Home

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Long troubled Salton Sea may finally be getting what it most needs: action — and money

State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money. The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map By Gary Pitzer

Long Troubled Salton Sea May Finally Be Getting What it Most Needs: Action — And Money
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's largest lake could see millions in potential funding to supercharge improvements to address long-delayed habitat and dust suppression needs

A sunset along the shoreline of California's Salton Sea.State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money.

The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system. The lake is a festering health hazard to nearby residents, many of them impoverished, who struggle with elevated asthma risk as dust rises from the sea’s receding shoreline. 

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers cut off from rivers in emergency drought order

California regulators cut off thousands of farmers from their main irrigation supplies Tuesday, banning them from pulling water from the state’s main rivers and streams as the drought worsens. The State Water Resources Control Board, following hours of debate and comment, voted 5-0 to impose an “emergency curtailment” order covering the rivers of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed — essentially the entire Central Valley. It’s the most dramatic step taken to date by state regulators since the drought was officially declared in most of California’s counties — and surpasses any of the moves made during the previous drought. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Electricity from hydropower in California fell 44.3% in 2020 due to drought

The annual snapshot of California’s electricity generation shows how much drought conditions can affect the state’s power mix. In-state hydroelectricity generation in 2020 dropped 44.3 percent from the year before, according to numbers recently released by the California Energy Commission. All told, 21,414 gigawatt-hours came from a combination of the state’s large and small hydro power plants — significantly lower than the 38.494 gigawatt-hours hydro delivered in 2019.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville at lowest levels since 1977

Lake Oroville reached the lowest levels since September 1977, measuring below 643.5 feet above sea level at 10 a.m. Tuesday. For comparison, when Lake Oroville is full, the surface water level is 900 feet above sea level. Increasing issues are arising from the low levels being seen at Lake Oroville. The Edward Hyatt Power Plant may be forced to close down for the first time in its history due to low lake elevation. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

19 AGs to EPA: Roll back Trump’s clean-water rule ASAP

A coalition of 19 attorneys general led by California, Washington and New York urged the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter to repeal a Trump-era rule that they say curtails their authority to deny permits for projects that could harm their waterways.

Related article:

Online Water Encyclopedia

Restored wetlands in Northern California
Aquapedia background

Wetlands

Wetlands 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.

Pod

Important People in California Water History

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