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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

Friday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers pass major plastic-reduction measure after years of thwarted attempts

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a sweeping plastic-reduction measure that aims to dramatically shrink the amount of disposable packaging and food ware that Californians use in their daily lives. The bill, SB54, is the result of a breakthrough legislative deal between some environmentalists, business groups and waste haulers, a last-minute compromise that led proponents to withdraw an anti-plastic waste initiative from the November ballot. … “California won’t tolerate plastic waste that’s filling our waterways and making it harder to breathe,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re holding polluters responsible and cutting plastics at the source.”

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Will the Colorado River dry up? What we know about looming water cuts

The seven states that rely on the Colorado River must come up with a plan to cut 2 to 4 million acre-feet of water use. By mid-August. And if they don’t, the federal Bureau of Reclamation will act for them. It’s a massive amount of water to find in a short amount of time. And there are more questions than answers about what this entails. But let’s walk through what we know. Could the Colorado River dry up? Maybe. Depending on how you define “dry up.”

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Utah will soon have water judges. This is what they’ll do and why it matters.

For the last 25 years that Scott Martin has been practicing water law in Utah, the concept of appointing water judges or creating a water court has been a topic of conversation many times. … But as the finite resource becomes more scarce, the conversation of appointing water judges in Utah has turned into a reality. A new rule passed by the Utah Judicial Council that goes into effect on Nov. 1 will establish at least three district court water judges throughout the state. The district court judges will volunteer to be a water judge and then be approved by the Judicial Council.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

To avoid blackouts, California may tap fossil fuel plants

Looking to avoid power blackouts, California may turn to the one energy source it’s otherwise desperate to get rid of: fossil fuels. A sweeping energy proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday puts the state in the business of buying power to ensure there’s enough to go around during heat waves that strain the grid. But some critics say the method of getting there is at odds with the state’s broader climate goals, because it paves the way for the state to tap aging gas-fired power plants and add backup generators fueled by diesel…. Newsom’s solution centers on creating a “strategic reliability reserve” run by the Department of Water Resources.

Related articles: 

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.