Tickets are now on sale for the Water Education
Foundation’s April 5-7 tour of the Lower Colorado River.
Don’t miss this opportunity to visit key sites along the
“Lifeblood of the Southwest,” including a private tour of Hoover
Dam, Central Arizona Project’s Mark Wilmer pumping plant and the
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. The tour also visits the Salton
Sea and farming regions in the Imperial and Coachella valleys.
Sixteen years of drought on the Colorado River, a key water
supply for California, have increased the chance that Lake Mead
will fall low enough to trigger a shortage declaration in the
not-too-distant future. It seems a matter of when and not if. The
reservoir now sits at 40 percent capacity and federal officials
say there is a 48 percent chance of a shortage declaration in
Last year, representatives from the federal government,
California and the other Lower Basin states, and Mexico came
close to an interlinked, multi-party agreement on how to slow the
reservoir’s decline to better prepare for a reduction in water
supplies. They failed to finalize a drought contingency plan
before the end of the Obama administration, leaving stakeholders
wondering what will happen now.
Californians continue to receive optimistic news that parts of
the state will see significant drought relief in 2017. One
positive development is a strong likelihood that San Luis
Reservoir near Los Banos will be full by April 1 – the first time
As of Tuesday, the 2 million acre-feet reservoir was at 78
percent of capacity. This is a stark contrast to last August when
the reservoir was at its lowest level in 25 years.
Data, data everywhere but what to do with it all? Water wonks
have long known there are reams of information about water
available from a multitude of sources. Databases contain
information about water supply, water quality, water rights and
other issues. But the information is scattered and not easily
Now, a new state law aims to corral all the dates, places and
numbers into a useful platform that is expected to make
California’s water management system more effective.
California’s San Joaquin Valley produces 25 percent of the
nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and
vegetables consumed throughout the country. Despite this winter’s
deluge, many farmers in the San Joaquin Valley will face another
season amid changing drought conditions. Challenges that still
face California’s agricultural heartland include reduced surface
water allocations, overdrafted groundwater basins and decreasing
Experts from around the state will discuss groundbreaking ways to
create additional water sources at the Water Education
Foundation’s 34th annual Executive
Briefing, “Wave of Change: Breaking the Status Quo,” on March
23 in Sacramento.
Topics addressed by speakers on the panel “Tapping New Sources:
Water for the 21st Century” will include stormwater capture,
water recycling and potable reuse, and water neutrality
The recent deluge has led to changes in drought conditions in
some areas of California and even public scrutiny of the
possibility that the drought is over. Many eyes are focused on
the San Joaquin Valley, one of the areas hardest hit by reduced
surface water supplies. On our Central Valley Tour, March
8-10, we will visit key water delivery and storage sites in the
San Joaquin Valley, including Friant Dam and Millerton Lake
on the San Joaquin River.
Among the hot topics on tap for the May 25 conference in
Ontario are efforts to map water use to make the watershed
resilient, a look at Proposition 1 funding and the region’s
ambitious integrated projects, and a focus on underserved and
Finding new sources of water for the future and implementing the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act are two of the key topics
to be addressed at this year’s Executive
Briefing, the Water Education Foundation’s flagship
conference of the year.
The 34th annual event, “Wave of Change: Breaking the Status Quo,”
will feature key speakers and top experts in their fields.
The Briefing will be March 23 at a new location this year –
the Hilton Sacramento Arden West hotel, 2200 Harvard Street in
The San Joaquin Valley has been hit hard by the six-year drought
and related surface water cutbacks. Some land has been fallowed
and groundwater pumping has increased. What does this year hold?
Will these recent heavy storms provide enough surface water for
improved water deliveries?
Your best opportunity to see and understand this vital
agricultural region of California is to join us on our annual
Central Valley Tour,
Dependence on the Colorado River as a water supply source has
been shaken by 16 years of drought that have rewritten the rules
for managing water. In the Lower Basin, water users are grappling
with the potential of a shortage that would reduce annual
The event, held once a year, gives attendees a chance to
gain a deeper understanding of our state’s most precious natural
resource, including the history, hydrology, legal aspects of
water, along with hot topics.
The agenda is now posted for the Feb. 2-3 event in West
Sacramento. Check it out
here and see all the experts lined up to teach the
SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Bob Johnson, a former
commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, was elected president
of the Water Education Foundation’s board of directors, taking
the helm as the organization marks its 40th anniversary in 2017.
Johnson replaces Bill Mills, who had been president since 2007
and will remain on the board as a director. Mills is a water
consultant who was general manager of the Orange County Water
District from 1987 to 2002.
This will be a big year for the Foundation as we celebrate our
40th anniversary! We began in 1977 in the second year of a
drought. Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Jerry Brown was
governor of California. Some things never change!
We are planning a few events to mark the milestone – a
picnic in the summer for attendees of our tours no matter
how long ago you joined us for an outing, and a special dinner in
Our Water 101 Workshop in February
in West Sacramento is a unique, once-a-year opportunity designed
to give newly elected water district directors and other
participants a chance to go beyond the headlines and gain a
deeper understanding of California water.
Participants will learn from top experts, such as former Natural
Resources Secretary Lester Snow, about:
As drought, groundwater and Delta issues continue to
dominate headlines, attend our popular Water 101 workshop to learn from leading
policymakers and experts about key issues associated with the
Among the speakers on the first day of the 1-1/2 day workshop on
February 2-3 at the West Sacramento City Hall are:
A new look for our most popular product! Widely known as being
the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in
the state, the California Water
Map has been updated just in time for the holidays.
The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural
environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and