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Announcement

Virtually Explore the Delta; Remembering Bob Johnson; Grab a Spot While They Last for Upcoming Tours & Events
Seize a Coveted Sponsorship for Our Tours & Events

Check Out Our Growing Delta Digital Library 

We’ve expanded our digital Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta library. You can now virtually visit the Delta by watching a series of short videos that show its multiple dimensions: a hub of California’s water supply, an agricultural cornucopia, a water playground and a haven for fish and other wildlife.

You can check out the video series here. You can also explore our interactive story map to the Delta.

Announcement

Learn About California Water Basics & Beyond at Water 101 Workshop April 5
Jump on the Bus for an Optional Groundwater Tour April 4; Seize a Coveted Sponsor Spot!

Water management at the local level in California increasingly requires a firm grasp of issues across the state, so take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to attend our Water 101 Workshop on April 5 and gain a deeper understanding of the history, hydrology and law behind California’s most precious natural resource.

Top policy and legal experts will be presenting at our annual workshop held at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, with an optional groundwater tour the day before.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: How California storms suddenly changed state’s water supply outlook

Even before the major storm forecast for this weekend, a wet February has eased fears that California would end the rainy season with too little water. In fact, many parts of the state are now likely to wrap up with average or above-average rain and snow totals. The state’s March snow survey, taking place Thursday, will show that snowpack in California’s mountains is around 80% of average for the date, a substantial leap from the end of January when it hovered around 50%. Rainfall, meanwhile, stood at 103% of average statewide Wednesday, up from about 80% last month. While the numbers are not exceptional, they mark enough of an improvement since the start of the year — when some water managers began to talk about drought — that reservoirs are sufficiently primed with precipitation to avoid major water shortages in 2024, even if the rest of the rainy season disappoints.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Climate change, cost and competition for water drive settlement over tribal rights to Colorado River

A Native American tribe with one of the largest outstanding claims to water in the Colorado River basin is closing in on a settlement with more than a dozen parties, putting it on a path to piping water to tens of thousands of tribal members in Arizona who still live without it. Negotiating terms outlined late Wednesday include water rights not only for the Navajo Nation but the neighboring Hopi and San Juan Southern Paiute tribes in the northeastern corner of the state. The water would come from a mix of sources: the Colorado River that serves seven western states, the Little Colorado River, and aquifers and washes on tribal lands. The agreement is decades in the making and would allow the tribes to avoid further litigation and court proceedings, which have been costly.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

New study: California’s urban runoff flows down the drain. Can the drought-plagued state capture more of it?

California fails to capture massive amounts of stormwater rushing off city streets and surfaces that could help supply millions of people a year, according to a new analysis released today. The nationwide report, by researchers with the Pacific Institute, ranks California ninth nationwide among states with the most estimated urban runoff. … The analysis reports California sheds almost 2.3 million acre-feet of precipitation from pavement, roofs, sidewalks and other surfaces in cities and towns every year. If it were captured and treated, that would be enough to supply more than a quarter of California’s urban water use, or almost 7 million Southern California households each year.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will a $16-billion water tunnel destroy California’s delta?

In the heart of California, at the place where two great rivers converge beneath the Tule fog, lies the linchpin of one of the largest water supply systems in the world. [T]he Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta … is also the site of a bitter, decades-long battle over a proposed plan known as the Delta Conveyance Project — a 45-mile tunnel that would run beneath the delta to move more water from Northern California to thirsty cities to the south. State officials say the tunnel is a critical piece of infrastructure that would help protect millions of Californians from losing water supplies in the event of a major earthquake or levee break. … Opponents say the tunnel is a boondoggle that would further imperil the delta’s fragile ecosystem, which has already been eroded by heavy water withdrawals for agriculture and cities. 

Related article:

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.

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.