Twenty early to mid-career
water professionals from across California have been chosen for
the 2022 William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class, the Water
Education Foundation’s highly competitive and respected career
The Water Leaders class includes engineers, lawyers, resource
specialists, scientists and others from a range of public and
private entities and nongovernmental organizations from
throughout the state. The roster for the
2022 class can be found here (add link).
We’re looking for a special kind of
writer to join our team who is eager to produce the kinds of
insightful and challenging stories we pursue, such as
our latest Western Water article on how
drought and climate change are threatening to upend collaboration
in the Colorado River Basin.
Are you a journalist enthralled by the history, policy and
science behind Western water issues? Then you might be just the
right person to join our team. We’re looking for a full-time
writer who is deeply knowledgeable about the West’s most precious
natural resource in California and the Colorado River Basin,
enjoys a fast-paced environment and possesses strong multimedia
skills. Learn more about the job here.
The Supreme Court appears ready to narrow the scope of the
Clean Water Act, eliminating protections for many inland
streams and wetlands that feed rivers, lakes and bays. But
California is also ready, thanks to former President Donald
Trump. When Trump tried to roll back federal regulation of
inland waterways toward the end of his term, California stepped
in with new pollution controls designed to protect those waters
within the state’s borders — regulations that would largely
fill the gap the Supreme Court seems poised to create by
Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and
Science Tanya Trujillo wrapped up a three-day trip to
California today where she highlighted President Biden’s
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $8.3 billion
investments in water management and drought resilience.
During her visit, Assistant Secretary Trujillo met with elected
officials, water managers, scientists, and local leaders to
hear about the impacts that the climate crisis is having on the
region and the Department’s commitment to investing in Western
communities’ water infrastructure.
Last year saw one record-breaking weather event after another,
from intense drought to torrential rain. December was no
different, ending 2021 with a reported 214 inches of snow at
the University of California’s Berkeley Central Sierra Snow
Lab, located an hour east of Sacramento. While this
intense snowfall — which made last month the snowiest
December on record — is a bright spot, researchers see
dramatic shifts like this one as part of a larger trend:
climate change. It’s a rising dilemma that has forced
researchers and water agencies alike to adapt their planning
The latest drought numbers were released, and there’s no
improvement in drought conditions as rainfall continues to
elude the Sacramento area. Last week’s numbers show 1% of
the state of California in Extreme Drought and 66% of the
state of California in Severe Drought. Not shown in the graphic
above, 99% of the state of California is in Moderate Drought,
and 100% of the state of California is Abnormally
Dry. Thursday morning’s numbers show no change in our
drought conditions. This isn’t a huge surprise as the
month of January has seen no measurable rainfall.
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 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.