These SLO County towns must halt new development due to lack of water, state agency says

By Mackenzie Shuman : yahoo – excerpt

The California Coastal Commission wants San Luis Obispo County to immediately halt all new water-using development, including housing, in Los Osos and Cambria.

That’s according to two letters written by Central Coast District Director Dan Carl and sent to the county Planning and Building Department on April 19.

The Coastal Commission also sent a letter on the same day to the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) notifying that it had violated the California Coastal Act over more than three decades due to its water extractions from wells in the San Simeon and Santa Rosa creek aquifers, and requests the locality retract its water service agreements at several properties.

Central in the Coastal Commission’s letters is its concerns that the two small, coastal San Luis Obispo County communities simply do not have a sustainable water supply for existing or new development…(more)

This is going to be a big deal soon as water restrictions go into effect in other cities around the state. This should be a big notice to planners all over the state, that you can’t promise a reasonable life to millions more people until you back the promise with the necessary

‘We actually have the space to build out’ | How Sacramento and the Bay Area are becoming a mega-region

by Andie Judson :abc10 – excerpt (includes video)

Working from home means you can change where home is. Massive migration in Northern California has impacted housing prices, politics and more in the Sacramento area…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento is changing. 

People are moving here as well as away. It’s indicative of what researchers found and what residents here are seeing — a massive amount of migration is happening in Northern California, especially from the Bay Area to Sacramento.

“We had a decade of change in two years, essentially,” Bernadette Austin, the Executive Director at the UC Davis for Regional Change told ABC10. “And an easy thing to point to is flexible work schedules.”…(more)

Severe Indian heatwave will bake a billion people and damage crops

By Adam Vaughan : newscientist.– excerpt

An unusual heatwave forecast across much of India will see temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s°C

More than a billion people are facing a severe heatwave across India this week, which will have wide-ranging consequences for the health of the most vulnerable and will damage wheat harvests.

Temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s°C are forecast for much of the country in the coming days, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing heatwave warnings for several states.

The UK Met Office says that temperatures are currently above average in India and that this will probably continue into the coming week. India is entering a season ahead of the monsoon’s arrival when heatwaves are common, the Met Office says, but this year it follows a periodof unusually early sweltering conditions in India.

March was record-breakingly hot, with a national average maximum temperature of 33.10°C, beating the 33.09°C set in March 2010. R K Jenamani, head of the national weather forecasting centre at the IMD, says that the recent heatwaves have been notable because they occurred during a La Niña weather pattern – which usually has a cooling effect globally – while the 2010 records took place during an El Niño, which has a warming effect… (more):

The seven Colorado River basin states have a plan to temporarily stabilize Lake Powell.

Joanna Allhands, Arizona Republic : yahoo – excerpt

A million-acre feet of water won’t save Lake Powell. But the deal is still a win.. Central California imports a large source of Colorado River Water, with this adjustment to the 2019 Colorado deal there may be serious shortages of Colorado Water.

The seven Colorado River basin states have a plan to temporarily stabilize Lake Powell.

It contains some pain and not a lot of gain.

Yet no one balked. And that’s a win.

That should signal how dire the circumstances have become.

The U.S. Department of the Interior noted in an April 8 letter to the basin states that the reservoir is dangerously close to hitting 3,490 feet of elevation, a level so low that power could no longer be generated at Glen Canyon Dam and water could no longer flow to the nearby city of Page and an adjacent Navajo Nation community.

Because water could no longer flow through the power turbines, millions of acre-feet of water would flow downstream through smaller backup pipes at the base of Glen Canyon Dam – a risky prospect that could spell calamity for Lake Mead, which relies on Powell’s releases, if any one of those four pipes were damaged by the heavy flows and had to shut down.

Lake Powell needed immediate action

Interior proposed taking the unprecedented action of withholding 480,000 acre-feet (that’s more than 156 billion gallons) in Lake Powell that otherwise should have flowed to Lake Mead, among other measures.

Two weeks later, the seven states responded with a singular voice: We get how dire this is, and we’re on board.…(more)

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Lake Powell will get a million-acre feet of water. It’s not enough

Scientists make ‘miracle material’ breakthrough to revolutionise solar power

By Anthony Cuthbertson : msn – excerpt

Scientists have discovered a way to make ultra-efficient solar cells on a commercial scale using the “miracle material” perovskite.

A team from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and Imperial College London made the discovery in a breakthrough that could have major implications for renewable energy production and reaching zero carbon objectives.

Perovskite has been hailed for its remarkable properties compared to tradtional silicon solar cells, however until now they have been too unstable to be suitable for commercial use.

The next-generation cells are expected to cost less, have a much higher power conversion efficiency, and be lightweight and flexible – opening up new applications like coating glass windows with thin layers of transparent solar panels…

The researchers have patented the design, which was described in a paper published in the journal Science on Thursday…(more)

With More Enforcement Power Than Ever, State Relies on Housing Activists To Enforce Duplex Law

By Manuela Tobias at CalMatters, Sarah Wright :sfstandard – excerpt

The passage of 2021’s Senate Bill 9 was supposed to herald the end of the single-family zoning that many point to as a culprit of California’s housing crisis. But four months into the new era, little has changed, and the scant enforcement of the law has come about largely because of pro-housing activists.

The new law, which allows duplexes and split lots on land previously marked as single-family only, has been met with stiff resistance by cities across the state that have passed ordinances effectively — but not directly — blocking the law in their area…

San Francisco officials have been focused on passing fourplex legislation using SB 9, which would allow up to four units on single-family lots and six units on corner lots. But the most popular proposal on the table would continue to require discretionary approval, stymieing SB 9’s most powerful asset—that it allows lot splits and add-ons without needing project-by-project Planning Commission approvals.

According to data obtained by The Standard, the San Francisco Planning Department has so far received 10 applications for projects that seek to use SB 9, but only one includes a lot split…(more)

So, there is not a huge demand to split lots in San Francisco. Maybe that is based on the fact that the law does not help small property owners with a lease. Only those who can pay off their current loan can even apply for a lot split.

How San Francisco became an autonomous vehicle test course

By Benjamin Schneider : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City may have more AVs than any other city in the world
A map of areas where Cruise’s fully driverless vehicles provide late-night ride hail service. (SFMTA)

Waymo is one of three different autonomous vehicle companies testing around San Francisco. Waymo test vehicles logged more than 2 million miles in 2021, the majority of those miles around The City…

No City oversight

Even though a large majority of AV testing in the state takes place in San Francisco, The City has essentially no oversight over these companies’ operations… (more)

S.F. usually has good air quality. So why are sensors detecting such high pollution in this one area?

Story by Yoohyun Jung and Danielle Echeverria : sfchronical special – excerpt

Surrounded by water, with relatively little industrial pollution, San Francisco enjoys good air quality for most of the year.  But not all parts of San Francisco experience the same air quality. The Chronicle’s analysis of low-cost air sensor data shows one unlikely part of San Francisco sticking out like a sore thumb

PurpleAir sensors in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, near Ocean Beach and the Upper Great Highway, where many people go for a breath of fresh air, consistently pick up high levels of particulate matter 2.5 — tiny inhalable particles that can cause serious health problems. 

The area doesn’t have obvious pollution sources, such as oil refineries. Traffic, which many point to as the area’s primary pollution source, isn’t actually much worse there than other parts of the city…(more)

State demands SF figure out how to fund enough affordable housing

By Annika Hom : 48hills – excerpt

If their plan is inadequate, the city could lose local control and funds

If you think approving a project in San Francisco is difficult, try approving a plan encompassing 82,000 units. That’s how much the state is mandating San Francisco to build within eight years, and city planners are attempting to meet the 2031 goal while balancing the interests of marginalized communities. One major problem looms: Money.

“The resources aren’t there to get to what we are being asked to do by the state,” said Planning Director Rich Hillis at a Planning Commission meeting Thursday.

That’s a problem. Thanks to new laws, localities that fail to submit plans that meet the state’s requirements could lose local control on projects and affordable housing funding…(more)

Wow. Even the SF Planning Commissioners are feeling pinched now. Too much demand on cities to grow beyond our capacity.
Too many questions remain unanswered and we are getting tired of the constant stress and pressures. Are we to understand that not only is the city required to entitle thousands of new units of housing (this somewhat depends on property owners brining projects t one entitled) but, cities must now pay to build the housing, or sell bonds to pay? Does this mean that to live in this state we must agree to rising taxes, housing costs, gas prices, food and utility prices? When do the voters revolt and what does that look like?

Report to California Legislature: Prepare for sweeping effects of climate change

By Rachel Becker and Julie Cart, CalMatters : capradio – (excerpt)

Painting alarming scenes of fires, floods and economic disruption, the California Legislature’s advisors today released a series of reports that lays out in stark terms the impacts of climate change across the state.

The typically reserved, nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office outlined dire consequences for Californians as climate change continues to alter most aspects of daily life. Much of the focus of the six-part series is detailing the economic cost as the changing climate alters where and how Californians build, grow food and protect the most vulnerable residents.

  • Wildfires, heat and floods will force more frequent school closures, disrupting education, child care and availability of free school lunches. More than 1,600 schools temporarily closed because of wildfires each year between 2017 and 2020, affecting nearly a million students a year.
  • Workers in outdoor industries like agriculture, construction, forestry and recreation — 10% of California’s workforce and mostly made up of Latinos — will continue to bear the brunt of extreme heat and smoke.
  • Wildfire smoke may have killed about 20 people among every 100,000 older Californians in 2020, and is projected to become more deadly. A 50% increase in smoke could kill nine to 20 more people among every 100,000 each year.
  • Housing, rail lines, bridges, ports, power plants, freeways and other structures are vulnerable to rising seas and tides. “Between $8 billion and $10 billion of existing property in California is likely to be underwater by 2050, with an additional $6 billion to $10 billion at risk during high tide.”
  • Extreme heat is projected to cause nine deaths per 100,000 people each year, “roughly equivalent to the 2019 annual mortality rate from automobile accidents in California.”
  • Lower-income Californians, who live in communities at greater risk for heat and floods because of discriminatory housing practices, will be hit especially hard by climate change and have fewer resources to adapt.
  • Housing will be lost: For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area alone, 13,000 existing housing units and 104,000 job spaces “will no longer be usable” because of sea rise over the next 40 to 100 years.
  • Beaches will disappear, too: Up to two-thirds of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded by 2100.

The report’s unsaid but unambiguous conclusion: Climate change could alter everything, and spare no one in California, so legislators should consider preparing for sweeping impacts…(more)

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