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.
Tides are the biggest driver of Delta flows, and in Episode 2
we look at their impacts in different locations under a variety
of inflow conditions. Tides have a twice-daily cycle in
the region, with a range of about six feet at Martinez.
In the first part of the animation, we remove all
in-Delta controls and diversions and fix inflows at a common
moderate early summer level to isolate effects of tidal forces
from those of inflows, gates, and export diversions.
Prior appropriation, or the notion of “first in time, first in
right,” has been a prime directive of California water law for
well over 150 years. It has brought us a system that is so
inequitable in its impacts that more than one million residents
of California lack access to safe drinking water, while
industrial agriculture used more water to grow almonds and
pistachios during California’s last drought than all of
The trailheads [of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail] span
the gambit of habitats along the shore in the Bay and beyond.
Launch into the Napa River at the semirural Cuttings Wharf
trailhead. Explore marsh habitat and sloughs winding upriver,
surrounded by hills, to the riverfront development along
downtown Napa’s Main Street Boat Dock. From the sandy Encinal
Beach trailhead in Alameda, glimpse harbor seals and California
brown pelicans with the San Francisco skyline rising up next to
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored
the Regional Water Authority (RWA) with the national 2021
WaterSense® Partner of the Year Award for its dedication to
helping consumers and businesses save water, even with the
challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This is
the second WaterSense Award for RWA, which in 2016 earned a
WaterSense® Excellence in Education and Outreach Award for its
outstanding efforts to educate Sacramento-area residents about
water efficiency and the WaterSense brand.
The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project) passed a
significant milestone today in officially filing agreements
needed to form a Joint Powers Authority. This important
milestone puts a group of Local Agency Partners one step closer
to Project implementation. Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an
off-stream reservoir that was originally built by Contra Costa
Water District (CCWD) in 1998.
After water levels at a California dam fell to historic lows
this summer, the main hydropower plant it feeds was shut down.
At the Hoover Dam in Nevada — one of the country’s biggest
hydropower generators — production is down by 25%. If extreme
drought persists, federal officials say a dam in Arizona could
stop producing electricity in coming years. Severe drought
across the West drained reservoirs this year, slashing
hydropower production and further stressing the region’s power
We also learned last week of two new ballot measures for the
2020 ballot … The first proposal would ban collective
bargaining for government workers. The second measure would
require 2 percent of the state’s general-fund revenue each year
to fund water projects until the state amasses an additional 5
million acre-feet of available water supplies. -Written by Steven Greenhut, Western region director
for the R Street Institute and a member of the Southern
California News Group editorial board.
Like a human fingerprint, California’s Sacramento Valley is
truly unique. On the leading edge of ecological and economical
sustainability, it’s also an exceptional place to live,
work, and raise a family. The Sacramento Valley joins together
a world-renowned mosaic of natural and human abundance:
productive farmlands, teeming wildlife refuges and managed
wetlands, the largest salmon runs south of the Columbia River,
dynamic rural and urban communities, and life-giving rivers and
creeks that support it all. – Written by Curtis Knight, executive director of Cal
Trout; Jeff McCreary, director of operations for Ducks
Unlimited Western Region; Tim Johnson, president and CEO of the
California Rice Commission; and David Guy, the president of the
Northern California Water Association.
Meadows are hotspots for biological diversity and provide
numerous ecosystem benefits, especially in relation to the land
mass they cover, including flood attenuation, sediment
filtration, water storage, water quality improvement, carbon
sequestration, and livestock forage. Approximately 50% of
meadows in the Sierra Nevada are known to be degraded, in large
part due to land-use practices including overgrazing.
The nation’s firefighters spent a record 69 days this year at
their highest level of alert, the dreaded level 5, rushing from
one drought-driven wildfire to the next. Now they’re finally
getting at least somewhat of a break. Last week, federal fire
managers downgraded the National Preparedness Level to 3 after
a handful of September storms smacked the Pacific Northwest and
residual rain fell in California’s far north.
Following nearly two years of litigation regarding Trump-era
water policy, the federal government has until Oct. 14 to come
up a plan to balance competing needs for the precious resource.
… On Sept. 30, Ernest Conant, regional director of the
Department of the Interior’s Region 10, penned a letter to
officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National
Marine Fisheries Service to begin reevaluating the
environmental impact of water allocations from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Lake Mead is considered full when its stores reach 1,220 feet
above sea level or more, but the reservoir is projected to sink
to 1,066 feet above sea level by the end of the year, revealing
rock that has been submerged since it began filling in the
1930s. With every foot that Lake Mead falls, the basin comes
closer to triggering substantial cutbacks for certain water
users along the river. … [I]f lake levels continue to
decline, future cutbacks could impact the 30 Native American
tribes with lands in the basin.
Register today for our Water
Summit, hosted this year as an engaging virtual
experience on the afternoon of Oct. 28, to hear a variety
of perspectives detailing the on-the-ground impacts of the
the current drought in California. With the theme, Pivoting
Today’s Pain into Tomorrow’s Gain, the online event will
examine what’s being done to get through the drought now
gripping California and highlight some of the innovative
programs, projects and partnerships aimed at addressing the
challenges in the longer term.
Today, the Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority
announces the selection of a construction contractor to begin
work on the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction
Project. Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini Joint Venture, based in
Walnut Creek, was awarded a $177 million contract to perform
the construction aspects of the first phase of work to repair
the Friant-Kern Canal along a portion of the 33-mile stretch.
This portion of the canal has lost more than half of its
capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from
For the fifth September in a row, the California
Department of Fish and Wildlife has caught zero Delta smelt in
its Fall Midwater Trawl Survey (FMWT) throughout the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Once the most abundant fish
on the entire estuary, the fish is now near extinction in the
wild, although UC Davis continues to raise the fish in a
captive breeding program. The Delta smelt population has
plummeted over the decades since the State Water Project
began exporting Delta water to San Joaquin Valley grower
A landslide along the shore of Lake Shasta, likely caused
by the rapidly falling lake level, has knocked out
water service to hundreds of Jones Valley area residents.
Meanwhile, Shasta County Public Works Department officials are
trying to repair water lines and pumps broken by the landslide,
but they have hit supply ordering delays and shortages caused
by the COVID-19 pandemic. … The land above the pump station
began to slump in September and work in the area was
interrupted by the Fawn Fire, which burned in the area for more
than a week…
The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which is the main
wholesale water provider in Santa Clara County, on June 9
declared a drought emergency and called on all residents to
reduce water use 15% from 2019 levels to preserve supplies. In
August, the most recent month for which data is available,
countywide water use dropped by 9%. That was an improvement
from a 6% drop in July, but still is significantly under the
goal. Here is the percentage change in water use between August
2019 and August 2021 at the 13 cities and private water
companies the Santa Clara Valley Water District serves.
As the Western United States navigates yet another historic
drought year fueled by the ongoing climate crisis,
environmental scientists are calling for immediate action.
State Sen. Mike McGuire invited the North Coast community to a
virtual town hall Wednesday to explore bold solutions that will
be needed in the months and years to come.
Activists and researchers have teamed up to seek an affordable
flood insurance program for residents in the low-lying Canal
area of San Rafael. Stephanie McNally of Canal Alliance said
she is working on a pilot program with Jeffrey Rhoads of
Resilient Shore; Kathleen Schaefer, a researcher for the
University of California, Davis; and Stuart Spiegel, interim
manager of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
Their idea is in its early stages, and the team has submitted a
grant proposal to set up the program and find an insurance
Bay Area environmental research groups Pacific Institute and
Next 10 paired up in a webinar on Sept. 28 to discuss a new
study focused on water usage, sourcing and the ways that
both are impacting greenhouse gas emissions. Colleen Dredell,
director of research at the San Francisco-based nonprofit Next
10, emphasized that the goal of the collaborative report,
entitled “The Future of California’s Water-Energy-Climate
Nexus,” was to come up with solutions that would help
California meet its targeted energy and greenhouse gas goals by
2030. Currently, California is not on track to meet these