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Aquafornia
Water news you need to know

A collection of top water news from around California and the West each weekday.

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Please Note: The headlines below are the original headlines used in the publication cited at the time they are posted here, and do not reflect the stance of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial nonprofit that remains neutral.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District ready to support scaled-down tunnel plan

Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said … the agency intends to work constructively with the Newsom administration on developing a WaterFix project “that addresses the needs of cities, farms and the environment.” But Kightlinger expressed frustration that the project will be delayed even more.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CNN

Atmospheric rivers are pulling California out of drought and piling on the snow

When 2019 started, California’s snowpack was at 67%. Now it’s at over 136% and rising. The atmospheric rivers that are dumping rain along coastal California are also dumping massive amounts of snow in the state’s Sierra Nevada.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say

Although it might sound absurd to those who still recall five years of withering drought and mandatory water restrictions, researchers and engineers warn that California may be due for rain of biblical proportions — or what experts call an ARkStorm. … In heavily populated areas of the Los Angeles Basin, epic runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains could rapidly overwhelm a flood control dam on the San Gabriel river and unleash floodwaters from Pico Rivera to Long Beach, says a recent analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Fish in the fields

At the end of 2017, several local rice farmers teamed up with researchers for a pilot program known as “Fish in the Fields” through the Resource Renewal Institute, a nonprofit research and natural resource policy group, to see what would happen when fish were introduced to flooded rice fields. Now in its second year of experiments, researchers have concluded that it works, with methane – a climate-changing byproduct of rice agriculture much more detrimental than carbon dioxide – being reduced by about two-thirds, or 65 percent, in flooded fields that had fish in them.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Federal commission accepts MID, TID plan for river flows

A federal environmental analysis recommends relicensing the Don Pedro hydroelectric project and accepts a Modesto and Turlock irrigation district plan for well-timed flows to boost salmon in the Tuolumne River. The flows, combined with other measures to assist spawning and outmigrating young salmon, would commit less water to the environment than a State Water Resources Control Board plan that’s unpopular in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

US appeals court slams FERC on long-muddled state environmental permits

What may be the nation’s largest dam removal project—delayed for years by regulatory and legal disputes of a utility, stakeholders and states over licensing and environmental permits—now may have new momentum after a hard-hitting January federal appeals court ruling. Kiewit Infrastructure West, Granite Construction and Barnard Construction are shortlisted for the $400-million project to design and deconstruct four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s WOTUS: Clear as mud, scientists say

The Trump administration’s proposal might seem simpler to follow on wetlands because it wouldn’t protect those that are dry most of the time and don’t connect to larger downstream waters. But navigating the definition could be confusing when it comes to wetlands that do connect to streams that are dry during parts of the year.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Conserving water is still a priority for California. How about other states?

The Metropolitan Water District last week re-upped its turf-removal program, providing greater incentives for homeowners to replace thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant plants. In Utah, the state’s Division of Water Resources is encouraging residents to use more water so it can justify spending $3 billion on a pipeline that will take more water from Lake Powell… This tale of two states brings up an interesting question: Is water conservation de rigueur or passé?

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

Why ‘drier future’ instead of ‘climate change’? Ducey hedges

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey steered away from the term “climate change” in order to garner political support for the state’s Colorado River drought plan, he indicated Friday in an interview with a Pima Community College newspaper. In that interview, he also avoided making any connection between climate change and the “drier future” (his preferred phrase) that Arizona faces. His omission bordered on a denial of the established links between the two.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Oilfield wastewater disposal operation near Bakersfield closes under pressure from regulators, environmentalists

A controversial oilfield wastewater disposal operation east of Bakersfield has been shut down amid a years-long regulatory crackdown and opposition by environmental activist organizations. The Jan. 3 closure … puts an end to a practice regional water quality regulators say threatened to foul Bakersfield’s water supply through a slow process of underground migration.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Big Sur’s $54 million ‘catastrophic landslide’ a result of drought followed by deluge, scientists say

A landslide that dumped about 6 million cubic yards of rock and debris across California Highway 1 near near Big Sur, California, in May 2017 was the result of drought followed by deluge, a team of scientists say. …  The researchers determined that water replaces air in the tiny spaces between soil particles, which greatly increased the pressure on those particles, speeding up the rate of collapse.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

For those living on the coast, ocean waves may be getting stronger

According to a new study from the UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences, waves are crashing onto the coastline with more force than ever before — and this increase in wave strength is directly correlated to ocean warming.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

For a warming world, a new strategy for protecting watersheds

In increasingly arid regions such as the western U.S., water managers are learning that careful management and restoration of watershed ecosystems, including thinning trees and conducting prescribed burns, are important tools in coping with a hotter, drier climate.

Aquafornia news Government Technology

California water district opens spigots for tech upgrade

The Coachella Valley Water District has overhauled and modernized its IT infrastructure, as part of a $16 million capital improvement plan that will improve data management, simplify payments and boost conservation.

Aquafornia news Paradise Post

Butte County says temporary water systems need inspection

The Butte County Environmental Health Department announced Friday morning that businesses that plan on re-opening in the Camp Fire affected area and will be installing temporary water systems, including water tanks and hauling water, must contact its office prior to opening.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Reclamation updates Klamath Irrigation District on water operations

Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office continues to operate under the 2013 Biological Opinion while a new document is being created, along with the court-ordered injunction in place to guide the Klamath Project.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Phoenix family farms disappearing. Why?

When growth skyrocketed in Phoenix and the East Valley during the 1990s and 2000s, housing developments started replacing decades-old farms. Now, it’s the west side’s turn. In 2000, Maricopa County had 510 square miles of agricultural land and 180 square miles of residential land west of Interstate 17. By 2017, farmland had dropped to 350 square miles while agricultural residential land grew to cover 280 square miles, according to the Maricopa Association of Governments.

Aquafornia news Boulder Daily Camera

How much water can Colorado save? State is spending $20M to find out

Colorado will launch a far-reaching $20 million conservation planning effort this spring designed to ensure the state can reduce water use enough to stave off a crisis in the drought-choked Colorado River Basin.

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: How to lead California on water

Too often, entrenched conflicts that pit water user against water user block efforts to secure a sustainable, equitable, and democratic water future in California. Striking a balance involves art and science, compassion and flexibility, and adherence to science and the law. Felicia Marcus is a public servant unknown to many Californians. But as she concludes her tenure as chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, we owe her a debt of gratitude for consistently reaching for that balance.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: Drought contingency plan fails to conserve Arizona’s precious rivers

This failure is twofold. First, the DCP has limited provisions for actually conserving water — only $2 million for groundwater conservation programs in active management areas. … Second, the DCP fails to address conservation for Arizona’s rivers, streams and springs, even in the face of warming and drying trends.

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