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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 CalMatters

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California drought – Newsom declares statewide emergency

Gov. Gavin Newsom today declared a drought emergency for the entire state of California, as conservation efforts continue to fall far short of state targets. Newsom also authorized California’s water regulators to ban wasteful water use, such as spraying down public sidewalks, and directed his Office of Emergency Services to fund drinking water as needed. But he stopped short of issuing any statewide conservation mandates.

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Aquafornia news Mercury News

Atmospheric river storms to soak Bay Area, Northern California

Three successive storms will surge in from the Pacific Ocean this week, forecasters said Tuesday, bringing what may be the most rain in nine months to drought-stricken Northern California and offering a promising start to winter after two years marked by record wildfires and dry conditions. Two of those storms look like atmospheric rivers … After Sunday’s storm, the 7-day rainfall totals could range from 5 to 8 inches over the North Bay, 3 to 5 inches in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and 1 to 3 inches across the San Francisco Bay Area down to Big Sur.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

New report confirms water shortages in Colorado River Basin

A new federal system for projecting Colorado River water flows in the next two years confirms dire news about drought draining the West’s key reservoirs, and increases pressure on Colorado to conserve water immediately to avoid future demands from down-river states, conservation groups say. …The new projections for the next two years show that even with federal officials draining portions of Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge and Navajo reservoirs to get more water to Lake Powell’s hydroelectric generating station, a moderate winter would leave the Colorado River in the same crisis a year from now. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Agenda posted for Oct. 28 Water Summit virtual forum

Don’t miss our Water Summit virtual forum next week with the theme, Pivoting Today’s Pain into Tomorrow’s Gain, to examine what’s being done to get through a drought once again gripping California and explore some of the creative efforts and collaborations being developed to address the challenges moving forward.

Aquafornia news Press-Enterprise

Art Littleworth, water rights attorney who led move to desegregate Riverside schools, dies

…In 1950, Littleworth joined Best, Best & Krieger and launched a career in water law. He represented Riverside in a contentious dispute that was settled in 1969, providing the city with much of the water supply it relies on today. In 1987, he was appointed special master by the nation’s highest court to resolve a fight between Kansas and Colorado over water in the Arkansas River.

Aquafornia news CBS Denver

Harris argues for Biden climate agenda at sinking Lake Mead

Vice President Kamala Harris stood before the record-low water levels of Nevada’s Lake Mead on Monday and made the case for the Biden administration’s climate change agenda … The vice president pitched the administration’s infrastructure and social safety net agenda as critical to tackling the effects of climate change — which scientists say intensify extreme weather events such as heatwaves and droughts. … Harris made the case for the package by connecting human-caused climate change to the scene she stood near, saying emissions are “part of what is contributing to these drought conditions.”

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Aquafornia news CA Natural Resources Agency

News release: State releases draft California climate adaptation strategy

On the heels of Governor Newsom’s historic $15 billion climate investment, the state today released a draft of the 2021 California Climate Adaptation Strategy to continue the state’s work to confront the climate crisis head-on. The draft strategy is designed to accelerate climate adaptation action across regions and sectors in California; identify how key state agency actions fit together to achieve these priorities; and build on the successes and lessons learned since the first climate adaptation strategy in 2009. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: ‘Forever chemicals’ are everywhere. It’s time to rein them in

Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a class of man-made chemicals that break down slowly in the environment, can accumulate in the human body and have been linked to all manner of negative health effects from cancer to high cholesterol. But these “forever chemicals” are nearly impossible to avoid. They are, quite literally, all around us: in consumer products, from cosmetics and cookware to food packaging and firefighting foam; in our food supply; in the soil, air and water; and even running through our veins.

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Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: MOU signing to support Central Valley water protection

Last Friday CalTrout and our partners at Ducks Unlimited, the California Rice Commission, and the Northern California Water Association gathered in the Central Valley to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for collaborative work that will strengthen protections to water ecology throughout the valley. The MOU formalizes our organizations’ relationships and reinforces CalTrout’s commitment to ecosystem-level solutions to salmon recovery.

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Aquafornia news Legislative Analyst's Office

Legislation: Water supply

This measure seeks to increase water supply in the state through the implementation of new water projects. Specifically, the measure (1) amends state law to dedicate existing state General Fund revenues for developing additional water supply, (2) authorizes the sale of bonds to fund water supply projects, and (3) makes some changes to existing environmental review requirements for water supply projects.

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Aquafornia news KDRV - Medford

Farmers propose solutions to drought conditions in the Western United States

The Family Farm Alliance aims to protect water for Western agriculture and describes itself as a powerful advocate before the government for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in 17 Western states. The drought-stricken Klamath Basin is one area that they’ve identified as needing legislative change. The alliance says it has this goal to ensure the availability of reliable and affordable irrigation water needed to produce the world’s food, fiber, and fuel.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

What does $564M clean water project mean for California?

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, also known as Regional San, completed a $564 million wastewater treatment project this summer that uses bacteria to remove more than 99% of ammonia from sewer water. The operation, which is called the Biological Nutrient Removal project, is a part of a larger undertaking called the EchoWater project. The EchoWater project was established by Regional San to comply with regulations and to ensure clean water quality. 

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Water district fights curtailment amid FERC relicensing

When the State of California issued its water curtailments late last summer, TID and neighboring districts pushed back. A coalition of water districts from Modesto, Oakdale, Manteca, and San Francisco sued the state over its curtailment order. Michelle Reimers, TID’s general manager and chief executive, says she understands the idea behind the curtailments. Aside from the pre-1914 water rights the districts own and what that means under California law, Reimers says TID is bothered by the blanket order because it fails to consider how well-managed irrigation districts like hers operate and manage their systems. 

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

LARC pipeline moving forward

After years of trucking in water, LARC Ranch residents are finally set to get a permanent water supply via a pipeline being built with the help of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency. LARC and other Bouquet Canyon residents were left high and dry when water stopped being regularly released from the Bouquet Reservoir nearly a decade ago, reducing their supply to a trickle over concerns of road flooding. 

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Why is the Napa River so dry, panel asks?

Napa River is bone-dry in stretches and some have voiced the controversial claim that groundwater pumping amid a deep, two-year drought is partly to blame. That’s the backdrop against which Napa County is crafting a state-required Napa Valley groundwater plan. Twenty-five people from the wine industry, environmental community and other sectors are on an advisory committee working on the first draft. One thorny issue is determining if and when too much groundwater pumping for agriculture dries up the river and streams. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US removes Colorado River fish’s endangered status

The humpback chub, a rare fish found only in the Colorado River basin, has been brought back from the brink of extinction after decades of protection, though work must continue to ensure its survival, federal authorities said Monday in reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened status. The fish, which gets its name from a fleshy bump behind its head, was first listed as endangered in 1967, its habitat severely disrupted by dam construction. Its numbers also declined with the introduction of predatory, non-native aquatic species.

Aquafornia news KOTI-TV NBC2 - Klamath Falls

EPA grants over $250k to Klamath Tribes

The Klamath Tribes recently received 2 separate grants totaling over $250,000 dollars. They’re coming to the tribes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One of the grants will invest $99,992 into purchasing and installing a solar-powered water pump. It will help minimize external nutrient loading from agricultural properties around Upper Klamath Lake. The other grant, worth around $152,000, will go towards phase 2 of the groundwater and surface-water monitoring study for the Klamath Marsh.

Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Settlement meeting set for water district lawsuit challenging city approval of Sage Ranch

A settlement meeting required by the California Environmental Quality Act may give the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District and the city of Tehachapi a chance to resolve their water supply disagreement. In a nutshell, the city has approved residential projects that could add 1,400 or more housing units over the next seven years — and the water district contends that the city violated CEQA and doesn’t have sufficient water to serve such development.  

Aquafornia news Law Street Media

Beverage maker sued by environmental group for CWA violations

Shasta Beverages, the California beverage producer, was sued in the Northern District of California on Friday by an environmental group for discharge permit violations. EDEN Environmental Citizens Group sued nearly a year after providing notice of the defendant’s Clean Water Act violations to the relevant state and federal agencies. … The complaint alleged that Shasta discharges storm water into a municipal drain system as well as a drainage ditch, both of which drain to the San Francisco Bay by way of the Alameda River. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: 3 creatures impacted by climate change in California

While we’re thinking about the drought and environmental changes, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss the perils animals face while dealing with our changing climate. This list is, of course, not comprehensive, but I do think these examples show how when one organism is affected, others face consequences too. Baby salmon are dying by the thousands in one California river. Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported that the deaths at Northern California’s Klamath River are being caused by low water levels brought on by drought.
-Written by Justin Ray, staff writer for the LA Times.