News Briefs: Florida Governor Funds Fight Against Blue-Green Algae

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a new children's book aims to educate readers about the wastewater treatment process

News Briefs: Florida Governor Funds Fight Against Blue-Green Algae

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced the award of more than $13.6 million for innovative technologies and short-term solutions to aid in the prevention, cleanup and mitigation of harmful algal blooms. A list of innovative technologies projects selected for funding can be found here.

Upon taking office, Gov. DeSantis created the Blue-Green Algae Task Force to address the issue of recurring algal blooms in the state of Florida. The task force recommended investment in a diverse portfolio of innovative technologies to detect, prevent, clean up and mitigate harmful algal blooms in a cost-effective, environmentally safe way.

The Innovative Technology Grant Program in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection facilitates the allocation of this funding and has further engaged with the Blue-Green Algae Task Force to ensure the program is optimizing its evaluation and successes, according to the governor’s office.

New Children’s Book Educates About Wastewater Treatment

To educate young learners about the water cycle and the wastewater treatment process, Esri has released a picture book series. One of the books in the series, Winn and Doug the Waterdrops: A Water Cycle and Wastewater Story, shows readers where water comes from, where it goes once it gets to the surface, and why the water cycle is so important.

Intended for ages 5–10 in grades 1–5, Winn and Doug the Waterdrops features two stories in one book, colorful illustrations that are engaging and easy to follow, in-book activities to further learning and understanding of concepts, and a glossary of terms that may be new to young readers. A companion website will also be available, offering additional activities related to the book that explore GIS technology in depth.

California Invests in Desalination Projects to Diversify Local Water Supplies

With California adapting to intense shifts between extreme wet and dry weather, the Department of Water Resources recently announced three projects that will receive support from DWR’s Water Desalination Grant Program, and an additional six projects that will receive funds through a partnership with the National Alliance for Water Innovation to advance desalination implementation and research.

As a key strategy in the governor’s California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future, desalination is the process of removing salts and minerals from brackish water and seawater to produce water suitable for consumption, irrigation and other supply needs. Today’s awarded projects directly support the state’s investment in desalination technology to help diversify local water supplies.

“California faces a range of water supply challenges, and climate change continues to intensify shifts between weather extremes as we’ve seen this season,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “The state is exploring all opportunities to invest in innovative strategies like desalination to meet our growing water needs -- including treating brackish water and ocean water where it’s environmentally appropriate on our 840 miles of coastline.”

Drought Restrictions Relax in East Bay Area Thanks to Conservation, Precipitation

Following a unanimous 7-0 vote by its board of directors, the East Bay Municipal Utility District has moved to a stage 0, further easing drought restrictions, while continuing to urge customers to conserve water.

That board action ends the water shortage emergency that began in April 2021, and suspends a district-wide voluntary 10% water use reduction. Drought restrictions issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in a March executive order remain in place. They include no irrigation within 48 hours of rainfall, no irrigation of ornamental turf on nonresidential sites, no irrigation runoff, no spraying sidewalks and driveways, and only allowing hoses with shut-off nozzles when washing vehicles.

The easing of the nearly three-year drought follows an impressive effort by EBMUD’s 1.4 million customers to conserve water. Customers saved a collective 32,000 acre-feet, or 10 billion gallons of water.

“With the heavy rainfall and snow we experienced this winter, we see how quickly conditions can change from exceptionally dry to extraordinarily wet,” says Board President Andy Katz. “EBMUD’s customers can play an active and important role in preparing for inevitable future droughts by making water conservation a part of their daily lives.”


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