Topic: Agricultural Conservation

Overview

Agricultural Conservation

As the single largest water-consuming industry, agriculture has become a focal point for efforts to promote water conservation. The drive for water use efficiency has become institutionalized in agriculture through numerous federal, state and local programs. Since the 1980s, some water districts serving agricultural areas have developed extensive water conservation programs to help their customers (From Aquapedia).

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Opinion: Cal Am looks to the future

While cities on the Monterey Peninsula have been working to address housing needs and the business community is actively looking to create more jobs, there is one component they all need to complete their plans – reliable, drought-proof access to water.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: Recharging depleted aquifers no easy task, but it’s key to California’s water supply future

To survive the next drought and meet the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability law, California is going to have to put more water back in the ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging overpumped aquifers is no easy task.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Dispute resolution processes: Thinking through SGMA implementation

Building the capacity to resolve disputes and work together is critical for a sustainable water future. However, recent analysis conducted by Water in the West … suggests that alternative dispute resolution processes are rarely used even when included in water management agreements.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

This ancient fruit holds secrets for how to farm in climate change

Katie Fyhrie, a grower at Cloverleaf Farm in Davis, Calif., worries that the farm won’t be able to keep producing stone fruits—which depend on the timing and duration of winter chill—in the long-term. … With that in mind, Fyhrie and her team have started growing elderberries.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Protecting our groundwater, and our future

As a berry farmer in Coastal California my entire life, I have been a vocal supporter of groundwater regulation. … We are now seeing the profound risk of losing this critical resource, unless we collectively act soon to preserve groundwater resources for both the next decade and future generations.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Next step? Make AZ a strong voice among Colorado River states

We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. Arizona is stronger together. And that will serve us well as we work toward the next step – maintaining a stable, healthy Colorado River system as we face a hotter and drier future.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Blog: Facing the forever drought

California isn’t in an official drought and under mandatory water conservation, but climate change means that saving water is always crucial. That’s why a recent announcement should not go unnoticed: The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District won state approval to deliver recycled water to agricultural and habitat conservation land in the southern part of the county.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Can dry farming help save California’s vineyards?

California’s most recent drought lasted many long, parched years… There was plenty of suffering to go around, but some vineyards fared less terribly than others—historic parcels east of San Francisco, in Contra Costa County, for example. Planted at the turn of the last century by Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish immigrants, they rely on a technique called dry farming rather than irrigation.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Stewardship of wetlands and soils has climate benefits

When you look at a farm, do you think about nutrient rich soils or cover crops growing between rows? When you look at a marsh, do you see the submerged layers of sediment created by years of plant litter piling up? Probably not. But those parts of well-managed agricultural lands and wetlands store a lot of carbon, and that’s increasingly important as climate change is forcing society to consider ways to lower carbon emissions…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

IWVGA board talks future administrative structure

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority rolled out concepts for an administrative structure that could eventually cement the new agency as an independent entity — should money ever be found to fund them.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must embrace groundwater management, and expand it

Over the last five years, more than 250 groundwater sustainability agencies have formed to manage groundwater at the local level and dozens of groundwater sustainability plans are in progress. … So what do we still need to make the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act a success?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Farming the sun:’ As water goes scarce, can solar farms prop up the Valley?

On the Changala family farm in Tulare County, the past and future are separated by a dirt road and a barbed-wire fence. On the south side sits a wheat field. On the north, a solar farm, built three years ago, sending electricity to thousands of Southern Californians. Alan Changala sees little difference between the two.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: More Colorado River “grand bargain” buzz

There was more buzz this week at two big Colorado River Basin events about the idea of a “grand bargain” to deal with coming collisions between water overallocation and the Law of the River.

Aquafornia news ABC7 News

Bay Area marshes could help slow global warming

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was once one of the lushest marshlands in the state. The peat-rich soil made it an ideal place for some of the state’s first farms to pop up. Today, scientists are hacking their way through thick brush to see if restoring these marshes is a way to reduce carbon dioxide in the air.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers fear ‘catastrophe’ from water restrictions

Starting next January, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will require farmers to gradually rein in the amount of groundwater they pump from their wells. It could devastate the economy of the entire San Joaquin Valley. In a region where agriculture is king — and the ability to extract the water beneath one’s soil has been practically a birthright — a difficult reckoning is coming.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers deal with climate change every day

Most farmers haven’t heard about the recent report from the UN, even though it deals with climate change and land use and features agriculture prominently. But we don’t need to read the science — we are living it.

Aquafornia news Estuary News

Clout and cool science push land-river reconnection

Before all those thousands of miles of levees went in, the Central Valley had one of the West Coast’s largest salmon runs, with a million or more of these mighty fish returning each year. A big reason for the salmon’s suc-cess was that the valley was among the most extensive floodplains in the world.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Study: Inadequate groundwater for current and potential demands in basin targeted by Las Vegas

There is not enough water to support important wetlands and springs in a semi-arid desert ecosystem that straddles the Nevada-Utah border if all permitted and proposed groundwater rights are put to use, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study of the Snake Valley. There also may not be enough groundwater to satisfy the desires of the Las Vegas area, whose water agencies have eyed the valley for decades…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Eyes in the sky help farmers on the ground

Recent years have brought severe droughts that have forced farmers to become more efficient with water use. With nearby Silicon Valley teeming with the promise of efficiency and data-fueled intelligence, a natural relationship between technology and agriculture has developed.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

As water sources dry up, Arizona farmers feel the heat of climate change

Farms in central Arizona will soon lose access to Colorado River water, impacting farmers, cities, and Native communities.

Aquafornia news ABC30

Drought tolerant crop being studied in the Valley

Big research is happening at the Kearney Agriculture and Extension Center in Fresno County. Sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, is under a microscope.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Investment in regenerative agriculture connects the dots between soil and plate

Anthony Myint vividly recalls the moment he encountered the idea that would shift his life’s path. In 2014, the San Francisco chef and his wife and business partner, Karen Leibowitz, visited California carbon ranching pioneer John Wick at Nicasio Native Grass Ranch in Marin County.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: What’s next for the Colorado River? Here’s how Arizona will find out

It didn’t take long for the completion of the Drought Contingency Plan to create value to Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. Its focus on stabilizing Lake Mead and creating incentives to “bank” water in the reservoir already are paying dividends.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

Opinion: The water wars are here

Heather Hansman’s new book Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West explores the water emergency with remarkable calm and even-handedness. She focuses on a single river, the Green River, where ranchers, frackers, rafters, fishermen, and urbanites all fight for their share of the water, while contending with Byzantine state policies.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Will climate change mean less farming in the West?

The three-year Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) started out modestly, with just 15 participating farms and ranches the first year, but grew quickly as farmers realized they could earn passive income for changing their irrigation patterns, turning off the water they diverted from the river earlier in the year when it carries more snowmelt, and—in a few cases—fallowing some fields all together.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Opinion: Farms, the environment, and the future of water

If we don’t manage groundwater pumping, levels of groundwater as well as rivers and streams will decline, compromising the wildlife, farms and cities that depend on them. By managing our groundwater with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, we are plugging leaks in the system.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers are not to blame for Valley subsidence, but they can help solve it with water

Why do farmers pump the water under their land (which California law clearly states belongs to them) in the first place? Unfortunately, you’ll rarely read the answer to this question in the press, but it is the most important part of the story.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern’s $400 million fix sunk by state legislature

In March, newly-elected Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) proposed a $400 million windfall to finance repairs for the canal under Senate Bill 559… But the bipartisan bill, much like canal it was designed to fix, is sunk — for now. The bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote before the Sept. 13 legislative deadline.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Opinion: Can California water woes be solved?

Can California’s water woes be solved? Some think that all it takes is money, which is exactly what the California Legislature may ask voters in 2020 for in the name of clean drinking water.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

State seeks comment on its Water Resilience Portfolio

In a new effort to balance California’s water needs, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed state agencies to prepare a water plan known as the California Water Resilience Portfolio that includes “a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system.”

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Audio: The Friant-Kern Canal is sinking. Thirty-mile parallel canal proposed

The Friant-Kern Canal, which delivers water to farms and communities on the east side of the Valley, is literally sinking in some areas due to groundwater pumping. And with one week to go before the California legislature wraps up its 2019 session, many hope the state will help fund the canal’s repair.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley Basin draft plan proposes millions in projects

More than $670 million in water projects … are options under a draft plan for helping get the Salinas Valley Basin to sustainability by 2040. A draft Salinas Valley Basin groundwater sustainability plan includes 13 projects ranging from Salinas River invasive species eradication … to a seawater intrusion barrier using a series of wells to head off saltwater contamination …

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Could wildfires be good for water availability?

Wildfires in California leave behind acres of scorched land that make snowpack formation easier and more water runoff downstream from the Sierra Nevada to basins in the Central Valley, increasing the amount of water stored underground. That’s the finding from researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who discovered that blazes in some parts of the state could result in more water availability.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Dairy lagoon water successfully blended in subsurface drip systems

Using dairy lagoon water to irrigate silage corn is standard practice. Running the thick, nutrient-rich water through subsurface drip systems could someday be just that as two California dairy farms, an irrigation company, and an environmental organization are working together to solve the challenges involved in the water thrifty practice.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah’s wastewater no longer being wasted

The city of Ukiah made its first delivery of recycled water through its extensive Purple Pipe system this week, putting about 2 million gallons of water reclaimed from local sinks, showers and toilets into an irrigation pond just south of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Audio: Using computer models to predict the effect of climate change on groundwater in the West

Utilities typically turn to groundwater to make up for surface water depleted by drought. University of Arizona hydrology professor Laura Condon is using computer models to predict what climate change will do to the availability of groundwater. She is exploring a series of “what if” scenarios on how to respond to water shortages.

Aquafornia news KPFA

Audio: Valley growers pin hopes on far-reaching San Joaquin Valley Blueprint

Valley farmers and water districts will be facing a new reality of pumping less water and are worried about the land that will be taken out of crop production. But the water and agriculture industries are drafting a large-scale plan to fill the gap with more dams and water deliveries from the Delta. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Groundwater workshop causes concern for Oxnard

Groundwater in Ventura County had a severe talk about reductions as the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency held its fourth workshop about the future. The proposed new plan will commence in 2020 and will start slow but will ramp up and reduce groundwater pumping in the area significantly.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Groups work to restore fish populations

In the Sacramento River near Redding this spring, water districts, government agencies and others collaborated to construct the Market Street Gravel Project to benefit fish. … Reclamation District 108 Deputy Manager William Vanderwaal said that to complete the $429,000 project, 12,000 tons of gravel were placed into the river and developed as new spawning habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Groundwater authority to host public workshops in Colusa and Glenn counties

The Colusa and Glenn groundwater authorities will host a pair of public workshops about local groundwater conditions and areas of concern in portions of Glenn and Colusa counties…

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Canal plans to bypass subsidence with 30-mile parallel path

As the old saying goes, if you can’t go through something, go around it. And at an estimated cost of $357 million, the Friant Water Authority is contemplating a 30-mile parallel canal to circumvent the portion of the Friant Kern Canal that has been negatively affected by subsidence.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why SB 1 must ensure that CESA applies to the federal CVP

Now, some are arguing that the bill should be stripped of its longstanding provision applying the State’s own Endangered Species Act to the operations of the federal Central Valley Project. Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.

Aquafornia news Fox News

Farmers concerned over how mandatory water cuts from Colorado River will impact agriculture

Nevada and Arizona, concerned that a 20-year drought has dried up much of the river, are trying to rein in water use in an effort to save the disappearing river. The river’s water levels next year are projected to be just below the threshold of 1,090 feet laid out in the Drought Contingency Plan that was signed earlier this year…

Aquafornia news Time

How to save the Colorado River from climate change & overuse

A few years ago, Paul Kehmeier did something unusual: He decided not to water about 60% of his fields. He was one of a few dozen farmers and landowners in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico who volunteered for a pilot program meant to test out a new water-conservation strategy: Paying farmers to temporarily leave their fields dry, to save the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

How a diverse water portfolio may quench the thirst of California’s future water needs

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed an executive order to develop a comprehensive strategy for making the state’s water system climate-resilient. … In a related study published earlier this year, Stanford researchers Newsha Ajami and Patricia (Gonzales) Whitby examined effective strategies to rising water scarcity concerns.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Hydropower giant Bonneville Power is going broke

The Bonneville Power Administration, the independent federal agency that sells the electricity produced by the dams, is careening toward a financial cliff. BPA is $15 billion in debt, facing a rapidly changing energy market increasingly dominated by wind and solar and a desperate need to maintain aging infrastructure that’s expected to cost $300 million to maintain and upgrade by 2023.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Payments required for those who pump excess groundwater

Those with wells within the Antelope Valley who pump more groundwater than is allowed under a 2015 court settlement will be required to pay between $415 per acre-foot and $948 per acre-foot to replace the additional water, based on assessments approved Wednesday by the Antelope Valley Watermaster Board.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Paso Robles groundwater basin included in high-tech Stanford study

The Paso Robles groundwater basin is one of three basins in the state chosen to participate in a Stanford University study that will deploy state-of-the-art aerial electromagnetic technology to better understand its characteristics.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Can a ‘wild’ river survive in a rapidly drying West?

Finding a river in the West that still behaves like a Western river — one that rises and falls with the annual rush of melting snow — is tough. … But one major Western waterway has achieved almost mythical status for its wildness: the Yampa in northwestern Colorado.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: 30-mile parallel Friant-Kern Canal proposed

Friant Water Authority is conducting geotechnical investigations this summer along the outer banks of the Friant-Kern Canal in southern Tulare County to determine if the soil may support construction of a second canal running parallel to the first. The reason for the research is the capacity of this key, eastside Valley canal has been reduced 60% due to land subsidence caused by years of vigorous groundwater pumping …

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley News

State agriculture officials will host public comment session on California’s water future

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will host a public comment session on California’s Water Future on Thursday, September 5, 2019 in Fresno. … State agencies are asking Californians to help shape a roadmap for meeting future water needs and ensuring environmental and economic resilience …

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: ASU water policy expert addresses new drought plan for state

ASU Now spoke to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, about the cutbacks and what they will mean for Arizona’s agriculture and the state’s roughly 7 million residents.

Aquafornia news Australian Broadcasting Corp.

California looks to Australia for ways to manage its groundwater after worst-ever drought

Farmers, experts and lawmakers are working to find more sustainable ways to droughtproof farms and address the vexed issue of water allocation. And it turns out many farmers and water experts in California are looking to Australia for answers as they face up to the biggest water reforms in the history of the US.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Colorado River water rights debated as climate change depletes supply

Rocky Mountain water managers worried about climate-driven depletion across the Colorado River Basin are mulling a “grand bargain” that would overhaul obligations among seven southwestern states for sharing the river’s water. This reflects rising concerns that dry times could turn disastrous.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Taft Midway Driller

Indian Wells groundwater authority approves well registration ordinance

All residents and organizations within the Indian Wells Valley will have to implement register their wells come Oct. 1 following the approval of an ordinance by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

Blog: Banking on soil health

Farmers implementing conservation practices that improve soil health aren’t just hoping for better crop yields, they’re banking on them. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust recently released case studies highlighting the economic benefits of implementing soil health management practices.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Lessons Australia’s water reform offers in science, politics and sustainable watersheds

The successes and failures of Australia’s recent reform of the Murray-Darling Basin hold valuable lessons for policy makers in California and elsewhere who are likely to grapple with the environmental repercussions of extreme drought in the future.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farm data management becomes priority

On the modern farm, soil sensors, well monitors and paperwork abound. The trick is trying to keep all that data organized. To that end, a Monterey County winegrape grower, Scheid Family Wines of Greenfield, came up with its own system, first called VitWatch, to digitize information previously recorded on paper.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

A desert oasis in western Imperial Valley

Known as the Ocotillo-Coyote Wells Aquifer, the presence and importance of this groundwater has long been known and utilized by the inhabitants and people traveling through the Valley.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Regional collaboration keeps desert’s groundwater supply healthy

Recent validation by state regulators of the effective and sustainable management of Coachella Valley’s groundwater basins speaks volumes about the importance of collaboration by local water managers to protect our most important resource.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

A panel of experts discuss how reactivating the floodplains can provide habitat and food for native fish and for migrating birds, and highlights the many projects and opportunities in the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Audio: Months after completing the drought contingency plan, we have to use it

Just a few months after completing the Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River states, water managers in the southwest will likely have to implement it starting in 2020. That’s according to new projections for the levels of key reservoirs in the southwestern river basin, and Arizona is first in line to take water cutbacks.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Flows proposals: Sacramento River water agencies aim for certainty

The plan affecting Sacramento River tributaries has not been released, but water-resource managers in the region said they have been collaborating with government agencies and environmental groups to develop voluntary agreements that would accomplish the goals of the state board’s flows-only methodology.

Aquafornia news California Sun

Podcast: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and a deep dive into the San Francisco estuary

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, the editor in chief of Estuary Magazine and long-time Bay Area science writer, talks about the resiliency of the largest estuary on the West Coast, the challenges facing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona, Nevada cuts to Colorado River water negligible

Arizona and Nevada will face their first-ever cuts in Colorado River water next year, but the changes aren’t expected to be overly burdensome for either state.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Does southern Utah need the Lake Powell Pipeline?

The Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) proposal arose from a belief that Utah has an unused share of the Colorado River and a fear of water shortages stifling Washington County’s rapid population growth. Although many leaders across the state say southern Utah needs the LPP, this statement is not based on facts.

Aquafornia news The Economist

Caps on groundwater use create a new market in California – a liquid market

During the drought of 2012-16 landowners pumped more and more groundwater to compensate for the lack of rain. Thousands of wells ran dry. As a result, California passed a law requiring water users to organise themselves into local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Friday Top of the Scroll: First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be required to take less water from the Colorado River for the first time next year under a set of agreements that aim to keep enough water in Lake Mead to reduce the risk of a crash.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Warming climate and our water

Some areas of the country are predicted to see increased flooding from hurricanes and other storms, while climate models show the West, particularly California, will be getting dryer. This will especially affect the water supply in California and here locally in the Santa Clarita Valley, where we have long depended on water from the melting Sierra snowpack to get us through our hot, dry summers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wet winter doesn’t end climate change risk to Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday will release its projections for next year’s supply from Lake Mead, a key reservoir that feeds Colorado River water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. After a wet winter, the agency is not expected to require any states to take cuts to their share of water. But that doesn’t mean conditions are improving long term.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The fight over Salinas Valley groundwater heats up as free-for-all nears its end

California was the last Western state to pass legislation regulating groundwater: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 arrived after more than a century of development, intensive agriculture, bouts of drought and the looming threat that our aquifers will dry up. But the details of who would get to pump what – and the financial cost of achieving groundwater sustainability – are only now becoming clear.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Groundwater authority awating decision from Department of Water Resources

The tentative low priority status of the Owens Valley groundwater basin has only heightened the complexity of the Owens Valley Groundwater Authority’s meetings, not lowered them.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater committee talks well registration outreach

With the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Board of Directors set to pass an ordinance requiring mandatory groundwater well registration on Aug. 15, a looming question remains: how to notify residents in the valley.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Hope springs eternal: The new wave of startups fighting drought

California could be the canary in the coal mine. Over the next decade, 40 U.S. states are expected to experience water shortages, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The situation is serious, but California’s entrepreneurs, who are seeking to boost supply and tame demand, offer a glimmer of hope.

Aquafornia news California Farm Water Coalition

Blog: If you’re concerned about climate change and water supply, California farms can help show the way

In a 2018 Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey, 80 percent of respondents said climate change is a serious threat to California’s future. And 72 percent cited water as a concern, with drought and water supply named most frequently as our biggest environmental issue. If you see yourself in these statistics, you should be cheering the efforts of California farmers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Farms turn to technology amid water warnings in Southwest US

A drone soared over a blazing hot cornfield in northeastern Colorado on a recent morning, snapping images with an infrared camera to help researchers decide how much water they would give the crops the next day.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Planning for a drier future in the Colorado River Basin

The recently adopted Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) was an important step toward addressing the Colorado Basin’s chronic water shortages, but more work is needed to prepare for a hotter, drier future. We talked to Doug Kenney, director of the Western Water Policy Program at the University of Colorado and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about managing the basin for long-term water sustainability.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Groundwater trading program, first of its kind for Central Valley, is being designed

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District is working with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a web-based platform growers can use to sell or buy units of groundwater. … As groundwater use is restricted, growers may decided to fallow cropland and instead sell their groundwater allocations to other growers.

Aquafornia news KUNC

A world without water

What would happen if we ran out of water? For an increasing number of people, that question is moving from a hypothetical to a reality. New data from the World Resource Institute show that a quarter of the world’s population is at high risk of running out of water.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Opinion: Farmers don’t need to read the science. We are living it

Many farmers probably haven’t read the new report from the United Nations warning of threats to the global food supply from climate change and land misuse. But we don’t need to read the science — we’re living it. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, there’s not much debate anymore that the climate is changing.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Humanities grad students drive community engagement, public understanding through research

Ivan Soto has aspired to produce research with a positive impact on the public — not just to benefit the academic community. … His research examines the power dynamics of infrastructure and water politics through an environmental history of southernmost California’s Imperial Valley along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

News release: EDF and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District to build new groundwater trading market

Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District (Rosedale) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced a joint pilot project today to build the first online, open-source groundwater trading platform in the Central Valley in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: A rancher-led group is boosting the health of the Colorado River near its headwaters

A partnership of state, local and conservation groups, including Trout Unlimited, is engaged in a restoration effort that could serve as a template for similar regions across the West. Centered around the high plateau near Kremmling, a town of about 1,400 people in northern Colorado about 100 miles west of Denver, the partnership aims to make the river function better for people and the environment.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nutria infestation has Central Valley Democrat declaring war

Rep. Josh Harder has focused much of his first year in office on local issues such as water storage and the effects of almond tariffs on Central Valley farmers. Now he is training his attention on the nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent that has drawn the ire of environmentalists, farmers and local officials alike.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Program offering no cost irrigation evaluations to Northern California

Local land owners have an opportunity to get their irrigation systems inspected free of charge as part of a program offered across Northern California. Jay Thomas, engineering technician for the Irrigation Training Facility at California State University, Chico, said this program is part of a mobile irrigation laboratory that services the growers of Northern California.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: What does climate change really mean to California’s water resources?

Whether you are a water utility manager, elected official, or homeowner, future water availability is a concern. There are several factors fostering that concern and one of them is climate change. … But as the empirical evidence mounts and a once doubtful citizenry become more informed, it is instructive to review what a changing climate fundamentally means to California’s water resources; arguably our most important.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater law – physical – “the water budget myth”

This week’s short post is on groundwater law – from the viewpoint of physics. Water policy, management, and human law often misunderstand how groundwater and surface water work physically.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Mapping the strain on our water supply

Ample water resources in northern areas of California are balanced by huge demands from Central Valley agriculture and the large populations in hotter, drier southern areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego. California uses the most water of any state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, up to 9 percent of all withdrawals from the national supply.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Cox working on Friant-Kern Canal issue

It’s hard for U.S. Representative T.J. Cox to understand why the Friant-Kern Canal is just at 40 percent capacity. … Cox said funding is provided to maintain the Friant-Kern Canal that’s supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Government, but those reimbursements haven’t been coming.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Power outages could cut off livestock water

Holly Foster, whose family runs cattle in Butte and Plumas counties, said her ranch lost power during a shutoff in June that affected Butte, Napa, Solano, Yolo and Yuba counties. Her cattle in Butte County are particularly vulnerable because she relies on electricity to pump water from wells.

Aquafornia news Lodi News-Sentinel

Opinion: Groundwater draft plan reaches milestone

An important but not widely-publicized local planning process reached a milestone with the July release of the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Eastern San Joaquin Subbasin. This is the public’s first chance to see how groundwater in this region may be managed for the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Chico State, Stanford University helping county analyze water basin management

A Butte County project will expand its partnership with Chico State and Stanford University to analyze available groundwater systems. … It’s a groundbreaking project for water management in the county, according to Paul Gosselin, director of the county’s water and resource management department.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Water plan needs bigger frame

Water resource management is key in Ventura County to help address the perils local residents face from global warming, such as flooding, drought and sea level rise. The preliminary draft of the 2040 General Plan update on Water Resources Element is so much more than an “update.”

Aquafornia news Merced County Times

Groundwater Sustainability Plan up for public review

Over the past 18 months, the three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in the Merced Subbasin have worked together to develop a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) that is now available for public review and comment.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Thirsty for sustainability: Is Paso Robles any closer to solving its groundwater problem?

A San Luis Obispo County policy regulating pumping from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin has hamstrung how Robert Galbraith can farm his land. For decades, the family grew corn silage, Sudan grass, alfalfa, and grains on their few hundred acres. Now, Galbraith has essentially lost the right to farm, though he can see many a green vineyard down the road.

Aquafornia news Climate.gov

Blog: At a California oyster hatchery, farming native seaweed improved water quality

Native seaweed has the potential to be cultivated in California coastal waters and used to alleviate the effects of local ocean acidification, according to a new study funded by NOAA’s California Sea Grant.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom signs bill requiring further environmental review for Cadiz project

A bill signed Wednesday evening by Gov. Gavin Newsom will require Cadiz Inc.’s Mojave Desert groundwater pumping project to undergo further review to show it will not harm the surrounding environment. … It requires the State Lands Commission to determine that projects involving the transfer of water from a groundwater basin won’t adversely impact the surrounding environment.

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Aquafornia news KSBY

Central Coast reservoirs riding high after winter rains

The heavy rains that hit the Central Coast this past winter are keeping recreators at area lakes and reservoirs happy this summer. However, the precipitation has done little to ease concerns for a group fighting Monterey County over the water it withdraws from Lake Nacimiento.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers are planting solar panels as water supplies dry up

The silvery panels looked like an interloper amid a patchwork landscape of lush almond groves, barren brown dirt and saltbush scrub, framed by the blue-green strip of the California Aqueduct bringing water from the north. … Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot.

While it may not be obvious to some, sustainable groundwater management is inherently connected to the long-term survival of the Delta. Not only does the state’s most significant groundwater use occur in regions that also rely upon water from the Delta watershed, reduced reliance on the Delta and improved regional self-reliance are central to many of the goals outlined in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito pursues project funding for groundwater basin management plan

The Groundwater Sustainability Agency board will submit a sustainability plan to the Department of Water Resources in 2021 and begin to implement that plan in 2022-2024. The board last week heard a presentation about funding options to pay for the groundwater management plan — including fees, taxes or assessments to customers — and specific projects to implement the plan…

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

JPL researchers win Presidential Early Career Awards

John Reager is being honored for his work on the GRACE mission, studying Earth’s water cycle by measuring groundwater, floods and drought. This helps him and his colleagues study how extremes of water vary with time and climate change.

Aquafornia news The American Conservative

Opinion: Overpopulation, not climate change, caused California’s water crisis

California has grown from 10 million to at least 40 million since 1950, making it necessary to move water over long distances to where people live and work. Close to two thirds of the state’s population is bunched in a few water-dependent coastal counties.

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Climate change may decimate California’s avocado industry

The report estimates there are a cluster of major California crops that are particularly vulnerable to extreme temperature changes: wine grapes, lettuce, almonds, strawberries, table grapes, hay, oranges, cotton, tomatoes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. Specifically, avocado production in California could fall 40 percent by 2050 due to climate change factors.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Climate: Water shortages force a reckoning in California wine country

More than 90% of U.S. wine comes from California, despite growth in other states’ production, and it’s putting a strain on the environment. Throughout the region, wine producers say they’re striving to save water and use less pesticides, among other measures aimed at sustainable growing, as they face the challenges brought on by the advance of climate change.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water District launching water market pilot program

The newly formed water market would create a place where farmers in the Rosedale district can buy and sell water based on their needs. So if one farmer has too much for his crops in a certain year, he’d be able to sell it on the market to another who might not have enough.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Modernizing water infrastructure is crucial to achieving California’s energy goals. Here’s why

Thoughtfully implementing state law that requires local water users to bring groundwater use to sustainable levels within the next two decades will … result in withdrawal of large amounts of land from agricultural production and the loss of economic benefits. But we can repurpose those lands to support large scale storage and solar, as well as other renewable energy technologies that can help decarbonize our electric grid and create new jobs in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Quartz

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we farm

High-tech firms like Ceres, Prospera, Farmers Edge, and the Climate Corporation are using artificial intelligence to help famers decide when to plant, water, spray, and harvest their crops. As climate change worsens rainstorms in the Midwest and drought in California, the technology could also help growers navigate more severe and volatile weather.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As Southwest water managers grapple with climate change, can a ‘grand bargain’ work?

Water managers on the Colorado River are facing a unique moment. With a temporary fix to the river’s scarcity problem recently completed, talk has begun to turn toward future agreements to manage the water source for 40 million people in the southwestern U.S. … Some within the basin see a window of opportunity to argue for big, bold actions to find balance in the watershed.

Aquafornia news the Confluence

Blog: A California-European Union workshop on sustainable groundwater management and conflict resolution

Gathering California water policy and decision-makers along with groundwater stakeholders and users, the workshop gave participants the opportunity to meet European Union (EU) water specialists, exchange experiences and ideas, and compare California and EU issues and solutions.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Trinity River restoration project a collaborative success

During a recent trip to the Trinity River, I learned about the many challenges facing its salmon and steelhead populations. … But there is hope and evidence of progress in realizing ecological benefits of the past. A holistic approach to habitat restoration doesn’t rely on a single silver bullet solution, but applies a comprehensive set of actions that rely on collaboration between local tribes, federal and state agencies, and local government agencies…

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: Drought contingency plans embrace water marketing

The state drought plans move gingerly toward encouraging transfers of water by using clever euphemisms that avoid any mention of water marketing. … These euphemisms are tools that usher in a new frontier in western water law that will increase resilience in the face of droughts, floods and forest fires fueled by climate change.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Opinion: Put your public water outreach programs on steroids

How can the short memory of the public maintain the long-term commitments of water projects and conservation behaviors? On one hand, California’s recent extended drought demonstrated that the public water users could reduce their water use, but can it be maintained permanently?

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater authority board discusses mandatory well registration

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors took the first step Thursday to require all groundwater wells in the valley to be registered by Oct. 1. … That first step also included a pumping fee to pay for the required groundwater sustainability plan due to the Department of Water Resources by Jan. 31, 2020.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Study explores groundwater pumping and surface water connections

Groundwater pumping has caused stream flow in U.S. rivers to decline by as much as half over the last century, according to new research by a University of Arizona hydrologist that strengthens the connection between groundwater and surface water.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Water Blueprint proposes parallel waterway for the sinking Friant-Kern Canal

The Friant Water Authority is confident a parallel canal is the best solution. This new one will be built in a way that prepares for subsidence. A new canal would also benefit from the Ground Water Management Act of 2014, which will regulate how much and when water is pumped out of the ground, preventing what some believe is the main cause of subsidence.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Justice Department motions for judge to revisit ruling on Agua Caliente tribe lawsuit against Coachella Valley water districts

Key parts of the case were dismissed in April by U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal, who ruled that the tribe did not have a claim of harm because it has always had enough water… Now, the federal government intends to make its case that this ruling should be reversed.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: As the climate gets hotter and drier, state’s water plan must consider all options

At the same time the snowpack is dwindling, droughts are expected to become more severe. One example: scientists predict a strong likelihood that the Colorado River Basin will experience a megadrought of 20 to 50 years in duration during this century.

Aquafornia news Physics World

Green water could help California’s farming woes

More effective use of green water – rainfall stored in soil – could mitigate irrigation demand for some of California’s most important perennial crops. So say US researchers who simulated 13 years’ growth of alfalfa, grapes, almonds, pistachios and walnuts under different irrigation strategies.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers call for better broadband in rural California

From equipment diagnostics to data transfers to irrigation control to simple text messaging, tech is becoming a way of life on the farm—but is only as good as the local internet connection.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: The Groundwater Game: A new hands-on way to learn about groundwater management

One evening, at a community center in the Sacramento Valley, a teacher, a civil engineer, a tomato farmer and a local foundation board member found themselves standing above a table, feverishly competing to scoop the most glass beads from a large, communal bowl. But there was a catch.

Aquafornia news Crosscut

Drinking responsibly could now mean drinking ‘Salmon-Safe’ beer

An Oregon-based sustainable certification organization, Salmon Safe, encourages farms, vineyards, buildings and even golf courses throughout Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia to mitigate their impacts on salmon habitat by doing things like reducing pollution-heavy stormwater runoff. For a brewery, that means getting its facilities certified or sourcing ingredients from farms that have restored salmon-inhabited streams and limited their use of water and pesticides.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

California strawberries are about to get tastier and more environmentally friendly

Scientists at UC Davis have developed five new types of the berry set to hit the market this fall. … Researchers say these new strawberries are the best of both worlds: the strawberries will use less water, fertilizer and pesticides and still produce more, healthier, higher-quality strawberries.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Coalition of agencies, environmentalists sees future for aging dam

While California contemplates new dams for its thirsty future, it’s also thinking about taking out old ones. Along with advancing plans to demolish three dams atop the Klamath River, there’s a movement to rethink and possibly take out a water and power dam in the Mendocino County back country.

Aquafornia news Lawn & Landscape

On the mend

California Landscape Contractors Association’s Sandra Giarde … points out that parts of California are already teetering back on the edge of a drought again. Laws have yet to change that were put into place to conserve water during the drought, such as rules against hosing down concrete sidewalks. Those bans will only slowly be lifted by each municipality over time, if they’re even lifted at all.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR approves nine alternatives to groundwater sustainability plans

Following extensive technical review, DWR approved seven existing groundwater management plans and two 10-year sustainable yield analyses as alternatives under SGMA. One existing groundwater management plan and five 10-year sustainable yield analyses were not recommended for approval as alternatives.

Aquafornia news Forbes

The importance of groundwater and of predicting human impacts on it

Water hidden beneath the earth’s surface comprises 98% of the planet’s fresh water. On average, this groundwater provides a third of all total water consumed… Before we even start to improve groundwater management, we must better understand and measure it, says international groundwater expert Craig Simmons, from Flinders University in Adelaide.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

Cuyama passes pay-to-pump groundwater sustainability structure

Cuyama landowners will soon have to pay to pump groundwater, a decision that some say will place the burden of Cuyama’s dwindling water supply largely on farmers’ shoulders.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Opinion: The changing Delta’s challenges

Many Delta problems are worsening. Climate change is raising sea levels and temperatures, making floods and droughts more extreme and will likely further alter the mix of species. State legislation to end overdrafting of groundwater will increase demands for water from the Delta from farmers in the San Joaquin Valley struggling (mostly in vain) to find replacement water.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use

Requirements to balance supplies in California groundwater basins have refocused attention on how best to achieve recharge, and on what’s known as the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies. Some irrigation districts have been recharging groundwater in that manner for years or even decades.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Ties between the Delta and groundwater sustainability in California

Groundwater overdraft is a major problem globally and has been a persistent and growing problem in California for decades. This overdraft is predominantly driven by the economic value of water for agricultural production and cities.

Aquafornia news Food Tank

Opinion: Changing agriculture from a GHG emitter to absorber

Agricultural scientists across the globe including at Stanford University and the University of California at Davis have in recent years been making new discoveries showing that healthy soil holds more carbon than previously thought and that good soil management can serve as an important carbon sink.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

IID votes to lower conserved water payments to farmers

Initially, farmers had been contracted $285 per acre/feet for conserved water and the IID welcomed all participants. However, due to the farmers’ innovation and ingenuity, the total acre/feet saved the past three years exceeded the amount needed for the QSA transfer.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Grass lawn removal rebate increases in Malibu

The rebate for Malibu residents who remove grass landscaping has been increased from $4 to $5 per square foot of turf removed, the City of Malibu announced Monday. The incentive is part of the Malibu Smart water conservation program offered by the City of Malibu, County of Los Angeles and West Basin Municipal Water District.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: An opportunity to restore fish abundance on the Eel River

The Eel River—once home to the state’s third-largest salmon and steelhead runs, all of which are now listed as threatened―may see the return of healthy fisheries in coming years. A unique opportunity to remove a dam that blocks fish from reaching spawning habitat has arisen. We talked to Curtis Knight, executive director of CalTrout, about the situation.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

California’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects and healthcare programs

Brokered in large part by rookie state senator for California’s 14 Senate District, Melissa Hurtado, the southern portion of the Valley has gained tens of millions of dollars of investment in drinking water, asthma mitigation, aging and disability resource centers and Valley Fever research.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Clovis secures its future growth with FID water deals

The Clovis City Council has approved landmark water deals with the Fresno Irrigation District that officials say will secure the city’s growth for decades to come. According to the Clovis General Plan, the city expects 280,000 residents in 2083 — 2.5 times its 110,000 population. Plans call for Clovis to grow northeast and southeast.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

DWR releases final California Water Plan Update 2018

Update 2018 presents a vision for greater collaboration and alignment among water sectors and institutions, sound strategies, and long-term investments needed for the sustainable management of the California’s water supply.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Plan to sustain Santa Cruz County drinking water unveiled

Keystone projects for the midcounty planning effort, mandated by the state for all groundwater-dependent agencies, include stormwater runoff management, Soquel Creek Water District’s Pure Water Soquel advanced water treatment plant, and the city of Santa Cruz’s ongoing efforts to develop a supplemental water supply that would primarily make use of unused winter river runoff, likely through new storage options.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New strawberry varieties on the way – tastier, cheaper, better for the planet, UC Davis says

They’ll use less water, less fertilizer and fewer pesticides – and they will probably be cheaper. The Public Strawberry Breeding Program at UC Davis just announced five new strawberry varieties that will be on the market in the fall and are expected to benefit farmers, sellers and consumers alike.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California Senate Bill 1 a dangerous over-reaction

Proponents have said SB 1 will keep Trump from delivering more water to farms, thereby harming endangered fish. That sentiment is exactly what makes SB 1 so dangerous. It relies on the worn-out trope that California’s water issues boil down to “farms versus fish.”

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: It’s not too late to save California’s salmon, but here’s what we need to do

If we can make things just a bit easier and provide reliable water and habitat, salmon in California can and will recover. This understanding informed the State Water Resources Control Board’s recent approval of a legally-required water management plan to reverse the ecological crisis that threatens an important coastal industry, drinking water for millions, and the natural heritage of California.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Arcadia, these are your rules for using water during the summer months

The drought may be over, but Arcadia residents and businesses must restrict their irrigation and water consumption yet again this summer as the city’s mandatory water conservation program continues to push through its first of eight phases.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water. But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley.

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Aquafornia news BBKLaw.com

Blog: Irrigation district may refuse water delivery to rule violators

An irrigation district may adopt and enforce reasonable rules related to water service, and may terminate water delivery for failure to comply with such rules, a California appellate court ruled. Although this case involved an irrigation district, the decision may also strengthen other water providers’ authority to adopt and enforce rules relating to water service.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

150 million trees died in California’s drought, and worse is to come

A new study, just published in Nature Geoscience, reveals an elegant formula to explain why some trees died and others didn’t — and it suggests more suffering is in store for forests as the climate heats up.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Communities still gaming out what the future of groundwater will be

To better understand groundwater markets, attendees at the meeting played a groundwater market game, which was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Michigan to teach players about the challenges of managing scarce groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Border wall: If people can’t get through, neither can the river

Despite being on opposite sides of the immigration debate, environmental groups who oppose border barriers generally mirror cattle rancher John Ladd’s concerns about the river. They say a wall or fence across the San Pedro could have devastating consequences to its hydrology, as well as the endangered species that call the river home.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Riverine Stewardship Program offers $48 million in competitive grants

The Department of Water Resources released the final guidelines for the Riverine Stewardship Program on July 1, 2019. The grant program supports planning and implementation of projects that restore streams, creeks, and rivers to enhance the environment for fish, wildlife, and people.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future

The plan is historic: It acknowledges that southwestern states need to make deep water use reductions – including a large share from agriculture, which uses over 70% of the supply – to prevent Colorado River reservoirs from declining to critically low levels. But it also has serious shortcomings. It runs for less than a decade. And its name suggests a response to a temporary problem.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Got surface water? Groundwater-only lands in the san joaquin valley

We estimate that nearly 20%—or 840,000 acres—of irrigated cropland in the valley has no access to surface water. … With groundwater cuts looming and no other water supply to fall back on, groundwater-only areas are on the front line of the effort to bring basins into balance.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district.

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Aquafornia news Trout Unlimited

Blog: The cannabis conundrum

Marijuana growers are literally sucking salmon streams dry. According to research that TU and partners cited for the journal Bioscience, some forms of outdoor cultivation use an average of 6 gallons per day per marijuana plant. … Their combined water demand can easily exceed available streamflow in the tiny tributaries salmon and steelhead rely on to survive the long, hot summers typical of this region.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative listening session

The California Water Commission held the first listening session at its June meeting with a panel of water management experts offering their perspectives on what a climate-resilient water portfolio might look like.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Are pistachios the nut of the future?

Pistachio trees require somewhere between one-third and one-half as much water as almond trees. Unlike almond trees, pistachio trees don’t die during extended droughts. Their metabolism merely slows and when water returns, they start producing nuts again. … Pistachios can also handle, as Duarte’s team discovered, levels of salt that have already killed many an almond tree.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California needs to build Sites Reservoir. Here’s why

We need a broad portfolio of solutions that includes storage above and below ground, conservation, and other options such as traditional recycled and potable reuse to help ensure we can better manage this vital resource when the next inevitable drought comes along. … One part of that solution is the proposed Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah’s recycled water is ready for delivery

One of the vineyard owners hooked up to the city’s Purple Pipe is anxiously waiting for the recycled water to begin flowing, asking this week if he would need to begin tapping the Russian River near his property to irrigate instead.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought, fish, and water in California

With a big collective sigh of relief, Californians rejoiced that we have largely recovered from 2012-2016 drought. But this is not a time for complacency… This should thus be a time to develop new and better strategies for reducing impacts of severe drought on both natural and developed systems.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Friant water blueprint focused on counties south of Delta

An important blueprint for the success of farming in the Central Valley is being developed to present to California government officials. This blueprint outlines what must be done to get water to the eight counties south of the delta. The blueprint is a critical step to help keep farmers in business due to the pressure from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara South Coast water supply looks promising heading into summer

Santa Barbara County’s water supply outlook has improved significantly with a winter of strong rains, and this is reflected in a noticeably fuller Lake Cachuma. However, the effects of the years-long drought will take several years for some water sources to recover…

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Aquafornia news Rainfall to Groundwater

Blog: How does groundwater get there? Some basics

Oscar Meinzer (1942) credits Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) with having advocated the infiltration theory slightly before Palissy’s time, basing his theories on observations made when he was in charge of canals in the Milan area. … Such a scenario might explain why California DWR staff and like-minded academics and nonprofits have all jumped on the bandwagon of managed aquifer recharge.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Why Modesto’s effort to plant 5,000 trees ended with rising costs and dead trees

Greg Dion, Cal Fire’s regional urban forester for the San Joaquin Valley, said Modesto used outdated research in calculating the cost of buying, planting and maintaining the 5,000 trees. … Modesto also started planting trees while the region still was in the grip of a devastating drought.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

It will take as many as 13 water years exactly like this one to erase the impacts of long-term drought in the West, Colorado River District engineers say.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Magazine

Blog: New maps show how groundwater affects lakes and rivers

Researchers have mapped the impact of groundwater pumping on surface water in individual watersheds before. But it’s only recently that computing power has improved enough to look at groundwater’s interaction with surface water, known as integrated modeling, on a scale as large as the United States.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years

The unusually wet winter (with an assist from new Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan water reduction rules) has substantially reduced the near-term scare-the-crap-out-of-me risks on the Colorado River for the next few years, according to new Bureau of Reclamation modeling.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Governor and Legislature advance voluntary agreements in the state budget

The Newsom Administration and the State Legislature approved a commitment of $70 million in the 2019-2020 State Budget for a comprehensive series of innovative fish and wildlife habitat enhancement actions identified in the collaborative Bay-Delta Voluntary Agreement proposals. This is a significant, early investment in the success of the Voluntary Agreements.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Mexican waters eyed as source to save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change

SGMA inevitably means less water for irrigating farms. … On one path, the valley could become a patchwork of dusty barren fields, serving a huge blow to the agriculture sector and rural communities and further impairing already poor air quality. … On another path, the valley could transform into a pioneering agricultural region that not only puts food on our nation’s plates but also supports thriving wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, soil health, groundwater recharge and flood control.

Aquafornia news Casa Grande Dispatch

Pinal farmers may still face water reduction despite massive snowpack

The update reported an excellent May in terms of Colorado River Basin run-off, yet Central Arizona Water Conservation District board members underscored that still-half-full reservoirs point to the need for continued conservation.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Reuse of treated wastewater could save water for other needs

The 2018-19 Solano County grand jury concluded that if treated wastewater could be used to irrigate crops that saved water would help meet the water needs of a growing population. … The grand jury also had recommendations on plant efficiency and taking advantage of other renewable energies and plant output, such as using wind and solar power for plant operations…

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

In the long-term puzzle of ensuring that the Colorado River — the main artery of the American West — provides water to the millions of people in the basin who depend on it, the challenges are mounting. Does 2019’s water stand a chance of making a meaningful impact? Water experts say the answer is: Sadly, not likely.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Utah, other states urge California to sign 7-state drought plan for Colorado River

Most of the seven states that get water from the Colorado River have signed off on plans to keep the waterway from crashing amid a prolonged drought, climate change and increased demands. But California and Arizona have not, missing deadlines from the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

License to Pump

Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the availability of a critical resource… A new dashboard tool, created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping – to help plan for a more sustainable future.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County set to extend Paso Robles groundwater restrictions

First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another several years to fully take effect.

Aquafornia news Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

Blog: Will Our Drought Ever End?

Earlier this month the governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group unanimously voted to inform the governor that Arizona’s long-running drought declaration should continue. This means Arizona has been in a state of drought for more than 20 years, surpassing the worst drought in more than 110 years of record keeping. Now that our drought has been extended yet again, it leaves many to wonder what it will take to get us out of this drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley water agency might buy Central Valley farm

Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: The Colorado River’s biggest challenge looms

States that share the river’s water finalized a big agreement last month, but an even larger challenge determining the river’s future is just around the bend, expert John Fleck explains.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Is overwatering really so bad?

Even though the Russian River watershed has received roughly 130 percent of the average rainfall this season, it is time to discuss the impacts of overwatered landscapes as the dry weather returns and irrigation controllers turn on.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project

The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour Weekend

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

As the Colorado River’s flow declines, water supplies in seven states are imperiled by potential shortages. That includes Arizona, which passed legislation outlining steps it would take if water from the river continues to decrease. But what does a water shortage mean for Phoenix?

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Making key policy decisions in advance of droughts

It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t have clearly defined priorities. This is true for sudden-onset crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset crises, like droughts.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bureau of Reclamation bumps Westside water allocation to 70 percent

The Bureau of Reclamation updated its 2019 allocation for the Central Valley Project South-of-Delta, increasing the westside water allocation to 70 percent of the contract total. Said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant: “The late storms provided an added boost to the already above average precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still about 150% of average for this time of year.”

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

California agriculture & water history plays out in Traver

The history of Traver, preserved in many books and archives, is a study in land development, agriculture and irrigation. It started when a civil engineer named Peter Y. Baker conceived a plan to convert thousands acres of rangeland in northern Tulare and southern Fresno counties into fields of wheat by diverting water by canal from the Kings River.

Aquafornia news Western Water

150 years after John Wesley Powell ventured down the Colorado River, how should we assess his legacy in the West?

University of Colorado Professor Emeritus Charles Wilkinson … described the Western icon and one-armed Civil War veteran as a complex character, a larger-than-life person and an early visionary of wise water use in an arid West. Wilkinson spoke recently with Western Water about Powell and his legacy, and how Powell might view the Colorado River today.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands. While the final decision by the Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Almond growers learn about their ‘largest challenge’

The session, “Navigating the Waters,” drew a crowd of about 150 farmers to the International Agri-Center in Tulare last week, where attendees heard from water-agency leaders, state water officials, farmers and others on a range of topics with the goal of helping almond growers make informed water decisions.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Sonoma County approves plan to offset groundwater fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Water Agencyand the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain… Under the plan, the County and Sonoma Water would contribute up to $240,000 annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Update provided on imported water goal

A firm hired by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is already in the initial phase to find sources of imported water for the valley, according to a progress report delivered at a Thursday board meeting. … Capitol Core Group, retained in March, is looking at what water supply options are available and how to secure funding to ultimately purchase and develop infrastructure to deliver into the valley.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Infrastructure funding should include irrigation modernization

As the focus on infrastructure retakes center stage in Washington, we hope lawmakers don’t overlook a prime opportunity to invest in Western water and irrigation systems. Here in the West, our dams, irrigation systems, canals and other infrastructure — much of it more than a century old — are past due for modernization.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Managing drought in a changing climate: Four essential reforms

Last fall, a team of researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) studied the state’s response to the extreme drought conditions, distilling their findings down to four essential reforms that will better prepare the state to adapt to the impacts of climate change. At the Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County’s Annual Symposium held in April of 2019, Ellen Hanak, Director of Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center gave this recap of their research.

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