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
Our popular Layperson’s Guide
to the Delta has just been updated to reflect the
latest information about efforts to reconcile ecosystem needs of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with its role as California’s
vital water delivery hub as well as its place as an important
agricultural region and a popular recreation destination.
The Delta is the largest freshwater tidal estuary on the West
Coast and is a unique resource and distinct feature of Northern
California’s landscape. The water that flows through the Delta
provides a significant portion of drinking water for more than 29
million Californians, serves a $50 billion agricultural industry,
is home to native and nonnative plants and animals and is a
crucial part of the state’s two largest surface water delivery
systems – the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley
Colorado is home to the headwaters
of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the
Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling
basin that stretches south to California, Arizona and Mexico.
The task of working with interstate partners to address the
challenges of the Colorado River Basin while balancing competing
water demands within the state of Colorado rests largely with
Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation
latest article in Western Water, Mitchell
talked about her state’s plan to address an expected water supply
shortfall, climate risks and the prospects for future Colorado
River operations as the river system deals with prolonged
South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate
this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives
appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The
bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal
and for two Northern California reservoirs.
Here at 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide, only vestiges of
the winter snowpack remain, scattered white patches that have
yet to melt and feed the upper Colorado River, 50 miles away.
That’s normal for mid-June in the Rockies. What’s unusual this
year is the speed at which the snow went. And with it went
hopes for a drought-free year in the Southwest.
U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd of the Eastern District of
California, who is based in Fresno, denied environmental
groups’ request for an injunction that would have required the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the CVP, to reduce
water allocations as needed to manage water temperatures in the
Sacramento River below Shasta Dam. The groups sought more cold
water for spring- and winter-run chinook salmon.
After seven years of water restrictions over the Paso Robles
Groundwater Basin, San Luis Obispo County is redrawing the
basin’s boundaries, which will subject hundreds of new property
owners to a moratorium on irrigating and other rules.
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.