Friday, December 19, 2014

North County groundwater storage project to be built

San Francisco Examiner/Bay City News, 12/18/14.  "New water-storage project coming to San Mateo County."

"The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission reached an agreement Tuesday night with two San Mateo County cities and a San Jose-based water company that is expected to benefit 2.6 million Bay Area residents, SFPUC officials announced Wednesday. The commission's Regional Groundwater Storage and Project with Daly City, San Bruno and California Water Service Co., which serves South San Francisco and Colma, would store water that could be used during emergencies such as a drought or earthquake, SFPUC officials said.   Read article.
Image of Groundwater
Sustainable groundwater use in farming,
and increasingly used in growing cities
20 x more water underground.
Storage and pumping works.
May need careful water level
replenishment regulation
Related - San Francisco Water Power Sewer, (Services of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission), News Archive, 12/17/14. "Landmark agreement finalized for important Bay Area Groundwater Storage Project for Drought and Emergencies."  "San Francisco, CA – A landmark agreement between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and three San Mateo County organizations was finalized and signed Tuesday (12/16/14)  night to ensure long-term management and sustainability of the South Westside Groundwater Basin. The basin, which stretches from San Francisco to Burlingame, has the capacity to store 20 billion gallons of groundwater in a regional water “savings account” to protect against future drought and earthquake.  ...  “As we continue confronting the worst drought in California history, it is essential that we sustain our efforts to implement water resiliency projects for the future. Together with other Bay Area cities and agencies, we’re working to ensure that we save every drop of water in order to protect our region during times of drought or an earthquake,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

The $113 million Regional Groundwater Storage and Recovery project is a partnership between the SFPUC, City of Daly City, City of San Bruno and California Water Service Company. During years of normal or heavy rainfall, the project will provide additional surface water to the partner agencies in San Mateo County in order to reduce the amount of groundwater pumped from the South Westside Groundwater Basin. Over time, the reduced pumping will create a groundwater savings account of up to 60,500 acre-feet of water or 20 billion gallons — a volume equivalent to that of the SFPUC’s Crystal Springs Reservoir.  ....  The groundwater supply project has completed environmental review and is moving forward to construction in 2015. Once completed in 2018, this project, through 16 new recovery wells, stations, pumps and pipelines constructed in the Peninsula will provide 7.2 million gallons of water per day benefitting the 2.6 million people in the Bay Area who rely on the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.The article also links to groundwater information and other archives.

Related - City of Daly City, 12/17/14. "Daly City signs onto landmark agreement for important Bay Area Groundwater Storage Project for drought and emergencies." "....  "Daly City is proud to be part of a collaborative partnership that has demonstrated significant commitment toward diversifying local water supplies for the benefit of residents in the region," stated City Manager Patricia E. Martel.
Daly City provides drinking water from two sources, local groundwater from the South Westside Groundwater Basin and surface water supplies from the SFPUC."

Related, including photographs above.  Left, water pipe from Water Education Foundation/Groundwater, "Groundwater is also increasingly relied upon by growing cities and thirsty farms, and it plays an important role in the future sustainability of California’s overall water supply." includes imbedded video, "California pumps 14.5 Billion gallons a day", 1.24 minutes.  Right, pump station from Erler and Kalinowski, Inc.,Consulting Engineers/Scientists/Groundwater. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Public Works field service division keeps city infrastructure functional

Pothole repair
Pacifica Tribune/Jean Bartlett/Features Correspondent, 12/16/124.  "Public Works - weathering storms to serve the community."

Underground wiring repair
.... "Every day of every week, someone at Public Works is on 24-hour standby, and more are at the ready in case of emergency. Along with going directly into a storm to help the driver, or the homeowner, or the neighborhood, the Department of Public Works has a long list of things they do.

They are divided into two divisions: the engineering division and the field services division. In short, the engineering division deals with permits and large contractual jobs (the planning, design and construction of public infrastructure project), transportation planning, traffic engineering services and overall technical support on engineering issues.

The field services division maintains City roadways, parks, trees, open space areas, storm drains, City facilities, and all City vehicles. "Within our field services division, we have a motor pool division, building maintenance division, parks division and streets division," Biagini explained. "The three people in our motor pool division maintain 120 pieces of motorized vehicles and small engine stuff. This includes fire trucks, police cars and public works vehicles and equipment."
Preventing storm drain debris clogging
The two members of the building maintenance division maintain the exterior and interior of City buildings which include: the police station, both fire stations, planning offices, PB&R, the Community Center, City run daycares and City Hall."   Read article.

Note photographs: Splicing copper wire by Laura A. Oda from Mercury News/Concord: pot hole repair from Richmond, VA/Public Works: storm drain water/sewer Haddon Township, NJ

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Rain barrel options: remaining two days to pick-up at $72 if available

50 gallon rain barrel
Information from North Coast County Water District (NCCWD), "Rain Barrels"

"In partnership with the San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program (a program of the City/County Association of governments of San Mateo County) and BAWSCA, the North Coast County Water District is offering rebates of up to $100 for the purchase and installation of qualifying rain barrels. Rebate terms and conditions, as well as the printable application can be found here.

Or,   ORDER YOUR RAIN BARREL TODAY!  Limited supply, order today and pickup between Dec. 15th and 19th! After December 19th or if we sell out for this week we will continue to take orders for pickup between January 19th and 23rd. 
To help simplify the process, NCCWD customers may opt to purchase a 100% recycled plastic rain barrel through Rain Water Solutions at a discounted price of $72!
How it works:
1. Order your barrel online at the link below. Limit two per household.
2. Pick up your barrel during the specified distribution week.
3. Set up your barrel and apply for your rebate!    Order now. 

M-F/ 8:00 am to 5:00 pm,  Location:  North Coast County Water District,  2400 Fransciso Blvd. Pacifica, CA 94044."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Central CA Blue Oak trees record worst 3 year drought in 1200 years

Pencil-like tree-ring cores are collected non-destructively using a Swedish increment borer in May, 2014. (Daniel Griffin/University of Minnesota)
Non-destructive tree-ring core collection measures
extreme 3 year drought (from 2012):
lack of rain + record high temperatures
San Jose Mercury News/Science and Environment/Paul Rogers, 12/5/2014.  "California drought the worst in 1,200 years, new study says."   ".... Analyzing tree rings that date back to 800 A.D. -- a time when Vikings were marauding Europe and the Chinese were inventing gunpowder -- there is no three-year period when California's rainfall has been as low and its temperatures as hot as they have been from 2012 to 2014, the researchers found. ....

The report, published in the journal of the American Geophysical Union, was written by researchers at Massachusetts' Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Minnesota. .... The researchers compared the information to a database of other tree ring records from longer-living trees like giant sequoias and bristlecone pines, dating back 1,200 years."   Read article.

Related - KQED/Science/Alex Emslie, 12/4/14. "Study: California drought most severe dry spell in at least 1,200 years." .... “California’s old blue oaks are as close to nature’s rain gauges as we get,” said Griffin, a NOAA Climate and Global Change Fellow with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “They thrive in some of California’s driest environments.”  The researchers collected their own blue oak tree-ring samples from south and central California, giving them a pretty good idea of yearly precipitation in the area back to 1293. They then augmented their samples with data from the North American Drought Atlas and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Palmer Drought Severity Index.  

The result: The study estimates that in the past 1,200 years, there have been 66 dry periods lasting three-to-nine years and 37 more-severe, three-year droughts. But not one of them has been as extreme as the one beginning in 2012, despite some years in the past seeing similarly low precipitation. It’s not only lack of rain that makes a drought, though. Record-high temperatures added to California’s strife to make this dry spell the worst in more than 1,000 years, according to the study. The researchers estimate high temperatures have intensified the drought by about 36 percent. UC Berkeley geology professor and researcher Lynn Ingram said the study’s findings appear solid."   

Note:  photograph  from this article, caption:  "Pencil-like tree-ring cores are collected non-destructively using a Swedish increment borer in May, 2014 (Daniel Griffin/University of Minnesota).   

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Hanukkah!

KRON 4/Mario Sevilla, 12/16/14. "Happy Hanukkah:  Bay Area celebrates Hanukkah."

"SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — On Tuesday evening, Jewish families will light one candle on the menorah to mark the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah.  Menorahs will be lit each night, right after nightfall, once it’s dark outside. The exact timing varies due to observances of the Jewish Sabbath on Friday and Saturday nights and other scheduling details.

....  President Barack Obama, in a statement, said the holiday “brims with possibility and hope,” reminding people that even the most daunting challenges can be overcome."  Read more.

Reference -, Hanukkah.  Chabad organization, "What is Hanukkah?"

Note:  Photograph/graphic from Flower Shop Network.

 Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Federal agency may pre-empt state environmental law, but...

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), The Associated/Tom Verdin, 12/16/14. "Federal ruling big win for California high-speed rail."

(credit: CBS)
Clean rail
Federal agency trumps
An artist's impression of California's new high-speed train
But how many
"frogs" must be sacrificed?
There must be a State lawsuit for that
"SACRAMENTO — A federal agency that has jurisdiction over California’s bullet train has ruled that it has the authority to pre-empt state environmental law, creating uncertainty for numerous groups fighting the project in court. .... The ruling makes it clear that federal law has precedent over state law as it pertains to construction of the high-speed rail line, said Lisa Marie Alley, spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. She said agency officials were still reviewing the decision. Yet it also has the potential to muddy the legal waters.

....  The ruling also conflicts with a previous decision by a California appeals court in a case involving several municipalities south of San Francisco that are challenging the project. The California Court of Appeal previously decided in favor of Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and a collection of community groups, ruling that the California environmental law is not pre-empted by federal jurisdiction. “Nobody’s really quite sure what to do with this,” said Stuart Flashman, an Oakland attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Atherton case.  .... Coleen Carlson (the attorney for Kings County)  said the ruling also disregards a provision of Proposition 1A, the voter initiative that authorized the project. That provision says the environmental work for the first 300 miles must be completed before any state bond money is spent.The rail authority approved an extensive environmental impact report for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section in May."   Read more.

Reference -  State of CA High-Speed Rail Authority.   Related - CBS/Politics/Associated Press/Los Angeles, 6/27/14. "Feds approve next leg of California Bullet-train line"  "SACRAMENTO — The U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval Friday for work to begin on the second leg of California’s proposed $68 billion high-speed rail line, endorsing the state’s environmental review for the section running between Fresno and Bakersfield. The decision allows the state to begin acquiring land along the 114-mile route, although the state is waiting for approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board before it can begin construction on this segment.  ....  Earlier this month, the state Legislature approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to give high-speed rail $250 million from the state’s pollution fees in the upcoming fiscal year. In the future, the project will receive a quarter of the program’s revenue as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the Central Valley. That sparked a new lawsuit this week from a San Rafael-based group that alleges the state Air Resources Board downplayed the harmful effects of high-speed rail construction on the environment and exaggerated the potential environmental benefits to allow the bullet train to be eligible for the funding."

Note:  artist rendering of high-speed rail train, right from the related CBS article above; left from from Gizmag.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Weather related State of Emergency declaration, San Mateo County

CBS SF Bay Area, 5 KPIX, 12/16/14.  "Sonoma, San Mateo Counties declare States of Emergency after storms, flooding."

Oh boy...
"SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Rising storm costs are forcing some Northern California counties, including two in the Bay Area, to turn to the state for help as they declare local states of emergency.  Sonoma, San Mateo, Lake and Tehama Counties are about to make declarations which will allow local emergency workers to help with recovery and lays the groundwork for state and federal assistance.

“Our approach to any disaster looks pretty similar. The way that we problem solve, the resource request process—it’s all streamlined so it happens the same way, whatever the disaster is calling for,” he said. Meanwhile, Napa and Alameda counties say they will cover their own storm costs; San Francisco and Marin are still evaluating.  More rain is likely this week, with storms poised to hit Tuesday night and Friday."   Read more.

Related - local storm photographs/Linda Mar, 12/11/14 - Pacifica Riptide/Chris Fogel, 12/16/14.     Note:  flooded street photograph above from NBC Bay Area, 12/11/14. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stormageddon: A Message of Hope

Posted by Steve Sinai

Reminder Planning Commission Study Session tonight, Monday, 12/15/14, 6 pm

This study session is scheduled to be shown live on Pacific Coast TV, calendar,  Or, plan to attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  The Study Session should begin at 6 pm or shorty there following:  Pacifi Coast.TV.  But if you miss civic meetings, view on PCT 26 You Tube!   Planning Commission updates, archives are available on the City of Pacifica/Planning Commission website. 

Fix Pacifica Planning Commission Study Session article, 12/15/14.     Planning Commission Study Session, 12/15/14, pdf 129 pages.

Note:  The City Calendar indicates the Planning Commission Study Session meeting is scheduled from 6 pm until 7 pm, and there will be no regular Planning Commission meeting.  See City Calendar, 12/15/14. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time, Inc. sells Sunset campus property, magazine continues, Menlo Park

The Almanac News/Sandy Brundage, 12/11/14. "Sunset campus sold to real estate investment firm."

Just changing times and business...
"A little more than a month after employees were first told that the landmark Sunset campus was up for sale, the property has been sold to Embarcadero Capital Partners, a real estate investment and management firm based in Belmont, multiple sources told the Almanac.

The seven-acre campus, located at 80 Willow Road, reportedly sold for $78 million, less than the rumored asking price of $84 million, according to those sources.  During informal discussions with staff about the sale on Wednesday, Dec. 10, management was said to confirm that there was pressure from shareholders of Time Inc., which owns the Sunset brand, to meet fourth quarter earning expectations.

....  The magazine will remain at the Willow Road property through 2015, and the annual "Sunset Celebration Weekend" event is still planned for next summer, sources said. The publication is said to be looking for alternate sites for its test garden and kitchen. 

In 1951, Sunset moved from San Francisco to its iconic campus in Menlo Park. The following year Bill and Mel Lane took over company operations from their father, Laurence W. Lane, who had bought the publication for $65,000 in 1928 when it was a fledgling travel magazine. The Lane brothers sold the company to Time Warner in 1990 for $225 million."  Read more.

RelatedSan Francisco Business Times/Silicon Valley Business Journal/Morning Edition/NathanDonato-Weinstein, Real Estate Reporter, 12/11/14. "...  Most observers I've spoken to do not consider this a tear-down redevelopment site, though additions are a possibility. One thing's for sure: The location is rapidly changing. Just down the street, Greenheart Land Co. has bought the old Willow Garage space at 68 Willow Road and installed a hip new co-working/incubator outfit, Hello Startups. Research powerhouse SRI International is moving forward to rebuild 1 million square feet of R&D space. And less than a half-mile away, a pocket of Middlefield Road has been drawing some top-drawer VC and finance tenants. (In June, TIAA-CREF paid an eye-popping $1,193 per square foot for 200 Middlefield.)" 

The Almanac News/Dave Boyce, 11/18/14, "What's the future for Sunset campus in Menlo Park?" "What will be, will be. It has a certain logic for Jim Cogan, the Menlo Park official responsible for economic development in the city. .... "Of course, it would be a loss to Menlo Park from a cultural significance standpoint and it is a great community builder," he added. ... With a sale would come property reassessment at current market rates and an increase in property taxes. "Not to be too cold, but when the property turns over, it will be a big property tax bump for the city," Mr. Cogan said.

Note photographs:  Sunset front door by Michelle Lee from The Almanac News article, 11/18/14. Sunset grounds event from Catherine Enfield/Munchie Musings, 6/7/10.

Posted by Kathy Meeh