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 Fox 11 - Los Angeles

Perris Dam’s seismic retrofit project is “killing us” say local businesses

“I don’t want a dam failure to wipe us out,” said one businessperson near the Lake Perris Fairgrounds who quickly added that “the construction is killing us.”  The dam, which sits near the fairgrounds, has been undergoing much needed seismic retrofitting that was supposed to end in 2018. The agency overseeing the project, California’s Department of Water Resources, said the delays have been caused by the complexity of the project, which involves the City of Perris, the County of Riverside, several landowners and seven utility providers.

Aquafornia news Boulder City Review

Boulder City may be ready to boost water recycling

Even as other communities in the Las Vegas Valley have recycled water since the 1960s, the city closest to Hoover Dam uses up to 500 million gallons a year one time and then casts it away, lost to the air and desert. But that could change as Boulder City’s new mayor favors ending the community’s decades-long waste of precious water. Currently, Boulder City’s 16,000 residents use up to 1.5 million gallons of water a day for drinking, bathing, cooking and other needs. The water is then lightly treated, and some is sold for construction and other nonhuman use, but the majority is pumped into nearby evaporation ponds. In 2021, 250 million gallons were lost after one use.

Aquafornia news ABC - Sacramento

New tunnel plan angers Delta residents

Approximately 100 concerned Delta residents gathered at a public forum in the community of Hood Tuesday to express concern with the Delta Tunnel proposal. … The proposal reduces the original two tunnel plan, proposed by former Governor Jerry Brown, to a single tunnel by the Newsom Administration and the Department of Water Resources. … The new plan calls for a 40-foot wide concrete tunnel to draw water from the Hood and Courtland areas approximately 45 miles south to Bethany Reservoir. The current estimates are that it would cost $16 billion dollars and take 13 years to complete. The tunnel would draw 3,000 cubic feet of water per second and would account for approximately 13% to 15% of the overall water supply.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

SFO and Bay Area airports face even bigger risks from sea level rise than we knew

Runways at major Bay Area airports could face flooding within two decades if nothing is done to protect them from sea level rise and storm surge, a new UC Berkeley study evaluating risk to California coastal airports has found. The report, which looked at exposure to flooding at California public airports located within 6 miles of the coast, found vulnerabilities at 39 out of 43 by 2100. That includes all 14 Bay Area airports in the study, half of which could face flooding on their runways or taxiways in the next 20 years. San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport are two of the most vulnerable airports statewide — though they are taking steps to mitigate the problem.

Aquafornia news 9 News - Colorado

The impacts of urban sprawl on Colorado’s water supply

The state of Colorado is projected to gain 1.8 million more residents by the year 2050.  While that can be a sign of economic prosperity, a study by NumbersUSA indicates most residents think that growth will have too many negative impacts. … The study includes a scientific survey of 1,024 Colorado residents conducted by the Rasmussen research group. It focuses on several environmental issues, including water. Citing increased traffic, the loss of open space, and a strain on the water supply, 75% of Coloradans surveyed said urban sprawl, which is the encroachment of cities into natural space and agricultural space, is making Colorado a worse place to live. 

Aquafornia news KJZZ - Tempe

Cocopah Tribe working to restore native plants, landscape on Colorado River

The Colorado River runs more than 1,400 miles starting as a trickle of snowmelt in northern Colorado. It becomes a roaring torrent as it cuts through canyons and five Western states. Now after more than a century of dam building and development along the river, it ends as a trickle again at the Arizona-Mexico border. The river was once the lifeblood of the Cocopah, or River People. The Cocopah Tribe has begun trying to return a sliver of that landscape to what it once was. On this day you hear the wind blowing and the traffic from Interstate 8 as cars and trucks cross the Arizona-California border less than a mile away. The Colorado River, or what’s left of it, meanders south to Mexico with hardly any sound. 

Aquafornia news The Jewish News of Northern California

Israel’s S.F. consul: Israel has water expertise aplenty to offer California

Citing Israel’s extraordinary success in meeting its agricultural and household water needs, Marco Sermoneta told a recent gathering of water industry professionals that his country has much to offer other regions facing the dire problem of water scarcity. … Sermoneta, who has been on the job since August, was speaking at the Association of California Water Agencies fall conference and exhibition, held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Indian Wells, near Palm Desert. The event featured more than 40 programs, workshops and roundtable conversations examining topics such as water management, affordable drinking water and water supply. ACWA is a statewide coalition of public water agencies.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. County seeks flooding fix in face of climate change

Catastrophic flooding prompted civic leaders and engineers a century ago to begin taming the Los Angeles Basin’s rambunctious rivers with dams, storm drains and concrete. Now, scientists warn that, in a warming world, the region can expect an increase in epic downpours that could rapidly overwhelm its aging flood control system, unleashing floodwaters across low-lying working-class communities. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion calling on the Department of Public Works to prepare a report on the viability of existing flood control infrastructure, as well as plans for reducing flood risks and making disadvantaged communities more resilient.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: Water and energy in California

California’s water system uses energy to pump, convey, treat, and heat water. Although agriculture uses roughly four times more water than cities, cities account for most water-related energy use. Water is also required for hydropower generation, thermoelectric power plants, and oil and gas extraction. Improving water use efficiency can reduce energy consumption; conversely, improving energy efficiency can reduce impacts on water supply and quality. … The water system uses approximately 20% of the state’s electricity and 30% of its natural gas for business and home use, according to data from 2001—accounting for more than 5% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Don’t miss this sweet holiday deal on a beautiful water book

Here’s a sweet deal for the holidays that won’t last long: Get our paperback “Water & the Shaping of California,” a treasure trove of gorgeous color photos, historic maps, water literature and famous sayings about water for just $17.50 – a 50% discount. “Water & the Shaping of California” is a beautifully designed book that discusses the engineering feats, political decisions and popular opinions that reshaped nature and society, leading to the water projects that created the California we know today. Use the discount code HOLIDAY2022 at checkout to get your 50% discount.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Tehama County project receives Wildlife Conservation Board funding

A Tehama County project is among the Wildlife Conservation Board’s (WCB) selection of approved projects to be funded through $24.46 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 16 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species, while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Calistoga begins repairing pipe that has leaked more than 130,000 gallons of water since August

A one-inch-diameter pipe carrying drinking water has been leaking under Highway 128 at 2960 Foothill Blvd. in Calistoga for more than three months. The leak has caused water to puddle on the highway. … After several complaints from residents brought the issue to the city’s attention, [councilmember Gary] Kraus pulled the issue from the consent calendar at the Nov. 15 City Council meeting, prompting a response from Public Works director Derek Raynor. … When the customary bidding process began back in August, Raynor estimated the broken pipe was losing 30 gallons of water a day and continued to leak at that rate though mid-October. Since then the leak has gotten worse. Since mid-October, he estimates, the pipe has been leaking at a rate of two gallons a minute.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato wetlands project gets $2.2M state allocation

The California State Coastal Conservancy has allotted $2.2 million to a North Bay research group to take over caretaking responsibilities and volunteer work for one of Marin County’s largest wetland restoration sites. The Point Blue Conservation Science nonprofit research group received the funds to continue the upkeep of nearly 200 acres of the Hamilton wetlands and forthcoming Bel Marin Keys wetlands near Novato for the next two years. Its responsibilities include maintenance, replacing aged or damaged interpretive signs and kiosks, running the native plant nursery, planting, watering, coordinating volunteer groups and leading school field trips.

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Aquafornia news National Geographic

Europe’s water crisis is much worse than we thought

As drought dried up rivers and reservoirs across Europe this year, grim warnings from the past surfaced from the depths. Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine, read the inscription on a “Hunger Stone” exposed on a bank of the River Elbe in the Czech Republic: “If you see me, then weep.” Still, as bad as the drought appeared on the surface, a new satellite analysis estimating freshwater availability in Europe shows that “what’s even worse is the groundwater story that people cannot see,” says the hydrologist Jay Famiglietti, director of the Global Institute for Water Security at Canada’s University of Saskatchewan. Famiglietti and collaborators analyzed two decades of data from the U.S./German satellite missions known as GRACE to find the rate of change in freshwater stored on the European continent. 

Aquafornia news ProPublica

The uranium industry continues to poison U.S. groundwater

In America’s rush to build the nuclear arsenal that won the Cold War, safety was sacrificed for speed. Uranium mills that helped fuel the weapons also dumped radioactive and toxic waste into rivers like the Cheyenne in South Dakota and the Animas in Colorado. … The U.S. government bankrolled the industry, and mining companies rushed to profit, building more than 50 mills and processing sites to refine uranium ore. But the government didn’t have a plan for the toxic byproducts of this nuclear assembly line. Some of the more than 250 million tons of toxic and radioactive detritus, known as tailings, scattered into nearby communities, some spilled into streams and some leaked into aquifers. … But the government has fallen down in addressing another lingering threat from the industry’s byproducts: widespread water pollution.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego is not protected from California’s severe water supply crisis

California’s water supply crisis has hit a tipping point, with impacts spreading far and wide, reaching local communities and critical industries, putting us once again in jeopardy. This is a pivotal moment in the state’s future – one in which bold political leadership will emerge, or future generations will suffer. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement on his new water supply plan, is encouraging that leadership is materializing, but the proof is in the pudding. The new plan, California’s Water Supply Strategy: Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future, underscores the significant challenges we face as a result of a changing climate, the need to transform the current water system, and the importance of significantly investing in California water systems to secure the future of California’s water supply and reliability.
-Written by Gary Arant, General Manager at Valley Center Municipal Water District; and Kimberly Thorner, the General Manager at Olivenhain Municipal Water District.​

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Apply for California’s Preeminent Water Leadership Program by Dec. 7

There is less than a week left to apply for our 2023 Water Leaders class and be considered for the new cohort of California’s preeminent water leadership program. Launched in 1997, the Water Leaders program is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues, building leadership skills and preparing class members to take an active, cooperative approach to decision-making about water resources by studying a water-related topic in-depth and crafting policy recommendations.

And, if you work for a member of the Association of California Water Agencies, you can apply to have tuition and some travel expenses covered under the John P. Fraser Water Leaders Fellowship.

Aquafornia news Dredging Today

DWR completes removal of drought salinity barrier from West False River

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has completed the removal of a drought salinity barrier from the West False River in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The barrier was installed in June 2021 to prevent saltwater intrusion with less fresh water from upstream reservoirs and streams flowing into the Delta during California’s ongoing extreme drought conditions.  DWR was required to remove the structure by November 30 to comply with environmental permits. … The barrier was initially constructed in response to Governor Newsom’s April 21, 2021 state of emergency proclamation directing the Department to initiate actions necessary to prepare for and address potential Delta salinity issues during prolonged drought conditions.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tahoe was pummeled with snow. Will the winter storm impact the drought?

The winter storm that dropped rain across the Bay Area dumped snow on the Sierras and ski resorts across Tahoe. Heavy snow and slick roads also made for dangerous driving conditions but the precipitation is a boon for California’s water supply. Building on gains during a storm in early November, this latest storm brought statewide snowpack up to 106% of normal for December 1, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The snow is beneficial but it’s still early in the season, said Andrew Schwartz, the lead scientist at UC Berkeley’s Central Sierra Snow Laboratory. The previous water year, for example, started out with plentiful rains during October and December 2021 but were followed by an extremely dry start to 2022.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Hear the latest prospects for 2023 water supply at Dec. 8 Winter Outlook Workshop in Southern California

Hear what may be ahead for California’s water supply in 2023 as well as the latest improvements to snowmelt runoff forecasts at our Winter Outlook Workshop next Thursday, Dec. 8 in Southern California. The one-day workshop in Irvine will include insight into whether La Niña conditions projected to persist into this winter really mean anything as a predictor in the new reality of climate whiplash. You also will learn about what is and isn’t known in forecasting winter precipitation weeks to months ahead, the skill of present forecasts and ongoing research to develop predictive ability. This event is ideal for anyone involved in managing, modeling or forecasting water resources or anyone simply interested in hearing the latest science.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

State drought funding will help valley communities fix water problems faster

A handful of small valley communities will be able to move more rapidly on water projects thanks to millions in funding recently allocated by the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) as part of its water resilience program. DWR awarded $86 million throughout the state. About $44 million of that will go to small communities facing water insecurity through the department’s Small Community Drought Relief Program.  The announcement of DWR’s ninth, and final, round of funding under this program comes as more than 1,400 wells have gone dry throughout the state this year, 369 of those in the San Joaquin Valley, according to the state’s dry well reporting system. The recently announced funding will help support five projects in the San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news CNN

More than 70 water agencies in California could face water shortages in the coming months, state report shows

Nearly 20% of California’s urban water agencies reported they could see significant water shortages in the coming months as the state braces for a potential fourth consecutive year of drought. After surveying urban water agencies representing roughly 90% of the state’s population, the California Department of Water Resources early this week released its first annual water supply and demand report that assesses how the state is faring with water supply amid unrelenting drought conditions. The assessment, which includes annual data through July 1, found that while a vast majority – 82% – of urban water suppliers who submitted reports say they have enough water to meet projected demand in the coming year, around 18% – 73 out of the 414 water suppliers – reported they will soon face potential shortages.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Drought threatens Colorado River with ‘complete doomsday scenario’, officials say

The first sign of serious trouble for the drought-stricken American Southwest could be a whirlpool. It could happen if the surface of Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir along the Colorado River that’s already a quarter of its former size, drops another 38 feet down the concrete face of the 710-foot Glen Canyon Dam here. … The normally placid Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, could suddenly transform into something resembling a funnel, with water circling the openings, the dam’s operators say. If that happens, the massive turbines that generate electricity for 4.5 million people would have to shut down — after nearly 60 years of use — or risk destruction from air bubbles. … Such an outcome — known as a “minimum power pool” — was once unfathomable here. Now, the federal government projects that day could come as soon as July.

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Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

‘It’s been a fight for our homes’: The ongoing saga to fix San Francisco’s sewers

Months before this fall’s rains began, Victoria Sanchez stood out in front of her home on Cayuga Avenue in San Francisco’s Mission Terrace neighborhood. Her block appeared ordinary on that July day: rows of colorful Mediterranean-style homes stretched wall-to-wall as the 44 Muni bus rumbled past the corner. The scene was typical of many neighborhoods across San Francisco with one distinct difference. Along the sidewalks and driveways of Cayuga Avenue lay rows of sandbags, a reminder of the destructive floods of sewage and stormwater that the rainy season can bring — inundations that have ravaged the neighborhood for decades. Sanchez walked her street with an album full of photographs and news clippings as she retold stories of the floods.

Aquafornia news KRON - San Francisco

State grants aim to keep small drinking water systems afloat in Bay Area

Four small Bay Area drinking water systems will receive millions of dollars as part of California’s effort to protect water deliveries as the drought drags into its fourth year. On Tuesday, the California Department of Water Resources announced $44 million in statewide Small Community Drought Relief Program grants about $6.5 million of which is earmarked for four water systems in Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties. The program is aimed at small systems with fewer than 3,000 service connections that are most likely to suffer from aging infrastructure and often rely on a single source of water. “Small communities are the most vulnerable to the impacts of our new hotter, drier climate and lack the resources to immediately deal with these challenges,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a news release.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. City Council approves contract giving hundreds of LADWP workers a pay hike

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is backing a new salary package for the Department of Water and Power that includes a significant hike in pay for hundreds of workers. The Los Angeles City Council approved the labor deal Tuesday in a vote of 11-0. Under the agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, roughly 10,000 workers will receive four “cost of living” pay increases totaling at least 10% and as much as 24% by October 2025, depending on inflation. All workers will also get a one-time cash bonus of 3% of their salary in December.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Fifth of California water agencies expect drought shortages

Most of California’s urban water agencies believe they have enough supplies to last through another seven months of drought, but nearly 20% of them — including many in Southern California — say they could be facing significant shortages, according to a new state report. The California Department of Water Resource’s first annual water supply and demand assessment surveyed the state’s urban water agencies to see how they are managing tight supplies through conservation efforts and improved drought planning. … [Metropolitan Water District of Southern California] spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch added that deteriorating conditions on the Colorado River mean the rest of Southern California could also see calls for increased conservation in the coming months.

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Aquafornia news KCRW - Los Angeles

CA solar canals could help fix 2 climate problems at once

California’s newest infrastructure project will hit two proverbial climate birds with one stone. And Los Angeles city officials just decided last week to try one of its own. The plan is to cover some of California’s exposed water canals with solar panels. It will prevent evaporation amidst the state’s historic drought. It will also create renewable energy as the state attempts to meet lofty decarbonization goals. The idea gained traction in California after researchers at UC Merced studied the possibility on the state’s canals last year.  “If we put solar panels over all 4000 miles of California’s open canals, we estimated we could save 65 billion gallons of water annually,” says Brandi McKuin, who led the study. “That’s enough for the residential water needs of 2 million people – enough to irrigate 50,000 acres of farmland.”

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Giving Tuesday is your chance to support water education in California and the West

Today on Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy, you can support impartial education and informed decision-making on water resources in California and the West by making a tax-deductible donation to the Water Education Foundation. Your support ensures that our 45-year legacy of producing in-depth news, educational workshops and accessible information on water reaches new heights in 2023.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Opinion: ‘Free water’ was never free, writes a historian of the American West

The West uses too much water. For such a simple problem, the obvious solution — use less — lies frustratingly out of reach. That inability to change may seem hard to understand, but the root of the problem becomes clearer if we consider the role of the West in the historical development of the United States: The purpose of our system of “free water” — heavily subsidized water for irrigation — was to provide opportunities to settlers. … With the New Deal, the Bureau of Reclamation came into its own: Hoover Dam, completed in 1935 as the world’s largest dam, served as a symbol for the country’s ability to conquer nature. Progressives championed desert reclamation at the turn of the century, but the federal government’s willingness to build infrastructure and give water away on extravagantly lenient terms was just as appealing for conservatives after World War II.
-Written by Revelator contributor Nate Housley.

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Aquafornia news East County Magazine

Opinion: Sweetwater drains Loveland Reservoir to dead pool level to save its ratepayers money– at the expense of rural residents, wildlife, and fire protection

Without any regard to impacts on wildlife, fire danger, rural residents or recreational users at Loveland Reservoir near Alpine in San Diego’s East County, the Sweetwater Water Authority (SWA) on November 16 began draining down the lake with an intent to reduce it to “dead pool” level – less than one-half of one percent of the reservoir’s capacity, once draining is completed over the next couple of weeks or so. The water is being piped to Sweetwater Reservoir in Otay Mesa. From there, it will be used to provide drinking water and other water needs to residents in the South Bay communities of Chula Vista, National City and Bonita.
-Written by Miriam Raftery.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Historic mining town plagued by arsenic gets federal funds for cleanup effort

To many of the 100 or so full-time residents of Red Mountain, a historic mining town on the northwestern tip of San Bernardino County’s desert, John Hall is unofficially known as mayor. Hall, 75, isn’t quite sure why. Maybe it’s because he’s lasted more than 30 years in this hard-scrap place, where locals truck in water to avoid the arsenic that decades of mining left in the ground and their tap water. … It’s estimated the state has about 47,000 abandoned mines. And of the roughly 24,400 sites on BLM-managed land, some 84% present physical hazards, such as open mine shafts, while 11% present environmental hazards such as contamination. Red Mountain has both. Soil testing has found as much as 10,000 milligrams of arsenic per kilogram in some parts of Red Mountain.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Adapting to California’s “weather whiplash” with Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations

California already has one of the most variable climates in the United States, and it’s getting more extreme. Our “weather whiplash,” as it’s becoming known, is increasingly marked by long periods of warm, dry conditions punctuated by stronger and wetter atmospheric river storms. … Recognizing the influence of atmospheric rivers on California’s changing climate, Yuba Water is working with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego, the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to implement Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations in the Yuba and Feather river watersheds. FIRO is a flexible water management strategy that uses improved weather and water forecasts …

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Fall-run chinook spawning concludes at Feather River Fish Hatchery

The spawning of fall-run chinook salmon concluded at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in early November with millions of fish eggs now fertilized and incubated. For the second year in a row, the hatchery increased the amount of fall-run chinook salmon eggs collected to offset effects of California’s current drought now going on its third year. This year, the hatchery collected about 9.5 million fall-run salmon eggs, according to the Department of Water Resources. The average number of fall-run chinook salmon eggs collected at the hatchery is 7.2 million. Raquel Borrayo, spokeswoman for the Department of Water Resources, said DWR and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife agreed to increase the amount of fall-run chinook salmon grown at the hatchery “to enhance the salmon fishery during this drought period as the overall Central Valley salmon numbers have been lower due to the drought.”

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Weekly

Palo Alto partners with Mountain View, other Peninsula cities in planning colossal upgrade to wastewater plant

Seeking to modernize aged equipment and cut down on the nitrogen that flows into the San Francisco Bay, Palo Alto and its partners are embarking on an ambitious makeover of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, a project that will cost $193 million and take about five years to complete. The City Council is preparing to approve next month a $161 million contract with Anderson Pacific Engineering Construction to upgrade the wastewater treatment system at the regional plant on Embarcadero Road, near the Baylands. … A key goal of the upgrade is to reduce this outflow of nitrogen, which causes algae to bloom in the bay, [plant manager] Jamie Allen said. Over the summer, the a red algae bloom across the region killed fish throughout the area.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta Adapts – On the way to a multi-benefit climate adaptation strategy

An adaption strategy for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta must address and reduce climate change impacts in a way that meets the coequal goals, builds resilience for the future, and prioritizes the most vulnerable communities. Climate change is already altering the physical environment of the Delta, resulting in significant impacts on its people and resources that are only expected to worsen over time. The Delta Stewardship Council recognized the need to address climate change and completed the Delta Adapts Vulnerability Assessment in 2021, which is the first comprehensive study of projected climate hazards in the Delta and Suisun Marsh, identifying the people and resources most vulnerable to increased flood risk, extreme heat, drought, and wildfire smoke.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Western states ponder regional grid as renewables grow

In other areas of the country, electricity grids are organized under operators that coordinate and control the market across state lines. But in the Western Interconnection, which serves most of the western U.S. and parts of Canada, there are 38 different authorities responsible for balancing their own grids. … That could be especially valuable as the West deals with a decades-long drought that threatens hydropower, and as states and utilities close large coal plants. A regional market, experts say, would allow ample wind generation in more central states to flow west, while solar production from states like California and Arizona could be sent elsewhere.

Aquafornia news Payson Roundup

Opinion: Native American tribes fight for water rights

The fierce struggle for water in a drought-stricken West continues to roil politics — and embroil a host of tribal water claims. The decades-long drought has dried up reservoirs and forced federal water cutbacks for the 40 million people in seven states who rely on the Colorado River for water. But it has also dramatically increased the stakes for the region in decades-old water claims by a host of tribes — including the Navajo and the White Mountain Apache. The Tonto Apache Tribe also has a decades-old claim to water from the Colorado River. Efforts to settle that claim with water from the C.C. Cragin Reservoir with a payment from the federal government to buy into Payson’s pipeline have been stalled for years — and missed out on a gush of federal pandemic and infrastructure aid to tribes.
-Written by contributor Peter Aleshire. 

Aquafornia news Globe Newswire

News release: ACWA Fall Conference explores top California water issues

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Fall Conference & Exhibition Nov. 29-Dec. 1 will draw local water agency leaders from throughout California to Indian Wells for three days of updates, analyses and perspectives on multiple issues affecting the state’s water community. The event will also feature an international perspective on water management and connect attendees with a leader behind a movement to change policy priorities in addressing catastrophic wildfires. Delivering the Opening Breakfast keynote on Nov. 30, Ambassador Marco Sermoneta, Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, will share his insights about how Israel has addressed water management challenges.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The flow of California water policy – a chart

California water policy is often discussed and depicted as being impossibly complex.  In its essentials, it can be seen much more simply, as in the flow chart below.  Without extreme events (such as floods and droughts), the policy process would be simpler, but ironically less effective, and less well funded. … California’s remarkable water history shows that frequent extreme events have activated enough innovation and preparations over 170 years such that floods, droughts, and earthquakes are now much less threatening to California’s population and economy.  However, frequent failures have not yet motivated adequate preparation and management for ecosystems and rural water supplies.

Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramento

Sacramento gas station fuel leak leads to contaminated soil, groundwater

Sacramento County officials on Friday said that two fuel tanks at a Sacramento gas station have leaked gasoline into soil and groundwater, though the risk to the general public is “very low.” The county said the leak happened with two underground fuel tanks at Bonfare Market and Gas Station, which is located at 2600 Rio Linda Boulevard. A third underground tank was not found to be faulty. The tanks have since been emptied and are offline, the county said. The issues stem from an initial report of a leak in February 2022, county spokesperson Samantha Mott said. One tank was immediately emptied and put out of service and an initial assessment did not reveal groundwater contamination. Later, an investigation as part of a clean-up plan found that gasoline contamination had migrated, exposing groundwater to contamination.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Coastal Commission approves Cal Am’s desal plant in Marina, but many hurdles remain.

After more than a decade in the trying, a major desalination plant to serve the Monterey Peninsula has cleared a significant hurdle—in theory, at least. In a 13-hour meeting that adjourned just after 10pm on Thursday, Nov. 17, the California Coastal Commission approved a conditional coastal development permit for California American Water, the private water utility that serves the greater Monterey Peninsula, to build a desalination project in neighboring Marina, a city whose residents are vehemently opposed to it, and who would not be served by it. One thing that was continually brought up during the meeting, and that was acknowledged in the Coastal Commission’s staff report that recommended approval (with many conditions, some potentially insurmountable), is that the project is rife with complexity, both from technical and environmental justice standpoints. … One question that remained unanswered was who would pay for the project.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Exploring a plan to remake the L.A. River

Today we’ll start with a short history lesson about one of Los Angeles’s most vital (and most forgotten) landmarks: the Los Angeles River. For centuries, the river, which begins in the San Fernando Valley and ends in the ocean in Long Beach, sustained small communities of Native peoples. In the 1800s it nurtured hundreds of vineyards and orange groves, and exporting the harvests helped expand the Southland’s reputation around the globe. … But determining exactly how to redesign the river is a tall task. There are competing demands from some environmentalists, who want the concrete removed; from community activists, who worry that any new development would lead to the displacement of poor residents; and from engineering experts, who say the risk of flooding remains too high to restore anything like the original river.

Aquafornia news KUNC - Greeley, Colo.

In Arizona, one utility has a front row seat to Colorado River crisis

Tobyn Pilot took a few crunchy footsteps through the rough red dirt near the edge of a towering cliff. Pilot, an operator at the water plant in Page, Arizona, pulled out a hefty collection of keys and unlocked a tiny plywood-paneled shed just a few feet from the brink. The building is barely bigger than an outhouse, but it’s a pivotal part of keeping the taps flowing. … Hundreds of feet below, the Colorado River calmly chugged along. It’s here, on the dusty precipice, that water from that river is redirected into the Page’s city pipes. … Page pulls its water from Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir. It’s held back by the behemoth Glen Canyon Dam. Inside the dam, a pipe siphons water to Page as it passes from the reservoir to the river on the other side. Drought and steady demand have drained the reservoir to historic lows, putting Page’s drinking water system in jeopardy.

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

DWR Awards $5 Million for Delta communities to improve flood emergency response

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced awarding $5 million in funding for seven emergency response agencies within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to increase their ability to respond to flood emergencies. This funding will help to improve the emergency response efforts for first responders and help these communities prepare for threats of flooding in the Delta, which is increasingly vulnerable to flooding from storm events and sea level rise. 

Aquafornia news Nature

Analysis: Smarter ways with water

In just a few months this year, abnormally low water levels in rivers led China to shut down factories and to floods in one-third of Pakistan, killing around 1,500 people and grinding the country to a halt. A dried-up Rhine River threatened to tip Germany’s economy into recession, because cargo ships could not carry standard loads. And the Las Vegas strip turned into a river and flooded casinos, chasing customers away. … With mounting climate-fuelled weather disasters, social inequality, species extinctions and resource scarcity, some corporations have adopted sustainability programmes. One term in this realm is ‘circular economy’, in which practitioners aim to increase the efficiency and reuse of resources, including water — ideally making more goods (and more money) in the process.

Aquafornia news jfleck at inkstain

Blog: A century ago in Colorado River Compact negotiations: How much water to send past Lee’s Ferry?

Colorado River Commission Chairman Herbert Hoover gathered the seven states’ representatives at opened at 11:00 a.m. Nov. 15, 1922, for the 17th meeting in their efforts to forge an agreement to share the Colorado River. They had been holed up at Bishop’s Lodge outside Santa Fe for five days, wrestling with how to divide the river. By that point in the negotiations they had settled on a general framework, dividing the river into an “upper” and “lower” basin, but were stuck on the question of how much water the upper states would be required to send each year to the lower states. Hoover intentionally set a later starting time that day to give the upper river states plenty of time to caucus among themselves to consider his proposal from the previous day that the Upper Basin deliver 82 million acre-feet every ten years plus a 4 and ½ million acre foot minimum annual flow.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Indigenous advocates for removal of Klamath Dams speak out against hydropower at COP27

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-02) isn’t the only one from the North Coast making the rounds at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. On Tuesday, Danielle Frank, of Ríos to Rivers and a youth leader of the Hupa Valley Tribe, and Brook Thompson, who is a member of the Yurok Tribe and Karuk Tribe, shared the story of the dams in the Klamath River basin at a panel titled Centering the Protection of Rivers and Rights in Achieving Climate Justice in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. They were speaking alongside Indigenous people from other parts of the world who have also been fighting to protect rivers in their communities. … Six dams in the Klamath River basin have severely impacted water quality, temperatures and flows, which in turn have led to the degradation of the ecosystem. In 2002, the river experienced one of the largest fish kills in its history, leading to a 20-year legal fight to bring the dams down.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Priorities for California’s water

In the last decade, California—along with the rest of the world—has entered a new phase of climate change. The changes that scientists predicted have started to arrive. California’s already variable climate is growing increasingly volatile and unpredictable: The dry periods are hotter and drier, and the wet periods—lately too few and far between—are warmer and often more intense. … The snowpack—that once-reliable annual source of water—is diminishing as temperatures rise. Water withdrawals during multiyear droughts are depleting the state’s reservoirs and groundwater basins. … This report considers the state of water in California: What changes are we seeing now, and what should we expect in the near future? 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

These SF projects work to protect Embarcadero from earthquakes

There are worlds of difference between a rotting structure at Fisherman’s Wharf, the iconic drama of the Ferry Building and the shadowed concrete underneath the Bay Bridge where two piers meet the aged Embarcadero seawall. What they share is a vulnerability to earthquakes and sea level rise along an artificial shoreline that’s more than a century old. They also have a common owner — the Port of San Francisco, which has the costly job of preparing that shoreline for a host of 21st century challenges where the learning curve seems to get steeper each year. Now, nearly four years after voters approved a $425 million bond to prepare the seawall and the structures along it for what the future might bring, the port has selected the first six projects to pursue. 

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Next generation water project comes online Thursday

Santa Monica has found itself on the cutting edge of modern water infrastructure in California, and the latest example of that innovation is SWIP, the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), four years in the making, that is set to open with a community celebration on Thursday morning, Nov. 17. The project features some key innovations: a massive, 1.5-million gallon stormwater harvesting tank that stores water prior to treatment (meaning the city is far less limited in the amount of water it can process during storm events); can simultaneously treat stormwater runoff and wastewater generated in Santa Monica; is enabled to provide water for irrigation, dual-piped buildings and groundwater replenishment; and is poised to convert to potable water supply if and when state regulations permit.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

News release: Superior Court of California reaffirms the Council’s broad authority as Delta stewards

For the second time since the Delta Stewardship Council’s establishment in 2010, its regulatory authority has been upheld by California’s judicial branch, clearing the way for the Council to continue to apply its expertise and exercise its broad authority in determining how to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Delta Reform Act. On November 4, the Superior Court of California ruled in favor of the Council regarding lawsuits filed by 17 parties challenging two amendments to the Delta Plan and the Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

News release: Sustainable techniques bring concrete results: making DWR infrastructure carbon-friendly

With Governor Newsom’s recent pledge to invest $8 billion in water infrastructure, carbon-friendly concrete is increasingly in the mix in Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) infrastructure projects. This includes efforts to modernize California’s largest water delivery system, the State Water Project (SWP). … The cement industry produces about 7% of carbon emissions globally (about double the emissions from global air travel.) Over half of these emissions are from the chemical alteration of materials during production. The remaining emissions are from the burning of fossil fuels to generate the high temperatures needed to make concrete.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Colorado Basin tribes address a historic drought—and their water rights—head-on

To the Ute Mountain Ute, grappling with its water supply is an ongoing challenge. Despite having senior water rights dating back to 1868, when the Kit Carson Treaty created the reservation, the tribe received none of its rightful water for decades as non-Native settlers dammed rivers and diverted flows. And like many tribes across the Southwest, it still struggles to properly quantify and settle some of the water claims already validated by a long stream of court decisions. Even when tribes have been able to secure their water rights, they have often lacked the expensive infrastructure for getting it to their reservations, which means their water gets used, without payment, by non-native groups.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Are native fishes and reservoirs compatible?

The question addressed in this blog comes from a new PPIC report that calls for reforms in management of environmental water stored behind dams in California. The report shows it is possible to manage water in ways that are compatible with maintaining a natural ecosystem in streams below and above dams (Null et al. 2022). An appendix to this report focuses on fishes (Moyle et al. 2022). It provides information on how dams and reservoirs affect native fish populations and supports the need for improved water management to avoid future extinctions.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Lake Mead’s water problem, summed up in a single chart

Lake Mead relies on inflow – mostly, water released from the upstream Lake Powell. Until recently, Lake Mead typically would get at least 8.23 million acre-feet of water annually from Lake Powell – enough to cover the state of Maryland in more than a foot of water. We began this year expecting to get a lower 7.48 million acre-feet release from Lake Powell. But the federal Bureau of Reclamation, for the first time, trimmed that mid-year to 7 million acre-feet because of how dangerously close Powell was to something called “minimum power pool.”
-Written by Arizona Republic columnist Joanna Allhands. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments combine science and technology to track biological threats in US waters

The U.S. Geological Survey announced today it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI, to develop portable robotic DNA samplers capable of independently monitoring for living threats in the rivers and streams without constant support from researchers. With new investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the partnership will help advance detection of invasive species, pathogens and parasites which cause ecological and economic damage to aquatic systems. These organisms can wreak havoc on our waterways, threaten commercial and recreational fishing industries and promote the spread of zoonotic diseases that can impact humans.  

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

​In California, where water is a human right, some communities still go thirsty

For some in Pixley, the needs for a place to worship and for reliable water are both affecting everyday life, and they hold nearly equal value among some. … California is in a prolonged drought, which only adds to Pixley’s problems. The community is one of nearly 400 in California whose water systems rated as “failing”. State emergency grants and water-focused legislation offer solutions, but communities face a long road ahead as California enters a fourth year of drought and running water becomes harder to guarantee in some places.

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Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily News

Santa Margarita water systems vandalized

Monday morning, the San Luis Obispo County Service Area 23 – Santa Margarita water system operator discovered a break-in at the Santa Margarita water storage facility, according to the San Luis Obispo County Health Department. The storage facility fence was vandalized and the lock accessing one of the water storage tanks was cut providing access to the drinking water supply. Because it is unknown whether perpetrators tampered with the water, as a precautionary measure, the tank was taken out of service and is being drained. It held about 100,000 gallons of water at the time of the incident.

Aquafornia news US Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Fortifying B.F. Sisk Dam and San Luis Reservoir against the power of an earthquake

Earthquakes are a fact of life in California, and at the B.F. Sisk Dam and San Luis Reservoir work is underway to ensure the continued viability and durability of the key resources, even when Mother Nature decides to shake things up. A major seismic upgrade, the largest project of that scale that has occurred at the site since its construction in 1967, received a $100 million investment earlier this year from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It is Reclamation’s largest dam safety project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Permit to reopen Cambria’s Water Reclamation Facility remains continually delayed

It’s been more than two years since Cambria applied to turn its emergency water system into a more permanent fixture, but there’s been little progress since then. According to Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) board member Harry Farmer, the permit application was submitted to the county in July 2020. … Cambria’s water issues have been ongoing for more than a decade, but the problems with the now-proposed water reclamation facility started in 2014, after the district declared a water supply emergency. Due to a dire water shortage situation, SLO County proceeded to grant the CCSD an emergency permit to build a water supply project, bypassing the typical requirements needed to obtain an operating permit. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Register for Dec. 8 Winter Outlook Workshop in SoCal; 2023 Water Leader apps due Dec. 7; support Water Education through paycheck deductions

Register to join us Thursday, Dec. 8, for our Winter Outlook Workshop in Irvine. The past three-year span, 2019 to 2022, has officially been the driest ever statewide going back to 1895 when modern records began in California. With La Niña conditions predicted to persist into this winter, what can reliably be said about the prospects for Water Year 2023? Does La Niña really mean anything for California or is it all washed up as a predictor in this new reality of climate whiplash, and has any of this affected our reliance on historical patterns to forecast California’s water supply? The event is ideal for anyone involved in managing water resources or simply interested in the topic  … Register here!

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Solano board supports moving Highway 37 plan forward

The Solano County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to send a letter to Caltrans supporting the Highway 37 Interim Project for interim and long-term solutions to congestion and sea rise issues. One of those solutions, Supervisor Erin Hannigan said, will eventually be making the highway a toll road, which she said many of the motorists using Highway 37 have indicated they support if it means less congestion. “Due to current and projected traffic congestion and flooding of the (Highway 37) corridor, the region requires both an interim and long-term solution to address these pressing concerns, including balancing a variety of transportation needs with enhancing recreational opportunities and protecting and enhancing sensitive marshland habitats,” …

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tiny, rural Allensworth takes on climate change with help from state grant

The state awarded $300,000 to the Allensworth Progressive Association, a local nonprofit, to “implement neighborhood-level projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health and the environment and expand economic opportunity for residents,” according to a press release from the Governor’s office. The money will be used, in part, for planning flood control and infrastructure for wastewater management. … Funding comes from the state’s Transformative Climate Communities program, which awarded $96 million to 10 disadvantaged communities throughout the state last month. The projects aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64,000 metric tons, according to the press release.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Draft report offers starkest view yet of U.S. climate threats

The effects of climate change are already “far-reaching and worsening” throughout all regions in the United States … The draft of the National Climate Assessment, the government’s premier contribution to climate knowledge, provides the most detailed look yet at the consequences of global warming for the United States… As greenhouse gas emissions rise and the planet heats up, the authors write, the United States could face major disruptions to farms and fisheries that drive up food prices, while millions of Americans could be displaced by disasters such as severe wildfires in California, sea-level rise in Florida or frequent flooding in Texas.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Carbon credits versus the Big Gulp

Steve Deverel gazes out over a levee on the San Joaquin River to a buoy where half a dozen sea lions are barking. It’s a loud reminder that even here, 50 miles inland, some of California’s most productive farmland lies perilously close to the Pacific Ocean. At any moment, a weak spot in the more than 1,000 miles of earthen levees protecting islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could unleash a salty deluge, threatening not just crops, but the drinking water for as many as 27 million Californians. Deverel, a Davis-based hydrologist, refers to this threat as “The Big Gulp,” a breach that would suck in tens of billions of gallons of river water, drawing ocean water in its wake. 

Aquafornia news High Country News

When dams come down, fish come home

In October 2021, ecologists shattered the top of a dam on Mill Creek, near Davenport, California, with a hydraulic hammer. Within hours, the entire structure was down. For at least 110 years, the long-obsolete dam had kept threatened steelhead from reaching important spawning habitat just upstream. …. Then, in September 2022, [Ian] Rowbotham’s team spotted juvenile steelhead above the former dam site. To their surprise, they also found 15 juvenile coho salmon downstream. It was the first time coho, an endangered species, had ever been recorded in Mill Creek….The experience adds to a growing body of research documenting the speedy recovery of fish and other species after dams are removed

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

EPA boosts Calif. state revolving fund by $609M

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced more than $609 million in capitalization grants, through State Revolving Funds (SRFs), to California for water infrastructure improvements. The grants will supplement the state’s annual base SRF of $144 million. The capitalization grants mark the first significant distribution of water infrastructure investments to California following passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law allocates more than $50 billion toward water infrastructure. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed Central Valley dam likely to move forward after judge’s ruling

Both sides of a controversial proposed Central Valley dam hailed a Nov. 3 court ruling kicking back the project’s environmental documents as a success. A Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge ruled there was insufficient information about a road relocation that is part of the proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir project, which would sit just above the town of Patterson in the Diablo Range on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  More definitive information on the proposed realignment of Del Puerto Canyon Road will have to be provided in the Environmental Impact Report by project proponents, the Del Puerto Water District and the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractor Authority.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County Supervisors to discuss Infrastructure Master Plan

The Butte County Board of Supervisors will be unveiling, discussing and likely approving its 2023 Infrastructure Master Plan as compiled by its Public Works Department at its meeting Tuesday. Each year the board goes through this process to determine infrastructure needs. … Presentations will be provided regarding the California drought as well as an update on activities by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

How can California boost its water supply?

Over and over again, drought launches California into a familiar scramble to provide enough water. Cities and towns call for conservation and brace for shortages. Growers fallow fields and ranchers sell cows. And thousands of people discover that they can’t squeeze another drop from their wells. So where can California get enough water to survive the latest dry stretch — and the next one, and the next? Can it pump more water from the salty Pacific Ocean? Treat waste flushed down toilets and washed down drains? Capture runoff that flows off streets into storm drains? Tow Antarctic icebergs to Los Angeles? The Newsom administration unveiled a roadmap for bolstering the state water supply.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Department of the Interior

News release: Assistant Secretary Trujillo highlights Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments for drought resilience in California

Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo today wrapped a visit to California where she highlighted historic investments being made through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to boost water infrastructure and tackle western drought. On Thursday, Assistant Secretary Trujillo joined state and local partners to commemorate the Water Replenishment District (WRD)’s 60 years of using recycled water for groundwater replenishment and to celebrate a $15.4 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for WRD’s Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program to help protect groundwater resources for 4 million people in the region. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Court orders more study on Del Puerto Reservoir proposal

A court ruling on the proposed Del Puerto Reservoir is a minor setback, a leader on the project said. The ruling involved only the environmental effects of relocating Del Puerto Canyon Road from the reservoir site, said Anthea Hansen, general manager of the Del Puerto Water District. The plaintiffs also had cited concerns about wildlife, recreation and excessive pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…. Del Puerto is partnering on the new reservoir with the four irrigation districts that make up the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Authority. They farm about 250,000 acres in a stretch from Crows Landing to Mendota.

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

San Francisco’s first approved onsite greywater reuse system operational

San Francisco-based water reuse technology company Epic Cleantec announced that a luxury residential building in San Francisco now hosts the city’s first approved and operational onsite greywater reuse system. The system can recycle up to 7,500 gallons of greywater per day, or 2.5 million gallons per year. The building, Fifteen Fifty, is owned by Related California, an affiliate of Related Companies. … The Fifteen Fifty installation captures, filters, and disinfects the greywater from showers, laundry, and rainwater. It then purifies the water and reuses it for toilet flushing. Greywater reuse can help reuse up to 95 percent of a building’s water use. For a state like California, grappling with an extended drought, this conservation can be key.

Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

State funds to address flooding in Calipatria

In 2012, residents of Calipatria’s east side woke up to water either all the way up to their doorstep or already inside their homes. A nearby canal had overflowed, sending water toward the Salton Sea due to what was being call a “100-year storm” that hit the Imperial Valley at the time…. To help stop the flooding from happening again, the city of Calipatria received $3.9 million in state Proposition 68 grand funds for the East Side Stormwater Drainage Improvement Project.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

North Coast tribes get $750K for climate resiliency projects

About three-quarters of $1 million in federal funds is headed to three North Coast tribes to help build climate resiliency. On Wednesday, the Department of Interior announced $45 million in investments to tribal climate resilience projects across the country, including $4.2 million to support nine tribes in California. … The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed into law about a year ago and includes a host of funding to repair the country’s bridges, roads and railways. The law also included funds for climate projects, including millions in funds for Klamath River restoration projects, but nowhere near the amount of funding that would have been made available had the law’s companion bill, the Build Back Better Act, been passed.

Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily New

News release: City hosting public hearing on water rate increases

The City of Paso Robles is proposing to gradually phase in water rate increases over the next five years to support water system operating and maintenance expenses, fund the city’s share of debt service for the Nacimiento Water Project, and provide funding for capital improvements needed to support safe and reliable service. All city water customers are receiving notices in the mail to announce a public hearing that will be held on the proposed water rate increases on Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m., at Paso Robles City Hall.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Keyes gets $20.4 million in grants to upgrade drinking water

Keyes is getting $20.4 million of the $609 million announced Wednesday for clean-water projects in California. The money comes from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed nearly a year ago by President Joe Biden. It will go to projects that remove pollutants from water, many of them in largely low-income places like Keyes. Officials gathered at a plant that already filters arsenic from wells supplying the 1,500 or so customers of the Keyes Community Services District. The new funding includes a $10.4 million grant that pays off a state loan that had funded the project, completed in 2019.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Former Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman to head Central Arizona Project

Former U.S. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman will take over as general manager of the Central Arizona Project in the new year, one that promises to include pivotal interstate negotiations over conserving the Colorado River water that supplies the CAP canal. Burman led the Bureau of Reclamation during the Trump administration, a period in which the agency managing Colorado River water and dams helped broker a Drought Contingency Plan. In that plan, Arizona agreed to take less water from the system to prevent catastrophic losses later. Continued poor weather and overuse have since set off new talks about conserving more in an attempt to halt Lake Mead’s slide toward the point that the river no longer flows past it.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: DWR’s risky prediction that CA’s future will be wetter

For years, scientists and State officials have warned of the need to prepare for a hotter, drier future as a result of climate change.  Earlier this year, Governor Newsom released his water supply strategy for the State needs to adapt to a hotter, drier future with climate change, explaining that “DWR estimates a 10% reduction in water supply by 2040 … consider[ing] increased temperatures and decreased runoff due to a thirstier atmosphere, plants, and soil.” Despite these public statements, the California Department of Water Resources’ publicly available modeling predicts that by 2040, climate change will increase runoff and make California wetter.  

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Foundation honors CalMatters reporter for coverage of water resources in California and the West

Rachel Becker, who covers water resource issues for the nonprofit news website CalMatters, is the first recipient of the Water Education Foundation’s Rita Schmidt Sudman Award for Excellence in Water Journalism honoring outstanding work that illuminates complicated water issues in California and the West. Foundation Executive Director Jenn Bowles announced the award Oct. 27 at the Foundation’s Water Summit in Sacramento. Joining Bowles for the presentation was her predecessor, Sudman, a former radio and television reporter who led the Foundation for nearly 35 years.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Richmond awarded $35 million state grant for climate, environmental justice projects

Environmental justice projects in neighborhoods next to some of the city’s heaviest industrial areas have gotten an injection of financial support. The state has awarded Richmond $35 million to plan and implement nine different community initiatives that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health, specifically in the Iron Triangle, Santa Fe and Coronado neighborhoods. Richmond Rising … will work with the city to provide residents more affordable options to walk, bike and get around town; renewable energy-powered homes; gray water systems; urban greening and cooling; and enhanced food security. … “Bosque del Barrio” is a project … to plant 1,000 trees and install thousands of square feet of plants that filter stormwater along walkable corridors.

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

Report: New report highlights key factors affecting State Water Project deliveries

As California enters a possible fourth dry year, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released its biennial report to help water managers better understand how key factors, like climate change and regulatory and operational considerations, affect the operation of the State Water Project (SWP) under historical and future scenarios. The State Water Project provides water to 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland throughout the state. In the State Water Project Final Delivery Capability Report 2021, there are estimates on the SWP’s water delivery capability for current and future conditions based on three major factors: The effects of population growth on … water supply and demand; State legislation intended to help maintain a reliable water supply; Impact of potential climate change-driven shifts in hydrologic conditions.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA awards California $609 million in historic federal funding to improve water quality

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding to the State of California for water infrastructure improvements under the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). California has been awarded more than $609 million in capitalization grants through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to supplement the state’s annual base SRF funding of $144 million. The announcement was made at the Keyes Community Services District (Keyes CSD), a community water system that was recently awarded $10.4 million in SRF loan forgiveness funding, to improve drinking water quality and compliance at four groundwater wells serving several small, disadvantaged communities in the area.

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Aquafornia news ABC 10 - Sacramento

Why aren’t dams being built to store water in a drought?

Today’s Why Guy question comes from Tricia Towne: “Why hasn’t a dam been built in over 50 years?” This is a popular question to the Why Guy. The short answer is all the best sites to build dams already have dams on them. Most were built in the 40s, 50s and 60s to prevent catastrophic local flooding. The last regional dam built, the New Melones Reservoir north of Sonora was completed in 1980, about 42 years ago. Now, with extreme drought, we need dams to store water. Well, guess what? Looks like we’re getting a new dam at the Sites Reservoir just west of Maxwell in Colusa County. President Joe Biden just dedicated $30 million to the project, which is targeted for a 2024 groundbreaking.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Sausalito seeks water fountain, recycling grant

Sausalito is seeking a grant to install refillable water stations and recycling containers in the city. The City Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the consent calendar Oct. 25 to pursue the $102,000 grant from CalRecycle for the installation of seven refillable water stations throughout the city, community education and the installation of recycling containers. … The city anticipates that the grant will fund seven drinking fountains with water filling stations, educational outreach and beverage recycling bins. The drinking fountains will be installed in city parks in coordination with the Parks and Recreation Commission. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Climate change is rapidly accelerating in California, state report says

Wildfires, drought, extreme heat and other effects of climate change are rapidly accelerating and compounding in California, according to a report from state scientists. The fourth edition of “Indicators of Climate Change in California,” released Tuesday, paints a stark picture of the escalating climate crisis and documents how global reliance on fossil fuels has had wide-ranging effects on the state’s weather, water and residents. Since the last update in 2018, weather extremes have intensified and become more erratic, officials said…. The warmer conditions have affected water availability in the state by causing more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow, the report says.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Study says L.A. flood risk is far greater than expected

Flooding from a storm event so severe that it occurs only once every 100 years would cause far greater damage to life and property in the Los Angeles Basin than federal emergency officials have forecast, according to UC Irvine researchers who warn also that Black and low-income communities would be hardest hit by the disaster. … [T]he paper is among the first to examine how whiplashing weather extremes due to climate change may impact the Los Angeles Basin — a region whose development was guided by deep social and racial divisions that favored white residents. In the Los Angeles Basin, researchers found that Black, Latino, and Asian residents were — respectively— 79%, 17%, and 11% more likely than white residents to be exposed to waist-high flooding.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

In Nevada, a tribe and a toad halt a geothermal plant

After about a decade of grinding its way through the federal permitting process, Ormat, a geothermal company, was building a new power plant in Dixie Valley to produce renewable energy. … But soon came another legal snag. The company halted construction in August while federal agencies meet to discuss whether the project should move forward. The rugged, remote corner of Nevada’s Great Basin region found itself at the epicenter of a confrontation between some of President Biden’s, and the nation’s, most pressing priorities: renewable energy, wildlife conservation and Indigenous rights…. environmentalists and tribes are pressing the Biden administration to begin land and water protections at Dixie Valley and elsewhere. The administration’s decision could affect not just Ormat’s plans and this patch of Nevada but also projects and landscapes across the country.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego nears new deal with East County water project to avoid court fight over pump station

A San Diego committee has approved a series of agreements between the city and a planned water recycling project in East County, potentially heading off a court fight over a plant that could help hundreds of thousands of people. The documents pave the way for San Diego to hand over a pump station to the Advanced Water Purification Project, and for the construction of a pipeline so waste generated by East County can be diverted from the city. The agreements were accepted Thursday in a 4-0 vote by the San Diego City Council’s environment committee. 

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As New Deadline Looms, Groundwater Managers Rework ‘Incomplete’ Plans to Meet California’s Sustainability Goals
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: More than half of the most critically overdrawn basins, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, are racing against a July deadline to retool their plans and avoid state intervention

A field in Kern County is irrigated by sprinkler.Managers of California’s most overdrawn aquifers were given a monumental task under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Craft viable, detailed plans on a 20-year timeline to bring their beleaguered basins into balance. It was a task that required more than 250 newly formed local groundwater agencies – many of them in the drought-stressed San Joaquin Valley – to set up shop, gather data, hear from the public and collaborate with neighbors on multiple complex plans, often covering just portions of a groundwater basin.

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”

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.

Pandemic Lockdown Exposes the Vulnerability Some Californians Face Keeping Up With Water Bills
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Growing mountain of water bills spotlights affordability and hurdles to implementing a statewide assistance program

Single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bills in San Diego County's Helix Water District can get a one-time credit on their bill through a rate assistance program funded with money from surplus land sales.As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Jobs were lost and household finances were upended. Even with federal stimulus aid and unemployment checks, bills fell by the wayside.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Red alert sounding on California drought, as farmers get less water

A government agency that controls much of California’s water supply released its initial allocation for 2021, and the numbers reinforced fears that the state is falling into another drought. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that most of the water agencies that rely on the Central Valley Project will get just 5% of their contract supply, a dismally low number. Although the figure could grow if California gets more rain and snow, the allocation comes amid fresh weather forecasts suggesting the dry winter is continuing. The National Weather Service says the Sacramento Valley will be warm and windy the next few days, with no rain in the forecast.

Related articles: 

In the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Two Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Try to Find Their Balance
WESTERN WATER SPECIAL REPORT: Agencies in Fresno, Tulare counties pursue different approaches to address overdraft and meet requirements of California’s groundwater law

Flooding permanent crops seasonally, such as this vineyard at Terranova Ranch in Fresno County, is one innovative strategy to recharge aquifers.Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Douglas E. Beeman

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK-Our 2019 articles spanned the gamut from groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency to collaboration and innovation

Smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire as viewed from Lake Oroville in Northern California. Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River. 

These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed them.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Climate Change and Water Resources Gary PitzerDouglas E. Beeman

As Wildfires Grow More Intense, California Water Managers Are Learning To Rewrite Their Emergency Playbook
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their customers

Debris from the Camp Fire that swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise  in November 2018.

By Gary Pitzer and Douglas E. Beeman

It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems and upend an agency’s finances.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Often Short of Water, California’s Southern Central Coast Builds Toward A Drought-Proof Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Water agencies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties look to seawater, recycled water to protect against water shortages

The spillway at Lake Cachuma in central Santa Barbara County. Drought in 2016 plunged its storage to about 8 percent of capacity.The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.

Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.

Western Water Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

‘Mission-Oriented’ Colorado River Veteran Takes the Helm as the US Commissioner of IBWC
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Jayne Harkins’ duties include collaboration with Mexico on Colorado River supply, water quality issues

Jayne Harkins, the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission.For the bulk of her career, Jayne Harkins has devoted her energy to issues associated with the management of the Colorado River, both with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and with the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.

Now her career is taking a different direction. Harkins, 58, was appointed by President Trump last August to take the helm of the United States section of the U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees myriad water matters between the two countries as they seek to sustainably manage the supply and water quality of the Colorado River, including its once-thriving Delta in Mexico, and other rivers the two countries share. She is the first woman to be named the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission for either the United States or Mexico in the commission’s 129-year history.

Announcement

A Bounty of San Joaquin Valley Crops on Display During Central Valley Tour
Act now, our April 3-5 tour is almost sold out!

The San Joaquin Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket, grows a cornucopia of fruits, nuts and other agricultural products.

During our three-day Central Valley Tour April 3-5, you will meet farmers who will explain how they prepare the fields, irrigate their crops and harvest the produce that helps feed the nation and beyond. We also will drive through hundreds of miles of farmland and visit the rivers, dams, reservoirs and groundwater wells that provide the water.

Western Water California Water Map Layperson's Guide to the State Water Project Gary Pitzer

As He Steps Aside, Tim Quinn Talks About ‘Adversarialists,’ Collaboration and Hope For Solving the State’s Tough Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Tim Quinn, retiring executive director of Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn  with a report produced by Association of California Water Agencies on  sustainable groundwater management.  (Source:  Association of California Water Agencies)In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

What Would You Do About Water If You Were California’s Next Governor?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Survey at Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit elicits a long and wide-ranging potential to-do list

There’s going to be a new governor in California next year – and a host of challenges both old and new involving the state’s most vital natural resource, water.

So what should be the next governor’s water priorities?

That was one of the questions put to more than 150 participants during a wrap-up session at the end of the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

As Decision Nears On California Water Storage Funding, a Chairman Reflects on Lessons Learned and What’s Next
WESTERN WATER Q&A: California Water Commission Chairman Armando Quintero

Armando Quintero, chair of the California Water CommissionNew water storage is the holy grail primarily for agricultural interests in California, and in 2014 the door to achieving long-held ambitions opened with the passage of Proposition 1, which included $2.7 billion for the public benefits portion of new reservoirs and groundwater storage projects. The statute stipulated that the money is specifically for the benefits that a new storage project would offer to the ecosystem, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Colorado River Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

As Colorado River Levels Drop, Pressure Grows On Arizona To Complete A Plan For Water Shortages
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: A dispute over who speaks for Arizona has stalled work with California, Nevada on Drought Contingency Plan

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

It’s high-stakes time in Arizona. The state that depends on the Colorado River to help supply its cities and farms — and is first in line to absorb a shortage — is seeking a unified plan for water supply management to join its Lower Basin neighbors, California and Nevada, in a coordinated plan to preserve water levels in Lake Mead before they run too low.

If the lake’s elevation falls below 1,075 feet above sea level, the secretary of the Interior would declare a shortage and Arizona’s deliveries of Colorado River water would be reduced by 320,000 acre-feet. Arizona says that’s enough to serve about 1 million households in one year.

Announcement

Central Valley Tour Offers Unique View of San Joaquin Valley’s Key Dams and Reservoirs
March 14-16 tour includes major federal and state water projects

Get a unique view of the San Joaquin Valley’s key dams and reservoirs that store and transport water on our March Central Valley Tour.

Our Central Valley Tour, March 14-16, offers a broad view of water issues in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to the farms, orchards, critical habitat for threatened bird populations, flood bypasses and a national wildlife refuge, we visit some of California’s major water infrastructure projects.

Western Water Excerpt Jenn Bowles

Enhancing California’s Water Supply: The Drive for New Storage
Spring 2017

One of the wettest years in California history that ended a record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage to be built above and below ground.

In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they are needed.

Aquapedia background

One Hundred Year Flood

Risk Assessment, Not a Timeline

Contrary to popular belief, “100-Year Flood” does not refer to a flood that happens every century. Rather, the term describes the statistical chance of a flood of a certain magnitude (or greater) taking place once in 100 years. It is also accurate to say a so-called “100-Year Flood” has a 1 percent chance of occurring in a given year, and those living in a 100-year floodplain have, each year, a 1 percent chance of being flooded.

Western Water Excerpt Jenn Bowles

Outdated Dams: When Removal Becomes an Option
Summer 2016

Mired in drought, expectations are high that new storage funded by Prop. 1 will be constructed to help California weather the adverse conditions and keep water flowing to homes and farms.

At the same time, there are some dams in the state eyed for removal because they are obsolete – choked by accumulated sediment, seismically vulnerable and out of compliance with federal regulations that require environmental balance.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Maps & Posters

Water Cycle Poster

Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.

Maps & Posters Colorado River Bundle

Colorado River Basin Map
Redesigned in 2017

Redesigned in 2017, this beautiful map depicts the seven Western states that share the Colorado River with Mexico. The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the country of Mexico. Text on this beautiful, 24×36-inch map, which is suitable for framing, explains the river’s apportionment, history and the need to adapt its management for urban growth and expected climate change impacts.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

Cover page for the Layperson's Guide to the Colorado River .

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use. New in this 10th edition of the guide is a section on the human need for water. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).

Western Water Magazine

Ante Up: Funding California’s Water
May/June 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at how water use is paid for and the push to make public financing more flexible.

Dams

Folsom Dam on the American River east of Sacramento

Dams have allowed Californians and others across the West to harness and control water dating back to pre-European settlement days when Native Americans had erected simple dams for catching salmon.

Western Water Magazine

Are We Keeping Up With Water Infrastructure Needs?
January/February 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines water infrastructure – its costs and the quest to augment traditional brick-and-mortar facilities with sleeker, “green” features.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer

Are We Keeping Up With Water Infrastructure Needs?
January/February 2012

Everywhere you look water infrastructure is working hard to keep cities, farms and industry in the state running. From the massive storage structures that dot the West to the aqueducts that convey water hundreds of miles to large urban areas and the untold miles of water mains and sewage lines under every city and town, the semiarid West would not exist as it does without the hardware that meets its water needs.

Western Water Magazine

Mimicking the Natural Landscape: Low Impact Development and Stormwater Capture
September/October 2011

This printed issue of Western Water discusses low impact development and stormwater capture – two areas of emerging interest that are viewed as important components of California’s future water supply and management scenario.

Western Water Magazine

Saving it For Later: Groundwater Banking
July/August 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines groundwater banking, a water management strategy with appreciable benefits but not without challenges and controversy.

Western Water Magazine

A ‘New Direction’ for Water Decisions? The California Water Plan
May/June 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the changed nature of the California Water Plan, some aspects of the 2009 update (including the recommendation for a water finance plan) and the reaction by certain stakeholders.

Western Water Magazine

Changing the Status Quo: The 2009 Water Package
January/February 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater monitoring and the proposed water bond.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Dollars and Sense: How We Pay For Water
September/October 2009

It’s no secret that providing water in a state with the size and climate of California costs money. The gamut of water-related infrastructure – from reservoirs like Lake Oroville to the pumps and pipes that deliver water to homes, businesses and farms – incurs initial and ongoing expenses. Throw in a new spate of possible mega-projects, such as those designed to rescue the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the dollar amount grows exponen­tially to billion-dollar amounts that rival the entire gross national product of a small country.

Western Water Magazine

Dollars and Sense: How We Pay for Water
September/October 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines the financing of water infrastructure, both at the local level and from the statewide perspective, and some of the factors that influence how people receive their water, the price they pay for it and how much they might have to pay in the future.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Small Systems, Big Challenges
May/June 2008

They are located in urban areas and in some of the most rural parts of the state, but they have at least one thing in common: they provide water service to a very small group of people. In a state where water is managed and delivered by an organization as large as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, most small water systems exist in obscurity – financed by shoestring budgets and operated by personnel who wear many hats.

Western Water Magazine

Pumps, Pipes and Plants: Meeting Modern Water Infrastructure Needs
July/August 2006

This issue of Western Water looks at water infrastructure – from the large conveyance systems to the small neighborhood providers – and the many challenges faced by water agencies in their continuing mission of assuring a steady and reliable supply for their customers.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer

Pumps, Pipes and Plants: Meeting Modern Water Infrastructure Needs
Jul/Aug 2006

Chances are that deep within the ground beneath you as you read this is a vast network of infrastructure that is busy providing the necessary services that enable life to proceed at the pace it does in the 21st century. Electricity zips through cables to power lights and computers while other conduits move infinite amounts of information that light up computer screens and phone lines.

Western Water Magazine

Does California Need More Surface Water Storage?
September/October 2003

This issue of Western Water explores the question of whether the state needs more surface storage, with a particular focus on the five proposed projects identified in the CALFED 2000 ROD and the politics and funding issues of these projects.