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Announcement

Last Chance to Register for Next Week’s Lower Colorado River Tour
Learn about the iconic river directly from experts during this engaging virtual journey May 20

Photo of Tina Shields, Imperial Irrigation DistrictOnly one week remains to register for our May 20 virtual Lower Colorado River Tour where you can hear directly from experts offering a range of perspectives on the most contested and meticulously managed river in the United States. Practically every drop of water in the Colorado River is already allocated, but pressure on the hard-working river continues to grow from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat and climate change.

Photo of Brian Golding, Sr., Fort Yuma Quechan Indian TribeThe 1,450-mile Colorado River is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico, but a 20-plus year drought in the basin has significantly dropped water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell — the river’s largest reservoirs.

This once-a-year tour will focus on how the Lower Basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona are using and managing the river’s water in that unprecedented context.

Announcement

Our Latest Western Water Article Examines Efforts to Help Consumers Afford Water as Bills Pile Up Amid Pandemic
Foundation writing team also updated Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map, and guides on Water Law, Delta & Central Valley Project

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Concerns about water affordability, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Our latest article in Western Water explores the hurdles to helping consumers, how some water agencies have devised workarounds and how far more lasting solutions remain out of reach.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Fears of a massive salmon die-off this summer in Sacramento River water conflict

An entire run of endangered winter-run chinook salmon, as well as the fall-run salmon that make up the core of the California fishery, are in danger of being wiped out this year if the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation keeps diverting water to farmers at its current rate. With state water resources constrained by the extreme drought, that’s the alarm that environmental, fishing and tribal groups are sounding after reports show the Sacramento River will reach dangerous temperatures during spawning season, based on federal scientific scenarios that analyze the bureau’s planned water releases. 

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Drought forces California farmers to destroy crops

With the uncertainty of water, some Central Valley farmers are destroying their crops ahead of the summer season in order to survive. It’s impacting jobs and soon possibly the grocery shelves. Every crop at Del Bosque Farms is planted meticulously, and every drop of water is a precious commodity. Joe Del Bosque started the family farm in 1985. He grows melons, asparagus, cherries, almonds, and corn, but the drought brings a flood of concern.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s unusually dry winter could be the new normal, according to decades of data

As Californians can tell by the already beige hills, the early fire weather warnings and the dusty umbrellas sitting deep inside closets, it’s been drier than usual this winter. And according to decades worth of precipitation data, that’s the new normal. What’s considered “normal” for baseline rainfall amounts is determined by a 30-year average that gets recalculated every decade. The latest recalculation, according to Jan Null, a forecaster who runs Golden Gate Weather Services, “show a noticeably drier state” through 2020 compared to the previous “normal” calculation covering 1981 through 2010. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Last chance to register for next week’s Lower Colorado River Tour

Only one week remains to register for our May 20 virtual Lower Colorado River Tour where you can hear directly from experts offering a range of perspectives on the most contested and meticulously managed river in the United States. Practically every drop of water in the Colorado River is already allocated, but pressure on the hard-working river continues to grow from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat and climate change.

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.
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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. 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 temperatures.

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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.