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
Twenty years ago, the Colorado River
Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch.
The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s
anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river
system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and
ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide
on how to respond.
It’s your last chance to sign up for a few events this week:
Today at 3 p.m.: Are you considering applying
for our 2021 Water Leaders
class or supporting an applicant as their
Sign up for a 30-minute Q&A
session at 3 p.m. with Executive Director Jenn
Bowles, who will offer details on the one-year program and tips
for completing a solid application. The program deepens
knowledge on water, enhances individual leadership skills and
prepares class members to take an active, cooperative approach to
decision-making about water resource issues. Get more info on the
free Zoom event and learn
how you can sign upto attend.
In the midst of the pandemic and recession, the cost of
delivering safe drinking water continues to rise across
California, creating a crisis of affordability for water users
and a revenue problem for water suppliers. PPIC talked
to Robert Shaver—board chair for the California Urban
Water Agencies (CUWA) and general manager of the Alameda County
Water District—about how the state’s largest public water
agencies are thinking about this issue.
The past could also become the future, science tells us. In
fact, thanks to global warming, regional climate patterns
linked to extended periods of heat and drought that upended
prehistoric life across the Southwest thousands of years ago
are setting up again now.
A four-year battle over a plan to dredge 13 miles of waterways
to clear San Francisco Bay for larger oil tankers ended Monday,
with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announcing it was
scuttling the project.
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.