Prompted by a court ruling restricting their access to
groundwater, private water tankers in Chennai went on strike in
October, a move that shut down hotels, IT firms, and other
businesses and affected thousands of households that rely on
water delivered by the trucks.
Preparing to begin spreading the wealth of its riverwater to
neighboring agencies, the Santa Cruz Water Department is set to
study the impacts of changing it water-sharing rules. In an
initial report outlining the areas the city plans to study for
environmental impacts, a city notice of preparation lays out
the potential to share its unused water supply with Soquel
Creek Water District, Scotts Valley Water District, San Lorenzo
Valley Water District and Central Water District.
FEB. 7 WORKSHOP IN SACRAMENTO TO INCLUDE OPTIONAL ONE-DAY
Registration is now open for one of our most popular events –
Water 101, which for the first time will include an optional
daylong tour examining one of California’s most critical
resources, groundwater. Water 101, to be held Feb. 7 at
McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, details the history,
geography, legal and political facets of water in
California as well as hot topics currently facing the state.
Taught by some of California’s leading policy and legal
experts, the workshop gives attendees a deeper
understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.
California relies heavily on groundwater for its water supply,
particularly during drought. Climate change is increasing
drought intensity, making groundwater―with its immense
potential for low-cost storage―an ever more important water
source. Sustainable groundwater management will be vital to
adapting to a warmer future and should be a top policy priority
for the next administration.
Seismic noise — the low-level vibrations caused by everything
from subway trains to waves crashing on the beach — is most
often something seismologists work to avoid. They factor it out
of models and create algorithms aimed at eliminating it so they
can identify the signals of earthquakes. But Tim Clements
thinks it might be a tool to monitor one of the most precious
resources in the world — water.
The two Democrats running to represent California in the U.S.
Senate hold similar views on many of the election’s hot-button
issues. But at a Thursday news conference held at Whitewater
Preserve, north of Palm Springs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein attacked
her challenger, state Sen. Kevin de León, for stopping a bill
that would have required added scrutiny of a proposal to draw
water from the aquifer underlying the Mojave Desert.
Plans to boost clean energy production could have catastrophic
impacts on this resort town [Mammoth Lakes] known for
world-class ski runs and stunning scenery. At least that’s what
Pat Hayes, the area’s water manager, wants you to
think. Hayes has launched a million-dollar fight against
Ormat Technologies Inc.’s bid to double production at a nearby
The parade of trailer trucks rolling through Jay Butler’s dusty
ranch is a precursor to a new fracking boom on the vast federal
lands of Wyoming and across the West. … Like the acreage
offered for lease, the acreage actually leased by energy
companies on federal lands hit its highest level last year
since 2012, the height of the initial fracking boom in the
A board that manages groundwater allocations made no final
decisions on a pumping formula last week, but gave
preliminary support to a proposal that restricts
agricultural users. The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management
Agency considered a plan Wednesday that would allow
agricultural uses to pump 56,000 acre-feet of water starting
next year and municipal and industrial uses to pump 36,000
acre-feet, representing a 60 percent vs. 40 percent split
between the two groups.
Too often, protecting California’s precious groundwater clashes
with the interests of the oil industry. Due to its outsized
political influence, oil frequently wins out. Nowhere is that
more evident than in the Central Valley, where many oilfield
operators are dumping their toxic oil-waste fluid into open,
unlined pits. These pits don’t just produce nasty, eye-watering
The city of Ventura is suing hundreds of users that
extract or divert water from the Ventura River
Watershed, court documents show. The action comes as the
legal battle continues between Ventura and Santa Barbara
Channelkeepers over how much water the city should take out of
The Atacama, the world’s driest desert, contains one of the
planet’s richest deposits of high-grade lithium. Demand for
lithium, a light metal used in cellphones, electric cars, and
other emerging technologies, is booming. The largest global
lithium producers–U.S.-based Albemarle Corp and Chilean
SQM–built their operations within miles of each other in Salar,
the lithium-rich basin of the Atacama.
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling forced Los
Angeles to cut back its take of water from Eastern Sierra
creeks that fed Mono Lake. Some 35 years later, an appellate
court concluded the same public trust doctrine that applied in
the Mono Lake case also applies to groundwater that feeds a
navigable river in a picturesque corner of far Northern
California. But will this latest ruling have the same impact on
California water resources as the historic Mono Lake decision?
Researchers at the University of California recently
highlighted a flaw in state law that may prohibit diverting
streamflow to recharge groundwater. The problem is that
groundwater recharge by itself is not considered a “beneficial
use” under state law, and meeting that definition is a
requirement to obtain a permit to divert water. Officials at
the State Water Resources Control Board, which oversees water
rights, say the reality is not so clear-cut.
Marysville officials are considering converting some city parks
to well and tank storage systems to improve water system
reliability and save some money by eliminating the need for
commercial water service. “The city is seeking to install
irrigation wells at its city parks,” said Jim Bermudez,
director of Community Development and Services. “The purpose is
to essentially curb costs related to energy, as well as costs
Chemicals associated with firefighting foam once used at a U.S.
Air Force base in eastern New Mexico have been detected in
groundwater on and near the military installation, prompting
requests by state officials for more tests and a study to
determine the extent of the toxic plume.
As local agencies tackle the task of writing groundwater
sustainability plans for basins around California, two ongoing
processes will affect both the number and the scope of those
plans. Next month, the state Department of Water Resources
plans to finalize its rankings of basins and sub-basins that
will need to produce groundwater management plans by early
When the California Legislature created the “modern” water
rights regulatory system more than a century ago, it focused
exclusively on surface water, exempting groundwater from the
permitting system. Yet in most watersheds, surface water and
groundwater are closely linked. Actions that change one often
have an impact on the other. The arbitrary legal divide has
made it harder to manage the state’s water. But a recent law
and a new court decision have done a better job of connecting
surface water and groundwater.
The setting was a 14-acre grape vineyard, but the mismatched
background noise was that of a babbling brook. The roots of
some of the old-vine Zinfandel plants were submerged in
foot-deep water pumped in from the Mokelumne River, a half-mile
away. Other old-vine Zinfandel plants were bone dry.