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California does not track groundwater banking—but projects tapping flood flows show promise

in Environment/Government/News

The state does not have a mechanism for tracking the amount of floodwater that water managers and landowners are diverting to groundwater recharge projects. But the looming threat of groundwater regulations has propelled a new race to grab more water in the wet years to prepare for the dry years.

Innovative new collaborations are showing both promise and the regulatory hurdles ahead in scaling up efforts to tap into this natural water supply storage.

Continue reading on Agri-Pulse

Related Santa Clara Developer To Appeal Decision Over Wages

in business/Government/News

A development firm worth $60 billion intends to challenge a state decision that it must pay prevailing wages to workers on its massive project planned for Santa Clara.

The $8 billion Related Santa Clara project, from New York City-based firm The Related Companies, benefits from public subsidies granted by the city.

Continue reading on Patch

California’s biggest water project in half a century is inching forward. Price tag: $16 billion

in Around California/Government

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office renewed its commitment on Wednesday to launching California’s biggest water project in half a century, unveiling a newly configured plan for a 45-mile conveyance tunnel through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The estimated $16 billion pipeline, iterations of which have circulated for decades, is designed to better move water from the state’s wet, rural north to drier, more populated points south. The proposed tunnel would allow water shipments to bypass the delta’s sensitive wetlands and aging water infrastructure, thereby protecting and even boosting water supplies for the Bay Area, Southern California and farmland in between.

The idea, however, has faced longtime opposition as well as funding shortfalls. The Newsom administration hopes to clear these hurdles by altering the plans of his predecessors, notably downsizing the project to one tunnel instead of the two proposed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. The project is also routed farther east, close to Interstate 5, where construction would be less of a burden on delta towns.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Chronicle

ACE service to Turlock gets funding

in Transportation

Altamont Corridor Express commuter rail service is moving farther down the line to Turlock.

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission has been awarded $57 million by the State of California to extend ACE service from Ceres to Turlock.

Funding from the Senate Bill 1 deal in 2017 to increase the state gas tax including money to extend ACE service from Ceres to Sacramento is already in place with at least one train added to go from Ceres to San Jose.

That service will be up and running in 2023.

Ultimately, ACE will be extended to Merced to connect with the California High Speed Rail system.

Continue Reading on Manteca Bulletin

Will a new oversight position help California’s high speed rail plans get on track?

in Transportation

After a decade of cost, schedule, technical, regulatory, personnel and legal problems, the California high speed rail project will be getting an inspector general soon as part of a deal between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature.

The new investigative position is intended to intensify oversight and improve performance of the $105 billion railroad project. Enthusiasm for the change is high, but whether it will fix everything is uncertain, even among state leaders.

“There is nothing but problems on the project,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Lakewood Democrat. “The inspector general provides oversight and some sense of what is going on with management. That has been missing for a long time.”

But will it work?

“We don’t know,” Rendon said. “We need to be vigilant. The IG will provide what we need to carry that out.”

Continue Reading on Daily Press

New $60 million health services, public health center coming for Stanislaus County

in Community

In the last five years or so, it looked like Stanislaus County would be moving its Health Services Agency away from its longtime home at 830 Scenic Drive.

But county leaders have concluded the best place for building a 55,000-square-foot health services administrative center is the old county hospital site on Scenic Drive.

Early this week, the county Board of Supervisors approved moving forward with demolition of dilapidated buildings at the Scenic campus — a job that could cost $10.3 million by itself.

The county plan calls for constructing the new building on Scenic for health services administration, support staff and public health programs.

The estimated project cost is between $56.9 million and $69.3 million when the demolition costs are included.

Continue Reading on The Modesto Bee

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