“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 Los Angeles Times

Poseidon Water could receive millions in state bonds for Huntington Beach plant

The controversial Poseidon Water seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could be in line to receive millions in state funds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee. The committee met Wednesday, a three-hour meeting during which it partially decided how to divide up more than $4.3 billion in tax exempt Private Activity Bonds that are available for distribution in 2022. Most of the money — about $3.7 billion — will go to qualified residential rental programs…. However, the committee also voted to allocate about $510 million to other exempt facilities, which include Poseidon.

Aquafornia news KneeDeep Times

Climate zoning defined for Burlingame shore and Sonoma hills

Mention zoning to most people and they’ll likely think of height limits, density restrictions, or, if their memories are long enough, the notorious practice of racial redlining. But local zoning ordinances and other land-use regulations are taking on a new role in communities trying to mitigate or adapt to the impacts of climate change. … In the Bay Area, the city of Burlingame, with help from a new countywide agency in San Mateo County and a climate think tank in Washington, DC, just amended its zoning code to require higher ground-floor elevations and space for protective infrastructure in new development within an area vulnerable to sea-level rise.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Santa Monica takes landmark step toward water self-sufficiency

The City of Santa Monica, California, has taken a significant step toward a self-reliant water future as expansions to the Arcadia Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and restorations to the Olympic Well Field break ground. The key water infrastructure improvements are a component of the city’s goal of becoming water self-sufficient by 2023. Santa Monica’s water system comprises groundwater basins, treatment facilities, and imported water connections to serve 18,000 customers with an average annual water demand of approximately 11,600 acre-ft per year (AFY). About 50 to 60 percent of its water supply is from local groundwater resources. 

Aquafornia news Silicon Valley

East Bay sewer district gets $250 million federal loan for upgrades

The Union Sanitary District will receive a $250 million federal infrastructure loan to upgrade its aging waste treatment facility. The cash infusion will help support the district’s roughly $510 million plan to significantly upgrade its 33-acre wastewater treatment facility in Union City, the largest improvement project it has ever undertaken. The project will take an estimated seven to 10 years to complete, officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Burbank airport fears impact of California bullet train

Several serious concerns emerged this week about the impact of California’s planned bullet train on Hollywood Burbank Airport, Burbank’s water supply and a massive commercial development if construction proceeds on a proposed 13.7-mile route through the area. Despite the issues, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved its route plan on Thursday. … City water officials say the construction will temporarily take out 75% of the city’s water supply and force it to recertify its system with state regulators afterward. 

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications

Water board tables Delta drought regulation

The State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday withdrew an emergency drought regulation for the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. Despite a dry January, board staff said the regulation, known as a temporary urgency change petition (TUCP), would not improve conditions if implemented as planned in February. They found no potential benefits to Shasta and Trinity reservoirs, which have the greatest need for water. 

Aquafornia news Global Water Forum

Blog: The multiple dimensions of vulnerability in our drinking water systems

The delivery of safe, affordable and reliable drinking water is a key responsibility of utilities and governments everywhere. In the U.S. there is growing evidence that access to safe and affordable drinking water is distributed unevenly. Low-income and minority communities are more likely to experience drinking water contamination, face higher water bills, and have less reliable access to drinking water. The importance of drinking water services are clear and gaining policy attention. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Highway 37 could be fully underwater as soon as 2040

California State Route 37, the major throughway that bridges the divide between Highway 101 and Interstate 80 and serves thousands of drivers daily in the North Bay, is in dire straits. A recent dispatch from the California Department of Transportation warns that nearly the entire route — spanning Novato to Vallejo — could be “permanently submerged” as soon as 2040 by increasing weather crises and rising sea levels caused by climate change. Its proximity to the San Pablo Bay makes this route especially vulnerable. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District News Stories

News release: Construction slowed by December rains, but on the bright side …

Dry conditions in California are traditionally a benefit for construction companies looking to continue work through the winter season. This year, however, drought-stricken California received desperately needed rains and snowfall … in abundance. That’s good news for the state, not so good for our crews looking to continue work on the Natomas Reach B project. December storms dropped so much water, that areas of Reach B’s construction site have been turned into not just puddles, but mini-lakes …

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Aquafornia news Bond Buyer

California ballot measure fundraising efforts coming up short

Supporters of the Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 put a call out for donations Friday to help get the measure on the California ballot. In a “last call” for major donors, supporters of the ballot measure wrote, “the campaign finds itself in the inexplicable position of having a solution everyone wants, but unable so far to raise funds to qualify it for the ballot.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Cal Water asks kids for ideas to solve water issues

They say children are sponges who soak up ideas and concepts more quickly than adults. That’s why one of the state’s largest water providers is hoping to soak in some of their thoughts on ways to solve local water issues. Last month, California Water Service (Cal Water) along with the California Association of Science Educators (CASE) and consulting firm DoGoodery, has launched the eighth annual Cal Water H2O Challenge. The free, project-based competition invites fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade classrooms in Cal Water service areas to develop and implement solutions for local water issues. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Water district board member lays out plan to build 3-year supply

This year, our reservoirs were reaching near historic lows in September. We were faced with the realistic prospect of running out of water by the summer of 2022. Then the “atmospheric river” storm in October set rainfall records in Marin. Despite predictions of a dry winter, the rain continued and now five of our seven reservoirs are full, eliminating the danger of running out of water this summer. The pendulum swung fast. But the lessons of the past year are clear: We must prepare now for what broad scientific consensus tells us the future holds, particularly the extreme swings in precipitation due to climate change.
-Written by Monty Schmitt, representing San Rafael’s District 2 as a member of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors.

Aquafornia news Appeal Democrat

Cal Water begins improvements in Marysville

California Water Service announced it has begun a water infrastructure improvement project in Marysville, which could cause some disruptions for residents. The project includes the installation of 1,221 feet of a new 6-, 8-, and 12-inch ductile-iron water main and replacement of all existing individual customer service connections, Cal Water said in a news release. The utility company also said crews were installing two new fire hydrants to improve access for firefighters.  

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Proposed ballot measure would create water infrastructure

The More Water Now campaign was formed to qualify the Water Infrastructure Funding Act to appear as a state ballot initiative in November. Nearly every expert in California agrees that more water infrastructure is necessary; that conservation alone will not protect Californians from the impact of climate change. Projects to capture storm runoff and recycle urban wastewater are urgently needed, and this initiative provides the funding to get it done.
-Written by Edward Ring, lead proponent of the Water Infrastructure Funding Act, a proposed state ballot initiative.​

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Mysterious sewage spill baffles officials

Federal officials are investigating why millions of gallons of sewage-laden water isn’t making its way from Tijuana to the international wastewater treatment plant in the U.S. Instead, that untreated wastewater is flowing into San Diego through a border drain, which indicates there’s probably a broken pipe or a clog somewhere in Tijuana.  The runaway flow began Jan. 7 around 1:30 p.m. when almost a million gallons of sewage escaped from Tijuana through Stewart’s Drain, which sits just east of the International Wastewater Treatment plant operated by the International Boundary Water Commission. 

Aquafornia news

Technological solutions to droughts

Perennial water shortages in California will likely only grow worse due to climate change. But emerging technologies offer hope—if Californians can stop taking water for granted, says David Feldman, UCI professor of urban planning & public policy and director of Water UCI. Water shortages will become more severe as both droughts and floods become more intense, with less rain and snow falling during dry seasons and more falling during wet ones. Capturing the excess precipitation and saving it for dry periods will also only get more challenging.

Aquafornia news Lexology

FERC finalizes revisions to dam safety regulations

On December 16, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) issued a final rule amending its regulations governing the dam safety of FERC-licensed hydroelectric projects under the Federal Power Act (FPA). FERC’s final rule follows its July 16, 2020 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) (see July 21, 2020 edition of the WER), which FERC issued following the 2017 spillway incident at the Oroville Dam and the May 2020 dam failures at the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam in central Michigan.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Appeals court clears path for controversial wetlands housing

In a major victory for one of the Bay Area’s preeminent developers, a state appeals court has struck down an environmental challenge to plans to build 469 large houses near the edge of Newark’s wetlands, clearing a path for the controversial development to go forward. Though the project area could see flooding in the coming decades because of projected rising sea levels, and will remove some habitat of the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, the Newark City Council approved The Sobrato Organization’s plans in November 2019, over the objections of some residents and environmental groups, who called the development “illogical and irresponsible.”

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

PG&E can’t duck potential liability for century-old gas plant pollution

Pacific Gas and Electric could be liable for contamination from a defunct gas plant that operated more than 100 years ago, a federal judge has ruled, because evidence suggests its predecessor dumped hazardous waste at or near the San Francisco site in 1903. … In a 14-page ruling issued Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge William Orrick rejected that argument, finding the available evidence supports a “reasonable inference” that SFG&E operated the plant and dismantled its parts in 1903, two activities that produced toxic waste that would have been dumped in or near the San Francisco Bay at that time.

Aquafornia news The Counter

Water scarcity is about to get a lot worse. Irrigated agriculture doesn’t have a plan

In much of the West and Southwest, the climate crisis is projected to raise average temperatures while reducing snowpack for much of the foreseeable future. These trends will significantly increase the risk of drought in an area heavily dependent on irrigation for food production. So what’s the plan? For many farming communities, there is none. That’s according to a new report on drought preparedness … Patterson Irrigation District, a public utility that delivers water from the San Joaquin River to more than 12,000 acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley, is one irrigation organization with a formal plan. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Congressman Jim Costa leads effort to ensure San Joaquin Valley water is prioritized in infrastructure law roll-out

Last week, Rep. Jim Costa continued to advocate for key California infrastructure priorities as funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) begins to roll out. In a letter to U.S. Dept. of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, Costa provided recommendations on how the Biden administration can prioritize the distribution of IIJA funding to help improve water infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news Point Reyes Light

Water pipeline to face review

The proposed water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will undergo standard environmental review, losing its emergency exemption after recent rains spared Marin County from the harshest impacts of the drought and assuaged the urgency of the project.  Marin Water, which had planned to start construction on the pipeline next month, will soon begin a review of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. It says the project will give the county’s largely self-contained water systems more flexibility in the long term. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

On Jan. 1, where the Monterey Peninsula gets its water from changed dramatically. A new pipeline being installed in Seaside will help adapt

Maybe you’ve been wondering why Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard is being torn up right now, and what’s up with the massive pipe sections being staged on its median. The answer to both of those questions is at least in part because as of Dec. 31, 2021, California American Water finally had to scale back its pumping of the Carmel River to its legal limit of 3,376 acre-feet annually. There are already two pipelines under the road – both projects of Marina Coast Water District, another utility – one of which is currently being used to pipe water from the Pure Water Monterey project south into the Cal Am system. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California plans to spend $37 billion fighting climate change

Some of the details will likely change over the next few months as the governor’s office negotiates with the Legislature, which must approve the budget. But here are nine things you should know about how Newsom would tackle the climate crisis. … It also adds $750 million to last year’s $5.2 billion for drought response, including $180 million for water suppliers to plug leaks, tear out grass and improve efficiency; $145 million in emergency assistance for communities at risk of going dry; $75 million to protect fish and wildlife; and $30 million for replenishing groundwater.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Aging aqueducts could leave Utahns without water in big earthquake

Four major aqueducts along the Wasatch Front are the heart of a system that ultimately delivers drinking water to more than 2 million people. A report on these structures details how three of them cross the Wasatch Fault zone and the fourth is in an area of risk for landslides or other ground movement. In the event of the “Big One,” these aging water delivery systems would fail and be offline for several months, maybe as long as six months, as custom parts from out of state would have to be shipped to Utah.

Aquafornia news Insurance Journal

Arizona eyeing $1B water plant to help with drought

Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed setting aside $1 billion to remove the salt from sea water and bring it to Arizona, a major legacy project as he enters his eighth and final year in office. The Republican governor previewed the plan but offered few details in his annual state of the state address, delivered to a joint session of the House and Senate. … Lawmakers also set aside $200 million last year for future water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news KALW

Marin County slows process on building emergency water pipeline

Last week, the Marin Municipal Water District announced that it was slowing down its plans to build an emergency water pipeline. The district was initially moving quickly in its timeline to consider building a pipeline under the bridge that would carry third-party water sources to Marin. Typically, projects like pipelines or any other construction that has the potential to directly or indirectly physically change the environment must undergo processes in the California Environmental Quality Act.

Aquafornia news CA Natural Resources Agency

News release: State agencies detail progress implementing Water Resilience Portfolio

A new report conveys significant progress made in the past 18 months to implement the Water Resilience Portfolio, the Newsom Administration’s water policy blueprint to build climate resilience in the face of more extreme cycles of wet and dry. … Recent progress includes assisting tens of thousands of Californians who depend on small water systems or domestic wells that have drinking water supply problems, dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars to improve streamflow for salmon and other native fish species, advancing the removal of four obsolete dams that block salmon passage on the Klamath River, providing extensive financial and technical assistance to local sustainable groundwater management agencies, restoring streams and floodplains, and steadily improving the state’s ability to manage flood and drought.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: To fight climate change, we must redesign San Diego communities

As the world struggles for consensus on climate action and national policy focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the impacts of climate change occur all around us. … The San Diego region is a case in point. Its beaches and coastal bluffs are being eroded by ocean storms and sea level rise. Its inland valleys and mountains suffer from severe drought, leaving them vulnerable to wildfires. Long-term drought and higher temperatures contribute to the loss of natural habitat and wildlife. Its population, industry and agricultural economy rely heavily on water from shrinking, faraway sources — the Sacramento Delta in Northern California and the Colorado River.
-Written by Robert Leiter, former director of land use and transportation planning for the San Diego Association of Governments; Julie Kalansky, a climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and Cary Lowe, a California land-use attorney who has written widely on environmental and planning topics. ​

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: In Ojai, a glimpse of how to nurture land in a drier world

The Ojai Valley in Ventura County is a magical place. Consider its elements: the sweet smell of California citrus blossoms in the spring, the open space preserved by orchards, the seasonal creeks that run free through the cultivated lands. But the Ojai Valley is also a place in peril. That’s because the water source that keeps this inland Ventura hamlet thriving is nearly dry. Lake Casitas reservoir was built in the late 1950s, when decades of plentiful rain hid the true nature of California’s arid climate. Back then, the official projections for water-resources potential were optimistic. Today, that story has changed dramatically.
-Written by Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and founding director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Gov. Doug Ducey proposes spending $1B on water infrastructure

[Arizona] Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday proposed spending $1 billion from the state’s general fund over three years to help “secure Arizona’s water future for the next 100 years.” In his final State of the State address, the governor said the budget he sends to lawmakers will prioritize water infrastructure including desalination. … Long discussed as an idea to deliver some of Mexico’s share of the Colorado River without drawing down Lake Mead, seawater desalination on the Sea of Cortez would pump treated water to Morelos Dam near Yuma for distribution in Mexico. The U.S. parties paying into the program would then take some of Mexico’s river water as compensation.

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Aquafornia news Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California budget – How will Newsom spend multi-billion dollar surplus?

Buoyed by another massive surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday unveiled a wide-ranging $286 billion spending proposal for 2022-23, prioritizing more money to fight COVID-19 and tackle climate change, homelessness, the rising cost of living and other issues that plague the Golden State. … The budget also aims to address more long-standing problems, including climate-related issues such as wildfires and drought. It calls for an additional $1.2 billion to boost forest management and $750 million to round out last year’s $5.2 billion water package to help residents, farmers and wildlife respond to the historic drought.

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Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Water treatment plant on track to be running by next summer

A project three decades in the making is nearly complete and is scheduled to deliver a reliable source of drinking water to Turlock residents by next year.  The Regional Surface Water Supply Project was formed in 2011 as the Cities of Turlock and Ceres, in cooperation with Turlock Irrigation District, to start the process of building a plant to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to residents. The City of Turlock has been working for 30 years to secure this alternate drinking source, as its current drinking water supply is 100% groundwater — and dwindling. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Anderson Dam – Cost to rebuild key Bay Area dam nearly doubles to $1.2 billion

In the latest setback for a project that has been fraught with delays and cost overruns for more than a decade, the price tag to rebuild Anderson Dam — Santa Clara County’s largest — to improve earthquake safety is nearly doubling, from $648 million to $1.2 billion. The news comes one year after the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the government agency that owns the dam near Morgan Hill, announced that another of its large construction plans, a proposal to build a huge new reservoir near Pacheco Pass, also had doubled in price, from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion.

Aquafornia news Helix Water District

News release: Helix board elects new president and vice president

At the Helix Water District Board of Directors Meeting on January 5, 2022, the board elected Director Kathleen Coates Hedberg to serve as board president in 2022 and Director DeAna Verbeke to serve as vice president. Hedberg, who is a third generation water professional and licensed civil engineer with a master’s degree in public health, said “…This is the first time in Helix’s over 100 year history that the board president and vice president are both women.”

Aquafornia news NPR

In coastal areas, rising seas can also mean failing septic tanks

In rural, coastal areas, rising groundwater is flooding people’s properties from underneath, causing septic tanks to fail. States are responding, but it could be a losing battle in some places. … Sixty million Americans rely on septic tanks to flush their toilets. But extreme rain, floods and rising seas are making the ground too wet for many to work properly. As Zach Hirsch reports, the biggest problem is in rural coastal areas …

Aquafornia news Fresh Fruit Portal

Avocado production: Water footprint and socio-economic implications

The market for avocados is among the fastest expanding markets worldwide, and consumption, particularly in North America and Europe, has increased during recent decades due largely to a combination of socio-economic and marketing factors. Avocado production, however, is associated with significant water conflicts, stresses and hot spots, as well as with other negative environmental and socio-economic impacts on local communities in the main production zones. … It is evident that increasing demand and production of avocados is already causing water stress conditions in some countries, and has the potential to affect many others.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

LAFCO finalizes denial of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s Cal Am takeover

The Monterey County Local Agency Formation Commission voted 5-2 Wednesday to finalize its denial of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s planned takeover of California American Water. The 5-2 LAFCO vote followed its initial vote Dec. 6 to dismiss the water district’s application for the buyout, an acquisition mandated by a 2018 ballot measure. General Manager Dave Stoldt of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District said he wasn’t surprised by the vote.

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Concerns aren’t eroding as Half Moon Bay dives into study sea level rise

The city of Half Moon Bay is examining the impact of sea level rise and erosion on its southern coastline, which could harm the most significant contributor to the city’s economy. According to ongoing studies from San Mateo County and its environmental consulting firm Integral Consulting, parts of the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, the Golf Links and Ocean Colony neighborhood are at risk of erosion and flooding as a result of sea level rise.

Aquafornia news Audubon Magazine

The rise of billion-dollar disasters

In the last year, deadly frigid winter temperatures in Texas gave way to excruciating summer heat in the Northwest. Wildfires raged across California. In late summer, Hurricane Ida devastated Louisiana and flooded the Northeast. In December, an outbreak of nearly 70 tornadoes caused unprecedented destruction. If you’ve thought headlines about U.S. weather and climate disasters are becoming more common: You’re right.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Judge halts $1 billion California development over wildfire danger

Development of a $1 billion resort and housing project in one of the state’s most wildfire-prone communities has been placed on hold after a judge ruled developers didn’t adequately plan for what might happen when a wildfire erupts and thousands of people have to run for their lives. The Lake County judge’s ruling on the Guenoc Valley Resort could have sweeping ramifications for housing and business developments across a state where fires are growing in severity and local officials are under intense pressure to approve new building projects during a housing crisis. 

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

California drought: Researchers optimistic state can build new housing and have enough water for expanding population

It’s the decades-long conflict even our recent surge of storms can’t wash away — How to build the thousands of new housing units we desperately need and at the same time ensure there’s enough water for an expanding population. … While the recent storms may bring short-term relief, many experts believe a true end to the current drought, could still be a long ways off. Marin County is currently working on plans for a new emergency water pipeline across the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge. 

Aquafornia news KUNC

With less water on the surface, how long can Arizona rely on what’s underground?

In Arizona, verdant fields of crops and a growing sprawl of suburban homes mean a sharp demand for water in the middle of the desert. Meeting that demand includes drawing from massive stores of water in underground aquifers. But some experts say they’re overtaxed, and shouldn’t be seen as a long-term solution for a region where the water supply is expected to shrink in the decades to come.

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Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Half Moon Bay faces issues due to sea level rise

A study examining vulnerabilities to the southern coast near Half Moon Bay from climate change was presented to the City Council Dec. 21, showing buildings like the Ritz Carlton are at risk from sea-level rise. … It found the Ritz Carlton and the California Coastal Trail is at serious risk of erosion with just 5 feet of sea level rise, while other structures, residences and trails are at risk. Erosion would affect 123 buildings, including Pescadero Cal Fire Station, the Ritz Carlton, Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Gazos Creek Gas Station. Pescadero, Martin’s Beach and Tunitas Creek are vulnerable communities due to creek and storm wave flooding.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin considers delaying emergency water pipeline project

With its reservoirs nearly refilled, the Marin Municipal Water District is considering delaying a proposed $100 million project to build an emergency water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The district board was originally set to vote on whether to construct the 8-mile pipeline as soon as February. But now the district staff recommends the board delay that decision by possibly more than a year in order to conduct a full environmental analysis of the project. 

Aquafornia news 24/7 Wall St.

This city has the most expensive water in the world

Water has become a precious commodity worldwide. In many places, drought has dried up the water supply. And in places where water is plentiful, it can sometimes be surprisingly expensive. The city with the most expensive water in the world is Oslo, Norway. … The city with the highest average price of water was Oslo, Norway, at $6.69. It was also the city with the highest water quality score, at 97.8 – compared to the city with the lowest quality score, San Diego at 84.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Sediment removal from behind dam delayed

A years-long project to increase water storage capacity by removing sediment from the reservoir behind the Littlerock Dam has been postponed by delays in permitting at the state level. The Palmdale Water District’s Littlerock Reservoir Sed­i­ment Removal Project has been in the works for more than 25 years. The project calls for removing more than 1.16 million cubic yards of sed­iment that has built up behind the dam since 1992, reducing the water storage capacity by 500 acre-feet, according to District off­ic­ials.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation application period gets underway for aging infrastructure with funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The Bureau of Reclamation has initiated the first application period for Extraordinary Maintenance (XM) projects that will address aging water and power infrastructure across the West. Newly enacted funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be applied to the program following the new application period requirements set out in the separate Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260) which became law in December of 2020.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

Board of Supervisors makes no move to split Water Resources, Public Works

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to take no action on a proposal from the County Administrative Office to consider once again splitting the Water Resources Department off from the Department of Public Works. County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson said she agendized the discussion because the county is anticipating a “considerable amount of infrastructure funding” in the next year or two thanks to the federal infrastructure bill.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

6.2 quake off the California coast prompts North State dam inspections

An earthquake that measured 6.2 in magnitude off the coast of California could be felt as far inland as Redding early Monday afternoon. … Don Bader, the area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, initially said the effects of the quake were not felt strongly enough in the area north of Redding to trigger an inspection of Shasta Dam. But due to ongoing aftershocks, the bureau added Shasta Dam to its inspection list, he said. Bureau officials also planned to inspect three other dams in the area that are managed by the agency, he said. 

Aquafornia news Ramona Sentinel

Acres residents in Ramona seek $1.32M grant to get access to clean water

Residents of Ramona’s Acres community are working with local officials and a nonprofit on an application for a $1.32 million grant that would give them better access to clean water. The funds would pay for new water main pipelines for the community, which has contaminated well water and inadequate pipes. Toby Roy, a specialist with the nonprofit Rural Community Assistance Corporation, provided an update on the application process at the Dec. 14 Ramona Municipal Water District meeting.

Aquafornia news Fox 40 - Sacramento

EPA grants $81M loan to Sacramento County Water Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an $81 million loan to the Sacramento County Water Agency in northern California to modernize the county’s water infrastructure and help make the water supply more climate-resilient. … The loan will help Sacramento County meet current fire protection standards and water metering by financing a portion of the cost to install 30 miles of new distribution pipeline, 260 fire hydrants and 3,000 new water meters.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Danger in Droughtsville: California’s urban water at risk

Droughtsville, California, is in trouble. Its water supply is endangered as multiple crises intensify: worsening droughts, competition for scarce supplies, sea level rise, groundwater contamination, earthquakes, wildfires and extreme weather. All of these factors, and more, threaten Droughtville’s ability to provide clean water to its residents.  The city is fictional, but the threats are not. … CalMatters delved into the details of what scientists and planners have determined could jeopardize the water supply of a typical California city — and some potential solutions.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

How San Jose water uses asset management to keep the water flowing

Sustaining the nation’s water infrastructure is an ongoing task. San Jose Water (SJW), based in San Jose, Calif., has heeded the call to seriously address asset management. Serving more than one million people in the greater San Jose metropolitan area, SJW operates one of the largest and most technically sophisticated urban water systems in the United States. The system consists of three water treatment plants along with approximately 2,400 miles of pipelines, 340 pumps and motors, 100 wells, 120 tanks and reservoirs, and hundreds of thousands of other assets such as valves, fire hydrants, meters, electrical systems and chemical systems. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: The Central Valley needs real solutions for its water shortage

In the San Joaquin Valley, water is becoming a commodity equal to life and death. California is a powerhouse of food production, growing some 40 percent of the country’s fruit, vegetables and nuts. However, the agriculture industry depends on a water supply that’s increasingly fragile and unreliable as the climate warms. As a means to increase access to livable drinking water, community and elected leaders alike are rallying behind “Building More Dams.” But this is simply not a viable solution.
-Written by Monike Reynozo, an advocate and leader in the Delano community, and has worked on climate issues and electoral campaigns.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa City Council to consider water management plan

With California’s drought still looming, the Napa City Council will consider passing the city’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan on Tuesday, a state-required, 255-page document that evaluates the city’s water supply and demand through 2045. California requires water suppliers that provide water to more than 3,000 customers — such as the city of Napa — to create the plan and update it every five years, which effectively means that future predictions are constantly being projected and updated based on changing conditions, said to Joy Eldredge, the city’s deputy utilities director.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Environmentalists sound alarm over proposed water initiative

A proposed ballot measure that would dedicate $100 billion to bolster California’s water supply is drawing a sharp rebuke, not only for the amount of spending but also for the dramatic sidesteps it would allow in the environmental review process. For example, the proposal would make the controversial plan for a Huntington Beach desalination plant eligible for a huge taxpayer subsidy — even though the private, for-profit Poseidon Water company currently intends to pay for the $1.4 billion in construction costs. 

Aquafornia news Clean Technica

Blog: Climate change impacts on California’s Central Valley

While different places in the United States experience different climate impacts (e.g., more extreme precipitation in eastern states, stronger hurricanes in the Gulf, and dryer and hotter conditions across southwestern states), the Central Valley is expected to experience quite a few: hotter temperatures, droughts, wildfires, and extreme precipitation events. Because of this, and because of the Valley’s history of environmental and socioeconomic inequities and injustices, we are devoting a blog series to the region.

Aquafornia news KVPR - Clovis

As water officials repair damage from subsidence, they demand prevention from groundwater agencies

State water officials have asked local groundwater agencies to better prevent land subsidence. Simultaneously, the state is also working to fix the damage caused by sinking land. … The sinking of land is slowly impairing the complex system of canals that deliver water throughout the state. According to a 2017 report by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the sinking and buckling of portions of the California Aqueduct, which runs 444 miles from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Tehachapi Mountains, has reduced its flow capacity and its ability to store water in overflow pools.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Californians have a lot of ideas for how to get more water. Most of them are really bad

When it comes to water, Californians have a lot of big ideas for how to get more of it. One of the latest is in Marin County, where water managers are looking to build an eight-mile pipeline atop the towering Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The line would allow water to be moved across San Francisco Bay from other parts of the state, to prop up sagging local supplies. But for every grand plan pushing forward like this one, a dozen others – often more ambitious and sometimes outright wacky - get only eye rolls and a quick thumbs-down.

Aquafornia news Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein, Padilla to Interior – Prioritize California drought projects when disbursing bipartisan infrastructure bill funds

Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today called on the Interior Department to prioritize $8.3 billion in Western water infrastructure funding for California projects that will promote preparedness and resiliency to climate-driven droughts.

Aquafornia news Water Online

Details on Biden’s plan to protect water systems from hackers emerge

As hacking attempts have become a larger threat to some of the country’s most critical infrastructure, President Biden’s administration is getting ready to follow through on promises to tighten cybersecurity efforts and better protect that infrastructure. … U.S. authorities recently revealed that at least four ransomware attacks had infiltrated water and wastewater facilities in recent months, with bad actors nearly managing to poison drinking water in Florida, California, and Maryland.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Major new reservoir proposed for Santa Clara County faces key vote

After more than four years of planning, study and political debate, a proposal to build a $2.3 billion reservoir in Santa Clara County — the largest reservoir constructed in the Bay Area in more than 20 years — will reach a make-or-break moment Wednesday. The California Water Commission, a 9-member panel appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is scheduled to vote on whether the project, which would be located near Pacheco Pass, will continue to be eligible to receive $496 million in state funding.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Feds should focus on natural solutions in flood preparation

Our country faces a flood crisis. More people and places are at risk, with climate-induced flooding threatening widespread social, environmental and economic impacts. We need a holistic approach to reduce flood risk now. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has focused on building levees, spillways and hardened infrastructure to address episodic storm events. But, by focusing solely on storm surge, they leave millions exposed to chronic flooding from sea level rise, tides and extreme rainfall. … Coastal areas experience flooding from rising seas, storm surge, rainfall, and swelling rivers and streams.

-Written by Natalie Snider, associate vice president of Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds at Environmental Defense Fund; and David Lewis, executive director of Save The Bay. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: Initiative to fund and fast track water projects is badly needed

To cope with worsening droughts, over the past few decades Californians have made impressive gains in water efficiency. Total water diversions in California for agriculture and cities – roughly 30 million acre feet per year for agriculture and 8 million acre feet per year for cities – have not increased even while California’s population has grown and irrigated farm acreage has increased. But conservation alone cannot guarantee Californians have an adequate supply of water.
-Written by Edward Ring, a senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How do you spend trillions of dollars? What Biden’s infrastructure bills will mean to Bay Area communities

Amid a historic drought, water is never far from Bay Area residents’ minds. Marin County is suffering from water shortages like its peers, but unlike other parts of the Bay Area has no backup ways to get water when it runs dry. Though the county gets 25% of its water from neighboring Sonoma, the drought is forcing cutbacks in that supply as well. … The bill has an entire section for Western water infrastructure, including $1.15 billion for water storage and conveyance projects like the one Marin is undertaking. Bay Area water districts could use such money to expand reservoirs, as well. 

Aquafornia news KALW

Water pipeline planned for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Marin Independent Journal reports the proposed plan would deliver water from the Yuba River more than 100 miles before pumping it over the bridge into Marin County. The operation would also involve the cooperation of the East Bay Municipal District and the Contra Costa Water District in transferring and storing water destined for Marin. The proposed eight-mile long pipeline would cost an estimated $100 million to construct. There has been opposition to the pipeline from some elected officials. Conservationists have filed suit to block the project.

Aquafornia news Nevada Current

Officials highlight infrastructure act’s water recycling provisions

With President Biden last month signing a historic $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law to fortify roads, bridges and waterways, among other things, Western states stand to gain major water infrastructure investments. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined Nevada Democratic Reps. Susie Lee and Dina Titus in Las Vegas to tout the Biden administration’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that includes more than $50 billion for water infrastructure programs. 

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Democrats want to spend budget surplus on California infrastructure

State lawmakers want to use a projected $31 billion surplus to fuel an infrastructure boom, a tactic that could reduce the amount Californians might see in any rebate checks this year – if they happen at all. The state expects to have so much money it risks exceeding a state spending threshold called the Gann Limit…. [Assemblyman Phil Ting, who runs the Assembly Budget Committee] said he wants lawmakers to use the state surplus for drought resilience projects and broadband expansion to communities without reliable internet access.

Aquafornia news Western Water

A Colorado River veteran takes on the top Water & Science post at Interior Department

For more than 20 years, Tanya Trujillo has been immersed in the many challenges of the Colorado River, the drought-stressed lifeline for 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles and the source of irrigation water for more than 5 million acres of winter lettuce, supermarket melons and other crops. … Trujillo talked with Western Water news about how her experience on the Colorado River will play into her new job, the impacts from the drought and how the river’s history of innovation should help.

Related articles: 

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.


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.


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 Jennifer 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 Jennifer 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.