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Aerial view of Lake Shasta, showing the effects of drought
Announcement

Registration Now Open for Northern California & San Joaquin River Restoration Tours
Join our fall tours focused on California's two largest rivers to explore drought impacts, salmon restoration efforts and more

Register today for the return of our in-person fall tours offering participants a firsthand look at issues such as drought in California’s two largest watersheds that have implications for the entire state.

Our Northern California Tour explores the Sacramento River and its tributaries to learn about key reservoirs and infrastructure that conveys vital water resources across California. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour returns this year to dive into the story of bringing back the river’s chinook salmon population while balancing water supply needs.

Announcement

Mark Your Calendars for the Foundation’s Fall Programs Including Water Leaders Reunion
Save the Dates for our Annual Water Summit & Tours of the State's Two Largest Rivers

​Mark your calendars now for our full schedule of fall programs, including a reunion of our Water Leaders graduates to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the program as well as the in-person return of our 38th annual Water Summit.

Our fall programming also includes tours exploring California’s two largest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, to learn more about infrastructure, the impacts on farms and habitat from a third year of drought and salmon restoration efforts.

Check out the details below to learn more about these fall programs.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom plans to keep lights on in CA — with fossil fuels

A controversial plan from Gov. Gavin Newsom would reshape how business is done on the California power grid…. State lawmakers could vote as early as Wednesday night on the polarizing legislation, whose text was revealed late Sunday. The bill would give the Department of Water Resources unprecedented authority to build or buy energy from any facility that can help keep the lights on during the next few summers — including polluting diesel generators and four gas-fired power plants along the Southern California coast that were originally supposed to close in 2020 but were rescued by state officials.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Pipelines? Desalination? Turf removal? Arizona commits $1B to augment, conserve water supplies

The Colorado River’s precipitous decline pushed Arizona lawmakers to deliver Gov. Doug Ducey’s $1 billion water augmentation fund — and then some — late Friday, their final night in session. Before the votes, the growing urgency for addressing the state’s oncoming water shortage and the long timeline for approving and building new water projects nearly sank the legislation. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Greenbiz

Will water pricing be the next carbon pricing?

The price of water — essential for human life, nature, communities and businesses — is often subsidized, reflecting a commonly held belief that everyone should have abundant access to clean water…. In the Western United States, cutbacks to one of the Southwest’s most important watersheds, the Colorado River, are imminent and possibly economically crushing to farmers … California agriculture lands are straining to access groundwater that used to be plentiful. … Some companies that want to stay one step ahead of the pressing water crisis are adopting strategies that set higher internal prices on water than what they actually pay to their local utility or municipality.  

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

The Bay Area has avoided a major fire so far. The weather report holds the answer for why

For a moment, the first week of summer looked like the prelude to a vicious fire season in the Bay Area, with blazes ripping through the hillsides south of Livermore and the ridges bordering Port Costa. But firefighters managed to quash these fires quickly, aided by tame winds and a landscape still moist enough to keep the flames from spreading fast. … From June 19 through June 27, Cal Fire battled 14 major fires across the state that torched 10 acres or more, nine of them in the greater Bay Area region stretching from Sonoma County to the San Joaquin Valley in the east and south to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Related articles: 

Online Water Encyclopedia

Aquapedia background Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

Wetlands

Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWetlands are among the most important and hardest-working ecosystems in the world, rivaling rain forests and coral reefs in productivity of life. 

Salton Sea
Aquapedia background

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

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.

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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.