantwell issued her own call to arms -- via automated telephone messages and a news release -- urging all residents to voice their frustrations with the council. Cantwell has sued the company managing the water utility and suggested that the council doesn't know enough about the operations of the company to begin dealing with it directly. Council members said they may be able to lower water rates without suing. Indianapolis Star_ 11/2/04

Arizona aims to become world's drought guru

Gov. Janet Napolitano will unveil plans today to create a virtual water university that she hopes will make Arizona a world leader in sustaining vibrant communities in dry places and dry times. The virtual water university would bring together resources from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. The goal, the governor said, is that by 2006, Arizona can claim a unique ability to explore water and drought issues, propose solutions and see the results used here and around the globe. Arizona Republic_ 10/31/04 (logon required)

South Florida Water Management District rebukes State Rep. Shelley Vana for campaign ad that said her challenger supports "an agency that proposes to dump billions of gallons of untreated raw sewage into the Florida Aquifer"

In a letter to Vana, District Executive Director Henry Dean wrote, "The South Florida Water Management District NEVER has proposed a plan to discharge raw sewage into our drinking water supply.... Furthermore, this agency NEVER has and NEVER will release sewage into our drinking water aquifers or any other water body." The flier in question includes an excerpt from a 2001 Palm Beach Post story on a water management district proposal to pump untreated runoff into the Floridan Aquifer — not raw sewage. The district supported the runoff proposal, but abandoned it amid heavy criticism, pledging to consider it again if research shows it is safe for the drinking water supply. Palm Beach Post_ 10/31/04

Atlanta metropolitan area could exceed its water supply by 2030

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District indicates additional conservation measures are needed. Metro Atlanta has grown by about 80,000 people annually since 2000, and eight of the District's 16 counties, including Henry, are included in the U.S. Census Bureau's top 100 fastest growing counties. The metro area is expected to double its population to 8 million people by 2030. Currently, the metro area uses 652 million gallons of water per day, the District estimates. That number could increase to 1.2 billion gallons of water per day by 2030. Henry County, Georgia, Herald_ 10/30/04

Pembina, North Dakota to vote Tuesday on whether to contract with a rural water provider

City Administrator Kathy Johnson said the local water plant that treats Red River water will not meet new federal regulations. Upgrades to the 30-year-old plant would cost about $400,000, she said. Residents of the northeastern North Dakota community also will decide which water district to go with, if the consensus is to buy rural water. AP/ Grand Forks Herald_ 10/30/04

Wilmington, Massachusetts gets thumbs down from state on proposed water plan

The state Department of Environmental Protection determined the document does not "fully" address the issues. The town must file a supplemental report on several issues including a reevaluation of the sewer expansion plan, plans to regulate private wells, and anticipated increase in industrial water use demand. Tewksbury, Massachusetts, Advocate_ 10/27/04

NOAA U.S. winter outlook sees dry Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley but wetter-than-usual southernTexas and Louisiana

The updated U.S. Winter Outlook for December 2004 through February 2005 continues to call for warmer-than-normal conditions in the West and Alaska, and cooler-than-normal conditions in the South and in sections of the mid-Atlantic coast states. In Hawaii, temperatures are expected to be above average with precipitation below average. Elsewhere, there are equal chances of above, below and normal temperatures. Currently, NOAA is monitoring a weak El Niño in the tropical Pacific, which is expected to continue into early 2005. However, NOAA scientists predict this El Niño will remain much weaker than the 1997-1998 El Niño event. Press Release_ 10/21/04

No Pennsylvania state money is available for a water system merger between Harmony and Zelienople

Officials from the two boroughs had been hoping for at least $6 million in grants to offset some of the costs involved with combining the two water systems. Harmony faces an estimated $5 million in improvements if it wants to retain its independent system. The original merger plan was to use Harmony's water source -- Little Connoquenessing Creek -- and Zelienople's treatment plant. Harmony authority members expressed reservations, however, after Zelienople's plant was flooded and disabled Sept. 17. Without the merger Harmony is left with either making improvements to its own system or selling the system to Pennsylvania-American Water Co., which has offered $1.5 million. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_ 10/10/04

California philanthropist Wynnette LaBrosse donates $1 million to Kansas City-based WaterPartners International to start a program to bring clean drinking water to world's poorest

The World Health Organization calls the lack of access to clean water a major threat to human health and reports that diarrhea alone accounts for 4 percent of premature death and disability worldwide, affecting mainly children. Overall, 1 billion people don't have access to clean water. The grant from the Palo Alto philanthropist's Agora Foundation will start a "water credit" program, a mix of charity and entrepreneurship where communities are given money to build pipes and wells and then pay back the costs with the money they have saved. San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/9/04

Weak-to-moderate El Nino could mean wet winter in parts of the Western U.S.; wetter than average December through February also on tap for Southern U.S. - NOAA

The NOAA 2004-2005 Winter Outlook calls for above-average temperatures in Alaska, much of the West and the northern and central Great Plains. Below average temperatures are expected across the Gulf Coast states, the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. There are equal chances of warmer, cooler or near-normal temperatures this winter in the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Southwest. The precipitation outlook calls for wetter-than-average conditions in parts of California, the extreme Southwest and across the Southern U.S. – from Texas to Florida. Drier-than-average conditions are expected in the Midwest, northern Plains, and Pacific Northwest. The winter outlook indicates some improvement in drought conditions in the West, but long-term drought is expected to persist through the winter in many areas. Press Release_ 10/6/04

Water rights dispute leaves small Texas community of Tamina with little hope for new water and sewer systems

Negotiations broke down on a $3.4 million plan to make the improvements. Residents are left where they started six years ago: living in a neighborhood with the foul smell of sewer swells in lawns and inadequate water service in certain areas. One elderly woman who does not have her septic tank installed properly uses her neighbors' facilities.  Montgomery County Courier_ 10/4/04

September, 2004
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger terminates the state capital's 84-year-old ban on water meters

He signed legislation that requires Sacramento and other cities to begin metering water by 2025. The bill affects 200,000 to 300,000 homes. Supporters say water meters tend to reduce consumption about 20 percent. Sacramento Bee_ 9/30/04

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs bill banning cruise ships from releasing sewage, both treated and untreated, into state waters

The bill was backed by environmentalists, but opposed by the International Council for Cruise Lines, which represents about 80 percent of the industry. Michael Crye, the council's president, said the new law ignores the new technology the industry uses to treat sewage. Those wastewater purification systems "discharge water that is close to drinking-water quality," Crye said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/28/04

North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux tribe getting $2.5 million in federal funds for water and wastewater improvements

The money will be used for a 1.5 million gallon water tower and 2.4 miles of water lines on the Standing Rock reservation. AP/Inforum_ 9/28/04

Wanted: Water rights for a small town on the Eastern slope of Washington's Cascades

The community of Roslyn hired consultant Clay Landry of West Water Research to find new water rights after the town's irrigation district shut off the spigot this summer. Roslyn, which was built in 1886 as a mining town, is a junior water rights holder in the Roza Irrigation District. AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ 9/27/04

Corps of Engineers becomes dam-eradicator; New York's Neversink River freed to run its old course

By the banks of the birthplace of American fly-fishing, backhoes are demolishing a dam that for nearly a century blocked the easy flow of the Neversink River. The Cuddebackville dam in the Catskills is being pulled down by the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a $2.2-million project that is among 60 being torn down this year in 14 states, including California, as part of a growing movement to clear rivers of defunct barriers, according to American Rivers, an environmental group in Washington, D.C. More than 77,000 dams straddle streams nationwide. Los Angeles Times_ 9/26/04 (logon required)

Four candidates run for two seats on Tia Juana Valley water board; two want to keep it running and two want to shut it down
The 58-year-old California district was formed in 1946 to protect the water rights of farmers. But development, flooding and repeated incursions of sewage-laden water from Mexico have rendered much of the valley's land useless for agriculture. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 9/23/04

California governor signs legislation to curb pollution from cruise ships

One law bans the discharge of "gray water" from cruise ship kitchens, laundries and showers into state waters, which extend three miles from shore. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't act on a measure that would ban the release of sewage, both treated and untreated, into state waters. The legislation, which is opposed by the cruise industry, automatically becomes law if the Republican governor doesn't sign or veto it by Sept. 30. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/23/04

Florida regulators approve private plan to sell water in 50,000-acre largely uninhabited area

The Florida Public Service Commission rejected opposition from Volusia and Brevard counties as it said Farmton Water Resources LLC could operate a water utility on the massive swath of land owned by Miami Corp. Any wide-scale pumping likely would be years away: Farmton does not have major customers lined up or development proposals, and it would need further approvals from the St. Johns River Water Management District. Daytona Beach News-Journal_ 9/22/04

Cal Water gets chance to repair relations with city of Selma, California, ahead of buy-out

City staff has conducted an appraisal and made an offer for Selma water system facilitiues owned by the California Water Service Company. Before eminent domain discussions, Cal Water asked for a two-week continuance to work on a peaceful resolution. The council agreed to the extension but made it clear that the city has not changed its position, and will go forward with its efforts to acquire the water system. Selma, California, Enterprise_ 9/16/04

Bush administration negotiates 40-year federal water contracts to Central Valley farmers without producing environmental impact documents for public review

Critics say that undermines landmark legislation designed to end California's water wars. Led by Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, several congressmen have petitioned the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to reopen and extend public comment periods for a large number of pending water contracts. The contracts cover deliveries from the Central Valley Project, a huge federal and state water diversion system that delivers water to farmers and cities in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys. Santa Clara County also receives water from the CVP. San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/13/04

Bush-Kerry on Great Lakes water diversion

Both candidates oppose shipping Great Lakes water to arid regions, a subject that arouses strong feelings in the Midwest. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced a six-point Great Lakes protection and restoration plan on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry that includes opposition to water diversions from the basin. No large-scale effort is under way to send Great Lakes water to thirsty regions of the world. A Canadian company proposed shipping Lake Superior water to Asia in the late 1990s but backed off after receiving fierce criticism. AP/San Jose Mercury News_ 9/13/04 (logon required)

Proposed $1.2 billion Navajo water settlement too costly say New Mexico congressmen

Representative Tom Udall and Senator Pete Domenici say the price tag could cause it to stall in Congress. The Navajo Nation may have to consider the withdrawal of $372 million for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project from the proposed settlement to help lower the cost. The Interstate Stream Commission and the Navajo Council have yet to vote on the settlement. AP/News4KOBTV_ 9/8/04

$2.7 million preliminary study of Colorado water needs pummeled by utility managers and environmentalists

The taxpayer-funded Statewide Water Supply Initiative indicates that utilities can provide 90 percent of the water for the state's growth through 2030. That finding, however, drew heavy criticism. Experts said many of the projects designed to meet that need may never get built and some are in competition for the same future water rights. The final report is due Nov. 15. Denver Post_ 9/9/04

Syracuse, New York urges water conservation over next two weeks while algae is cleaned from reservoir

The 125 million-gallon Woodland Reservoir was taken out of service Aug. 27 because the algae growth contaminated the water with low levels of a toxin, microcystin. Ironically, the conservation call came as Central New York prepared for possible flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Frances. Post-Standard_ 9/8/04 (logon required)

August, 2004

Federal officials test three Charlotte County, Florida residents for a highly contagious Norwalk virus that may be in drinking water contaminated by Hurricane Charley

The flu–like virus is caused by consuming fecal–contaminated water or food, or coming into contact with someone who is infected, said Melissa Costello, a doctor at the Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile emergency room in Punta Gorda. Hurricane Charley shut down water service in the county. Until it is declared safe, county residents need to boil water for three minutes before using it. Herald Tribune_ 8/24/04

Water is the next battle for California and the world: Reports

One study by an Oakland-based independent research institute says conservation is required to curb the state's high demand for water to produce electricity. The second report from the same organization, the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said businesses worldwide face water shortages that could restrict growth, and they aren't doing enough about it.   AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/24/04

Wet wading a joyful experience tempered by tainted-water risk
Fishermen who think wet wading is wonderful. run the risk of infection from bacterial or chemicals in Illinois streams.
Almost half the water in ( Illinoisrivers] comes out of sewage treatment plants at one time or another.  Chicago Sun Times_8/22/04

 

NYC to drill for drinking water in Hudson riverbed
New York City is looking beneath the Hudson River for additional drinking water. Researchers by the end of the month will drill test wells into the riverbed to see if the water held in the porous rock, sand and soil below the river is suitable enough to flow from faucets in Westchester County and New York City. The process will occur in two phases and take about nine months, ending in December 2005.  The Journal News _8/22/04


Satellite could help pinpoint local Reno Nev. water supplies
Radar signals beamed to Earth from an orbiting satellite could prove a valuable tool in managing a precious ground water resource, water experts believe. Washoe County’s Regional Water Planning Commission gave the go-ahead recently for a $9,000 study into the effectiveness of satellite-based radar in measuring changes to an aquifer that is increasingly tapped by development.  Reno Gazette Journal _8/21/04

 

Water Rises in Great Lakes After Near Record Low
Great Lakes water levels have rebounded from near record lows thanks to a month of heavy rain, providing a boon to boat owners, swimmers and fish. Rising a foot (0.3 meter) from 45-year lows last year, the five Great Lakes have reversed a six-year, 3-foot (1 meter) drop. Reuters_8/20/04


Groups settle water rules
Agreement called "a great deal for Maine" affects Penobscot dams and violates state water quality laws

The state Board of Environmental Protection in Maine has agreed to consider adjusting some water quality rules for several man-made lakes on the Penobscot River to support a compromise negotiated over several years by environmentalists, hydroelectric dam owners, and state and federal agencies.  Bangor Daily News _8/20/04

 

President Bush promises to oppose shipping Great Lakes water to arid regions and accuses John Kerry of waffling on the matter

Bush made the pledge during a campaign trip in Michigan. The specter of shipping large volumes of Great Lakes water to thirsty Southwestern states or even foreign countries is an emotional issue in the region, even though no such proposal is pending. AP/Detroit Free Press_ 8/16/04

New Mexico to haul water to the village of Cloudcroft

Water consumption exceeds production in the community in south-central New Mexico near Alamogordo, officials said. The situation reached the crisis stage in recent days and local officials turned to the state for help. Water restrictions have been in place in the village. They include a ban on washing vehicles and outside watering. AP/KOAT_ 8/16/04

Drinking water trucked to Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Charley

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said 402 trucks from other states had arrived with 2 million gallons of drinking water, and 162 trucks delivered ice to the area. Aid agencies had already provided more than 300,000 meals where potable water, electricity and phone service remained unavailable. Florida Power & Light estimated that 377,000 of its customers remained without electricity but estimated power would be restored to all but the worst-hit areas by Thursday. CNN_ 8/16/04

Texas debates 'rule of capture' that governs groundwater rights

State Senate Select Committee on Water Policy is conducting hearings around the state and speakers at the Texas Tech International Cultural Center made it clear they feel local water district control is the best policy and rule of capture might need tweaking; but in no way should the 100-year-old law be abolished. Rule of capture means landowners have the right to capture any water they can pull from beneath their land. Amarillo Globe-News_ 8/13/04

Metropolitan Water District won't renew hundreds of thousands of dollars in no-bid contracts paid to San Diego County consultants
The Southern California water district paid out more than $1.5 million to five local companies from April 2001 to last month to spread the agency's message and ease access to decision-makers. Three contracts have expired and the two remaining agreements end in September. The consultants said they were unaware the contracts would be dropped until contacted yesterday by The San Diego Union-Tribune. The decision comes in the wake of increased scrutiny of operations at Metropolitan, which supplies most of the water used in Southern California, including up to 90 percent in San Diego County. San Diego Union Tribune_ 8/10/04


Southern California's Metropolitan Water District gives scant explanation for $4.5 million spent on 44 recent PR contracts
A Los Angeles Times review of the contracts shows in the last five years, the MWD, a wholesaler that provides water to half of California's residents, paid for the contracts despite little or no documentation explaining the qualifications of the contractors, why they were selected and what they accomplished, even tho the public agency's policies required that information. The consulting contracts supplement the work of MWD's own external affairs department, which has a staff of 60 and an annual budget of $15 million. Of the 44 contracts — most of which paid monthly retainers ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 — 27 went to former elected officials, prominent community leaders and relatives of sitting politicians. Among the recipients were former state legislators, a sitting mayor, the son of one state senator and the husband of another. Los Angeles Times_ 8/9/04 (logon required)

Commercial water siphoning inspires Norton, Massachusetts to tighten curbs on local pond

Commercial trucks are pumping water for free out of 148-acre Winnecunnet Pond. Residents who live on the pond hope a Town Meeting next month will change that. Boston Globe_ 8/8/04

El Nino conditions may be developing in the Pacific

Sea surface temperatures in the central equitorial Pacific rose nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit above normal in July, with even higher readings to the east, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said. El Nino effects range from drought in Indonesia, Australia and Africa, to storms in California and floods elsewhere. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/5/04

 

July, 2004

Experts: Water costs to rise in Florida

Water costs need to rise in Florida in order to protect natural resources while supporting the state's growing population, experts said Wednesday at a state conference on water issues. Raising water rates is the most obvious way to pay for developing water sources, such as purified sea water, as an alternative to overused ground water supplies, experts said. Other funding options include property taxes, a fee on real estate sales, or eliminating the sales tax exemption on bottled water.  The Miami Herald (log on required)  _7/22/04

 

Rain helps replenish Southwest Florida ground water
Long drizzles of rain over Southwest Florida the past couple of days are helping critically low ground water recover. The rain is helping ground water such as the Mid-Hawthorn aquifer in southwest Cape Coral where dozens, possibly hundreds, of wells went dry in April and May. A monitoring well there has risen 10 feet since May. The News Press _ 7/21/04

Montana committee OKs special tax to speed water rights processing
The Environmental Quality Council, composed of legislators and private residents, endorsed a plan that would raise $2.6 million annually over the next decade through fees assessed on the estimated 113,000 holders of water rights in the state. The process of sorting out claims has been under way for 25 years. Officials predict that, without an infusion of cash, the work will take another 38 years and $51 million.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/20/04


The allure of privatization: Aging water infrastructure straps many communities
Berkshire County, Massachusetts spotlights an issue that confronts water districts around the country. Faced with flat revenues and rising costs, towns and cities must make expensive, technically daunting upgrades to aging water infrastructure, with little prospect for state or federal help. Is privatization--or partial privatization--the answer?  Berkshire Eagle_ 7/19/04

American Water Services abandoning financially-troubled eastern Kentucky plant
New Jersey-based American Water Services, a subsidiary of RWE in Germany, says the Martin County's water district owes more than $537,000. RWE is also the parent company of Kentucky-American Water, which is trying to fend off a condemnation effort by the city of Lexington. The 31-year-old rust-streaked water plant in Martin County serves 3,400 customers and has a history of operational and staffing problems. After a state crackdown, the water district board entered a five-year contract in 2002 with American Water to operate the system. The district simply hasn't generated enough money to make the $70,833 monthly payments plus reimbursements for repairs.  WKYT27_ 7/12/04

Michigan democrats promise governor they'll back legislation to regulate large-scale water diversion from Great Lakes

Effort is designed to get Republicans, who control both houses of the legislature, to schedule a vote on a two-bill package to require permits for companies and farms to withdraw more than 2 million gallons of water a day or more than 100 million gallons a year. More than 1,000 existing Michigan operations fall into that category, including large farms, utilities, golf courses and factories.  AP/MichiganLive_ 7/12/04 (logon required)

House-approved California water bill touted to help Delta
The House approved a $389 million California water bill Friday, taking a major step forward in long-fought plans to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ensure water supplies for millions of people. The bill to authorize the California Federal Bay-Delta Program, better known as CalFed, authorizes numerous water projects including constructing storage facilities, stabilizing delta levees, conducting flood management programs and implementing water quality improvement measures. The bill has been stalled for years as legislators, environmentalists, farmers and others clashed over its cost and provisions.  Associated Press _7/9/04

Port Angeles: PUD reluctantly agrees to water contract with city; Monday shutoff averted

Citing public health concerns, Clallam County Public Utility District commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to sign a wholesale water contract with the city of Port Angeles. But the commissioners -- still seething over a city requirement making property owners support future annexation in return for new water hookups -- also declared a moratorium on new water connections until the PUD can obtain long-term water sources of its own. ``Since the city won't be responsible, we must be,'' said Commissioner Will Purser. ``I gotta hold my nose through this. It rubs me the wrong way.'' MSNBC_7/9/04

Monterey Peninsula big water users to pay more
Emergency water rate increases sought by California-American Water Co., aimed at reducing outdoor water use and waste, won unanimous approval Thursday from the state Public Utilities Commission. The commission found that Cal-Am made a good case for "extraordinary measures to promote water conservation for the remainder of the water year." Heavy water users on the Monterey Peninsula such as golf courses, public agencies with parks and swimming pools will have weightier water bills through Halloween.   Monterey Herald_7/9/04

Aurora, Colorado looks to big recycling project to double water supply
In the coming months, Aurora officials will choose a plan designed to bring another 80,000 acre-feet of water into its system, doubling the city's supply by the year 2050. One proposal under study, the $250 million to $650 million Lower South Platte Project, would remove water downstream and pump it back to Aurora via a 35-mile pipeline to a newly built reservoir. There the water would be treated and reused. Under Colorado law, water native to a basin is usually used once, treated and returned to the stream. But water transferred from another watershed basin may be reused until it is gone. Rocky Mouontain News_ 7/5/04

California legislation would increase health inspections for state's 8,000 water vending machines
Advocates say the water going into the machines is usually clean, but the machines themselves may become contaminated with bacteria if not properly inspected and maintained. Brian McInerney, president of Glacier Water, the state's largest water vending company, said his company's machines are regularly inspected and tested, and they have never caused a health problem. Los Angeles Daily News_ 7/4/04


Heavy rains across South all but eliminate drought threat
The only abnormally dry areas left in the South are some parts of northeast Georgia and South Carolina's upstate region. As recently as May, hydrologists were listing much of the region as "abnormally dry" -- the first of five drought alert levels issued by the National Drought Mitigation Center. Most of Georgia and northern Florida were even listed as drought areas. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/2/04

Partial water back at California prison after nitrate pollution closes well
Thousands of inmates resume regular showers and toilet flushing at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad after a week of severe water restrictions. But the 4,500 high-security inmates and 1,400 staff members will rely on bottled drinking water until filters are installed to remove high levels of nitrate pollution from the prison's water source. Faulty septic systems and decades of agricultural runoff were blamed for the pollution. San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/2/04


Grand jury urges Sonoma County, California and its nine cities to improve groundwater supplies

The report said without more water management, residents and the area economy will be at risk. The warning follows a directive from the Sonoma County Water Agency, the county's leading water provider, for cities and water districts to dig new wells because an aging aqueduct system that delivers water from the Russian River is nearing capacity and won't be significantly expanded for a decade. Press Democrat_ 7/1/04

New York City picks 90-year-old public golf course as site for $1.2 billion water filtration plant

The plant will go underneath the Mosholu Golf Course but area residents are threatening court suits to stop construction.  New York Daily News_ 7/1/04


Contaminated well forces California prison to ration water
Thousands of high-security inmates were confined to smelly cellblocks for the past week, enduring strict limits on drinking water, showers and even toilet flushing. State officials are trying to restore at least partial water service to the prison's 4,500 inmates until a water filtration system can be installed.   San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/1/04

June, 2004

Rural Oklahoma residents get tap water instead of undrinkable lake water

A $250,000 grant from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Office of Community Development,  hooks some residents of Carter County to a water well and tank. Residents were getting their water from a mountain lake and the water was not suitable to drink. Daily Ardmoreite_ 6/28/04

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District dodges extinction by one vote in state legislative committee

District is a center of debate over new water sources, growth and environmental protections. And then there's just plain politics. Monterey Herald_ 6/24/04

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox meet privately in Mexico City to discuss water debt and other serious issues
Perry thanked the president for his efforts to make water payments under a treaty with the United States. Since Fox visited Texas last year, Mexico has reduced the amount of water it owes the United States from about 1.3 million acre feet to about 800,000 acre feet, according to a written statement from the governor's office.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 6/23/04

Water words: California-American Water Co. and California's Monterey Peninsula water district at odds over leaks
When the Peninsula water management district declared a Stage 3 water emergency, warning large users that they would be fined for wasting water, it also put Cal-Am on notice that it must reduce leaks in its plumbing. Steve Leonard, Cal-Am's general manager, quarreled with that position: "We pursue leaks all night long, and we have the overtime bills to prove it." Monterey Herald_ 6/23/04


California governor asks president to declare major disaster because of $53 million delta levee break
The Office of Emergency Services says the break in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee caused $10 million in crop damage, left 500 farmworkers without homes and created the possibility of more damage to fresh water supplies, other levees and farmland. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 6/18/04


Pennsylvania lawmakers look at how to divvy up $250 million in state bonds for water and sewer projects

Environmental groups don't want the money that was approved by voters in April to fund projects that contribute to suburban sprawl. Public utilities are pushing for the money to help them repair and maintain systems to meet environmental and public health standards. And lawmakers and the governor are focused on who will have the power to control the money. PennLive.com_ 6/16/04 (logon required)


Dry water tank sends message to residents of Otis, New Mexico: Conserve water
Around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the Otis Water Users Cooperative's storage tank was registering around 6.5 feet — about 200,000 gallons of water. An hour later, the storage was empty. Cooperative leaders have pleaded with its 1,200 customers to practice water conservation when watering yards and filling swimming pools, but the pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears. Carlsbad Current-Argus_ 6/14/04

AWWA hosts world's largest drinking water conference: Highlights include new technology, international issues and security concerns

The American Water Works Association 2004 Annual Conference and Exposition runs Sunday, June 13- Thursday, June 17 in Orlando, Florida. Features included more than 70 technical sessions and 13 pre-conference workshops focusing on pressing issues such as infrastructure management, security, source water protection, emerging technology, and legislative and regulatory issues. With a theme of "One World One Water," the conference features more than 500 exhibitors.  Press Release_ 6/8/04

Six U.S. officials spurn California water meeting because they don't want to comply with state's financial disclosure and conflict of interest rules
The federal representatives serve on the California Bay-Delta Authority, which oversees 25 state and federal agencies trying to implement water management programs of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program. The program is designed to improve the quality and reliability of California's water supplies and restore ecosystems in the Sacramento River delta and San Francisco bay. The California Fair Political Practices Commission recently ruled that all six federal members of the authority must comply with the California Political Reform Act. Sacramento Business Journal_ 6/11/04


New Jersey lawmakers protect source of drinking water for half of state's residents

The state's most sweeping environmental program in decades restricts development in 400,000 acres of the Highlands region, an area of rivers and lakes that sprawls across seven counties in the northwest end of the state. Gov. James E. McGreevey made the measure his top priority this spring. New York Times_ 6/11/04 (logon required)

Southern California water agencies warn 6 million of taste problems and urge water conservation in portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties
The temporary conditions are expected to last through Monday while a pipeline is shut down for repairs. The Metropolitan Water District alerted customers of bad-tasting water due to blue-green algae in Castaic Lake but said it was not a health hazard. The taste problem has been exacerbated by the shutdown of a pipeline that supplies water to 6 million people. The pipeline is being repaired after a March inspection found that concrete sections might have been weakened by broken wires. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 6/8/04

Orthodox Jews in New York City concerned drinking wate not kosher

City tap water contains tiny crustaceans known as copepods. The organisms, which measure about a millimeter long, pose no threat to human health, according to the city Department of Environmental Protection. But Orthodox teaching bars the eating of crustaceans _ aquatic animals with skeletons outside their bodies, including shrimp, crab and lobsters. Saul Kessler, owner of a Queens business that sells water filters, said he had received about 100 phone calls from homeowners eager to weed the copepods out of their drinking water. AP/Newsday_ 6/1/04

May, 2004
San Diego County Water Authority approves $2 billion plan designed to meet growth through 2030

The board of directors will meet again in June to approve specific projects and ways to finance the plan. Proposals include a new desalination facility near the coast, a water treatment plant in North County and increasing the capacity of local reservoirs. The authority imports about 90 percent of its water, the bulk of it from the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles. Under the new plan, imported water could drop to half of the total supply by 2016. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 5/28/04

Albuquerque, New Mexico creating 'water budget' to guide consumption
Albuquerque's Water Utility Authority created a 14-member advisory task force of water experts, conservationists, water customers and others. They will be charged with determining how much renewable water is available to the city every year. They will then be asked to recommend how much of that water should be consumed, or "spent," annually.  Albuquerque Tribune_ 5/27/04

Mayor of Port Angeles, Washington threatens to shut off water to outlying customers unless they support annexation
Mayor Richard Headrick wants the Clallam County Public Utility District to sign a wholesale contract with the city that requires new customers in unincorporated areas to promise they won't oppose eventual annexation. The two sides have been without a contract for a year. Peninsula Daily News_ 5/26/04


Texas farmers to sell irrigation water to the city of El Paso for the first time at market price

The agreement up for approval by the El Paso Public Service Board comes after years of on-and-off negotiations between El Paso Water Utilities and the board of the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, which earlier approved the proposed agreement. El Paso has gotten as much as half its annual drinking water from the irrigation district because of land the city owns and water it has purchased. But a six-year river drought that has nearly emptied the Elephant Butte Reservoir near Truth or Consequences cut the water allotments to landowners and the city in half last year and again this year.  El Paso Times_ 5/22/04

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture allocates $2.7 million for water system improvements in two Mississippi counties
The city of Ellisville in Jones County will use a $1.2 million federal loan and a $795,000 grant to make repairs to the city's water system and increase its capacity. In Monroe County, a $732,00 federal loan to Hamilton Water District, Inc. will be used to improve and construct a 200-gallon-per-minute well and a water main.  AP/Sun Herald_ 5/20/04

Indianapolis, Indiana's water utility, French-owned Veolia Water, reaches tentative agreement with its union workers, narrowly avoiding a walkout
Local 131 of the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers is scheduled to put the agreement to a vote of its 200 employees next week, according to Carolyn Mosby-Williams, spokeswoman for Veolia. The dispute centered on employee contributions for health benefits and pay raises. Indianapolis Star_ 5/7/04


French-owned Veolia Water is preparing for a strike by its employes at the Indianapolis, Indiana water utility
The company's contract with Local 131 of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, which represents more than 200 employees, is scheduled to expire at midnight Thursday. Veolia spokeswoman Carolyn Mosby-Williams said the company would not allow employees to continue working under the existing contract, which was already extended. She said employees could work without a contract or strike. Alternatively, the company may try to impose a contract based on the last and best offer. Mosby-Williams said she did not know if the company's position could be described as a "lock-out." Indianapolis Star_ 5/4/04

Risks from high lead levels found in water in four communities served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority aren't major, officials say
Local public works and water department officials said they were surprised by the results. The problem more likely stems from old lead pipes and plumbing inside homes than from public water pipes, they said. Boston Globe_ 5/2/04

Volusia County, Florida's water agency needs $200 million for water projects in the next 10 years
Choosing who will foot the bill isn't going to be politically popular. News-Journal_ 5/2/04

April, 2004

Aging U.S. Water Systems Pose Lead Risk

A 1999 Environmental Protection Agency survey estimated the nation's drinking-water systems need repairs and upgrades of $150 billion over 20 years. Nevertheless, EPA officials say the nation's water systems are safe.  THE WASHINGTON TIMES_4/29/04

Drinking water for 2.5 million Boston-area customers has unacceptably high lead levels

The decision by federal and state of Massachusetts regulators was prompted in part by lead problems in the Washington, D.C. water supply. The ruling came after months of scrutiny by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts regulators who reviewed every water test conducted last year by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). All water utilities must perform annual lead analyses to comply with the national Safe Drinking Water Act. Washington Post_ 4/28/04 (logon required)

Pennsylvania voters approve borrowing $250 milion for water, sewer upgrades
The bond issue would cost taxpayers an estimated $400 million in principal and interest over 20 years. It is part of a $2 billion economic-development plan that Gov. Ed Rendell promised during his 2002 campaign. WGAL_ 4/27/04
Rural Arkansas water districts agree to form a regional association
The meeting was organized by the Mount Sherman Water Association. Word of the meeting spread generating a great deal of interest. Representatives from water systems in neighboring counties and state and federal agencies converged on the Arkansas House. Newton County Times_ 4/21/04
Orange County, California's water district to receive $86.3 million for a sewage treament project to replenish ground water and prevent sea water intrusion

Southern California's Metropolitan Water District authorized Orange County Water District (OCWD) to receive the money over 23 years. The system will purify highly treated sewer water that is currently released into the ocean and use half as a barrier to prevent ocean water from contaminating Orange County's large groundwater basin. The other half will be pumped through a 13-mile pipeline to percolation ponds where it will seep into deep aquifers and blend with Orange County's other sources of groundwater. Press Release_ 4/21/04

New Orleans mayor to drop plans to privatize city's water, sewer systems
Mayor Ray Nagin said a second set of draft bids failed to attract at least three private companies. The effort began in 1999 as a way to stave off future rate increases by holding down costs. The water board currently faces spending up to $650 million to fix leaky sewer pipes that pollute Lake Pontchartrain. AP/Times Picyune_ 4/20/04 (logon required)

U.S. oceans report says coastal areas in peril from pollution, overfishing and poor management, but it's not too late to save them

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy recommends setting up a special office at the White House to oversee a new, coordinated policy, doubling investment in scientific research and strengthening the ability of the government to police polluters and fisheries. Reuters_ 4/20/04

April rains reduce Mexico water debt to Texas
But some U.S. farmers and officials remained skeptical of Mexico's intentions to pay what it owes. AP/Star-Telegram_ 4/20/04 (logon required)

Southern California town locks up its fire hydrants: Thieves were stealing the water and selling it
Some of the private wells have been running dry in recent years in the Los Angeles County mountainous region near the community of Acton. Exacerbating the problem is the fact the county water district serving the community shut down its highest-producing well without warning after tests showed elevated nitrate concentrations. Los Angeles Daily News_ 4/17/04

Manitoba, Canada fears pollution from North Dakota's Devils Lake flood control project
The American state has begun construction of a $28 million (U.S.) outlet to take water from Devils Lake and channel it into the Sheyenne River, a tributary of the Red River, which eventually wends its way north to Manitoba, and empties into Lake Winnipeg.
Toronto Star_ 4/17/04

Los Angeles mayor's office probed over contracts; city's water department part of the federal scrutiny
A Los Angeles city official on Thursday confirmed that a federal probe into the city's contracting practices has reached the mayor's office. The Los Angeles Times has reported that the probe centers on allegations of corrupt contracting at Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Los Angeles and the Department of Water and Power. Reuters_ 4/15/04

Washington state's Marrowstone Island will get improved water system, whether residents want it or not
One week after declaring a new public-water system all but dead on Marrowstone Island, the Jefferson County Public Utility District yesterday voted in favor of building it.
Debate over the system has divided the island southeast of Port Townsend. While some residents with contaminated wells need a new water source, others fear public water would promote development and spoil their way of life. Seattle Times_ 4/15/04

Washington governor proposes expiration dates on requests for new water rights
Interested groups still need to strike an agreeable balance between authorizing new withdrawals for people and preserving adequate river flows for fish. Tri-City Herald 4/15/04

Michigan Congressman John D. Dingell wants more study of contaminated Camp Lejeune water
Most Marine families who were stationed at the North Carolina base between the late 1960s and the 1980s don't know they were exposed to toxic chemicals, he said. Detroit Free Press_ 4/14/04
Plan to pipe water to Vegas spurs recall drive in Nevada county that would supply the water
Jo Anne Garrett, who heads the recall effort with two other White Pine County residents, said Commissioners David Provost and Jack Norcross and District Attorney Richard Sears are too eager to negotiate with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to end a 15-year fight over groundwater rights. Sears said the issue has split White Pine County's 9,000 residents into two camps. One wants to fight, and the other thinks the cash-poor county should make a deal. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/13/04

Florida legislature considers trio of water policy measures
The bills require local governments to deal with water needs in their comprehensive plans and include reuse in their water development plans. They also allow a test of treated sewage in some South Florida canals and call for public workshops to look at ways to develop regional water supply plans. Naples Daily News_ 4/11/04

Detroit suburbs study leaving the city's water system but some experts doubt that a second system will result in lower water rates for residents
A suburban system would require investments of hundreds of millions of dollars and would have less bulk buying power for chemicals and materials while also competing with the Detroit Water & Sewage Department for skilled workers. The study was sparked, in part, by escalating prices charged by Detroit to communities. AP/Kansas City Star_ 4/12/04
Residents of Washington state's Marrowstone Island block plan to import water from the mainland
For all the scarcity of water on Marrowstone, the passion among many islanders to retain their lifestyle proved more abundant. Seattle Times_ 4/8/04

In one California community, $1 million homes rely on trucked-in water

The wells are running dry in Agua Dulce and local leaders face a recall election for failing to address the shortage. Daily News/KRT/Miami Herald 4/5/04

Portland, Oregon residents pay more for water and sewer services than almost anywhere else in the country, more than $56 a month on average and an increasing part of the cost is stormwater cleanup
According to a recent survey prepared for the city by engineering consulting firm Black & Veatch Corp., only Seattle and San Diego charge higher combined water and sewer rates than Portland. Portland Tribune/MSNBC 4/2/04

Many cities in the Southeast experiencing record and near-record dry conditions
The federal Drought Monitor map placed much of the Southeast, including most of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, in the "abnormally dry" category, the first of the five drought alert levels. AP/San Francisco Chronicle

Maine house votes to ban nicotine-laced water
Representatives voted 140 to nothing to ban the product in the state. The bill reached the House just months after at least one drug store chain -- Rite Aid -- pulled bottles of nicotine-laced water from the shelves of its 80 stores in Maine. The measure faces further legislative votes. AP/WMTV 4/1/04

March, 2004

Maryland water main breaks traced to bad pipes that caused problems in other parts of the U.S.
Manufactured in the Midwest by the former Interpace Corp. of Corona, Calif., the prestressed concrete cylinder pipes have been blamed for expensive and destructive water main breaks from Florida and Denver to Oklahoma City and Duluth, Minn. Catonsville Times 3/31/04

More than 60 percent of U.S. industrial and municipal facilities exceeded Clean Water Act limits

The report covering the 18 months between January 2002 and June 2003 is based on data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and compiled the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Environmental Media Services 3/30/04

Dover, Delaware residents complain about brown colored drinking water

The problem is rust in the pipes, officials say. Newszap 3/27/04

Colorado bill makes conservation a condition for water providers to borrow from the state
The measure was unanimously approved by a state Senate committee and now is before the Senate appropriations committee. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel 3/26/04

Water vendor pushing bill to weaken California water standards
After it settled a consumer fraud lawsuit alleging it failed to meet water quality standards, Glacier Water Services Inc., the state's largest retailer of vended drinking water, is pushing a bill that would allow vended water - filtered tap water dispensed by a machine and into a customer's jug - to contain higher concentrations of trihalomethanes, or THMs, chemicals that are a byproduct of treating water with chlorine, and lead. Current state law holds bottled and vended water to tougher standards for those two elements than tap water, which must meet roomier federal standards. AP/San Jose Mercury News 3/24/04

Chicago still studying water meter plan
Nearly a year after Mayor Richard Daley announced that older homes in Chicago would be retrofitted with water meters, the massive installation project remains under study. Chicago Tribune 3/24/04

Mexico on track to pay almost half of its outstanding water debt to the United States by the end of the 2004 fiscal year
The water debt stands at 1.2 million acre feet. AP/Star Telegram 3/23/04

$2 million water study of all 100 North Carolina counties
In a previous study, the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center examined the water supply and facilities in 78 counties. That study helped lead to an $800 million water and sewer bond referendum in 1998. AP/Wilmington Star News 3/23/04

Pekin, Illinois will appeal water buyout ruling
The City Council agreed to appeal a January ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission that denied Pekin's attempt to own its water district. Mayor votes 'no,' says city will 'be in court for years. Peoria Journal Star 3/23/04

Ann Arbor, Michigan OKs 27,000 wireless water meters
The Ann Arbor City Council approved a $6.8 million automated meter reading system Monday that city officials hope will revolutionize how city residents manage their water.
AnnArbor News 3/16/04

Montana grants $265,200 drinking water loan

The twenty-year, low interest, loan to the town of Sheridan was made available through the Water Revolving Fund (WRF), a federally subsidized loan program administered by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the state's Department of Environmental Quality. Press Release 3/15/04

Metro Atlanta counties can shuffle Georgia water from river to river
Counties in metro Atlanta would be allowed to shuffle water from river to river under a bill approved by the Georgia House Friday. The bill is a controversial part of the water planning reforms the Legislature has been considering for several years as growth saps the state's water supply. Many South Georgia lawmakers opposed the bill, fearing that it would allow the Atlanta area to suck too much water out of the rivers that head their way. AP/AccessNorthGeorgia.com 3/13/04

Illinois water pipeline expansion creates rift with members
A $22 million plan to add on to the backup system that supplies Lake Michigan water to many DuPage communities has municipal leaders upset. They say it isn't needed now and will prevent the DuPage Water Commission from lowering rates. They also fear potential water shortages if the pipeline is used to sell lake water to towns outside the county. Daily Herald 3/13/04

California wants private firms to get share of state water bond funds
California health officials are preparing to reverse a long-standing state policy by letting private companies tap voter-approved water bond money that has historically been restricted to public water districts. Several public agencies and consumer groups are fighting the move, arguing that voters had no indication that for-profit firms might benefit when they passed Proposition 50, a $3.4-billion water bond measure, two years ago. Los Angeles Times 3/12/04
Study will examine N.C. water needs through 2030
An examination of North Carolina's water supply and demand for the next 25 years could be the first step toward a comprehensive water management plan. AP/Charlotte Observer 3/12/04

Schwarzenegger backs desalination

Putting the Coastal Commission on notice, the Schwarzenegger administration made it clear yesterday that it fully supports building desalination projects along California's shoreline. San Diego Union-Tribune 3/12/04

Judge approves water company break-up
A federal judge has approved the break-up of eight small water companies that are owned by the Alisal Water Corp. and serve customers on California's central coast.
Bakersfield Californian 3/12/04

EPA's overstatement of U.S. water quality could put millions at risk, Inspector General concludes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has overstated the purity of the nation's drinking water in four recent years, potentially leaving millions of people at risk, according to a new report. Washington Post 3/12/04

Northern California housing development could set big regional water precedent, opponents argue
Environmentalists claim that a dispute over part of the water supply for a proposed 8,390-home development west of Roseville threatens a key agreement that guides water use in the Sacramento region. Sacramento Business Journal 3/12/04√

Conservation works: Nation's water use holding steady
America's water use has been stable since the mid-1980s despite population growth, a sign that conservation works, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/11/04

'Keeping water where God put it:' Georgia water bills ban interbasin transfers

Recently, HB1615 passed the Georgia House. The bill defines and restricts inter- and intrabasin water transfers. It would prohibit transferring water from one river basin across more than two adjacent counties to another river basin. Moving water within the same basin across more than four counties would be disallowed, as well. And the receiver of water in either type of transfer can't transfer the water to a third county. Hartwell, Georgia Sun 3/11/04

Vermont seeks new solution to stormwater pollution

Calling its work nothing short of a breakthrough, the Water Resources Board on Tuesday concluded for the first time that there is a way to clean up the state's polluted streams and waterways while still allowing development. Times Argus 3/10/04

El Paso, Texas negotiating to buy water farm
El Paso city leaders have approved negotiations for the purchase of about 25 thousand acres near Dell City that would be used as a water farm. The decision comes as the city faces a possible water shortfall. AP/Midland Reporter-Telegram 3/9/04

New Mexico governor signs water bills
Governor Richardson today signed into law several bills aimed at conserving and cleaning up New Mexico's water supply. AP/KRQE 3/8/04

Durham, North Carolina water service disrupted by weekend windstorm. News Observer 3/8/04

Kittery, Maine considers regional storm-water management
A five-year proposal would help the town meet unfunded federal mandates that focus on storm-water management. Portsmouth Herald 3/8/04

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania says meter not at fault in mystery water loss
A new city study refutes a consultant's finding that a faulty meter is the main culprit behind more than 4 million gallons a day missing from Bethlehem's water system. City has lost 22 to 32 percent of its water each day since the 1940s. Morning Call. 3/7/04

Garrison, North Dakota runs out of drinking water
The town's intake system in Lake Sakakawea quit Thursday and by nightfall, the town's two water towers were officially drained dry. Bismarck Tribune 3/6/04

Proposed law tracks water usage in West Virginia
Legislation claiming West Virginia's water for its citizens and requiring a survey of its uses has begun moving in the House of Delegates, giving it a good chance for floor consideration before the Legislature adjourns March 13. Charleston Gazette/Miami Herald 3/5/04

Too expensive to fix, leaks will continue to flow at Connecticut hospital site
Water will continue to be pumped into the vacant Norwich State Hospital site in the interest of fire protection and public safety, despite leaking pipes. Norwich Bulletin 3/6/04

Washington state lawmakers approve bill for voting on water district merges
A bill requiring communities in Washingtn to hold an advisory vote when merging or taking over sewer and water districts cleared the state House of Representatives and was returned to the Senate for final approval. Spokane Spokesman-Review/Miami Herald 3/4/04

City manager of Minnesota community tackles issues facing Minneapolis water

As the Joint Water Commission considers a new contract with Minneapolis for its future water supply, it is only prudent to look at all available options to obtain the water needed to supply our service area, he says. Over the next 30 years, the JWC has two options: invest in Minneapolis water system improvements, or in our own facilities. Sun-Post 3/4/04

Michigan governor backs bills to require permits for large water withdrawals
Gov. Jennifer Granholm is backing legislation to require some companies and farms to get permots to withdraw large amounts of water, giving the state a way to protect its water resources. AP/Detroit Free Press 3/3/04

Senate's Daschle says has votes to pass energy bill

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle says there are enough votes in the chamber to pass a slimmed-down $16 billion energy bill. MTBE protections aren't in this version. Reuters 3/3/04

Concern lingers over Arizona community's water
The chief of the Desert Hills Fire Department is concerned Arizona American Water Company has not given proper notification to customers whose drinking water contains high levels of nitrates. Havasu News-Herald 3/3/04

New York water filtration fight ending

By June 1, New York City expects to decide where it will erect the billion-dollar facility to further purify drinking water for 900,000 of its residents. Opponents have lmaintain it means the decline of the forests, fields and wetlands surrounding 12 reservoirs in two counties. Journal News 3/1/04

February 2004

West Virginia water quality board faces political ax

Lawmakers frustrated by what they perceive as the board’s failure to communicate are pushing a plan backed by farm and business lobbyists to strip the 10-year-old panel of its ability to govern standards for state ground and surface water. AP/Herald-Dispatch 2/29/04

Colorado House sinks water-mitigation bill
The state's long-standing water wars escalated when the Colorado House shot down a bill designed to bring balance between poorer regions of the state that have the water and richer areas that need it. Durango Herald 2/28/04

Florida's Weeki Wachee park could lose lease
The Southwest Florida Water Management District has determined that Weeki Wachee Springs broke the terms of its lease and is giving the park three weeks to explain why the lease should not be terminated - a move that could close the park. St. Petersburg Times 2/28/04

President's spokesman ducks Bush water questions
The White House publishes daily schedules that detail President Bush's public comings and goings, and aides are usually happy to say who comes to the Oval Office to meet with him. But don't ask what he eats or drinks. AP/Newsday 2/27/04

Lawmakers put teeth in Utah water saving bill
Lawmakers on gave their final blessing to a measure that would prod water agencies to develop meaningful water-conservation plans. Measure goes to the governor for signature. Salt Lake Tribune 2/27/04

'There is a ripple effect': Nevada growth controls studied
Efforts to solve Southern Nevada's water problems by restricting growth could trigger an economic catastrophe, according to a study presented to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Las Vegas Review-Journal 2/27/04

Georgia water limits weighed
Metro Atlanta would not be able to pull water from other parts of the state to sustain its record-breaking growth if a bill that passed a Georgia House committee becomes law. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2/26/04

Clean water campaign continues at Minnesota capitol
Chanting "Clean our Water. Clean it up," more than 200 people rallied at the state Capitol, urging lawmakers to adopt policies and pay for programs to improve and protect Minnesota's water quality. News Tribune 2/26/04

Palm Beach County, Florida to go ahead with water floridation. District serves 420,000 people. Boca Raton News 2/25/04
West Virginia lawmakers kill proposed changes to state's water quality standards. They were unable to settle a dispute between a scientific board and industry lobbyists. AP/The Charleston Gazette 2/24/03

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist says there is a "very good chance" the Senate will approve a slimmed-down energy bill in March. House GOP is upset that the bill no longer gives legal protection to MTBE producers. Reuters 2/24/04

Houston, Texas FotoFest celebrates water. Art focuses on water issues. Houston Business Journal 2/23/04
Tap water from Desert Hot Springs, California is ruled the best in the world. Judges sipped samples from around the globe. AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/23/04

Modern tribute to ancient water god. Chinese American leaders raise funds to restore Taoist temple in Marysville, California. San Francisco Chronicle 2/20/04

New Mexico official worries money may not be there for state to meet its water obligations to Texas. Carlsbad Current-Argus 2/19/04

We need you, Rhode Island town tells volunteer wastewater commissioners. The commissioners all quit because of second guessing by the town council. East Bay Newspapers 2/19/04

U.S. enforcement of water treaty with Mexico is lax, says Texas senator. AP/Houston Chronicle 2/18/04

Maui water department to hire consultant to seek cause of rashes.   Honolulu Advertiser 2/18/04

New Mexico House approves proposal for state water reserve.  AP/Albuquerque Journal 2/17/04

Ohio town's water at last runs past a color line. NY Times 2/17/04

Cost savings cause some Florida communities to leave county water system.  St. Petersburg Times 2/16/04

Crossed water lines sent treated wastewater, not drinking water, into four Florida homes. One family drank the water for three months. City fined $72,000. Lakeland, Florida Ledger 2/14/04
California officials are questioning the right of the Lake Arrowhead water provider to sell water to customers. Community agency has right to store water in the lake, but may never have sought permits to sell.  Press-Enterprise 2/14/04

American Rivers praises Senate-passed federal transportation bill for $958 million to clean up street and highway storm water runoff. Press Release 2/13/04

US water utilities want more security information, training and financial assistance for security initiatives, according to a limited survey by the EPA’s Inspector General (IG). AWWA 2/12/04

Aurora, Colorado seeking federal Ok for largest water lease in state history. The $7.8 million cost could be borne by customers. Drought cuts into town's own water resources.  Aurora Sentinel 2/12/04

Green Bay vs. The Suburbs heads toward finale. Decision Feb 25 on three alternatives: suburbs built their own water pipe to Lake Michigan or buy lake water from either Manitowoc or Green Bay. Green Bay Press-Gazette 2/12/04

Mexico might increase the chances for a change in U.S. migration policy if it paid its huge water debt, Texas agriculture commissioner suggests.  Longview News-Journal 2/11/04
Water companies in Connecticut would lose their profit motive for selling land for development under pending state legislation. More than 110,000 acres affected. Development profits would go to water customers. Stamford Advocate 2/11/04

National Academy of Sciences releases new guidelines for water intake to meet daily hydration needsPress Release 2/11/04
U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords calls for expanded study of possible contaminaated water health hazards at Marine's Camp Lejeune. Before problem fixed in 1985, up to 200,000 people could have been exposed. Jacksonville, North Carolina Daily News 2/11/04
Washington, D.C. water officials still not sure how many pipes in its system contain lead. Water officials used loop hole to get around replacing more than 1,000 lines with lead. Washington Post 2/10/04

Senate Republicans hope to pass a federal energy bill this week by adding it to a highway bill. It's not clear whether controversial legal protection for groundwater pollutant MTBE will be part of the package.  Forbes/Reuters 2/9/04

Three longtime incumbents on an El Paso County, Texas water district easily win re-election. Sheriff's deputies siezed more than 100 mail-in ballot requests in investigation of possible voting irregularities. El Paso Times 2/9/04

Sheriff's deputies in El Paso County, Texas sieze more than 100 mailed requests for ballots in water district election. Authorities are investigating apparent forgeries and other election irregularities.  El Paso Times 2/8/04
Tests of 100 large industrial or commercial water meters in Asheville, North Carolina, found two-thirds don't work right. City losing hundreds of thousands of dollars but it's too cash strapped to replace old meters.  CITIZEN-TIMES 2/8/04

Georgia water bill stalls over who would oversee plan. Bill determines how much future water is available for cities, industry and farms. Atlanta Journal Constitution 2/7/04

Texas agriculture commissioner heads to Mexico Monday for water talks. AP/Miami Herald 2/6/04

New York City mayor wants to sieze homes of "deadbeat" water users who go years without paying a bill. New York Post 2/6/04

Toledo, Ohio mayor starts water fight with suburbs. They won't get more Toledo water unless they curb sprawl, he vows. Ohio News Network 2/5/04
West Virginia lawmakers move to claim state ownership of all water. Legislators fear water companies owned by international companies will try to sell state's water elsewhere. They're also wary of neighboring states.  Charleston Gazette 2/5/04

New Jersey again considers a state tax on water companies to fund groundwater cleanup and other projects. Public water tax could raise $15 million a year. Gloucester County Times 2/5/04

Bush budget soaks San Francisco for the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Rent jumps from $30,000 a year to $8 million. San Francisco Chronicle 2/4/04

Washington, D.C.'s water agency fired the manager who warned of lead contamination. Washington Post 2/4/04

Legal protections for producers of MTBE will be dropped from federal energy bill, says Senate Energy Committee chair Domenici. MTBE is blamed for groundwater contamination. Reuters 2/3/04

AWWA exec calls plan to drop MTBE 'safe harbor' from Energy Bill
good news for water consumers.
Press Release  2/3//04

Too little rain may forecast mandatory water restrictions in Honolulu this summer.  Star Bulletin 2/2/04

Memphis, Tennessee political leaders, representatives of the University of Memphis and Corps of Engineers seek $7.5 million from Congress to study the Memphis Aquifer. Officials know how much water is being pumped out of the aquifer. They don't know how much is left. Commercial Appeal 2/1/04

Washington, D.C. city council furious with Water Agency for not informing them about lead contamination in thousands of city homes. Washington Post 2/1/04

January, 2004

Washington, D.C. drinking water exceeds EPA lead limit. Officials puzzled by cause. Washington Post 1/31/04

Honolulu city council bans fluoride in drinking water. Honolulu Advertiser 1/29/04

Lake Michigan water intake pipes freeze up for three Wisconsin towns. AP/Star Tribune 1/29/04
Green Bay, Wisconsin offers water to suburbs for the first time. Suburbs will compare it to competing proposal. Green Bay Press-Gazette 1/29/04

Tainted water in the Land of Semper Fi. Marines want to know why base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina did not close wells when toxins were found. Washington Post 1/28/04

Illinois town relies on water and sewer fees to pay general city expenses. Officials look for a better way. Journal Gazette/Times-Courier 1/28/04

Unhappiness on both sides of the border. U.S.-Mexico water allotments stir strong words. AP/Miami Herald 1/27/04

Green Bay, Wisconsin city council says water talks with suburbs can go on. Council members said they had to meet in secret to reach agreement. Green Bay Press-Gazette 1/27/04

Louisiana town losing more than $1 million a year to faulty water meters. New system likely. AP/Herald Tribune 1/26/04

Federal water grants harder to get. New income guidelines disqualify most New York communities. Finger Lakes Times 1/26/04

Portland, Oregon's five open-air drinking-water reservoirs declared national landmarks. Move could complicate efforts to put security covers on them. Oregonian 1/24/04
Green Bay,Wisconsin aldermen accuse water negotiator of hypocrisy in closed-meetings spat. Green Bay Press-Gazette 1/25/04

Jamestown, Rhode Island hears the pain of water wasters. City imposed $500 fines on excessive water users. It nabbed the school district, the housing agency and local businesses that had spent thousands to upgrade equipment.  The Newport Daily News 1/22/04

Florida state budget includes cash for the Everglades and to improve water quality in the Keys. Sun-Sentinel 1/21/04

Michigan governor proposes permits for new, large water withdrawls. Plan doesn't apply to Nestle's Ice Mountain. Proposal is intended to protect Great Lakes and other water sources. AP/Newsday 1/20/04

Cleveland, Ohio to buy generators to keep water flowing. The $21 million project will ensure the water supply is available if there is another blackout.  Plain Dealer 1/18/04

Texas state senate candidates talk so much about water, they probably could use a glass of it for themselves. Who's where. Amarillo Globe-News 1/18/04

New Mexico governor unveils state water plan. Desalination and water banking are key elements. He also promises to open negotiations with Texas and Mexico. New Mexico Business Weekly 1/15/04
In the state of Washington, do more tests really mean more water pollution?  Seattle Times 1/16/04

Texas lawmakers begin work on water policy. Proposals include private development of water under state-owned lands. El Paso Times 1/15/04

Greenwood, Arkansas makes emergency plans for water. Town's clarifier needs repair and system will be brought up to EPA standards. Greenwood Democrat 1/14/04

Streamline or damage? Wisconsin Assembly passes water permit bill. Supporters hail it as attracking business with quicker permit system. Opponents argue it weakens environmental protections. Journal Sentinel 1/14/04

West Virginia legislative committee approves industry amendments to weaken state drinking water and other regulations. But first, they had to find a lawmaker to sponsor them. Charleston Gazette 1/14/04

Green Bay, Wisconsin pitches new water price to six suburbs. Results of three-year-old negotiations could go before city council next week. Green Bay Press-Gazette 1/13/04

Georgia lawmakers dodge controversy in new statewide water bill. Measure likely won't do more than create state's first water management plan. Issue of selling water rights avoided. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1/12/04

Pennsylvania community loses its lawyer in a raging battle over water hookups. Tribune Democrat 1/12/04

Dallas city council turns down plan for 62,000-acre area reservoir. But head of city water department says it's not dead yet. Longview News-Journal 1/11/04

Summary: Presidential candidates on the issues, including water. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/11/04

Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle says federal energy bill could pass if industry protections from MTBE lawsuits are dropped. No action expected before March. Reuters/Forbes 1/7/04

Moss Point, Alabama to get $10 million check from polluter. The $38 million federal fine against Rohm and Haas, operated by Thiokol Corp., was for environmental damage before the Moss Point plant was closed. AP/al.com 1/6/04

Administrative delays and technical problems scale back a Texas program to bring safe drinking water to 400,000. AP/Star Telegram 1/5/04

Fifty-year-old development plan gives rise to apartment buildings without water in rural Arizona. Arizona Republic 1/3/04

Denver mayor to fill two seats on powerful Denver Water Board. Conservation, other issues face five-member agency. Mayor seeks candidates with "the wisdom of Solomon." Rocky Mountain News 1/2/04

 

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