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Aerial view of Lake Shasta, showing the effects of drought
Announcement

Registration Now Open for Northern California & San Joaquin River Restoration Tours
Join our fall tours focused on California's two largest rivers to explore drought impacts, salmon restoration efforts and more

Register today for the return of our in-person fall tours offering participants a firsthand look at issues such as drought in California’s two largest watersheds that have implications for the entire state.

Our Northern California Tour explores the Sacramento River and its tributaries to learn about key reservoirs and infrastructure that conveys vital water resources across California. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour returns this year to dive into the story of bringing back the river’s chinook salmon population while balancing water supply needs.

Announcement

Mark Your Calendars for the Foundation’s Fall Programs Including Water Leaders Reunion
Save the Dates for our Annual Water Summit & Tours of the State's Two Largest Rivers

​Mark your calendars now for our full schedule of fall programs, including a reunion of our Water Leaders graduates to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the program as well as the in-person return of our 38th annual Water Summit.

Our fall programming also includes tours exploring California’s two largest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, to learn more about infrastructure, the impacts on farms and habitat from a third year of drought and salmon restoration efforts.

Check out the details below to learn more about these fall programs.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California’s drought is dire. But there’s a surprising bright spot that may make this year better than last

The outlook for California’s drought is grim. The first five months of the year have been the driest on record. Snowpack in the mountains, at its usual April 1 peak, was the smallest it’s been in seven years. Reservoirs are hovering near historic lows for the season, including Lake Shasta, the state’s largest. But there’s one, albeit small, bright spot: spring runoff. The water that pours from the mountains to rivers and streams, one of the most important barometers of state water supplies, is up substantially from over a year ago — though still far below normal.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado’s water leader thinks most of the needed Colorado River cuts should be made by Arizona, Nevada and California

Last month, the federal government dropped a bombshell on the states that share the Colorado River. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation gave Colorado and the other six states in the basin just two months to come up with a plan to drastically reduce the amount of river water they use. If they don’t, the federal government has threatened to use its emergency authority to make the cuts it feels are necessary. … Becky Mitchell, the commissioner of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, .. said most of that responsibility should be on the states in the lower part of the river basin: Arizona, Nevada and California. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Southern California residents cut water in drought of ‘epic proportions’

Southern California areas told to cut water use by 35% finished June on track to stave off an outdoor watering ban. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California supplies those communities in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties with Northern California water delivered by the State Water Project. After a record dry start to the year, the state limited its deliveries to just 5%. In response, Metropolitan required millions of its customers to cut outdoor watering to one day a week or find other ways to conserve. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Local groups reel after court rules LADWP can cut irrigation

The futures of tourism, wildlife and ranching in Mono County are now at the mercy of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power – according to environmental groups – now that a court has upheld the agency’s authority to cut irrigation water. For about 100 years, the agency has leased its land and provided water for ranchers to graze cattle in Long Valley and Little Round Valley. But Wendy Schneider, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Inyo, said the damage from allowing less water to irrigate these valleys would be widespread. … Schneider also said she worries about the survival of trout and the potential for increased dust storms and fire danger.

Online Water Encyclopedia

Aquapedia background Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

Wetlands

Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWetlands are among the most important and hardest-working ecosystems in the world, rivaling rain forests and coral reefs in productivity of life. 

Salton Sea
Aquapedia background

Salton Sea

As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its elevation of 237 feet below sea level.

The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years, creating California’s largest inland body of water. The Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130 miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe

Lake Oroville shows the effects of drought in 2014.

Drought

Drought—an extended period of limited or no precipitation—is a fact of life in California and the West, with water resources following boom-and-bust patterns. During California’s 2012–2016 drought, much of the state experienced severe drought conditions: significantly less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher temperatures. Those same conditions reappeared early in 2021 prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom in May to declare drought emergencies in watersheds across 41 counties in California.

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Important People in California Water History

Read about the history people who played a significant role in the water history of California.