water issues

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Nearly 100 public water systems around Oregon—including the state’s largest—will be required to begin testing for harmful contaminants from algae blooms under new rules unveiled by the Oregon Health Authority.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

After 10 days, the Oregon Health Authority has lifted an algae advisory for people swimming and boating in Detroit Lake.

Health officials have also made it harder to lift such advisories in the future.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

A drinking water advisory for the city of Salem doesn’t look like it’s going away just yet.

After extending the advisory over potentially harmful cyanotoxins for two weeks on June 11, city officials now say it’s unlikely the warning will be lifted June 25.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

In the shadow of remote Dry Mountain, branding is the only way to guarantee a fair sorting of cattle between ranchers in the fall.

Animals’ ear tags can rub off in the rough, sage-studded country. So each year, before cattle are let out to graze on summer range, the young are branded, castrated and vaccinated. Neighbors gather in the early morning to do the work.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

A drinking water advisory in Salem has been extended for another two weeks.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

Gov. Kate Brown is declaring an emergency and mobilizing Oregon National Guard soldiers in response to an ongoing water quality situation in and around Salem.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Emergency management officials are trying to protect drinking water systems throughout the Okanogan Valley from flood water contamination.

Gary Wilson / USDA - tinyurl.com/yb562x5a

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville are celebrating an expansion of their sovereign rights. The federal government has granted them jurisdiction over water resources on tribal lands in northeastern Washington state.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

One of the key elements of your emergency kit should be enough drinking water to be self-sufficient for days or weeks after a big earthquake. That task become much trickier when public water systems are wrecked and you are responsible for hordes of people in a community shelter.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

The Washington state House Environment Committee hosted public hearings Tuesday on two bills that would restrict a class of chemicals found in everything from firefighting retardant to food wrappers.

Perflourinated (PFAS) chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems, from endocrine disruption to cancer.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Four landowners near Moses Lake, Washington, have been fined $618,000 for illegal water use. The water was pumped from the Odessa aquifer, which has been in severe decline for more than 30 years. 




Anna King / Northwest News Network

Washington state is proposing changes to how winery wastewater is handled. And that could mean consumers are in for some “bottle shock” when their favorite Washington wine gets more expensive.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Lawmakers in Washington state had a fight so bad last month, they got together in a basement conference room Wednesday.

WSDOT - tinyurl.com/yddspl8b

Time is running out for Washington lawmakers to pass a capital construction budget. Less than one week remains in the state’s third overtime session of the legislature.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recalled 319,000 pounds of food processed at a prison in Airway Heights, Washington, near Spokane. That’s after water in that community was found to be contaminated with chemicals used at nearby Fairchild Air Force Base.




Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

Residents of Airway Heights, Washington, have been advised not to drink water from the tap. The advisory came Tuesday from nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, as part of the Pentagon’s program to test and clean water sources near military bases around the country.

Masahiko OHKUBO / Flickr - tinyurl.com/l6vwtfp

Vulnerability assessments by utilities and emergency planners along the U.S. West Coast suggest it could be weeks or a month or more before water service gets restored after a major earthquake - not to mention electricity, sewage treatment and fuel supply too. The social and economic disruption does not have to be that bad though, given adequate preparedness and investments in critical infrastructure as demonstrated in Japan.

NRCS

The latest Washington state water supply forecast is out and managers said Monday there’s no reason to believe the state might face drought this year.

Jeanie Lindsay / Northwest News Network

Last fall, the Washington Supreme Court made a decision many home builders and landowners call harmful. The ruling, known as the Hirst decision, requires counties to ensure adequate water supply before granting a permit to build.

Melissa Webb / USDA-NRCS

Scientists have new cautionary predictions based on the low Northwest snowpack levels of the last two winters.

Finetooth / Wikimedia - tinyurl.com/gpy4fgq

The agency in charge of managing Oregon's water resources is being stretched to the limit. That's one of the findings in a new audit from the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

Cassandra Profita / OPB

Opponents of a possible water bottling plant in the Columbia Gorge are weighing their options now that a judge has approved a water rights transfer that's key to the plant's existence.

Washington's Watershed Conditions Continue to Decline

Jun 29, 2016
Oregon Department of Forestry

The condition of watersheds in Washington state continues to decline. That’s according to the the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The organization delivered the news to the National Congress of American Indians Wednesday.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Every five years, a team convenes to evaluate long-term water supply and demand for the Columbia River Basin. For eastern Washington, the water supply will increase, but not when demand is highest.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Early this winter, skiers in the Northwest were excited. But then after about Christmas things turned dour. The once-epic snowpack is now long gone. In Washington state, it melted down in record time to less than half of average for early June.

And there hasn’t been much rain this spring either. The Cascades, Olympics and Blues are all hurting.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network files

Testing for lead in Washington schools is still voluntary seven years after the state passed rules to make it mandatory. That’s because state lawmakers never provided funding to pay for the testing.

Melissa Webb / USDA-NRCS

April 1 is, on average, generally considered the date of the peak snowpack in the Northwest. And around now, is when many irrigation districts begin filling their canals to get ready for watering season.

There are grounds for optimism as well as caution.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Across the West, groundwater reserves are being depleted. Nature can’t replenish the aquifers as quickly as they’re being drawn down for irrigation, industry and drinking water.

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Wonderlane / Flickr

When it comes to watering your lawn during drought and wildfire season, what’s the sweet spot between water conservation and fire hazard?

Katrin Baustmann

As drought conditions worsen across the state, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order Tuesday to help conserve water.

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