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Could “Black Swan” Events Spawned by Climate Change Wreak Havoc in the Colorado River Basin?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Scientists say a warming planet increases odds of extreme drought and flood; officials say they’re trying to include those possibilities in their plans

Runoff from what some describe as an "epic flood" in 1983 strained the capacity of Glen Canyon Dam to convey water fast enough.  The Colorado River Basin’s 20 years of drought and the dramatic decline in water levels at the river’s key reservoirs have pressed water managers to adapt to challenging conditions. But even more extreme — albeit rare — droughts or floods that could overwhelm water managers may lie ahead in the Basin as the effects of climate change take hold, say a group of scientists. They argue that stakeholders who are preparing to rewrite the operating rules of the river should plan now for how to handle these so-called “black swan” events so they’re not blindsided.

Announcement

Northern California Tour to Include Update on Camp Fire Impacts to Paradise Water System
Paradise Irrigation District general manager will discuss the challenges to recovery on Oct. 2-4 tour

The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history had a severe impact on the water system in the town of Paradise. Participants on our Oct. 2-4 Northern California Tour will hear from Kevin Phillips, general manager of Paradise Irrigation District, on the scope of the damages, the obstacles to recovery and the future of the water district.

The Camp Fire destroyed 90 percent of the structures in Paradise, and 90 percent of the irrigation district’s ratepayer base. The fire did not destroy the irrigation district’s water storage or treatment facilities, but it did melt plastic pipes, releasing contaminants into parts of the system and prompting do-not-drink advisories to water customers.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: Could “black swan” events spawned by climate change wreak havoc in the Colorado River Basin?

The Colorado River Basin’s 20 years of drought and the dramatic decline in water levels at the river’s key reservoirs have pressed water managers to adapt to challenging conditions. But even more extreme — albeit rare — droughts or floods that could overwhelm water managers may lie ahead in the Basin as the effects of climate change take hold, say a group of scientists.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California protects itself from Trump’s rollback of Clean Water Act

The Trump administration rolled back a key provision of the Clean Water Act on Thursday, doing away with protections for many wetlands and streams across the country… The repeal of the Waters of the United States rule, however, will not directly affect landowners and businesses in California. State regulators in April passed a sweeping wetlands policy that secured state oversight of California’s waterways…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

FEMA appeals to California homeowners to buy flood insurance

The flood insurance program has been plagued for years by outdated maps of at-risk flood zones and billions of dollars in accumulating debt, compounded by rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms strengthened by warming oceans. … The result is that insurance premiums fail to reflect the true risks to properties…

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Northern California tour to include update on Camp Fire impacts to Paradise water system

The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history had a severe impact on the water system in the town of Paradise. Participants on our Oct. 2-4 Northern California Tour will hear from Kevin Phillips, general manager of Paradise Irrigation District, on the scope of the damages, the obstacles to recovery and the future of the water district.

Online Water Encyclopedia

Wetlands
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Wetlands

Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of water, reduce flooding and erosion, recharge groundwater and provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities from fishing and hunting to photography. They also serve as critical habitat for wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on California’s endangered species list.

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

Drought
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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.

No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the West than in any other regions of the country.

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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.

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