9-2-08Merced Sun-StarOur View: Sierra as lab for warmingIn the Arctic, climate change can be dramatic, but it's also happening closer to home.http://www.mercedsunstar.com/181/story/431299.htmlThe Petermann Glacier in Greenland is an impressive chunk of ice. The glacier sprawls over 500 square miles, slightly larger than the expanse of Los Angeles.Unfortunately, the Petermann Glacier isn't as impressive as it was not long ago. Sometime in July, a chunk of it -- 11 square miles, roughly half the size of Manhattan -- cracked and broke off.The fracture wasn't noticed until a satellite captured an image of it last month, leading scientists to fear that much of the glacier could disappear by 2009.Climate change can manifest itself in dramatic ways, such as the rapid meltoff of Arctic sea ice and glaciers that is now being documented.But sometimes the evidence of climate change is more subtle and closer to home.In the forests, watersheds and ecology of the Sierra, snowpack is melting earlier. Wildflowers and chipmunks are moving to higher ground. The wildfire season is starting earlier. Motorists are traversing Tioga Pass in Yosemite even after Thanksgiving.As Sacramento Bee environmental writer Tom Knudson puts it, "No longer is climate change a distant drama of shrinking polar ice caps. ... Global warming is local warming."The Sierra is an appropriate laboratory for studying this warming. Around the world, landscapes at higher elevations are heating up faster than lowlands. That allows scientists to document changes in years instead of decades.In addition, scientists have long liked to spend their summers in Yosemite and parts of the Sierra. Thus they have a trove of historical records to use as reference material.Among reputable scientists, there remains wide-ranging debate on the particulars of climate change. How fast is it occurring? To what degree are human-caused emissions contributing to the warming documented so far?The Sierra is this state's water supply, a scenic wonderland and a place where nearly 4 million people live. If its natural inhabitants are suddenly being forced to readapt and move to higher ground, what does that mean for their long-term survival?And what will it mean for those of us who live in the lowlands? Modesto BeeOakdale: New step to control growth...LESLIE ALBRECHT...9-1-08http://www.modbee.com/local/story/414276.htmlOAKDALE -- The housing slump may have silenced the hammers that once pounded in new subdivisions, but the city is quietly laying the groundwork for its next round of growth.At its Tuesday night meeting, the City Council will vote on a consulting contract that would draft specific development plans for swaths of land on the city's eastern and western edges.If approved, the $2.5 million agreement also would charge the Sacramento office of consulting firm PBS&J with the job of updating Oakdale's general plan, the document that outlines how the city will grow for the next 20 years.If approved, the specific development plans for the eastern and western edges of Oakdale would be the first the city has initiated since 2001... Oakdale's last two major developments, Bridle Ridge and Burchell Hill, consisted almost entirely of single-family housing. The consulting agreement the council considers Tuesday would draw plans for mixed-use developments that would include commercial, retail and office space as well as housing...Property owners with land in the planning areas will foot the bill for the specific development plans. The plans take about two years to create. The land must be annexed into the city before any development can happen there.The specific development plans are part of Oakdale's controlled approach to growth, City Manager Steve Hallam said.Oakdale doesn't allow growth to happen on a parcel-by-parcel piecemeal basis, Hallam said. Instead, the city has carved out 11 areas surrounding downtown where it wants to see development -- eventually.The city will allow development in one of those areas only after a specific plan is in hand that sketches out how the entire area will de- velop, not just the parcel where one developer wants to build. Each area is annexed into the city only after that specific development plan is complete..."It's a very good process that keeps the community of Oakdale in control of its destiny, deciding the phasing and the geographic area of how we want to grow," Hallam said. "That's what's different about this process. The City Council is in the driver's seat."Fresno BeeStart conserving water now -- beat the rushState's crisis is real, and we must begin to use less...Editorialhttp://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/story/835185.htmlThe exposed shorelines of reservoirs up and down the state tell the story this year. With water levels so low, Californians can't afford to waste a drop. Conservation has to be part of a multi-pronged strategy to stretch supplies and survive droughts. To that end, Assemblyman John Laird is trying to pass a bill that would require a 20% reduction in urban per capita water usage by 2020. Cities and counties would have flexibility in how to reach this target, but they could no longer casually water their sidewalks, as occurs almost every day in Sacramento, Los Angeles and other cities. Laird's legislation, Assembly Bill 2175, has passed the Assembly but is in trouble in the Senate. Its survival could depend on two Democratic senators -- Mike Machado of Stockton and Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento.Machado, a farmer, has long had his sights on AB 2175. Originally, the bill included a conservation target for agriculture, the largest consumer of water. Machado and other growers objected to this provision, so Laird weakened it to require just "best management practices" for farmers. Despite that concession, Machado has continued to press for additional amendments. He seems to be determined to derail the bill.For his part, Steinberg supports AB 2175, but is wavering on serving as its floor jockey in the Senate. With the state facing a water crisis and various communities making plans for rationing, the incoming Senate president needs to be out in front on this important conservation bill. A 20% reduction goal is doable. It shouldn't need to wait until next year. Sacramento BeeConstruction spending fell 0.6 percent in July...MARTIN CRUTSINGERhttp://www.sacbee.com/840/v-print/story/1203434.htmlConstruction spending took a bigger-than-expected tumble in July as housing activity dropped to the lowest level in seven years and nonresidential activity fell for the first time in seven months.The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction spending declined 0.6 percent in July, double the 0.3 percent decrease analysts had been expecting.Housing activity fell for a 16th consecutive month, declining 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $357.8 billion. That was the lowest level since March 2001, the start of the last recession.Nonresidential activity, which had been offsetting some of the weakness in the residential sector also fell in July, dropping 0.7 percent to an annual rate of $416.8 billion. It was the first setback in that category since December.Analysts are concerned that nonresidential building will weaken in coming months as banks - battered by big losses on mortgage loans - tighten lending standards for nonresidential projects as well...The 2.3 percent decline in private housing construction was nearly double the 1.4 percent decline in June and showed that builders are still aggressively trying to cut back on their production to help deal with the worst slump in housing demand in decades. The glut of unsold homes is being worsened by soaring mortgage foreclosures dumping even more properties on the market.Stockton RecordCity to change water rulesConservation plan will help during dry times...Alex Breitlerhttp://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080902/A_NEWS/809020314/-1/A_NEWSSTOCKTON - Some say it's a little backward, especially in summer of a drought year.But in Stockton, the more water you use, the cheaper it gets.City officials are considering changing this years-old policy as part of a new water-conservation plan, which they say will be more suitable for these dry times.According to the American Water Works Association, Stockton is one of very few cities in the state still using what's called a "declining rate structure." A survey of 299 California water agencies last year found just six using this strategy, the association reports.This doesn't mean Stockton residents can leave their sprinklers on an extra five minutes and get a cheaper rate. The current policy, said to have been in place for many years, benefits only those who use copious amounts of water, such as commercial and industrial facilities.Indeed, the rates may have been intended to attract those types of businesses to Stockton, officials said.Times have changed.The state is parched. Hardly a raindrop has fallen since February... The city's goal is to reduce water usage 3.4 percent in five years. That would save about 1,200 acre-feet of water, enough to serve roughly the same number of families...The problem is water is cheap enough that there's not much economic motivation for average people to conserve...As for the water rates, Madison said they will be reconsidered as the city pushes on with plans to tap the Delta for the first time as an additional drinking water source. Rate increases would help pay for the project but could also be restructured to encourage conservation, officials said.Sierra Club advocate Dale Stocking said it's time to fix the city's system of use more water, pay less."At a time of tight water supplies, we give the heaviest users the lowest rates," he said. "These rates are going to have to be revisited. The situation has changed."Calaveras hits stump in tree law ordinanceGroup says county not as productive in protecting oaks...Dana M. Nicholshttp://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080902/A_NEWS/809020315/-1/A_NEWSSAN ANDREAS - Calaveras County is behind the rest of the region, even most of the rest of the state, in complying with laws to protect oak woodlands, according to the California Oak Foundation.Foundation President Janet S. Cobb said that Calaveras has failed so far to either adopt an oak protection ordinance similar to the ones in Tuolumne, Placer and El Dorado counties, or to at least rigorously enforce state oak protection laws as she said is being done in neighboring Amador County."Calaveras County has to turn the page and join the rest of the state. This is a priority Gov. Schwarzenegger signed," Cobb said, referring to an oak woodlands conservation bill, also known as SB 1334, that Schwarzenegger signed in 2004.That bill required California counties to come up with oak woodlands management plans and to set minimum standards for mitigation when oak woodlands are converted to other uses, whether it is row crop farming, vineyards, houses or businesses. Calaveras County has yet to do that...In July, Cobb sent a letter to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors promising to scrutinize environmental reports for every Calaveras development that would affect oaks. On Thursday, she kept that promise by sending a detailed response to the discussion of oaks in the revised draft environmental impact report released this month for The Ridge at Trinitas, a golf course and luxury home development south of Burson.The golf course portion of the Trinitas development was built in an agricultural preserve between 2001 and 2005 without environmental review, something that has generated controversy as county officials try to figure how much damage was done and how to mitigate it.Cobb wrote that the report failed to make a serious assessment of oaks still on the Trinitas property, much less those lost during the earlier golf course construction. Instead, she said, the report relied on the developer's verbal assertion that he had only removed "eight or ten" oaks while building the golf course, and ignored reports in a national golf magazine that the developer had helped finance the construction by selling firewood from the century-old oaks he removed."Our organization is fully prepared to challenge the (report's) oak removal findings in any legal proceedings," Cobb wrote.Cobb said her organization also is urging the California Attorney General to crack down on Calaveras County for failing to follow the oak conservation law. An Attorney General's Office spokeswoman said Friday that she was unable to find any record of such a request from the California Oak Foundation...San Francisco ChronicleGreen cement may set CO2 fate in concrete...Carrie Sturrockhttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/02/MNGD12936I.DTLCall him cement man.Back when Stanford Professor Brent Constantz was 27 he created a high-tech cement that revolutionized bone fracture repair in hospitals worldwide. People who might have died from the complications of breaking their hips lived. Fractured wrists became good as new. Now, 22 years later, he wants to repair the world. Constantz says he has invented a green cement that could eliminate the huge amounts of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere by the manufacturers of the everyday cement used in concrete for buildings, roadways and bridges. His vision of eliminating a large source of the world's greenhouse CO{-2} has gained traction with both investors and environmentalists. Already, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla is backing Constantz's company, the Calera Corp., which has a pilot factory in Moss Landing (Monterey County) churning out cement in small batches. And Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, says it could be "a game changer" if Constantz can do it quickly, on a big scale and at a decent price."It changes the nature of the fight against global warming," said Pope, who has talked with Constantz about his work.That might sound like hyperbole, but the reality is that for every ton of ordinary cement, known as Portland cement, a ton of air-polluting carbon dioxide is released during production. Worldwide, 2.5 billion tons of cement are manufactured each year, creating about 5 percent of the Earth's CO{-2} emissions... To make traditional cement, limestone is heated to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius, which turns it into lime - the principal ingredient in Portland cement - and CO{-2}, which is released into the air. Constantz uses a different approach, the details of which remains secret pending publication of his patent... Constantz believes his cement would tackle global warming on two fronts. It would eliminate the need to heat limestone, which releases CO{-2}. And harmful emissions can be siphoned away from power plants and locked into the cement. The same process can also be used to make an alternative to aggregate - the sand and gravel - that makes up concrete and asphalt, which would sequester even more carbon dioxide from power plants... As far as cost, Constantz estimates his cement would retail for $100 a ton versus roughly $110 for Portland.Skeptics question product...Portland cement has a track record of more than 100 years, and any new material would have to get incorporated into building codes, noted Rick Bohan, director of construction and manufacturing technology for the Portland Cement Association in Skokie, Ill. And Tom Pyle, a Caltrans engineer who serves on the cement subgroup of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Climate Action Team, acknowledged that the technology is possible, but he still wants to examine Constantz's cement... Power plant partnerships... Coral basis of idea... Who is Brent Constantz?... Concrete facts about cement... Los Angeles TimesFederal plan would cut habitat for endangered peninsular bighorn sheep nearly by halfScientists and environmental advocates say the reduced habitat could deal a permanent setback to a species that has shown signs of recovering after 10 years of federal protection...Leslie Carlsonhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sheep2-2008sep02,0,2257100,print.storyWildlife biologist Aimee Byard took it as a hopeful sign when she spotted 11 bighorn lambs, including a rare set of twins, nibbling encelia and ambrosia high above the multimillion-dollar homes of Rancho Mirage this spring. But as fall approaches, biologists such as Byard are growing concerned that the peninsular bighorn sheep, an endangered species, soon may lose some of the protection that has helped them survive.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on the final details of a map that would cut by nearly half the habitat the agency had previously considered to be critical to the species' survival. The plan could be approved by the end of September.Scientists and environmental advocates say the trimmed habitat could deal a permanent setback to a species that has shown signs of recovering after 10 years of federal protection. They accuse the Department of the Interior, which governs Fish and Wildlife, of mixing politics with science, and caving to mining and tribal interests in the desert. One mining operation in Imperial County already has applied to expand its operation into land once listed as critical to the sheep's recovery, documents show."The recovery plan . . . has been working," said Mark Jorgensen, supervisor of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, who has worked with peninsular bighorn sheep for 40 years. "Why take out 500,000 acres of it and say that it's not a big deal? And that it's based on science? Why not come out and say that it's just politics?"Jane Hedron, a spokeswoman for the wildlife service, defended the new boundaries as sufficient to help the species recover."Critical habitat is habitat considered essential for the recovery of the endangered species," she said. "It is not intended to include the entire range of a species."She said the decision to trim the habitat map was in "the realm of policy, not politics." The secretary of the Interior, she added, has the legal discretion to exclude critical habitat..."If there is a really pronounced economic impact, the secretary can exclude essential habitat," she said.Meanwhile, U.S. Gypsum Co. is applying for permits to expand its Imperial County operations into former critical habitat, according to the Bureau of Land Management. A final environmental impact report for the project was released in March. It included measures to restrict access to undisturbed land and to educate mine employees about avoiding sheep, and pledges to keep domestic animals and livestock away from bighorn areas.The Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comment period on the plan to Oct. 24, 2008. Public hearings have been scheduled for Sept. 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Living Desert, 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert.Exports jump at L.A., Long Beach ports but imports falterIncoming goods are down so much that the twin ports are on pace to record their second straight year of declines in overall international trade...Ronald D. Whitehttp://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ports2-2008sep02,0,6760686,print.storyForget scrap paper, plastics, scrap metal and the bounty of agricultural harvests. Until this year, the biggest U.S. contribution to the international supply chain were vast mountains of empty cargo containers outbound on ships to China, where they were quickly refilled with the imports on which American consumers have come to depend."For the longest time, we used to joke that our biggest export was our fine California air," said Eric Caris, assistant director of marketing for the Port of Los Angeles. "The good news for us in 2008 is that we are finally exporting more loaded containers than empties."From January to July, exports jumped about 23% compared with the same period of 2007 at the nation's two busiest container ports, Los Angeles and Long Beach. But the export boom overshadows a deep pullback in U.S. consumer spending.Imports are down so much that the twin ports are on pace to record their second straight year of declines in overall international trade. That hasn't happened in at least 30 years, despite a handful of national recessions along the way.The slowdown has hit almost every harbor in North America.Of the 10 busiest seaports that are tracked every month by the nation's largest retailers for signs of congestion, only two are doing more business than last year. One is Vancouver, Canada, which is serving an economy much healthier than that of the U.S. The other is Savannah, Ga., which is winning market share as the first big East Coast stop for cargo headed north from the Panama Canal.Weakness in the U.S. economy is mirrored on the docks, said Paul Bingham, managing director of trade and transportation markets for the Washington-based forecasting firm Global Insight."You can find all of the economic symptoms of the downturn in these numbers," Bingham said. "Unfortunately, this is a bad-news story. We haven't even found the bottom yet."...Exports tell a different story.Aided by the weak dollar, which makes U.S. goods cheaper for foreign buyers, outgoing traffic increased at each of the five big West Coast ports. In addition, the number of empty containers shipped back to Asia for refilling with imports was down by at least 22.1% at each of the major ports...But the most pain, perhaps, is being felt at the bottom, by those who make the least amount of money from the movement of goods through the ports: truck drivers such as Porfirio Diaz. His plight was detailed during a briefing on the status of working-class families last week by the Center for Labor Research and Education at UC Berkeley.Diaz drives containers to and from the Port of Oakland on mostly short-haul routes. Diaz's family home is in foreclosure. He maxed out his credit card on a $12,000 truck repair bill and says he can't afford the newer, less-polluting truck he needs to buy under state pollution-control mandates, even with the grant that could help him pay for it...Keep the UC admissions bar highAdmissions standards could stand a bit of modification, but not at the expense of academics...Editorialhttp://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-uc2-2008sep02,0,6654885,print.storyThe University of California is rightly concerned about bringing more diversity to its undergraduate population. Its latest proposal to accomplish this contains some admirable aspects -- and others that should give Californians pause.Under the state's higher education plan, UC accepts the top 12.5% of the state's high school graduates. Traditionally, this has been based on a sliding scale of grades and scores on the SAT, an objective method of determining eligibility. It was modified after UC dropped affirmative action 12 years ago so that students who rank in the top 4% of their schools' graduating classes also would be eligible -- a fair-minded recognition that some schools, primarily in rural and inner-city areas, lack the advanced classes and qualified teachers to bring even exceptional students into that top tier.But the latest plan, which has been approved by faculty and is before UC President Mark G. Yudof, redefines "top students" in far-reaching, and not always helpful, ways. Among its stronger provisions, the new plan would drop the SAT II as a required test... Another change, from accepting the top 4% of each school's graduating class to accepting the top 9%, would have minimal impact because almost all of those students already would qualify as among the best statewide.But the plan also would transform the way that a large number of freshmen are admitted. Under "comprehensive review," students with grade-point averages as low as C-plus could petition for admission based on other qualities, such as having overcome extraordinary obstacles.There should be a place for flexibility in the admissions process, and for crediting nontraditional achievement. But a switch to admitting a fifth of freshmen through subjective review runs a risk of lowering standards, eroding public support for UC and shortchanging students who have put their all into meeting the university's academic rigor. It also sends an inadvertent message that students can slack off a bit in high school and talk their way into UC with a good story. Students who fall short of UC requirements can still prove their worth to the university by excelling at a Cal State campus or community college first, then transferring. Yudof should insist on tightening this provision before it is considered by the UC regents.Washington PostEPA vetoes Miss. Delta flood control project...CHRIS TALBOTT, The Associated Presshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/02/AR2008090201431_pf.htmlJACKSON, Miss. -- The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday all but killed a federal plan nearly seven decades in the making to build the world's largest water pump in the Mississippi Delta.Ben Grumbles, the EPA's assistant administrator for water, followed through on the agency's threat to veto the $220 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-control project over the objections of local, state and federal officials.The EPA feared the project could destroy thousands of acres of wetlands, impair water quality and harm the habitat of threatened and endangered species, all violations of the federal Clean Water Act.The proposal would have moved 6 million gallons of water a minute from 67,000 acres of wetlands along the Yazoo River, mostly for the benefit of flood-prone farmers.Congress authorized the project in 1941 but never fully funded it before the Clean Water Act became law 1972.The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and conservationists have long opposed the project. It got the EPA's attention in 1977 after the agency was given administrative powers under the Clean Water Act.It's just the 12th time a veto has been issued under the act by the EPA since 1990. The power has been used to stop a shopping mall and a dam in other states...The EPA said the project likely would degrade the 67,000 acres of wetlands in the project and conservationists argued the damage could be three times worse... 9-2-08 Department of Water ResourcesCalifornia Water NewsA daily compilation for DWR personnel of significant news articles and comment…September 2, 2008 1.  Top Item - Farmworkers leaving the Valley in search of jobsFresno Bee – 9/1/08…By Vanessa Colón, staff writer Drought and economic desperation are driving farmworkers in small towns across the Valley to pull up decades-old roots and look for work elsewhere. Some are trying to commute more than two hours to the Salinas Valley. But others are going all the way to Alaska, Washington and North Carolina.  While traveling from one job to another is a fact of life for migrant farmworkers, those in the Valley typically have been able to find enough work nearby to establish permanent homes.  That's not so easy anymore, said farmworker Guadalupe Alvarez. She has lived in Mendota for more than 30 years and never thought she would leave the dusty, rural town dubbed the Cantaloupe Center of the World.  For now she is packing melons. But she knows she is unlikely to find other work as usual when the melon season is over. By late September, she plans to move to North Carolina, where she has relatives.  "You feel bad about it because you've been here so long," Alvarez, 48, said in Spanish. "Now we are going somewhere else to suffer." Several factors have contributed to the lack of work. Dry weather, water-pumping cutbacks and the closure of processing plants have led to fewer farmworker jobs as growers abandon fields. And the housing bust has flooded farms with new workers.  It's impossible to know exactly how many people are leaving, but the evidence of their departure is clear.  The Mendota Food Center, a grocery store in the heart of the town, looks nearly empty, although it's usually busy with shoppers this time of year, said Mayor Robert Silva. Nearby in the city of Firebaugh, a string of mom-and-pop stores closed this summer. And there are lots of empty apartments.  School enrollment in Firebaugh has been declining by dozens of students each year in the past three years. St. Joseph's School, a parochial school for preschool to eighth grade, closed in July.  Mendota and Firebaugh officials believe that hundreds of people have left this year from each of their towns. Mendota has about 8,000 people, and Firebaugh has about 7,000.  "There's less people in the area," Silva said. "They are moving up north to Washington to pick apples. Normally they'd be here working in the tomatoes, corn and bell pepper crops. Normally they would stay here until autumn."  So far, farmworkers are not returning to their home countries in large numbers.  Among 1.2 million Mexican nationals living in eight Central Valley counties served by the Mexican Consulate in Fresno, 28 families notified consular officials that they were moving back to Mexico this year, said Deputy Consul Selene Barceló.  "There is an economic crisis, but not at the point they are leaving the United States in droves," Barceló said in Spanish. "They are migrating. ... They normally would have temporary or full-time work here, but it's possibly changed."  Nationwide, immigrant workers are on the move as they try to deal with the economic downturn and increased immigration enforcement. One group from the Valley -- about 200 workers -- traveled to Washington for work, then sought jobs in Canada, said Manuel Cunha Jr., president of Nisei Farmers League in Fresno. "The west side got hit the hardest, but it's happening all over," he said.  Liz Hudson, spokeswoman for the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said jobs in agriculture are out there, but there's not a high demand for workers.  "This year there appears to be no shortage of workers with the slowdown of the housing construction and with the uncertainty of the water situation," Hudson said. "There is an ample work force. We've had no reports by farmers that there's no workers." #http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/835207.html 2. Supply –City to change water rulesConservation plan will help during dry times - Stockton RecordTulare County homeowners call drilling companies to find water sources - Visalia Times DeltaEBMUD sets 'loggers' to listen for leaks - San Francisco Chronicle City to change water rulesConservation plan will help during dry timesStockton Record – 9/2/02…By Alex Breitler, staff writer STOCKTON - Some say it's a little backward, especially in summer of a drought year.But in Stockton, the more water you use, the cheaper it gets. City officials are considering changing this years-old policy as part of a new water-conservation plan, which they say will be more suitable for these dry times.According to the American Water Works Association, Stockton is one of very few cities in the state still using what's called a "declining rate structure." A survey of 299 California water agencies last year found just six using this strategy, the association reports. This doesn't mean Stockton residents can leave their sprinklers on an extra five minutes and get a cheaper rate. The current policy, said to have been in place for many years, benefits only those who use copious amounts of water, such as commercial and industrial facilities. Indeed, the rates may have been intended to attract those types of businesses to Stockton, officials said.Times have changed. The state is parched. Hardly a raindrop has fallen since February. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he wants to reduce urban water usage 20 percent per capita by 2020. "Our plans are not that robust," said Mark Madison, director of Stockton's Municipal Utilities Department. "But we will be looking harder at water conservation in the future." The city's goal is to reduce water usage 3.4 percent in five years. That would save about 1,200 acre-feet of water, enough to serve roughly the same number of families. A consultant's plan approved earlier this year says the city should encourage residents to replace thousands of water-guzzling appliances, with the city contributing about $825,000 in rebates. The plan also recommends a great deal of public outreach. Water conservation should become "a part of the overall community psyche," reads the plan prepared for the city by consultant PMC, based in Rancho Cordova.Saving water won't just save customers money but will reduce energy usage as well, and thus limit greenhouse gases released when energy is produced.The problem is water is cheap enough that there's not much economic motivation for average people to conserve. Those Stocktonians who get their water from the city, not to be confused with private California Water Service Co., pay one-tenth of a cent for a gallon of water. Compare that with gas at nearly $4 a gallon. Put another way, an average shower might cost you about 2 cents. Unlike some water-starved areas of the state, conservation in San Joaquin County remains essentially voluntary. That's because the Stockton area is in better shape than those other regions, including Southern California and the East Bay. Several rivers feed the county, and there is groundwater to draw from. Even in this drought year, Stockton's water-saving rules are similar to most other years. For example, residents may not water their lawns from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and they must repair any waterline leaks within 24 hours. Restaurants can serve water only upon request. As for the water rates, Madison said they will be reconsidered as the city pushes on with plans to tap the Delta for the first time as an additional drinking water source. Rate increases would help pay for the project but could also be restructured to encourage conservation, officials said. Sierra Club advocate Dale Stocking said it's time to fix the city's system of use more water, pay less."At a time of tight water supplies, we give the heaviest users the lowest rates," he said. "These rates are going to have to be revisited. The situation has changed."#http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080902/A_NEWS/809020314/-1/A_NEWS07 Tulare County homeowners call drilling companies to find water sourcesVisalia Times Delta – 9/2/08…By Valerie Gibbons, staff writer Business has never been better for Loudie Crisp — but you won't find her bragging about it. As one of the owners of Visalia's Crisp Well Drilling, Crisp has been running from site to site all summer as wells throughout the Valley start to run dry."I received eight calls today," she said. "Everyone's running out of water. It's the worst I've ever seen it." The problem: A water table that has been steadily dropping throughout the Valley, a situation made worse by the exponential growth during the last decade. Drilling waiting listAnd this year's early spring and hot weather have meant hundreds of homeowners have put in calls to local well drillers —and have been given a spot on the waiting list. "A lot of them have old wells that are too shallow now, maybe 80 to 120 feet deep," she said. This year drillers are boring down to more than 250 feet to find reliable water supplies — and in many cases that means drilling an entirely new well.The pipes in older wells can be incompatible with simply drilling an existing well farther down. The price tag for a 200-foot well can run more than $13,500. "I don't take payments," Crisp said. "It's really difficult because I know people are really hurting now — but they have to pay it in full or use a credit card."Crisp is booked solid for the next six weeks — a new record for the 30-year-old company. Other Visalia well drillers are in the same boat. Greg Loverin's company is also booked well into advance with calls from homeowners and growers who have suddenly found themselves out of water."It's just progressively gotten worse," he said. Loverin's standard well is 250 to 300 feet deep. "Twenty years ago, it was 140 feet," he said. Lower water tables While agricultural users switch to well water after the water deliveries from Lake Kaweah and the Friant-Kern Canal end in late summer, residential water almost inevitably comes from wells. The resulting draw down can leave water tables up to 50 feet below what they were in the early spring. "Farmers are turning to their groundwater sources earlier in the summer," said Patricia Stever, the executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau. "It's not going to get any better until we have more storage." From July 1, 2007, until July 1, 2008, Visalia received just 6.66 inches of rain — only a half an inch more than the year before.The driest season on record in the Valley was in 1947, with a scant 3 1/2 inches of rain. The season from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, at 6.03 inches, was the 11th driest season since the record-keeping began in 1878. At the foothill lakes, Kaweah Lake's storage is 71 percent of normal, Pine Flat is at 35 percent, Millerton Lake, 66 percent and Lake Success — which is kept at an artificially low level because of structural problems with the dam — is at 21 percent of normal, according to the state Department of Water Resources.The 15,000 farms served by the Friant-Kern Canal received all of their Class 1, or basic deliveries and about 5 percent of their surplus, or Class 2, deliveries.The Friant-Kern Canal draws its water from Millerton Lake in Fresno County. Foothill lakes Which means this year's dry spring at the foothill lakes that deliver can be expensive for cities in the heart of the Valley. Every summer the city of Tulare lowers the pumping level of about three or four of its 27 active wells, at a cost of $28,000 a year. The city's systems are drilled deep into the earth —more than 500 feet in many cases — and the pumps can be raised or lowered depending on the water level."Last July we had the water level drop by 50 feet in one month," said Dan Boggs, the City of Tulare's water superintendent. "That was pretty scary." Recharge ponds At the Kaweah Delta Resource Conservation District — the agency charged with recharging the county's groundwater — there has been a big push toward building more recharge ponds, to allow more water to filter through the system. "We have a historical overdraft," said Mark Larson, the district's assistant manager. "Right now we are partnering with each of the water districts, the cities and the county to build more ponds." The ponds cost about $2 million to build and can put tens of thousands of acre feet of water back into the system."We're hoping to reverse some of this for future generations," he said.#http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080902/NEWS01/809020328 EBMUD sets 'loggers' to listen for leaksSan Francisco Chronicle – 8/30/08…Patricia Yollin, Staff Writer In the middle of the night, when most of Berkeley is sleeping, hundreds of underground objects are listening for sounds that people can't hear. They haven't been planted by terrorists, spies, FBI agents or mystics. Instead, the East Bay Municipal Utility District is installing the acoustic devices, known as "loggers," in an unprecedented pilot project to conserve water by finding leaks in water mains before they surface. The effort was conceived of before the drought, but has taken on added urgency because of it. Within a few months, the loggers will be all over town. More than 300 are in place, with as many as 900 yet to come. "You can hear a water leak before you see it," said David Wallenstein, an associate engineer in the utility's water department who is overseeing the project. "And nighttime is the best time to hear leaks. It's supposed to be quiet then, and you can detect noise when there shouldn't be noise." The noise made by leaks travels nicely in metal pipes, Wallenstein said, and is distinct from the normal flow in a water main, which is fairly subdued. "The loggers are looking for loudness and consistency," he said. "They're looking for something continuous - not someone taking a shower." The devices are connected to water mains under Berkeley's 250-mile street system. They operate from 2 to 4 a.m., listening for leak noises every three seconds within a 1,000-foot radius. "A little computer in them decides if there's a leak or not," Wallenstein said on a recent afternoon, as he prepared to patrol the leak-prone Berkeley hills, where sliding and shifting ground damages water mains. Every 10 days or so, two EBMUD employees cruise around Berkeley, checking out what each logger has discovered. The devices, metal cylinders the size of a can of Red Bull, electronically transmit information that says "leak," "no leak," "possible leak" or "probable leak." "It works like a champ," said Mike Hatch, water distribution crew foreman. "The data is on a laptop on your partner's lap. You drive through and the software talks to you. It's beautiful." Answers to mystery leaks A $300,000 federal grant and matching funds from EBMUD are paying for the project, which will end in December 2009. The state-of-the-art sensors are being supplied by Gutermann International of Switzerland. "This is the largest deployment ever done for research purposes and water savings," Wallenstein said. "We're going to learn so much. It's kind of a mystery - how pipes leak and why." The utility, which serves 1.3 million people, is eager to solve that mystery. "Part of the reason we're doing the study is to evaluate how much money we're losing," Wallenstein said. The devices in the Berkeley project are the most sophisticated weapons in an arsenal that includes 120 older loggers, ground microphones and correlators, which pinpoint the location of a leak after much detective work by the utility's leak-detection squad. EBMUD now employs 12 people as leak detectors. Bruce Isom is one of them. 'Green Berets of plumbers' "We're like the Green Berets of plumbers," he said. To the uninitiated, Isom's trade might seem prosaic and straightforward. It's not. "Even though it's a science, it's also an art," Hatch said. "It may take a day, it might take five to find a leak," said leak detector Lucius Lyons. Isom spent six months, off and on, tracking down a leak in Point Richmond. The quest can be challenging because mains of cement or plastic don't carry sound - unlike those made of copper, cast iron or steel. "Every day is a new puzzle," Isom said. "But I love problem-solving." The day starts at 7 a.m. at EBMUD's service yard in West Oakland. "Most of our calls come from consumers," Hatch said recently as he surveyed the day's assignments. "But a lot of our calls are false alarms. We spend half our time proving we don't have leaks." Often what seems like a leaking water main can be something else entirely - ranging from over-irrigation by a neighbor to a problem in the sewer system. "Occasionally you get called out and you see toilet paper there," Jon Greenhalgh said. "It's not the water main." Pink clue On this particular Thursday morning, a team of four leak detectors visited East Oakland and Montclair. At the first stop, leak detector Tony Lopez stared at a large puddle on 41st Avenue. "We want to make sure it's EBMUD water," he said. He took a water sample. The strip in the vial turned pink, indicating it contained chloramines and could be EBMUD's responsibility."But pink doesn't always mean it's our fault," Isom said. As the four men checked out the pink liquid, a steady procession of passers-by - residents, merchants, shopping-cart pushers - checked them out."We don't give them the whole 101 on leak detection," Isom said. "We just tell them we're looking for a leak. They kind of leave us alone after that. We might get a little argument or complaint about their water bill." The next stop for the leak detectors was an intersection in the hills of Montclair, where an older logger had discovered a leak. It took only half an hour to figure out exactly where it was. "This was lucky," Isom said. "And it would have run for 10, 20, 30 years." Although winter is normally the busy season because rain produces more leaks, the leak squad is fully occupied these days as well."Because of the drought, we're doing a lot more leak detection now," Hatch said. "But I'm not sure we're finding more leaks."#http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/30/BA0412F0UD.DTL&feed=rss.bayarea 3. Watersheds – Biologists launch effort to clean up lost fishing gear off California coastEFFORTS TARGET YEARS' WORTH OF FISHING GEARSan Jose Mercury News – 8/31/08…By Paul Rogers, staff writer Millions of pounds of old fishing gear — a junkyard of abandoned nets, hooks, lobster traps, crab pots and miles of plastic line — litter California's coastal waters and are taking a significant toll on marine wildlife. Starting this fall, in an underwater version of the state's coastal cleanup program, teams of scuba divers will launch an unprecedented effort to start cleaning it up.On Thursday, the state Wildlife Conservation Board awarded a $400,000 grant to the University of California-Davis to fund its "California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Program." Under the program, crews will spend the next two years cleaning lost fishing line and hooks from dozens of public piers from Santa Cruz to Imperial Beach. Using sidescan sonar and unmanned submersibles, they also plan to haul up old traps in the open ocean. Many such traps continue "ghost fishing" lobsters and crabs even after they have been lost by fishermen. They also can entangle whales and turtles, injuring and sometimes killing the animals. "One of the problems is that we can't see below the surface. When people hear about the problems the oceans are facing, it's hard to visualize. They would be surprised how much debris comes out of the ocean," said Kirsten Gilardi, a veterinarian with the UC-Davis Wildlife Health Center who is leading the effort. Modeled after similar projects in Hawaii, Florida and Washington state, the effort will focus on California's entire 1,100-mile shoreline, roughly from the beach to half a mile offshore. Special preference will be given to piers and wharves, along with marine protected areas containing sensitive and endangered species, Gilardi said. After years of worrying about oil spills, environmental groups and biologists increasingly are turning their attention to old fishing gear as a potentially fatal wildlife menace. A five-year survey of wildlife rescue groups completed in 2006 found more than 100 sea lions and nearly 1,000 brown pelicans and gulls were treated for injuries after becoming entangled in fishing gear along the California coast. Many die. Biologists have found dead sea otters with hooks perforating their intestines. Even animals at the top of the food chain are affected."In March we did a necropsy on a 51-foot sperm whale that washed up dead at Point Reyes, and it had 450 pounds of fishing net, braided rope and plastic bags in its stomach. It is a problem," said Mieke Eerkens, a spokeswoman for the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Meanwhile, a bill by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, that would require commercial fishermen to report lost gear within 48 hours, and for the state to track it in a database, has made it to the governor's desk. The litter comes from several sources. Commercial fishing boats can snag nets on underwater rocks, or lose crab pots when winter storms snap tether lines.And every weekend, recreational anglers catch their lines and hooks on wooden pilings, or accidentally drop equipment off boats and piers. "A lot of these hooks still have bait on them," said Jennifer Renzullo, field manager of the UC-Davis program. "Almost every pier I've worked on has dead birds tangled underneath. They'll dive in the water to eat fish or hang out in the rafters under the pier. And a lot of time what they think is a fish is really a hook that has been baited." Fishing line also tangles boat propellers. Surfers are injured running into lost gear and hooks. And debris can snap and damage new fishing nets. In addition to the new funding, the gear removal project also has received $85,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $20,000 from private foundation grants. Much of the money will be used to hire sea urchin divers and commercial salvage divers to do the underwater work. The debris is hauled to landfills. In some cases, when owners can be identified, the traps will be returned to fishermen. The program also plans to set up public outreach programs at bait shops, and to organize groups of volunteers to "adopt" the dozens of piers in the state and regularly remove fishing gear around them. As part of a pilot program in 2005, the UC-Davis team cleaned up 49,000 acres of seafloor around the Channel Islands. Additionally, its 90 volunteers also recovered more than 1 million feet of monofilament line and 1,400 pounds of recreational fishing gear from 15 piers in 2007. Many commercial fishing groups want to help recover gear. Crab traps can cost $200 each, said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "Our crab guys have been talking about it. We do have a problem out there with lost gear," Grader said. "Sometimes it's people just not being very careful. Other times it's accidents. Last year we had a vicious storm off Eureka and there were massive crab trap losses. And if somebody wants to go out there and bring them back in, that makes sense."#http://www.mercurynews.com/localnewsheadlines/ci_10348182?nclick_check=1 4. Water Quality – Arsenic may be disease culpritPossible link to diabetes may lend more urgency to reducing it in water.Fresno Bee – 8/30/08…By Tim Sheehan, staff writer VISALIA -- Valley communities coping with arsenic in their water may have one more thing to worry about -- diabetes.  Arsenic, a toxic element long known as a cancer-causing agent, is found in rocks and soil -- and underground water -- in parts of the country and around the world. Now doctors at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, suggest a connection between low-level exposure to arsenic and Type 2 diabetes. In an article in the Aug. 20 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, Dr. Ana Navas-Acien and her co-authors reported their analysis of nearly 800 American adults who had urine tests for arsenic in a 2003-04 government health survey.  Their study indicated patients whose urine contained higher levels of arsenic -- most likely from long-term exposure to the chemical in their drinking water -- had nearly four times greater odds of having Type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest arsenic levels.  The results "suggest that inorganic arsenic may have a role in diabetes development," the article states.  The JAMA article caught the eye of public health professionals in the Valley, where arsenic and diabetes are both prevalent.  "I think it has a lot of implications," said Dr. Michael MacLean, health director for Kings County and formerly the health director in Tulare County. "We have a lot of diabetes in the Valley, but there are also a lot of risk factors, too."  Arsenic has been a chronic problem in many Valley communities that pump their water from underground. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that in more than 31,000 well samples nationwide between 1973 and 2001, "widespread high concentrations [of arsenic] were found in the West, the Midwest and the Northeast." A map of the survey shows the San Joaquin Valley as a swath of positive arsenic samples.  More people living in the Valley also have diabetes. A 2005 report by the California Diabetes Program estimates Tulare County has the highest diabetes rate -- about 10.4 of every 100 people -- among California's 58 counties, compared with the statewide rate of 6.22 of every 100.  Other Valley counties also have higher diabetes rates than the state: 8.19 in Kings County, 7.69 in Kern County, 7.20 in Fresno County, 7.18 in Merced County and 6.71 in Madera County.  Earlier research has linked high levels of arsenic in water to diabetes. But a connection between low-level arsenic exposure and diabetes is new. "These findings reinforce the need to evaluate the role of inorganic arsenic in diabetes development" in detailed studies, the Johns Hopkins authors wrote. In 2001, the federal government tightened drinking water standards to mandate that public water supplies contain no more than 10 parts of arsenic per billion -- or 10 drops of water in an average-size swimming pool. The old standard was 50 parts per billion.  "The good news is, this is preventable," Navas-Acien said. But, she added, new safe-water standards may be needed if the findings are duplicated in future studies. She said she and her colleagues have begun a new study of 4,000 people.  For some Valley cities and towns, just meeting the 2001 arsenic standard is an ordeal, said Keith Winkler, Kings County's environmental health director. "Arsenic is known to have adverse effects; it's a potent carcinogen," he said. "This could be another adverse effect."  Corcoran opened a new $18 million treatment plant two years ago to remove arsenic from its water. Water coming into the plant has between 25 and 40 ppb of arsenic, said Steve Kroeker, Corcoran's public works director. It comes out below 5 ppb.  "It's pretty clean," Kroeker said, "but it's expensive."  The city of Hanford plans to sink wells into a deeper, cleaner water table, Winkler said.  In Alpaugh, a town of about 800 people in southwestern Tulare County, water used to test as high as 74 ppb. It took a new and deeper well, pump and pipes, at a cost of about $4.2 million, to attain the old rule.  Now the community is seeking grants for a treatment plant to meet the 10 ppb standard.  Susana De Anda, co-director of the Community Water Center in Visalia, said the JAMA article alarmed her.  "People [in Alpaugh] are afraid to drink the water," De Anda said. "They already know arsenic is a carcinogen and now we're finding out it may be linked to other diseases."  Eric Jenkins, who has lived in Alpaugh for 11 years, said the JAMA article "doesn't surprise me at all."  He said he knows of at least one neighbor who has diabetes, and plans on getting tested himself because of unexplained swelling in his legs. "Maybe if more people were tested, a lot more may find out they have diabetes," Jenkins said. "This is a poor town; I'd be surprised if there's not more people with diabetes but can't afford to be tested."  MacLean, Kings County's health officer, said he will pay close attention to more studies of an arsenic/diabetes connection but cautioned against leaping to conclusions from the JAMA article.  "Our lifestyle, our culture is not a healthy culture," he said of high-fat diets, obesity, lack of exercise and other risk factors for diabetes. "We're seeing a dramatic increase in diabetes, we're seeing it in younger and younger people ... and we already know it's probably not from arsenic." #http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/833382.html 5. Agencies, Programs, People – Officials weighing costs as water rates riseAntelope Valley Press – 8/31/08…By LINDA LEE As Antelope Valley cities and water agencies dig deep into their pockets to pay for water banking projects, recycled sewage facilities, distribution pipelines and other water infrastructure worth millions of dollars, all water users may feel a pinch on their own budgets.  New ordinances are cracking down on water wasters, and tiered rates used by some water agencies are designed to keep overuse in check. Developers are paying higher fees to build new homes and may be asked to pony up more money to finance retrofitting of older homes' inefficient toilets, shower heads and appliances to free up water for new use.  Cities may be forced to cut programs or services to pay for water projects just to sustain their existing residents, businesses and parkland, officials fear. And more collaboration between cities and water agencies may be required to pay for a slew of projects as future water demand outstrips water supplies.  "The elected officials have to make the tough decisions. That's the bottom line," Lancaster Vice Mayor Ron Smith said.  "What are we going to have to do? We're going to have make cuts someplace else. There's only so much of the pie. We're not like the federal government where we can just print our own money.  "So if you want a million dollars here and you don't have it, that means you have to cut a million dollars there," Smith said.  Whether or not the Antelope Valley adds more homes and inhabitants, the price people pay for water is going up. Moving water from Northern to Southern California is getting more expensive as energy costs go up. Treating water to meet stiffening health standards is more expensive.  "As we lose water for environmental reasons in Northern California, it has to be made up. All that water is much more expensive. So without any additional growth in the Valley, you're still going to see increased water costs," said George Lane, an Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency director.  Much of the money for new water facilities comes from developers, who pay fees estimated by local Building Industry Association officials at roughly $18,000 to $22,0000 per home - dependent on location, home size, service connection sizes and other factors - for water agency costs.  Los Angeles County Waterworks District 40, which serves west Palmdale and most of Lancaster, began charging new water supply fees in 2005 to pay for costs such as "banking" water underground as a reserve for dry years. The fees have raised $43 million to date, of which more than $15 million of that has been spent on new wells, water banking and recycled water projects. Another $29 million is planned for similar projects. But a regional water management plan adopted early this year by 11 agencies identified seven projects, estimated to cost more than $200 million, as top priorities for seeking state grant money.  The first application for state aid lost out, and officials are trying to decide how to seek help in another different grant round, which offers less money.  Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris puts the burden of cost for new water facilities squarely on the state and Los Angeles County.  "Obviously the state and the county should be bearing the bulk of this because the county's been getting the money for the water for all these years," Parris said. "But let's be realistic. The Antelope Valley is the unwanted stepchild of the county and always has been. So whenever we start talking about fairness we run into a brick wall.  "How to deal with this, I'm not quite sure yet, but I know that the days of us just sitting quietly and being flogged by the county are coming to an end," Parris said. "The one thing I'm perfectly capable of is calling attention to problems. And I don't think that has occurred sufficiently in the past in the entire Antelope Valley." The reasons are political, Parris said.  "People are afraid of stepping on toes. When you have a goal of political advancement, people tend to be careful in how they approach problems. I don't intend to run for anything else … and if that means getting in a couple of fistfights with the county then that's what it means."  Lancaster City Councilman Ken Mann is not impressed with county waterworks officials' efforts so far.  "These guys are sitting on millions of dollars collected - what have they done with it?" Mann asked.  But a nine-year legal battle over water pumping rights in the Antelope Valley has hampered the county's ability to move forward on such projects as water banking. "We can't create all kinds of storage without a firm settlement as to who has rights to the water and who doesn't have rights to the water," said Norm Hickling, an aide to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whose 5th District includes the Antelope Valley.  Developer fees associated with new growth and grant money will help pay for long-term solutions, Hickling said.  "Antonovich is still trying to find funding at the state level," he said.  "It would be very unfortunate to have to make the existing residents here have to pay for new growth, and that's never been the philosophy of Los Angeles County Waterworks.  "It's a shared resource that we're all going to have to be responsible for, and I don't know that anybody can anticipate what the costs are going to be in the future, or just arbitrarily say that one party should pay and another one shouldn't," Hickling said.  Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Knight said the cost burden is always going to be with the agencies.  "It's just like any government, they're going to have to prioritize the money. … I'm not advocating a tax increase or anything like that, but I'm saying some of these issues have to be prioritized.  "It's always a balancing act," Knight said. "Public safety's always been No. 1. And that's what people expect. If you don't have a safe community, people don't want to live here, business doesn't want to come here, and you don't feel safe letting your family go to the parks or grocery stores.  "So that will always be No. 1, but water is going to be one of our major issues forever."  Knight said developers already bring many amenities to the city, but more might be required of them in future projects.  Palmdale Water District directors are concerned that their customers should not shoulder the burden of increased water costs alone. "As far as who should bear that, it's sad. It's always us, the little man that bears the cost of these things," said Raul Figueroa, one of the water district board's directors.  "I'm a ratepayer and to continue to build in the city and tax me for it, I've been paying for 20 years and I think new business coming needs to carry it," said Linda Godin, another director.  "I don't think the current ratepayers should have to pay for everything new that's coming in. There has to be a way to share that cost," she said.  Godin said her neighbors say they are doing all they can to save water but keep getting letters from the water district asking them to save more.  "They want to know if the rates are going up, why they are paying for it when a shopping center is going in down the street. Those are all good questions, but they're not thinking that that shopping center was planned some time before we got into this crisis situation," Godin said.  "We have a tremendous list of projects that need to be done, a lot of them are to correct wrongs that have been done in the past, like overdraft (pumping more groundwater than is replenished), that needs to be paid for by everybody here," water district board President Dick Wells said.  "Somebody's coming in brand new, they need to pay their fair share and realize how much water does cost. It should not come from the people; the newcomers need to pay their share."  One share of the cost that developers can pick up involves irrigation pipes for the future use of recycled sewage water, Wells said.  Known as purple pipe, for the color that distinguishes them from pipes carrying drinking water, they can be installed now for recycled water that is expected to be available for use by 2011, he said.  "I think it's very important we don't let another project, be it industrial, commercial, residential, I don't think we should let anything come in that doesn't have purple pipe in it," Wells said.  Farmers should also be encouraged to use untreated water from the California Aqueduct when it's available, as well as tertiary treated water from the sewage treatment plants - which is considered safe for human contact - to irrigate their fields, he said.  "I think we should use every drop wisely instead of just dumping it out and having a nuisance as we have presently." Wells said there is less resistance to installing purple pipe than there had been in past years.  "It's not just one person saying we have a problem," Wells said. "I think it's a whole choir of people saying we have a problem … when the whole choir is singing, they listen."  Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford said residents already are bearing a huge cost for tertiary treatment of sewage water from the Palmdale treatment plant.  "This is something that I am convinced is the most environmentally sound approach to take for today and our future in the Antelope Valley," Ledford said.  "Tertiary treated water becomes the nonpotable water, the by-product of a system that costs each and every homeowner a significant increase in the treatment, but can produce a resource that will prove beneficial forever here in the Antelope Valley.  "The burden is going to continue," Ledford said. "We're all going to be paying about $300 a year for a fee that one time was only $70 for just secondary treated water."  David Rizzo, a director of the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, agrees that new development has to pay its share.  "They're the new kids on the block. We're going to have to bring pipelines to them, they should carry part of the burden," he said.  "As far as finding more water, it's probably everybody. Everybody's going to have to pay," including current users, Rizzo said.  Tom DiPrima, north division president for KB Home, said 90% of the infrastructure in the Antelope Valley has been built by developers who are required to do so for their projects.  "We all didn't know 15 years ago that we would be in the situation we are where the smelt and some of the rulings have reduced some of our water availability," DiPrima said.  "So I think that it's something that's not caused by the new construction, it's caused by some environmental issues and we all have to work together as team to try to solve this."  "To the extent facilities are being built to stabilize our water supply here in the Valley, the banking facilities, there's a shared responsibility there between the existing people and the developers because these are facilities that should have been built a long time ago," AVEK General Manager Russ Fuller said. "They're needed even more because of the new growth that's taken place and that's kind of the philosophy we've taken on it. Some costs are included in the water rates and some of the costs are included in the developer fees.  "As far as new supply to augment what we have in the Valley, we do not have a component in our capital facilities charge or in our water rates that would finance securing more water for the Valley," Fuller said.  However, AVEK raised its developer fees a year ago to help build water banking facilities.  "We raised them because we finally feel we have community support on actually building some of these banking facilities. So we have moved forward on banking facilities that will take care of our future water needs. It should give us a more stable water supply for the future," Fuller said.  "But a kind of bigger question that the people here in the Valley need to decide … do they want to see a lot more growth. A lot do; a lot don't. Somehow we need to resolve that question and are people going to be happy in a home that's xeriscaped rather than one with a nice green lawn and the way things are set up right now. "All those are social questions that planning, Los Angeles County and Kern County and the three cities need to work out as part of their planning process," Fuller said. Gretchen Gutierrez, executive director of the Antelope Valley Building Industry, said the cost of new water facilities should not be placed on the back of one particular market segment or one particular group be it consumers, developers or farmers.  "There should be an equitable fair share - those that acquire it and will be using it, or those that are currently using it, everyone needs to pay their fair share," Gutierrez said.  "An analogy is when we all go to the gas station, we're all paying our fair share at the gas station.  "You don't get a break if you're driving a small sized car versus the person that's driving a big pickup. Everybody pays the same price at the pump." Wayne Argo, who represents rural town councils on the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan leadership committee, said funding for various projects is identified in the regional plan, partially through grant money.  "It's also going to have to be borne by people who live here and are moving in here. If you don't pay for the service of helping bring water in, then chances are you're not going to be able to build out here," Argo said.  Although state and federal grant money is available to fund possible water projects, Palmdale City Councilman Mike Dispenza predicts water rates will go up as supplies become more expensive to acquire, along with storage, pipes and groundwater recharge programs.  "It will take time and money to get the infrastructure required to collect and store water," Dispenza said.  "Taxpayers and ratepayers will bear the costs. We must pay for what will happen in our area," he said "How much are residents willing to put toward this? Or more importantly, when do the benefits outweigh the costs?  "Residents will hopefully realize we can't do anything without water," Dispenza said.  Palmdale City Manager Steve Williams said the cost burden should be determined by who uses the water.  "If it's for new growth only, then new growth should pay for it. If it's for amenities that serve the existing population, then we should all pay for it.  "If it has to do with long-term reliability, I think we all need to share in it as well. Water quality standards continue to increase and so we all have to bear the burden of improving the water quality of those standards," Williams said.  "Now when new water becomes available, for example, from waste water, that's something that benefits everybody. "Even though it's replacing water that is coming from other sources, it's just a good thing to do to reuse a natural resource that way and I think we all need to share in some degree of that cost," Williams said.  John Ukkestad, who heads a group of mutual water companies, said water rates will be raised to help pay for a water master after the court battle over water rights is resolved. "We have no problem sharing costs such as water master … as long as it's fair and equitable."  An independent water master could be tasked with carrying out any settlement agreement that is reached over water pumping rights.  In recent years, local water districts have started changing their water prices, with more adopting "tiered" rate charges under which the price of water increases as customers use more.  The Palmdale Water District, for example, adopted a five-tier water rate in 2000 and has modified it since then. Officials are now considering a new tiered rate structure that would establish a water budget for ratepayers, charging them more for using water above the allotted amount, said Curtis Paxton, assistant general manager for the district.  "The water budget would change throughout the year, based on the weather. Obviously during the summer, the customer would be allotted more water. It would make it a little more equitable for people based on the number of people in the house and the landscaped area," Paxton said.  The money generated from excessive use would be used to pay for conservation programs, much like Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts, he said.#http://www.avpress.com/n/31/0831_s3.hts  ------------------------------------------------------------- DWR's California Water News is distributed to California Department of Water Resources management and staff, for information purposes, by the DWR Public Affairs Office. For reader's services, including new subscriptions, temporary cancellations and address changes, please use the online page: http://listhost2.water.ca.gov/mailman/listinfo/water_news. DWR operates and maintains the State Water Project, provides dam safety and flood control and inspection services, assists local water districts in water management and water conservation planning, and plans for future statewide water needs. Inclusion of materials is not to be construed as an endorsement of any programs, projects, or viewpoints by the Department or the State of California. -------------------------------------------------------------CENTRAL VALLEY SAFE ENVIRONMENT NETWORKMISSION STATEMENTCentral Valley Safe Environment Network is a coalition of organizations and individuals throughout the San Joaquin Valley that is committed to the concept of "Eco-Justice" -- the ecological defense of the natural resources and the people. To that end it is committed to the stewardship, and protection of the resources of the greater San Joaquin Valley, including air and water quality, the preservation of agricultural land, and the protection of wildlife and its habitat. In serving as a community resource and being action-oriented, CVSEN desires to continue to assure there will be a safe food chain, efficient use of natural resources and a healthy environment. CVSEN is also committed to public education regarding these various issues and it is committed to ensuring governmental compliance with federal and state law. CVSEN is composed of farmers, ranchers, city dwellers, environmentalists, ethnic, political,and religious groups, and other stakeholders.