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Long troubled Salton Sea may finally be getting what it most needs: action — and money

State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money. The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map By Gary Pitzer

Long Troubled Salton Sea May Finally Be Getting What it Most Needs: Action — And Money
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's largest lake could see millions in potential funding to supercharge improvements to address long-delayed habitat and dust suppression needs

A sunset along the shoreline of California's Salton Sea.State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money.

The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system. The lake is a festering health hazard to nearby residents, many of them impoverished, who struggle with elevated asthma risk as dust rises from the sea’s receding shoreline. 

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: California drought – Dozens of communities are at risk of running out of water

In Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast, city leaders are rushing to install an emergency desalination system. In Healdsburg, lawn watering is banned with fines of up to $1,000. In Hornbrook, a small town in Siskiyou County, faucets have gone completely dry, and the chairman of the water district is driving 15 miles each way to take showers and wash clothes. So far, California’s worsening drought has been an inconvenience in big cities. But it’s already imperiling an alarming number of communities, especially between the Bay Area and the Oregon border, threatening the water supplies for more than 130,000 people.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Projection: Lake Oroville could reach record low by November

As drought conditions continue throughout Butte County, the Department of Water Resources is currently projecting that the surface water level of Lake Oroville could reach an all-time low of 640 feet above sea level by October or November. As of Thursday, Lake Oroville’s surface water level was 648.47 feet above sea level. When full Lake Oroville’s surface water level is 900 feet above sea level. Water operations manager for the Department of Water Resources State Water Project Molly White said precipitation events later this year will determine when lake levels will begin to rise.

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Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Report: Valley could see 6-9 degree temperature increase by 2100

Climate change projections show the Central Valley will see more hot, dry years like 2021, but also some dangerously wet years as well. This year has already seen high temperatures, drought and high fire risk for Central Valley residents, and Jordi Vasquez, environmental scientist for the California Department of Water Resources, said climate models show the Central Valley heating up 6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. … The biggest impact for Central Valley communities like Hanford will be water management, Vasquez said.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: We’re moving! Please update our contact information

We’re moving! Please update your contact information for the Water Education Foundation. Starting Aug. 2, our office will be located near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, on the fringe of downtown Sacramento. Our new address is 2151 River Plaza Drive, Suite 205, Sacramento CA 95833. 

Online Water Encyclopedia

Restored wetlands in Northern California
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Wetlands

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

Salton Sea
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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.