California Enters Fourth Year of Drought

As California enters its "wet season", it also enters its 4th consecutive year of drought. The unprecedented lack of rain has left fish stranded, aquifers damaged and depleted, and communities without access to safe, affordable drinking water. While conservation solutions are able to provide immediate relief, water districts continue to double down on past mistakes by proposing large surface storage and ocean desalination projects. 

As the prospect of a long drought looms over the West, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) continues to hold the line against the single purpose, expensive, and simply bad investments increased surface storage and ocean desalination promise for our water future. Concurrently, CCKA is working on larger policy issues that will place the state on a path towards water resiliency, including: the implementation of sustainable groundwater management, the need to capture stormwater as a resource, and prioritizing drinkable water recycling.  As an immediate solution, CCKA is calling for the reuse of discharged drinking water to become a mandatory component of the state’s new Drinking Water Discharge Permit

Read more about CCKA's drought work here.

Learn about the targeted drought work of our statewide Waterkeeper network here.

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CCKA Testifies Before the Legislature on Ocean Desalination

On Wednesday, September 24, CCKA led a diverse group of ocean experts to speak before the California Legislature on the potential impacts of ocean desalination.  The hearing, "Seawater Desalination Impacts and Perspectives", took place before the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection, and served as a critical opportunity to inform lawmakers about the harmful impacts associated with desalination, and California’s alternative water supply options. CCKA has been in the vanguard against the unrestricted development of desalination facilitates along California’s coast and was asked to organize the hearing into three expert panels. The first panel informed legislators on the hazards of desalination’s seawater intakes, which kill literally billions of aquatic marine animals and undermines the recent successes of California’s Marine Protected Areas.  The second panel served to illustrate the dangers of the byproduct of desalination, a hyper-salty brine which sinks to the seabed and proves toxic to seafloor organisms – like crab and squid. A recording of the full day's hearing can be found here

Due to its high energy costs, ocean desalination backtracks on the hard fought progress California has made to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Speaking to this often ignored impact, the day’s third panel quantified the embedded energy of desalination, and explained how a “water loading order” is a needed component of California water policy. A water loading order would require the assessment of water projects based on their carbon footprint, and prioritize projects that are less energy intense and provide multiple benefits. In this way, projects such as water conservationstormwater capture and reuse, and recycled water, which provide more bang for the taxpayer’s buck, would receive priority over the “one trick pony” of ocean desalination.
Read more about water loading here

Read more about CCKA’s position on ocean desalination here.

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Spotlight On

  • SF Baykeeper Keeps Toxic Industrial Pollution from Bay

    Congrats to our SF Baykeeper, who in a critical win for stopping toxic industrial pollution in San Francisco Bay has secured an agreement with the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation to install controls to protect the Bay from toxic runoff. Under the terms of the agreement, Levin-Richmond will invest approximately $1.4 million in pollution controls and contribute $50,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. 

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  • LA Waterkeeper Gets Dirty for the Drought

    Our Los Angeles Water keeper is urging Southern Californian motorists to take bold measures during the unprecedented drought and conserve water with the “Dirty Car Pledge”. Those who sign up and refrain from washing their car for 60 days, and collectively save millions of gallons of water, will be sent a “Go Dirty for the Drought” sticker to proudly display on their cars. 

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  • Ocean Protection Council Supports the Trash Policy

    undefinedCongrats to the Ocean Protection Council for passing a Resolution supporting the State Water Board’s Trash Policy.  The Resolution describes the Trash Policy as precedential, and finding it the “first statewide plan in the nation” to reduce trash entering waterways. California Coastkeeper Alliance strongly supported this Resolution, and we are happy to see it come to fruition at a pivotal time in California’s decision making about preventing trash pollution.
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