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 CNN

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Level 5 atmospheric river to unleash flooding across drought-stricken California

After nearly a year without rain, a series of potent Pacific storms are directed at Northern California this week, potentially bringing as much as a foot of rainfall and up to three feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada. Supercharged by a classic atmospheric river pattern, the storms could lead to flash floods and dangerous debris flows in a wide swath of the region already devastated by recent wildfires. With each successive storm, the moisture potential increases, peaking with possibly a rare category 5 atmospheric river event on Sunday.

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Aquafornia news CapRadio

California just declared a drought emergency. What does that mean and how will it affect your life?

As the state experiences its second-driest year on record and Gov. Gavin Newsom declares a statewide drought emergency, some Californians may be wondering: How will this shortage impact the Sacramento region and what does it mean for our everyday lives and water supply? … The conservation messaging from California officials began in earnest back in July, when Newsom urged residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 15%. 

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation releases updated projections of Colorado River system conditions

The Bureau of Reclamation has released its October 24-Month Study and 2-year projections of major reservoir levels within the Colorado River system….As a result of this update, the median water year 2022 inflow forecast into Lake Powell decreased by 800,000 acre-feet and Reclamation’s October projections show lower Lake Powell elevations compared to the September projections.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Support water education in California through workplace giving

It’s workplace giving season, the time of year when anyone in the workplace can show their support for the organizations and causes they love. All state, federal and private workplace giving programs are now open, allowing donations through payroll deductions. If you have come on one of our water tours, participated in our Water Leaders program or are a loyal reader of our Western Water articles or weekday Aquafornia water news feed, you can now support us though a payroll deduction at your workplace, whether it’s a federal or state agency or in the private sector.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Water Research Foundation publishes five research projects for potable reuse

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) recently published research to inform California’s Direct Potable Reuse Regulations. It will be used by the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWB) Division of Drinking Water to develop direct potable reuse regulations in California by 2023 and ensure the protection of public health. The research was funded under a $1.4 million grant from SWB to advance protective practices for potable reuse.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Lack of water drying up new housing in rural communities

Water has become a major roadblock to desperately needed housing in rural communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Water scarcity and lack of infrastructure has scared off developers just when housing is most needed, according to officials and nonprofits that work on both water and housing. … For developers to build housing, they must obtain a “will serve” letter, official confirmation by the water provider in the area that the new development can receive water. 

Aquafornia news Reuters

California, Hoopa Valley Tribe try to save salmon and a way of life

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are completing an unprecedented effort to save more than 1 million Chinook salmon, a campaign that also may help preserve a way of life for a Native American tribe. In June, salmon hatched at the Klamath River’s Iron Gate hatchery were temporarily trucked to a Trinity River hatchery in Northern California. The finger-length fish were held back from a scheduled release to the Pacific Ocean out of concern the river was too warm and too full of parasites for them to survive.

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Aquafornia news County of Sonoma

News release: Board approves plan to reduce risks to critical infrastructure from the impacts of climate change

The Sonoma Water Board of Directors today approved its first-ever Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP) that … identifies threats to Sonoma Water’s water supply, flood control, and sanitation infrastructure and operations and develops adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities and risks that will be exacerbated by climate change. Development of the plan assumes that climate change is inevitable, it is already occurring, and the agency must adapt quickly to protect its critical infrastructure. 

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Powerhouse down at Potter Valley Project, creating more uncertainty about its future

Efforts to secure the Russian River water supply have stalled over the past month. A powerhouse that allows for larger diversions of water from the Eel River to the Russian River went down over the summer and it’s unclear whether it will be repaired. Pacific Gas & Electric says the Potter Valley Project (PVP), a hydroelectric power project that diverts the water from one river to the other, will continue providing enough water to meet its contractual obligations to Potter Valley residents and the Russian River watershed. 

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Drought dollars could begin flowing out of Sacramento in 2021/22 budget

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors received an update by their chief lobbying consultant, Paul Yoder, earlier this month. Out of all the hoopla that comes with policy lobbying in Sacramento, Yoder was keen to point out that drought legislation could become a priority in the state capitol. At least that’s the way it seems according to the state budget. 

Aquafornia news NOAA

New research: Researchers head to the mountains to improve weather and water forecasting tools

As aspen leaves blazed across the Colorado Rockies this fall, NOAA scientists were busy installing a state-of-the-art observing network in a remote basin near Crested Butte to study how precipitation forms in the complex, high-altitude terrain of the West Elk Mountains. Their goal: improving weather and river flow prediction in a watershed critical to the region’s water supply.

Aquafornia news ScienceDirect

New research: Institutional diversity and safe drinking water provision in the United States

Applying insights from the Institutional Analysis and Design literature, we create and analyze a dataset of California’s water systems classified into 26 structural types associated with distinct governance institutions. We document differences in the number of Safe Drinking Water Act violations among these types and demonstrate their relevance for implementing solutions targeting non-compliance. Advancing equitable access necessitates greater attention to organizational structure and institutional diversity in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Colusa Sun Herald

Sustainability plan for Colusa Subbasin nearly complete

In one of the final steps to complete a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the Colusa Subbasin, the Colusa Groundwater Authority (CGA) and the Glenn Groundwater Authority (GGA) hosted a virtual public meeting on Wednesday to review the plan and gather community input.  The GSP is a roadmap for how groundwater will be managed over the next two decades, according to meeting facilitator Dave Ceppos, and is being prepared by the CGA and GGA in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 …

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Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

California’s drought sparks innovation in Santa Barbara County

Dry times call for innovative measures, and with California facing its driest year in nearly a century, the privately held water company that supplies Santa Barbara’s Hope Ranch community is floating a unique idea. La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, the affluent community’s supplier, is considering purchasing water produced by an offshore desalination plant contained within a buoy being designed by Ecomerit Technologies.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Our military shouldn’t be held hostage to ‘water politics’

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They comprise a class of heat-resistant chemicals used in various globally manufactured products such as nonstick pans, adhesives, wire insulation, food packaging, waterproof clothes and even spacesuits. House Democrats thrust the PFAS Action Act of 2021 into the NDAA because it likely wouldn’t pass both chambers as a standalone bill. … Yet, as written, the PFAS verbiage was so extreme it would derail military procurement.
-Written by J.D. Hayworth, a Republican who represented Arizona in the United States House of Representatives from 1995-2007. 

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: For our water future, let’s fix Central Valley canals

Water is life for us here in the Central Valley. It impacts every facet of our day-to-day lives, from our jobs to sustaining our daily needs. This summer, a few communities in my district ran dry. One town —Teviston—was without running water for a full month. The families there were unable to turn their taps on to cook, bathe their children or even flush the toilet. Drought and water conservation is becoming a way of life for us across the state, but especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Fortunately, farmers and farmworkers are resilient and have found ways to cope.
-Written by Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, representing California’s 14th Senate District.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Drought: Marin Municipal Water District allots $23.2M for pipeline

The Marin Municipal Water District has allocated up to $23.2 million to buy equipment for a proposed emergency supply pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The investment, approved by the district board on Tuesday, is the largest the agency has made since proposing the idea earlier this year. The 8-mile pipeline, estimated to cost up to $90 million, is the district’s main backup plan should it deplete its main reservoir supplies next summer in the event of another dry winter.

Aquafornia news Good Fruit Grower

Water, water nowhere, but apples get enough to drink

Nestled in the hills north of San Francisco lies a tiny microclimate where farmers grow apples with no irrigation at all. The multi-year drought that besets California? Not here. Sunburn? Not typically a problem. Those uber heat waves that baked the West Coast this summer? They skipped western Sonoma County.

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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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