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.
The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday
approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Blake Moore
(R-UT) to better manage conservation efforts for saline lake
ecosystems and migratory birds in the West. … The Saline
Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act of 2021,
H.R. 5345, which Rep. Moore introduced on Sept. 23 with lead
original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), would
authorize the director of the United States Geological Survey
(USGS) to establish a regional program to assess, monitor and
benefit the hydrology of saline lakes in the Great Basin …
Water is the key to distilling—and distilling traditionally
uses a lot of water for fermentation, proofing, and especially
cooling. … Blinking Owl is in a rare position in
California. Orange County, where the distillery is located, has
one of the largest groundwater reclamation systems in
the world. This allows Blinking Owl to rely on its local
municipal system to provide a sustainable option. Friesen notes
that water conservation is a problem that’ll require both
municipal and industry solutions.
San Francisco’s robust water supply, long unruffled by the
severe dry spell now in its second year, has finally begun to
feel the pinch of drought, and city water managers are
recognizing it may be time to cut back. Officials at the San
Francisco Public Utilities Commission plan to ask city
residents and businesses to reduce water use by 5%, compared to
two years ago, and ask the more than two dozen communities that
buy water from the city to reduce water use nearly 14%….The
planned cutbacks are part of a water shortage emergency that
the SFPUC’s governing board is looking to declare at its
Land and waterway managers labored hard over the course of a
century to control California’s unruly rivers by building dams
and levees to slow and contain their water. Now, farmers,
environmentalists and agencies are undoing some of that work as
part of an accelerating campaign to restore the state’s major
floodplains. … The hope, shared by stakeholders who have
traditionally fought over water and land, is to rebuild habitat
for fish, birds and other wildlife while simultaneously
providing benefits, like improved flood protection and
groundwater recharge, for towns and farms.
Droughts come and go routinely in the Golden State, including
the last which stretched from 2012 to 2016, but long-term
solutions rarely seem to follow. Once the atmospheric rivers
finally return to mercifully fill up Shasta Lake and Lake
Oroville, the thirst for change evaporates. … But one thing
is glaringly different this time around: California’s coffers
are overflowing, creating an opportunity for the nation’s most
populous state to renovate and prep its outdated water systems
for climate change.
You may have seen it on social media or heard it while talking
to a friend: This is a La Niña year, so California won’t get
any rain this winter and the severe drought is only going to
get worse. Right? Maybe not. Although that’s a common
belief, it’s not supported by past history. The reality is that
a lot depends on where you live.
The West could be facing a water shortage in the Colorado River
that threatens a century-old agreement between states that
share the dwindling resource. That possibility once felt far
off, but could come earlier than expected. One prominent water
and climate scientist is sounding the alarm that the Colorado
River system could reach that crossroads in the next five
years, possibly triggering an unpredictable chain-reaction of
legal wrangling that could lead to some water users being cut
off from the river.
Another set of comments critical of how San Joaquin Valley
groundwater plans will impact drinking water wells dropped on
Friday from the powerful State Water Resources Control Board.
The comments focused on plans that cover the City of Fresno and
many surrounding towns as well as Visalia and a number of
smaller towns in Tulare County. Specifically, it commented on
plans covering most of the Kings and Kaweah subbasins.
Many water management and regulation decisions require an
understanding of current and future hydrology. These
include regulatory decisions on new water rights, plans and
design for habitat restoration projects, long-lived water
infrastructure (conveyance, storage, and levees, etc.), water
demands (orchards and vines), groundwater sustainability plans
and policies, negotiating long-term agreements and contracts
among water agencies and water users, etc.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has begun
releasing juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon into the Klamath
River now that river conditions have improved with cooler
temperatures and increased flows that give the young salmon
their best chance at survival and reaching the Pacific Ocean.
More than 2 million baby Chinook salmon that were hatched in
early 2021 at CDFW’s Iron Gate Fish Hatchery in Siskiyou County
were held over the summer at three different CDFW facilities,
including 1 million fish trucked to the Trinity River Hatchery
through Redding in triple-digit heat.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is optimistic infrastructure
projects in America’s second-biggest city will be big
beneficiaries of the sweeping federal infrastructure bill –
potentially receiving tens of billions of dollars.
… [The bill] will allocate about $110
billion for roads and bridges, plus funds for rail, public
transit, the power grid and drinking-water systems. Funds may
also help the city speed up the completion of an important
Today’s Great Salt Lake bears little resemblance to how it’s
depicted on maps, which show a familiar blue footprint
spreading across northwest Utah. The maps conceal the urgency
of our water woes by drowning out how climate change and
allocation issues have impacted one of the West’s iconic bodies
of water. The Salt Lake Tribune and AccuWeather will update
their Utah maps to show the lake as it really is, a puddle of
its former self, rimmed by vast reaches of exposed lake bed.
Eight miles of abandoned telephone cable laid off the West
Shore of Lake Tahoe were ordered removed under a settlement,
according to a federal court decree. Pac Bell stopped using the
cables in the 1980s. In a suit filed by California Sportfishing
Protection Alliance, the cables are leaching lead into the
lake. Besides concerns over the lead in fish, the lake is a
source of drinking water for residents living along its shores.
The megafire era gripping the West isn’t just a threat to human
development. Fires now burn so intensely that they literally
reshape forests, shift tree species, and turn calm waterways
into devastating mudflows. A 2017 University of Colorado study
analyzing 15 burn scars left from fires in Colorado and New
Mexico found that as many as 80% of the plots did not contain
The Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has filed a
request for a hearing in its lawsuit against the city of
Tehachapi. But according to its general manager, Tom Neisler,
the filing made in Kern County Superior Court on Nov. 9 is
procedural and does not mean that a hearing is imminent.
Challenging the city of Tehachapi’s Sept. 7 approval of the
Sage Ranch project, the district filed suit on Sept. 16,
claiming that the city violated multiple state laws in its
approval of the planned development.
A private water company in the Santa Cruz Mountains that
residents are concerned has exposed them to unsafe drinking
water in the last year has been fined $21,000 by the California
State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water.
… For the last year, nearly 500 of Big Basin Water Company’s
customers have dealt with repeated water outages and boil
advisories. During an outage, outside contaminants can make
their way into a water system and boil advisories are typically
issued until the utility company’s tests show the water is safe
to drink again.
As the first winter storms rolled through this month, a King
Air C90 turboprop aircraft contracted by the hydropower company
Idaho Power took to the skies over southern Idaho to make it
snow. Flying across the cloud tops, the aircraft dropped flares
that burned as they descended, releasing plumes of silver
iodide that caused ice crystals to form and snow to fall over
the mountains. In the spring, that snow will melt and run
downstream, replenishing reservoirs, irrigating fields and
potentially generating hundreds of thousands of additional
megawatt hours of carbon-free hydropower for the state.
I’m your host Michela Tindera, and this is Priceless. In this
episode, we’re headed West to the epicenter of one of the most
productive farming regions in the world—California’s Central
Valley—where the area is in the throes of a megadrought that
has been drying up wells and damaging crops across the western
United States. It’s there in the Central Valley, where a
billionaire couple own a majority stake in one of California’s
largest water storage facilities.
Crescent City’s water and sewer customers who didn’t pay for
their water over a 15-month period during the pandemic will
likely have those delinquent notices waived. From March 4, 2020
to June of this year, there were 334 accounts past due, for a
total of $71,984.60. … On November 15, the city council
authorized City Manager Eric Wier to apply for funding to pay
off those bills. The funding will come from $985 million that
the State of California received under the American
Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress in March.
It’s getting hard to find the lake at Lake Mendocino. A bed of
cracked, dry dirt grows steadily as the shoreline recedes,
exposing abandoned homesteads that had been submerged for
decades. State officials warn that the lake could go dry — a
first for a major California reservoir. Lake Mendocino is a
crucial link in the North Coast’s water supply chain, and even
a drought-busting winter won’t ensure its recovery.