ICYMI 5/7/21: Unsafe Drinking Water, Drought or New Normal?

Public Health Crisis Looms as California Identifies 600 Communities at Risk of Water-System Failures– The Revelator 5/5/21
More than 300 communities have chronically unsafe drinking water containing contaminants that can come with serious health consequences, including cancer. The areas hardest hit are mostly small, agricultural communities in the San Joaquin and Salinas valleys, which are predominantly Latino and are often also places classified by the state as “disadvantaged.” Unsafe water in these communities adds to a list of health and economic burdens made worse by the ongoing pandemic…
But just how much cash is needed to address the problem?
The answer, we now know, is about $10 billion, according to a new “needs assessment” from state agencies and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation that provides a detailed look at the scope of the problem and cost of solutions.

Fish or farmers? Newsom drought declaration would trigger new war over California water – SacBee 5/5/21
Experts say a statewide drought declaration would help drive home the need for conservation to Californians. But its impact would go well beyond symbolism and communications; it could bring significant consequences for the regulatory structure governing California’s complicated water-delivery system.
Many farmers believe an emergency order could loosen environmental regulations and free up water supplies for them. Environmental groups fear the very same thing – that more of California’s dwindling water supply could be directed to farming at the expense of fish and wildlife.

Editorial: There is no drought – Los Angeles Times 5/6/21
There is no drought. That phrase is sometimes used to deny the epic and obvious change in our climate patterns, but that’s all wrong. Just as there is no temporary drought in the Sahara, where heat and dryness punctuated by flash flooding is the norm, there is no temporary drought in California. The years of steady and predictable water flow are over, and there is no sign of them coming back in our lifetimes. This is it. We have to build, and grow, and legislate, and consume for the world as it is, not as we may remember it.

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