Often referred to as mini-textbooks, the Foundation’s popular
Layperson’s Guide series offers readers an easy-to-understand,
broad overview and perspective on a variety of important water
topics. The guides, which range from 20 to 32 pages, are
periodically updated to include the most recent information. The
guides can be purchased as a set or individually. Currently 16
titles are available.
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.
The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Conservation provides an
excellent overview of water conservation in California and the
West, explaining how drought, climate change and population
growth affect water supplies, and how city residents, businesses
and farms are finding ways to use water more efficiently.
This set of all 17 guides is an excellent resource for
researchers, reporters, lawmakers and the interested public.
Includes Agricultural Drainage, California Wastewater,
California Water, Central Valley Project, Climate Change and
Water Resources, Colorado River, The Colorado River Delta, The
Delta, Flood Management, Groundwater, Integrated Regional
Water Management, Nevada Water, State Water Project, Water
Conservation, Water Marketing, Water Recycling, Water Rights Law.
With irrigation projects that import water, farmers have
transformed millions of acres of land into highly productive
fields and orchards. But the dry climate that provides an almost
year-round farming season can hasten salt build up in soils. The
build-up of salts in poorly drained soils can decrease crop
productivity, and there are links between drainage water from
irrigated fields and harmful impacts on fish and wildlife.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to California
Wastewater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the history of wastewater
treatment and how wastewater is collected, conveyed, treated and
disposed of today. The guide also offers case studies of
different treatment plants and their treatment processes.
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).
Evidence shows that climate change is affecting California with
warmer temperatures, less snowfall and more extreme weather
events. This guide explains the causes of climate change, the
effects on water resources and efforts underway to better adapt
to a changing climate. It includes information on both California
water and the water of the Colorado River Basin, a widely shared
resource throughout the Southwest.
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.
The Colorado River Delta once spanned nearly 2 million acres and
stretched from the northern tip of the Gulf of California in
Mexico to Southern California’s Salton Sea. Today it’s one-tenth
that size, yet still an important estuary, wildlife habitat and
farming region even though Colorado River flows rarely reach the
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues
with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural
drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the
physical flood control system, including levees; discusses
previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores
issues of floodplain management and development; provides an
overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth,
easy-to-understand publication that provides background and
perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater
is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the
history of its use in California.
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
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides
background information on water rights, types of transfers and
critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in
1996, the 2005 version offers expanded information on
groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River
transfers and the role of private companies in California’s
developing water market.
Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced
fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.
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.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as
the most thorough explanation of California water rights law
available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing
in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation
ditch through the complex web of California water rights.