Infrastructure

Overview

Infrastructure

“Infrastructure” in general can be defined as the components and equipment needed to operate, as well as the structures needed for, public works systems. Typical examples include roads, bridges, sewers and water supply systems.Various dams and infrastructural buildings have given Californians and the West the opportunity to control water, dating back to the days of Native Americans.

Water management infrastructure focuses on the parts, including pipes, storage reservoirs, pumps, valves, filtration and treatment equipment and meters, as well as the buildings to house process and treatment equipment. Irrigation infrastructure includes reservoirs, irrigation canals. Major flood control infrastructure includes dikes, levees, major pumping stations and floodgates.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Biden rallies public-private sector to thwart infrastructure hacks

Confronting the rise of attacks on major American infrastructure and industry, the White House released an executive order Wednesday in which President Joe Biden will ask companies to layer on more cybersecurity protections. The order follows up on a series of cybersecurity directives prompted this year when the nation suffered a series of fuel shortages after Russian-tied cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Infrastructure talks leave Biden’s entire agenda at risk

President Joe Biden’s latest leap into the Senate’s up-and-down efforts to clinch a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure deal comes with even more at stake than his coveted plans for boosting road, rail and other public works projects. The outcome of the infrastructure deal, which for weeks has encountered one snag after another, will affect what could be the crown jewel of his legacy. That would be his hopes for a subsequent $3.5 trillion federal infusion for families’ education and health care costs, a Medicare expansion and efforts to curb climate change.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Infrastructure talks hit snags as Senate pressure rises

Senators ran into new problems Monday as they raced to seal a bipartisan infrastructure deal, with pressure mounting on all sides to show progress on President Joe Biden’s top priority. Heading into a make-or-break week, serious roadblocks remain. Disputes have surfaced over how much money should go to public transit and water projects. 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Patch

Livermore would get $20M under infrastructure bill

The House of Representatives approved a $715 billion infrastructure plan, and if the Senate passes it, it will mean $20 million for the Valley Link project to connect Bay Area Rapid Transit to the Altamont Corridor Express commuter train. … California would be a big winner under the proposed law. The bill includes more than $900 million for projects throughout the Golden State. They include bridges, bike lanes and express lanes … wastewater and drinking water projects and other infrastructure to prepare for rising sea levels.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: Court ruling finds FERC 401 waiver not justified – important implications for California hydropower project licenses

On July 2, 2021, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, overturning an Order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  FERC’s Order had found that the state of North Carolina had unlawfully “coordinated” with the license applicant to delay the state’s certification that a new FERC license for the Bynum hydroelectric project complied with state water quality laws.  FERC found that North Carolina’s participation in the delay meant that the state had “waived” its authority under Section 401 to issue the certification.

Aquafornia news Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

New research: Aging water infrastructure problems and disadvantaged communities miss out on funding due to inadequate measuring tool

Rural communities suffering from failing infrastructure and low capacity often miss out on important funding opportunities because the methods used by state agencies to determine eligibility are inadequate for rural forested areas, new study finds. Pockets of wealth (around a lake shore or golf-course development, for example) raise the median household income (MHI), which can mask the poverty of nearby communities.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California senators press Congress for $1 billion to prep for future drought

With rural wells running dry and reservoir levels dwindling amid the Western drought, California senators are pressing Congress for an infusion of cash to renovate the state’s collapsing drinking water system. But instead of new dams or desalination plants, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla want … to boost stormwater capture, groundwater recharge and water recycling efforts in the Golden State and throughout the U.S.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Fixing sinking Friant-Kern Canal is unprecedented task. The latest hurdle? Scheduling payments.

After some negotiation, the Friant Water Authority Board of Directors will vote on a repayment contract with the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the repair of a portion of the Friant-Kern Canal.  The Friant Water Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation held its second round of negotiations Thursday morning, which was a two-hour process hammering out contract language in the repayment deal. … At the center of the issue is a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal that has lost over half of its original capacity to subsidence. 

Aquafornia news The Hill

Officials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems

Lawmakers and experts on Wednesday warned of gaping cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical water sector amid escalating attacks against a number of U.S. organizations. … [C]oncerns came during a committee hearing on cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure that zeroed in on concerns around water and wastewater treatment facilities. Cyber threats have soared in recent years, including recent ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure such as Colonial Pipeline, and the water sector has not been immune.

Aquafornia news ABC10 News

San Diego gets state funding for Ocean Beach Pier repairs, energy storage, Pure Water program

A windfall of state funding is coming to San Diego, including money for Ocean Beach Pier repairs, an energy-storage project at San Vicente Reservoir, and the city’s Pure Water program. Money from California’s state budget, signed last week, will fund the series of San Diego projects and programs.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California’s Delta an oasis amid arid farmland

As California has imposed severe water cutbacks throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s vast watershed, most growers in the Delta region itself are still getting enough water to bring their crops to harvest. With a majority of landowners in the region holding pre-1914 riparian water rights, the state has not curtailed their ability to pump water from the Delta’s labyrinth of canals and waterways – at least yet. In fact, growers whose land is on islands below sea level have been pumping water off, San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican said.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Seas are rising. Will California’s ‘managed retreat’ ease fears?

Surrounded on three sides by the San Francisco Bay, residents of Richmond are used to being near the ocean. But as rising seas threaten to bring it even closer, Mayor Tom Butt is candid about the risks. … Parts of Richmond are estimated to be at risk from a three-foot increase in sea levels, even as the waters of the Pacific Ocean along California’s coast are projected to rise by more than twice that due to climate change this century.

Aquafornia news Ripon Advance

Valadao water amendments to appropriations bill nixed by Democrats

U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) last week introduced three amendments to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations fiscal year 2022 bill that aimed to alleviate California’s ongoing drought, but House Appropriations Committee Democrats voted down all three of them during a July 16 markup. The congressman’s first amendment would have extended California water storage provisions of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for one year …

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: House votes to order EPA to limit chemicals in water

The House on Wednesday approved a bill setting deadlines for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement drinking water regulations for so-called forever chemicals. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly called PFAS, are widely used, man-made compounds that are found in manufacturing and consumer products like Scotchguard, flame-resistant materials, nonstick cooking surfaces and firefighting foam used on military bases since the 1940s.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Fix aging water infrastructure, Senate told

California Farm Bureau, as part of a national coalition representing thousands of western farmers, ranchers, water providers, businesses and communities, urged leaders of the U.S. Senate to take action to address the shortcomings of aging water infrastructure. Citing an “acute and critical need” magnified by another all-too-familiar drought, the coalition sent a letter last week to Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It called for increased federal investment in water infrastructure.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Pumped storage project gets seed money… now the work begins

A 500 MW pumped energy storage project proposed jointly by the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority received $18 million in the California state budget. The support will help fund the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process. The project … could generate revenue to help offset the cost of water purchases, storage, and treatment.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Michael Norris named as Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Area Manager

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the selection of Michael Norris as the Area Manager of its Lower Colorado Basin Region Yuma Area Office. He has served as the Deputy Area Manager for seven years. In his new capacity, Norris is responsible for delivery of Colorado River water to the Yuma area and Mexico, groundwater and salinity management, resource management, engineering and construction.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: New CA dams, water reservoirs move slowly as drought worsens

It doesn’t look like much now, a dry and dusty valley surrounded by the modest mountains of California’s Coast Range. These barren, brown hills an hour northwest of Sacramento will be the future home of Sites Reservoir, one of the few major water projects to be built in California since the 1970s. California taxpayers are helping pay for Sites, which would hold more water than Folsom Lake, through a $7.1 billion bond they approved during the 2014 election.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news ABC 10 San Diego

San Diego homeowner: Removing a water meter in Mira Mesa could cost thousands

Jet Martin wanted to stop service to a water meter to save money for the homeowners in his Mira Mesa HOA. It turns out the city said doing that will cost thousands of dollars. … Martin’s HOA consists of 15 homes. There used to be sprinklers that watered a once-grassy area that sits between two houses. It was a space where residents in the HOA could sit, eat, and enjoy the outdoors. They stopped watering the grass a couple of years ago, but still pay a base fee to the city of nearly $30 per month.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Cultivating optimism as drought cripples the Colorado River

A historic drought has desiccated much of the American West, bringing reservoir levels to record lows and stoking fears of catastrophic wildfires across the region. We spoke with two members of the Water Policy Center research network and experts on the Colorado River: Dr. Bonnie Colby of the University of Arizona (she’s also a member of the Colorado River Research Group) and John Fleck of the University of New Mexico. Prepare to be surprised: we encountered some delightful optimism in this wide-ranging conversation.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

How to reduce your water use at home

Each day, it seems, a new climate-related catastrophe makes headlines. Salmon are dying in California, because the water they inhabit has been heated to the point that it’s inhospitable to life. The Hoover Dam reservoir is at record-low levels, potentially affecting the water supply to the West Coast. And California is, once again, in a drought. States and municipalities across the country are asking residents to conserve water as the precious resource is threatened with impending scarcity. … We asked experts for some easy ways to cut back on water usage. Here are their suggestions.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Needles, California fights drought along the Colorado River

Rick Daniels lies awake at night worrying about a rusty contraption in a forlorn field, littered with discarded pipes and fire hydrants. It is the only water pump in Needles that meets state water quality standards, running 23 hours a day to keep up with demand, according to Daniels, the city manager. That’s a thin margin in one of America’s hottest cities, an urban speck in the desert near California’s border with Arizona. If this lone pump fails, 5,000 residents face the ultimate risk of taps running dry, as temperatures soar past 120 degrees …

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces contract repayment negotiations for the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Water Authority scheduled a teleconference contract repayment negotiation session for costs of extraordinary operation and maintenance work on the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. The date and time of the teleconference-only negotiation session are: July 22, 2021, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. PDT Call 1-202-640-1187 and, when prompted, type in participant passcode 523 487 550# The public is welcome to listen during the session and comment after the negotiations close. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Secure California’s future water supply and invest in recycled water

Climate change is forcing our state to reimagine our water supply future. How do we do that? Easy — we reuse water.   Just like recycling a plastic bottle, we can safely use recycled water to drink, irrigate parks, support environmental uses, grow crops, produce energy, and much more. More than just a new source of water, water recycling projects provide a degree of local water independence.  
-Written by Jennifer West, managing director of WateReuse California.​

Aquafornia news SJV Water

State ponies up $200 million toward $2.35 billion repair bill for major canals

Several of the state’s key canals will get a sprinkle of state money this year and next toward fixing more than $2 billion in damage caused by sinking land from excessive groundwater pumping. On July 12, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a massive budget “trailer” bill, which authorizes actual funding for programs and services outlined in the state budget that was passed June 15. The trailer bill included $200 million for the Department of Water Resources to spend over the next two years on the California Aqueduct, Delta-Mendota Canal and Friant-Kern Canal. Together, repairs for those canals are estimated at $2.35 billion.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news GV Wire

In first Valley visit, U.S. senator gets pushed on farm water

Alex Padilla made his first official visit to the Central Valley as U.S. Senator, holding several discussions about water. Padilla, along with other elected officials, held a media availability at his only public event of the day — a tour of the Dos Palos water treatment plant. There, he spoke about the need to upgrade infrastructure for drinking water, as well as water for farmers. Padilla says the infrastructure bill being debated in the Senate will help with water, especially in underserved areas.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Cheap cybersecurity defenses exist, but they’re not reaching water utilities who need them

Super Bowl weekend was the headline event last winter in Tampa, Florida, where the mood was giddier than usual, given that the hometown Bucs had advanced to the championship. But two days before the big game, an incident just a few miles west of Raymond James Stadium temporarily stole the show. A hacker gained remote access to a water treatment plant in the town of Oldsmar. The intrusion on February 5 lasted only a few minutes — just long enough for the hacker to raise the concentration of lye in the water by a factor of 1,000. 

Aquafornia news CBS News

NASA: Moon “wobble” in orbit may lead to record flooding on Earth

Every coast in the U.S. is facing rapidly increasing high tide floods. NASA says this is due to a “wobble” in the moon’s orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels. The new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii, published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that upcoming changes in the moon’s orbit could lead to record flooding on Earth in the next decade. … They expect the flooding to significantly damage infrastructure and displace communities.

Aquafornia news Valley Water News

News release: Governor Newsom signs bill to allow Valley Water to select “best value” contractor for project to strengthen Anderson Dam

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a state bill on July 9 that will allow Valley Water to use a method known as “best value” to select a contractor for the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project. Under current California law, Valley Water must select the contractor with the lowest bid, regardless of their experience. But Assembly Bill 271, signed by Gov. Newsom and overwhelmingly passed by the California Legislature, authorizes Valley Water to use a method known as “best value” to select a contractor for the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save the dates for our fall events, join our team, check out our drought page and moving sale

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Water Education Foundation … we are busy preparing to move to a new office near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, planning a blend of virtual and in-person programming for the fall and offering a sale on our beautiful water maps and guides so we don’t have to move them. We’re also looking to hire a programs and communications manager who is passionate about all things water in California and across the West. Resumes are due July 23.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Water and transit infrastructure key topics in Kate Gallego meeting with President Joe Biden

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said water infrastructure and transit investments in Arizona were two key items discussed during a meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Gallego was part of a bipartisan group of three governors and four other mayors who met with Biden at the White House to build support for a proposed $1.2 trillion infrastructure package under consideration in the U.S. Senate…. The group also talked about… the state’s long-term drought and its effects on the Colorado River…  

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

Protecting Google’s future development from sea level rise is expected to cost $122 million

The city of Mountain View is planning for a surge in new offices and homes in North Bayshore, placing dense new development just a short jaunt away from the baylands. But new sea level rise estimates show that future development could very well end up underwater without flood protection, and it’s unclear who is going to pick up the costly bill. Earlier this year, Google announced its proposal to build 7,000 homes in North Bayshore alongside 3 million square feet of offices less than a mile from the bay.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

State should help fund local water resilience projects

On July 8, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded two earlier drought emergency declarations to cover 50 of the state’s 58 counties. In May, he directed state agencies to consider easing requirements for reservoir releases to conserve water upstream, and to make water transfers easier. Both are needed. Notably, the governor’s emergency proclamation did not impose water conservation mandates. Instead, Gov. Newsom is leaving water conservation to each region — a smart and necessary approach that incentivizes regional investments in water supply.
-Written by Sean Bigley, chair of the Sacramento Regional Water Authority Board, and Gary Croucher, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board.​

Related article: 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Californians will adapt to living with drought, as we always have

Climate change is exacerbating droughts and accelerating the transformation and decline of California’s native forest and aquatic ecosystems. As a state, we are poorly organized to manage these effects, which need extensive focused preparation. We need to adapt (and we will make mistakes in doing so). Our human, economic and environmental losses will be much greater, however, if we manage poorly because of delay, complacency or panic.
-Written by Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Davis. 

Aquafornia news Mountain View Online

Valley Water presents $16M check for small salt-removal facility

With drought on everyone’s mind, city leaders from Palo Alto and Mountain View held a brief summit on June 18 at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant to highlight a project that both cities hope will help make water consumption more sustainable for decades to come. Mayors Tom DuBois and Ellen Kamei met with Valley Water board member Gary Kremen at the Palo Alto facility to accept a $16 million check from the water district. 

Aquafornia news Stanford University Natural Capital Project

Sea-level rise solutions

Communities trying to fight sea-level rise could inadvertently make flooding worse for their neighbors, according to a new study from the Stanford Natural Capital Project. The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how seawalls constructed along the San Francisco Bay shoreline could increase flooding and incur hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for communities throughout the region.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

California expands floodwater capacity

For more than 60 years, California officials and experts have discussed expanding the Sacramento River bypass and levee system. … In summer 2020, contractors broke ground on the first project to expand that capacity, the Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback (LEBLS) project. The California Dept. of Water Resources is leading the design, construction and permitting of the $103-million project, which will widen the Sacramento Bypass and the east side of the Yolo Bypass. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Key players in California water confront drought, fish and more at Modesto summit

A key message emerged when California water leaders gathered in Modesto: Stop grumbling about drought, and get cracking on real fixes.  Rep. Josh Harder, R-Turlock, convened the Thursday afternoon summit at the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau.  Several speakers called for new reservoirs and groundwater recharge to hold wet-year surpluses for use in dry times like 2021. The manager of a West Side irrigation district invited others to follow her lead in using water recycled from city sewage plants. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Bill aims to spend billions to fix nation’s aging dams

Lawmakers in Congress on Friday introduced a bill that would pump tens of billions of dollars into fixing and upgrading the country’s dams. The Twenty-First Century Dams Act, introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, proposes to spend nearly $26 billion to make the repairs that would enhance safety and increase the power generation capacity of the country’s 90,000 dams. It also calls for removing any dams that have outlived their usefulness.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Diamond Valley Lake: SoCal’s largest water reservoir filled to 80% capacity despite drought

Southern California’s largest reservoir is filled to more than 80% of its total capacity, despite the fact the state as a whole is in the second year of a severe drought. And Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet is proving to be a key asset in making up for the shortfall in water from other sources after another year of below-normal precipitation.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fault system that produced 6.0 quake poses big dangers

While much of California’s earthquake risk has been historically focused on the San Andreas fault and places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, quakes are capable of causing significant destruction in the state’s Sierra Nevada and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … UCLA experts warned in 2014 that a major earthquake sending destructive shaking to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could potentially destroy aging levees, causing flooding and drawing in saline water from San Francisco Bay — which would contaminate one of the state’s key water supply systems.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Surplus money delays CA budget deal between Newsom, lawmakers

California’s fiscal year started more than a week ago, but lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom still don’t have a budget deal. They’ve enacted placeholder legislation to keep the government running while they hash out the final details, but the delay leaves Californians waiting for details on how money for critical areas including wildfires and infrastructure will be spent. It’s a different situation than the budget stalemates of past decades, when state government had to cut deals with banks to ensure state workers were paid even as budget negotiations dragged into the fall.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District outlines future plans

Slowly but surely, the San Lorenzo Valley community is rebuilding itself after the CZU Lightning Complex fire. Its water district is no exception. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District lost all of its water intake infrastructure at the Lyon Water Treatment Plant in Boulder Creek, built in 1994 with the purpose of treating surface water coming from many streams on the Empire Grade mountain. About 50% of the water stored at the plant was lost as well. All of the 1,600 acres of the watershed were affected by the wildfire.

Aquafornia news LA Department of Water and Power

News release: LADWP hires first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer 

As part of the ongoing initiatives to advance diversity and equity, Monique Earl has been named to lead the newly-created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  Earl will become part of the senior management team reporting to General Manager Martin Adams, and will be responsible for the oversight of policies, practices and programs designed to improve diversity and opportunities throughout LADWP and position the agency to better serve communities with the highest needs. 

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Bathroom byproduct will supplement DSRSD irrigation water supply

Dublin San Ramon Services District’s new temporary supplemental recycled water supply project not only aims to boost their irrigation water, but it also doesn’t let anything go to waste — especially human waste. Putting a new spin on the old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” DSRSD recently launched a program to divert one to two million pounds of sewage a day for three years from its sister agency Central Contra Costa Sanitary District to the Jeffrey G. Hansen Water Recycling Plant in Pleasanton, according to a statement from DSRSD.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Environmental consequences of pipeline, desalination plans must be considered

How can Marin County effectively address the severe drought we’re in? Right now, many are reasonably urging the Marin Municipal Water District to explore desalination and a water supply line on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Apparently our water district is proceeding expediently with this exploration, so they can implement those measures as quickly as possible if needed. However, we should recognize that with urgent competition for water throughout the southwestern U.S., these measures have uncertainties, will take time and require very large expense and energy use.
-Written by Tom Flynn, team lead at GreenChange.net. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Save our water’: Meet the rain harvesters taking on the US West’s water woes

The American west has a sprawling network of dams, reservoirs and pipelines that brings a supply of water to its cities and farms. But overexploitation and a two-decade dry spell have put a severe strain on the resources, with reserves dwindling to historic lows in some areas. The situation will only get worse in the coming decades, warn scientists, as surging populations will boost freshwater demand and a hotter, drier climate will bring deeper droughts and more erratic precipitation patterns. …[N]ew water-sourcing approaches are also needed. One such is rainwater harvesting. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Energy Information Administration

Blog: California’s hydroelectric generation affected by historic drought

[A]s a result of this year’s harsh drought conditions, we expect hydroelectric generation in California to be lower in 2021 than it has been in recent years. In the first four months of 2021, hydroelectric generation in California was 37% less than in the same four months in 2020 and 71% less than during those months in 2019. According to our Short-Term Energy Outlook, hydroelectric generation in California this year will be 19% less than last year, decreasing from 16.8 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2020 to 13.6 million MWh in 2021.

Aquafornia news Good News Network

Huge supply of water is saved from evaporation when solar panels are built over canals

Now, California is eyeing the benefits derived from several successful canal installations in India. With the world’s largest irrigation canal network, and 290 days of average sunshine, California is uniquely positioned to ease its own severe water shortages with this emerging innovation of canal-covering solar farms. UC Santa Cruz has investigated this method for use in California and estimates that—on top of generating green energy—it would save 63.5 billion gallons of water from evaporation annually, a massive windfall for a state that sometimes rations water and which regularly suffers from droughts.

Aquafornia news WIRED

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: A massive water recycling proposal could help ease drought

Lake Mead, which provides water for 25 million people in the American West, has shrunk to 36 percent of its capacity. One rural California community has run out of water entirely after its well broke in early June. Fields are sitting fallow, as farmers sell their water allotments instead of growing crops, putting the nation’s food supply in peril. As the West withers under extreme drought, legislators in the US House of Representatives have introduced HR 4099, a bill that would direct the Secretary of the Interior to create a program to fund $750 million worth of water recycling projects in the 17 western states through the year 2027.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Fox 2 KTVU

Major renovations begin on Anderson Dam tunnel project; reservoir can’t be used for 10 years

Major renovations will begin Wednesday on the Anderson Dam tunnel project in Santa Clara County.  The project will require the reservoir to be drained – and it will be unable to be used for 10 years. The timing is not great as California remains in a drought but water officials say this is a vital project for flood protection that will protect the public for years to come. The reservoir can hold more than 300,000 gallons of water and is the water district’s largest drinking water reservoir.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Long Beach City Council to weigh $19 million contract to build stormwater treatment site

The Long Beach City Council is set to weigh in on the next phase of the planned Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment Facility … The project will include both construction of the facility and a new wetland habitat area, though the contract with Shimmick will just be for the stormwater treatment site; a contract to build the wetlands will come to the panel at a later date.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin’s abandoned desal plan looms over drought crisis

The Marin Municipal Water District, facing the possibility of running out of water next summer, is scrambling to plan for two emergency projects to keep the taps flowing in case of another dry winter: a temporary desalination plant and a pipeline across San Francisco Bay. But nearly 11 years ago, the district chose not to build a desalination plant that could have supplied as much as 60% of its current yearly potable water demand — though at a high price. The district, which serves 191,000 residents in central and southern Marin, had been exploring desalination since the early 1990s and has tested two pilot desalting sites.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

How the drought is affecting Northern California business

Drought can gradually parch the coffers of companies, while for others it’s an economic boom. For some, it’s driving innovation. One hair salon is using biodegradable towels, water well drillers are turning away potential clients, drought-resistant plants are all the rage, and watersports proprietors are figuring out how to survive with less water to play in. In spite of this resiliency, things could get worse before they get better because the rainy season is still months away. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Two federal decrees affect California water wars

The powerful interests who vie for shares of the state’s ever-changing water supply — dubbed “water buffaloes” — are adept at fending off political and legal assaults by their rivals and the outcomes of their clashes are often stalemates. That’s why it was surprising in June to see two game-changing decrees out of Washington, one from the new Biden administration and another from the Supreme Court, affecting two of the state’s most prominent water interests, Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District and the San Joaquin Valley’s Westlands Water District.
-Written by CalMatters columnist Dan Walters.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Budget trailer bills misused for renewable energy squabble

To understand a sharp-elbows squabble that’s developing behind the scenes in the state Capitol, one must first understand “pumped-storage hydro,” a way for electrical energy to be stored. In its simplest form, water stored in a reservoir is released to generate power as it flows into a second reservoir at a lower elevation. Later, when the electrical grid’s need for power diminishes, the water is pumped back into the upper reservoir so the cycle can be repeated when demand increases.
-Written by Dan Walters, CalMatters columnist.

Aquafornia news PR Newswire

News release: Cadiz completes acquisition of 220-mile pipeline asset

Cadiz Inc. is pleased to announce today that it completed the acquisition of an existing 220-mile pipeline, the Cadiz “Northern Pipeline,” making final payment of $19 Million to El Paso Natural Gas. As California continues to address supply inequalities, infrastructure challenges and intensifying drought, the Northern Pipeline can provide new water conveyance access and supplement California’s water infrastructure along an underserved, growing east-west route with additional regulatory approvals. The Northern Pipeline extends southeast from California’s Central Valley near Bakersfield and terminates at the Company’s Cadiz Ranch agricultural operations.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey water officials told to pay for another Cal Am review

An inter-governmental body wants Monterey Peninsula water officials to pay for an independent third-party review of costs associated with a planned takeover of California American Water Co., a study water officials say they’ve already performed at a cost of over a half-a-million dollars. A majority of commissioners with the Local Area Formation Commission for Monterey County (LAFCO) said Monday night they want the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to foot the bill for an independent review to better establish the financial wherewithal of the district to operate a water delivery system…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Infrastructure bill could help California drought, water storage

As California and the West suffer through an epic drought, President Joe Biden and Senate Republicans and Democrats have included $5 billion for Western water projects in their infrastructure deal. The prospect of federal money comes as several big-ticket water projects are on the drawing boards in California — although many are still years from completion and probably wouldn’t get finished in time to help California with the current drought. But the federal dollars, which are probably months and several more negotiations away from possible approval, could enable California to jump-start projects that have been in the works for years.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Congressional Research Service

Controlling lead in public drinking water supplies

Communities may face a range of issues associated with aging water infrastructure, including elevated lead levels in tap water. Because of lead’s toxicity, even at low levels, reducing lead exposures from drinking water and other sources remains a public health priority. Other sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and contaminated soil and dust from deteriorated lead-based paint. Nationally, the phaseouts of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint, along with regulatory controls and technical changes, have reduced lead exposures. 

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: Delta adapts – Creating a climate resilient future

The time to act is now. Climate change is already altering the physical environment of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Delta), and we will continue to experience its effects through hotter temperatures, more severe wildfires, and prolonged droughts. Over the long term, climate change in the Delta is expected to harm human health and safety, disrupt the economy, diminish water supply availability and usability, shift ecosystem function, compromise sensitive habitats, and increase the challenges of providing basic services. Many of these impacts will disproportionately affect vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news Transportation Today

Reps. DeFazio, Pallone announce details of $715B surface transportation and water infrastructure bill

U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced Thursday new details of the $715 billion INVEST in America Act, which is scheduled to be sent to the House floor this week. The bill, the congressmen said, will create jobs, rebuild and reimagine the country’s roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater infrastructure, as well as the drinking water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Severe heat, drought pack dual threat to power plants

Record-setting heat and drought gripping the western United States are exposing a potentially severe risk to the nation’s long-term power supply, and experts warn that grid operators lack sufficient tools to plan and carry out a defense. … Persistent drought also threatens power from hydroelectric dams in the West, a critical resource for California during extended heat waves. Water levels are so low at Lake Oroville, California’s second-largest reservoir, that officials are considering shutting down a hydroelectric plant there.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

A California town is without running water amid drought

This is how California’s water crisis is going these days: The only functioning well in the rural community of Teviston broke in early June, leaving more than 700 residents without running water as temperatures in the Central Valley soared to triple-digits in a drought. … Teviston residents are relying on limited bottled water for necessities such as staying hydrated, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Some residents, like Galaviz, are traveling to neighboring towns to stay with family or friends to shower and wash clothes.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Opinion: ‘Fixing’ Salton Sea with pipelines is unrealistic

Once again, the chest beating for a sea-to-sea pipeline to “fix” the Salton Sea has begun. Here are a few facts are often ignored. The Coachella Canal shows that it is possible to transport water long distances without pumping. That canal transports Colorado River water 122 miles to the Coachella Valley, all by gravity. It was completed in 1948, before current environmental regulations. According to the CVWD, this canal delivers about 280,000 acre-feet per year of water.
-Written by Alexander Schriener Jr., a California registered professional geologist who has lived in the Coachella Valley for 33 years.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Opinion: California budget surplus a rare opportunity to create climate strategy

There is no drought – the Los Angeles Times wrote in a recent editorial. The Times argued “if ‘drought’ means a period of dry years followed by a return to the norm, California is not in drought. The current climate is the norm.” That analysis has important implications for Stockton and other communities along the San Joaquin River and in the Delta. As our precipitation increasingly swings between drought and flood, each extreme challenges our communities.
-Written by Douglass Wilhoit, CEO of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and a former San Joaquin County supervisor; and Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, executive director and co-founder of Restore the Delta.

Aquafornia news The Signal

SCV Water honored for PFAS water treatment project

SCV Water’s response to removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in the local groundwater supply received top honors as the Best Environmental Project from the American Public Works Association (APWA) — High Desert Branch. … PFAS chemicals are manmade and can cause adverse health effects. Officials recognized the opening of the plant, which is adjacent to the William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball fields, in early October. The $6 million facility restores up to 6,250 gallons of water per minute. 

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Desert Hot Springs waste spill has MSWD facing up to $9.4 million fine

Mission Springs Water Districtis facing as much as $9.4 million in fines from state and regional water regulators after district officials failed to report a  nearly million-gallon spill from a breached wastewater percolation pond as required, and failed to notify state authorities that a temporary holding pond had been constructed. District officials waited two weeks to notify state authorities that last Oct. 3, large  amounts of treated wastewater gushed through Desert Hot Springs residential streets …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘We have a deal’: Biden, lawmakers reach tentative bipartisan infrastructure agreement

President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a nearly $1-trillion infrastructure plan Thursday, the culmination of months of negotiation over a proposal to fortify the nation’s roads, bridges and broadband internet access….The plan calls for $109 billion for road and bridge projects, $7.5 billion to build a new network of electric vehicle-charging stations, $55 billion to replace all lead pipes and upgrade water infrastructure….

Related article: 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Giant rock wall built across Delta river to protect California’s water supply

For the past three weeks, construction crews working 24 hours a day have been stacking boulders across a river in eastern Contra Costa County, building what may be California’s biggest defense yet against the drought: a nearly 800-foot-long rock wall. The state’s emergency project, which was wrapping up Thursday, is designed to prevent San Francisco Bay’s salty flows from pushing into the coveted freshwater supplies of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Water levels in the delta’s rivers and sloughs have dropped after two dry years, putting water for almost 30 million Californians at risk of saltwater intrusion. The plan is to keep the wall up until November…

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Opinion: Santa Barbara water follies – The city needs to change course

In the weekly newsletter sent out by the City of Santa Barbara on June 14, we are given a peek at how the water policy followed by the city over the past decade has worked out. The city provides us with a chart showing that consumers of water in Santa Barbara pay substantially more for their water than do Goleta, Carpinteria or Montecito at all but the very least levels of consumption. Remarkably, huge estates in Montecito irrigate their grounds at 68 percent of the cost of urban homesteads in our city!
-Written by Glen Mowrer, contributor to the Santa Barbara Independent. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Don’t expect the speed of 1977 in latest plan for water across Richmond Bridge

Marin Municipal Water District will soon study the idea of returning the long-gone water pipeline to the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It’s a smart move if the district can locate another agency to sell them additional water. They also should understand times have changed in the past 55 years. Installing a new, hopefully permanent, pipeline won’t be the snap it was in 1977.
-Written by Dick Spotswood. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Golden Gate Park uses 427 million gallons of drinkable water per year. That’s all about to change

Using drinking water to keep our parks luscious and green isn’t uncommon in San Francisco, but it’s something the city is working to change. Golden Gate Park currently uses its own groundwater wells to irrigate the park, which has water quality permitted for drinking water standards. The Panhandle uses water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). By summer 2022, barring any delays, the water used for irrigation and lake fill would instead come from a recycled water system that’s currently under construction to replace the current watering system.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Daily Bulletin

$630 million project launches, to replace wastewater pipes under South Bay and Harbor Area

After more than a decade of planning, community meetings — and more planning — an ambitious $630 million effort to replace two aging underground wastewater pipes officially launched on Monday, June 21, as a two-story-high electric tunneling machine was lowered underground at the sanitation plant on the border of Carson and Wilmington. The details have been continually refined since planning began in 2006. The Clearwater Project, its formal name, was approved in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and was described by engineers involved in the work as sophisticated, intricate and precise.

Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

San Elijo’s water reclamation facility named ‘Plant of the Year’

The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s water reclamation facility near San Elijo Lagoon on Manchester Avenue in Encinitas was named “Plant of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association, the agency announced today. The award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness and superior plant performance amongst wastewater agencies across California.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

New bill would make it easier to transfer water throughout California

Growers are dealing with severe cutbacks in the surface water deliveries they normally receive from reservoirs. The lack of steady irrigation has already impacted spring cropping decisions made by farmers. … A bill introduced by Republican Congressman David Valadao would allow more water to be moved south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while keeping protections in place for fish such as the delta smelt and salmon.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Drought: Emergency project being built to protect California water supplies

In a new symbol of California’s worsening drought, construction crews are putting the finishing touches on a $10 million emergency project to build a massive rock barrier through part of the Delta in Contra Costa County to preserve water supplies for millions of people across the state. The 800-foot long barrier — the size of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid laid on its side — is essentially a rock wall, 120 feet wide, built in water 35 feet deep. Its purpose: To block salt water from the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay from flowing too far east and contaminating the huge state and federal pumps near Tracy …

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Water: Lake Pillsbury Alliance – Part 2

In April of 2017, PGE began moving forward with its plans to relicense the Potter Valley Project (PVP)—with, as of yet, no designs to remove any of the infrastructure—and in August of 2019, Congressman Jared Huffman created the PVP Ad Hoc Committee, a Two Basin Solution for the Eel and Russian River basins, whose more than 20 members were tasked with the relicensing process of the PVP to improve fisheries and fish migration, minimize adverse impacts to water supply reliability, respect tribal rights and minimize and mitigate adverse impacts to Lake County including Lake Pillsbury. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Farmers and ranchers need support during drought

While California is known for its world-famous entertainment industry and ever-transforming tech sector, agriculture is the often-overlooked backbone of our diverse state and one of its earliest economic engines.  Our state’s multigenerational farmers and ranchers not only feed Californians, but also supply one-third of our country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, while also leading the nation in milk production.
-Written by Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and David Shabazian, director of the California Department of Conservation.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: As sea levels rise, California must increase Coastal Commission funding

Sea level rise is not some future dystopian fantasy. It is here on the California coast. At high tide, water gushes over stairways leading down bluff trails to beaches and up to some oceanfront homes. Seawater routinely sloshes over Highway 1 between Eureka and Arcata along the northern coast. Homes in some towns already flood. Others perch precariously on crumbling bluffs. Sea walls erected to protect oceanfront homes (for a while) end up accelerating the erosion of public beaches on the other side of those walls.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Lake Oroville’s depleted water levels may force power plant to shut down for the first time ever

Water lines on the banks of Lake Oroville in Butte County have depleted so rapidly that the reservoir’s hydroelectric power plant may have to shut down for the first time ever, straining an already encumbered power grid during the hottest part of the summer, California officials announced Thursday.  Since 1967, the Edward Hyatt Power Plant has been a crucial source of electricity for the area and usually has the capacity to power up to 800,000 homes, pumping water from the lake through its underground facilities, according to CNN.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Independent

Zone 7 commits $2 million for PFAs water treatment facility

Zone 7 directors have approved spending $2 million to design a facility to treat potential human health threats in Cope Lake’s water should chemicals accumulate above legally acceptable levels. Those chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs and PFOAs), which are found in consumer products, such as cookware, food packaging and stain repellents. They make their way into drinking water sources.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Water system maintenance causes concerns among some San Mateo County residents

Routine maintenance repairs on a portion of water system pipes along Cordilleras Creek left some San Mateo County residents concerned water was being wasted as the state enters a drought. … The Cordilleras Creek, one of two creeks running through Redwood City, also cuts through Redwood High School where [Redwood City resident Rudy] Tureillo works as a custodian. Typically the creek is “bone dry,” Tureillo said, but starting Wednesday, June 9, staff at the school noticed it was flowing strong.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Drought: Marin district details water pipeline, desalination plans

The Marin Municipal Water District has taken the first steps toward building an emergency water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge for the first time in nearly 50 years to avoid potentially running out of water next summer. The district said Friday that it has hired a consulting firm, Woodard & Curran, to find potential water rights holders in the Central Valley willing to sell their allotments. This water could be pumped across the bridge via the pipeline and into Marin’s water system should the drought stretch into winter.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Biden picks career water policy adviser to lead water agency

Camille Touton, a veteran congressional water policy adviser, has been nominated to lead the agency that oversees water and power in the U.S. West. President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Touton to be the next commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. If confirmed, the Nevada native will be a central figure in negotiations among several states over the future of the Colorado River.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Israel’s water conservative policies far exceed California’s

When Donald Trump referred to the COVID pandemic as a “plague,” he was implying that it was an act of God that couldn’t be blamed on the government. We are now told that the acute water shortage in California is the result of a “drought” that has, once again, lead to water restrictions. This biblical term obscures the responsibility that our local governments bear for this crisis. Countries facing far harsher climates and much scarcer water supply, like Israel, have adopted straightforward policies to avoid such crises. We should learn from their example.
-Written by Ron E. Hassner, the Helen Diller Family chair in Israel Studies and the co-director of the Helen Diller Institute for Israel Studies at U.C. Berkeley.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Cyberattack on Bay Area water supply: ‘No specific threat to public safety’

A hacker accessed the computer system of a Bay Area water treatment plant in January and deleted programs the plant used to treat drinking water, a senior intelligence official confirmed Thursday. NBC News first reported Thursday that the unidentified hacker used a former plant employee’s username and password to gain entry to the unidentified Bay Area water treatment facility on Jan. 15.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Congressman John Garamendi

News release: Garamendi votes to advance bill to modernize water infrastructure and create good-paying jobs

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, voted to pass the “Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021” (H.R.1915) in the Committee. This legislation reauthorizes the Clean Water Act’s State Revolving Funds and related U.S. EPA water programs. The legislation passed the Committee on a bipartisan vote of 42 to 25 and is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming weeks. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: Plan to raze 4 dams on California-Oregon line clears hurdle

A proposal to bring down four hydroelectric dams near the California-Oregon border cleared a major regulatory hurdle Thursday, setting the stage for the largest dam demolition project in U.S. history to save imperiled migratory salmon.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Blog: Where does LA’s water come from?

Los Angeles is a pretty hot and dry place, and in fact, California is suffering from increasing impacts of drought, so how does the water we use every day get here? Let’s take the journey your water takes from the source to your mouth with these 5 things to know:

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Water quality legislation attracts bipartisan support

President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative proposes to invest $111 billion in rebuilding and modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as funding other water quality-related priorities, including addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies.  Legislation proposed in both the Senate and House of Representatives in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) reflects a bipartisan effort to translate the President’s goals into national policy.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Supreme Court allows San Francisco, Oakland lawsuits against big oil companies to proceed

Two more ambitious lawsuits would be hard to image: in 2017 the cities of Oakland and San Francisco filed separate public nuisance lawsuits against five of the world’s biggest energy companies, seeking to hold them responsible for the local effects of sea level rise. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to throw the suits out of court, although the cases still face many daunting obstacles ahead.

Aquafornia news South Valley Water Association

Blog: Schafer Dam enlargement

In the 1960s, Tulare County Supervisor Dennis Townsend was working for the water master of the Tule River when the dam at Success Lake got its first big test. … Starting in early 2024, a similar deluge would be contained because the spillway is being raised by 10 feet, increasing reservoir storage by a third. The federally funded project will boost flood protection for Porterville and the downstream lands from a 50-year flood event to a 100-year flood event, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Aquafornia news Newsweek

Verizon, Southern California water supplier among those hit in suspected Chinese hack

Verizon and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California were two high-value targets hit by a suspected Chinese-backed hack that was first brought to the public’s attention in April, the Associated Press reported. Pulse Connect Secure networking devices are used by many companies and governments to allow secure remote access to their networks and those were the targets of the hacks. The Chinese government was suspected of backing the hacks, but China has denied any role.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks

When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was hacked in 2018, it took a mere six hours. Early this year, an intruder lurked in hundreds of computers related to water systems across the U.S. In Portland, Oregon, burglars installed malicious computers onto a grid providing power to a chunk of the Northwest. … All three drive home a point long known but, until recently, little appreciated: the digital security of U.S. computer networks controlling the machines that produce and distribute water and power is woefully inadequate, a low priority for operators and regulators, posing a terrifying national threat.

Aquafornia news NBC News

‘Dying of thirst’: The Cucapá in Mexico fight against climate change and oblivion

Lucía Laguna carries her fate tattooed on her face — from the corner of her mouth to her chin, black lines surf across her coppery skin — the tribal art honoring her people will also serve an important function later on. … But under the merciless sun, Laguna, 51, worries about the fate of the river and its impact on the Cucapá, her Indigenous people. A searing drought is exacerbating the deadly heat in a region that long ago saw its river flow diminished, after almost a century of U.S. engineering projects, as well as a focus on water for agriculture.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

California is walking a ‘tight rope’ as hydropower supply fades

The catastrophic drought that’s gripping the U.S. West is claiming a new victim: the hydropower dams that much of the region depends on for electricity supplies. Low water levels in key reservoirs mean that hydropower supplies are declining. One of the hardest hit areas is California, where output has tumbled to the lowest in more than five years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought: Quake risk forces Silicon Valley to cut water use

California is known for its history of natural disasters, and in the Silicon Valley, two potential calamities — drought and earthquake risk — are converging to dry up water supplies in the hub of the state’s tech economy. In a meeting on Wednesday, board members of the Santa Clara Valley Water District voted unanimously to declare a water shortage emergency — in part because a key county reservoir had to been drained to reduce earthquake risks highlighted by federal regulators. 

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

House advances bill with increased funding for clean water

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week marked up and advanced H.R. 1915, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021. … By 2035, the City of Los Angeles expects to recycle 100 percent of its water supplies and reduce its reliance on costly imported water from the Colorado River. Truckee Meadows Water Authority in Reno is planning 13-mile pipeline to provide 1.3 billion gallons of recycled water annually to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, home to Tesla, Switch and Google, and ensure 20,000 jobs remain in Nevada.  

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Lake Powell pipeline targets water promised to Utes in scheme the tribe sees as another racially based injustice

The water [that Utah] plans to tap for the Lake Powell pipeline was previously promised to the Ute Indian Tribe, which is now suing to get back its water and asserting that the misappropriation is one of a decades-long string of racially motivated schemes to deprive it of its rights and property.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Another water war washes over the MWD

In the final scene of “Chinatown,” the noir movie version of Los Angeles’s original water grab, anti-hero Jack Nicholson confronts the brutal triumph of the film’s “pillar of the establishment” villain. The cops don’t want to hear his story.  They invoke the racist trope that the law of the jungle rules in the ethnic enclave where the scene occurs: “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” The real life water wars continue, however, and it remains to be seen who will win the current power struggle at the Metropolitan Water District.
-Written by Rick Cole, former mayor of Pasadena, deputy mayor of Los Angeles and city manager of Azusa, Ventura and Santa Monica.​

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Biologists, irrigators empty Tule Lake to improve habitat, fight disease

Once spanning 100,000 acres at the foot of the Medicine Lake Volcano, it’s unlikely that Tule Lake has been as low as it is now for millions of years. What used to be a massive network of open water and fringe wetlands is now essentially a giant mud puddle, spelling trouble for migratory birds that have used it as a rest stop for thousands of years. The solution, at least for now? Dry it up.

Aquafornia news NBC News

The West is the driest it’s been in 1,200 years – raising questions about a livable future

Water is increasingly scarce in the Western U.S. — where 72 percent of the region is in “severe” drought, 26 percent is in exceptional drought, and populations are booming. Insufficient monsoon rains last summer and low snowpacks over the winter left states like Arizona, Utah and Nevada without the typical amount of water they need, and forecasts for the rainy summer season don’t show promise. … The past two decades have been the driest or the second driest in the last 1,200 years in the West, posing existential questions about how to secure a livable future in the region.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Bills to fund canal repairs moving forward

Excessive groundwater pumping has collapsed the land beneath several key canals, crimping their ability to move water. Fixing them will be expensive. There are two bills moving through the state Legislature and Congress that could provide some funding. This is the second try for the state bill, Senate Bill 559 by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger). … Representative Jim Costa (D-Hanford) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.) introduced S. 1179, the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act, on April 15.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Clock is ticking on dreams of saving Salton Sea with water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez

Coachella Valley-based architect Nikola Lakic knows how to fix the withering Salton Sea. Or, at least he says he does.  Lakic believes it’s possible to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez — or, perhaps, from the Pacific Ocean off the California coast — through a multi-billion-dollar system of pipes. He would construct mangrove habitat for natural water filtration, send desalinated water to geothermal plants and, amid all this, restore California’s largest lake. … Lakic is the author of one of 11 formal proposals for a “sea-to-sea” solution that the state of California is currently evaluating.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District

News release: Metropolitan helps advance stormwater capture and recycling projects

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is helping advance two local supply projects that will further diversify and strengthen the region’s water reliability, under two agreements approved Tuesday by the district’s board of directors. The board approved an agreement with the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Santa Margarita Water District to provide funding for a recycled water project. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin officials: Bridge water pipeline could be permanent

Officials are raising the prospect of a permanent water pipeline over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge as a potential drought-fighting strategy for Marin County. … [Ben] Horenstein, the general manager of the Marin Municipal Water District, was among the participants of a teleconference on drought and wildfires organized by Assemblyman Marc Levine on Wednesday. … For Marin, Horenstein said, the focus now is on promoting as much conservation as possible through mandatory water use restrictions and rebates for water-efficient appliances and landscaping.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save 30% off maps, guides and more so we don’t have to move them!

We’re moving later this summer to new quarters closer to the Sacramento River, and we don’t want to haul all of our water maps, Layperson’s Guides, DVDs and more to the new home. So we’re making you a limited-time offer we hope you can’t refuse: Take 30 percent off the price of all of our maps, guides and more.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: New resource page keeps you up-to-date with drought gripping West

For anyone trying to keep up with the unfolding drought in California and the West, the Water Education Foundation has created a special resource page that offers links to real-time reservoir data and water supply forecasts, an ongoing newsfeed to help you stay up to date on the latest news and tips so you can help conserve the region’s most precious natural resource.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Farm groups seek $49 billion for Western water, forests

Even as a federal infrastructure bill teeters on the brink of failure, more than 200 Western farm and water organizations pushing for canal and reservoir repairs are proposing nearly $49 billion for projects improving water conveyance, dam safety and forest health. In a letter June 9 to Chairman Joe Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, organizations ranging from Western Growers to the Idaho Potato Commission cited an “acute and critical need” magnified by another all-too-familiar drought.

Aquafornia news CNN

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead to reach lowest levels in decades as drought grips the region

A crippling drought in the western US is dropping the water level at Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam to a historically low level, putting pressure on the region’s drinking water supply and the dam’s electric capacity. By Thursday, Lake Mead’s water level is expected to sink to the lowest it’s been since it began filling during construction of the Hoover Dam, according to Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Patricia Aaron.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Southern California’s biggest water agency has new leader

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has hired Adel Hagekhalil as its next general manager, following a bitter power struggle over the future of an agency that delivers hundreds of billions of gallons each year from the Colorado River and Northern California to a region that otherwise wouldn’t have nearly enough water to support 19 million people.

Related article:

Aquafornia news News Channel 3-12

Start of Santa Ana Bridge replacement project brings Ventura County one step closer to removing Matilija Dam

The Ventura County Public Works Agency commemorated the start of the Santa Ana Boulevard Bridge replacement project with a groundbreaking ceremony Monday afternoon. The ceremony took place at 2 p.m. and was attended by the county supervisor, Matt LaVere, as well as representatives from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Coastal Conservancy.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Editorial: State funding is crucial for restoring San Francisco Bay

Five years ago Bay Area voters wisely approved Measure AA, a nine-county, 20-year, $12 per parcel annual tax to restore San Francisco Bay and guard against the threat of rising sea levels due to global warming. … An estimated 355,000 Bay Area residents live within a 100-year flood plain that includes 800 miles of roads and highways, 70 miles of critical rail lines, 46 wastewater plants, 35 schools and 15 hospitals.

Related article:

 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water bonds plug spending holes

As California responds to yet another drought and prepares for a future of greater climate extremes, securing funding to boost the water system’s resilience is a top priority. One go-to funding source over the last two decades has been state general obligation bonds. In dollar terms, GO bonds play a relatively small role in water system spending, yet they punch above their weight when it comes to filling critical gaps. 

Aquafornia news KRQE News 13

As drought grips western U.S. cuts to water supply expected

A punishing drought is gripping much of the western U.S. Scientists are calling it a “mega-drought” brought on by climate change. It’s taking a dramatic toll on the Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in seven states. For more than eight decades, the Hoover Dam has relied on water from Nevada’s Lake Mead to cover up its backside. But now at age 85 it finds itself uncomfortably exposed. Much of the water the dam is supposed to be holding back is gone.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Controversial sewer hike heads to Monterey One Water board amid objections

A proposal that would more than double the cost of sewer service in the region over the next five years and has drawn the rage of the area’s hospitality and business interests heads to a board for final approval on June 7. The board of directors for Monterey One Water, the regional wastewater management service, will vote on the proposed schedule of rate increases. If approved, ratepayers will see a 47-percent jump in their sewage bills after July 1. By 2025, rates would be 122-percent higher than they are today. … [T]he increase is needed to maintain and update the utility’s $750 million infrastructure assets, some of which are more than 30 years old.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Las Vegas’s new strategy for tackling drought – banning ‘useless grass’

In Sin City, one thing that will soon become unforgivable is useless grass. A new Nevada law will outlaw about 40% of the grass in the Las Vegas area in an effort to conserve water amid a drought that is drying up the region’s primary water source: the Colorado River. Other cities and states around the US have enacted temporary bans on lawns that must be watered, but legislation signed Friday by the state’s governor, Steve Sisolak, makes Nevada the first in the nation to enact a permanent ban on certain categories of grass.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news CBS News

“Mega-drought” takes dramatic toll on Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people 

Drought is taking a dramatic toll on the Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in seven states – and may force the federal government to make a drastic and historic decision. For more than eight decades, the iconic Hoover Dam has relied on water from Nevada’s Lake Mead to cover up its backside. But now, at age 85, it finds itself uncomfortably exposed. Much of the water the dam is supposed to be holding back is gone.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s MWD wins best U.S. tap water at global tasting contest

In victories that make the state’s drought even crueler, two Southern California water districts have won the top prizes for best tap water in the U.S. at an international tasting contest. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished first and Santa Ana took second place for the nation’s Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia. Those two competitors finished first in the category in 2008 and 2018, respectively. Third place went to the Southwest Water Authority of Dickinson, in North Dakota.

Aquafornia news ABC 10 News

$10 million effort to assess San Diego’s aging dams

The City of San Diego plans to spend $10 million to carefully assess the structural needs of its aging dams, which are among the oldest in California. San Diego has nine dams that play an important role in the city’s water supply. By 2022, four will have stood for a century or more. Only three of the nine dams are rated in “satisfactory” condition by the state. The comprehensive assessment will span five years, giving city officials an itemized forecast of future repair needs and costs.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: Biden Administration releases FY 2022 budget proposal

The Biden Administration last week released its FY 2022 budget proposal. The $6 trillion dollar budget includes funding for several water resources priorities, including PFAS research and remediation, drought resilience, watershed protection, and infrastructure improvements. The Biden budget proposes an increase of 16.5% for discretionary, non-defense spending. Notably, the budget includes $27.9 billion for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), $17.4 billion for the Department of Interior (DOI), $6.8 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and $11.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Aquafornia news The Spectrum

How do Washington County residents feel about the Lake Powell Pipeline?

The WCWCD, along with the Utah Division of Water Resources, … started making plans [in the 1990s] to import Colorado River water from Lake Powell via a buried pipeline that would stretch 140 miles through rocky desert terrain, crossing some tribal lands and sensitive habitats. The project has inched its way forward over the decades since, finally advancing its federally-required Environmental Impact Statement through the public review process during the Trump administration, which identified the pipeline as one of its infrastructure priorities.

Aquafornia news KMPH

Latest water war over Kings River involves claim by water district in Kern County

A water war is under way in Sacramento right now that could have far-reaching impacts on families in the Central Valley. … Hearings got under way Wednesday, as Semitropic Water Storage District in Kern County makes its administrative appeal to the State Water Resources Control Board for water rights to the Kings River. It filed its first petition in 2017, asking for access to 1.6 million acre feet of floodwater from the Kings River.

Aquafornia news The Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: State takes action on water exports from the Delta

Construction of a temporary salinity barrier on the False River is underway after an emergency request by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The barrier, necessitated by worsening drought conditions, is intended to help preserve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by reducing saltwater intrusion. The declaration of a drought emergency made by Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 10 suspended the requirement that a project of this nature complete a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) assessment.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Forbes

Scientists said the West was entering a megadrought. Now it’s twice as bad

Lake Powell is within just a few feet of its low level ever observed since it was first filled. Early season fires have already torched over 400,000 acres in Colorado and California’s reservoirs are 50 percent lower than they should be at this time of year before summer has even officially begun. A year after the skies over San Francisco glowed a hazy red as wildfires choked the Bay Area, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of real climate reckoning with drought in the western US at historic levels.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Sierra Magazine

In the Klamath River basin, the drought punishes everyone

This May, while collecting live fish for their annual aquatic pathogen assessment on the Klamath River in Northern California, Yurok Tribe biologists made a shocking discovery: over 70 percent of the young, ocean-bound Chinook salmon captured in their traps were dead. Almost all of the fish tested upstream were infected with Ceratonova shasta, a parasite that relies on both fish and annelid worms as hosts. Barry McCovey, senior fisheries biologist for the Yurok Tribe, expects most of the infected fish to die.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Adel Hagekhalil would be a good step forward for the MWD

Adel Hagekhalil is an inspired choice to be the next general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the agency that delivers the water ultimately used by half of the state’s population. He’s an engineer, a consensus builder and a champion of the movement to integrate management of different types of water — drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, environmental water — in order to reduce costs and use precious resources more efficiently. He may be exactly what the MWD needs at this point in its history…

Aquafornia news San Clemente Times

Opinion: SCWD continues push for self-reliant water sources, desalination

How long could you last if water supply was cut off in the event of an emergency? Our region is nearly entirely reliant on water that is imported from hundreds of miles away. In the event of a catastrophe that would prevent water delivery from outside sources, experts recommend that there be at least 60 days’ worth of water supply. As of now, South Coast Water District could provide roughly 11 days’ worth.
-Written by Lillian Boyd.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego launches $10M assessment of aging city dams

San Diego is launching a $10 million effort to complete risk assessments of all nine of the city’s aging dams — only three of which are considered in satisfactory condition. City officials say the assessments are expected to reveal problems that will require an estimated $1 billion in repairs and upgrades in coming decades — and possibly some replacement dams in extreme cases. San Diego’s dams are among the oldest in the state and the nation.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

News release: California Urban Water Agencies appoints new executive director

The California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) today announces Brown and Caldwell’s Wendy Broley will assume the role of executive director effective July 1, replacing Cindy Paulson after 10 years in the role. CUWA is a non-profit corporation of 11 major urban water agencies responsible for serving drinking water to over two-thirds of California’s population. 

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Despite drought, Santa Barbara County water supplies adequate for short term

Having received just 48% of normal rainfall for the water year, which began Sept. 1 and will end Aug. 31, Santa Barbara County may be experiencing a bit of déjà vu, having been placed in the “severe drought” category again by the U.S. Drought Monitor. But despite a winter that brought less than half the normal rainfall, the county’s water supply is generally in good shape, and able to provide enough for drinking, firefighting and irrigation in the short term, city and county officials said.

Aquafornia news Outdoor Life

Air Force opens six more miles of California’s Dry Creek for salmon and steelhead spawn

Migratory steelhead and Chinook salmon have access to six more miles of historic spawning sites in a refurbished creek on California’s Beale Air Force Base. All thanks to a unique cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC).

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Bay Area builds regional drought resilience

It feels like California’s 2011-2016 drought, our worst on record, had barely ended when the next one began. This is our second dry year in a row and, according to the state Department of Water Resources, the past winter tied for the third-driest on record. … [UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain] calls this our second major drought within a decade and, if you’re like me, you’re wondering if we’ve done anything since the last one to help keep water flowing from our taps. The answer is yes.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Source Magazine

Yuba-Feather Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations: Reducing flood risk and refining water operations in Yuba County

Already one of the most productive watersheds in the state in terms of runoff per square mile, the Yuba River watershed is especially vulnerable to the impacts of atmospheric rivers and the heavy, prolonged rainfall they bring. … Recognizing the central role that atmospheric rivers play in both flood risk and water supply — two of Yuba Water’s core mission areas – the agency is investing in new research and tools to better understand, forecast and manage these powerful storms.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News

Drought in Arizona worst in 126 years

Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel last week. The period from April 2020 to March 2021 was the driest in the last 126 years for Arizona and other Western states, witnesses said. It capped a two-decade stretch that was the driest in more than 100 years that records have been kept – and one of the driest in the past 1,200 years based on paleohydrology evidence, one official said.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Roseville Today

$3.6 Million in PCWA grants for water purveyors

At the May 20 meeting of the Placer County Water Agency (“PCWA”) Board of Directors, the Board awarded 12 grants, totaling over $3.6 million, to seven public water purveyors in Placer County. The $3.6 million figure is the most ever granted by PCWA in a single year. This is also the first instance in which the grants were wholly funded with net revenues from PCWA’s Middle Fork American River Project (“Middle Fork Project”). 

Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Calif. Senate advances bill to spend $785mil to repair Valley canals

A bill aimed at improving the Valley’s two largest canal systems from continued subsidence-driven damage advanced through one house of the California State Legislature on Friday. Senate Bill 559, a top priority for legislators on both side of the aisle in the San Joaquin Valley and led by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger), seeks to dedicate $785 million in spending for improvements to four sets of waterways, spearheaded by two canals servicing the Central Valley Project: the Delta-Mendota Canal and the Friant-Kern Canal.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Senator Melissa Hurtado

News release: Hurtado releases statement after the State Water Resiliency Act passes Senate 34-1

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement after her bill, Senate Bill 559—The State Water Resiliency Act – passed the Senate 34-1 … The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would go to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct…

Aquafornia news Politico

Urban water districts consider mandatory conservation as drought deepens

Urban water agencies are planning to impose mandatory conservation orders after federal water managers slashed deliveries this week amid a rapidly deepening drought. The Bureau of Reclamation cut water deliveries from the Central Valley Project by about half. That has prompted the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which serves 2 million residents in the Silicon Valley region, to consider a potential conservation order at its board meeting next month.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Idaho Falls Post Register

Opinion: When will major push to desalinate water in American Southwest begin?

As reality plays out, I continue to read how the drought in the American West is causing levels in Lake’s Mead and Powell to plummet. I also continue to see no action or accountability to take bold action to resolve the issue as uncontrolled development continues in the greater Phoenix and Las Vegas areas. … There are 17 desalination plants operating in California and the one in Carlsbad — the Claude Bud Lewis Desalination Plant — is the largest in the U.S. 
-Written by R.B. Provencher, a former manager for the U.S. Department of Energy and retired in Idaho Falls.

Aquafornia news Reuters

‘Big risk’: California farmers hit by drought change planting plans

Joe Del Bosque is leaving a third of his 2,000-acre farm near Firebaugh, California, unseeded this year due to extreme drought. Yet, he hopes to access enough water to produce a marketable melon crop. Farmers across California say they expect to receive little water from state and federal agencies that regulate the state’s reservoirs and canals, leading many to leave fields barren, plant more drought-tolerant crops or seek new income sources all-together. … Stuart Woolf, who operates 30,000 acres, most of it in Western Fresno County … may fallow 30% of his land.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Hill

The Colorado River is facing an alarming water shortage for the first time ever

Between Las Vegas and Arizona, Lake Mead, the body of water that is fed by the Colorado River, dropped below 1,075 feet on Tuesday. The low water marks are signaling what could be the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, CNN reports. The lake’s levels show a continuing decline, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and any hope of recovery won’t happen until at least the end of 2022.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Several earthquakes shake Lake Tahoe – with a big one overdue, is it coming soon?

Multiple earthquakes rattled the Lake Tahoe region on Friday, the latest in a sequence that began in late April. … Tahoe sits on major fault lines more than a thousand years overdue to rupture… A huge shake could even lead to a Tahoe tsunami, but he says for now – it’s still highly unlikely. But in the event of something major, Kent recommends not wasting any time getting away from the water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

News release: L.A. Board of Water and Power Commissioners approves renaming two landmark water facilities to honor late City Councilmember Tom LaBonge

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners approved the renaming of two historically significant facilities to honor the late 4th District Councilmember and longtime LADWP supporter, Tom LaBonge on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. The board authorized renaming the Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden and Headworks Water Complex to The Tom LaBonge Aqueduct Centennial Gardens and the Tom LaBonge Headworks Water Complex, respectively.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Drought spurs worry, opportunities for water solutions in California

[D]uring a panel discussion about water issues in the Golden State hosted by California state Senator Josh Becker… the discussion was surprisingly upbeat. “We can do this,” said Felicia Marcus, a fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program and former chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “We just have to build more efficient communities and use technology to track every drop.”

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

‘Worse-case’ CAP shortages threaten the Tucson aquifer’s delicate balance

Back in 1977, President Jimmy Carter wanted to put the Central Arizona Project on a hit list of 17 water projects he found too expensive and environmentally destructive. … [N]ow, as CAP’s first water shortages draw near, a more subtle, long-term threat to the Tucson area’s water future is emerging because of climate change.

Related article:

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: Restoring habitat for migratory fish: a look back at the Recovery Act—Part 2

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, NOAA funded 125 habitat restoration projects in coastal areas throughout the country. Now, more than a decade later, we’re taking a look back at some of the projects we funded. We’ll explore the benefits this restoration work continues to bring to communities and ecosystems across the country. … NOAA partnered with the Yurok Tribe to restore habitat for salmon and steelhead in Terwer Creek and McGarvey Creek, tributaries to the Lower Klamath River. 

Aquafornia news Big Think

Interstate water system: a national pipeline for water

California’s water woes are severe and worsening. A second dry year in a row has diminished the state’s water supply, and almost three-quarters of the state is in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two highest categories. With the rainy season over and a hot, dry summer ahead, water shortages and brushfires are imminent. …

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

RCSD increasing water, sewer rates to aid solvency

Rosamond Community Services District’s residential and commercial customers will see their water and sewer rates increase after the District’s governing Board approved rate adjustments earlier this month as part of the District’s efforts to remain fiscally solvent. The average district residential customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $6.11. This average represents about 70% of the District’s residential customer base. The average commercial 1 customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $20.90, while the average commercial 2 customer will see an increase of $2.56.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Paying for California’s water system

The state’s extensive water system supplies cities and farms; prevents pollution of lakes, rivers, and coastlines; protects against floods; and supports freshwater ecosystems and the forested headwaters that are a major source of water supply. Many local, state, and federal agencies oversee this system and raise revenues from a variety of sources. California spends about $37 billion annually, with the lion’s share (84%) coming from local water bills and taxes. The balance comes from state (13%) and federal (3%) contributions.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Mississippi River pipeline won’t save Arizona. But these ideas might

Every time I write about water, I get a similar email from different folks. It argues that if we can build pipelines to move oil, we should be able to capture and pipe enough floodwater from the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Snake or (insert your river here) to resolve shortages on the Colorado River. I appreciate the big thinking. But I wish we could move past this idea. Because we’ve studied this before, in multiple iterations. Each solution has been projected to cost multiple billions of dollars. Most would not produce enough water to fix our problems. And trust me, someone’s going to fight several hundred miles of pipe being laid across their land to make this happen. 
-Written by Joanna Allhands, an Arizona Republic columnist.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Editorial: With plan to quench its thirst for vanity, Utah thumbs its nose at dry neighbors

On the federal government’s drought map, the hardest-hit areas — the driest of the dry — are shaded in crimson red. Looking at the current map, the coloring makes it appear that someone plunged a knife into Southern Nevada, and blood flowed to portions of California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and even Texas. One glance at this map and any reasonable person would understand that the region needs to take its water conservation efforts up several notches.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Installing solar panels over California’s canals could save 65 billion gallons of water a year

Demand for solar power is growing. And recent research suggests that people should consider installing solar panels not only on fields and rooftops, but above waterways as well. Brandi McKuin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, says canopies of solar panels can be installed over canals. The approach would generate clean energy, and by shading the water, reduce evaporation. Her research estimates that covering California’s 4,000 miles of open canals with solar panels could save about 65 billion gallons of water a year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California drought worsens. What’s ahead for fish, farms, cities

In just a few weeks, California’s water conditions have gone from bad to terrible. Sacramento residents have been asked to cut water usage 10%. Their counterparts on the Russian River are being told to reduce their consumption 20%. Farmers across the Central Valley are letting fields lie fallow and dismantling their orchards. Government agencies are warning of massive fish kills on the Sacramento River. After a warm spring dried up practically the entire Sierra Nevada snowpack — and robbed California of enough water to fill most of Folsom Lake — state and federal officials have been forced to dramatically ramp up their drought response plans.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Pacifica Tribune

New county agency takes on flooding, sea level rise

A new local district aimed at combating the effects of sea level rise and flooding is making waves this year starting with a series of public meetings as it works to define its budget and priorities. The San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District, known as OneShoreline, was founded in early 2020 by the California Legislature to work to prevent and to address the effects of flooding and sea level rise throughout the county and on its shores, both on the Bayside and the Coastside.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Congress seeks long-term solutions for drought crippling Western US

A crippling drought — largely connected to climate change — is gripping the Western United States, affecting over 70 million people and around 40% of the U.S.  … Farmers, scientists, tribal officials, foresters and other groups affected by the worsening drought testified at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on Tuesday, asking lawmakers for both short-term relief and long-term solutions from the worsening conditions.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward…
-Written by Amanda Brown-Stevens, the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Central Valley communities lost water in last drought. Are small water systems ready this time?

Poplar is one of hundreds of small community water systems in the central San Joaquin Valley facing severe challenges in the task of providing residents with safe and reliable drinking water, particularly during drought. Some 360,000 people are at risk, according to a drought-risk analysis by DWR. Water systems were caught off guard in the last drought, leaving tens of thousands of people at risk of imminent water shortages.

Related article:

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

As sea level rise threat grows, SF officials don’t have public plan to save sewers

Because Bay Area low-lying sewage treatment plants remain vulnerable to rising sea levels, government regulators told sewage facility managers to “provide a written plan for coping with SLR by the fall of 2021 – or they will be given a plan.”  The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reached out to 10 “at risk” sewage treatment plants to see those plans. All except one provided extensive documents of their proposals, the cost to address them, and even provided tours of completed work. San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission replied to the Investigative Unit’s public records request that after a “diligent search for records…no records were found.”

Aquafornia news Triplicate

Crescent City looking at water, sewer rates

The Crescent City Council is moving forward with a study on water and sewer rates, which may result in increased rates for residents. After receiving a grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board totaling about $80,000, the city is pressing on with the overdue rate studies. Typically, rate studies for water and sewer are completed every five years, however, the last water rate study came in 2013 and the last update to wastewater came in 2015, said City Manager Eric Wier. Wier said these projects are the first-step in maintaining the overall health of both systems.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Opinion: SF’s water supply could use leadership, not litigation

California is dry. Bay Area counties have declared drought emergencies and imposed restrictions. State and federal officials are trucking baby salmon to the ocean. But San Franciscans are still using their primary water source, the Tuolumne River, which feeds the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Last week, City Attorney Dennis Herrera — who Mayor London Breed recently tapped to head San Francisco’s water agency — filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s efforts to protect salmon and the overall health of the river.
-Written by Robyn Purchia, an environmental attorney, environmental blogger and environmental activist. 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news KSBW

Funding to tame flooding from Pajaro River now in place

In Watsonville, there are big developments for flood prevention efforts along the Pajaro River.  On Monday, local, state and federal representatives signed a design agreement for the river levee to prevent flooding for homes and farms. Overall it’s a $400 million project designed to tame the constant threat of flooding brought on by heavy rainfall. 

Aquafornia news OPB

Irrigators set up encampment next to Klamath Project headgates

Twenty years after a shut-off of most irrigation water in the parched Klamath Project brought the competing needs of farmers, fishermen and tribes to a head, a new drought — and a fresh federally-ordered water shut-off — is triggering a sense of déjà vu. Now, two Klamath Project irrigators with ties to radical activist Ammon Bundy have purchased private property located next to the headgates of the “A” Canal in Klamath Falls, which would normally deliver water to area farms. And along with local members of the Oregon chapter of People’s Rights, a group founded by Bundy in 2020, they’ve set up an information center and gathering place to talk to the public about the brewing water crisis in the Klamath Basin.

Aquafornia news Patch

Opinion: The case for investing in our water infrastructure

Infrastructure is rightly enjoying its spot in the national limelight these days, with the Biden Administration busily unveiling its plans. However, being well intentioned is as important as being pragmatic. After all, the warning signs have been there for all to see when it comes to lack of investment in infrastructure—impacting communities from Los Gatos to Washington, D.C.
-Written by Andy Gere, president and chief operating officer of San Jose Water.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bureau of Reclamation has already studied Mississippi pipeline

The Arizona Legislature wants to look into the feasibility of pumping water from the Mississippi River to Arizona. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has already studied the idea, and weighed in on the project in 2012. The agency studied factors such as cost, legal issues, power use and the amount of time the project would take. A report estimated the project could cost up to $14 billion; the timetable was around 30 years. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Opinion: Facing multiple droughts, California agriculture needs consumers to step up

Governor Newsom’s recent emergency declaration confirms what California’s agriculture industry has known for months. Drought has returned to California, in what has become a recurring theme of growing food in our state. Farmers and ranchers accept the risks that come with their way of life and have fought hard to be productive in one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state. Agriculture continues to adapt to meet evolving challenges and now more than ever consumers need to buy California grown produce.
-Written by Ian LeMay, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Water crisis ‘couldn’t be worse’ on Oregon-California border

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year. In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Replacement of Lake Wohlford dam is ’shovel ready’

The city of Escondido is moving forward with plans to replace the Lake Wohlford dam, a structure built of earth and rock that has stood at its present location since 1895. Lake Wohlford is about 5 miles northeast of downtown Escondido, just beyond city limits in the unincorporated area of San Diego County, and the dam is owned by the city. The lake has long served the city both as a recreational asset for boaters and fishing enthusiasts and as an emergency storage reservoir to supply drinking water in case of a drought.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cybersecurity: Colonial hack reveals major threats to water sector

When hackers penetrated a small water utility in North Carolina three years ago that debilitated its IT systems, operators there refused to “bow” to hackers and fork over ransom money to make the assault stop. That 2018 cyberattack was part of what experts say is a fast-growing and evolving threat in the water sector and a glaring example of the type of attack — ransomware — that earlier this month shut down the East Coast’s largest fuel supplier, the Colonial pipeline… EPA is in the process of collecting data from water utilities on their cyberdefenses to assess hacking risks.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Dollars and drought – Windfalls for innovation or entrenchment?

California’s Governor Newsom recently declared a drought emergency throughout much of California and announced over $5 billion in new water program investments.  These twin emergency and funding announcements are a classic “bad-news creates good news story” (and potentially vice versa) for California’s water problems. They are opportunities for innovation and making long-term improvements for California’s water problems.  They also can reward and entrench less effective programs and approaches.

Aquafornia news U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman

News release: Huffman introduces water infrastructure bill to improve drought preparedness and water supply reliability

[On May 20, 2021] Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) reintroduced his FUTURE Western Water Infrastructure and Drought Resiliency Act (FUTURE Act), an ambitious water infrastructure proposal that is the culmination of months of public vetting and legislative development. This bill would develop more resilient water infrastructure, expand the use of modern water management tools and technologies, and assist underserved areas in meeting their drinking water needs.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water District

News release: Valley Water delegation participates in successful virtual advocacy visits with federal leaders

The seven members of the Board of Directors led a Valley Water delegation in a series of successful virtual meetings with federal leaders on April 19-21 to advocate for Santa Clara County’s priorities. The Valley Water group focused on federal funding, water supply and flood protection projects in Santa Clara County with members of the Presidential Administration and Congress. Among the priorities discussed were the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project and the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California must prevent another devastating drought

When Sierra snow seeps into the ground or evaporates before it can flow downstream into reservoirs, you know California is facing a severe drought. It’s happening this spring up and down the mountain range that is a primary water source for the state. Water from snowmelt that hydrologists had expected only a few weeks ago to replenish foothill reservoirs is vanishing. It’s being absorbed by the parched soil or dissipating into the thin mountain air.
-Written by George Skelton, a Los Angeles Times columnist.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Failing water infrastructure disproportionately hurts disadvantaged communities

The infrastructure Californians rely on to move water throughout the state is aging, deteriorating and in desperate need of repair. The cost of doing nothing will be borne by all water users — cities, towns, businesses, farms and the environment. However, the negative impacts from further neglect will land disproportionately on already disadvantaged communities.
-Written by Ian LeMay, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association. 

MWD’s Jeff Kightlinger Reflects On Building Big Things, Essential Partnerships and His Hopes For the Delta
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Veteran Water Boss, Retiring After 25 Years With SoCal Water Giant, Discusses ‘Permanent’ Drought, Conservation Gains & the Struggling Colorado River

Jeff Kightlinger, longtime general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.When you oversee the largest supplier of treated water in the United States, you tend to think big.

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for the last 15 years, has focused on diversifying his agency’s water supply and building security through investment. That means looking beyond MWD’s borders to ensure the reliable delivery of water to two-thirds of California’s population.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

CA Water Commission: Governance and collaboration

The California Water Commission is in the process of completing the task assigned to them in the Water Resilience Portfolio of examining the state’s role in funding conveyance projects.  At the April meeting, the last two speakers on the panel discussed governance issues and collaboration.  First, Sharon Farrell … discussed how to build and sustain integrated regional networks and how they can help advance state priorities, such as resilient conveyance and water management.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

State proposes to add funding for water goals

As more of California sinks into extreme drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the Legislature to appropriate billions of dollars to address critical water needs. In the “May revise”—an update to the budget proposal he initially submitted to the Legislature in January—Newsom proposes to spend nearly $3.5 billion on water supply and resilience projects, with total investment reaching $5.1 billion over multiple years. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Managing for fish and wildlife during a dry year in the Sacramento Valley

With the driest year in memory, the water resources managers and landowners in the Sacramento Valley are working hard to serve multiple benefits throughout the region with limited water supplies. This has required all hands-on deck and creative management within the region as all surface water supplies have been significantly reduced, with hundreds of thousands of farmland acres idled throughout the region, urban suppliers working with their citizens to implement various conservation measures to reduce water use and there will undoubtedly be challenges for domestic groundwater wells.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Overnight releases will be reduced from Davis Dam as part of ongoing collaborative effort to decrease nuisance caddisfly population

Beginning next week, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to reduce overnight releases from Davis Dam on selected dates in an attempt to decrease the local caddisfly population – following a request from the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. The reduced flows along the river reach below Davis Dam will help with an ongoing pest abatement study being conducted by the downstream communities to combat this nuisance species that negatively impacts businesses and visitors to the area.

Aquafornia news BBC Future

Why Peru is reviving a pre-Incan technology for water

Today, modern Peruvians are redeploying that ancient knowledge and protecting natural ecosystems such as high-altitude wetlands to help the country adapt to climate change. It’s one of the world’s first efforts to integrate nature into water management on a national scale. … Several years ago, desperate for water security, the country’s leaders did something radical: they passed a series of national laws requiring water utilities to invest a percentage of their customers’ bills in “natural infrastructure”.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State plans $30 million wall to stop saltwater intrusion into delta – drought fallout

In the latest chapter of California’s unfolding drought, state officials are planning to build a giant rock wall across a river in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to save the vital freshwater estuary from San Francisco Bay’s saltwater. The emergency measure is a page from last decade’s drought when the delta, a maze of sloughs and man-made channels east of the Bay Area, was at risk of becoming too salty to provide water to the nearly 30 million Californians who depend on it. As in 2015, the freshwater rivers that feed the 1,100-square-mile delta have gotten so low that they no longer counter the brackish flows that push in from the bay. 

Aquafornia news Fox KTVU 2

The drought’s assault on California’s $50 billion farm industry

A growing number of drought stricken California farmers are making the painful decision not to plant as much or anything at all for fear of losing it all. It costs a lot of money to put seeds or seedlings into the ground. But if a farmer cannot be reasonably sure of a crop, why do it?

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Where’s the water? Drought threatens California’s lifeline

Even as California moves toward a full reopening from pandemic restrictions next month, many counties are still in danger. From drought. Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended emergency drought orders to 41 counties across the state. … All eyes are on a critical resource that can help fight the effects of another dry summer: water. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Bluetech workforce, desal could solve California water crises

Facing extended drought, diminishing snowpack, and depleted aquifers, California water managers face a harsh reality: our 20th century water systems – essentially linear designs in which fresh water is extracted, centrally treated, distributed to users, returned as wastewater, and finally treated and discarded – are breaking down. Although this approach has served us well for decades, we can no longer sustain ourselves with a paradigm that uses water once and throws it away.
-Written by Peter Fiske, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and executive director of the Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Water Innovation.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA conference: The decade of water resilience – Developing solutions for our water future

Last week, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) held their spring conference virtually.  Keynote speakers included Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Natural Resources, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources.  In his speech, [Crowfoot] discussed the Newsom Administration’s priorities, calling this the ‘decade of resilience’, and giving three principles for going forward.  He also discussed the Voluntary Agreements.  Director Karla Nemeth gave the Thursday morning keynote speech, touching on the Department’s response to drought, SGMA implementation, the Delta Conveyance Project, and the water use efficiency regulations.

Aquafornia news Arizona News

Arizona Legislature proposes pumping Mississippi River water to help with drought

Arizona’s drought has lawmakers looking into drawing water from the Mississippi River to be used here in the desert. “This kind of project would be looking 20 years down the road,” said Republican Rep. Tim Dunn from Yuma. Dunn sponsored House Concurrent Memorial 2004, which got bipartisan support in the Arizona legislature, and urges Congress to study a plan for a pipeline that would take water out of the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa. 

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: Yuba Water Agency provides $2 million loan for Goldfields flood risk reduction work

Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today approved a $2 million loan to the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority to complete the construction of a new levee near the Yuba Goldfields that will bring a 200-year level of urban flood protection to southern Yuba County. The 2.5-mile-long levee, which will be fully complete in June, runs parallel to Hammonton-Smartsville Road and extends to high ground near Beale Air Force Base. The 200-year level of protection means there is a 1-in-200 chance in any given year that a storm could come along that is bigger than the levee is designed to handle.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Field note – The importance of partnerships with Andrew Braugh

The Shasta-Klamath Region organizes work around protecting California source water and volcanic aquifers, working with family farms to improve water management, and protecting legacy fly-fishing waters like the McCloud River, Hat Creek, and Fall River. In 2021, we are heavily invested in conservation projects in the Shasta and Scott watersheds. These key Klamath tributaries will be critical for recovering salmon populations in the Mid-Klamath Basin after dam removal.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Zero water allocation pushes Klamath Project farms to the brink

What was already forecasted to be a historically bleak water year in the Klamath Project has quickly become a living nightmare for farms and ranches fighting for survival in the drought-stricken basin. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation shut down the Project’s A Canal for the entire irrigation season May 12 in response to worsening conditions — allotting zero surface water from Upper Klamath Lake for thirsty crops and livestock. It is the first time in more than a century the A Canal will deliver no water. Meanwhile, irrigators are left to wonder how they will pay the bills as fields turn to dust.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Severe drought, worsened by climate change, ravages the American West

Severe drought — largely connected to climate change — is ravaging … the entire Western half of the United States, from the Pacific Coast, across the Great Basin and desert Southwest, and up through the Rockies to the Northern Plains. In California, wells are drying up, forcing some homeowners to drill new ones that are deeper and costlier. Lake Mead, on the border of Arizona and Nevada, is so drained of Colorado River water that the two states are facing the eventual possibility of cuts in their supply.

Related articles: