What would happen to the water supply if a major earthquake struck the Bay Area? According to the East Bay Municipal District, which supplies water to most of the East Bay, there is a 32 percent chance of a magnitude 7 earthquake occurring along the Hayward Fault in the next 30 years. In a worst-case scenario, the Claremont Tunnel, which runs directly through the Hayward Fault and provides water for 800,000 of EBMUD’s customers, would be out of commission for 6 months.

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If you go to the California Department of Water Resources’ drought Web page, you’ll only find this message: “The DWR Drought Web site has been shutdown due to no longer being in an official drought.” Water supply has always been a tough issue in California and residents have long been warned to conserve. But this year has been one of the biggest years of precipitation since 1970, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Circled by three freeways, scattered with industrial factories and a stone’s throw from one of the largest ports in the United States, West Oakland has a high pollution rate. That’s why this neighborhood has become the centerpiece of a new partnership between a local environmental justice group and a high-tech research company to develop a cell phone that can measure pollution.

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Javier Amaro is one of hundreds of people in Oakland who have started reusing “greywater”—or run-off water—in their homes. California’s laws recently changed to allow certain kinds of greywater reuse systems to be installed without requiring permits, so residents are increasingly conserving water from their showers, bathroom sinks, washing machines and more.

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