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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 Orange County Department of Education

News release: Inside the Outdoors offers free water programs for Orange County students

Inside the Outdoors, OCDE’s popular environmental education program, is partnering with the Orange County Municipal Water District (MWDOC) to provide free water education programs to elementary, middle and high students across the county. Available for students in grades three through 12, the programs provide water-focused presentations, assemblies, activities and guided lessons that give youth the opportunity to identify local water supply sources and the importance of using water wisely.

Aquafornia news KCBX-San Luis Obispo

Study identifies Morro Bay Estuary as site to restore native oysters

A recent study identifies Morro Bay Estuary as a priority location for restoring the native Olympia oyster population through conservation aquaculture. It’s a project that unites shellfish lovers and conservationists on the Central Coast. April Ridlon, a post-doctoral researcher at UC Santa Barbara, said oysters are not as charismatic as other marine organisms she has studied, but they are a foundation species — meaning they create a habitat for other animals that live on or near their shells. 

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Initiative would allocate two percent of state budget to water

There have been all kinds of efforts and money allocated to trying to solve California’s water woes. Now an organization states it has the solution — the 2 percent solution. In what it’s calling the 2 percent solution More Water Now is working to place an initiative on the November 2022 ballot that would require 2 percent of the state budget to be allocated to the state’s water resources. If placed on the ballot and approved the water abundance ballot initiative would set aside 2 percent of the state budget to water.

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Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Corning looking to expand water system through grant

The city is looking to secure grant funding to help fund three wells and extend water mains and laterals with the municipality’s sphere of influence. City staff Tuesday will ask for council permission to apply for a Small Community Drought Relief of $22,322,250 through the Department of Water Resources. Corning’s sphere of influence is to Viola Road west across Interstate 5, north to Finnell Avenue and east across Interstate 5. Staff recommends the council approve applying for this grant.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Opinion: Covid rattled our food chain; climate change is a seismic shock

Stuart Woolf, a large almond and tomato producer, recently bulldozed 400 acres of almond orchards in central California — about 50,000 trees that under normal conditions would have produced $2.5 million of nuts every year for another decade. It’s a fraction of the 25,000 acres his family farms, but razing the land was a necessary triage — “Like cutting off your horribly infected hand to keep the rest of the body going,” he told me. Woolf plans to replace the trees with cover crops he’ll neither sell nor harvest, but will use to sequester greenhouse gasses in his soil.
-Written by Bloomberg columnist Amanda Little.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

NapaSan remains in wait-and-see mode for winery wastewater

Napa Sanitation District is willing to explore being part of the winery wastewater disposal solution — if it can be convinced there is a pressing problem. … Napa County has several hundred wineries that create wastewater containing biodegradable organic matter and other materials. This winery wastewater is hard for the NapaSan treatment plant to handle on a large scale, though the plant does treat some.

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

Corning Olive Festival returns despite devastating drought impacts and low olive harvest

While the event laid idle in 2020, over 90 vendors revived it this year. These farmers, artists, cooks and other vendors come from as far as Sacramento and Oregon, to as near as the community park’s backyard. … Jessanna Levitsky was selling produce from her farm, Heartbeat Farm, all day, but says the drought didn’t make it easy. Her domestic well has run dry and her family now depends on their agricultural well to both grow and live. It means less water going to the olive trees and less produce being harvested.

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Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Kettleman in crisis: Poor Kings County town becomes intersection of I-5, 41, and zero water

While California’s severe drought has hit nearly every corner of the Golden State, it has delivered a crushing toll to communities that received little bounce back following the last drought that peaked seven years ago. Case-in-point? Kettleman City. Kettleman, perhaps best known to Californians as a Kings County stopover midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, serves as the junction of Valley residents traversing to the Central Coast via Highway 41 and metropolitan drivers roaring across Interstate 5.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Some Colorado River farmers are paid to leave fields dry

[G]rowers in the Palo Verde Irrigation District are taking part in a new $38-million program funded by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and other water agencies in Arizona and Nevada. The farmers are paid to leave a portion of their lands dry and fallow, and the water saved over the next three years is expected to translate into 3 feet of additional water in Lake Mead, which has declined to its lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam.

Aquafornia news California Water Boards

News release: State Water Board approves new stream restoration measures for Mono Lake Basin

State water officials took a significant step on October 1 toward reversing damage to the Mono Lake Basin from excessive water diversions through major revisions to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) water rights licenses. The changes approved by the State Water Resources Control Board provide significant updates to an existing stream restoration program and will restore instream flows to 20 miles of creek and fisheries habitats in the basin.

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Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Imperial to start turning off tap for residents 60 days due

Come Wednesday, Oct. 13, utility services for Imperial residents more than 60 days past due will start to be cut off, but the city will continue to offer public assistance services to help those who are behind in their bills, it was announced at the City Council meeting this week. Some 164 utility customers (water, sewer, and trash) are past due 60 days or more and will be affected this upcoming date, and more than 800 customers are 30 days past due…

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

NOAA report reveals historic dryness in Southwest drought

People who live in the Southwest know it’s been especially hot and dry the past couple of years, but a new government report shows those conditions are actually historic. Precipitation across multiple basins in six states from January 2020 through August 2021 was the lowest recorded since researchers started tracking with gauges in the late 1800s. Meanwhile, the 20-month stretch had the third-highest average daily temperatures since researchers started measuring with instruments.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Are desert golf courses doing enough to conserve?

Doug Thompson couldn’t believe what he’d just been told. His wife, a botanist, was advising a Coachella Valley country club on drought-resistant landscaping, and Thompson, who got to talking with the groundskeeper, asked how much water it takes to irrigate a golf course. “He proudly said they had just computerized their system and they were down to 1.2 million gallons a night,” recalls Thompson, an ecologist who leads natural history expeditions. “I thought I didn’t hear him correctly, so about 30 minutes later I asked again, and he said the same thing.”
-Written by LA Times columnist Steve Lopez. 

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

With a warming climate, coastal fog around the world is declining

Fog is a defining element of summer in Santa Cruz … Its fingerprints are visible in the vast coastal forests, even when it isn’t hanging in the air. The redwood trees towering in a clear blue sky soak up moisture from the fog on gray days. It is often their only source of water for months at a time. Fog is essential for plants and animals, agriculture and human health, not only in California but in coastal zones around the world. But many scientists believe that fog is declining, another casualty of global warming.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County supervisors weigh well permitting amid drought conditions

Despite recent rains, severe to extreme drought conditions persist throughout Humboldt County. During the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the county drought task force shared an update on local conditions and initiatives aimed at mitigating drought impacts. One of the main concerns brought up in previous drought-related discussions was permitting standards for water wells.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

California spill not the environmental disaster first feared

After a crude oil sheen was detected on the waters off the Southern California coast, environmentalists feared the worst: A massive spill that would wreck the ecosystem. A week later, the region and its signature beaches appear to have been spared a potentially calamitous fate, though the long-term toll on plant and animal life remains unknown. … But environmental advocates said the situation remains serious, and they fear the long-term effect on wetlands and ocean life. 

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: Tutor Perini Joint Venture awarded $178 million Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction project

Tutor Perini Corporation (NYSE: TPC) (the “Company”), a leading civil, building and specialty construction company, announced today that a joint venture comprised of the Company and Brosamer & Wall, Inc. has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $178 million by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, for the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Phase I project in central California, southeast of Visalia.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Colorado wildfire was no match for beavers

Deep in the Cameron Peak burn scar northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, nestled among charred hills, lies an oasis of green – an idyllic patch of trickling streams that wind through a lush grass meadow. Apart from a few scorched trees on the periphery, it’s hard to tell this canyon wetland was surrounded by the largest wildfire just more than a year ago. Credit the industry of beavers.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Media

Massive sewage flow fouls South Bay beaches

The rainstorm that deluged San Diego County earlier this week also pushed a massive amount of sewage tainted water through the Tijuana River Valley. Federal officials estimate more than 563 million gallons of polluted water flowed across the U.S.-Mexico border and into the Tijuana River Valley. … South Bay residents have endured increasingly larger cross border flows for the past few year. Daily flows regularly topped 50 million gallons earlier this year …

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Why the American West’s ‘wildfire season’ is a thing of the past – visualized

It’s only October, and 2021 has already been a horrendous year for wildfires in the American west. The Dixie fire leveled the town of Greenville. The Caldor fire forced the evacuation of tens of thousands in Lake Tahoe. Some fires sent plumes so high into the atmosphere that the toxic air reached the east coast thousands of miles away. Fire is an important part of life in the American west and essential for the health of the landscape, but as the climate has changed so have wildfires in the region.