The Stream, November 15: Water Supply and Quality Woes in California

Dozens of unincorporated communities in California’s Central Valley have lived for decades with contaminated drinking water — it is a constant concern. Pollutants from chemical fertilizers to pesticides, The New York Times reported, seeped into the groundwater and into taps, boosting nitrate levels to unsafe heights in 20 percent of small public water systems in the area.

A judge in California could radically alter Southern California’s water supply. Imperial County authorities are accusing area water brokers of breaking environmental laws to establish the current withdrawal rights from the Colorado River, Mercury News reported. A Sacramento Superior Court judge heard final arguments this week.

A Voice of San Diego columnist outlines the positives and negatives of a proposed desalination plant in San Diego. Scott Lewis writes that the bump in monthly water bills will prove a true test of the plan’s viability and acceptance.

Nationwide Extinctions

A wide range of species protected under the Endangered Species Act are affected by water management. A new report by the Endangered Species Coalition was published against a backdrop of an extinction rate from 1989-2006 that is 877 times higher than the extinction rates before that period, the Natural Resource Defense Council reported—and fish are moving towards extinction more quickly than birds or mammals.

Hints of Life on Mars

Scientists have established that water once flowed on Mars’ surface. But new research out of the University of Leicester, TG Daily reported, reveals that water temperatures around impact craters might have once been warm enough to support microbial life.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

Author: Andrew Maddocks   is a Washington, D.C–based correspondent for Circle of Blue. He graduated from DePauw University as a Media Fellow with a B.A. in Conflict Studies. He co-writes The Stream, a daily summary of global water news.

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