California’s safe drinking water standards require a multistep
treatment process that includes filtration and disinfection. This
process removes and kills viruses, including coronaviruses such
Practically every drop of water that
flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado
River Basin has reams of science attached to it.
Snowpack, streamflow and tree ring data all influence the crucial
decisions that guide water management of the iconic Western river
latest article in Western Water news
examines a new report that synthesizes and provides context for
that science and could aid water managers as they prepare to
rewrite the operating rules for a river system so vital to the
Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Join us for an Oct. 8 virtual
journey into California’s most critical and
controversial water region in the state: The Sacramento-San
The Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals, supports
the state’s two large water systems – the State Water Project and
the federal Central Valley Project – and together with the San
Francisco Bay is an important ecological resource.
If the record heat and wildfires ravaging California weren’t a
clear enough sign that the climate is changing, then consider
this: Wall Street is about to start trading futures contracts
on the state’s water supply. … They are intended to both
allow California’s big water consumers—like almond farms and
municipalities—to hedge against surging prices and can act as a
benchmark that signals how acute water scarcity is becoming in
the state and, more broadly, across the globe.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot
reshuffle existing water rights to prevent environmental
damage, despite recognizing a legal principle that requires the
government to preserve natural resources for future
generations… The Nevada court, in a 4-2 decision, separated
itself from the California Supreme Court, which reached the
opposite conclusion in a landmark 1980s case.
When fires burn up vegetation, the charred remains become
hydrophobic—meaning they repel away any water. The soil is also
very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to
infiltrate. … Fires can also destroy the natural clumps in
soil, increasing their erodibility. Altogether, this means that
water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is
unable to suck it up.
Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world.
They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of
water, sequester carbon, 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
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— 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 most recent drought, from 2012–2016, much of
the state experienced severe drought conditions – significantly
less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher
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.