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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
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.
Join the team at the Water Education
Foundation, a highly respected and impartial nonprofit
that has been a trusted source of water news and educational
programs in California and across the West for more than 40
“Dry, hot and on fire” is how
the California Department of Water Resources described Water Year
2018 in a
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
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
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
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
told an audience at the Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in
Only a few tickets are left for our
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,
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
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
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.
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.