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.
News release from the California Department of Water
Resources: Today, the Department of Water Resources
(DWR) announced it is increasing the State Water Project
allocation to 15 percent of requested supplies for 2022. Last
month, due to low water levels, the Department announced that
the initial allocation would cover only critical health and
safety needs of the 29 water agencies that contract to receive
State Water Project supplies.
Acknowledging that the U.S. Forest Service has fallen short
when it comes to preventing wildfires, the Biden administration
this week said it would spend nearly $3 billion to reduce risk
across the most fire-prone areas of the United States, largely
in the American West. The impact could be significant in
California, where the federal government is the largest
landowner, responsible for nearly half of all land area in the
state, including 20 million acres of federal forests vexed by
an enduring wildfire crisis.
The State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday withdrew
an emergency drought regulation for the Sacramento–San Joaquin
Delta. Despite a dry January, board staff said the regulation,
known as a temporary urgency change petition (TUCP), would not
improve conditions if implemented as planned in February. They
found no potential benefits to Shasta and Trinity reservoirs,
which have the greatest need for water.
High in the San Bernardino Mountains, water seeps from the
ground … Near this dribbling spring, water gushes
through a system of tunnels and boreholes, and flows into a
network of stainless steel pipes that join together in a single
line… to a tank, where some is hauled away in trucks to be
bottled and sold as Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water. Local
environmentalists say the bottled water pipeline doesn’t belong
in the national forest … The latest round in the fight
over bottled water in the San Bernardino Mountains is playing
out in a series of virtual hearings focusing on [Arrowhead
owner] BlueTriton Brands’ water rights claims.
We’re looking for a special kind of writer to join our team who
is eager to produce the kinds of insightful and challenging
stories we pursue, such as our latest Western Water article on
how drought and climate change are threatening to upend
collaboration in the Colorado River Basin. Are you a journalist
enthralled by the history, policy and science behind Western
water issues? Then you might be just the right person to join
Almost 10% of the 8 billion people on earth are already
undernourished with 3 billion lacking healthy diets, and the
land and water resources farmers rely on stressed to “a
breaking point.” And by 2050 there will be 2 billion more
mouths to feed, warns a new report from the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO). … California effectively
acts as America’s garden. But climate change is
exacerbating droughts and water shortages in the state, and
farmers are struggling to adapt.
After recent reservoir-boosting rainfall, Marin County’s
largest water district decided Tuesday to repeal recently
established financial penalties for excessive water use. In
September, the Marin Municipal Water District board adopted an
ordinance that established financial penalties for exceeding
certain water use limits it set in April as drought conditions
worsened across the Bay Area and California. In the
September ordinance, the district set penalties for going over
“tier 1” water usage, which, for single family households, is
65 gallons of water per person, per day.
People have been fighting Salton Sea shrinkage, salinity and
stench for decades without much success. But now the local
economy could be headed toward a boom. Gov. Gavin Newsom is
trying to help energy companies tap into a huge underground
reserve of lithium that’s in high demand for the big
rechargeable batteries needed to power carbon-free
automobiles. -Written by LA Times columnist George Skelton.
Dr. Alison Cobb of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La
Jolla is hunting atmospheric rivers with planes known as
Hurricane Hunters. More specifically, she is part of a
scientific team analyzing data coming from instruments deployed
by special Hurricane Hunter planes tracking atmospheric rivers.
The hope is that learning more about these naturally occurring
weather phenomena will make them more predictable.
California State Route 37, the major throughway that bridges
the divide between Highway 101 and Interstate 80 and serves
thousands of drivers daily in the North Bay, is in dire
straits. A recent dispatch from the California
Department of Transportation warns that nearly the entire route
— spanning Novato to Vallejo — could be “permanently submerged”
as soon as 2040 by increasing weather crises and rising sea
levels caused by climate change. Its proximity to the San
Pablo Bay makes this route especially vulnerable.
In the face of deepening drought in October, the East Kaweah
Groundwater Sustainability Agency (EKGSA) passed an emergency
groundwater allocation policy, and for the first time ever, the
Tulare County area’s farmers were given limits and fines for
how much water they can pump out of the increasingly parched
ground. EKGSA governs water for much of the eastern portion of
the Kaweah Sub Basin, which includes the towns of Lindsay and
Strathmore, and the Exeter and Ivanhoe irrigation districts and
the farmland that surrounds them.
Nearly 14% of Visalia water users fell behind on their utility
bills during the pandemic, but many of them will have at least
a portion of that debt forgiven. California Water Service (Cal
Water), which provides water service to nearly 45,000 homes and
businesses in Visalia, received $20.8 million in relief for
customers across its 23 service areas. The funding, which Cal
Water advocated to help secure, is being administered through
the State Water Resources Control Board and will enable the
privately-owned utility to forgive past-due balances incurred
by its customers between March 2020 and mid-June 2021.
Supporters of the Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 put
a call out for donations Friday to help get the measure on the
California ballot. In a “last call” for major donors,
supporters of the ballot measure wrote, “the campaign finds
itself in the inexplicable position of having a solution
everyone wants, but unable so far to raise funds to qualify it
for the ballot.
San Diego County is in the midst of moderate drought
conditions, even after experiencing its 28th-wettest December
on record, according to the National Integrated Drought
Information System (NIDIS). For farmers like Charley Wolk in
Fallbrook, last month’s rain was money to their ears. … The
avocado farmer who also owns Bejoca Grove and Landscape
Management Company says the showers helped provide
much-needed financial relief for farmers who can pay anywhere
from $4,000 to $40,000 a month for their water bills.
Whether emblazoned on California’s flag or described in myth,
the bear stands as a potent symbol of courage and strength — a
ferocious embodiment of the North American wilderness. In
reality, however, the bear is vulnerable. Nearly a century
after the California grizzly was hunted to extinction, its less
aggressive cousin, the black bear, is being killed in record
numbers on California highways, experts say. The
unprecedented surge in deadly vehicle strikes is likely the
result of bears fleeing massive wildfires in the Sierra Nevada,
as well as the effects of drought, according to biologists.
In 2021 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the
federal circuit appeals court for California, Arizona and
Alaska, remained — save only the U.S. Supreme Court — the most
important court in the United States when it comes to
environmental law. This year the 9th Circuit also maintained
its role as the most prodigious source of key environmental
decisions of any federal appellate court — issuing nearly one
per week. … United States v. Walker River Irrigation
District, (Jan. 28).
CalTrout seeks to outline an Eel River, basin-wide fisheries
Restoration Plan. The Plan consists of four phases: Planning,
Prioritization, Implementation and Adaptive Management, and
Monitoring. The need for a holistic, watershed-wide restoration
program to support the recovery of native anadromous fish
populations in the Eel River is well documented in the Eel
River Action Plan, CDFW South Fork Eel River Watershed
Assessment, Round Valley Indian Tribe’s Eel River Restoration
Strategy, and NMFS Coho and Multispecies Recovery Plans.
Over a quarter century of CEQA litigation over the validity of
an agreement between the Department of Water Resources and
State Water Project contractors finally came to an end with the
court of appeal’s decision in Central Delta Water Agency
v. Department of Water Resources, 69 Cal. App. 5th 170 (2021),
and the California Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for
review of that decision. In 1994, the Department of Water
Resources entered into an agreement with State Water Project
contractors called the “Monterey Agreement” in an effort to
settle disputes over water allocations under long-term water
The delivery of safe, affordable and reliable drinking water is
a key responsibility of utilities and governments everywhere.
In the U.S. there is growing evidence that access to safe and
affordable drinking water is distributed unevenly. Low-income
and minority communities are more likely to experience drinking
water contamination, face higher water bills, and have less
reliable access to drinking water. The importance of drinking
water services are clear and gaining policy attention.
Dry conditions in California are traditionally a benefit for
construction companies looking to continue work through the
winter season. This year, however, drought-stricken California
received desperately needed rains and snowfall … in abundance.
That’s good news for the state, not so good for our crews
looking to continue work on the Natomas Reach B project.
December storms dropped so much water, that areas of Reach B’s
construction site have been turned into not just puddles, but