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In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling forced Los Angeles to reduce its take of water from Eastern Sierra creeks that fed Mono Lake. It marked a dramatic shift in California water law by extending the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that fed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves are not.
Some 35 years later, an appellate court in Sacramento for the first time has concluded that the same public trust doctrine used in the Mono Lake decision also applies to groundwater feeding the navigable Scott River in a picturesque corner of far Northern California.
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“Dry, hot and on fire” is how the California Department of Water Resources described Water Year 2018 in a recent report.
The 2018 Water Year (Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018) marked a return to dry conditions statewide — and with much of Southern California receiving half or less of its average annual precipitation — following an exceptionally wet 2017.
Was 2018 simply a single dry year or does it signal the start of another drought? And what can reliably be said about the prospects for Water Year 2019? Does El Niño really mean anything for California, or is it all washed up as a predictor?
At Water Year 2019: Feast or Famine?, a one-day event on Dec. 5 in Irvine, water managers and anyone else interested in this topic will learn about what is and isn’t known about forecasting California’s winter precipitation weeks to months ahead, the skill of present forecasts and ongoing research to develop predictive ability.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history related to providing in-stream flows for fish, leading to the creation of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.
On our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour, Nov. 7-8, we will visit all five reaches of the project – from Friant Dam in the Sierra foothills near Fresno downstream to Hills Ferry. We will meet with restoration specialists, water managers, environmentalists, farmers and fish biologists to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue and see the program’s progress firsthand.
People in California and the Southwest are getting stingier with water, a story that’s told by the acre-foot.
In the latest Western Water news, writer Gary Pitzer takes a look at how a long-time rule of thumb describing water use—that one acre-foot of water could supply two urban households for a year —is getting a rewrite as household habits and improved technology help people make the most of the water they have.
Applications for one of our most popular programs, Water Leaders, are now available for the 2019 class.
Alums of our one-year program say they gained invaluable contacts, exposure to different viewpoints, core knowledge and a big-picture view of California water.
Alums include Newsha Ajami, director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West; Jessica Pearson, executive officer of the Delta Stewardship Council; Martha Guzman Aceves, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission; Chris Scheuring, managing counsel for natural resources at the California Farm Bureau Federation; and Dave Eggerton, ACWA’s new executive director designate.
Explore more than 100 miles of Central California’s longest river, subject of one of the nation’s largest and costliest river restorations. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour on Nov. 7-8 will feature speakers from key governmental agencies and stakeholder groups who will explain the restoration program’s goals and progress.
The Colorado River is likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force water supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told an audience at the Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.
Only a few tickets are left for our annual Northern California Tour, Oct. 10-12, when we will venture deep inside Shasta Dam and tour wildlife refuges and rice fields as we learn about water use and salmon restoration efforts in the farm-heavy region.
In addition to Shasta Dam, we will see newly accessible views of the Oroville Dam spillway and get an on-site update of repairs to the cornerstone of the State Water Project, including live camera feeds from the ongoing construction site.
Our Oct. 10-12 Northern California Tour will explore the myriad agricultural uses of water throughout the Sacramento Valley, including the latest ways in which farms are adapting to changes in California’s groundwater and surface water resources.
The valley, the northern portion of California’s Central Valley, is known for some 2 million acres of farmland irrigated by the Sacramento River and its tributaries, along with groundwater. Primary crops grown in the region include rice, peaches, plums, tomatoes, walnuts and other nuts.
Attending our annual Water Summit on Sept. 20 is more than just hearing in-depth discussions on the hottest water topics.
Mingle and network with attendees at the hosted reception after the conference beside the Sacramento River, and bid throughout the day on some fun outings and baskets of California products during an auction that benefits our yearlong Water Leaders program.
Auction items also feature lunch with water policy experts, including:
Water means life for all the Grand Canyon’s inhabitants, including the insects that are a foundation of the ecosystem’s food web. But hydropower operations upstream on the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam disrupt the natural pace of insect reproduction as the river rises and falls, sometimes dramatically. Eggs deposited at the river’s edge are often left high and dry. Their loss affects available food for endangered fish such as the humpback chub.
A diverse roster of top policymakers and water experts are on the agenda for the Foundation’s 35th annual Water Summit. The day-long conference, Facing Reality from the Headwaters to the Delta, will feature critical conversations about water in California and the West.
Climate scientist Daniel Swain will be the opening keynote speaker addressing drought, flood and wildfires amid increasing climate whiplash and what it means for water management. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman will give the keynote lunch address. See the full roster of speakers here.
More than 260 California water suppliers — many of them small systems in disadvantaged communities — don’t meet safe drinking water standards. One solution to getting those communities clean water is as simple — and as complicated — as connecting them to a larger supplier nearby.
At the Foundation’s 35th annual Water Summit Sept. 20 in Sacramento, Camille Pannu, director of the Water Justice Clinic at UC Davis’ Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies, will discuss the complexities of water system mergers and a program underway in the Central Valley that has facilitated more than a dozen such mergers.
More than two dozen refuge structures made of large walnut tree trunks bolted to boulders were dropped deep into the Sacramento River last year to shelter juvenile salmon from predators.
Participants on our Northern California Tour Oct. 10-12 will visit the location of these rearing structures in Redding and learn why they’re important from Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, which spearheaded the project. Other restoration-focused stops on the tour include the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project.