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.
Despite bipartisan calls to declare a state of emergency over
California’s deepening drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom sidestepped
questions Tuesday about when he may issue a proclamation. The
governor said his administration is talking with federal
officials daily about the status of the state’s water supply
after two years of minimal rainfall that have dried out much of
With California in the throes of a second year of drought
conditions, the mega-water agency of Southern California served
notice Tuesday that it’s prepared to spend up to $44 million to
buy water from Northern California to shore up its supplies.
The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California, which serves 19 million urban residents, authorized
its staff to begin negotiating deals with water agencies north
of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where supplies are
generally more plentiful.
While the federal government sees the prospect of raising the
height of Shasta Dam as a way to increase water storage for a
thirsty California, the Winnemem Wintu of Shasta County see it
as a threat to their culture. It was a theme picked up
this week by American Rivers, a conservation group that named
the McCloud River one of America’s 10 most endangered rivers
because of the proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam.
… Raising the height of the dam would raise the level of
the lake about 20 feet when full. It would also further
inundate about a third of a mile of the McCloud River …
For more than 100 years after California’s Gold Rush,
developers and city leaders filled in San Francisco Bay,
shrinking it by one third to build farms, freeways, airports
and subdivisions. All that changed in the 1970s with modern
environmental laws. But now as sea level rise threatens to
cause billions of dollars of flooding in the coming decades,
the bay is going to need to be filled again — but this time in
a different way, according to a new scientific report out
The San Diego County Water Authority is no stranger to conflict
– virtually all of its dealings over the past decade have been
shaped by its feud with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California. Now that feud is fueling
fights within the agency itself.
The San Joaquin Valley’s quest for groundwater sustainability
will result in large amounts of irrigated agricultural lands
being retired. A new book explores how some of these lands
could be restored to natural areas that bring multiple
benefits. We talked to Scott Butterfield, a senior scientist at
The Nature Conservancy and one of the book’s editors, about
Imperial Irrigation District apparently has decided not to
sweat Michael Abatti’s decision to appeal his case against the
district to the nation’s highest court. IID announced Monday it
will not file a response to Abatti’s petition to the U.S.
Supreme Court over his ongoing legal dispute with the district
over water rights. The exception would be if the court requests
a response. IID General Counsel Frank Oswalt said in a press
release that a response is unnecessary.
Earlier this month, camera crews once again gathered in the
Sierra Nevada to watch a man plunge a pole through the snow.
The pole was removed and, following a tense few moments,
Californians learned we experienced another dry winter, and we
are plunging further into drought. These snowpack surveys are
quaint rituals, but they’re also a jarring reminder of how
little technological innovation has occurred in California’s
water sector. -Written by Danielle Blacet, deputy executive
director at the California Municipal Utilities Association,
and Adrian Covert, senior vice president of public policy
at the Bay Area Council.
California households face over $600 million in household water
debt, with some 1.6 million homes — roughly 12 percent of all
state residents — dealing with an average of $500 in arrears.
The findings show clear racial inequities, with households of
color bearing the brunt of this debt. More than 130 smaller
utilities across the state will need federal help in the next
six months if they are to survive. It is clear that we
need a solution now. -Written by Michael Carlin, the acting general
manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
It’s that time of year, when we find out it’s that kind of
year. We appear at the doorstep of a “critically dry
year,” and most reservoir levels are significantly below
average. Those conditions bring painfully to mind the awful
drought years of 2014 and 2015, and threaten water supplies for
California farms and cities, and for the protected fish species
that must also get by in these lean years. -Written by Danny Merkley, director of water resources, and
Chris Scheuring, senior counsel for the California Farm
Tree roots are being blamed for a 98,280-gallon sewage spill in
Sausalito that went unnoticed for two weeks. The overflow
started on March 17 and went undetected because of heavy
vegetation, according to the county.
How many salmon populate the Lower Putah Creek? What are the
demographics of these fish? In what ways can their habitat be
preserved so the lower creek remains healthy? Researchers at
the University of California, Davis are researching these
questions, and the Solano County Water Agency (SCWA) has given
them another year of funding to continue their research as part
of the Lower Putah Creek Salmon Study through the rest of the
2021-22 fiscal year.
[C]onsider the following scenarios: A hurricane blasts Florida.
A California dam bursts because floods have piled water high up
behind it. A sudden, record-setting cold snap cuts power to the
entire state of Texas. These are also emergencies that require
immediate action. Multiply these situations worldwide, and you
have the biggest environmental emergency to beset the earth in
millennia: climate change. Given the circumstances, Scientific
American has agreed with major news outlets worldwide to start
using the term “climate emergency” in its coverage of climate
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into whether a
previously unexplored vitamin deficiency could play a role in
the decline of sucker species in the Klamath Basin. Thiamine,
also known as vitamin B1, is essential for all vertebrates. It
helps enzymes break down sugars, produce energy and create
genetic material. In fish, it plays a significant role in early
growth and development.
Ballona Wetlands activists and Westside residents are planning
an Earth Day protest, calling on local leaders to shut down the
Playa del Rey oil field and pushing back against what they call
a disguised restoration project meant to restore the gas
company’s infrastructure below the ecological reserve.
The Colorado River is one of the most highly developed surface
water systems in the world, but demand for the river’s water
continues to exceed supply. University of Arizona geosciences
professor Connie Woodhouse discusses the impact of a warming
climate on the Colorado River. She is the featured speaker for
the annual College of Science lecture series April 15. Connie
Woodhouse spoke with Leslie Tolbert, Regent’s professor emerita
in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona.
CITIZENS for a SUSTAINABLE HUMBOLDT (CSH) and the NORTHCOAST
ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER (NEC) have filed a lawsuit in the Humboldt
County Superior Court, with claims under the California
Environmental Quality, the State Planning and Zoning Law, and
other laws, challenging the environmental review and permits
approved by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 50 California
counties as natural disaster areas last month because of the
drought. And, over the weekend, Fresno Congressman Jim Costa
said on KSEE-24’s Sunday Morning Matters program that Gov.
Newsom should declare a statewide emergency because of the
dangerously dry conditions. …Yet, Newsom… last week
rejected a request from a bipartisan coalition of state
lawmakers from the Valley to declare a statewide drought
One of the worst droughts in memory in a massive agricultural
region straddling the California-Oregon border could mean steep
cuts to irrigation water for hundreds of farmers this summer to
sustain endangered fish species critical to local tribes. The
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees water allocations in
the federally owned Klamath Project, is expected to announce
this week how the season’s water will be divvied up after
delaying the decision a month.
Protecting the Bay Area from sea level rise may all come down
to mud. That’s the finding of a new report from San Francisco
Estuary Institute that tries to address a two-part problem
related to the looming threat of sea level rise: the lack of
natural sediment coming into the bay and the need to reinforce
its shorelines to protect the region from rising seas. There’s
a fairly straightforward solution, the nonprofit research
organization proposes: Take the sediment that’s dredged from
the bay’s shipping channels and barged out to sea or to deep
parts of the bay — 2½ to 3 million cubic yards of mud a year —
and use it to restore wetlands on the perimeter.