Topic: Water Supply

Overview

Water Supply

California’s climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, makes the state’s water supply unpredictable. For instance, runoff and precipitation in California can be quite variable. The northwestern part of the state can receive more than 140 inches per year while the inland deserts bordering Mexico can receive less than 4 inches.

By the Numbers:

  • Precipitation averages about 193 million acre-feet per year.
  • In a normal precipitation year, about half of the state’s available surface water – 35 million acre-feet – is collected in local, state and federal reservoirs.
  • California is home to more than 1,300 reservoirs.
  • About two-thirds of annual runoff evaporates, percolates into the ground or is absorbed by plants, leaving about 71 million acre-feet in average annual runoff.
Blog post Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

The Drought May Be Over, But California Still Wants Residents to Act Like It’s On Forever
State considers adopting permanent wise water use rules starting in April

For decades, no matter the weather, the message has been preached to Californians: use water wisely, especially outdoors, which accounts for most urban water use.

Enforcement of that message filters to the local level, where water agencies routinely target the notorious “gutter flooder” with gentle reminders and, if necessary, financial penalties.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

One of the first projects in Los Angeles County to capture storm water being built in Long Beach

The thousands of miles of concrete channels diverting street water from the San Gabriel and Los Angeles rivers represent the last major water project in Los Angeles County, built almost 100 years ago. On Thursday, Dave Sorem, owner and vice president of Mike Bubalo Construction Co., showed off the first of a second wave of street-water projects that elevate what is essentially water pollution into a drinkable water source.

State Taking Steps to Manage Subsidence-Related Impacts to California Aqueduct
Department of Water Resources to spend $5 million for quick fixes, as it assesses longer-term repairs

For as long as agriculture has existed in the Central Valley, farmers have pumped water from the ground to sustain their livelihood and grow food consumed by much of the nation. This has caused the ground in certain places to sink, sometimes dramatically, eliminating valuable aquifer storage space that can never be restored.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians slashed water use, but still use more than US average

Californians slashed their water use during the drought. But a new study finds we still used more than the national average. Between 2015 and 2010, Californians slashed their water use by seventeen percent, according to the US Geological Survey report.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California homeowners could get tax break to capture rainwater in backyards

It was raining and Judy Adler had a broken gutter. What could have been a simple repair turned into an effort to capture rain and use it for her backyard pond. Since late 2009, Adler has collected up to 11,000 gallons of rain annually at her Walnut Creek home.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Desert farmers reap millions selling water to California cities

Over the past 12 years, the country’s biggest urban water agency has paid farmers about $190 million not to grow crops on thousands of acres near the Colorado River in the Palo Verde Valley.  The water has gone to Los Angeles and other cities across Southern California, and in return, the farmers who’ve left some of their lands unplanted have been able to count on additional income.

Aquafornia news The Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Governor signs bill creating new water agency

The way water is acquired and distributed throughout the Santa Clarita Valley changed forever Sunday when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill creating one new all-encompassing water district for the SCV.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California firefighters say they finally ‘turned a corner’

Sonoma County officials said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. Crews have been working around the clock to connect water and power, in some cases putting up new poles next to smoldering trees, the sheriff said.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet?

Like every autumn, October is bringing cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins to fields across California. But unlike the past five years, when a historic drought gripped the state, there’s something new across the landscape: full reservoirs.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

With rats and frogs in Camp Pendleton water supply, base agrees to federal decree

Camp Pendleton officials swear that the water consumed by 55,000 Marines and their families is safe, despite a pair of scathing state and federal investigations indicating chronic problems in the treatment systems at the sprawling military base.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Plan to pump more water from the Delta gets approved

Federal fisheries regulators have approved a controversial plan opposed by environmental groups that would allow for more pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta this fall. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wet winter, but fighting over Delta smelt continues

Environmentalists are opposed to a proposal championed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Southern California water interests to ramp up pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta starting next week.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Bay Area water board backs Delta tunnels project

One day after the largest water district in America pulled out of a $17 billion state project to build twin tunnels under the Delta, a water supplier for 220,000 Alameda County residents supported the plan and said it wants to join in.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

West’s wildfires taking toll on reservoirs

Around California, the country and the world, reservoirs are silently filling with sediment, and only a few people are thinking about it. … According to new research from the U.S. Geological Survey, in many regions erosion rates are now accelerating thanks to wildfires and climate change. The western U.S., which relies on reservoirs for vital water storage and flood control, will be particularly impacted.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé faces questions about Arrowhead bottled water as officials investigate

Nestled in thick brush high in the San Bernardino Mountains, bunker-like structures protrude from the rocky slopes. Built with stone and concrete and secured with metal doors and padlocks, these vaults are connected to a series of stainless steel pipelines that run down the mountainside like veins.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

With billions on the line, California begins vetting water projects

A dozen water storage projects in California are now officially in the running for a share of $2.7 billion in state bond funds. But experts are cautioning that taxpayers shouldn’t get their hopes up that these projects will solve chronic water shortages in the state. The money comes from Proposition 1, a bond measure approved by state voters in 2014.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge sends Vegas water pipeline plan back to feds for a fix

A federal judge tapped the brakes Thursday but didn’t stop a proposal for a massive and expensive water pipeline to draw underground water from rural valleys along Nevada’s eastern edge to supply the growing Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New dams for California? A dozen projects seek $2.7 billion

During the drought, Californians often asked why the state wasn’t building more reservoirs. On Tuesday, the state finally began taking a major step toward that goal, unveiling a list of 12 huge new water projects — from massive new dams in the north to expanded groundwater banks in the south — that will compete for $2.7 billion in state bond funding for new water storage projects.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US: ‘Zero’ chance of Colorado River water shortage in 2018

Heavy winter snows in the Rocky Mountains have rescued the thirsty Western U.S. for another year. U.S. water managers said Tuesday there will be no water cutbacks in 2018 for millions of residents and farmers served by the Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River that lies behind the Hoover Dam.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Agreements in place to fund largest California reservoir proposal

California voters in 2014 approved a ballot measure that allocates $2.7 billion for water storage projects. It’s likely there will be hot competition for the money when the California Water Commission gets around to awarding it next year.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sites Reservoir supporters want $1.6 billion from water bond (with audio)

This week is the application deadline for projects requesting funding from the $7.5 billion Proposition 1 water bond that California voters approved in 2014.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

East Bay reservoir expansion plan wins support of environmental groups

A $914 million plan to expand the Los Vaqueros Reservoir as drought insurance for millions of Bay Area residents picked up endorsements Monday from six conservation groups in a rare display of environmental support for new water development.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

9 takeaways from the National Climate Report

3. Bad news for California. Warming will probably bring further reductions in winter and spring snowpack, which the state depends on for much of its water supply.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Legislature, don’t mess with California’s water umpire

As California water becomes an increasingly precious and contentious resource, the state needs an umpire with the power to enforce laws against illegal diversions and protect the rights of the public and others with enforceable claims to state water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California’s biggest drought success story came with a high cost

East Porterville took by far the hardest hit in the [San Joaquin] valley during the drought, state officials say. … The State Water Resources Control Board has responded with $35 million to connect East Porterville’s 300-plus dry homes to Porterville’s system. Another 400 homeowners who didn’t lose their wells have opted into the Porterville hookup to prevent future water problems.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County supervisor to testify before US Senate panel about local water initiatives

Shirlee Zane, the chairwoman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, is set to appear before a Congressional panel in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the county’s efforts to better manage its water supply and respond to major storms. … Zane intends to tell senators about two initiatives led by the Sonoma County Water Agency, of which she is also a board member. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Enough water agencies have bought in to get Sites Reservoir built even without Prop. 1 funding

The deadline is Aug. 14 to apply for water storage funding from the Proposition 1 bond measure voters approved in 2014, and while the folks working to build Sites Reservoir will be applying, they don’t need the money. Enough water agencies have agreed to invest in the reservoir near Maxwell that it can be built without taxpayer funds, according to Sites Project Authority General Manager Jim Watson.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Unlikely allies push bill to solve California drinking water crisis

As the summer sun was warming up on a July morning, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered on the north steps of the California Capitol, many having arrived stiff-legged after a four-hour bus ride. … Most were San Joaquin Valley residents, including children as young as 5, who woke up before dawn to travel to the state capital to voice their support for Senate Bill 623, the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Poll: Californians support climate change policies

Since the state’s drought officially ended earlier this year, there’s also been a precipitous drop in Californians worrying about having enough water. Last July, 62 percent said water supply was a big problem for the state.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: GOP push to shift state water policy away from conservation

With a friend in the White House and their party in control of both chambers of Congress, House Republicans have embarked on their most ambitious effort yet to change the way water flows in California. Legislation that the House sent to the Senate last week outlines a bold effort to build big new dams and shift water from fish, birds and other wildlife to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Davenport, Santa Cruz County, may be running out of water

The coastal town of Davenport, gateway to the new Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument and home to 100 households, may be running out of water. The problem started in February when storms damaged the water intake at San Vicente Creek that provided the town with water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Funding woes for stream gages put crucial water data at risk

When it comes to managing water in uncertain times, few things are more important than knowing how much is flowing in the river alongside your city, or filling the reservoir that irrigates local farms. … But this basic information is at risk across the West because the nation lacks a reliable funding source for the simple stream gages that measure river flows.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Measuring the snowpack goes high-tech with airborne lasers and radar

Every year for almost half a century, California snow surveyor Pat Armstrong has trekked the rugged Sierra Nevada with three simple tools: a snow core tube, a scale and a notebook. For as long as he can remember, state water officials have relied on the accuracy of those tools to deliver crucial data on the size of the Sierra snowpack and its ability to sustain a growing population.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California hones drinking water affordability plan

Nearly five years ago, the California Legislature declared that the state’s residents have a right to “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” Passage of the landmark law provoked a practical question that has always dogged the noble ideals of the right-to-water movement: how does a state government or municipal utility ensure clean and affordable water for all? … Staff members at the California Water Resources Control Board are now taking a full swing at the affordability component of the right-to-water legislation.

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 East Bay Times

East Bay reservoir to store Fresno farm water

The nation’s largest irrigation district will store water in the Los Vaqueros Reservoir in a test of how the lake can be used as drought insurance for millions of  Californians.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Snowmelt puts Merced River above flood stage in Yosemite National Park

High temperatures put the Merced River in Yosemite National Park over flood stage on Thursday as snow from higher elevations melted and flowed into the river’s basin. But most Central California reservoirs, preparing for the warmer weather and melting snowpack throughout the Sierra, have excess capacity to handle such runoff.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: May 1 Sierra Nevada snowpack is biggest since 1998

State officials on Monday reported a near-record May snowpack, but the bountiful winter that demolished California’s five-year drought is now increasing the risk of late spring flooding, as temperatures climb across the Sierra Nevada.

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

Big Los Angeles water agency antes up for a share of Sacramento Valley’s Sites Reservoir

The water agency that supplies drinking water to Los Angeles agreed Tuesday to contribute $1.5 million toward the planning of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, giving the agency a toehold in a potentially valuable storage project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Mighty Los Angeles water agency wants share of Sacramento Valley’s Sites Reservoir – and is willing to pay

Southern California’s most powerful water agency is prepared to invest in Sacramento Valley’s proposed Sites Reservoir, a move that could broaden support for the $4.4 billion project but also raise alarms about a south state “water grab.”

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Feinstein fumes as Trump team waives environmental review for Mojave water project

The Trump administration has handed a big boost to a private water venture in Southern California, angering California’s senior senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who said the decision could “destroy pristine public land” in the Mojave Desert.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California’s robust mountain snowpack boosts flood concerns

As big snowflakes fell high in California’s Sierra Nevada on Thursday, surveyors on snowshoes measured the deepest springtime snowpack in years and said it boosted concerns about destructive floods when all that snow melts.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought? Sierra Nevada snowpack at 164 percent of normal

The biggest blizzards are over. But as state water officials head into the Sierra Nevada on Thursday for the annual April 1 snowpack reading — the most important of the year for planning summer water supplies — California still has a huge amount of snow covering its highest mountain peaks, an avalanche that has buried the state’s punishing drought.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump requests — and receives — this infrastructure list from builders union

Among the projects listed by the unions is the $1 billion Huntington Beach Desalination Plant in California. … Also in Southern California, the Cadiz water project aims to tap groundwater from the Mojave Desert to supply roughly 100,000 homes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Record snow brings danger as weather warms and ice begins melting

As snow continued to fall on the eastern Sierra Nevada on Monday, platoons of earth movers, cranes and utility trucks fanned out across the Owens Valley, scrambling to empty reservoirs and clean out a lattice-work of ditches and pipelines in a frantic effort to protect the key source of Los Angeles’ water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Agency: California farmers will get bump in irrigation water

Farmers in a vast agricultural region of California will receive a significantly greater amount of irrigation water this summer compared to past drought years – but not their full supply, federal officials announced Wednesday.

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 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 Los Angeles Times

Snowpack levels surge in the Sierra Nevada, helping to power California out of drought

Plunging the long, metal rod into the snow beneath his feet in the mountain town of Phillips, state snow survey chief Frank Gehrke measured the Sierra Nevada snowpack Wednesday not against California’s recent, historic drought but against its biggest rain years.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Sierra snowpack ‘pretty phenomenal’ but is it record breaking?

There’s “a pretty phenomenal snowpack” in the Sierra Nevada, but not enough to break the record for the same date set in the winter of 1969.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California snowpack could bring 5-year drought to its knees

The massive snowdrifts in the Sierra Nevada could finally bring the California drought to its knees and keep skiers on the slopes long enough to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought-easing California snow heaviest in 22 years

Clambering through a snowy meadow with drifts up to the tree branches, California’s water managers measured the state’s vital Sierra Nevada snowpack Thursday at a drought-busting and welcome 173 percent of average.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California snowpack reaches 173% of average, replenishing a third of state’s ’snow-deficit’

Snowfall from a series of blizzard-like storms that blanketed the Sierra Nevada last month deposited the equivalent of more than 5.7 trillion gallons of water along the rugged mountain range — enough water to fill California’s largest reservoir more than four times, according to recent analysis.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Folsom Lake less than half full after recent rains. Residents ask: Why so dry?

Northern California is on track to break rainfall records. … But you wouldn’t know the region has experienced an exceptionally wet winter looking at the steep, dry shores ringing the Sacramento region’s largest reservoir, Folsom Lake.

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 Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers tour proposed Sites Reservoir

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, is leading a troupe of lawmakers today on a tour of the Sites Reservoir, a $4.4 billion proposed water storage project four decades in the making.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Weeks of rain are rapidly reviving California’s drought-ravaged lakes

Leaning against a wooden rail, environmental activist Geoffrey McQuilkin took stock of a parched geological wonderland [Mono Lake] that had been altered by a weekend deluge. … Similar scenes were playing out at lakes and reservoirs across Northern California as weeks of heavy rain and snow brought them back to life.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California storms add 350 billion gallons to parched reservoirs

The powerful storms that soaked Northern California over the past week did more than trigger power outages, mudslides and flash floods. … Officially, California’s drought won’t end until Gov. Jerry Brown rescinds or revises the emergency drought declaration he signed in January 2014.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels — Obama says full speed ahead on permits, reviews

Two weeks before President Barack Obama leaves office, his administration vowed to move full speed ahead on California’s controversial Delta tunnels project, calling it essential for the state’s water supply as well as its environment.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California snowpack measures low, but big storms coming

The first manual survey this year of California’s snowpack revealed Tuesday that it holds about half as much water as normal, casting a shadow on the state that’s hoping to dodge a sixth straight year of drought, officials said.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Despite recent storms, California’s ‘snow drought’ continues

Around the start of each year, California water officials make a big show out of measuring the Sierra Nevada snowpack for reporters. Tuesday’s measurement before a throng of cameras was fairly bleak: Water content in the snowpack stood at just 53 percent of average, about a third as much water as the same time last year at that site.

Aquafornia news NPR

High demand, low supply: Colorado River water crisis hits across the West (with audio)

The Colorado River is like a giant bank account for seven different states. Now it’s running short. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area cities prepare for 60 days without Hetch Hetchy supply

In late December, the filtration tanks at a treatment plant in San Bruno were quietly filled with millions of gallons of raw water. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After six years of drought, this is the winter weather we’re ’supposed to be getting,’ meteorologists say

The slow but steady improvement in California’s drought picture should accelerate in the new year with a series of storms that are expected to dump rain and snow in Northern California.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

More than 1,000 show up at hearing for Bay-Delta Plan (with audio)

On Tuesday in Modesto, it was standing-room only at a State Water Resources Control Board hearing for a plan that could cut irrigation water for farmers and drinking water for cities. Many people showed up at the meeting to protest the plan, while others came to show their support. 

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 The Modesto Bee

Modesto-area farmers, residents make impassioned plea to water board

More than 900 people packed a Modesto hearing on boosting river flows Tuesday, most of them determined to stop the state’s plan. … The round of hearings started Nov. 29 in Sacramento and will finish there Jan. 3.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Merced crowd criticizes river flow plan

More than 600 people gathered at the Merced Theatre for the third of five hearing sessions on the proposed reservoir releases along the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers.

Blog post Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Rules Set for Prop. 1 Funding for New Water Storage Projects

A critical aspect of California’s drive to create new water storage is in place after the California Water Commission approved regulations governing how those potential storage projects could receive public funding under Prop. 1.

The Dec. 14 decision potentially paves the way for new surface water projects, such as Sites Reservoir, and expansion of Los Vaqueros reservoir in Contra Costa County.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama signs big California water and flood control bill

President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed and bequeathed to President-elect Donald Trump a massive infrastructure bill designed to control floods, fund dams and deliver more water to farmers in California’s Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s drought divergence: Wetter in the north, still bone dry in the south

When California water officials assess the drought, the first place they look is the northern Sierra Nevada mountains. Rain and snowmelt from the area feed into a complex system of rivers, canals and reservoirs that send water across the state.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

With lakes and rivers rising, residents prepare for more storms in the Sacramento region

Increased flows from Folsom Lake and the anticipation of a gully washer of a storm Thursday mean that the American and Sacramento rivers will be rising.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Folsom Lake level stands at 127 percent of normal (video)

Folsom Lake and other Northern California reservoirs are seeing a huge increase in levels due to rain that fell over the weekend.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

What you need to know about water releases from Folsom Lake (with video)

Outflow at Folsom Lake will more than double from 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 8,000 cfs by Wednesday, according to Justin Moore with Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Will wet start to rainy season put dent in California’s drought?

State water officials are expected to have a better sense of the drought outlook after they conduct the first snowpack measure of the season, later this month or early next.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s water future will change as a result of this bill set for House approval

A California water bill set for House approval on Thursday that’s split the state’s two Democratic senators will make it easier for the incoming Trump administration to build new Western dams.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Fall snow, rains have ’satisfied the drought debt’ in Northern Sierra Nevada, climatologist says

Now, if past weather patterns are fulfilled this year, experts say, Northern California’s winter — and long-term relief from years of drought — could be just around the corner for the state’s most important watershed.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wet fall helps, but real test begins now

One hundred and seventy percent of normal: It sounds so impressive. But Stockton’s wet fall — mirrored across much of Northern California — doesn’t necessarily portend a wet winter.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Who likes state’s plan to keep more water for fish in California rivers? Practically nobody.

California regulators say their sweeping proposal to devote more flows from the state’s major rivers to fish and wildlife is an attempt to balance competing interests for a scarce resource.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Rain season off to fast start, but drought worries linger

In a preliminary outlook, the state Department of Water Resources said it can count on allocating as little as 20 percent of requested water supplies to start, hinting drought fears are far from over in California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

State initially estimates 20% of full water deliveries

California’s Department of Water Resources has made its initial projection of how much water public agencies can count on receiving from the canals and pipelines of the State Water Project next year: 20 percent of their full allotments.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California rainy season off to wet start, but drought not over

It’s only a beginning. But it’s a strong beginning, and it offers at least a rain gauge’s worth of hope to a state enduring its fifth year of drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Start-up is pitching a new type of bond to fix California’s wildfire and water woes

The founders of fledgling San Francisco firm Blue Forest Conservation want to use the proceeds of what they call a forest-resilience bond to pay crews to cut down small trees, clear out shrubs and burn off ground cover in overgrown forests. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Sides brace for hearing on river flow plan

Fishing and environmental groups will get the first say Tuesday about how much water should run down the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The session in Sacramento will be the first of five before the State Water Resources Control Board, which is considering a major boost in the flows.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump promised California farmers more water. Can he deliver?

More than a year ago, Fresno County farmer Wayne Western Jr. penned a letter to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, pleading for help.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Why water district is paying growers to replace avocado trees

Thirsty avocado trees in the hills of De Luz are on a literal chopping block. The Rancho California Water District on Monday, Nov. 14, started accepting applications from district growers who want to remove high water use crops, such as avocado trees, for lower use varieties such as wine grapes or citrus trees.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump election impact in California will be huge

Farmers from California’s Central Valley invested big time in Donald Trump, and soon the president-elect could repay the debt.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

A giant reservoir that supplies a California county’s drinking water is nearly empty

Lake Cachuma, a giant reservoir built to hold Santa Barbara County’s drinking water, has all but vanished in California’s historic drought. It reached an all-time low this summer — 7 percent capacity, which left a thick beige watermark that circles the hills framing the lake like an enormous bathtub ring.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Reservoir expansion could store water for millions in Bay Area

Millions of Bay Area residents could get extra drought insurance against water shortages and quality problems from a proposed $800 million expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir that may have up to 10 water suppliers as partners.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Northern California is seeing two or three times more rain than normal. So why is Southern California so dry?

As the state enters its sixth year of drought, Northern California is seeing some significant relief thanks to a series of powerful storms, while Southern California remains mired in record dry conditions.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

A study says that more research is needed into how marijuana farming affects environment

As nine states prepare to vote on marijuana legalization on Nov. 8, a study concludes that more research is needed into how pot farming could hurt the environment.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sites Reservoir has a new website, logo and more than enough investors

Last week, folks who are in the inner circle of the plans for Sites Reservoir held a get-together in Maxwell to show off the group’s new office and new logo. Also new is a website, that talks about all things Sites Reservoir — a construction schedule, facts sheets and a list of interested participants (see sidebar).

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

South San Joaquin farmers say ‘no’ to flow plan

Manteca-area farmers voted this week to oppose a state proposal to permanently allow more water to remain in the Stanislaus River to protect fish. … The State Water Resources Control Board says river flows would increase from roughly 20 percent to perhaps 40 percent on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers combined.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Strange bedfellows form coalition to increase water supply (with audio)

California’s drought has brought about a strange partnership that includes corporations like Coca-Cola and environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy. They’re partnering on projects aimed at helping increase water supply in California. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Don’t expect much snow from soaking storm approaching California

California has been trying to fill its reservoirs for 5 years, and it will get a little help from a storm expected to hit later this week. Right now, Lake Shasta is only at 60% capacity and Lake Oroville is at 44%, with other reservoirs across the state even lower. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

River flow proposal stirs debate in Turlock and Sacramento

Four of the five board members at the Turlock Irrigation District voted Tuesday against the state’s proposed boost in river flows. Meanwhile, the fifth board member was in Sacramento to press the same case.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Another dry year on California’s books as ‘drought continues’

October is the time for optimism about water in California. … Hydrologically speaking, Oct. 1 also marked the official start of the state water year.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

River flow proposal will be discussed in Turlock and Sacramento

The board of the Turlock Irrigation District will get its turn Tuesday to denounce the river flow increases proposed by the state. Later in the morning in Sacramento, supporters and opponents of higher flows will speak to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Timber Company tells California town, go find your own water

The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why California may ban new small water agencies

California’s goal of ensuring universal access to safe drinking water, as mandated in the 2012 Human Right to Water Bill, will come a step closer to being met if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a new measure into law that halts the creation of new small, unsustainable ­– and in many cases dangerous – water districts in the state.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State announces river flow standards

State officials said Thursday that they are still seeking major increases in flows on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers, to the dismay of farming advocates.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A plan to keep rivers flowing for fish triggers another water fight

State regulators want to leave more water for fish and wildlife in the heavily tapped tributaries of the San Joaquin River, setting the stage for another bruising California water fight.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

New state water plan may force tighter conservation restrictions

San Francisco faces potentially drastic cutbacks in its water supply, as state regulators proposed leaving more water in three Northern California rivers Thursday to protect wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta estuary, the linchpin of California’s water supply.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Lugging buckets and coping during California’s hottest summer on record

In small communities scattered across California, more wells have been failing as the drought persists for a fifth year.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds’ Colorado River water use forecast was too good to be true

It sounded too good to be true — an official forecast that 2016 [Colorado River] water use in Arizona, California and Nevada will be the lowest since 1992. That forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was too good to be true — by the bureau’s own admission.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

East Porterville residents, tired of drought, say end is in sight

Five years of drought have left East Porterville residents exhausted. As of Monday, 628 homes countywide have dry wells and no county-supplied water tanks. … Residents say they see the end in sight.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Report: Delta tunnels fail financially

The costs of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels vastly outweigh the benefits of building them, according to an analysis released Wednesday by University of the Pacific economist Jeff Michael.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels don’t pencil out, UOP economist says

A prominent Sacramento-area economist says Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.5 billion plan to overhaul the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta doesn’t make financial sense, with costs far outweighing the benefits.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Bill targeting water secrecy scrapped in California Senate

Strong opposition in the Legislature has scuttled a bill that would have required agencies in California to release information about water use by businesses such as farms and golf courses.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After years without water, taps are turned on in East Porterville

Tania Ramirez stepped into her family’s front yard Friday morning, leaned down toward a pipe protruding from the garden, and twisted a spigot. For the first time in three years, water came pouring out.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Northern California towns are running out of water

Paskenta, population 112, is an out-of-the-way place where rustic ranches grace grass-covered hills rolling west toward Mendocino Pass. … A water crisis has triggered a rude awakening.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Colorado River’s tale of two basins

Recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper cast renewed attention on water supply and growth in the West with a decision in a long-running process to expand a Colorado River diversion. … The Gross reservoir expansion reflects a fundamental tension for the seven states and two countries that share the Colorado River: how many more diversions can the stressed basin tolerate?

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 Redding Record Searchlight

Sites Reservoir likely years down the road

Plans to build the Sites Reservoir have been in the works since 1957, and if it is eventually approved, work on the project probably would not be complete for another 10 to 12 years, according to Jim Watson, the Sites Reservoir Project general manager.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Sprouts subject of nationwide Nestle protest

Activists arguing that Nestle’s bottling of water from the San Bernardino National Forest is illegal due to a long-expired permit gathered Saturday at Sprouts Farmers Market locations across the U.S., including one in La Quinta, in order to protest the chain’s sale of Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County proposal to let landowners use hauled-in water worries environmentalists

Los Angeles County is considering a controversial plan to spur housing development in rural unincorporated areas by allowing property owners to haul in drinking water if no other source is available.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Lawmakers debate benefits of holding water back to benefit endangered fish

Whether the temperature management of the runoff of Northern California water reservoirs, including Shasta Dam, results in improved survivability of endangered fish or uncertainty for human water users was debated at a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Proponents planning a redo of stalled water-train initiative

Backers of a controversial ballot measure intended to shift billions of dollars in state bond money from high speed rail to water storage projects say they will rewrite the stalled initiative in an effort to gain broader support.  

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise Record

More investors asked to join Sites Reservoir planning

Calling all water users: If you would like to buy in on water from a future Sites Reservoir, now is the time. Plans for Sites Reservoir are moving forward, with a deadline of June 2017 to ask the state Water Commission to pay for half of the estimated $4.4 billion construction cost.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Los Angeles looks for extra water down its alleys

Of the roughly 300,000 acres in the city of Los Angeles, more than 2,000 are alleyways that cut through city blocks. And because they’re mostly paved, they do little to capture one of the city’s most prized resources: water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Water for pot no longer unregulated

Within less than a year, as many as 50,000 marijuana growers in California could be required to obtain state permits for the irrigation water they consume. … This new ability to regulate water for marijuana growing is a result of SB 837, a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Suit challenges Delta pumping restrictions

In a failed effort to protect endangered fish, the federal government decided without proper study to default to restricting the giant pumps at the bottom of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. So argues a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by a powerful consortium of water agencies.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought and water bills are stuck on Capitol Hill

California water will retake the Capitol Hill stage in coming days, with compromise nowhere in sight. … Underscoring the many complications entangling California water, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District on Friday sued the federal Bureau of Reclamation over measures intended to protect endangered species.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

Critical Temperance Flat Agreement signed

Federal and local officials have signed an agreement that could bring the Temperance Flat Dam project one step closer to reality.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: San Joaquin Valley groups, feds seek funds to build Temperance Flat dam

A coalition of local elected officials, water districts, tribal members and the federal government will gather Friday to launch the application process to help build Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir project.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Why San Diego isn’t at the table for doomsday Colorado River water talks

When a group of water officials from California, Nevada and Arizona get together behind closed doors to talk about potential cuts to California’s share of the precious and dwindling Colorado River, representatives from San Diego County Water Authority are not present.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Shasta water release plan has no cutbacks to farmers – for now

After weeks of uncertainty and pressure from members of Congress, federal officials on Wednesday announced a plan for managing water releases from California’s largest reservoir this summer in a manner that will not involve cutbacks in farm water deliveries – at least if all goes as hoped.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento region to California: We’ve got plenty of water

Under the state’s newly relaxed conservation rules, California’s 400 urban water district were to submit an analysis of their supply conditions and conservation outlook by last Wednesday. The water board won’t publish the responses until next month. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Residents in westside town get extra money to offset water bills

Residents of El Porvenir, threatened with water shutoff in August as their neighbors in Cantua Creek were last year, are getting financial relief from the state. … In April, the farmworker residents of the tiny western Fresno County town rejected a higher water rate over five years that amounted to about $5 a month the first year.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

New arguments added to case over Nestle’s water permit in San Bernardino Mountains

Because Nestle North American Waters did not provide requested information, its permit related to water withdrawals in the San Bernardino National Forest has lapsed, plaintiffs contend in a brief filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Riverside. 

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Some water agencies say ‘no’ to mandated water cuts despite drought (with audio)

Municipal water agencies across California are required to report to state officials by midnight Wednesday on whether they have enough water to withstand three more years of drought. … Officials with the State Water Resources Control Board are calling it a “stress test.”

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State: Dry California town soon to have running water return

The state announced plans to spend $10 million to begin connecting unincorporated East Porterville in Tulare County to the water system of neighboring Porterville. … Statewide, officials said roughly 2,000 wells have run dry during California’s most severe drought on record and stretching into its fifth year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Melting snow, water releases and La Niña complicate California’s drought picture

Word of the vanishing Sierra snowpack, which usually helps replenish reservoir levels later in the summer, arrives amid uncertainty over how California’s dams will be managed in coming months to protect endangered fish. It also comes at a critical juncture for urban water officials across the state.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Water supply a ‘concern’ this summer in California (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor says a lack of rain in May and in early June has caused the expansion of abnormally dry conditions in northwest California.

Aquafornia news Charter Local Edition

Video: California Assemblyman James Gallagher on water, drought

Charter Local Edition Host Brad Pomerance interviews California Assemblyman James Gallagher about water, the drought and transportation.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: State water board expands its commitment to recycled water with new permitting process

This new Order, approved Tuesday, will encourage more recycled water projects by providing a single permit that can be used across Regional Water Quality Control Board boundaries. It also establishes conditions for recycled water use and gives authority to an administrator to issue recycled water permits to users.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Residents in Tulare County community open taps to clean water

Matheny Tract residents can finally open their taps to clean water. … In March, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Tulare to merge its water system with Matheny Tract under a new law.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Delta tunnels won’t take northern California’s water, say officials

Will Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels divert water to southern California that belongs to northern Californians? … Months of contentious public hearings start July 27.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Water agency offers financial, physical assistance for new wells

The board of the East Valley’s water wholesaler on Tuesday approved a $1.87 million package to tap an emergency water supply for the federally endangered Santa Ana sucker.

Aquafornia news KCRA Channel 3

Snowpack melting quickly in Sierra causes faster rapids (with video)

With temperatures in the 90s Tuesday, the water was raging along the North Fork of the American River thanks to fast-melting snow.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In another sign drought may be easing, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California ends water limits

Citing the state’s improved hydrology and impressive regional conservation, officials at Southern California’s massive water wholesaler voted Tuesday to rescind the cuts they imposed on regional water deliveries last year. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Donald Trump still faces pockets of resistance in California farming belt

This pancake flat expanse of citrus groves, almond trees and dairy cows rolling up toward the Sierra Nevada was billed as Donald Trump’s Waterloo.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hope survives in East Porterville, even as wells continue to run dry

No fewer than nine government agencies and nonprofit organizations have had a hand in helping the [East Porterville] community, which drew international media attention for its exceptional suffering in the fourth year of California’s drought.

Aquafornia news AgAlert Newspaper, California Farm Bureau Federation

Water officials outline outlook for 2016, beyond

What if 2017 is a dry year? “There are no predictions yet, but we have to be prepared,” said Jeanine Jones, resources manager for the state Department of Water Resources. Jones and other state and federal water officials outlined the challenges faced in meeting water demands and the limiting factors to delivery, during a Water Education Foundation seminar held in Fresno.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Water flowing into Diamond Valley Lake, launches to resume

Water is once again flowing into Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet for the first time in three years, which will allow boat launches to resume on Southern California’s largest reservoir in mid-May, just in time for Memorial Day weekend fishing.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plan to enlarge Los Vaqueros Reservoir gains momentum

For nearly two decades, Los Vaqueros Reservoir — a sprawling lake in eastern Contra Costa County nearly 3 miles long and 170 feet deep — has been a popular spot for boating, fishing, hiking and a key source of water for local residents.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Open house draws about 100 to learn about Nestle water study

The room contained about 100 people migrating from station to station, looking at poster boards and talking to specialists about fault lines, water drainage and other environmental concerns of Nestlé’s tap into a San Bernardino Mountains creek.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Owens Valley, they’re skeptical of Angelenos bearing gifts, including new artwork

Los Angeles insists that it had the best of intentions as it erected the monument of granite and sculpted earth that is now rising from a dry bed of Owens Lake 200 miles to the north. Department of Water and Power officials saw it as a gesture of reconciliation for taking the region’s water more than a century ago.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Klamath Dam removal could boost water supplies

It doesn’t seem possible that removing four dams could actually improve water supplies. But that is one potential result of the recently approved deal to remove dams on the Klamath River. The agreement, announced on April 6 by the U.S. Department of Interior, will likely become the largest dam removal project ever undertaken in the United States. 

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 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 The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta pumping to Southern California restricted despite rainy winter

For the first time in five years, Northern California’s rivers are roaring and its reservoirs are filled almost to the brim. But you’d hardly know it, based on how quiet it’s been at the two giant pumping stations at the south end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

We’re running out of water, and the world’s powers are very worried

Secret conversations between American diplomats show how a growing water crisis in the Middle East destabilized the region, helping spark civil wars in Syria and Yemen, and how those water shortages are spreading to the United States. 

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water woes divide California into haves, have nots

People have long predicted that California could eventually collapse into the ocean following a mega earthquake. Now, an eerily similar true-life scenario is playing out — but it’s thanks to the weather. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

San Joaquin Valley’s irrigation supplies range from near-normal to dismal

The 2016 irrigation season is rolling out on these warm April days with close-to-normal supplies in parts of the Northern San Joaquin Valley. In other parts, the drought of the past few years has not eased much, and farmers face another year of scraping by.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water allocation has winners, losers

In the latest sign of California’s improving drought picture, federal officials announced Friday that South Bay cities will receive 55 percent of their contracted water amounts this summer — up from 25 percent last year — from the Central Valley Project, California’s largest water delivery system.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds to announce water allotment for some California farms

Federal officials will say how much water some California farmers can expect to receive this year in one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

In California backcountry, skiers find satisfying snow

We were gliding downhill along a river buried in snow, our skis skimming a thin layer of fresh powder toward the setting sun and a wall of darkening clouds. … In California, snow isn’t just for skiers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s largest reservoir filling too fast thanks to El Niño, must release more water

The El Niño-fueled storms that have swept through Northern California in recent weeks have swelled some of the state’s largest reservoirs to encouraging levels even as the state’s drought persists.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Feinstein, GOP press Obama administration on Delta water

As lingering El Niño rains swell the state’s rivers, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined California House Republicans on Thursday to demand that President Obama order more water to be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam spillway gates open for first time in years

Dozens of people made their way toward Oroville Dam to see water surge down the dam’s controlled spillway Thursday. … Over the past 10 years, the spillway has been open for flood control just twice.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Nevada County reservoir littered with butane cans, irrigation officials say (with video)

Volunteers with the Nevada Irrigation District came to the Rollins Reservoir Saturday to canvas it for butane cartridges that had been spotted throughout the water.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Water experts: Drought, climate change require new ways of living in Colorado River basin

The Southwest needs a new vision and technologies to shore up its diminishing water supplies instead of relying on old “security blankets” like a drought-busting winter that refills America’s two biggest reservoirs, water experts and users argued Monday. That’s what’s been happening with water use in the Colorado River basin.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Group wants water bottling issue on Siskiyou ballot

A Siskiyou County group wants to put a measure on the November ballot that would require any business that wants to pump groundwater that would be exported from the county — including bottled water — would need an extraction permit.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: World Water Day rises to international prominence (with multimedia)

For almost all of its 240-year history, with only episodic interference from nature (the 1930s Dust Bowl) and one big intervention from man (the clean water campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s), the United States has been a place that largely took its water supply and quality for granted. 

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Will El Niño’s water bounty in Northern California provide for dry southern cities?

The so-called March Miracle has unleashed the largest allocation of water from Northern California in four years, more than doubling the flow of imported water from the State Water Project into Central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama seeks more coordination on dealing with drought

President Barack Obama on Monday directed the federal government to come up with a less reactionary and more long-term strategy for dealing with drought. … The White House is hosting a “water summit” on Tuesday, which is World Water Day, to raise awareness of the importance of safe, sufficient and reliable water resources.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The world’s poorest pay largest percentage of income for water, study says

The study, “Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water,” coincides with the international observance of World Water Day.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds loosen up, offer 30 percent water allocation to San Joaquin Valley contractors

The drought is certainly not over, but the federal Bureau of Reclamation was optimistic enough to offer water suppliers in the Valley 30 percent of their contract allocations this year. And several water agency officials believe more could be coming as well.

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 KCRA Sacramento

High water levels could lead to ‘interesting’ runoff season (with video)

Federal water managers warned Tuesday that northern California could be headed for an “interesting” runoff season following a series of late-season storms.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California experiencing ‘Miracle March’ says water manager (with audio)

The northern Sierra has seen nearly double the average precipitation since the beginning of March. It may seem hard to believe after such a dry February, but some of California’s largest reservoirs have approached flood operations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s biggest reservoirs recover, putting water limits in question

With California’s two largest reservoirs hitting historically average levels following a weekend of heavy storms, the state’s chief water regulator is cautiously optimistic that the drought may finally be relaxing its grip.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Pine Flat, Millerton lakes rise thanks to winter rains

Recent rains have dramatically increased the volume of water flowing into major central Sierra lakes and reservoirs that are vital to San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A behind-the-scenes battle to divert L.A.’s storm water from going to waste

[Eric] Batman reveled in El Niño’s long-overdue rumbling. His job, as senior civil engineer for the [Los Angeles] county Department of Public Works, is to keep as much rain as possible from escaping to the ocean.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Kill high-speed rail and spend the money on reservoirs? Proposed California ballot measure sparks debate

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to kill California’s high-speed rail project and use the money to build new reservoirs are racing to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. But the campaign, which is being bankrolled by San Joaquin Valley farmers, is already drawing fire from fellow farmers and environmentalists, who call it a “Trojan horse.”

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Will Human Right to Water resolution really help?

California is the first state to have a law declaring the human right to water, and now it also has a resolution from the Water Board prioritizing it. … In Poplar, California, an unincorporated Central Valley town of low-income, largely Hispanic residents, two of three community wells are contaminated with nitrates. The other one is going dry.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles officials seeded clouds during El Niño storm in hopes of more rain

Clouds over Los Angeles County were seeded with silver iodide to increase the amount of rainfall during Monday’s storm, marking the first cloud seeding done by the Department of Public Works since 2002.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

9,000 dying trees to be removed in Tuolumne County (with audio)

Tuolumne County will start on the job of removing  9,000 dead and dying trees that threaten roads, water supplies, and infrastructure this month.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Storms send billions of gallons of water into state reservoirs

This weekend’s soaking rains delivered just what drought-weary Northern California needed: billions of gallons of water pouring into the state’s major reservoirs — and more predicted for later this week.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

March storms needed to build Sierra snowpack (with audio)

California reservoirs are ’stable’ with help from above-average January precipitation, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Weekend storms expected to drop rain on north valley

The latest snow survey in the Sierra Nevada showed that an above-average snowpack in January gave way to a dry February, which reduced the statewide snowpack to 83 percent of normal. It was slightly better in the norther Sierra/Trinity area, the drainages that feed lakes Oroville and Shasta, but still below average at 89 percent.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Failure of key water pipeline into Silicon Valley may have exposed wider problems

Like a car owner whose transmission unexpectedly breaks down and results in a huge bill, Silicon Valley’s largest water provider will have to spend at least $20 million to drain, test and repair a critical water pipeline that failed last summer and may have more hidden problems.

Aquafornia news California DWR

News Release: California’s Three Traditionally Wettest Months End With Statewide Snowpack Water Content Less than Average

SACRAMENTO –The statewide snowpack – source of much of the California’s water supply – is only 83 percent of the March 1 average, the result of moderate precipitation since last October and relatively warm temperatures.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Will El Niño’s punch return in March? California snowpack needs renewal of drought-busting storms

After a dismally dry February, drought-weary Californians are hoping a series of storms predicted to roll through in early March blanket the Sierra Nevada with a much-needed additional layer of snow, building up the state’s vital snowpack that all but disappeared last year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Is this El Niño a dud?

Sacramento is in the peak of its rainy season, but there is no substantial rain in the forecast. … Whither El Niño?

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 Capital Public Radio

Sierra snowpack melts with dry February (with audio)

The water content in the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack has decreased significantly due to dry conditions and record warm temperatures across California in February. 

Commands