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 Los Angeles Times

Meteorologists fume over relocation of L.A. weather station

A nasty storm is brewing over the meteorological heart of Los Angeles. A decision by government forecasters to relocate downtown L.A.’s official weather observation station from USC to Dodger Stadium is generating extreme heat and wind gusts from some local climate experts. They insist the move will cast fog on local efforts to document the effects of climate change. “It contaminates the record,” said Jan Null, a veteran California meteorologist who runs the Golden Gate Weather Service. “It changes the ballgame.” The station — a curious array of poles, metal boxes and shiny cylinders that weather wonks know affectionately as “KCQT” — is slated to move from USC to the Los Angeles Fire Department’s training center on the south side of the stadium in Elysian Park on Monday. The last time the key monitoring station moved was 25 years ago.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Commentary: Changes up and down San Diego’s coast trigger familiar battles

San Diego’s identity is inextricably tied to its coastline, a widely cherished wonder that is in a constant state of change. Depending on one’s perspective, the region’s seashore has been enhanced or diminished by human endeavors for generations, all the while being shaped by natural forces. Those elements currently are coming together in a big way, changing — or potentially changing — the San Diego coast. Numerous projects touch on issues involving coastal protection and access, climate change and sea-level rise, and public safety and transportation. Most have touched off familiar conflicts of varying intensity. Some of the projects are completed or will be soon, while others are years away or still on the bubble. Taken collectively, the changes could be transformational.
-Written by Michael Smolens, columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Aquafornia news KSBW - Monterey

California city receives $12.5 million for water infrastructure

The city of San Juan Bautista is set to receive upwards of $12.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve wastewater infrastructure, announced U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. The city will receive a combination of grants and low-cost federal loans from a specific program that supports clean drinking water systems and proper disposal, the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grants program. San Juan Bautista will receive a loan of nearly $10.3 million and a grant of just over $2.2 million.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: $20 billion: The Delta tunnel’s new price tag

California’s contentious and long-debated plan to replumb the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and pump more water south finally has a price tag: about $20 billion.  The new estimate for the Delta tunnel project — which would transform the massive water system that sends Northern California water south to farms and cities — is $4 billion higher than a 2020 estimate, largely because of inflation. Included is almost $1.2 billion to offset local harms and environmental damage, such as impacts on salmon and rare fish that state officials have called “potentially significant.” The goal of the project is to collect and deliver more water to two-thirds of California’s population and 750,000 acres of farmland during wet periods … But environmental groups and many Delta residents have long warned that the tunnel could put the imperiled Delta ecosystem at even greater risk, sapping freshwater flows needed for fish, farms and communities in the region.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Palo Alto moves ahead with plant to purify wastewater

Seeking to squeeze more value out of wastewater, the Palo Alto City Council approved on May 13 the construction of a $63-million salt-removing plant in the Baylands. Known as the Local Advanced Water Purification System, the plant will go up at the periphery of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, the industrial facility at 2501 Embarcadero Way that serves Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Stanford University and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District. It will consist of three structures: a 30-foot-tall storage tank, an open-air building and a prefabricated building. They would go up at the northwest side of the regional plant, next to Embarcadero Road. Unlike other advanced purification systems, the new Palo Alto plant will not make wastewater safe for drinking.

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Aquafornia news UCLA Newsroom

New study: Downsizing local news contributes to crumbling infrastructure

Reading strong local journalism is tied to greater support for funding dams, sewers and other basic infrastructure vital to climate resilience, according to new research from UCLA and Duke University. The study, published this month in the journal Political Behavior, found that reading fictionalized samples of news coverage with specific local details about infrastructure maintenance requirements led to as much as 10% more electoral support for infrastructure spending compared to reading bare-bones reporting. Just a few extra paragraphs of context in the mock news stories not only increased support for spending, but also increased voters’ willingness to hold politicians accountable for infrastructure neglect by voting them out of office.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Man gets home confinement for cyber attack on East Bay water treatment plant

A 53-year-old Tracy man has been sentenced to six months of home confinement for a cyber attack on the Discovery Bay Water Treatment Facility in 2021, prosecutors said. The sentence was handed down on May 8, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A federal grand jury indicted Rambler Gallo last June, charging him with a single felony count of transmitting a program, information, code and command to cause damage to a protected computer, prosecutors said. Gallo pleaded guilty to the charge. Gallo was a full-time employee for a Massachusetts-based company that contracted with Discovery Bay to operate the town’s water treatment plant, which serves 15,000 residents.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Captured stormwater boosts Los Angeles County’s reserves

Heavy rains this winter and spring sent torrential flows down local creeks and rivers, and L.A. County managed to capture and store a significant amount of that stormwater, officials say. To be exact, they snared an estimated 295,000 acre-feet of water since last October, or 96.3 billion gallons. That’s enough water to supply about 2.4 million people a year — nearly one-fourth of the county’s population. … The county, working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and other agencies, was able to capture and store this amount of water thanks in part to investments totaling more than $1 billion since 2001, Pestrella said. Some of the money has gone toward raising dams and increasing the capacity of spreading grounds, where water is sent into basins and then percolates underground into aquifers.

Related urban water article:

Aquafornia news Restore the Delta

Blog: The cost of the boondoggle Delta Conveyance Project to burden taxpayers during a budget deficit

… Although Governor Newsom stated in his press conference on the budget that there would be no impact on advancing the Delta Conveyance Project, what he described as the state’s “number one climate resiliency program,” the potential financial impacts on future state bond repayments should not be ignored, as well as the Governor’s climate resiliency claims. The Department of Water Resources says that revenue bonds will be used to fund the project in a recent public information sheet.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Media - San Diego

Meet the underwater gardeners that scrub Imperial County’s water canals

As summer approaches, the Imperial Irrigation District is gearing up for another battle with the weeds that infest its canals. To do that, the regional water agency is calling in reinforcements: a small army of plant-munching fish. Water weeds are a common problem for many irrigation districts, since shallow canals and clear water create a welcoming environment for aquatic plant life. The weeds regularly clog up the system of gates and channels that ferry water to farms throughout Imperial County. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Opinion: Giant new Calif. reservoir plan would bring water to 24 million people

California’s reservoirs are not only vital to the state’s complex water systems, providing millions of people and the state’s agricultural economy with needed access to water; they’re also important gauges for how healthy the state is overall. This year’s at-capacity reservoirs have been a boon for a region besieged by drought over much of the past decade, but more work is needed to help ensure a plentiful and water-wise future for the most populous state in America. Enter Sites Reservoir, a long-in-the-works project that aims to be the biggest reservoir development in nearly half a century. It’s been a massive dream for decades, an idea first worked up by landowners and water districts northwest of Sacramento. Thanks to a new infusion of federal cash, the proposal is closer than ever to actually happening — but not without a very real cost.

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Aquafornia news Deseret News

Water grants to help Colorado River Basin, underserved residents

In another move to build water resilient systems in the West and particularly in the Colorado River Basin, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday $147 million in federal grants to help underserved communities dogged by water scarcity issues. The funding will support 42 projects in 10 states. In eastern Utah, nearly $6.6 million was granted to the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation which operates the Ute Tribe Water Systems, providing water service to tribal members. 

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Monday Top of the Scroll: Tunnels may be drilled through Glen Canyon Dam, sources say

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will examine the possibility of drilling tunnels through Glen Canyon Dam to ensure water can pass through it at low Lake Powell elevations, two knowledgeable sources told the Arizona Daily Star. Such a re-engineering project will be among several options the bureau will look at due to new concerns about the ability to deliver Colorado River water through the 61-year-old facility under such circumstances. It could prevent a catastrophic occurrence if lake elevations ever fall so low that no water could get through the dam to serve farms and Lower River Basin cities, including Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opposing views of Monterey Peninsula water supply filed with regulator

Roughly a half-dozen agencies, governments and a nonprofit group have filed briefs with a state regulator that could determine whether or not California American Water Co. gets the OK for its years-long effort to build a desalination plant on the Monterey Peninsula. The issue comes down to whether the peninsula will have enough water to meet the demand for the next three decades by tapping into recycled water, or whether a desal plant will be needed. Administrative Law Judge Robert Haga will examine the April 30 filings, render an up-or-down proposed ruling and ship it off to the five-member California Public Utilities Commission to vote on. In late 2022, Cal Am won the hearts of the California Coastal Commission when the 12-member appointed body approved a permit allowing Cal Am, an investor-owned utility, to move forward with the desal plant in Marina. But for Cal Am, it was a double-edged sword.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District develops conservation playbook

The Marin Municipal Water District is bolstering its strategy on conservation with policy updates and incentive programs designed to reduce water use by hundreds of millions of gallons annually. The draft “2024 Water Efficiency Master Plan” is a playbook that outlines how water is used today in the county, and how the district can help its 191,000 customers in central and southern Marin cut back. The plan aims to reduce water use districtwide by more than 1,000 acre-feet a year starting in 2025, with even greater incremental reduction targets beyond that. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water. District staffers presented the draft plan to the board at a special meeting on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news ABC 10 - Sacramento

California climate change – Delta Tunnels & State Water Project

Perhaps no environmental topic is as controversial in California as the Delta Tunnel. … The tunnel is a key part of the State Water Project’s new risk-informed strategic plan. That strategic plan is known as Elevate to ‘28. It lists five goals that it says will help to make the State Water Project (SWP) “the most reliable, sustainable, and resilient water provider for the people and environment of California, now and for future generations.” To learn more about the plan, ABC10 Meteorologist Brenden Mincheff invited Tony Meyers, the Principal Operating Officer for the State Water Project for a conversation. Here are some key takeaways from that.

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Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Opinion: A water bond could protect Californians in drought years

Last year, California experienced weather whiplash. After years of severe drought, 2023 saw heavy rainfall and snowpack that flooded the state, recharged groundwater and filled our reservoirs. While desperately needed, we cannot pretend that the good times are here to stay. Increasingly dry years are in our future, and it will not be long until we find ourselves facing drought conditions once again. The time to prepare our water infrastructure for the future is now. Currently, lawmakers in Sacramento are working to close a $37.9 billion deficit. While we have made progress at the state level in recent years — including allocating $8.6 billion in state funding for water projects — pulling back on water infrastructure funding now could jeopardize further federal and local funding sources for key projects already underway.
-Written by Senator Anna M. Caballero and Ric Ortega, general manager of the Grassland Water District.  

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Denied hydropower permits may be turning point for tribal input on energy projects

The U.S. has a long record of extracting resources on Native lands and ignoring tribal opposition, but a decision by federal energy regulators to deny permits for seven proposed hydropower projects suggests that tide may be turning. As the U.S. shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy, developers are looking for sites to generate electricity from renewable sources. But in an unexpected move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied permits on Feb. 15, 2024, for seven proposed hydropower projects in Arizona and New Mexico. The reason: These projects were located within the Navajo Nation and were proposed without first consulting with the tribe. FERC said it was “establishing a new policy that the Commission will not issue preliminary permits for projects proposing to use Tribal lands if the Tribe on whose lands the project is to be located opposes the permit.”

Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

From tunnel muck to tidal marsh, BART extension could benefit the bay

The massive infrastructure project to extend BART through Downtown San José and into Santa Clara is inching closer to getting underway. … The restoration project plans to convert 15,000 acres of former Cargill salt ponds — sold to federal and state wildlife agencies in 2003 — back into marshes, which provide a slew of benefits to the region. … And while Bay restoration projects have often made good use of dirt from other construction and infrastructure projects previously, this is the first time the region has seen the use of what’s known as “tunnel muck” specifically to raise the bottoms of a former salt pond.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought that snarled Panama Canal was linked to El Niño, study finds

The recent drought in the Panama Canal was driven not by global warming but by below-normal rainfall linked to the natural climate cycle El Niño, an international team of scientists has concluded. Low reservoir levels have slowed cargo traffic in the canal for most of the past year. Without enough water to raise and lower ships, officials last summer had to slash the number of vessels they allowed through, creating expensive headaches for shipping companies worldwide. Only in recent months have crossings started to pick up again. The area’s water worries could still deepen in the coming decades, the researchers said in their analysis of the drought. As Panama’s population grows and seaborne trade expands, water demand is expected to be a much larger share of available supply by 2050, according to the government. 

Aquafornia news CNN

US officials find weak security practices at water plants breached by pro-Russia hackers

Pro-Russia hackers have exploited shoddy security practices at multiple US water plants in recent cyberattacks that have hit a wider swathe of victims than was previously documented, according to an advisory by US federal agencies obtained by CNN. Though the attacks have not impacted drinking water, the advisory lays bare the cybersecurity challenges facing the thousands of water systems across the US, many of which are often short of cash and personnel to deal with threats.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

San Rafael pump station project delayed

A rebuild of a key pump station that prevents flooding around Interstate 580 in San Rafael has hit a roadblock. Crucial electrical components needed to operate the new San Quentin pump station are unavailable at least until October because of supply chain shortages. 

Aquafornia news Utah News Dispatch

Problems with Glen Canyon Dam could jeopardize water flowing to Western states

A new memo from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is raising concern about the infrastructure at the Glen Canyon Dam and its ability to deliver water downstream should levels at Lake Powell continue to decline. Environmental groups are calling it “the most urgent water problem” for the Colorado River and the 40 million people who rely on it. … Without upgrades to the dam’s infrastructure, the bureau’s ability to get water downstream to the lower Colorado River basin as required by the Colorado River Compact could be in jeopardy. Even after record-breaking snowfall in 2023 and an above average 2024 winter, Lake Powell remains at about 32% full, according to data from the bureau. And scientists estimate flows in the river have decreased by roughly 20% over the last century, with warming temperatures resulting in a 10% decrease in runoff.

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Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion – Statewide water supply target supports California’s manufacturers

Water use in California is typically thought of in three parts: water for the environment (50%), water for agriculture (40%), and water for communities (10%) per the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). As a result, “ag” is the sector of the economy that comes to mind first when we talk about the state’s water supply. But the rest of California’s economy also requires water. California’s manufacturers – one of the state’s largest industry sectors, accounting for 11.8% of state GDP – need water. 
-Written by Lance Hastings, President and CEO of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association.​

Aquafornia news San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Water agency gives $182M to two projects

Two massive local water purification projects set to begin construction within the next 18 months have received up to $182 million from water wholesaler Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The regional water agency funds are headed for a $700 million groundwater replenishment project in the San Fernando Valley and a $364 million water purification project in the Westlake Village area. Contractors have been selected for both projects, which are set to begin construction within the next 18 months. “For decades, investments in local projects have helped strengthen Southern California’s resiliency by reducing demands for imported water supplies and decreasing the burden on our system,” said Nancy Sutley, Metropolitan board’s vice chair of climate action.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FERC blocks massive Arizona storage project in win for tribes

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week rejected a massive pumped hydropower proposal on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, cementing a new agency policy to no longer advance energy projects opposed by tribes whose land would be affected. The Navajo Nation filed comments last month opposing the proposed Big Canyon Pumped Hydro project, which would have dammed the Lower Colorado River and flooded hundreds of acres to create reservoirs to store and dispatch power. The tribe warned that the storage project could create “adverse impacts” to water and cultural resources, as well as the tribe’s water rights. Those comments were enough to nix the project’s preliminary permit application, which had been pending since 2020.

Related tribal water articles: 

Aquafornia news Fresh Water News

Colorado voters may be asked to send more sports betting money to water projects

Colorado voters may be asked to let more money flow to water projects by allowing the state to keep all of the sports betting tax revenue it collects, if a measure referring the issue to the November ballot is approved by lawmakers. House Bill 1436 … collects a 10% tax on the proceeds of licensed sports betting. Some of the money is used to cover the cost of regulating betting and the rest, up to $29 million total, is funneled toward water projects. In the event tax collections exceed $29 million, the legislature decides how to refund the money under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

San Mateo County approves $15 million budget for drainage project

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve $15 million in funding for the construction of the Vista Grande Drainage Basin Improvement project. The project aims to address persistent flooding in northern San Mateo County and parts of San Francisco. “The project is expected to provide a range of public benefits, including improved storm drainage, water supply, wastewater disposal, solid waste capture, recreation, and environmental enhancement benefits,” county staff said in a report. According to county staff, much of the flooding can be attributed to overflowing water at Lake Merced during heavy downpours. The project will channel and filter rainwater from the Vista Grande Watershed before releasing it into the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Grist

Rivers are the West’s largest source of clean energy. What happens when drought strikes? 

The Pacific Northwest lays claim to well over two-fifths of America’s dam-derived electricity. So when a drought hits the region, the nation takes notice. That happened in 2023 when, according to a recent report, U.S. hydroelectric power hit its lowest level in 22 years. … Last year offered energy providers in the West a glimpse of the conditions they may need to adapt to as the world warms and seasonal weather patterns shift. While models predict climate change will plunge California and the Southwest deeper into drought, what awaits Washington and Oregon is less clear. 

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Sacramento delta stewards eye climate change protection for levees, habitats

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta faces significant challenges affecting the health of its waterways and ecosystem, and stewards say state agencies must accelerate efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change and a growing urban landscape.  Delta Stewardship Council staff presented the Delta Plan Five Year Review on Thursday, recommending numerous measures to preserve precious water and environmental habitats against future crises such as extreme drought, sea level rise and earthquakes. The council recommended that stewards work with state regulators to improve the delta’s ecosystems and reduce reliance on delta water, and with landowners to identify affordable uses of sinking land for sustainable farming. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Rivers in the sky’ have drenched California, yet even more extreme rains are possible

For years, scientists have said that atmospheric rivers can either make or break the water supplies of thirsty California cities and farms. For the last two winters, a steady succession of these giant “rivers in the sky” have dumped record-breaking and drought-busting precipitation across the state, while simultaneously causing catastrophic floods, landslides, and dangerous blizzards. But now, new research has found that these recent atmospheric rivers pale in comparison to some of the monster storms that battered ancient California — a sobering revelation that suggests to some experts that the state could be revisited once again by such cataclysmic storms. … The study’s findings do not bode well for a state whose flood infrastructure was severely strained last year, when a train of atmospheric rivers breached numerous levees, flooded communities and re-filled once dry Tulare Lake.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Advanced quantitative precipitation information system enhances flood prediction in San Francisco Bay Area

In recently published research, a consortium of local, state, and federal agencies including USGS and NOAA introduces the Advanced Quantitative Precipitation Information (AQPI) system, which aims to improve prediction and monitoring of precipitation, streamflow, and coastal flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area. Combining real-time observations with state-of-the-art modeling, AQPI represents a significant advancement in forecasting capability. Developed as a response to the urgent need for better water-management tools in California, this experimental system will bolster decision-making processes for communities vulnerable to extreme weather events. The Bay Area’s complex landscape, nestled between coastal mountain ranges, has long posed challenges for accurate precipitation monitoring.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California increases water allocation after wet winter, but fish protections limit pumping

With runoff from this year’s snow and rain boosting the levels of California’s reservoirs, state water managers on Tuesday announced plans to increase deliveries of supplies from the State Water Project to 40% of full allotments, up from 30% last month. The increased allocation, which had been widely expected, means that suppliers serving 27 million Californians, as well as some farming areas, will have substantially more water available to use and store this year. But the Department of Water Resources also said officials have had to limit pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta this year because of environmental protections for native fish.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Examiner

Why rising groundwater may threaten San Francisco buildings

Long before rising seas wash over San Francisco’s shores and flood its streets, rising groundwater mixed with salt water from the bay could touch and degrade underground structures like sewage lines and building foundations. … That’s the implication of a study released this week by scientists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. They compiled research from around the globe showing that as sea levels rise, coastal groundwater is lifted closer to the surface while also becoming saltier, more corrosive and potentially more destructive to subterranean systems. … Habel’s publication aligns with a growing body of data from Bay Area researchers and others about the risks posed by rising groundwater as sea levels are projected to rise …

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Aquafornia news Grist

California communities are fighting the last battery recycling plant in the West — and its toxic legacy

… California has some of the tightest toxic regulations and strictest air pollution rules for smelters in the country. But some residents of the suburban neighborhoods around Ecobat don’t trust the system to protect them. … Uncertainty, both about the safety of Ecobat’s operation going forward and the legacy of lead it has left behind, weighs heavily on them. … Early on, environmental officials flagged reasons for concern about the lead smelter. State and federal regulators issued an order and a consent decree in 1987 because of the facility’s releases of hazardous waste into soil and water. An assessment from that time found “high potential for air releases of particulates concerning lead.” 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As salmon are released into the Klamath River, tribal leaders see a ‘symbol of hope’

While work crews continued dismantling dams on the Klamath River, leaders of four tribes gathered on a riverbank last week to watch and offer prayers as a valve on a tanker truck was opened. Over two days, workers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released 16 truckloads of juvenile salmon that were raised in a newly built hatchery. … The last time state workers released Chinook salmon in February, they let loose more than 800,000 fish in a tributary upstream of Iron Gate Dam, which is slated to be removed, and the fish were later found dead in the river. Biologists determined the salmon died as they passed through a tunnel beneath the dam. To prevent that from happening again, state officials selected another location just downstream of Iron Gate Dam.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Is the death of salmon fishing drawing near?

… The main reason is the decline of the salmon population in the Sacramento River to such an unsustainable level that there’s reason to fear that it may not recover for years, if ever — unless government policies are radically reconsidered. … The crisis underscores the utter failure of the state’s political leaders to balance the needs of stakeholders in its water supply. In this case, the conflict is between large-scale farms on one side and environmental and fishery interests on the other. For decades, agribusiness has had the upper hand in this conflict. 
-Written by Michael Hiltzik, LA Times columnist.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ - Tempe

Ancient farmers dug canals that shaped Phoenix’s modern water system

Just south of the intersection of North Horne and East McKellips Road in Mesa sits the Park of the Canals. It’s one of just a few places where you can still see remnants of canals dug by the ancestral Sonoran Desert people who occupied the Salt River Valley before the time of Christ. Those ancient farmers have been referred to as the “Hohokam” but it’s not the name of a tribe or a people, and their O’Odham, Hopi, and Zuni descendants do not call them that. Early archaeologists believe the culture developed in Mexico and moved into what is now Arizona. In order to flourish, they built an extensive canal system to bring water to villages and irrigate thousands of acres of agricultural fields.

Aquafornia news CBS - San Francisco

Replacement Central Valley canal threatened by groundwater extraction

The land had been sinking so fast for so long that the canal was failing, so they built an entire new canal, but now that’s sinking as well. It’s a dramatic reminder that after two good years, California’s water challenges still run deep. The Friant-Kern Canal, which runs along the east side of the San Joaquin Valley, and it is the lifeline for many farmers and communities in that region. The system starts at Millerton Lake, and from there, it runs 152 miles to the south, powered entirely by gravity. But gravity means going downhill and that has gotten complicated. Decades of groundwater pumping have caused the valley floor to sink, and the canal with it. KPIX first toured the site back in August of 2022. The fix is a duplicate canal built right along side the old one, only higher, so the water can still flow downhill.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: Native American voices are finally factoring into energy projects – a hydropower ruling is a victory for environmental justice on tribal lands

The U.S. has a long record of extracting resources on Native lands and ignoring tribal opposition, but a decision by federal energy regulators to deny permits for seven proposed hydropower projects suggests that tide may be turning. As the U.S. shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy, developers are looking for sites to generate electricity from renewable sources. But in an unexpected move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied permits on Feb. 15, 2024, for seven proposed hydropower projects in Arizona and New Mexico. The reason: These projects were located within the Navajo Nation and were proposed without first consulting with the tribe. FERC said it was “establishing a new policy that the Commission will not issue preliminary permits for projects proposing to use Tribal lands if the Tribe on whose lands the project is to be located opposes the permit.”
-Written by Emily Benton Hite, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Saint Louis University; and Denielle Perry Associate, Professor at the School of Earth and Sustainability, Northern Arizona University.​

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Work to repair damage from deluge continues

From Sequoia Park to the old Tulare Lake bed, local authorities recount the same story. A deluge of biblical proportions, including heavy rain and storm runoff, in the past year in the Kaweah, Kings and Tule basins has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the region’s road and bridge infrastructure. … Still a year later, government agencies continue to struggle to repair the extensive damage requiring federal funding to make it happen.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Sites Reservoir project northwest of Sacramento gains momentum

The conversation surrounding California’s water continues. The Sites Reservoir project northwest of Sacramento has a price tag of $4 billion and is funded by local, state and federal dollars. The 1.5 million-acre project would divert water from the Sacramento River into a valley near Maxwell, California, and use it for storage. California water rights are a bit tricky – and strict – and that’s the phase the Sites Project Authority is in. They say things are ramping up, however. A hearing officer has put forth a schedule for the hearings surrounding water rights to conclude by the end of this year and a decision could be made in early 2025. … There’s been pushback [on the project] from environmental groups.

Aquafornia news CNN Business

Climate change and global warming come with increasing economic cost to individuals

Record-breaking heat waves, severe floods and acute wildfires, exacerbated by climate change, carry a colossal price tag: an approximately 19% reduction in global income over just the next 26 years, a new study published Wednesday found. That financial gut punch won’t just affect big governments and corporations. According to the United Nations, the world is heading toward a gain of nearly 3 degrees of global warming in the next century, even with current climate policies and goals – and researchers say individuals could bear the economic burden. The researchers in Wednesday’s study, published in Nature, said financial pain in the short-term is inevitable, even if governments ramp up their efforts to tackle the crisis now.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news CBS Colorado

Tallest U.S. dam in the last two decades nearing completion in Northern Colorado

One of the largest dams built in the United States in the last two decades is one year away from completion, a dam that will help supply water to Northern Coloradans for decades to come. The Chimney Hollow Reservoir project is underway in the Foothills west of Loveland, and it’s expected to be completed and retaining water by summer of 2025. … Northern Colorado is one of the fastest growing regions in the state.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Add sand, lose sand, repeat. The climate conundrum for beaches.

Rebuilding beaches after hurricanes is costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars more than expected as the Army Corps of Engineers pumps mountains of sand onto storm-obliterated shorelines. Congress approved more than $770 million since 2018 for emergency beach “nourishment” projects after five megastorms struck Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Those costs shattered government expectations about the price of preventing beaches from disappearing through decades-old programs that in many cases were created before the dangerous effects of climate change were fully understood. Four of those storms — Michael, Maria, Irma and Ian — were among the most powerful to make landfall in the United States, raising questions about the rising costs of pumping, dumping and spreading sand onto beaches that are increasingly jeopardized by the effects of climbing temperatures.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Water pouring out of crack in rural Utah dam puts nearby town at risk

Workers hurriedly tried to shore up a rural Utah dam after a 60-foot crack sent water pouring into a creek and endangering the 1,800 residents of a downstream town. State and local leaders don’t think the Panguitch Lake Dam is in imminent danger of breaking open but have told residents to be prepared to evacuate if conditions worsen. 

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Possible damage to Glen Canyon Dam tubes could spell trouble for Lake Mead

Key backup tubes inside the Glen Canyon Dam might be damaged, potentially threatening the delivery of water to Lake Mead in the future if water levels ever dip too low in Lake Powell, according to a Bureau of Reclamation memo. Below 3,490 feet, water releases from Lake Powell are wholly dependent on “river outlet works,” which water managers now feel are not functional and could threaten the water supply downstream. Currently, the reservoir sits at 3,558 feet, and the latest two-year projection places water levels above 3,560 feet until at least February 2026. Looming threats of climate change and evaporative losses also are complicating state negotiations for how to allocate the shrinking Colorado River.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

MMWD narrows Sonoma-to-Marin pipeline options

Aiming to boost the county’s water supply, the Marin Municipal Water District is exploring the idea of connecting pipelines in Petaluma and Cotati to its reservoirs. District staff presented three main potential projects — narrowed from 13 — at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting. … The pipelines would transport water from the Russian River into Marin reservoirs. Treated Russian River water is transported to Marin through a 9-mile aqueduct along the Highway 101 corridor from Petaluma to North Marin Water District in Novato. The district then sends the water directly to the Marin Municipal Water District’s water distribution system. Board members expressed concern over cost estimates, which ranged between $140 million and $380 million.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: Coastal wetlands can’t keep pace with sea-level rise, and infrastructure is leaving them nowhere to go

Wetlands have flourished along the world’s coastlines for thousands of years, playing valuable roles in the lives of people and wildlife. They protect the land from storm surge, stop seawater from contaminating drinking water supplies, and create habitat for birds, fish and threatened species. Much of that may be gone in a matter of decades. As the planet warms, sea level rises at an ever-faster rate. Wetlands have generally kept pace by building upward and creeping inland a few meters per year. But raised roadbeds, cities, farms and increasing land elevation can leave wetlands with nowhere to go. Sea-level rise projections for midcentury suggest the waterline will be shifting 15 to 100 times faster than wetland migration has been clocked.
-Written by Randall W. Parkinson, Research Associate Professor in Coastal Geology, Florida International University.

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Aquafornia news Politico

Newsom’s Delta pitch: It’s for the climate

Gov. Gavin Newsom has a new sales pitch for a tunnel to move more water south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that past governors have tried and failed to build for five decades. “The Delta conveyance is an adaptation project,” he said last week in a snowy field in the Sierra Nevada, where a winter that started out dry eventually delivered a just-above-average snowpack that will soon melt into the Sacramento River and its tributaries. … Long-skeptical Delta lawmakers aren’t convinced by the latest rationale. “He’s searching for a reason,” said Representative John Garamendi, a Democrat from the western part of the Delta.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Reclamation slows flows through Glen Canyon Dam to address damage

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Monday that recently uncovered damage to the Glen Canyon Dam will require it to reduce flows through portions of the structure as it looks to repair the site and prevent future problems at one of the nation’s major reservoirs. Wayne Pullan, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Basin regional director, said that the agency — which is responsible for delivering water to Arizona, California and Nevada — is investigating damage to the lowest level of pipes at the dam, four structures known as the “River Outlet Works.” “In nearly 60 years of operation in Glen Canyon Dam, we didn’t need to address the issues that we’re facing now,” Pullan said in a news conference. “We didn’t need to consider the possible sustained operation of the River Outlet Works at low elevations.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Sites Reservoir would cause negative environmental impacts to Sacramento River

As the permitting battle over the proposed Sites Reservoir Project in Northern California heats up, it’s become clear that the project would further heat up the atmosphere as well. Just as California has made bold commitments to achieve carbon neutrality in the next few decades, the state seems ready to approve a dam project that would put that progress in jeopardy. A new report, “Estimate of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Proposed Sites Reservoir Project Using the All-Res Modeling Tool,” created by a science team at my organization, Tell The Dam Truth, exposes the climate impacts caused by this massive dam and reservoir system.
-Written by Gary Wockner, PhD, who directs Tell The Dam Truth

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Residents below Isabella Dam again swamped by seepage after new pump runs out of gas

Residents living below the Isabella Auxiliary Dam were thrilled earlier this month with a temporary fix that finally dried up excessive seepage from the dam that had been swamping septic systems and breeding forests of mosquito-infested weeds around their homes. The didn’t realize how temporary the fix would be, however. After only 12 days without a river cutting through his land, rancher Gerald Wenstrand woke up to see the seepage back on Saturday.

California Water Agencies Hoped A Deluge Would Recharge Their Aquifers. But When It Came, Some Couldn’t Use It
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: January storms jump-started recharge projects in badly overdrafted San Joaquin Valley, but hurdles with state permits and infrastructure hindered some efforts

An intentionally flooded almond orchard in Tulare CountyIt was exactly the sort of deluge California groundwater agencies have been counting on to replenish their overworked aquifers.

The start of 2023 brought a parade of torrential Pacific storms to bone dry California. Snow piled up across the Sierra Nevada at a near-record pace while runoff from the foothills gushed into the Central Valley, swelling rivers over their banks and filling seasonal creeks for the first time in half a decade.    

Suddenly, water managers and farmers toiling in one of the state’s most groundwater-depleted regions had an opportunity to capture stormwater and bank it underground. Enterprising agencies diverted water from rushing rivers and creeks into manmade recharge basins or intentionally flooded orchards and farmland. Others snagged temporary permits from the state to pull from streams they ordinarily couldn’t touch.

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.

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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 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 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

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 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.

Aquapedia background California Water Map

Sites Reservoir

Location for the proposed Sites Reservoir

The proposed Sites Reservoir would be an off-river storage basin on the west side of the Sacramento Valley, about 78 miles northwest of Sacramento. It would capture stormwater flows from the Sacramento River for release in dry and critical years for fish and wildlife and for farms, communities and businesses.

The water would be held in a 14,000-acre basin of grasslands surrounded by the rolling eastern foothills of the Coast Range. Known as Antelope Valley, the sparsely populated area in Glenn and Colusa counties is used for livestock grazing.

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 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 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.

The State Water Project is best known for the 444-mile-long aqueduct that provides water from the Delta to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and southern California cities. The guide contains information about the project’s history and facilities.

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 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.