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U.S. EPA Takes Steps To Maintain California Water Quality As Drought Worsens

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RICHMOND (KCBS) — As a new report from the U.S. Drought Monitor reveals that most of California is under extreme or -even worse – exceptional drought, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to maintain the quality of California’s water as drought conditions worsen.

Jared Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, told KCBS the agency’s role in dealing with drought is ensuring infrastructure is in place to ensure water quality can be maintained.

“As the amount of water goes down, what we see often is water quality also decreasing because the water concentration pollutants that were diluted in a lot of water now become less dilute; so that’s one concern,” said Blumenfeld.

“One of the planning features we need to put in place to make sure, 10 years from now that the drought – God forbid – continues, is that we have enough water in the state,” he said.

Promoting conservation by agriculture and individuals is key, Blumenfeld said, along with monitoring and fixing leaks and using new technologies to use less water in industrial applications.

The EPA also provides funds for maintaining or upgrading state water systems impacted by the drought, such as in Tulare County which received money to replace a drinking water distribution system and add an interconnection with a larger water system.

“Another thing that we are focusing on is making sure that the money we that we give to the state is used for resiliency. We’re in this for the long term; this isn’t going to be a fix that happens over night.”

In a ceremony at Richmond’s Breuner Marsh last month, the EPA announced grants totaling nearly $5 million to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed.

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