Topic: State Water Project

Overview

State Water Project

The State Water Project (SWP) is responsible for bringing drinking water to 25 million people and provides irrigation for 750,000 acres of farmland. Without it California would never have become the economic powerhouse it is today.

The nation’s largest state-built water and power development and conveyance system, the SWP diverts water from the Feather River to the Central Valley, South Bay Area and Southern California. Its key feature is the 444-mile long California Aqueduct that can be viewed from Interstate 5.

The SWP has required the construction of 21 dams and more than 700 miles canals, pipelines and tunnels. To reach Southern California, the water must be pumped 2,000 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains; it’s the highest water lift in the world.

Today, about 30 percent of SWP water is used for irrigation, mostly in the San Joaquin Valley, and about 70 percent is used for residential, municipal and industrial use, mainly in Southern California but also in the Bay Area. The SWP was built and is operated by the California Department of Water Resources.

To watch a slideshow about the SWP, click here.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Enhancing California’s Water Supply: The Drive for New Storage
Spring 2017

One of the wettest years in California history that ended a record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage to be built above and below ground.

In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they are needed.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR answers public’s questions, listens to concerns

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the impact on your lives,” Bill Croyle told a crowd of more than 250 people at the Butte County Fairgrounds. Croyle, the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, answered questions and listened Thursday evening as people stepped up to a microphone and were heard during the first of the water agency’s community meetings about the Oroville Dam spillway disaster and evacuations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Environmental groups demand transparency over Oroville Dam emergency spillway repair plans

A coalition of environmental groups that had warned Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was fatally flawed long before it nearly washed away this winter is demanding that federal regulators open up dam repair plans for public vetting.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam managers made missteps in handling crisis

Late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, Sheriff Kory Honea was at the emergency operations center for the tallest dam in America when he overheard someone say something that stopped him in his tracks: “This is not good.”

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR announces Oroville Dam community informational meetings

The state Department of Water Resources has completed its schedule of community meetings it will be holding to provide information about the ongoing Oroville Dam spillway repairs.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

State will increase water deliveries to Southern California

State officials said Friday Southern California water agencies will soon get close to a full of allotment of water — 85 percent — following several winter storms that broke rain and snow records across the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

More rainstorms prompt the reopening of the damaged Oroville Dam spillway

State officials have reopened the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam as another set of rainstorms began moving across Northern California. … Water will continue pouring down the spillway for up to two weeks, depending on how much more rain falls.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite Oroville problems, state water allocations rise

The Department of Water Resources announced that contractors north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive full allocations this year. Those south of the Delta, including the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, will get 85 percent of what they’ve requested.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Bids for Oroville Dam repairs top state estimates; $275.4 million the lowest

Blowing past state officials’ financial projections, three construction contractors submitted bids for the Oroville Dam repairs that begin at $275 million, the Department of Water Resources said Saturday. … DWR said it would spend the weekend reviewing the bids and declare a winner Monday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam builders share insight on original construction

In their 70s and 80s now, some men who built the Oroville Dam still remember those tough days well, some 50-odd years later. Most of the people they worked with have since passed on, but some of the former construction workers who are living in Oroville have continued to meet up over the years.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

River running high as DWR opens space in Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is dropping about 4 feet a day and the Feather River is running high, as the Department of Water Resources empties space in the lake to absorb storm runoff and snowmelt.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Erosion hits key reservoir near Byron

A state reservoir at the starting point to ship Delta water to 23 million Californians has been damaged by heavy water flows this winter — which may trigger a temporary shutdown of the state’s giant water pumps.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Emergency repairs for facility used to ship water to Southern California

State officials say that it will take 30 to 45 days to repair damage detected this week at a key point in the state’s system for shipping water from the Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley and to cities from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville residents ready for use of spillway again

With water soon set to flow down the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam, some residents are cautiously confident in repairs and haven’t checked the newly minted evacuation plans yet.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Can California repair damaged Delta reservoir within 45 days?

State officials said Wednesday that Californians reliant on water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta won’t face supply shortages, even as crews shut down a massive pumping station that serves much of Southern California for at least a month to make repairs to its intake reservoir.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Just weeks after Oroville Dam crisis, damage found in another key California reservoir

California water officials, still struggling with fixes at Oroville Dam, will have to temporarily shut down the pumping station that delivers water to much of Southern California and Silicon Valley after discovering damage at another key state reservoir.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Damaged Oroville Dam spillway may need to be used by next week, state officials say

A damaged flood control spillway at the Oroville Dam may have to be used as early as next week as storm runoff and snowmelt continue to fill the massive reservoir on the Feather River, state water officials said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Lake Oroville crisis: An in-depth look at an unprecedented disaster

A wet winter brought to light problems at the nation’s tallest dam, which controls water delivered across California.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: DWR tells assemblyman dam repair cost estimated daily average of $4.7 million

Just how many people are out working at Oroville Dam in response to the spillway emergency and how much is it going to cost? Both reporters and elected representatives have struggled to get an answer to that question.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Hyatt Powerplant, spillway flows off again after test

The Hyatt Powerplant at Oroville Dam was turned off again Saturday after a successful test Friday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Massive debris pile emerges from water near troubled dam

Crews worked Tuesday to clean up dirt and debris from the base of Oroville Dam and biologists rush to save stranded fish after state officials shut off the flow of water from a damaged spillway at the Northern California lake.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Can Oroville Dam’s badly damaged spillway hold up through the rainy season?

For three weeks, Oroville Dam’s fractured main spillway and the surrounding hillsides have taken a nearly nonstop pounding. The stunning waterfall crashing down what’s left of the 3,000-foot concrete span has split the spillway in two and carved massive canyons on either side.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR wants to stop Oroville spillway flow, doesn’t know when it can

The Department of Water Resources plans to remove at least some of the debris at the bottom of the Oroville Dam spillway and study the structure, but just aren’t sure when they’ll have a chance to do that.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will the crisis at Oroville Dam become a catalyst for change?

Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rain runoff may have undermined Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway, report says

Rainwater erosion alongside the Oroville Dam’s main spillway appears to have contributed to the heavy damage that prompted a crisis, forcing more than 100,000 to be evacuated from their homes, a report reviewed by The Times showed. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California officials rush to drain lake as new storms begin

Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Cracks may offer clues to California dam’s troubles

Six months before rushing water ripped a huge hole in a channel that drains a Northern California reservoir, state inspectors said the concrete spillway was sound. As officials puzzle through how to repair Oroville Dam spillway, federal regulators have ordered the state to figure out what went wrong.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

An ‘aggressive, proactive attack’ to prevent disaster at the Oroville Dam

With both spillways badly damaged and a new storm approaching, America’s tallest dam on Tuesday became the site of a desperate operation to fortify the massive structures before they face another major test. … In a sign of the progress made Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing all evacuated residents to return home. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Engineers have known for decades that Oroville’s backup spillway was unreliable

Congressional representatives said Monday they were stunned to learn that Oroville did not have a backup spillway paved with concrete that could be safely used if the main one was damaged.

Aquafornia news KRON4 News

Governor Brown issues emergency order for Oroville Dam emergency spillway

Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency order on Sunday night to increase California’s response to the Oroville Dam emergency spillway possibly on the verge of breaking.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California dam water level drops after massive evacuation

Water levels dropped Monday at California’s Lake Oroville, stopping water from spilling over a massive dam’s potentially hazardous emergency spillway after authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from towns lying below the lake. California Department of Water Resources officials are waiting for the light of dawn to inspect an erosion scar on the spillway at the Oroville Dam, the nation’s largest.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Sinking land causes California water chokepoint

Unchecked groundwater use is colliding with seesawing weather patterns to produce a new act in California’s long-running tragedy of the commons. According to NASA and European Space Agency data released on February 8, parts of the California aqueduct on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, near Avenal, sank more than two feet between 2013 and 2016 as farmers pumped records amounts of groundwater during the state’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Too much water: How Oroville Dam problems became a crisis

The mass evacuations underway below the Oroville Dam capped a week of frantic efforts to prevent flooding as America’s tallest dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Oroville Dam — Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago

More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gaping hole in Oroville Dam spillway keeps growing

A gaping hole in the spillway for the tallest dam in the United States has grown and California authorities said they expect it will continue eroding as water washes over it but the Oroville Dam and the public are safe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Damage to Oroville Dam’s spillway worsens as officials consider emergency measures

As storm runoff poured into fast rising Lake Oroville Thursday, the state resumed releases down the reservoir’s damaged spillway, creating dramatic scenes of muddy torrents gushing over the concrete chute. 

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Emergency release of water from Oroville Dam escalates from possible to likely, DWR says

With stormwater and snowmelt pouring into the reservoir faster than expected, the operator of the crippled Oroville Dam said it was likely water would have to be released from the facility’s emergency spillway as soon as Saturday – a last-ditch alternative that officials had been hoping to avoid.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

High water releases have eroded the base of Lake Oroville’s spillway

Faced with rising reservoir levels, state engineers on Wednesday were trying to figure out how much water they could send down Lake Oroville’s damaged spillway. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water to flow at Oroville Dam spillway despite damage

As a test run at the Oroville Dam spillway commenced Wednesday afternoon, the director of the Department of Water Resources said at a press conference in Sacramento he expected the bottom of the spillway to be eroded away by spring, with a replacement completed by fall.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Crater in Oroville Dam spillway will continue to grow, officials warn, as reservoir levels climb

State engineers gingerly began releasing water again through the damaged Oroville Dam spillway Wednesday in a controlled test to see how much water the scarred facility could handle, as reservoir levels continued to climb behind the critical flood-control structure.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Hole opens in Oroville Dam spillway amid heavy rains

Flows from one of California’s biggest supplies of drinking water were suspended Tuesday after a massive hole opened in the Oroville Dam spillway amid heavy rains.

Aquafornia news

River flows double Monday as wet weather sweeps through Sacramento

Water officials dramatically increased flows on the American and Sacramento rivers Monday to lessen the flooding risk ahead of big storms coming Monday and Tuesday night.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Storm, dam releases have rivers swelling

State and federal water managers ramped up water releases from Sacramento Valley dams Monday afternoon to make space for the water due to come from the storm that was expected to arrive overnight.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Water, water everywhere in California – and not enough reservoir space to store it

After five years of drought, could California really have so much rain and snow there’s no room to store all the water? … One month into an exceptionally stormy 2017, river flows though the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been so powerful that the massive pumps that ship north-state water to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley have roared at full throttle for weeks.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State increases estimate of amount of water it will deliver from Lake Oroville

State Water Project contractors will get 60 percent of the water they want this year due to the storms that have filled Lake Oroville and buffered the snowpack in the hills above.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought continues to shrink, federal government says

With major reservoirs nearly full, the Sierra Nevada snowpack well above average and flood warnings in place for some rivers, federal scientists reported Thursday a continued weakening of California’s drought. … Even as state officials urged caution, they announced Wednesday that cites [sic] and farms will receive at least 60 percent of the maximum amount of water they are contracted to buy in the coming year from the State Water Project, up from just 20 percent two months ago. 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

More Northern California water to flow to Southern California

Southern California can expect to see its reservoirs continue to rise this year after state water officials announced increased water deliveries from Northern California on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

There’s still a lot we don’t know about blue-green algae toxins in California

No patterns, lots of blooms and more to learn. … For the first time, the state tracked outbreaks of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, confirming reports of blooms in approximately 40 different lakes, rivers, streams and other water bodies across the state, including Lake Elsinore, Pyramid and Silverwood lakes and lakes at the El Dorado East Regional Park in Long Beach.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

State Water Project customers will get bigger allocation due to winter’s wet start

California officials, acknowledging the wet start to winter, on Wednesday more than doubled the expected allocation of water from the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California boosts water-supply projections amid wet weather

With the rainy season off to a strong start, California officials on Wednesday more than doubled the amount of water they expect to provide next year from the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Pyramid Lake infested with quagga mussels, Castaic Lake feared next –

Pyramid Lake is now infested with ecosystem-altering Quagga Mussels after state officials found six of the non-native freshwater mollusks Thursday in a tunnel that connects the lake with another body of water along the state’s water delivery system.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Reservoir levels rise in California with record October rainfall (with audio)

Rains have drenched Northern California, where most of the state’s largest reservoirs are located. The state had the second wettest October since the Department [of Water Resources] began keeping records in 1921.

Aquapedia background

Mojave River

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

Aquapedia background

Diamond Valley Lake

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.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville dropping much faster than Shasta Lake this summer

State and federal reservoir levels have been dropping at dramatically different rates for the last couple of months, for reasons that figure into last week’s discussions about the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

People got sick at Pyramid Lake before state reported toxic algae bloom

After watching her 13-year-old son throw up everything he ate when they got home from a day of jet skiing at Pyramid Lake, Sharyn Martinez was angered to learn last week that the state is now urging the public to avoid the water there because of a toxic algal bloom.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California loosens water cutbacks in drought

California will deliver more water this year than it has for each of the last three, as spring storms have nearly filled the state’s major reservoirs, officials said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State Water Project increases allocations to 60 percent

The State Water Project announced Thursday that it will supply 60 percent of the water requested by its 29 contractors.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

State ups its water allocation for Southern California

In another sign that the so-called “Miracle March” storms in Northern California helped ease the state’s drought, farms and cities reliant on the State Water Project learned Thursday that they’ll likely get 60 percent of the water deliveries they requested from the state, an increase from a month ago.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly

Years of drought followed by the recent pounding storms to hit the Bay Area and Northern California has turned water watching into a spectator sport.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California SWP will deliver most water since drought began

California farmers and urban areas that rely on the State Water Project will receive the largest allocation of water since 2012.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

March rains prompt California to boost water project deliveries

Deliveries from the State Water Project are now forecast to be 45 percent of what was requested, still less than what’s supplied during most wet years but more than what’s been allocated since the first year of the drought. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California eases water cutbacks as drought loosens

The state Department of Water Resources announced it would be able to give its client water agencies 45 percent of their water allocations this year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

As rain falls in California, tensions rise over who gets the water

Saying too much water is flowing out to sea, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Friday called on operators of the federal and state water projects to pump more water south through the Delta to drought-stricken farms and cities in Central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Storm pushes Lake Oroville to highest water level in nearly three years

The weekend storm bolstered Lake Oroville’s water level to its highest level in nearly three years. … Since Thursday, the lake has risen 20.5 feet.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California boosts water deliveries to cities, farms — slightly

With a bit more snow in the Sierra than in years past, California officials on Wednesday boosted the amount of water they expect to deliver this year from the state’s mountain-fed reservoirs.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California increases water allocation to farms, cities

In an encouraging note for California’s farms and cities, the State Water Project has doubled the amount of water it expects to deliver this year.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press Enterprise

Storms help boost water deliveries

Projections for this summer’s State Water Project deliveries were increased Tuesday because of recent El Niño-propelled storms, officials said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Snowpack in drought-stricken California hits five-year high

Recent El Nino storms have boosted the Sierra Nevada snowpack to 115 percent of normal – more than the drought-stricken state has seen in five years, officials said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California to release more reservoir water thanks to El Niño storms

The Department of Water Resources, mindful of the fruits of the El Niño weather pattern, boosted expected water deliveries to cities and farms from last month’s scant projection of 10 percent of what was requested to a slightly better 15 percent.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds — California reservoirs only half full after big storms

The recent onslaught of El Nino storms only slightly increased the levels of California reservoirs that now stand at half of historic depths for this time of year, federal officials said Friday while releasing an initial water outlook for 2016.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California officials expect 10 percent deliveries from State Water Project

California officials said Tuesday they expect to deliver just 10 percent of normal supplies from the State Water Project next year, or half as much as this year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State water deliveries projected to be sparse again

California officials announced Tuesday that the state’s massive water delivery system, which carries mountain runoff to cities and farms, will likely supply 10 percent of the water requested next year due to the drought — half of what was provided this year.

Foundation Event

Dry, Wet or Average? The Challenges for Water Project Operations

Water year 2016 began with the potential for heavy El Niño rains that captured the attention of the public. State and federal officials knew that California’s drought-stricken reservoirs would not recover that quickly. 

Hydrologic conditions, precipitation patterns, the need for fishery flows, and forecasts of state and federal water project operations were all discussed at a special FREE briefing held February 23, 2016. Sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources and the Water Education Foundation, the briefing was held at the Sacramento Convention Center, Room 202.

Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J Street, Room 204
Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial video reveals drought-ravaged lakes worse than imagined

Ugly brown rings where waves used to lap at the shore. … Barren boat ramps. Trickles of water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Commentary: California needs to modernize its major water projects

Say you built a new house. A big, sturdy house, designed to meet the needs of your family for generations to come. After 30 years, the roof starts leaking. The furnace breaks. The paint peels, and wood trim begins to rot. Would you make repairs?

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Brown’s arid California, thanks partly to his father

When Edmund G. Brown Sr. was governor of California, people were moving in at a pace of 1,000 a day. … He was the boom-boom governor for a boom-boom time: championing highways, universities and, most consequential, a sprawling water network to feed the explosion of agriculture and development in the dry reaches of central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plans to make State Water Project flow backward shelved for this year

An emergency $6.7 million plan to make the State Water Project’s California Aqueduct flow backward for roughly 100 miles to bring water from the Bakersfield area to Silicon Valley has been shelved for this year.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: State to deliver more water, but not from Lake Oroville

Customers of the State Water Project will be getting more water this year, the Department of Water Resources announced Monday, but none of the extra water will come from Lake Oroville.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Record winter warmth not helping with drought

Temperatures across the Bay Area soared to record highs this winter, forecasters said Monday, the same day that a team of Stanford researchers warned that the historic heat is helping drive California’s crippling drought — with little sign of letting up.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

More water deliveries through State Water Project (with audio)

The announcement increases the water allocation from 15 to 20 percent and is enough to meet the needs of about 400-thousand households for a year.

Aquafornia news California Water Law Journal

Legal Commentary: Consolidated Salmonid Cases

In the Consolidated Salmonid Cases, the Eastern District Court of California reviewed a Biological Opinion (“BiOp”) issued in 2009 by the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) that placed restrictions on the Projects’ [Central Valley Project and State Water Project] operations to protect endangered species.

Aquafornia news California Water Law Journal

Legal Commentary: Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases

In the Consolidated Delta Smelt Cases, two district court opinions for the Eastern District of California review a Biological Opinion (“BiOp”) issued in 2008 by the Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) that placed restrictions on the Projects’ [Central Valley Project and State Water Project] operations to protect endangered species.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California agency releasing more state water after storms

Recent storms will allow California to provide more water to local agencies and farms even as drought conditions stretch into a fourth year, officials announced Thursday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Slightly more water to flow to Southern California

Following winter storms, state officials have slightly increased their estimate of how much water will flow to Southern California this year through the canals and pipelines of the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

State Water Project now using solar power to meet pump loads

The Department of Water Resources announced on Jan. 8, 2014, that it has begun using renewable power purchased from a Dominion Solar Holdings’ solar project to help move water through the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Yuba City likes state water allocation

California public agencies requested 4.1 million acre-feet of state water for 2015. For now, they’ll get 90 percent less. … Yuba City is the only local agency with a share of State Project Water.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

State projects 10% of full water deliveries

State officials announced Monday that with the drought persisting, water agencies can expect only 10 percent of their full allotted amounts of water next year through the canals and pipelines of the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: State Water Project expects scant deliveries next year

The State Water Project, which carries runoff from the mountains of Northern California to much of the state, expects to limit annual water deliveries to 10 percent of what is requested in the coming year due to the prolonged drought.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: State Water Project contract negotiations set to begin over proposed BDCP amendments

From the Department of Water Resources: The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today [Nov. 24] it will begin negotiations with State Water Project (SWP) Contractors in December on proposed amendments that would modify SWP water supply contracts.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation announces biological opinions 2014 Annual Science Review and Workshop for Long-term Operation of CVP/SWP

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Delta Science Program, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and California Department of Water Resources, have scheduled an annual science review and workshop on certain biological opinion implementation actions relative to the 2014 operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The 2014 annual science review will be the fifth annual review.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown takes the long view on water

Battles over water rights, wet years flowing into dry ones, Jerry Brown gubernatorial tenures – in California, some storylines recur.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Oroville inches closer to record low

Only time and nature will determine whether Lake Oroville will continue its steady drop or begin to climb back. On Monday, the lake was at a low water elevation of 670 feet. Capacity is 900 feet.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Lake Perris Dam retrofit to close Big Rock

A popular rock climbing area and other recreational facilities on the southeast side of Lake Perris will be closed for three years starting this week so that seismic work can begin on the dam, state officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Castaic Lake so low that fisherman finds agent’s gun lost 22 years ago

California’s lingering drought has lowered the water level in Castaic Lake so dramatically that authorities said a fisherman on Thursday recovered a badge and handgun that a federal agent lost in the lake nearly 22 years ago.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Reservoirs at 19-year low

We’ve all had those years when we couldn’t wait to flip the calendar to January, put our troubles behind us and get a fresh start. That’s how California water managers must feel today.

Publication Sue McClurg

Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - Paperback

The story of water is the story of California. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.

Publication Sue McClurg

Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - hardbound

The story of California is the story of water. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.

Video

Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods (DVD)

This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past, present and future of flood management in California’s Central Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand. Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan for the Central Valley.

Video

Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Delta Warning

15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks, 16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.

Video

Water on the Edge (30-minute VHS)

A 30-minute version of the 2005 PBS documentary Water on the Edge. This video is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the New River.

Video

Water on the Edge (60-minute VHS)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Video

Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters

Delta Sustainability Map
Published 2006

This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.

The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.

Maps & Posters

Water Cycle Poster

Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management
Updated 2009

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the physical flood control system, including levees; discusses previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores issues of floodplain management and development; provides an overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control projects. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2010

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.

Maps & Posters

California Water Map
Updated December 2016

A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.

Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and manmade reservoirs and aqueducts - including federally, state and locally funded projects - the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.

Aquapedia background

West Branch Aqueduct

The West Branch Aqueduct supplies water for Los Angeles and other Southern California cities.

The West Branch is one of two State Water Project aqueducts serving Southern California.

State Water Project
Aquapedia background

State Water Project

The State Water Project is an aquatic lifeline for California because of its vital role in bringing water to cities and farms. Without it, California would never have developed into the economic powerhouse it is.

The State Water Project diverts water from the Feather River to the Central Valley, South Bay Area and Southern California. Its key feature is the 444-mile long California Aqueduct that can be viewed from Interstate 5.

Aquapedia background

South Bay Aqueduct

The South Bay Aqueduct, the first conveyance facility built for the State Water Project, supplies water to Alameda and Santa Clara counties.

To do so, the South Bay Aqueduct relies on 40 miles of pipes and canals to transport the water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquapedia background

Skinner Fish Facility

The John E. Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility east of San Francisco Bay is a State Water Project facility that works to protect fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquapedia background

Oroville Dam

Oroville Dam is the centerpiece of the State Water Project and its largest water storage facility.

Located about 70 miles north of Sacramento at the confluence of the three forks of the Feather River, Oroville Dam is an earthfill dam (consisting of an impervious core surrounded by sands, gravels, and rockfill materials) that creates a reservoir that can hold 3.5 million acre-feet of water.

Aquapedia background

Monterey Amendment

The Monterey Amendment, a 1994 pact between Department of Water Resources and State Water Project contractors, helped ease environmental stresses on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.

As part of large-scale restructuring of water supply contracts, the Monterey Amendment allowed for storage of excess flows during wet years in groundwater banks and surface storage reservoir. This stored water could then be used later during dry periods or to help the Delta.

Aquapedia background

Lake Perris

The State Water Project facility Lake Perris, below the San Bernardino Mountains, stores water for Inland Empire cities such as San Bernardino and Riverside. [See also Santa Ana River.]

 Hydroelectric Projects in California
Aquapedia background

Hydroelectric Projects in California

Hydroelectric Power and the State Water Project

In California, the State Water Project provides water for 25 million Californians and irrigation water for an estimated 750,000 acres of farmland. Along the way, it supports industries from agriculture to high tech that make the state a global economic powerhouse.

Aquapedia background

Edmund G. “Pat” Brown

Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (1905-1996) was California’s governor from 1959-1967, exemplified the best in public service and left a wide-ranging legacy that featured first and foremost the State Water Project (SWP) and California Aqueduct but also included the Fair Housing Act, the Fair Employment Act, the Master Plan for Higher Education and highway expansion.

Aquapedia background

East Branch Aqueduct

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.

Aquapedia background

Delta Pumping Plant Fish Protection Agreement

The Delta Pumping Plant Fish Protection Agreement stems from an early effort to balance the needs of fish protection and State Water Project operations.  Negotiated in the mid-1980s, the agreement foreshadowed future battles over fish protection and pumping. [See also Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.]

Aquapedia background

Clifton Court Forebay and Banks Pumping Plant

The Clifton Court Forebay is a key part of the State Water Project (SWP) and serves as ground zero for the starting point of the California Aqueduct (which delivers water to Southern California). Clifton Court also recharges water in the San Joaquin Valley via the Delta-Mendota Canal.

Aquapedia background

California Aqueduct

The California Aqueduct, a critical part of the State Water Project, carries water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

Aquapedia background

C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant

The C.W. Bill Jones Pumping Plant (formerly known as the Tracy Pumping Plant) sits at the head of the 117-mile long Delta-Mendota Canal.

Completed in 1951, the canal begins near Tracy, Calif. and follows the Coast Range south, providing irrigation water to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley along its route and terminating at Mendota Pool.

Aquapedia background

A.D. Edmonston Pumping Plant

The world’s largest water lift, the Edmonston Pumping Plant is a State Water Project facility. The pumping plant plays a vital role in Southern California’s economy by supplying the semi-arid region with badly needed water.

Western Water Magazine

Meeting the Co-equal Goals? The Bay Delta Conservation Plan
May/June 2013

This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying California’s long-term water supply reliability.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy requirements associated with water use and the means by which state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge and improve the management of both resources.

Western Water Magazine

A ‘New Direction’ for Water Decisions? The California Water Plan
May/June 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the changed nature of the California Water Plan, some aspects of the 2009 update (including the recommendation for a water finance plan) and the reaction by certain stakeholders.

Western Water Magazine

Whose Water Is It? Area of Origin Water Rights
March/April 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the area of origin laws, what they mean to those who claim their protections and the possible implications of the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation.

Western Water Magazine

Delta Conveyance: The Debate Continues
March/April 2009

This printed issue of Western Water provides an overview of the idea of a dual conveyance facility, including questions surrounding its cost, operation and governance

Western Water Magazine

Dealing with the ‘D’ Word: The Response to Drought
November/December 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought – its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should it arrive.

Commands