Water news you need to know

A collection of top water news from around California and the West compiled each weekday. Send any comments or article submissions to Foundation News & Publications Director Doug Beeman.

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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 WIRED

People should drink way more recycled wastewater

On a dusty hilltop in San Diego, the drinking water of the future courses through a wildly complicated and very loud jumble of tanks, pipes, and cylinders. Here at the North City Water Reclamation Plant, very not-drinkable wastewater is turned into a liquid so pure it would actually wreak havoc on your body if you imbibed it without further treatment. 

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Oldest beekeeper in LA explains how drought affects bees

[O]ur drought is indeed affecting bees — but not the urban garden variety, where people still water their yards. It’s the feral colonies that live outside the city that are struggling. … Feral bees are colonies that aren’t being taken care of. They’re wild and make their hives anywhere and everywhere, though we often don’t notice them. Without rain or watering, bees scale back on producing honey to conserve energy and struggle to keep their hives at the right temperature. Colonies that are too dehydrated could experience die-off. 

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Corning looks to expand water services

In an effort to expand Corning’s water services, the city is applying for a Small Community Drought Relief of $22,322,250 through the Department of Water Resources. Corning is applying for this grant to fund three wells and extend water mains and laterals within the municipality’s sphere of influence, which is to Viola Road west across Interstate 5, north to Finnell Avenue and east across Interstate 5. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Water cuts and drought fees coming to 1 million San Jose area residents

In the latest fallout from the worsening drought, residents of San Jose — which received the lowest rainfall in its recorded history last year — and surrounding communities are about to be given tougher water conservation rules than any major city in California. The San Jose Water Company, a private firm that provides drinking water to 1 million people in San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno, has begun sending notices to residents informing them it is moving forward with mandatory rules to set monthly residential water budgets with financial penalties for homeowners who exceed them.

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Aquafornia news KTLA

La Niña ‘to emerge shortly,’ NOAA says. Here’s what it means for winter

The Northern Hemisphere looks ready to transition into a La Niña winter in the next month, according to the latest outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, KTLA sister station WUTR reported. … Southern California, the southwestern states, Texas, and the Gulf Coast states through to Florida … are plagued by drought, and a La Niña year could make that worse. The opposite is actually true for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, where La Nina winters tend to bring more precipitation, not less.

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Aquafornia news USA Today

Hackers targeting US water facilities hit California, Maine in 2021

The nation’s top civilian cybersecurity agency issued a warning Thursday about ongoing cyber threats to the U.S. drinking water supply, saying malicious hackers are targeting government water and wastewater treatment systems. Authorities said they wanted to highlight ongoing malicious cyber activity “by both known and unknown actors” targeting the technology and information systems that provide clean, drinkable water and treat the billions of gallons of wastewater created in the U.S. every year.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Water Education Foundation among 24 organizations nationwide honored for climate leadership

The Water Education Foundation has won a national award for its innovative partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to train schoolteachers across the state on climate science and how they can bring hands-on activities into their classrooms connected to local examples of climate change impacts. The award was presented by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry during their virtual Climate Leadership Series and Awards Showcase, Oct. 13-15. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Developing rain storm in the Bay Area could quell wildfire danger in the region, NWS says

A potential mid-October storm could bring rain to Northern California next week, possibly quelling wildfire risk in the region, according to forecasters. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said “above-normal precipitation” for the West Coast could arrive next Thursday, bringing “possible record-breaking precipitation for late October” over parts of the region. Forecasters said two inches of rain over three days could fall over the Pacific Northwest.

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Aquafornia news Water Forum

News release: Reclamation implements Folsom Reservoir power bypass to help protect salmon on the lower American River

This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation initiated a Folsom Power Bypass to reduce river water temperatures and protect salmonids as spawning season begins on the Lower American River. A power bypass allows Reclamation to access and release cold water below the power unit penstocks at Folsom Reservoir, thereby reducing river water temperatures to benefit rearing steelhead and spawning fall-run Chinook salmon. This is especially critical given that the LAR this summer was operated to a temperature of 71° F due to the extremely dry hydrology and low Folsom Reservoir storage.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

As Lake Powell hits record lows, is filling a new drought pool the answer?

Two years ago, this unprecedented megadrought prompted all seven [Colorado River Basin] states to agree, for the first time, to a dual drought contingency plan — one for the upper basin and one for the lower. … But in the upper basin, though the states agreed to their own drought contingency plan, they still haven’t agreed on the biggest, most controversial of the plan’s elements: setting aside up to 500,000 acre-feet of water in a special, protected drought pool in Lake Powell.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought assistance helps with short, long term water solutions

Well users around Glenn County are approaching a water crisis due to ongoing drought conditions. Groundwater supplies are running lower and lower as many residential wells are drying up while others are reporting serious water supply issues. In response, a meeting was held Thursday evening to not only address the issue but bring forth options for residents in Orland to connect to a municipal water line.

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Aquafornia news ESRI

Blog: Equity in urban design – For LA River revitalization, numbers are not enough

Jean Yang, a senior associate at the Los Angeles design firm Studio-MLA, is a self-described recovering “metrics-aholic.” … As Studio-MLA’s project manager for the Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries plan, Yang is helping apply both qualitative and quantitative insights to ensure equity in a massive revitalization plan.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Fort Bragg downgrades water emergency, no longer receiving water from Ukiah

Recent rainfall and the arrival of a desalination system are allowing Fort Bragg to reduce the city’s water emergency from a Stage 4 water crisis to a Stage 2 water alert. That means businesses and residents can ease up slightly on their water conservation efforts. The city was also able to pause receipts of water from the city of Ukiah since water deliveries were exceeding demand. Fort Bragg can meet that demand now without outside help.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

San Diego’s proactive measures for reliable water supply

Drinking water from this tap makes San Diego County Water Authority’s General Manager Sandy Kerl smile — and for good reason. Back in the drought of the ’90s, 95% of San Diego’s water came from one source, and they faced 30% cuts for 13 months. … Fast-forward 30 years later, and the San Diego County Water Authority has multiple streams of water sources in its portfolio, including the groundbreaking Carlsbad Desalination Plant that utilizes ocean water to provide the region with about 10% of its drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy

News release: Unlined waste disposal pits endanger groundwater in San Joaquin Valley

A new study by the energy science and policy research institute, Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy shows that the disposal of over 16 billion barrels of oil and gas wastewater into unlined pits over a 50-year period has introduced salts, carcinogens, and other toxins into regional aquifers. For decades, California law has allowed the use of unlined ponds to dispose of water extracted during oil and gas production.

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Aquafornia news Patch, Murrieta, CA

$37M wastewater reclamation project in Murrieta completed

A celebration event held Wednesday commemorated the recent completion of a $37 million, three-year construction project at the Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility on Washington Avenue in Murrieta. Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District, and Western Municipal Water District hosted the event. The three agencies are partners with the Santa Rosa Regional Resources Authority, which owns and manages the reclamation facility that serves portions of Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and surrounding communities.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: 3 critical actions for water equity in California’s Latino communities

It is a painful paradox for California, the world’s fifth-largest economy: Some of the very same farmworkers who pick our food can’t drink a glass of clean water — or any water in some cases — from their kitchen sink. While working on environmental justice issues at EDF for the past six years, I have had the opportunity to talk with some of these essential workers, many of whom come from Spanish-speaking countries like me.

Aquafornia news Newsy

Megadrought forcing farmers to abandon fields

Farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley are struggling with the megadrought. It is the most productive agricultural region globally, where farms grow 250 different crops on 17% of the nation’s irrigated land. … California regulators cut farmers’ water allotments by a third due to low reservoir levels.

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Aquafornia news Denver Channel 7

Colorado drought worsens as report says climate change causing higher temps in Southwest

Drought continues to spread back across Colorado after a dry summer and start to fall, with nearly all the state at least abnormally dry just three months after more than half the state was drought-free. This week’s report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 95% of Colorado is abnormally dry or worse, compared to 45% of the state experiencing those same drought conditions on July 13. Sixty-six percent of the state is seeing moderate drought conditions or worse; 29% of Colorado is experiencing severe drought or worse; and 14% is seeing extreme drought conditions.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Queen Creek fights for transfer of water rights

A precedent-setting plan to transfer water rights has set up a fight between Colorado River communities and a town in central Arizona. The proposal calls for 2,000 acre feet of Colorado River water to be transferred 260 miles away to the town of Queen Creek.  The town wants to purchase and transfer water from a farm in La Paz County. The request has been approved by the Arizona Department of Water Resources and awaits a review by the Bureau of Reclamation.