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.
It’s been a long summer of extreme drought conditions in Sonoma
Valley. But in what seems like a steady stream of dire news for
the local watershed the Sonoma Ecology Center finds one glimmer
of good news stands out: beavers are moving back into Sonoma
Creek. … The return of these charming dam builders isn’t
quite breaking news – since 1993 beavers have slowly made a
comeback in Sonoma Valley. But this year, in the middle of peak
dry season, their increasing presence is something for
Six months ago the City of Fort Bragg ordered a
desalination-reverse osmosis treatment system to help provide
drinking water during periods of saltwater intrusion at its
main Noyo River water source. The skid-mounted unit has arrived
and can produce 200 gallons of desalinated water a minute, or
288,000 gallons of water per day, but because the unit can only
run for 12 hours a day, the daily capacity will top out at
As our own editorial of Tuesday notes, about 50% of the water
in California is for the rivers and their fishes. About 40%
goes to agriculture. Of the remaining 10%, 5.7% is used by
residences, mostly indoors, but a great deal of that for
landscaping. If I were to replace my pride and joy, the
80-year-old Meyer lemon tree in our front yard, productive
enough to supply the whole block with citrus, with a granny
flat, that housing would use less water than that tree. -Written by Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star News
Cities in Southern California rely largely on water flowing
through aqueducts from the Colorado River and the Sierra
Nevada. But some parts of the region, such as Ventura County
and northwestern L.A. County, don’t have access to Colorado
River water and depend entirely on the water that comes from
the Sierra through the State Water Project. … Los
Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an agreement on Tuesday,
saying the city’s Department of Water and Power is assisting
the region by taking less water from the State Water Project,
helping to preserve those supplies so that other districts will
get the water.
The water wars continue. Not surprisingly on Friday President
Joe Biden’s administration took action to essentially place on
hold an action taken by former President Donald Trump in early
2020 designed to ensure more water would be delivered to the
Central Valley. The issue involved is biological opinions
issued in 2019 by the Trump administration to be used when it
comes to how water is managed. But a letter issued by the
Bureau of Reclamation stated new biological opinions were
anticipated. So not surprisingly California Republicans in
Congress criticized Biden’s action.
Congress approved a government funding bill last week that
threw $80 million at the Sites Reservoir in California in order
to keep the project on track. The project is meant to hold 1.5
million acre-feet of water for the state to be used during
droughts for agriculture, community usage and environmental
need, said a press release issued Tuesday by the organization
behind the Sites Reservoir.
The record-breaking drought has impacted many aspects of life
in California, including the Chinook salmon population.
California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have teamed
up at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville to try and
counteract the effects of the drought. The groups have a
two-part plan of, first, returning healthy adults to the
hatchery to increase the number of spring-run salmon. Second,
they will increase the fall-run production of smolts, young
salmon, from 6-million to 7.75-million.
The Caldor Fire slipped by the southern end of the Tahoe Basin,
largely missing the neighborhoods there, but it also filled the
Basin with smoke for weeks. Then the ash from more distant
fires took its place. The skies will clear eventually, but the
ash will remain, much of it in the water. Just what that will
mean for Tahoe and other alpine lakes in the west isn’t known,
but scientists, including a team from UNR are working to find
out. They have an idea what they will be looking for. Dr.
Facundo Scorco studied the effects of wildfire smoke at another
lake in northern California in 2018.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation has pledged another $5
million toward drought relief in the Klamath Basin as farmers
and other stakeholders in the region continue to grapple with a
major shortage of water. Reclamation previously awarded $15
million toward the Klamath Project Drought Response
Agency, and the additional $5 million will join those funds.
KPDRA is tasked with distributing the fund to irrigators in
Oregon and California who are without an external water supply
due to the drought.
Aaron Fukuda admits that the 15-acre sunken field behind his
office doesn’t look like much. It’s basically a big, wide hole
in the ground behind the headquarters of the Tulare Irrigation
District, in the southern part of California’s fertile Central
Valley. But “for a water resources nerd like myself, it’s a
sexy, sexy piece of infrastructure,” says Fukuda, the
district’s general manager. This earthen basin could be the key
to survival for an agricultural community that delivers huge
quantities of vegetables, fruit and nuts to the rest of the
country — but is running short of water. The basin just needs
California’s rivers to rise and flood it.
San Joaquin County communities are having their woes
compounded as they struggle with the effects of one historic
drought while still struggling with the effects of another.
With constituents concerned about the ongoing drought and
resources available, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, hosted a
panel of state and federal experts to discuss the critical
situation, its statewide effects and best water practices.
Thirty-two years ago, in a triumph of ecological restoration,
ocean water rushed into a small, newly restored marsh along the
heavily developed coast of Huntington Beach. … The little
tract of habitat known as Talbert Marsh provides a rare refuge
for at least 90 species of shorebirds that forage and rest
there — all within sight of oil platforms, barges and tankers
off the coast. Now, for the second time in its short history,
Talbert Marsh is slicked with oil.
The San Joaquin Valley is home to some 4 million residents and
growing rapidly: another 1 million residents are expected by
2040. Groundwater is the primary water source for these
communities, yet decades of overpumping have stressed the
region’s groundwater basins, resulting in land subsidence, dry
wells, and falling groundwater reserves. The 2014 Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) seeks to solve this issue by
mandating that water users bring their groundwater basins back
into balance by the 2040s.
Ramon Chavez was a 7-year-old in Culiacán, Mexico, when his
parents told him that they were traveling to the United States.
He thought he was going to Disneyland. They ended up in
Stratford. … Land sinks here, sometimes at nearly
historic high rates of more than 1 foot per year, because of
excessive groundwater pumping. Out of its four wells, Stratford
can only rely on one — the others are unreliable and are
The machine Ted Bowman helped design can make water out of the
air, and in parched California, some homeowners are already
buying the pricey devices. The air-to-water systems work like
air conditioners by using coils to chill air, then collect
water drops in a basin. … The system is one of several
that have been developed in recent years to extract water from
humidity in the air. Other inventions include mesh nets, solar
panels and shipping containers that harvest moisture from the
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is known for damming rivers
and building levees to keep waterways at bay. But a new
initiative seeks natural flood control solutions as climate
change brings increasingly frequent and severe weather events
that test the limits of concrete and steel. … In
Northern California near the state capital
Sacramento, the Corps built the Yolo Bypass nearly a century
ago to divert floodwaters. Its 59,000 acres (24,000 hectares)
have also become habitat for native and endangered species,
including Chinook salmon and steelhead.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced nearly
$79.2 million in grants to help conserve and permanently
protect nearly 56,000 acres of habitat for 55 listed and
at-risk species across 13 states through the Cooperative
Endangered Species Conservation Fund. The grants will be
matched by over $49.3 million in partner funds. In the
California-Great Basin Region, the Service will deliver more
than $34 million to California and Nevada.
As the deepening drought threatens to dry up some West Marin
wells in the coming months, the county government wants to tap
into dwindling reservoirs to avoid a potential public health
emergency. The county proposes to truck reservoir water for the
next four months to an estimated 10 to 20 residences in areas
such as Nicasio, San Geronimo Valley and Lucas Valley. The
actual number of residents is not certain, county officials
said, as qualification criteria are still being drafted.
In honor of the start of Spooky Season… BOO! Let’s take a
haunted look at the October 2021 outlook from NOAA’s Climate
Prediction Center. More than half the country, including parts
of the West, are favored to have a warmer-than-average October,
but for the first time in months, there’s no brown on the map
out West, and even a little green. That means the odds of much
wetter than average month are as good as or better than the
odds of a much drier than average month.
On September 30, three settlement agreements through the
Central District of California’s courts will require three
companies to pay $77.6 million for contaminated groundwater
cleanup. The companies — Montrose Chemical Corporation of
California, Bayer CropScience Inc, TFCF America Inc and
Stauffer management Company LLC — agreed to pay for the cleanup
of contaminated groundwater at the Montrose Superfund and the
Del Amo Superfund sites in Los Angeles County.