On Wednesday, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board decided that its limits on metals dumped into the creek were too strict. Now, thousands of pounds of copper and zinc will continue to flow into the creek, but it’ll be considered fine.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build two 35-mile underground tunnels to keep water coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. The San Diego County Water Authority used to pine for such a plan. But now, emboldened by its drought-proofing projects and wary of shocking ratepayers, the agency is aggressively questioning Brown’s delta tunnels.
California’s stormwater system is a mess – but it doesn’t have to be.
For local jurisdictions, cannabis farming can generate significant new tax revenues, create jobs and help reverse course for the region’s declining agricultural sector.
It’s still too soon to know if the drought is truly over. We can’t predict the future, for one thing. Nor can we agree on what is meant by “drought.” President-elect Donald Trump, the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Drought Monitor and some top climate scientists all have different definitions.
Ry Rivard joins the podcast to talk about his series investigating the state’s stormwater rules, plus Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis dissect SANDAG’s response to our reporting and more.
Jerry Williams self-reported stormwater pollution from his business to the state, as required by law. Environmental groups sued over the reports, and as the legal fight dragged on, Williams closed shop. Meanwhile, other businesses flout the law, don’t do the monitoring and likely make more in profit.
In recent years, San Diego water officials weren’t even looking at paperwork that showed which businesses were polluting local waterways. With no official enforcement happening, private attorneys and environmentalists have taken matters into their own hands, filing dozens of lawsuits against area companies for violating clean water laws.
Across California, there could be thousands or even tens of thousands of businesses dodging environmental rules and sending pollution into the state’s waters. Though an entire regulatory system exists to police businesses and keep water safe for residents and wildlife, the state doesn’t know how many unpermitted businesses are out there, or how much damage they’re doing.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Board pushed off until next year a rule change that would allow copper and zinc to keep flowing through Chollas Creek.