The Salton Sea is steadily disappearing, and communities near it are literally being left in the dust. California’s largest body of water — located in Imperial County near the Mexico-U.S. border — has been sinking for years, and dust clouds containing heavy metals, agricultural chemicals and fine particulates connected to asthma and other diseases are harming young people in that area.
A swarm of small earthquakes hit a town near the U.S.-Mexico border Saturday and continued into Sunday. Dozens of quakes were reported in and around Ocotillo Wells in Imperial County, six of them larger than a magnitude 3, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
When a contaminated aquifer in Orange County made U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s list of top-priority sites for “immediate, intense action,” the local water district was quick to highlight the announcement. But questions of political favoritism are swirling over Pruitt’s decision in December to prioritize cleaning the Orange County North Basin groundwater pollution plume beneath Anaheim and Fullerton using the federal Superfund program.
Seismologist Lucy Jones said on Twitter that the temblor occurred in a “complex part” of the San Andreas fault under the San Bernardino Mountains and was not far from the epicenter of a 1986 quake that measured 5.9 magnitude.
We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.
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California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
Dramatic swings in weather patterns over the past few years in California are stark reminders of climate variability and regional vulnerability. Alternating years of drought and intense rain events make long-term planning for storing and distributing water a challenging task.
Current weather forecasting capabilities provide details for short time horizons. Attend the Paleo Drought Workshop in San Pedro on April 19 to learn more about research efforts to improve sub-seasonal to seasonal precipitation forecasting, known as S2S, and how those models could provide more useful weather scenarios for resource managers.
A new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.
The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.
A troublesome invasive species is the quagga mussel, a tiny freshwater mollusk that attaches itself to water utility infrastructure and reproduces at a rapid rate, causing damage to pipes and pumps.
First found in the Great Lakes in 1988 (dumped with ballast water from overseas ships), the quagga mussel along with the zebra mussel are native to the rivers and lakes of eastern Europe and western Asia, including the Black, Caspian and Azov Seas and the Dneiper River drainage of Ukraine and Ponto-Caspian Sea.
Flowing into the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Mojave River exists mostly underground. Surface channels are usually dry absent occasional groundwater surfacing and flooding from extreme weather events like El Niño.
Prado Dam – built in 1941 in response to the Santa Ana River’s flood-prone past – separates the river into its upper and lower watersheds. After the devastation of the deadly Los Angeles Flood of 1938 that impacted much of Southern California, it became evident that flood protection was woefully inadequate, prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct Prado Dam.
The Colorado River Aqueduct, a 242-mile-long channel completed in 1941 by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, carries water from the Colorado River to to urban Southern California. The aqueduct is one of three conveyance systems of imported water to Southern California, the other two being the California Aqueduct and the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
With a holding capacity of more than 260 billion gallons, Diamond Valley Lake is Southern California’s largest reservoir. It sits about 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles and just west of Hemet in Riverside County where it was built in 2000. The offstream reservoir was created by three large dams that connect the surrounding hills, costing around $1.9 billion and doubling the region’s water storage capacity.
As one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world, the Imperial Valley receives its water from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal. Rainfall is scarce in the desert region at less than three inches per year and groundwater is of little value.
This issue looks at the dilemma of the shrinking Salton Sea. The shallow, briny inland lake at the southeastern edge of California is slowly evaporating and becoming more saline – threatening the habitat for fish and birds and worsening air quality as dust from the dry lakebed is whipped by the constant winds.