One of two State Water Project aqueducts serving Southern California, the East Branch Aqueduct stores water in Silverwood Lake and Lake Perris.
After being pumped over the Tehachapi Mountains from the Edmonston Pumping Plant, water for the East Branch Aqueduct passes through Palmdale and Lancaster [see also West Branch Aqueduct]. The water is then stored for distribution to Inland Empire cities such as San Bernardino and Riverside.
Arthur D. Edmonston directed the early planning of the Central Valley Project, State Water Project and State Water Plan.
He served as California state engineer and chief of the Division of Water Resources (predecessor to the Department of Water Resources) from 1950-1955, a time of rapid population, agricultural and industry growth California. Water shortages were common, and groundwater supplies were being overdrafted.
The Eel River flows from the Mendocino National Forest to the coast a few miles south of Eureka, CA, traversing a topographically diverse area of mountains, canyons and redwood forests. Including its tributaries, it drains more than 3,500 square miles and is the state’s third largest watershed.
El Niño. is characterized by unusually warm water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Niño’s storm track affects the location of jet streams. Instead of coming ashore in the Pacific Northwest, the southern jet stream hits California, with increased rainfall and accompanying floods, landslides and coastal erosion. The effects are variable across the state and are more predictable in Southern California.
Environmental concerns have closely followed California’s development of water resources since its earliest days as a state.
Early miners harnessed water to dislodge gold through hydraulic mining. Debris resulting from these mining practices washed down in rivers and streams, choking them and harming aquatic life and causing flooding.
Evaporation ponds contain agricultural drainage water and are used when agricultural growers do not have access to rivers for drainage disposal.
Drainage water is the only source of water in many of these ponds, resulting in extremely high concentrations of salts. Concentrations of other trace elements such as selenium are also elevated in evaporation basins, with a wide degree of variability among basins.
Such ponds resemble wetland areas that birds use for nesting and feeding grounds and may pose risks to waterfowl and shorebirds.