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Announcement

Registration Now Open for Popular Northern California Tour; Join our Team as Operations Manager
Journey into the Sierra Nevada on our Headwaters Tour; Save the Date for our Annual Water Summit

Registration Now Open for Northern California Tour: October 16-18

Registration is now open for our popular Northern California Tour October 16-18, and seats always fill quickly! This 3-day, 2-night excursion across the Sacramento Valley travels north from Sacramento to Oroville, Redding and Shasta Lake.

Announcement

July Headwaters Tour Filling Up Quickly; Save The Dates for Water Summit, NorCal Tour in the Fall
Our 2023 Annual Report is Hot Off the Press!; Last Call for June International Groundwater Conference

As we head into summer, don’t miss your chance to explore the statewide impact of forest health on water resources in July and be sure to mark your calendars for our popular fall programming!

  • Northern California Tour, October 16-18: Explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape while learning about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply. Registration opens June 12!
  • Water Summit, October 30: Attend the Water Education Foundation’s premier annual event hosted in Sacramento with leading policymakers and experts addressing critical water issues in California and across the West. More details coming soon!

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: This part of California just returned to drought conditions

For the first time since October 2023, parts of California are now classified under a moderate drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor. This marks the end of a nine-month period without drought conditions in the state, the longest such stretch since the end of 2011. In its weekly update delivered on Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor listed a portion of Siskiyou County as being under moderate drought conditions. This designation signals early damage to crops and pastures, lowered water levels in streams and creeks, and the potential for water shortages. … The rapid shift underscores how swiftly California has transitioned from two consecutive years of abundant precipitation to a period marked by below-average rainfall. The back-to-back abnormally wet seasons have kept nearly all of California’s reservoirs at or near full capacity. The return of drought conditions will increase the risk of hazardous fire weather conditions over the next several weeks. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Sierra

How much longer can Glen Canyon Dam last?

This spring, the Bureau of Reclamation revealed damage to the river outlet works system of Glen Canyon Dam. While there is no structural risk to the huge dam on the Colorado River, the incident drew attention to the dam’s antiquated infrastructure and brought into question its ability to sustain water releases from Lake Powell at lower elevations. At risk are both the lower Colorado River Basin’s ecosystems—including the Grand Canyon—and the 30 million people who rely on the Colorado’s water.  The damage was caused by a High Flow Experiment Release in April, 2023, by cavitation, a process that happens when water passing through pipes at high velocity creates air bubbles that cause erosion. During the 2023 release, 3,500 CFS (cubic feet per second) of water was released through the outlet works pipes for 72 hours. The aim was to distribute sediment throughout the Grand Canyon to maintain healthy beaches and riparian habitats.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

How state water conservation rules affect Sacramento area

With California expecting its water supply to dwindle, new state conservation rules will encourage water suppliers to conserve 500,000 acre-feet, or 162.9 billion gallons, annually by 2040 — enough for roughly 1.4 million households. … Stark differences in conservation requirements are on display in the Sacramento region, where major urban districts face minimal cuts and some far smaller, more rural communities nearby face significant reduction targets far sooner. … Differences in the new regulations will also play out statewide.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news KVPR

California farmers expect rebound in almond industry

… While some [almond] growers and producers are optimistic the industry is turning around, others continue struggling. … In the last few years, state groundwater legislation known as SGMA began limiting landowners’ groundwater use, resulting in tough decisions about how much land growers can irrigate and which crops they can afford to keep alive. As a result, land prices have been shifting based on access to other water sources like irrigation canals. A recent report by land pricing company Acres, which crunches numbers based on publicly available data from land sales, shows that land values for almond orchards have been declining for years, regardless of water access.

Online Water Encyclopedia

Aquapedia background Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

Wetlands

Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWetlands are among the world’s most important and hardest-working ecosystems, rivaling rainforests and coral reefs in productivity. 

They produce high levels of oxygen, filter water pollutants, sequester carbon, reduce flooding and erosion and recharge groundwater.

Bay-Delta Tour participants viewing the Bay Model

Bay Model

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bay Model is a giant hydraulic replica of San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It is housed in a converted World II-era warehouse in Sausalito near San Francisco.

Hundreds of gallons of water are pumped through the three-dimensional, 1.5-acre model to simulate a tidal ebb and flow lasting 14 minutes.

Aquapedia background Colorado River Basin Map

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.