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Latest Western Water Article Examines Major Report That Tries to Make Sense of Science Vital to the Colorado River’s Management
Report could improve understanding of Colorado River hydrology and aid water managers as they rewrite river's operating rules

Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it.

Snowpack, streamflow and tree ring data all influence the crucial decisions that guide water management of the iconic Western river every day.

Our latest article in Western Water news examines a new report that synthesizes and provides context for that science and could aid water managers as they prepare to rewrite the operating rules for a river system so vital to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Announcement

Registration Open for Virtual Journey into Key California Water Region
Bay-Delta Tour includes overview presentation, exclusive video tour screening and live Q&A with experts on the state's vital water hub

Aerial view of a part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.Join us for an Oct. 8 virtual journey into California’s most critical and controversial water region in the state: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals, supports the state’s two large water systems – the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project – and together with the San Francisco Bay is an important ecological resource. 

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Friday Top of the Scroll: First water futures contract is coming with the West on fire

If the record heat and wildfires ravaging California weren’t a clear enough sign that the climate is changing, then consider this: Wall Street is about to start trading futures contracts on the state’s water supply. … They are intended to both allow California’s big water consumers—like almond farms and municipalities—to hedge against surging prices and can act as a benchmark that signals how acute water scarcity is becoming in the state and, more broadly, across the globe.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court says state cannot change water rights for ‘public trust,’ a loss for environmentalists, county

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot reshuffle existing water rights to prevent environmental damage, despite recognizing a legal principle that requires the government to preserve natural resources for future generations… The Nevada court, in a 4-2 decision, separated itself from the California Supreme Court, which reached the opposite conclusion in a landmark 1980s case.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides

When fires burn up vegetation, the charred remains become hydrophobic—meaning they repel away any water. The soil is also very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to infiltrate. … Fires can also destroy the natural clumps in soil, increasing their erodibility. Altogether, this means that water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is unable to suck it up.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Registration open for virtual journey into key California water region

Join us for an Oct. 8 virtual journey into California’s most critical and controversial water region in the state: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Online Water Encyclopedia

Restored wetlands in Northern California
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Wetlands

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 list.

Salton Sea
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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

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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 most recent drought, from 2012–2016, much of the state experienced severe drought conditions – significantly less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher temperatures.

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.

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Important People in California Water History

Read about the history people who played a significant role in the water history of California.

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